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  • 01/16/18--00:44: Article 2
  • Vietnamese sue Apple for ‘purposely slowing down iPhones’


    Vietnamese have joined the community of iPhone users filing lawsuits against Apple for intentionally slowing down the phones as the devices' batteries aged.  

    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, Apple, iPhone, battery replacement 

    Vietnamese have decided to sue Apple


    Lawyers Nguyen Ngoc Hung and Tran Manh Tung from Ket Noi (Connect) Law Firm belonging to the Hanoi Bar Association on January 10, 2018 filed a lawsuit against the US-based Apple group. 

    Ket Noi set up a website at batterydown.vn to which Vietnamese iPhone users can register to join the lawsuit.

    The charge of $29 for a replacement battery has sparked criticism among Vietnamese iPhone users, who say the fee is too high. 

    Apple is facing multiple lawsuits after admitting slowing down iPhones without advanced warnings, even though the manufacturer has apologized to users and committed to replace batteries at the fee of $29.

    The charge of $29 for a replacement battery has sparked criticism among Vietnamese iPhone users, who say the fee is too high.

    International mass media have reported that lawsuits have been filed in many countries, including 20 in the US.

    Apple has been accused of deliberately causing defects to its products to drive consumers to either replace the battery for the phone or purchase new phones

    According to Buu Dien, Apple’s revenue is over $1 billion a year in Vietnam, but the manufacturer’s post-sale services in Vietnam are poor compared with other markets.

    The lawyers, who have sent a 600-page dossier on the case to the court, said they decided to file the lawsuit as consumers and lawyers.

    “We want Vietnamese consumers to be aware that their rights and legal benefits are being compromised. Therefore, in the petition, we refer to Apple's responsibility to all consumers in Vietnam, not just to us,” Lawyer Hung said.

    The HCM City People’s Court has received the petition and associated documents. Apple’s official office, Apple Vietnam Co Ltd, is located in the city. 


    The lawyers are preparing documents to inform Apple about the lawsuit in Vietnam.

    Lawyers have filed two basic claims. First, Apple is responsible for fixing the problems and terminating damages caused to plaintiffs and consumers in Vietnam when using iPhone with a technical disability.

    Second, for the products with technical defects, due to updating the new operating system, the defendant must take responsibility and compensate owners in accordance with the laws.

    Specifically, Apple needs to repair the operating system and software so that phones can regain original performance, or replace the battery for free.

    In Vietnam, Apple’s authorized warranty centers have begun replacing the battery for iPhone users, for about VND730,000.


     Buu Dien


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  • 01/16/18--01:02: Article 1
  • Vietnam’s cashew industry turns to Cambodia

     

    Vietnam is the world’s leading cashew nut exporter, but the industry relies heavily on imported raw materials

    Vietnam’s cashew industry has invested in 500,000 hectares of plantations in Cambodia with the vision of turning its southwestern neighbor into a major supplier.

    Workers sort raw cashew nuts at a processing facility in Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
    The Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas) has pledged to provide technical support to Cambodian farm owners to reach a yearly yield of one million metric tons of raw cashew nuts by the end of 2028.

    According to Vinacas, as of 2017 Vietnam was the world’s No.1 processor and exporter of cashew nuts, a position it has held for the last 12 consecutive years.

    Last year, the country exported over US$3.5 billion worth of cashew, a 20-percent surge on 2016.

    However, local cashew nut processors rely heavily on raw materials imported from African countries, which have demanded a high price.

    Ho Ngoc Cam, director of a Ho Chi Minh City-based agricultural exporter, said the price of imported raw cashew nuts from Africa had risen from $1,000 per ton to $2,200-2,300 per ton over the past three or four years.

    “Some Vietnamese businesses have remained in operation only to provide job security for their workers, as they make little to no profit based on the current price of raw imported cashews,” Cam said.

    Shipments from Africa can also take up to 40 days to reach Vietnam, at a cost of $70-80 per ton, further increasing costs of local cashew processors.

    Shipments from Cambodia will cost a little more than $10 per ton, according to Vietnamese businesses.

    ​Vietnam’s cashew industry turns to Cambodia 
    Workers sort raw cashew nuts at a processing facility in Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre


    Vinacas president Nguyen Duc Thanh forecasts Vietnam’s cashew processing capacity to reach two million tons per year, with domestic production accounting for less than a fifth of that demand, at 300,000-350,000 tons a year.

    Vietnam is currently ranked fourth globally in terms of cashew production, behind India, Ivory Coast and Brazil.

    Cooperation with Cambodian producers to supply raw materials to Vietnamese processing companies is a profitable business model for both sides, Thanh asserted.

    Vietnam’s long-term goal would be to turn Cambodia into its top supplier of the nut rather than Africa, he added.

    At a meeting with Vinacas last December, Hean Vann Horn, head of Cambodia’s General Department of Agriculture, expressed his confidence that the country was more than capable of growing over 500,000 hectares of cashew.

    Prior to 2014, only 30 percent of Cambodia’s raw cashew nuts were exported to Vietnam, the Cambodian official said, but that figure had grown to 98 percent as of today.

    Thanh dismissed the idea that Cambodia could one day surpass Vietnam as a major cashew exporter, citing the Vietnamese businesses' use of modern technology to produce top-quality products.

    “Our competitors are China and India. Cambodia and African countries are our partners,” he asserted.

    In 2017, Vietnamese businesses spent over $2.5 billion importing more than 1.3 million tons of raw cashew nuts for processing.

    To realize the goal of developing 500,000 hectares of cashew plantations in Cambodia, Vinacas has provided their Cambodian partners with monetary support of VND1.5 billion ($66,000) to grow one million cashew trees from now until 2022.
     Tuoi Tre News


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  • 01/16/18--01:34: Article 0
  • Labour export exceeds 100,000 benchmark for fourth consecutive year



    Vietnam sent 134,751 workers to work abroad in 2017, including 53,340 female workers (accounting for 39.6%), according to the latest data from the Department of Overseas Labour (DOLAB) under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA).

     

    Vietnam sent over 134,700 labourers to work abroad in 2017


    The figure is exceeding by 28.3% of the annual plan set for 2017 and accounts for 106.7% of the 2016 figure.

    2017 is the fourth consecutive year the number of Vietnamese overseas workers exceeded the 100,000 benchmark per year.

    The statistics show that last year, the Japanese market witnessed a remarkable growth, receiving 54,504 Vietnamese labourers (including 24,502 female workers). The total number of Vietnamese trainees practicing in Japan has reached 100,000, the highest number among 15 countries sending trainees to Japan.


    Number of Vietnamese labourers working in Vietnam’s key labour export markets in 2017(Source: MOLISA, Unit: Workers)


    Chinese Taipei continues to be the largest market for Vietnamese oversea labour with 66,926 employees (including 23,530 female workers). 2017 is the second consecutive year that the number of Vietnamese workers has reached over 60,000 in Chinese Taipei (accounting for nearly 50% of the total number sent abroad last year). The share of Vietnamese labourers working in the market has increased steadily in recent years.

    Several other labour markets that receive large number of Vietnamese workers in 2017 include the Republic of Korea (5,178 workers), Saudi Arabia (3,626), Malaysia (1,551), Algeria (760), and Rumania (683).

    Nhan Dan


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  • 01/17/18--01:16: Article 4
  • Social News 17/1


    HCM City, Japan’s prefecture promote tourism, hi-tech agriculture cooperation


    VWU urged to promote welfare policy for women, NASC announces six resolutions, Vietnamese – German centre of medical research launched in Hanoi, Finland presents books to outstanding teachers in HCMC 

    Ho Chi Minh City and Japan’s Kagoshima prefecture boast huge cooperation potential in tourism, food processing and high-tech agricultural production, said Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong.

    Holding a reception on January 16 for Governor of Kagoshima prefecture Mitazono Satoshi, Phong hoped that both sides will develop cooperation programmes in the fields.

    He hailed Kagoshima position as a gateway to connect Japan with the Southeast Asian region and expressed his wish that enterprises and investors from Kagoshima will increase their presence in the Vietnamese southern hub with a line-up of investment projects in economy and trade, education and tourism.

    He said that the moves will help promote ties between the two localities, thus consolidating and deepening the Vietnam-Japan friendship.

    For his part, Mitazono Satoshi noticed that his visit to Vietnam aims to connect and develop ties with Vietnamese localities, particularly Ho Chi Minh City.

    He expected that Ho Chi Minh City leaders will create favourable conditions for Kagoshima firms to promote trade and investment cooperation in the city, especially in fields of Kagoshima’s strength like tourism and agriculture. 

    The Japanese prefecture is willing to support and share experience in the application of information technology and advanced technology in agricultural production, he said, adding that his locality will receive Vietnamese apprentices in seafood processing.

    Also, Kagoshima wants to coordinate with Ho Chi Minh City in organising exchange programmes to enhance mutual understanding, solidarity and cooperation between the two localities.

    Vice President presents gifts to policy beneficiaries in Tay Ninh

    Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh on January 16 visited and presented gifts and scholarships worth more than 300 million VND (USD) to policy beneficiaries and disadvantaged students in border districts of Tan Bien, Chau Thanh and Ben Cau in the southwestern  province of Tay Ninh.

    Visiting Tan Bien district which housed resistance bases in the two resistance wars against France and the US, Vice President Thinh asked local authorities to channel more efforts to develop rural infrastructure, care for local people’s lives and gradually reduce the rate of poor households to 0 percent.

    The Vice President visited heroic mother Phan Thi Hoi and presented 50 gifts to poor families in the district.

    Thinh gave scholarships and gifts, each worth 1.3 million VND to 200 needy students in Chau Thanh and Ben Cau districts. Also, she presented two houses and 100 gifts to poor families in Tay Ninh city.

    The same day, she visited and presented gifts to staff of the Joint Control Station at Xa Mat International Border Gate in Tan Bien district.

    Cambodian delegation extends New Year greetings to Bac Lieu

    A delegation from the Development Department under the Cambodian Defence Ministry led by Deputy Director Lieutenant General Dong Mao on January 16 visited the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu to extend greetings to provincial leaders and locals on the upcoming traditional New Year (Tet) festival.

    The delegation was welcomed by Vice Standing Chairman of the Bac Lieu People’s Committee Le Minh Chien and representatives from several departments.

    Lieut. Gen. Dong Mao wished Bac Lieu leaders, armed forces and locals a happy New Year.

    He briefed the host on Cambodia’s development, with 2017 GDP reaching 6.9 percent and per capita income of 1,435 USD per year.

    Vietnam and Cambodia, sharing 1,137km of borderline, have enjoyed traditional friendship and close coordination in all fields, especially security, defence and cultural exchange.

    Chien thanked the Cambodian officers for the wishes, while congratulating Cambodia on achievements that the country gained in 2017.

    He noted that last year, Bac Lieu recorded a growth of 6.83 percent, while the living conditions of locals were significantly improved.

    In the coming time, the province will focus on developing renewable energy, high tech shrimp farming, tourism, service and high quality education, with an aim to make Bac Lieu a strong locality in the region, said Chien.

    He also underlined that the province always works hard to promote the special traditional ties between Vietnam and Cambodia.

    Commission urged to improve strategic forecast on foreign relations

    The Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee (CPVCC)’s Commission for External Relations have been asked to continue improving the quality of strategic research and forecast as well as better its role as an advisor to the CPVCC Politburo and Secretariat on external relations.

    Politburo member, standing member of the CPVCC Secretariat and head of the CPVCC Inspection Commission Tran Quoc Vuong made the request while attending a conference in Hanoi on January 16 to review the Commission for External Relations’ work in 2017 and launch its tasks for this year.

    Vuong hailed achievements the commission made last year, notably the synchronous and effective implementation of the Party’s external relations amid big and complex changes in the regional and world situation.

    The commission should enhance uniform management of foreign relations activities in a practical, economical and effective manner while better external activities, especially at high-ranking level, and leading people-to-people diplomacy, he said. 

    He also required ministries and agencies to closely work with the commission on issues related to foreign relations, contributing to successfully realising the Resolution of the 12th Party Congress.

    Party official meets with KOICA President

    Head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh has proposed the Government of the Republic of Korea (RoK), including the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), to expand cooperation with Vietnam in various fields.

    Binh made the suggestion while holding a reception for KOICA President Lee Mi-kyung in Hanoi on January 16.

    Lauding the effective bilateral collaboration which has made significant contributions to Vietnam-RoK relations, Binh hoped that the RoK side will join hands with Vietnam to carry out vocational training projects, improve management capacity for Vietnamese officials and share experience with the country in developing financial and capital markets as well as tax, fiscal, industry and specialised economic zone development policies.

    He expressed his wish that the KOICA will have programmes to exchange experts in state budget management and sustainable energy development.

    According to the official, since the establishment of diplomatic relations 25 years ago, Vietnam and the RoK have enjoyed robust cooperation in various spheres, especially in economy. The RoK is one of the most important economic partners of Vietnam and the largest foreign investor in the nation.

    The Vietnam-RoK free trade agreement, which took effect on December 20, 2015, has created a new momentum for the two countries to achieve the target of 100 billion USD in two-way trade by 2020.

    Lee, for her part, noted the RoK Government and the KOICA always prioritise cooperation with Vietnam, saying that the Southeast Asian country has effectively used official development assistance (ODA) provided by the RoK in the past years.

    She affirmed that the KOICA will continue its support for Vietnam’s socio-economic development and bolster the sound bilateral cooperative ties between the RoK and Vietnam.

    Inspectors urged to take measures against corruption

    Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has requested the Government Inspectorate to deploy comprehensive solutions to fight corruption, detect and promptly address corruption cases.

    Binh made the request while attending a teleconference held by the Government Inspectorate in Hanoi on January 16 to review the inspection work in 2017 and embark on task in 2018.

    The inspection sector must enhance state management and complete institutions in the fields of inspection, complaint, denouncement and anti-corruption to improve the efficiency of its operations, he noted.

    Binh highlighted the importance of cooperation with relevant agencies and organisations, especially the State Audit of Vietnam to reach consensus in conclusions, identify ways to handle violations and reduce overlaps in inspection and audit activities in enterprises.

    He hailed significant advancements made by the sector in 2017. However, it must further efforts to improve the reception of citizens, quality and transparency in inspection affairs and collection of assets for the state.

    Last year, the sector carried out 7,539 administrative inspections and 273,284 specialised inspections which detected violations of economic laws and regulations involving the misuse of over 67.75 trillion VND (2.98 billion USD) and more than 17,500 hectares of land. It proposed reclaiming 43.3 trillion VND (1.9 billion USD) and nearly 5,000 hectares of land.

    In addition, the sector received more than 415,000 citizens and recommended to tackle 25,519 out of 30,324 complaints under its authority.

    For whom the bells toll

    The complicated traffic situations at BOT (build-operate-transfer) toll booths hit a ridiculous point recently when a bridal procession became trapped in a long line of vehicles waiting to pay the disputed toll. In fact, without a bit of quick thinking, their day of happiness was headed for the wall.

    The procession, all the way from HCMCity to the western province of Bạc Liêu, was suddenly trapped in a stagnant line of cars and trucks in front of Phụng Hiệp toll booths in Cần Thơ City.

    While the argument over fee reductions between drivers and BOT operators continued at a furious pace, the miserable couple began to get heated about their impending nuptials. Time was running out.

    “The ceremony was planned to start at 1pm, but at about 11a.m, we were still at the toll gates,” moaned Phi Long, the groom.

    Necessity is the mother of invention, so, using one of the humankind’s most ubiquitous inventions, the smartphone, they livestreamed their images, performing the marriage ceremony in front of their waiting families and friends 100km away.

    It was their first step in life  - and it was a winner. The toll gates shrank into insignificance as the couple repeated their vows.

    We wish them a happy life and hope that the BOT people weren’t mean enough to charge them for waiting so long.

    Cheers for beautiful women stating ugly truths

    That beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder is not something worth debating.

    It is understandable, therefore, that people disagree with a decision to award a singer, actor or beauty queen. But it is not acceptable that this subjectivity descends into shameful, discriminatory criticism, stained with racist overtones.  

    Unfortunately, winner of the Miss Universe Viet Nam 2017 title, H’Hen Niê, had to face such a backlash recently.

    Soon after H’Hen Niê was declared the winner, a reporter from a major newspaper made several comments on her ethnicity and skin colour on social media and they immediately went viral.

    Although the man later apologized, I hope that he doesn’t get away with it. His comments were despicable and not worth repeating here.

    It isn’t strange for a newly crowned beauty queen to attract some public scrutiny. At least H’Hen Niê knew that much. She deactivated her Facebook account soon after winning. Smart move. Who knows what people would have dug up in order to malign and shame her. As it is, even the general reactions do not reflect well on our society.

    Let’s be very honest and look at why the public got so worked up over H’Hen Niê winning the crown.

    A member of the Ê Đê ethnic group, offshoot of a larger Austronesian people who live in many parts of Southeast Asia, she has a darker skin tone with facial features atypical of the Kinh, the majority ethnic group in Việt Nam. Since she does not have that “typical Vietnamese look”, whatever that means, she shouldn’t be crowned the winner of a national beauty contest, went the general argument.

    We do not have to dwell on whether H’Hen Niê is beautiful or not. She is Vietnamese, she took part in the competition, and she won. It takes courage to stand on that stage, to show yourself with confidence and believe that you are beautiful no matter what other people may tell you. More so if you are seen as “atypical.”

    H’Hen Niê deserves the crown as much as any Kinh girl.

    All forms of discrimination, including those based on race and colour, are not anything new, in Việt Nam or elsewhere.

    Miss IIe de France 2016 Meggy Pyaneeandee can relate to H’Hen Niê. Pyaneeandee represented the region of Paris in Miss France 2017, and being a woman of colour, faced racist insults and questions. The critics had nothing on Pyaneeandee, except for the colour of her skin.

    Pyaneeandee grew up in the part of Paris that is associated with crime and poverty. Against all odds, she went to Sciences Po, one of the most distinguished schools in Europe.

    And when she became a top 10 contestant, she achieved her goal of delivering a speech in front of millions of people, encouraging disadvantaged people and immigrants like her family to work hard for their dreams.

    It is almost too easy to just write off beauty pageants as superficial and commercialised events associated with practices that, at times, can be offensive and abusive towards women.

    Women are showing it doesn’t have to be that way, and it is beautiful to see.

    During the Miss Peru contest last November, the contestants turned the event, which was among many Latin American beauty pageants that are criticized as sexist and patriarchal, into an opportunity to raise public awareness on violence against women, a rampant problem in that part of the globe.

    Instead of coming forward to introduce themselves and announce their bust, waist and hip measurements, the contestants presented hard-hitting statistics about violence against women, according to a report by The Guardian.

    “My name is Camila Canicoba and I represent the department of Lima. My measurements are: 2,202 cases of femicide reported in the last nine years in my country,” said the first.

    “My name is Karen Cueto and I represent Lima and my measurements are: 82 femicides and 156 attempted femicides so far this year,” said the second.

    The eventual winner of the competition, Romina Lozano, said her “measurements” were “3,114 female victims of trafficking registered since 2014”.

    By turning an event around the Peruvian women managed to deliver an important message to a large number of people. The event concluded with the contestants being asked what law they would change to combat violence against women. While there is still much to do, the women managed to show that even beauty pageants, traditionally viewed as sexist and superficial, can be used to further feminist causes. 

    Let us hope that H’Hen Niê, as the first person from the Ê Đê ethnic minority to be crowned in a Miss Universe Vietnam event, can also highlight important issues facing her community. The Ê Đê, who number just 340,000, are among the poorest and most disadvantaged ethnic communities in the country.

    While hoping that she becomes known both for her beauty and her voice and contribution to society, we should remember this: her critics have proved that it is not her beauty, but their appreciation that is skin deep.

    And it is their own ugliness that has been exposed.

    Role of people-to-people diplomacy in peace, friendship hailed

    Vice National Assembly Chairman Uong Chu Luu confirmed the important role of people-to-people diplomacy in the cause of peace, solidarity and friendship of Vietnam while attending the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO)’ conference in Hanoi on January 16.

    Luu stressed that VUFO should coordinate operations of its chapters in people-to-people diplomatic activities and assess the work of mobilising foreign non-governmental assistance for the country’s socio-economic development.

    VUFO Vice President Don Tuan Phong said that in 2017, the union put forward a lot of initiatives and measures to enhance peace, stability and solidarity and speed up people-to-people friendship to expand the network of international friends and partners and strengthen solidarity and friendship among peoples.

    It fulfilled its role in canvassing foreign non-governmental assistance. Last year, the disbursement of foreign non-governmental aid reached 280 million USD.

    In 2018, VUFO will continue consolidating and developing the network of international friends and partners, actively participating in important multilateral mechanisms, and increasing the efficiency of foreign non-governmental assistance mobilisation, Phong stated.

    Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi in Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2018

    The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi has found a place on the list of the best hotels in the world for 2018 and been hailed as the No. 1 hotel in Hanoi by editors of the prestigious US travel publication, Condé Nast Traveler.

    “This is simply amazing! Being able to keep ourselves remembered among prominent hotels in established destinations shows that the Metropole Hanoi is a trusted choice,” said Mr. William J. Haandrikman, General Manager of the Hanoi icon.

    Spanning six continents and 54 countries, the annual Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2018 recognizes hotels around the world that editors and contributors of the bestselling magazine visit time and time again and daydream about long after checking out.

    “This year’s Gold List is a love letter to those hotels, resorts, and cruises that stay with us long after we have returned home,” wrote Editor-in-Chief of Condé Nast Traveler, Pilar Guzmán. “We are interested in the way a place, in all of its ineffable complexity, beauty, and sometimes darkness, tugs at us and calls us back, much like human relationships do.”

    The 2018 Gold List Awards were announced in the January 2018 issue of Condé Nast Traveler and published on its official website.

    In October, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi emerged from voting of over 300,000 Condé Nast Traveler readers as the 21st best hotel in Asia in its Readers’ Choice Awards (RCA).

    The magazine hailed the hotel for its “spacious and richly appointed” rooms, as a “peaceful refuge”, and for service that goes “above and beyond”.

    The magazine’s Gold Awards are more selective than the RCA. While eight hotels and resorts in Vietnam were recognized in the RCAs, only two hotels in Vietnam found a place on the Gold List.

    VWU urged to promote welfare policy for women

    The Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) should promptly grasp and introduce new policies and laws, especially those related to the welfare of Vietnamese women in order to help them improve their lives.

    The suggestion was made by Head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Mass Mobilisation Truong Thi Mai during the 12th VWU Central Committee’s second session in Hanoi, on January 16.

    Praising the VWU’s positive results at all levels in the last year, Mai, who is also a Politburo member, urged the union to continue improving the quality of its key programmes to truly uphold its role as the representative body for the rights and interests of Vietnamese women.

    Regarding gender equality, Mai stressed that it is a goal that the VWU must strive to maintain. She urged the union’s members to take action in persuading men to participate in addressing gender inequalities and to empower women.

    Under the goal of sustainable development - no one must be left behind, the VWU should continue to develop specific solutions to solve the concerning issue of abuse and violence against women and children, Mai stated, adding that it is necessary to raise public awareness of the protection of women and children.

    At the conference, the delegates discussed several key issues in campaigns implemented by the VWU; as well as promoting the role of pioneering female groups, such as businesswomen and female intellectuals; and the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of women and girls.

    The VWU successfully organised a range of activities to honour and support women in the past year, as well as promptly providing financial assistant worth more than VND640 billion to union members affected by natural disasters.

    NASC announces six resolutions

    General Secretary of the National Assembly (NA) Nguyen Hanh Phuc has signed Document No. 1559 / TTKQH-TT on announcing six resolutions of the 14th National Assembly Standing Committee (NASC).

    The six resolutions are as follows:

    1. Resolution No. 434 / NQ-UBTVQH14 dated October 6, 2017, on the adjustment of the central budget plan for 2017.

    2. Resolution No. 439 / NQ-UBTVQH14 dated October 30, 2017, on the withdrawal of the remaining government bonds from the Deo Ca tunnel project.

    3. Resolution No. 454 / NQ-UBTVQH14 dated November 6, 2017, on the adjustment of the estimates from airport charges to implement the specific financial mechanism of the Ministry of Transport in 2017.

    4. Resolution No. 459 / NQ-UBTVQH14 dated December 12, 2017, on further improving the effectiveness of the implementation of policies and laws for individuals and organisations that are exploiting, cultivating and processing seafood towards marine economic development associated with national defence and security.

    5. Resolution No. 463 / NQ-UBTVQH14 dated December 25, 2017, on approving the appointment of the extraordinary and plenipotentiary Ambassadors of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for the 2017-2020 term.

    6. Resolution No. 466 / NQ-UBTVQH14 dated December 17, 2017, on adjusting the investment plan to support people who have contributed meritorious services to the revolution in the 2016-20 period.

    Vietnamese – German centre of medical research launched in Hanoi

    The Vietnamese – German Centre of Excellence in Medical Research (VGCare), a joint project between the 108 MilitaryCentralHospital (Vietnam) and the University of Tübingen (Germany), was officially put into operation in Hanoi on January 16.

    VG-CARE is located at the Institute of Clinical Infectious Diseases of 108 Military Central Hospital, on
    Tran Hung Dao Street
    .

    The centre will be a reliable address for scientists from both sides to exchange in different fields related to healthcare, including clinical and tropical diseases, molecular biology and cancer.

    It will help Vietnamese researchers to gain access to modern equipment and facilities in order to conduct basic and applied clinical research.

    VGCare receives considerable financial support from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as well as the Institute of Tropical Medicine (University of Tübingen) and the 108 Military Central Hospital.

    Speaking at the ceremony, Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Vietnam's Deputy Defence Minister, emphasised that the centre will create favourable conditions for the 108 Hospital to expand its international cooperation, significantly contributing to improving the quality of training, research and application of medical science and technology.

    At the event, the 108 Hospital presented Honourary Professor titles to three professors from the University of Tübingen for their contributions to the cooperation in training and scientific research between the two sides over the past few years.

    HCMCity asks for detailed zoning plan of Can Gio urban-tourism area

    The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City has asked the Department of Planning and Architecture to instruct Can Gio Tourism Urban Area Joint Stock Company to implement the sea reclamation project in Can Gio District.

    The sea reclamation project covering on an area of 2,870 hectares is located in a low-lying coastal zone in Long Hoa Commune, CanThanhTown.

    The city authorities have required relevant agencies and investors to focus on studying and launching climate change adaptation measures in planning and implementing the project.

    The local government also asked the HCMC Department of Planning and Architecture to support the company to draw up a zoning plan, scale 1/5,000; supplementing the construction of Can gio Bridge and a road connecting Can gio Bridge and Can Gio urban-tourism area to the entire sea reclamation project.

    Percentage of donated blood in HCMC over 91 percent of 2017 plan

    Deputy Chief of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee cum head of blood donation steering board Nguyen Thi Thu yesterday worked with members about the mission of encouraging people to donate blood in 2018.

    Director of Humanitarian Blood Donation center Tran Thi Nhu To said the board encouraged over 200,000 donors to give 251,000 blood units accounting for 91.3 percent of the board’s plan in 2017.

    Of the amount, the board collected 114,000 blood bags with 98.07 percent safe blood proportion.

    Last year, the board organized two campaigns “ Pink festival “ and “ Red Blood Drop” collecting over 100,000 blood units.

    Exhibition recalls outstanding leaders of Communist Party of Vietnam

    An exhibition on outstanding leaders of the Communist Party of Vietnam will open at Hoa Lo Prison historical relic site in Hanoi on January 18.

    Exhibition recalls outstanding leaders of Communist Party of Vietnam

    The event introduces to viewers images and documents of Comminist Party members, including Tran Phu, Nguyen Duc Canh, Le Hong Phong, Ha Huy Tap and Nguyen Van Cu.

    The organizing board will also hold talks between exhibition viewers with war witnesses General Huynh Dac Huong, head of the National Liaison Committee and former Commissar of the High Command of Vietnamese voluntary soldiers and military experts in Laos; former political prisoner in Hoa Lo Nguyen Thi Hong; and former political prisoner in Phu Quoc Lam Van Bang, director of Museum of the Revolution.

    The display will run until February 14.

    Finland presents books to outstanding teachers in HCMC

    The Embassy of Finland in Vietnam on Saturday joined hands with the HCMC government to present the book “Finnish Lessons 2.0: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland?” to exemplary teachers on
    Nguyen Van Binh Book Street
    in the city center.

    As part of a series of activities to mark the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Finland, the book presentation was meant to accelerate growing ties between the two nations and demonstrate Finland’s strong commitment to supporting Vietnam’s educational development.

    The book, written by Finnish educator Pasi Sahlberg, introduces readers how Finland has had the world’s best education system in the past four decades.

    Addressing the ceremony on the book street, Finnish Ambassador to Vietnam Kari Kahiluoto said education is one of the key factors contributing to economic growth of Finland and making the country an ideal destination for thousands of students from around the world.

    He expressed his joy over the growing and fruitful ties between Vietnam and Finland, especially in the field of education.

    The Finnish ambassador told the Daily at the event that the Embassy of Finland in Vietnam last year organized a variety of cultural and entertainment activities in the country to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Finland.

    This year, exchanges of many high-level visits between Vietnam and Finland will be strengthened to mark the remarkable milestone of diplomatic relations between the two nations, he added.

    Int’l culinary festival lures huge crowd

    Huge numbers of domestic and international gourmets late last week converged at Le Van Tam Park at the corner of Vo Thi Sau and Hai Ba Trung streets in District 1, HCMC to gain hands-on experience into the cuisines of different cultures around the globe during the annual international food festival named “Taste of the World”.

    The four-day festival, which wrapped up on Sunday, captured strong public attention and was lauded by the expat community, as the event featured more than 100 food booths showcasing an array of signature dishes from many countries such as Thailand, Denmark, India, Argentina, Italy and Vietnam.

    In addition, foreign visitors had the opportunity to discover a
    Vietnamese street
    food and get a real taste of traditional typical dishes from Vietnam’s three regions of South, Central and the North as a highlight at this year’s culinary event.

    Furthermore, scores of entertainment activities such as don ca tai tu (Southern folk music) performances, a cooking show and a talk show on traditional dishes during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, were also featured at this year’s food festival.

    Addressing the opening ceremony of the festival on the night of January 11, Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, deputy director of the municipal Department of Tourism, said the 12th edition of the festival continues its mission to promote the diversity of Vietnamese culinary culture to international friends, spur cultural exchanges among the participating countries as well as woo more international tourists to boost the city’s tourism growth.

    David Scott, a 28-year-old Australian man, who is residing in HCMC’s District 1, said in an encounter with the Daily that it’s really an amazing experience to try out tasty dishes of different countries, especially street foods and watch the chefs show off their cooking skills.

    “Well, the food festival is more crowded and busier than weekend food bazaars I have ever visited,” he added.

    2017 was a successful year for the city’s tourism sector as the city has welcomed more than 6.38 million international visitors, a pickup of 22.8% year-on-year, and pbtained total tourism revenues of nearly VND116 trillion (US$5.1 billion), surging 12.6% against a year earlier, according to the municipal tourism department.

    HCMC, the country’s most dynamic and vibrant economic center, is pinning high hopes to woo 7.5 million foreign arrivals this year, with total tourism revenue of VND138 trillion.

    French restaurant opens in HCMC

    French restaurant Jardin des Sens, a joint venture between SonKimLand and Pourcel Château Group (PCG), opened in a heritage villa in HCMC’s District 3 late last week.

    The restaurant at 251 Dien Bien Phu Street is designed for only 40 diners in an exclusive setting, with opening hours from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m., serving Mediterranean influenced dishes and focussing on high quality wines from southern France and other regions. In addition, a well-stocked luxury bar with high-grade tea is also available for diners to enjoy before or after the meal, complemented by tapas to be served while waiting.

    The interior decoration is a blend between the classic French Romanticism and a modern elegant style. Celebrated Michelin star chefs of Jardin des Sens will bring to the diners’ culinary feasts of the highest quality, in a very private surrounding, with just the right ambience, and matching furniture and furnishings.

    The opening of the first Jardin des Sens restaurant in the city symbolises a new chapter in the career of the Pourcel twin brothers (Pourcel Château Group) and the strategic move of SonKimLand into the Food & Beverage (F&B) business.

    For the Pourcel brothers, Jardin des Sens restaurant in Vietnam is their latest venture after successfully opening restaurants in Montpellier, Shanghai, Tokyo, Geneva, Paris, Marrakech, and Casablanca. They love the experience and challenge new countries offer. They also want to bring to Vietnamese gourmets the sophisticated and luxurious culinary experience of France, as well as Pourcel Château Group’s new culinary concepts that have been very successful around the world.

    For SonKimLand which has acquired prestige and success in the luxury real estate market with projects such as Gateway Thao Dien, Serenity Sky Villas and The Nassim, entering the F&B Industry is a strategic move that will complement its core business operation, and bring more compelling experience for residents living in its housing, hotel, and high-end office projects.

    Poem readings held in memory of revolutionary writers

    Dozens of writers and critics participate today in a poem reading in memory of the late revolutionary writers Nguyễn Thi and Lê Anh Xuân at the HCM City Union of Literature and Arts Associations. 

    Musician and singer Hoàng Long, critic Ngô Thảo and female poets Trần Mai Hường and Trầm Hương read famous poems written by Thi and Xuân, both of them played a role in revolutionary literature.

    Xuân’s Dáng Đứng Việt Nam (Posture of Việt Nam), a famous poem on Vietnamese liberation soldiers in the anti-American war, was read by his sister, Meritorious Artist Ca Lê Hồng. The work was turned into song by music professor Nguyễn Chí Vũ.

    Talks on both writers were also conducted by their relatives and friends.

    The event was part of the union’s cultural programmes to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mậu Thân Offensive in Spring 1968.

    “We want to highlight the life and revolutionary career of Thi and Xuân, who devoted their life to the Mậu Thân Offensive,” said Trần Văn Tuấn, chairman of the HCM City Writers’Association. 

    Xuân, whose real name is Ca Lê Hiến, was born in BếnTreProvince’s Mỏ Cày District, in 1940.

    He moved to the north with his family in 1954, and later studied history at Hà Nội University.

    He began writing in 1960 and joined the liberation forces to fight in the southern provinces between 1964 and 1968.

    He is well-known for many of his poems and essays that praise soldiers’ fighting spirit and his passion for the country and its people.

    His diary about events experienced during the war was published by the Việt Nam Writers’ Publishing House in 2011.

    The work was found in a writer’s backpack after he was killed in action in a suburban area of Sài Gòn, now HCMCity, on May 24, 1968.

    He received the State’s Prize for Literature and Arts, the highest prize of its kind in the country, in 2001.  

    Thi, whose real name is Nguyễn Hoàng Ca, was born in NamĐịnhProvince in 1928. He joined the revolution when he was 17 years old.

    He wrote many short stories, novels, poems and memoirs, most of which highlighted the Vietnamese people and soldiers in war.

    His popular works, such as Người Mẹ Cầm Súng (The Mother Holds Gun) and Mẹ Vắng Nhà (Home without Mom), honouring the beauty and brave of Vietnamese women in war, have been adapted to film.   

    In 2000, he was awarded the Hồ Chí Minh Prize in Literature and Art.

    Both Thi and Xuân received the titles “Hero of the People’s Armed Forces”.

    VNN


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  • 01/17/18--01:23: Article 3
  • Vietnamese switch to beef


    HÀ NỘI - Việt Nam paid US$410 million for imported beef last year due to increasing demand, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.


     

    On the rise: Imported beef in AEON Mall, Long Biên. Việt Nam paid $410 million for imported beef in 2017. - vns photo Thái Hà


    The ministry’s Livestock Department reported that Việt Nam imported 262,321 live cattle and nearly 42,000 tonnes of meat (mainly beef with bone) worth a total of $410 million, about VNĐ9.5 trillion.

    Meanwhile, the nation imported more than 6,500 tonnes of pork worth a total of about $11.07 million, and more than 81,000 tonnes of poultry, valued at more than $75.7 million.

    The department said imported meat was sold much cheaper than local produce. For example, United States and Australian beef cost from VNĐ100,000-500,000 per kilo. Indian beef ranged from VNĐ90,000-150,000 per kilo, while imported chicken prices ran from VNĐ35,000-60,000 kilo.

    Deputy Director of the department, Tống Xuân Chinh, said Việt Nam had an excess of pork. Production reached 29.1 million tonnes in 2016, causing the pork price crisis of 2017. The nation needs only about 27 million pigs to meet domestic demand, leaving a small volume for export.

    In term of poultry, Việt Nam raised more than 385 million heads in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 6.6 per cent. This amounted to more than one million tonnes of meat and more than 10 billion eggs. Domestic poultry output has met local demand and the gap between imports and exports is not large.

    Chinh said Việt Nam seriously lacked red meat, mainly beef. The demand increased every year. The reasons related to huge changes in food consumption. People nowadays prefer beef to pork and chicken.

    Therefore, in 2017, domestic demand for beef had a year-on-year increase of 4-5 per cent to about 260,000 tonnes.

    However, the local development of cattle grew at only 1.6 per cent and the total output of beef increased only 3.6 per cent. Domestic beef still meets 80 per cent of domestic demand.

    From 2014 to now, Việt Nam has had to spend more than $300 million a  year to import live cattle and beef.

    With the uptrend in beef, Chinh said Việt Nam must have a more suitable strategy to farm cattle.

    In 2017, Việt Nam exported nearly 40,720 tonnes of pork, earning $163.87 million; 22,600 tonnes of fresh milk and dairy products, earning $54.8 million; 37 million salted duck eggs ($5.27 million), 86,600 tonnes of honey ($144.46 million) and more than 278,200 tonnes of animal feed ($106.48 million).

     VNS


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  • 01/17/18--01:37: Article 2
  • Backlash over plan to build resort inside marine reserve in central Vietnam 

    ‘What’s the point of conservation without development?’

    Backlash over plan to build resort inside marine reserve in central Vietnam 

    Tourists take photos at an attraction on Ly Son Island that is covered in volcanic deposits. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    The administration of QuangNgaiProvince in central Vietnam has faced opposition after it agreed in principle to the surveying of a large area within a local marine reserve for the construction of a resort.

    The surveys are to be carried out by Vietnam Infrastructure Investment & Development Joint Stock Company (VIID) on Quang Ngai’s Ly Son Island to complete dossiers for the company’s proposal to invest into a local resort project.

    The planned resort would encompass an area of around 70 hectares within the Ly Son Marine Reserve and the Binh Chau Global Geopark, the latter of which is being filed for recognition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

    According to Nguyen Anh Tuan, deputy director of VIID’s Quang Ngai office, 80 percent of the project would float on the water’s surface, with only one block of villas built on land next to an existing residential area.

    There are currently two construction options, he said, the first being to build the floating structures using light-weight composite materials and securing them in place with anchors.

    The second option is to use concrete columns as a foundation for the floating villas, each requiring between six and eight such columns buried deep in the ocean bed.

    “In both options, the main structure floats on the surface, doing no harm to the geological platform of the area and requiring no land reclamation,” Tuan said.

    “I have nothing to say to those who insist that putting a few concrete columns into the ocean would threaten conservation efforts. What’s the point of conservation without development? Should we all just live on rafts like our ancestors?” he said.

    However, not everyone has bought Tuan’s line of reasoning, with experts weighing in to criticize the resort project’s threat to protected waters.

    According to Dr. Vu The Long, an expert from the Vietnam Institute of Archeology, a development of over 70 hectares would pose an environmental risk to a small island like Ly Son.

    Spanning less than 1,000 hectares off the coast of Quang Ngai, Ly Son is known for hosting one of the most well-protected natural ecosystems among Vietnam’s islands, and has only recently developed its own tourism industry.

    The construction of the resort would be too much of a risk to the underwater coral reefs and volcanic geological layers, Long explained.

    Meanwhile, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vu Cao Minh from Vietnam’s Bureau of Geology claimed that UNESCO would soon recognize the coastal area in Ly Son’s Binh Chau Commune as a global geopark, after which every project in the area would require approval from the Vietnamese prime minister.

    “My advice is to maintain Ly Son until then and refrain from any invasive activity on the island,” Minh said.

    “Tourists come to Ly Son for its natural heritage, not because there are five-star amenities on the island or because it is a shopping paradise,” said Dr. Tran Van Tan, president of the Vietnam Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources.

    “What needs to be done is to conserve the natural environment and ecosystem. That’s what sustainable development really is,” he stressed.

    Tuoi Tre News  


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  • 01/17/18--01:48: Article 1
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 17/1


    3 agricultural shows to be held in HCMC

         

     3 agricultural shows to be held in HCMC, Non-observed economy to be measured in 2018, HCM City industry shows stability, Kien Giang calls for investments for 68 projects, Customs clearance cost lowered

    Agriculture Hub Vietnam, the country’s largest exhibition in the agricultural sector and comprising three separate international exhibitions on livestock breeding, cultivation, and agricultural machinery and equipment, will be held in HCMCity in March.

    The three exhibitions are HortEx Vietnam (the first exhibition and conference on horticultural and floricultural production and processing technology), Agri Machinery & Tech Vietnam Expo (the first international show on agricultural machinery, equipment and technologies), and ILDEX Vietnam (the seventh international exhibition on livestock, dairy, meat processing and aquaculture).

    They are expected to attract around 420 exhibitors from 35 countries and territories, including Viet Nam, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the US, Japan, Canada, South Korea, China, and India.

    Speaking at a press briefing for the event last week, Nguyen Ba Vinh, director of Minh Vi Exhibition and Advertisement Service Co Ltd (VEAS), one of the organisers, said: “Many foreign exhibitors will come for the first time to Viet Nam. And they want to connect with Vietnamese companies.”

    They will showcase the latest services and technologies related to livestock breeding, cultivation and agricultural machinery and equipment. The event will also feature conferences and seminars to provide visitors with up-to-date information about the sectors, he said.

    Co-organised along with partners from Thailand, the Netherlands and China, Agriculture Hub Vietnam will offer domestic businesses a good chance to seek partners for market expansion and acquire state-of-art technologies from leading countries.

    The event, to be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre from March 14 to 16, is expected to attract more than 15,000 trade visitors.

    Three farming shows to be held in HCM City     

    Agriculture Hub Vietnam, the country’s largest farming exhibitor, will feature three international shows on livestock breeding, cultivation, and farm machinery and equipment in HCMCity next month.

    The three shows will be HortEx Vietnam, the first exhibition and conference on horticultural and floricultural production and processing technology; Agri Machinery & Tech Vietnam Expo, the first international show on agricultural machinery, equipment and technologies; and ILDEX Vietnam, the seventh international exhibition on livestock, dairy, meat processing and aquaculture.

    They are expected to attract about 420 exhibitors from 35 countries and territories, including France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the US, Japan, Canada, South Korea, China and India.

    Nguyen Ba Vinh, director of Minh Vi Exhibition and Advertisement Service Co Ltd, one of the organisers, said: “Many foreign exhibitors will come for the first time to Viet Nam. And they want to connect with Vietnamese companies.”

    The event, to be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre from March 14 to 16, is expected to attract more than 15,000 trade visitors. 

    Dong Nai leads in trade surplus

    The southeastern province of Dong Nai achieved a record trade surplus of 2.17 billion USD last year, the highest recorded in the country, according to the provincial People’s Committee.

    The country had a trade surplus of 2.7 billion USD last year equal to 2016.

    Last year Dong Nai’s export value reached 17 billion USD, up 11.8 percent against 2016.

    The retail and service revenue was 150 trillion VND (6.6 billion USD), up 12.3 percent year-on-year.

    The province has more than 3,500 firms involved in import-export activities.

    Duong Minh Dung, director of the province’s Industry and Trade Department, said that export markets were stable and had expanded.

    This increased the province’s index of industrial production (IIP) by 8.6 percent last year, he said.

    The province’s exports to traditional and large markets like the US, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea rose significantly in the first months of 2017, he said, adding that export growth had been maintained as many firms had export orders until early 2018.

    Last year, the province’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) reached a growth rate of 8 percent.

    This year the province targets increasing GRDP growth by 8 percent and export growth by 9-11 percent against last year. 

    The province also aims to increase its IIP by 8-8.5 percent against last year.

    Tran Van Vinh, deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the province’s Department of Industry and Trade this year would boost cooperation among domestic and foreign invested companies to supply products to one another to reduce imports and increase exports.

    Dong Nai has exported hundreds of varieties of products in recent years, including footwear, garments and textiles, fibres and textile threads, wooden products, computers, electronics and spare parts.

    The province’s footwear, which accounts for its largest export revenue, is exported to many countries.

    Large footwear firms in Dong Nai increased production in the last months of 2017 to meet export orders.

    Many footwear firms now have orders until the middle of the year.

    Last year exports of the fibre and textile thread group accounted for 1.4 billion USD, up nearly 24 percent against 2016. The group achieved the highest growth in the province’s five groups of products with annual export revenue of more than 1 billion USD each. 

    Non-observed economy to be measured in 2018

    A statistical project on measuring the non-observed economy, including underground and illegal economies, will be proposed to the Prime Minister for approval this year, said head of the Vietnam General Statistics Office Nguyen Bich Lam.

    Speaking at the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s conference on January 15 to review the ministry’s work in 2017 and implement 2018 tasks, Lam said that the project aims to collect information on economic activities that affect the scale of the economy but are not measured in GDP, in order to achieve more accurate economic indicators.

    According to him, underground economy includes legal economic activities which are hidden intentionally to avoid tax and social insurance payment or avoid implementing State regulations on minimum salary and maximum work hours as well as legal and administrative procedures such as financial and statistical reports.

    Meanwhile, illegal economy comprises of banned activities, including drug production and trading, prostitution, and those which are not banned by law but conducted by illegal producers.

    The non-observed economy also contains informal household economy and those missed by the statistical system, Lam added.

    The head of the statistical sector promised that when the project gets the green light in the first quarter of this year, the sector with work with relevant ministries, sectors and localities to find out a feasible solution to implementing the project.

    He affirmed that in 2018, the sector will ensure statistical information, improve the quality of statistical work, especially analysis and predictions on macro-economic situation, and conduct research on growth scenarios serving management work.

    It will also adjust the GDP scale on the basis of the results of the agro-fishery-forestry survey in 2016 and the 2017 economic census.

    HCMCity industry shows stability

    Ho Chi Minh City’s industrial production was forecast to maintain steady growth in 2018 with the industrial production index (IIP) to rise about 8-8.5 percent against last year, according to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade.

    Nguyen Phuong Dong, deputy director of the department, said that the manufacturing and processing sector was estimated to increase by 8.2 percent in 2018 while the electronic industry will also continue to grow well.

    The department expects the mechanical engineering sector to develop remarkably in future. For example, the market-orientation of Mercedes-Benz is focusing on manufacturing in Vietnam to distribute to the ASEAN market. The market entry of Deahan Motor, Vinh Phat and SAMCO will also help contribute to the development of the city’s automobile industry.

    However, enterprises are facing many difficulties and challenges, especially competitive pressure involved in deepening integration.

    Ly Kim Chi, chairwoman of the HCM City Food and Foodstuff Association, said most enterprises in the association were small and medium-sized and faced many difficulties in capital, product output, production technology. These companies would find it difficult to compete with businesses in the ASEAN region, as they enjoy many incentives related to taxes, interest rates and other tools.

    To accelerate the restructure of the industry, the department’s representative said that in 2018, the city would deploy more solutions to support businesses to develop production, especially supporting industry enterprises.

    Le Nguyen Duy Oanh, deputy director of HCM City Centre of Supporting Industries Development, said this year, the centre would focus on supporting manufacturing enterprises to improve their supply capacity, expand production, approach domestic and foreign partners, step by step joining in the global supply chain. 

    Last year, the city’s IIP increased by 7.9 percent compared to 2016. Of this, the manufacturing and processing sector increased by more than 8 percent, four major industries increased by 13.9 percent, higher than the average rate of the industry sector and exceeding the target of 2017.

    Dong said industrial production was showing stability in both the short and long term. Specifically, the IIP gradually rose in 2017 (up 6.02 percent in the first three months, 7.51 percent at half year, 7.84 percent at three quarters and 7.9 percent for the whole year).

    In addition, he said, IIP had tended to increase gradually over the past five years (6.58 percent in 2013, 6.99 percent in 2014, 7.24 percent in 2015, 7.25 percent in 2016 and 7.9 percent in 2017).

    Last year, the four key industries in the city achieved impressive growth. Notably, the electronic and information technology sector had remarkable growth. The IIP increased 39.11 percent compared to 2016 although there were only 260 enterprises operating in the city.

    From August 2017 until now, the sector increased more than 30 percent due to the application of high level technology, science and technology at projects by the world’s leading economies (such as Samsung) in the field of semi-conductor technology, micro-chip technology and electronic boards. 

    PM urges MPI for growth solutions

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to offer the Government solutions to boost economic development and turn Vietnam into a “new tiger” of Asia.

    The PM, speaking on January 15 at the ministry’s conference to implement 2018 tasks, urged the ministry to closely watch socio-economic developments to raise measures to meet growth targets this year.

    Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said that the socio-economic development in 2017 would create the impetus for the country to enter a new period of growth, one more efficient, sustainable and inclusive.

    “The way towards innovation and development is still long, ahead with difficulties and challenges which require great effort to overcome,” Dung said.

    The ministry was striving to enhance public management and improve the investment climate to promote production and efficiently attract private and direct foreign investment resources, he added.

    In 2018, the ministry would focus on the compilation of laws to submit to the National Assembly, such as the Law on Special Administrative-Economic Units, the amended laws on public investment and enterprise as well as the law on investment under public-private partnership practice, Deputy Minister Nguyen Van Trung said.

    This year, the Vietnamese economy was expected to face a lot of difficulties from the uncertainty in the global economy, the return of protectionism, climate change, international integration and the fourth industrial revolution, Trung said.

    However, opportunities abound, given the Government’s efforts to promote innovation associated with the industry 4.0 and enhance productivity and national competitiveness, he added.

    “The core is maintaining macroecnomic stability and taking advantage of every opportunity to create breakthroughs,” he stressed.

    Trung said that the ministry would focus on studying policies to effectively raise every resource for development investment as well as solutions to hasten economic restructuring in line with renovating the growth model and enhancing growth quality.

    Nguyen Dinh Cung, Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management, said that Vietnam was a developing country and it was pressing to narrow the gap with developed economies in the region and in the world. To achieve this goal, Vietnam must achieve an annual GDP growth rate of at least 8-10 percent.

    Cung also said that the ministry must do more in its role as the economy’s conductor.

    In 2017, Vietnam fulfilled targets set for all 13 socio-economic indicators and achieved a gross domestic product growth rate of 6.81 percent, higher than the target of 6.7 percent. 

    The country also saw a record of 127 new firms in 2017. 

    Viettel Post moves up in business ranking

    By the end of 2017, Viettel Post reached total turnover of 5.1 trillion VND (226 million USD) or 112.3 percent of its yearly target.

    With this achievement, Viettel Post has moved forward 80 positions in the list of 500 biggest enterprises in Vietnam and received the Labour Medal, Second Class.

    The company now has over 1,000 post-offices and 5,000 agencies even in remote areas and islands.

    Customers now can place their orders, find post-offices, pay bills, monitor the movement of their packages through smart phones.

    This is also the first mobile customer support system in Vietnam.

    Viettel Post entered into the logistics industry and launched its customer care service centre in 2017.

    Kien Giang calls for investments for 68 projects

    The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang is calling for 19.58 trillion VND (851.52 million USD) in investment in 68 projects in this year, heard an investment promotion forum held in Rach Gia city on January 15. 

    The projects are in tourism, environment, agro-forestry and fishery raising and processing, industry, industrial park technical infrastructure, housing and urban development. 

    At the event, delegates from Consulates General of India and Italy in Ho Chi Minh City, and domestic and foreign investors were updated information on the locality’s potential and strengths for economic development, as well as its policies on investment attraction, especially in tourism, agriculture development, industry and mining. 

    Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Pham Vu Hong said the local authority has focused on implementing strategic breakthroughs and promoting economic restructuring in connection with renewing growth model.

    Many measures have been taken to improve local competitiveness and investment climate, thus making it easy for enterprises’ production and business, he added. 

    Kien Giang’s priority fields for investment include hi-tech agriculture, agro-aquaculture-forestry sector, food and consumer goods production; mechanical and support industry, textiles and footwear; tourism, and waste treatment. 

    Enterprises’ representatives at the event signed commitments with Kien Giang province to invest in projects in agriculture, industry, environment, and energy with a total investment of 7.95 trillion VND (353.7 million USD). 

    Chairman Hong affirmed that Kien Giang will create best possible conditions for enterprises to implement the projects, thus ensuring the locality’s sustainable development in the future.

    Industrial production motive for industrial growth: minister

    Strong growth in industrial production was the main motive for industrial expansion in 2017, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said at a conference in Hanoi on January 15.

    The index of industrial production grew 9.4 percent in 2017, well above the growth of 7.4 percent in the previous year, driven by steady expansion in manufacturing-processing (14.5 percent), he noted.

    Consumption of the manufacturing-processing sector continued to enjoy a upward trend with an increase of 13.6 percent as of November, 2017, higher than the 8.5-percent rise in 2016, the minister highlighted, saying that the two-digit growth was seen in the consumption of beverage, garment and textiles, production of leather and leather products and production of medicine and pharmaceuticals, which contributed to boosting domestic production.

    He noticed that the inventory index witnessed a year-on-year surge of 8 percent, lower than the 8.3 percent year-on-year increase in 2016. Also, he said that the engineering sector worked to master design and manufacturing of structural steel to increase the local content rate.

    However, the support industry should be paid more attention so that local industrial production can join in the global production and value chain, he underlined.

    Production of the manufacturing-processing sector is forecast to continue to be on track in 2018 thanks to numerous operational investment projects.

    The Ministry is working on the restructuring of state-owned enterprises to better off business efficiency in key industrial segments of the country as part of efforts to realise the sector’s goal of 9 percent growth in 2018.

    The move aims to slash management costs, improve business operation and ensure sustainable economic growth in the coming years, Minister Anh said.

    The Ministry will prioritise networking events to connect and support local firms so that they can participate in supply chain while focus on foreign-invested projects to take advantages of economic integration.

    Under the support industry development programme, the ministry has carried out an array of projects to back automobile industry, electronics industry, garment and textiles and leather shoes.

    Export – a bright spot of economic panorama

    Vietnam’s export-import exceeded 420 billion USD for the first time in 2017, of which export recorded the highest growth of 21.1 percent over the past seven years with 29 commodities joining the one billion USD club.

    Addressing a conference of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) in Hanoi on January 15, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc hailed the sector for its excellent performance in 2017.

    In addition to the record export growth, as one of the top 10 events of the sector in 2017, the MoIT endeavoured to reduce and simplify 675 investment and business conditions, accounting for 55.5 percent of the total.

    Divestment at State-owned enterprises was one of the most notable achievements of the ministry last year with the successful auction of the shares of the Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp (Sabeco), collecting nearly 110 trillion VND for the State, he said.

    This demonstrated the confidence of investors in the local market, the Government and macro economy, he noted.

    PM Phuc hailed the efforts of State groups and companies under the management of the ministry, particularly Sabeco, and recognised significant and positive changes in the industrial growth model based on processing and manufacturing industries, and reduced imports.

    The MoIT worked to ensure goods supply-demand and create nearly 2.7 billion USD in trade surplus.

    The PM praised the ministry for pioneering in simplification and reduction of administrative procedures, contributing to increasing national competitiveness. It seriously implemented the Party and Government’s directions on restructuring the apparatus and actively handling loss-making projects.

    He also pointed to shortcomings in the field and asked the ministry to quickly address them in 2018, including some policies hindering development, weak supply-demand forecast, and loose connectivity between production and market to reduce risks. Exports remain in the foreign direct investment (FDI) sector, while the country still depends on imported materials.

    There are some restrictions in domestic market management and prevention of trade frauds. The reform of State firms is still at the snail speed and ineffective, he noted.

    The PM urged the MoIT to push ahead with processing and manufacturing industries in service of agriculture.

    The sector should prioritise investment attraction in hi-tech, competitive and environmentally friendly projects in 2018 and the following years as well as promote production towards exports, secure the domestic market, and seek goods distribution channels to increase added value in processing industry in Vietnam, he recommended.

    He underlined specific targets set by the Government for the MoIT in 2018 such as industry and construction striving to make up 7.7 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and export turnover to expand by 8-10 percent against 2017.

    Localities must closely direct trade development and market management in their areas, PM Phuc said.

    He hailed the ministry’s initiative of organising dialogues with businesses to promote exports in 2018.

    Phu Yen to host business promotion conference

    The central coastal province of Phu Yen will hold a conference to promote investment in the locality for 2018 on January 19.

    At a press conference held on January 15, which released the information, representatives of local authorities said more than 500 delegates, including those from 260 domestic and international enterprises, are expected to attend the conference.

    Phan Dinh Phung, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, noted the event aims at introducing investors to preferential policies designated for them and a list of projects on agriculture, processing industry, mining, renewable energy, and tourism.  

    Le Tan Ho, Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, said Phu Yen houses five concentrated industrial parks covering a total area of 498 hectares. 

    The province is investing in infrastructure at the Nam Phu Yen economic zone and building a hi-tech agricultural park.

    The upcoming conference is expected to see the granting of licences to investments totaling nearly 12.4 trillion VND (558 million USD).

    State Auditor asked to improve organisation for better performance

    National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan has asked the State Audit to finalise a plan to better its organizational apparatus by 2020 with a vision to 2030, while improving the quality and capacity of its staff to increase the agency’s performance. 

    Addressing a conference to launch the 2018 task of the State Audit in Hanoi on January 15, the top legislator urged the agency to review the Law on State Audit and submit a comprehensive assessment of the law to the NA for revision.

    The State Audit should also focus on strengthening the application of technology in line with administrative reform, while fostering international cooperation to host the 14th Assembly of the Asian Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions in 2018, she said.

    Stressing that the country is entering a new development period, the NA leader expressed her belief that the State Audit will overcome all difficulties to successfully fulfilling all assigned tasks.

    General State Auditor Ho Duc Phoc affirmed that the State Audit will continue exerting efforts to complete its target for 2018.

    According to its 2017 report, the State Audit completed all 257 audits, approved 273 audit reports and issued 193 other reports.

    As of January 4, 2018, the organization discovered financial violations of 43.66 trillion VND. It voided 96 legal documents to avoid losses and wastefulness, while discovering a redundancy of 57,175 public servants and employees.

    The State Audit also evaluated the value of six enterprises before their equitisation, and exploring additional 504.5 billion VND needed to be paid to the State budget.

    On the occasion, NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan presented the Independence Order, third class, to former Auditor General Nguyen Huu Van, and the Labour Order, second class, to Auditor General Ho Duc Phoc. A number of individuals and collectives were also honoured.

    Vietnam Airlines debuts premium economy seats for Japanese routes

    The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has introduced its premium economy class for routes connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Tokyo of Japan.

    Premium economy seats have been installed on Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350-900 planes, offering more convenient space and associated services compared to the economy ones.

    The class comes with separate counters for boarding procedures, with its passengers prioritised during custom clearance process and having baggage allowances equaling to those on the business class.

    Vietnam Airlines and its subsidiaries, Jetstar Pacific and Vasco, operated approximately 180,000 flights in 2017, carrying 26.5 million passengers and 343,000 tonnes of cargo, up 6.7 percent and 19 percent, respectively, from 2016. 

    The company made up roughly 60 percent of the domestic market share and about 32.3 percent of the market share of international passengers flying to and from Vietnam.

    Amway Home products get Safer Choice certification

    Amway Home is one among the first home care brands in Vietnam to get the Safer Choice label of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its products L.O.C multipurpose cleaner, SA8 concentrated laundry detergent and Dish Drops dishwashing liquid, according to Amway Vietnam.

    To earn the Safer Choice label, which enables consumers to easily identify safe products on the market, products of Amway Home underwent 80 strict tests of the EPA. Amway’s BIOQUESTTM formula has been thoroughly tested by EPA experts to ensure all ingredients are safe for human use and the environment.

    In addition, to become a Safer Choice partner of the EPA, Amway has to prove efficiency of its products with the liquid concentrate formula, which saves costs, minimizes water and power use, and reduce wastes.

    At a recent conference in HCMC, Jim S. Pell, Amway’s specialist in product development and technology transfer, said that safety to women’s skin is always a crucial requirement of home cleaning products.

    Jim S. Pell told participants at the conference in mid-December that Amway has carried out experiments on skin with hundreds of women from different races and obtained positive results. Products of Amway Home have safe pH levels and are safe to sensitive skin.

    In recent years, products of natural origins and safe for human use are getting more popular.  According to experts, green products are becoming a new consumption trend, though such products are priced higher than products with industrial chemicals.

    A 2016 report on health and sensitivity to ingredients of Nielsen Vietnam showed that as many as 80% of Vietnamese consumers are willing to pay higher prices for safe and environmentally friendly products.

    The EPA’s Safer Choice certification encourages enterprises to turn out products with safe ingredients.

    Among the five broad categories of the Safer Choice program, Amway was acknowledged in the category of formulators/product manufacturers. Amway has now had 43 home care products qualified for the Safer Choice label.

    Products that meet safety requirements of the EPA are certified and get the Safer Choice label on their packaging. Consumers hence just need a few seconds to find Safer Choice products.

    Thaco has no immediate plan to assemble BMW cars in Vietnam

    Truong Hai Auto Corporation (Thaco), the authorized importer of BMW, MINI and BMW Motorrad cars in Vietnam, will focus on developing the distribution, maintenance and after-sale services systems while leaving open the possibility of assembling these models in Vietnam, heard a press conference in HCMC on January 12 on BMW-Thaco cooperation.

    In September 2017, BMW Group Asia announced the signing of a letter of intent between it and Thaco in which the Vietnamese auto firm was picked as the new importer and distributor of BMW and MINI cars in Vietnam, starting from January 1, 2018.

    There is a possibility that BMW cars would be assembled in Vietnam because in a visit to Germany by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in July 2017, a representative of BMW said the company is weighing a plan to build an auto plant in the country.

    However, Tran Ba Duong, chairman of Thaco, said at the press conference that in the early stage, Thaco and BMW will only focus on developing their showrooms, maintenance and after-sales services, and human resources.

    Thaco has plans to open 15 BMW showrooms, which will also offer maintenance services, in the country this year. This is considered a huge step in accelerating the distribution of BWM cars in Vietnam as there had been only five BMW showrooms in the country as of late 2017.

    The showrooms will be put into service this year and early next year in Hanoi, HCMC, Danang, Haiphong, Nha Trang, Can Tho and other localities. Thaco will also take over the current BMW showrooms, including BMW Phu My Hung in HCMC, BMW Long Bien in Hanoi, and MINI and BMW Motorrad showroom in HCMC’s Phu Nhuan District.

    Thaco will maintain high quality maintenance and after-sale services for all existing BMW, MINI and BMW Motorrad car owners in Vietnam, and be responsible for car recalls, if any.

    Thaco has signed labor contracts with 172 employees of Euro Automobiles Corp, the previous BMW distributor in Vietnam, who want to continue working for BMW and Thaco.

    Speaking at the press conference, Paul de Courtois, managing director of BMW Group Asia, said BMW considers Vietnam one of the key markets.

    According to de Courtois, many dealers showed interest in partnering with BMW. However, Thaco has an edge over others as the 100% locally-owned firm has many years of experience in the domestic market.

    Customs clearance cost lowered

    The export and import customs clearance cost has decreased by US$19 per shipment thanks to the national one-door mechanism, according to the National Steering Committee for the ASEAN Single Window.

    Therefore, enterprises in the country can save an estimated US$205 million for around 10.8 million customs declarations, 15 million hours for storage of export goods, and 33 million hours for storage of import cargo.

    Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said at a 2017 review meeting of the committee in Hanoi City that the result represented a mere 20% of the full-year target, so it could not be seen as a major reform achievement.

    Deputy Minister of Finance Nguyen Thi Mai said eight out of 22 total procedures have been established through the Vietnam National Single Window. Other procedures may follow after the first quarter of this year.

    The number of items subject to specialized inspections account for a high proportion among import and export shipments. However, the inspection performance is still low, and a lot of legal documents should be amended. Besides, inspections frequently overlap among ministries and agencies.

    Nguyen Van Can, head of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, said half of 100 specialized inspection items are not yet standardized, and that the proportion of inspections in which violations are detected is a slight 0.14%.

    He added the specialized inspections that had made life more difficult for businesses are mainly from the Ministries of Industry-Trade, Heath, and Agriculture-Rural Development.

    A representative of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) said a survey found that 25% of respondents said it was difficult to comply with specialized inspection procedures while only 8% said it was easy to comply.

    Deputy PM Hue proposed the VCCI finish its report as soon as possible so that the Government could take a look at it.

    Creating favorable conditions for enterprises and fighting trade fraud should be done at the same time, Hue said. However, ministries and agencies must not take advantage of trade fraud prevention and domestic production protection to hold on to their powers and thus impede business activity, he added.

    He told ministries and agencies to carry out all the 130 new procedures this year as registered in the master plan for implementing the Vietnam National Single Window and the ASEAN Single Window for the 2016-2020 period.

    They should reduce the proportion of goods shipments subject to specialized inspections in the customs clearance process from the current 30-35% to 15% in a bid to facilitate business activity, he said.

    He urged the elimination of overlapping regulations in specialized inspections and management activities, and the issuance of a list of commodities subject to specialized inspections.

    Experts advise no VAT increase for now

    Despite the Ministry of Finance’s resheduling of a road map to increase value added tax (VAT), experts have called for the VAT hike to be shelved, according to a Thanh Nien newspaper report.

    According to the ministry’s latest draft, VAT is raised from 10% to 11% as from 2019 and 12% as from 2020, compared to the previously planned rises of 12-14% from 10%. 

    Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the HCMC Real Estate Association, said the current VAT of 10% should be maintained until 2020 as inflation has stayed at below 4% in recent years and is expected to be low this year.

    As inflation has been put under control, a higher tax may prompt a return to high inflation. Consumers are those directly affected by the VAT hike as they will have to pay more for commodities and services.

    Tax expert Nguyen Thai Son also urged a second thought on the tax rise. According to Son, Vietnam’s 10% VAT is already higher than that of Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, whereas these countries have higher per capita income. Vietnam, instead of revising up VAT, should find ways to increase revenue from e-commerce and fight transfer pricing. 

    In the recent draft of the ministry, the personal income tax on capital transfers by foreigners is 2% regardless of transfer locations, and the rate on transfer of listed shares is 0.1%. Capital transfers currently are charged 20% of profit, and foreigners are subject to a 0.1% rate of the amount they receive.

    It is not easy to control costs relating to capital transfers by individuals, according to the ministry. Therefore, the ministry has proposed a tax rate of 2% on foreigners’ capital transfer in the new draft instead of 1% as in the previous draft. 

    Thanh Nien newspaper quoted Nguyen Hoang Hai, vice chairman of the Vietnam Association of Financial Investors, as saying that the rate differential of unlisted securities and listed shares is too big.

    A 1% rate on capital transfer would be appropriate as Vietnamese companies are in need of capital, especially startups, whereas a high rate would restrict venture capital flows into such businesses. In addition, investing in unlisted companies, investors already take high risks due to unclear data of those companies in comparison to listed ones.

    Besides, there is no mention of VAT on land transfers in the recent draft. Chau said that the removal of VAT on land transfers is reasonable, or else there would be an overlap with the land use fee.

    Japanese firms sound out business prospects in Vietnam

    The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) has organized a networking event for Vietnamese and Japanese businesses in HanoiCity in order to facilitate their cooperation, the Vietnam News Agency reports.

    The event was part of a JETRO project for nurturing new industries in Japan and ASEAN countries, including Vietnam, to promote cooperation in some fields such as information technology, digitalization, and Internet of Things.

    More than 100 representatives of Vietnamese and Japanese enterprises took part in the event in HanoiCity last Friday.

    Hironobu Kitagawa, chief representative of JETRO in Hanoi, said Vietnam is the fifth country after Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia where the organization has held networking events as part of the project.

    The event is aimed at creating an opportunity for companies of the two countries to cooperate with each other, he said.

    Japanese startups develop various business ideas, and have the ability to assess market demand in Japan and other nations while Vietnamese counterparts have technical skills and creativity. Therefore, they will have good chances of becoming partners, he added.

    Le Thai Phong, a lecturer specializing in business administration at the ForeignTradeUniversity, said various organizations from ministries, State agencies, universities, and embassies offer their support for startups. However, a representative agency for the Vietnamese startup ecosystem has yet to exist.

    Other participants also voiced their concerns over some disadvantages to the local startup ecosystem compared with its equivalents in other countries.

    For example, they said, local startups spend at least US$50 and seven days registering to obtain business licenses. Meanwhile, those in other countries take around 30 minutes and pay no charge.

    Besides, State and private companies in the same business environment receive different treatments for administrative procedures.

    Phong stressed the Government has offered policy incentives for startups, but local authorities have still made life difficult for these companies.

    PM sets tasks for planning, investment sector in 2018

    PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the nation’s socio-economic achievements are attributed to contributions of the planning and investment sector which plays the role as the chief provider of consultancy on socio-economic development and head of the Government’s macro-economic group. 

    The PM made that statement on January 15 at a meeting of the Ministry of Planning and Investment to review works in 2017 and launch tasks for 2018. 

    He highlighted the ministry’s elimination of 1,930 business conditions, asking the ministry to renew and reform their assigned tasks as well as overcome shortcomings and obstacles in 2018.     

    He requested the ministry to urgently complete law projects and closely follow the implementation of Resolution No.01 on major tasks and solutions guiding the implementation of the 2018 socioeconomic development plan and state budget estimates. 

    The ministry needs to join hands with the Ministry of Finance and other relevant agencies to mobilize investment resources for key infrastructure projects such as the construction of North-South Highways and LongThanhAirport, he said. 

    Referring to administrative reforms, improvement of the investment and business environment and enhancement of competitiveness, the PM expected that a total number of 150,000 enterprises will be set up this year. 

    Reorganization of the sector, reduction of workforce, maintaining disciplines, anti-waste and anti-corruption are key tasks of the ministry, he stressed. 

    In the process of establishment of development policies, the sector must put the benefits of the nation and people on the top for further sustainable development, the Government chief said. 

    VNN


    0 0
  • 01/17/18--02:10: Article 0
  • ‘Golden real-estate land’ running out in HCMCity



    As the land fund in HCMC has declined, fewer investors are interested in developing infrastructure projects under the BT (build-transfer) mode.


    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, BT project, infrastructure, HCMC 

    Investors are no longer interested in BT projects 

    Many important infrastructure projects with huge capital have been implemented in HCMC thanks to the ‘exchange of land for infrastructure’ initiative.

    Nguyen Van Linh Boulevard
    and
    Pham Van Dong Road
    are two large works in HCMC implemented under the BT mode.

    According to the HCMC Planning & Investment Department, 130 more projects with total investment capital of VND395 trillion will be implemented under the BT mode, accounting for 73 percent of total PPP (public/private partnership) projects.

    The avenue along SaiGonRiver is one of the most noticeable ‘exchange of land for infrastructure’ projects. Tuan Chau Group, the investor, wants a land area of 12,000 hectares, or 5 percent of the total land fund of HCMC, in exchange for project implementation.

    According to the HCMC Planning & Investment Department, 130 more projects with total investment capital of VND395 trillion will be implemented under the BT mode, accounting for 73 percent of total PPP (public/private partnership) projects.

    Sources said the land plots Tuan Chau wants are mostly situated in Cu Chi district and others are located along Provincial Route No 7, in Binh Thanh, 12 and Hoc Mon districts.

    Another large project is the anti-flood work implemented by Trung Nam Group, capitalized at VND10 trillion. At least 50 percent of the construction workload has been fulfilled and the project is expected to be completed by 2018.

    Asked about the land area the city had promised, a representative of Trung Nam said the group had eyed several land plots, but the land assignment has yet to be done.

    In 2015, Trung Nam proposed to assign two land plots in district 7 (5 hectares in total), including a 1.8 hectare land plot in the new urban area in the south of the city, and a 3.3 hectare land on Dao Tri street along Sai Gon River.

    However, as the land plots had legal problems, the investor then eyed three other land plots. According to the city’s planning & investment department, the value of the total land plots has yet to reach 15 percent of the project’s total estimates.

    As the investor which built the Tham Luong waste water treatment plant in district 12 under the BT mode,  Phu Dien Investment, Construction & Trade JSC now does not want to continue applying the BT mode when building a sewer system, a component project of the waste treatment plant project.

    The company has suggested another investment mode, under which it will build the sewer system with its own money and take back the investment capital by collecting fees for waste water treatment, VND1,500 per cubic meter, for 15-20 years.

    A real estate expert said investors are no longer interested in the BT mode because the land plots in advantageous positions are running out.
     

    Thanh Lich, VNN


    0 0
  • 01/18/18--01:24: Article 4
  • Social News 18/1


    Adulterated petrol incident at Quang Tri filling station

    A large amount of petrol was found to be adulterated with water at a petrol station in the central province of Quang Tri, affecting a range of vehicles.

    On January 16, after filling up petrol from a filling station in Cam Hieu Commune, Cam Lo District, many vehicles experienced stalled engines. 

    Doan Quoc Tuan who bought around one litre of petrol there said that his motorbike stopped after running around 700 metres from the station. He did not know what happened to his vehicle so he brought it to a mechanic.

    At that time, she also saw around 10 motorbikes which faced the same problem like his vehicle after using fuel from the petrol station. The mechanics said that the cause was water mixed with the fuel.

    Some people came back the station to demand the refund and the staff agreed. The petrol station representative also promised to compensate the drivers for their vehicles’ problems.

    According to local authorities’ inspection, around 150 litres of water have been added to the petrol at the station.

    Quang Tri Petroleum Company removed all the fuel in the tank and claimed to have found a hole at the tank bottom, which was said to be the reason for the water mixing with the petrol.

    Exhibition on cultural heritage of ASEAN Community opens in Kon Tum


     

    Adulterated petrol incident at Quang Tri filling station, Exhibition on cultural heritage of ASEAN Community opens in Kon Tum, Old book fair to open in Hanoi, Tour Guide Association, Hanoi branch launched to promote tourism
    Visitors at the exhibition


    An exhibition on cultural heritage of the ASEAN Community opened in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum on January 17.

    The exhibition, which will run until January 21, is part of activities to commemorate the 2018 Lunar New Year, as well as the 88th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the 105th founding year of Kon Tum province.

    On showcase are 334 works and 39 items which reflect daily lives, landscapes and culture of the 10 ASEAN nations. Among the exhibits are 10 photos that won the 2017 ASEAN Photo contest.

    The event aims to connect distinctive cultural values of the ASEAN Community and Kon Tum in particular. It is hoped to strengthen the solidarity and friendship of members in the ASEAN Community.

    Vietnam, Australia launch 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties

    A ceremony was held at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi on January 17 to launch celebrations of 45 years of Vietnam-Australia diplomatic relations.

    Addressing the event, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Crag Chittick said Vietnam is one of the most important partners of his country in the Indo-Pacific region. The two countries have built strong cooperative ties over the last 45 years and the relations are developing in various fields, including politics, economy, security, and innovation.

    In November 2017, Prime Ministers Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Malcolm Turnbull agreed to lift bilateral ties to a strategic partnership which will help the countries strengthen cooperation across defence, trade, investment, development cooperation, education, labour, tourism, law, finance, information, and communications.

    Chittick stressed that the Australia-Vietnam strategic partnership will open up a new chapter in their relations and pave the way for more extensive cooperation.

    At the ceremony, the official logo of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties made debut. It is the combination of Australia’s Sydney Opera House and the five-pointed star on Vietnam’s national flag.

    The logo, designed by amateur designer Nguyen Viet Hung, is also the winner of a logo design contest organised by the Australian Embassy and the University of Industrial Fine Art in Hanoi.

    Ambassador Chittick also presented nine information boards introducing the Temple of Literature to this relic site.

    Deputy Director of Hanoi’s Department of Culture and Sports Truong Minh Tien said the boards, made in Australia, illustrates the Australian Government’s respect for Vietnam and the capital city of Hanoi.

    Programme to bring Tet to disadvantaged children

    The 11th “Spring for children” programme will be held at the Hanoi Opera House on January 21 and broadcast live on VTV2 of the Vietnam Television.

    Jointly organised by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) and the National Fund for Vietnamese Children (NFVC), the programme aims to present gifts to underprivileged children on the occasion of the traditional Lunar New Year (Tet holiday).

    Speaking at a press conference in Hanoi on January 16, Director of the NFVC Hoang Van Tien said the MoLISA will grant certificates of merit to nine units and individuals with notable achievements in child care and protection in 2017.

    The NFVC will also honour children who overcame difficulties to reap outstanding academic outcomes.

    The programme will highlight activities to build boarding schools for children in the mountainous area of Ngan Son district in the northern BacKan province.

    It is expected to receive funding worth about 70-80 billion VND (over 3 million USD) from 50 units.

    In 2017, the NFVC spent over 79 billion VND (3.5 million USD) supporting 106,400 children via health care, nutrition, and education programmes.

    In 2018, the fund aims to mobilise about 10.5 billion VND (463,000 USD) to support nearly 120,000 children.

    Since it was held in 2008, the “Spring for children” programme has raised hundreds of billions of VND to assist poor children nationwide.

    More UK businesses expected to invest in Vietnam

    Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung called on businesses from the UK to make investment in Vietnam during a reception for Lord James Mayer Sassoon, Executive Director of Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited, in Hanoi on January 17.

    He emphasised the positive development of the Vietnam-UK strategic partnership over the past time, especially in the fields of trade, investment and tourism.

    The UK is the second biggest European investor in Vietnam, after the Netherlands, with 267 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth 3.75 billion USD and the third largest trade partner of Vietnam in Europe, after Germany and the Netherlands. Two-way trade grew rapidly to reach 5.7 billion USD in 2017, he noted.

    The Deputy PM welcomed Jardine Matheson, one of the leading groups in the UK, to make early investment in Vietnam with significant outcomes.

    The operation of UK businesses, including Jardine Matheson, has helped deepen the cooperative relations between the two countries, he said.

    He hoped the UK and Vietnamese enterprises will forge connectivity to promote the two nations’ strategic partnership in a more active and practical manner for mutual benefits.

    The Government of Vietnam is implementing policies to stabilise the macro economy, curb inflation, speed up growth, and develop the private sector, as well as refine institution, build a healthy business environment for investors, and accelerate the modernisation and industrialisation, which create brilliant cooperation and investment opportunities for foreign investors, including those from the UK, he noted.

    James Mayer Sassoon expressed his impression on Vietnam’s socio-economic development achievements and highly valued the country’s policies to improve the investment environment and the Government’s commitments to facilitating business production in the long run.

    Helmets for Families programme raises awareness about helmet use

    The Helmets for Families programme will donate more than 4,000 helmets to schools in HCMCity’s outlying districts of Củ Chi and Hóc Môn during the 2017-18 school year.

    The programme is expanding its road-safety education efforts to include engagement with health professionals for teachers, parents, and students.

    The programme aims to raise awareness about helmet use and road safety to encourage behavior change among students, parents and the community.

    In addition, parents can exchange their low-quality helmets for high-quality standard helmets for 69 per cent of the original price through a subsidised exchange programme.

    The programme is organised by the National Traffic Safety Committee, Ministry of Education and Training, Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation and the global healthcare company Abbott. 

    At TânThạnhĐôngPrimary School in the Củ Chi District, a doctor from ChợRẫyHospital onTuesday spoke to students and teachers about the harm caused by wearing substandard helmets.

    This year, Helmets for Families is incorporating a new component and will engage school staff, parents and students on a deeper level.

    Health professionals will give talks at schools about road-safety messages based on their experience working with traffic accident victims.

    Cần Thơ City welcomes 7.5m tourists

    The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta city of Cần Thơ enjoyed strong growth in tourism last year due to a series of international political and cultural events and traditional festivals, according to its Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

    The number of tourist arrivals surged 40 per cent to 7.5 million, while tourism revenues rose 61 per cent to VNĐ2.9 trillion (US$127.6 million).

    The political, cultural and tourism events the city hosted included the APEC Food Security Week, Việt Nam-Japan Culture and Trade Exchange, and the Southern Traditional Cake Festival.

    The tourism sector is focusing on developing river-based tourism, especially upscale products such as three- to five-star cruise ships, Lê Minh Sơn, deputy director of the department, said.

    It is encouraging investors to develop inter-provincial and international river-based tours, he said.

    The tours are designed to take in historical and cultural relics, traditional craft villages, and ecological and spiritual destinations.

    Last year the neighbouring province of An Giang attracted 7.3 million visitors, up 12 per cent, earning revenues of VNĐ3.7 trillion ($162.8 million).

    The province is the centre of spiritual tourism in the south, with people flocking especially to Bà Chúa Xứ Temple in ChâuĐốcTown.

    KiênGiangProvince, with its beautiful landscapes, islands such as Phú Quốc, archipelagoes such as Nam Du and Bà Lụa and the U Minh Thượng National Park, attracted more than six million visitors last year.

    The province’s tourism revenues were worth more than VNĐ4.58 trillion ($201.52 million), the highest in the delta.

    Old book fair to open in capital

    An exhibition of old books will be organised during a fair in Văn Lake at the Temple of Literature complex in downtown Hà Nội between January 18 and 21.

    Titled Hà Nội–January, the fair will exhibit books and photographs of the Việt Nam Communist Party and working class to celebrate the 88th anniversary of the Party (February 3, 1930 - February 3, 2018).

    Interested readers can access valuable materials such as 70 Năm Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam (1930-2000) (70th Anniversary of Việt Nam Communist Party, 1930-2000); Một Số Vấn Đề về Lịch Sử Giai Cấp Công Nhân Việt Nam (Some Issues on the History of Vietnamese Working Class); and Những Sự Kiện Lịch Sử Đảng (Historic Events of the Party).

    At the fair, many books will be on sale at a uniform price of VNĐ1,000 (4 US cent) each, while many newly published titles in various genres, including literature, history, science, military, comics and living skills, will be available at a discount 60 per cent.

    The fair will bring together book stores specialising in old books in the city such as Triệu Hải Bookstore, Phúc Cương Old Books, Thái Hà Bookstore, Bạch Mai Old Books, Old Books at Cheap Price and Duy Minh Old Books.

    According to an organiser of the fair, the aim is to create a common ground for fans of old books, who want to refresh old memories through books, as well as connect book lovers in Hà Nội.

    Thanh Hóa signs contract with goalie Ngọc

    V.League 1 club FLC Thanh Hóa have signed a three-year contract with goalkeeper Trần Bửu Ngọc from Cần Thơ to prepare for this year’s football season.

    Ngọc is the seventh domestic rookie of the league’s runner-up Thanh Hóa so far.

    The transfer fee and salary of Ngọc were not disclosed.

    Ngọc, who is 1.93m tall, played for the U23 and national teams. The Đồng ThápProvince native had excelled during his international debut for Việt Nam in a match against Hong Kong in 2013.

    Earlier, the club inked a contract with coach Marian Mihail from Romania, who is a former national player and has played professionally for 17 years as a right winger and full-back, as well as six other domestic players, including Phạm Văn Nam of NamĐịnh and Vũ Minh Tuấn of Quảng Ninh.

    The team also said goodbye to foreign striker Uche Iheruome and five Vietnamese footballers, including Lương Bá Sơn, Lê Bật Hiếu and Lưu Văn Hương.

    At present, Thanh Hóa are also testing several foreign players to stabilise their force to compete in three events this year: the National Premier League, National Cup and AFC Champions League.

    Tour Guide Association, Hanoi branch launched to promote tourism

    The Tour Guide Association, Hanoi branch, was set up on January 16 with a view to improving professional skills of tour guides in the capital city.

    Currently, more than 20,000 tour guides are serving international and domestic tours. Over 6,000 tour guides from Hanoi are licensed. Under the 2017 Tourism Law, the Vietnam Association of Tour Guides was established to protect tour guides’ rights and reputations.

    Mr Nguyen Hong Dai, general director of Asia-Pacific International Travel Co., Ltd was elected the interim chairman of the branch.

    On the occasion, the first 13 tour guides in Hanoi were granted member cards. Twenty travel companies including Hanoitourist, Vietrantour, TransViet and Hanoi Red Tours have signed agreements with Hanoi Branch on the use of its members.

    Government Inspectorate detects violations in Vinacomin

    The Government Inspectorate has issued Notice No.84/TB-TTCP on the inspection of law compliance during business operations in the Vietnam National Coal – Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) and its affiliates during 2010 – June 30, 2015. 

    The inspection found that the Members’ Council and the General Director of Vinacomin in the period violated financial and investment regulations, leading to huge losses. 

    They also failed to abide by regulations on production and trade, resulting in higher production costs and reduced the group’s profits and its contribution to the State budget. 

    Violations were also found in construction, use of land and natural resources, procurement, asset management, equitisation and divestment. 

    The Government Inspectorate requested that the Ministry of Public Security instructs the investigative agency to deal with the case and investigate legal violations in Vinacomin and its affiliates, including Huu Nghi Cement JSC in the northern province of Phu Tho, Ha Giang Cement JSC and Binh Nguyen – Dak Nong JSC.

    The Government Inspectorate said the violations involved over 14.882 trillion VND (661.42 million USD) and nearly 6.7 million sq.m of housing and land, proposing the reclamation of more than 1.8 trillion VND for the State budget and all the housing and land. 

    The notice informed that Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh had basically agreed with the Government Inspectorate’s proposals and asked ministries, agencies and localities to take relevant action. 

    The ministries of Natural Resources and Environment, Public Security, Industry and Trade, Justice, Construction and the Government Office were assigned to work closely with the Government Inspectorate to deal with the case.

    More firms register investment in renewable energy in Bac Lieu

    A number of businesses in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu have registered investment in renewable energy with a total capital of over 100 trillion VND (4.4 billion USD). 

    It was unveiled during a conference on January 17 to provide information about the Bac Lieu Investment Promotion Conference 2018 scheduled for January 29-30. 

    Speaking at the conference, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Duong Thanh Trung said it will be the first large-scale investment promotion event after 20 years of the province’s re-establishment. 

    A series of activities during the event aim to attract investment resources from different economic sectors and popularise the image of Bac Lieu to businesses at home and abroad, he said, adding that feedback at the event will help Bac Lieu seek proper solutions to socio-economic development. 

    Around 500 delegates at home and abroad are expected to attend the event during which construction on the third stage of 142MW Bac Lieu wind power plant, high-tech shrimp farming complex, and the largest symbol of Vietnamese shrimp will begin. 

    Bac Lieu has a coastline of 56km with expansive alluvial ground. Wind power averages nearly 7m per second and sun hour exceeds 2,900 hours per year, which is advantageous to renewable energy development.

    Binh Duong eyes completion of new-style rural area building in 2018

    The southern province of Binh Duong strives to complete the national target programme for new-style rural area building with all communes winning the status in 2018.

    The goal was announced on January 17 by Nguyen Tan Binh, Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Binh Duong, at a conference to review the implementation of the programme in 2017 and launch tasks for 2018.

    By the end of 2017, 94 percent of total communes of Binh Duong had been recognised as new-style rural areas.

    Binh said that the province has associated the new rural building programme with its major programmes and projects, thus promoting the potential and strength of rural areas. The policy has helped improve transport, health care, education infrastructure of rural communes, while creating jobs and speeding up the urbanisation process. Per capita income in new-style rural communes rose to 45 million VND in 2017, he added.

    Last year, Binh Duong mobilised over 3.03 trillion VND (133.32 million USD) for the programme, including 742 billion VND, or 24.5 percent, from local people.

    The programme has brought about positive changes to rural communes, with major infrastructure works upgraded.

    So far, 90 percent of rural roads in Binh Duong have been concreted. The local irrigation system has ensured water for all crop area. All locals have accessed power, while 98 percent of them have enjoyed clean water, and 98 percent of the new-style rural communes have had the health care system meeting national standards.

    Olympic Run Day raises awareness of physical exercise

    The Olympic Run Day for Public Health 2017 will take place in localities across the country on March 25, announced the Vietnam Sports Administration under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

    The event is part of activities to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the Vietnam Sport Day as well as the 87th year of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union.

    It aims to raise public awareness of the importance of physical exercise and encourage people to do exercise regularly for improving their health.

    The organising board is working hard on communication campaigns towards completing the goal of having 85 percent of communes, wards and towns nationwide joining the event.

    Sports and art performance activities will be also arranged in the framework of the programme. 

    The last year event drew the participation of about 7.2 million people in all 63 cities and provinces across the country.

    Public participation in state budget management promoted

    Representatives from Hoa Binh and Quang Tri provinces shared experience in implementing the project on enhancing transparency and public participation in state budget management at a workshop in Quang Tri on January 17.

    The event was jointly held by Oxfam and the Budget Transparency, Accountability and Participation (BTAP) Alliance

    The project is being carried out in Hai Lang and Gio Linh districts of the central province of Quang Tri and Luong Son and Mai Chau districts of the northern mountainous province of Hoa Binh

    It aims to promote new initiatives in supervising state budget and public investment, increase connectivity among groups and members of the BTAP Alliance, and encourage citizens’ participation in state budget supervision. 

    The participants looked into methods to implement activities of the project and how to encourage people to join the project.

    Nguyen Dang Anh, deputy head of the committee for economic and budget affairs under the Quang Tri province People’s Council, said to promote public involvement in state budget supervision, the locality has issued two resolutions on public investment and piloted the 2014 Public Investment Law at provincial, district and communal levels. 

    Local authorities have also played an active role in the work through meetings with voters to discuss annual budget estimate and spending, he said. 

    To ensure the sustainability of the project, Anh suggested specialised agencies of the People’s Council to conduct policy consultations involving people, and community groups maintain their operation even when the project concludes. 

    The participations also underlined the importance of communications work, stressing the need to create a legal corridor for residents and social organisations to take part in local budget management, improve the role of such organisations like fatherland front and associations of women and farmers. 

    The project will be rolled out in other localities in Quang Tri and Hoa Binh after the three-year pilot implementation.

    Central Highlands region promotes sustainable forest management

    Localities in the Central Highlands are working to promote sustainable forest management and certification of forests.

    The scheme has been supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) and the project “Forests for Livelihood Improvement in the Central Highlands” (FLITCH). 

    In the region, Dak Lak province has developed five units implementing sustainable forest management, while Lam Dong province has three, and Dak Nong province has one.

    In Kon Tum, the Dak To Forestry Company was granted the sustainable forest management certificate in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards. The province Kon Tum is working to expand the planted-forest area granted the FSC certificate in the Mien Nam Paper Material Company.

    Dak Lak, Gia Lai and Lam Dong provinces are effectively coordinating with authorised agencies to review and make adjustments to the forest development planning in connection with the planning of land use in the localities to 2020.

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

    VNN


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  • 01/18/18--01:34: Article 3
  •  Việt Nam, US to enhance ties in 2018
     

    HCM CITY - Việt Nam is optimistic about bilateral relations between Việt Nam and the US in 2018, said Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Hà Kim Ngọc at a seminar on Wednesday.


    Việt Nam US to enhance ties in 2018 

    Việt Nam is optimistic about bilateral relations between Việt Nam and the US in 2018, Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Hà Kim Ngọc said at a seminar in HCMCity on Wednesday. - VNS Photo An Phương


    The seminar, called “Việt Nam– US Relations under President Donald Trump’s Administration”, attracted the participation of local and international officials and experts, including US Ambassador to Việt Nam Daniel Krintenbrink and Fulbright University Việt Nam’s Founding President Đàm Bích Thuỷ, among others.

    According to Ngọc, 2017 witnessed many changes, particularly with the US’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).

    “Realising the importance of bilateral relations between Việt Nam and the US, Việt Nam last year set humble targets on development, with focuses on keeping up with the existing momentum, refraining from losing its regional status, and avoiding trade confrontation with the US,” he said.

    “Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc visited the US and President Donald Trump came to Việt Nam in 2017,” he said, adding that this had reflected the successful relationship between the two countries.

    “The two countries’ respect for each other’s policy, sovereignty and territorial integrity has played a significant role in the success,” Ngọc said.

    In 2018, Việt Nam seeks to promote exchanges of high-level delegations; enhance economic, trade, cultural, and educational cooperation; and strengthen collaborations in resolving consequences of the war with the US.

    Speaking at the seminar, US Ambassador to Việt Nam Daniel Krintenbrink stressed that Việt Nam is one of the most important partners of the US.

    On behalf of President Trump, Krintenbrink said the US would take action to further promote bilateral relations.

    Security, trade and investment, human rights, people-to-people ties, and humanitarian aid are among the priorities that the US would focus on, he said. “I’m optimistic about our future, considering our achievements so far.”

    In addition to Việt NamUS relations under Trump’s administration, the seminar discussed people-to-people ties between Việt Nam and the US, President Donald Trump’s policies on Asia and their impact on Việt Nam, and trade and investment opportunities between Việt Nam and the US after the TPP.

    The event was hosted in HCMCity by Fulbright University Việt Nam (FUV) and the Centre for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).

     VNS


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  • 01/18/18--01:38: Article 2
  • Vietnam PM hails coach, players after historic Asian youth championship quarterfinal berth

    The premier sent the team a congratulatory letter shortly after their quarterfinal-securing draw with Syria at the AFC U-23 Championship

     Vietnam and Syria players fight for the ball in their game at the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship in China on January 17, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
    Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc sent a congratulatory letter to the country’s under-23 football team on Wednesday, lauding them for making history as the first-ever Vietnamese team to qualify for a quarterfinal spot at the U-23 Asian Cup.

    Vietnam and Syria settled for a goalless draw in their last Group D game at the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship in China on Wednesday, sending the Golden Starts to a quarterfinal match against Iraq later this week.

    “[Your qualifying to the knockout stage] brings about pride for the nation and supporters countrywide. It illustrates the strong spirit and will of the young Vietnamese generation,” PM Phuc said in a letter sent to the team on Wednesday.

    The premier expressed his pleasure after being briefed on the “good news from the AFC U-23 Championship, where our U-23 team performed brilliantly in all three group stage games to advance for the first time into the event’s quarterfinals.”

     
    Vietnam's coach Park Hang-seo reacts after their 0-0 draw against with Syria at the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship in China on January 17, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre


    PM Phuc also extended his praise to the team’s head coach, South Korean Park Hang-seo, a new hire who only began working with the team in October of last year.

    “On behalf of the government, I congratulate and commend the U-23 team, particularly coach Park Hang-seo, and hope that you will continue to play with high spirits and win more trophies for Vietnam,” the premier said.

    Vietnam started the journey in China with a 0-1 loss to South Korea before stunning Australia 1-0 and drawing Syria, advancing to the knockout stage as the Group D runners-up, second to the Koreans.

    The Golden Stars will be challenged by Iraq this Saturday.The AFC Under-23 Championship, held from January 9 to 27, is a biennial competition featuring 16 of Asia’s top teams in the age group.

    Japan beat South Korea to win the championship at the 2016 edition in Qatar.

    Tuoi Tre News 


    0 0
  • 01/18/18--01:46: Article 1
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 18/1


    Plan to implement VN-Italy customs cooperation agreement approved

    The PM has approved a plan to implement the Agreement on cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs signed between the Governments of Viet Nam and Italy.

    Accordingly, the Ministry of Finance’s General Department of Customs is responsible for implementing the contents of the aforesaid agreement, including information sharing, protection and use; technical cooperation among others.

    The Ministry of Public Security shall direct its agencies to coordinate with the General Department of Customs in implementing the relevant contents and in exchanging information related to smuggling of narcotics, psychotropics, pre-substances and other substances that may causes damages to the environment, public health, safety and security; money laundering and illegal money transfer among others.     
    MoIT sets nine tasks in 2018

    Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh stressed nine key tasks for the sector in 2018.

    The Minister made the announcement at a conference to summarize the sector's performance in 2017 and set its tasks for 2018. The event drew the attendance of PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

    Minister Tuan Anh said that 2017 marked not only a challenging year for the sector but also fundamental transformations that it made in the sector reform.

    Specifically, industrial production index picked up 9.4%, higher than the rate of 7.4% in 2016, outstripping the preset goal.

    Last year, Vietnamese export exceeded US$ 200 billion, jumping over 21%. The MoIT led others in streamlining administrative procedures and business and investment conditions; personnel  apparatus.

    Especially, in 2017, the ministry cut 675 unnecessary business lines and streamlined 183 out of 508 administrative procedures.

    Addressing the event, Minister Tran Tuan Anh stressed nine key tasks including:

    Firstly, building and perfecting regulations to facilitate investment and business; rallying resources for industries and trade; cutting business and investment conditions; streamlining administrative procedures; and improving online public services;

    Secondly, restructuring the Ministry in line with the Project which was passed by the PM; implementing the fourth industrial revolution;

    Thirdly, reviewing and balancing national energy resources;

    Fourthly, fundamentally resolving shortcomings and weaknesses for inefficient projects;

    Fifthly, handling issues on export, trade promotion, and export market development;

    Sixthly, supervising and guiding the implementation of Viet Nam’s international commitments in a more effective and sustainable manner;

    Seventhly, reorganizing market management forces;

    Eighthly, effectively conducting the Strategy on domestic trade development by 2025 with a vision towards 2035;

    Ninthly, speeding up SOEs equitization and State capital withdrawal. 

    Dong Thap develops mango value chain


     Plan to implement VN-Italy customs cooperation agreement approved, Vietnam must address three hurdles to economy, GrabBike drivers subject to 4.5% tax, Finance Ministry: SOEs heavily in debt 

    The Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap has revamped its mango farming towards lower price, higher quality and value, GAP standards, and market-led production. 

    To that end, the province has applied scientific-technological advances and developed value-added products as well as a mango value chain.

    The farming of mango has been listed as one of the five key sectors of Dong Thap in the local agricultural restructuring programme.

    The province has the largest area of mango in the Mekong Delta with more than 9,300 ha and an annual output of 90,000 tonnes. Cat Chu and Cat Hoa Loc are the major mango varieties accounting for 70 percent and 20 percent of the total mango area.

    Each year, Dong Thap earns about 1.5 trillion VND (66 million USD) from mango.

    According to Nguyen Van Cong, Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dong Thap has established two cooperatives and 29 groups which provide mango for Long Uyen Company, Injae Corporation of the Republic of Korea (RoK), Thuan Phong Co., Ltd, Good Life Co., Ltd and Viet Duc Food Technology Co., Ltd in an effort to develop the mango value chain.

    Such cooperatives and groups have been assisted to get the GAP certificate, which allows them to export mango to the RoK, Japan, New Zealand, China and Russia through businesses in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

    Nguyen Hong Su, Chairman of the Cao Lanh district People’s Committee, said Cao Lanh boasts the largest area of mango in Dong Thap with over 3,600 ha, mostly Cat Chu and Hoa Loc mangoes which yield more than 11 tonne per ha and an annual output of over 40,000 tonnes.

    Of the total area, 5 ha of mango have met VietGAP standards, more than 21 ha have received the GlobalGAP certificate and tens of ha have been cultivated organically.

    Through the cooperatives and groups, Cao Lanh mango has been shipped to the RoK, Japan, New Zealand and Russia.

    Dong Thap has rolled out a project on sustainable development connection in the Dong Thap Muoi sub-region encompassing Dong Thap, Tien Giang and Long An provinces during 2018-2020 with a vision towards 2030.

    More than 6,000 ha of Cat Chu and Cat Hoa Loc mangoes in Dong Thap and over 3,900 ha in Tien Giang province, making up about a quarter of the total mango area in the Mekong Delta, have been identified as major supply sources of mango for both domestic and foreign markets.

    Viet Nam, Cambodia develop model border market
       
    The Viet Nam Ministry of Industry and Trade and Cambodia Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday began constructing a model border market in Memot District, Tbaung Khmum, Cambodia.

    The 20,000sq.m market would have a total investment of US$2 million from the non-refundable aid the Vietnamese Government provided to Cambodia.

    Located near Chang Riec Border Gate, TayNinhProvince, the market aimed to promote economic exchange and bilateral trade, as well as to enhance the quality of living of residents near the border between the two countries.

    Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia Vu Quang Minh said the border market was the initial step in the development of a border market system of the two countries.

    Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak appreciated the non-refundable aid of the Vietnamese Government, which he said would not only bring benefits to residents, but also contribute to boosting trade between the two countries to reach $5 billion threshold.

    In the first 11 months of 2017, Viet Nam and Cambodia reached a bilateral trade of more than $3.4 billion, representing a rise of 31.5 per cent over the previous year.

    Vietnam must address three hurdles to economy: VEPR

    Vietnam's macroeconomy is forecast to continue its stable growth in 2018 but it should overcome three existing hurdles for further development, according to a report released by the Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR).

    The VEPR's quarterly report featuring an independent assessment on Vietnam's macroeconomic policies was announced on January 16.

    The report stated that the stable macroeconomy, along with the institutional reform pursued by the government in order to improve the investment environment, will continue to promote its effectiveness and support business activities in 2018.

    However, many inherent problems in the economy have yet to be thoroughly resolved and will remain a drag on the economy.

    The VERP pointed out the first barrier to the economic growth which is the low labour productivity in comparison with other countries in the region. Vietnam's productivity is equal to only one fourteenth of that of Singapore, one sixth of Malaysia and one third of Thailand.

    In addition, increasing budget deficit and public debts continue to be a serious problem hindering the national economy. While the expenditure for public investment remains limited, high regular spending will impose a burden on the State budget, the report stated.

    Vietnam's dependence on the world economy and the foreign invested sector will also create uncertainties for the economy, particularly in the context of emerging risks related to geopolitics, trade protectionism, and changes in global science and technology.

    BASF AgSolutions Farm launched in Tien Giang

    Global chemical company BASF last week inaugurated its AgSolutions Farm, an agricultural solution research center for crop protection products, in Cai Lay District in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang.

    BASF said the AgSolutions Farm will serve as a technical and training hub to support farmers and industry players to boost agricultural productivity and profitability, and promote food safety and environmental protection. Demonstration plots and field trials at the center will also complement the work of the company’s research farms elsewhere in the world. 

    Vietnam is a major rice exporting country in the world and one of the most important agricultural centers in Asia Pacific. However, Vietnamese farmers are coping with challenges related to a lack of arable land, climate change, weeds and diseases, according to Gustavo Palerosi Carneiro, senior vice president of BASF Crop Protection Asia Pacific.

    “With our AgSolutions Farm, we aim to bring our crop protection innovation and technical knowledge to the farmers and other industry players, so that they can increase their productivity in a sustainable manner,” Carneiro said in a statement.

    The BASF AgSolutions Farm will introduce the latest technology and best practices from around the world to help step up innovation in farming in Vietnam, as well as share innovative solutions with regional countries, including Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

    BASF said the facility will also foster partnerships between the company and local universities and institutes to provide training and develop customized products and solutions to meet needs of local growers.

    Tanachart Ralsiripong, managing director of BASF Vietnam, said the AgSolutions Farm will enable the company to get closer to farmers and work to provide better services and contribute to sustainable agricultural development in Vietnam. He added Vietnam is one of the fastest growing markets in Asia Pacific.

    The Mekong Delta is Vietnam’s major production region for rice, vegetables and fruits.

    BASF Crop Protection Division has been active in major farming centers, including the Mekong Delta, since it launched its direct business model in Vietnam in 2013. It works with farmers, distribution partners and agriculture industry players to offer innovative solutions and product stewardship training to support their efforts to boost productivity and profitability.

    BASF said it will introduce a broader range of innovative products in the next three years to back sustainable development in the country’s agricultural sector.

    BASF opened a representative office in Vietnam in 1994 and BASF Vietnam Limited was set up in 2009. BASF Vietnam now operates two production sites for construction chemicals and provides a wide range of products, including plastics, petrochemicals, construction chemicals, fine chemicals, performance chemicals, paper chemicals, and crop protection.

    BASF sales to customers in Vietnam were put at 245 million euro in 2016. The company employed 142 people in this market as of the end of 2016.

    Private investors asked to join canal-side home relocation project

    Given its tight budget, the HCMC government will call for private enterprises to participate in a project to relocate more than 20,000 makeshift homes along the city’s canals.

    According to data of the HCMC Department of Construction, these homes are located along some 57 canals in the city.

    The relocation project is part of a program to revitalize the urban landscape in the 2016-2020 period.

    The project will need VND50 trillion (US$2.2 billion) for compensation and settlement. However, the city’s budget is not enough to cover such a huge amount.

    Therefore, the city will hold a conference at the end of this month to call for investors to get involved in the project under the public-private partnership (PPP) format. Investors may be allowed to use land along canals to recover their capital.

    HCMC currently has nearly 3,300 canals and rivers with a total length of more than 5,000 kilometers. Most of them are polluted by garbage and wastewater, mainly from residential areas and industrial parks.

    Travel companies in the city have complained about pollution in rivers and canals, especially TauHu-BinhDongCanal in District 8 and a section of the SaigonRiver from the city center to Cu Chi District. They have proposed the city quickly find solutions to reduce river and canal pollution to attract more guests to buy river tours.

    With such river and canal systems, the city holds strong potential to develop waterway tourism.

    HCMC says will strengthen tax collection

    The HCMC Tax Department will this year prevent tax losses and enhance inspections of enterprises with new business models like Uber, Grab and e-commerce traders.

    At a review meeting on 2017 operations and 2018 plans held last Friday, director of the department Tran Ngoc Tam said the department will try to attain the domestic tax collection target of VND268.78 trillion. Solutions to tax loss prevention will be presented to the city government soon, he added.

    According to the department, a number of areas will be put under close inspection this year, including suspicious banking transactions, business activities suspected of transfer pricing, and capital or project transfers.

    Inspections will focus on enterprises active in new business areas such as Uber, Grab, multi-level marketing, and those running e-commerce.

    Speaking at the meeting, HCMC vice chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen underscored the need for cooperation among tax and other departments.

    In particular, the HCMC Department of Health will have to assist the tax department in managing and collecting taxes from pharmaceutical business, whereas the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade and the central bank need to work with the tax department to build an e-commerce management scheme.

    According to Tuyen, though it is hard to manage e-commerce activities, but HCMC, if being able to do it well, can generate high tax revenue.

    In addition, there must be coordination between the customs and tax departments in preventing transfer pricing.

    Bui Van Nam, general director of the General Department of Taxation, said inspections should focus on transfer pricing, e-commerce and informal economy.

    The city’s tax department collected nearly VND239 trillion in taxes last year, up 16.8% against 2016. Of the amount, domestic business and production activities accounted for VND129.08 trillion.

    According to Nam, tax revenue in HCMC has soared steadily in recent years, making great contributions to the country’s total collections. While HCMC made up 20% of total collections in 2014, the proportion rose to 24% last year and may continue to rise this year.

    Satra plans 60 more Satrafoods stores this year

    Saigon Trading Group (Satra) looks to launch 60 Satrafoods convenience stores later this year, raising its total to 217, heard a review conference on its 2017 performance and its 2018 plan on January 15.

    Satra is also expected to open its commercial center called Center Mall Cu Chi in the outlying district of Cu Chi, HCMC in the third quarter of this year.

    The center covers more than one hectare of land and has a total floor area of over 12,000 square meters, with the first and second floors for shopping, eatery, fashion and books, and the third floor for film screening and entertainment.

    Regarding a shopping center in District 6, Satra said that after all legal procedures are done, it would start work on the facility right away.

    Satra has been also working on the TaxPlaza in downtown HCMC.

    Notably, Satra plans to set up a product development division in charge of developing areas for growing organic rice, vegetables, fruit, seafood, poultry and cattle and selling these products in its retail systems, and others at home and abroad.

    Satra reported total revenue of more than VND63.09 trillion (US$2.77 billion) last year, rising 12.69% year-on-year and beating its target by 3.17%. Its profit was estimated at VND12.45 trillion (US$548.5 million), 3.81% above its target.

    It exported goods, mainly processed food, seafood, rice and fish fat, worth over US$101 million to Europe, the United States, and some Asian countries last year, meeting 99% of its target.

    As of late last year, Satra had 157 Satrafoods stores, eight restaurants, and five bakery and coffee stores, and two shopping centers.

    GrabBike drivers subject to 4.5% tax

    Drivers of GrabBike and GrabExpress have 4.5% of their revenues deducted for tax payment as from early this year, according to Grab Vietnam.

    Starting from this year, Grab Vietnam will file for tax based on revenues of GrabBike and GrabExpress drivers, discounting 4.5% from drivers’ revenues.

    Currently, drivers earn 80% of revenues while the balance of 20% belongs to Grab Vietnam. Therefore, the 4.5% tax on driver’s revenue, with 3% in value added tax and 1.5% in personal income tax, is equivalent to 3.6% of total revenues.

    According to some GrabBike drivers, Grab Vietnam planned tax deductions last year but delayed the collection. This is the second time the firm has announced the tax collection.

    Following the tax deduction, GrabBike drivers on Wednesday protested by turning off Grab app and gathered at the HCMC office of Grab Vietnam to express their opposition as they already pay for their own phone and fuel costs.

    Nguyen Trung Thanh, head of GrabBike and GrabExpress, said Grab Vietnam used its money to pay taxes for drivers in 2016-2017. Tax collection and payments as from this year are made in accordance with Document 1531/TCT-TNCN of the General Department of Taxation dated April 20, 2017 and Document 5729/CT-TTHT of the HCMC Tax Department dated June 19, 2017.

    According to Grab Vietnam, tax payments are obligatory to only GrabBike and GrabExpress drivers with revenues higher than VND100 million per year.

    Govt urges BR-VT to solve issues in major seaport project

    Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has told Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province to solve issues involving the long-stalled Cai Mep Ha general cargo and container terminal project as soon as possible, news website Dan Tri quoted a notice of the Government Office.

    Developed by Vung Tau Shipbuilding and Oil Gas Services JSC, also known as Vung Tau Shipyard, the terminal is expected to cover around 86.6 hectares and cost more than VND10.23 trillion (US$450.3 million).

    The provincial government reached an agreement with the investor on the location of Cai Mep Ha (downstream Cai Mep) and its total area in 2006.

    The central Government put Cai Mep Ha on a list of planned seaports in southeastern Vietnam in 2008. Then the province allocated land to Vung Tau Shipyard in 2011.

    The terminal was expected to come into service in 2013, and accommodate vessels of up to 160,000 tons. Vung Tau Shipyard teamed up with South Korean partners to carry out the project.

    However, Vung Tau Shipyard faced many issues such as those related to compensation and land rent, between 2011 and 2016.

    According to Vung Tau Shipyard, the main reason is long delays in developing transport infrastructure to the terminal. The Cai Mep-Thi Vai inter-port road was opened to traffic last year though it was originally planned for 2012.

    During the period, Vung Tau Shipyard sent more than 100 documents to the provincial government and its departments to seek their support for the project.

    Instead, the local government launched an inspection of Vung Tau Shipyard and scrapped its terminal project last September, leading the company to file a complaint to the Government Office.

    According to the investor, in addition to delays in the inter-port road, it was not until 2014 that the provincial government had issued a decision on land rent for the project, so the company could not obtain a land use right certificate, thereby leading to long delays in the terminal project.

    The deputy PM requested Ba Ria-Vung Tau to send a report on its decision to revoke the project prior to the end of last year. However, the provincial government has yet to do so.

    Nguyen Van Hai, head of the Ba Ria-Vung Tau People’s Committee Office, said the local government has been inspecting the project. When it is done, it will report to the Prime Minister.

    Finance Ministry: SOEs heavily in debt

    Many State-owned enterprises (SOEs), though holding huge resources and enjoying big incentives from the Government, saw profit and revenue declining in 2016, Tien Phong newspaper quoted a Ministry of Finance report.

    As of late 2016, there were 583 enterprises wholly owned by the State. They did play a role in stabilizing the macro economy, controlling inflation and developing public services.

    However, they faced numerous challenges, especially in sectors like real estate, oil and gas, and agriculture. 

    According to the ministry report, weaknesses and shortcomings of SOEs included inefficient production, debts, losses, wastefulness and poor performance of SOE leaders.

    Total assets of 583 SOEs in the nation amounted to more than VND3,000,000 billion (US$132 billion), while their equity was VND1,390,000 billion. They also enjoyed incentives such as holding monopolistic power in some sectors and having the right to extract and process the country’s natural resources.

    However, they performed poorly. Pre-tax profits of large SOEs totaled a mere  VND140 billion in 2016, down 14% year-on-year.

    Particularly, pre-tax profits of seven State-owned business groups dropped 25%. Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PVN) reported a 38% decline in profit due to the low world oil price while Vietnam National Chemical Group (Vinachem) posted a loss of VND335 billion.

    According to the Ministry of Finance, the average ratio of pre-tax profit to equity in 91 SOEs in 2016 was 10%, down two percentage points compared to 2015, while the average ratio of before-tax profit to assets was 4.5%, down one percentage point.

    In 2016, total debts of SOEs amounted to more than VND1,530,000 billion, including more than VND265 trillion of external debt. SOEs with the largest debts included Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) with more than VND100 trillion, Investment and Industrial Development Corporation with more than VND44 trillion and Vinachem with nearly VND37.5 trillion.

    Accumulated losses of 17 leading SOEs had reached more than VND12.5 trillion as of late 2016. Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) reported the biggest loss with more than VND5 trillion, followed by Global Telecommunications Corporation (Gtel) with more than VND3.9 trillion and Vinachem with more than VND1.3 trillion.

    Total debts of SOEs were 1.2 times larger than equity on average.

    Despite large debts, SOEs spent nearly VND434 trillion on financial investments, including VND267.5 trillion on short-term investments and VND166.4 trillion on long-term investments.

    Data of the Ministry of Finance shows total bad debts owed to State-owned corporations and groups were nearly VND334.5 trillion in 2016, up 3% year-on-year, while those owed to holding companies amounted to nearly VND462 trillion, up 10% year-on-year. Total inventories of SOEs were worth nearly VND191 trillion, up 1% compared to 2015.

    HSBC lands top honors in Euromoney Trade Finance Survey 2018

    HSBC has been recognized as the top trade finance bank in Vietnam and as the world’s top global trade finance bank in the 2018 Euromoney Trade Finance Survey.

    The annual poll, which is highly regarded across the banking industry, recognizes leadership in trade finance by asking businesses engaged in international trade worldwide to indicate which international banks they currently use for trade finance and how they rate that bank’s various trade finance services and products.

    “I am delighted that we have been recognized by our clients in Vietnam as the country’s number one trade finance bank,” said Mr. Winfield Wong, Country Head of Wholesale Banking at HSBC Vietnam.

    “Historically, HSBC was established to facilitate the growing trade between countries and continents in the 19th century, and we’re extremely proud that today HSBC is playing its part to ensure the bank remains at the forefront of the global trade industry.”

    As with other countries where HSBC operates, HSBC Vietnam offers a full suite of trade solutions ranging from traditional documentation services to highly sophisticated tailor-made solutions to enterprises, both multinational corporations (MNCs) and local corporates; all of which come from a local team of experts that are always willing to go the extra mile for their clients.

    The bank’s wide range of trade products accommodates five areas of needs among customers: "Working Capital Optimization", "International Trade Growth", "Trade Risk Management", "Supplier Finance Management", and "Sale Finance Management", from pre-shipment financing that supports raw material purchases in preparation for manufacturing and delivery, to post-shipment financing, including negotiation or factoring services. HSBC has also continued to introduce industry-leading measures to prevent financial crime and sanction risks while facilitating global trade.

    “By leveraging our global reach in more than 60 countries and by sharing our in-depth knowledge of markets, we connect buyers and suppliers, helping our clients manage risk and liquidity costs more effectively, and that has always been HSBC’s core strength,” said Mr. Wong.

    “Trade is forever evolving and so our role as industry leader is not just to adapt to change but also to anticipate what our clients will need tomorrow so we can continually provide them with the best in class capital solutions,” he added. “That’s why we always put our clients at the heart of everything we do.”

    In the annual survey, which this year compiled votes from more than 7,000 businesses engaged in international trade, HSBC was also named as the leading bank for trade finance in the UK, the US, and multiple countries across Latin America and the Middle East as well as Asia.

    HSBC Vietnam was recently named Best Domestic Cash Manager in the Euromoney Cash Management Survey 2017, making it the best transactional banking franchise in the market.

    VeriME links with three leading Asian fintech companies

    VeriME, a blockchain-based identity verification and payment authentication solutions provider under the NextTech Group, has recently cooperated with three leading financial technology (fintech) companies in Asia: TrakInvest, the Cement Finance Company (CFC), and MC Payment.

    Given the rising cost and challenges of KYC and payment authentication processes, the tech startup’s D-KYC and D-SECURE solutions are quickly being adopted by many Asian fintech companies.

    “VeriME’s efficacious and secure digital identity verification solutions have leveraged blockchain technology to ensure thorough and foolproof identity verification in seconds,” said Mr. Sanjeev Kumar, Co-Founder of VeriME. “Our approach to digital identity verification will enable fintech organizations with high volume requests for identity verification and payment authentication to conduct these processes securely, while ensuring compliance with local data sovereignty and PDPA laws.”

    VeriME’s cooperation with TrakInvest, CFC, and MC Payment comes shortly after it partnered with NganLuong, Vietnam’s largest payment gateway, Weshop, a leading online marketplace in Southeast Asia, and Moin, a South Korean cross-border remittance services provider.

    TrakInvest, a Singapore-based virtual social equity trading platform, aims to streamline verification and authentication processes for customers trading on the TrakInvest platform by integrating VeriME’s solutions into its system. “TrakInvest wanted to ensure transparent and socially-responsible trading practices, where users are held accountable for their trades,” said CEO Bobby Bhatia. “At the same time, it is important to ensure user privacy and ease of use. Users can now verify their identities on TrakInvest’s online trading platform within seconds, thanks to VeriME’s decentralized, paperless authentication services. This partnership fortifies the outstanding efficiency of our platform and our user-centered approach.”

    Vietnam’s Cement Finance Company specializes in mobilizing funds in money and capital markets, and believes this cooperation will help it benefit from the efficiency gains of Blockchain.

    Founded in Singapore in 2005, MC Payment is a fintech and business platform services provider that specializes in supporting non-cash payments across Asia-Pacific. Its comprehensive suite of products provides solutions for in-store, mobile, online, and digital payments across the region and across a variety of industries, ranging from non-profit to financial services. “Compliance with local data sovereignty and PDPA laws cannot be ignored,” said Mr. Anthony Koh, Founder and CEO of the company. “We are well aware of the gravity of the issue and, hence, we are ready to take the best measures possible to ensure our complete compliance.”

    JD.com to be one of Tiki’s largest shareholders

    China's JD.com Investment on January 16 announced that it will become one of Tiki’s largest shareholders after its strategic investment in Vietnam’s leading B2C e-commerce platform.

    Under the plan, JD will partner with Tiki in a range of areas including merchandising, cross-border trade, logistics, technology, financing, and operational capabilities.

    Son Tran, Tiki's founder and CEO, said that, "We are delighted to partner with JD.com, China's most trusted online retailer, as we enter a new phase of growth."

    "JD and Tiki share the same business philosophy: to win market share by winning consumers' hearts. Since inception, Tiki has always focused on providing best-in-class, authentic shopping experience and amazingly fast delivery. We believe that JD.com, with its proven track record in superior user experience, procurement, logistics, and technology will be an invaluable asset for Tiki as we work to become Vietnam's top e-commerce platform,” he said.

    JD launched its Indonesian business in 2015 and formed a joint venture with Central Group in Thailand in 2017. With its investment in Tiki, JD adds Vietnam to its growing presence in Southeast Asia. JD's latest move is aimed to battle the increasing presence of Alibaba and Amazon in the regional market.

    JD.com is both the largest e-commerce company in China and the largest Chinese retailer by revenue.

    Before JD.com, Tiki received investments from VNG, Seedcom, Sumitomo, and CyberAgent Ventures to fuel its growth. According to Statista, the value of the Vietnamese e-commerce market reached US$2.1 billion in 2017, up 16.7% year-on-year. The market value is expected to reach US$3.7 billion in 2020.

    Independent Assessment of Vietnam’s Macroeconomic Policies

    The Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR) and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) on January 16 co-hosted a workshop in Hanoi to unveil the Quarterly Report (IV) – Independent Assessment of Vietnam’s Macroeconomic Policies.

    At the event attended by numerous senior economic experts, VERP President Nguyen Duc Thanh briefed participants on the world and Vietnam's quarterly macroeconomic report.

    The world economy in Q4 and in 2017 witnessed steady growth. The US economy continued to expand despite the impact of two major hurricanes (Harvey and Irma), which led to the Fed’s decision to hike interest rates in December. The EU’s economy recovered rapidly, with the highest growth rate in recent years, whilst the UK lost its position as the world’s fifth largest economy.

    In Asia, Japan continued to face labor shortages as well as population decline.  The Chinese economy experienced slightly lower growth following the introduction of government controls on the property market and debt risks.  ASEAN economies maintained their impressive growth, while BRICS countries also saw signs of an economic rebound.

    After an abnormal Q3, the Vietnamese economy posted an even more impressive growth rate of 7.65%, fueling 2017’s overall growth rate of 6.81%, which surpassed the National Assembly’s target of 6.7%. Agriculture, forestry and fishery, and service sectors improved greatly compared to previous years.

    The number of foreign visitors set a record at nearly 13 million, contributing to the recovery of the service sector.  The manufacturing sector witnessed tremendous growth at 14.4%, becoming the driving force for the whole industry sector despite the downturn in the mining and quarrying sub-sector due to restructuring. All industrial production indicators showed growth in Q4.

    The number of jobs created and newly established firms increased considerably again in Q4. CPI remained stable, only increasing by 2.6% in December, while the inflation rate for 2017 was 3.53%, fulfilling the target of not exceeding 4% as set by the National Assembly.

    Trade balance saw a surplus of US$ 3 billion in Q4. Annual trade turnover in 2017 reached US$400 billion for the first time in history. Turnover in both exports and imports boasted impressive growth rates of more than 20%. The total trade surplus in 2017 was reported as US$2.7 billion.

    The Republic of Korea is replacing China as the country with the highest deficit among Vietnam’s trading partners.

    Total investment capital grew steadily by 12.7% in Q4. Private sector investment witnessed the strongest growth rate among the three sectors of the economy in both Q4 (17.7%) and over the whole year (16.8%).

    Credit growth rate was 16.96% to December 20. This rate did not meet the Government’s target of 21%. Liquidity remained abundant in the banking system this year as the State Bank of Vietnam injected a large amount of VND into the economy but not (intentionally) strictly sterilized. Total foreign exchange reserves reached US$51.5 billion by the end of 2017.

    In the real estate market, transactions and the number of new apartments for sale increased significantly in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The end of year boom in market supply may signal a decline in property prices on the horizon.

    Dr. Le Dang Doanh, former president of CIEM highlighted 2018 as a challenging year for Vietnam as the country will implement a series of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) this year. Most of the goods covered in the agreements will enjoy a zero percent import tariff from January 1, 2018, in line with the country’s commitments within the framework of the FTAs, which will impact upon the state budget collections.

    At the workshop, economic experts also touched upon key issues pertaining to the business climate and changes to institutions and policies in support of domestic businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as the importance of the application of science and advanced technologies, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

    Vietnam Airlines concerned about losses from first direct flights to US

    Lack of passengers is likely to be one of the biggest challenges facing Vietnam Airlines if it opens direct flights to the US, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV).

    Up to 90% of passengers flying between Vietnam and the US are tourists and Vietnamese students, said the CAAV, explaining that they are not a stable source of passengers for the airline.

    The number of Vietnamese students in the US increased for the 16th year in a row to more than 22,400 in the 2016-2017 academic year, a 5% increase from the previous year, new data shows.

    Vietnam remained the sixth leading economy of origin for all international students in the US, according to the annual Open Doors report by the US.-based Institute of International Education, which focuses on international student exchange and aid, foreign affairs and international peace and security.

    Another reason non-stop flights to the US may be unprofitable is that students and tourists often go for the cheapest tickets available. Meanwhile, the number of business clients who can afford expensive tickets is still limited, said the CAAV.

    Competition from other airlines will also be a factor for Vietnam Airlines, the country’s national flag carrier. Big Asian airlines such air Japan Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Thai International Airways already operate regular flights to the U.S.

    Fierce competition has forced United Airlines, the world's third-largest carrier, to stop operating flights to Vietnam from the US, local media quoted vice head of the CAAV Vo Huy Cuong as saying.

    The airline ended its service to Vietnam in October 2016 after many years of serving Ho Chi Minh City via Hong Kong from San Francisco, Chicago and Newark.

    “Vietnam Airlines could face an average annual loss of US$30 million in the first five years of operation if we opens a direct route to the US,” local media quoted CEO Duong Tri Thanh as saying.

    We could start to break even after five years, he added.

    Vietnam’s government has recently approved a plan to expand its air network to major markets including Australia, China, Europe and the US starting this year.

    According to the plan, Vietnam Airlines will open non-stop services to the US starting with direct flights to the west coast this year. San Francisco and Los Angeles are two destinations being considered.

    However, it will be impossible to launch the flights in 2018, Thanh said. “We hope the routes will open in 2019 or 2020.”

    Explaining the delay, Thanh said it takes time to complete the strict legal requirements imposed by the US to launch direct flights to the country.

    To open direct flights to the market, Vietnam’s aviation authority needs to have its safety credentials approved by the US.

    Vietnam expects the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to grant the CAAV its Category 1 (CAT1) rating in 2018, recognizing that it has the capacity to ensure the safety of Vietnamese airlines.

    The CAAV currently follows standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, but in order to earn the CAT1 it has to make certain improvements, including completing a new set of regulations, ensuring a sufficient number of staff and improving its supervisory capacity.

    Vietnam and the U.S. signed an air transport agreement in 2003 to allow airlines to operate direct flights between the two countries.

    In 2004, Vietnam Airlines sought permission from the US to provide direct services, but the request was denied because the CAAV did not meet the safety supervision requirements set by the FAA.

    The airline said it has reapplied to the US Department of Transportation to launch direct flights.

    In addition to strict legal requirements, a shortage of aircraft eligible to operate direct flights to the US could also cause delays.

    “Vietnam Airlines does not have any airplanes that are currently eligible to fly direct to the US,” Thanh said.

    Vietnam Airlines currently operates seven flights per week to cities in the US under codeshare agreements with foreign carriers.

    The US is the fourth largest source of foreign visitors to Vietnam, with more than 614,000 arriving in 2017, up 11% from the previous year, according to the General Statistics Office.

    Vietnam’s fisheries sector aims for US$9 billion export turnover in 2018

    Vietnam’s fisheries sector has set a target of earning US$9 billion from exports in 2018, while increasing its production value by 5.3%-5.8% compared to 2017.

    The information was released at a conference held by the General Department of Fisheries, in Hanoi, on January 16, to devise the plans for this year.

    Accordingly, the total output of aquatic products is expected to reach from 7 to 7.5 million tonnes, up 3.8% over last year, including 3-3.5 million tonnes in fishing yields and 4 million tonnes in farming productivity.

    Specifically, the sector aims for 750,000 tonnes of shrimp (up 3.6%) and 1.3 million tonnes of tra (pangasius) fish (up 3.9%).

    The year 2017 saw the highest ever growth in the fisheries export revenue with US$8.3 billion, up nearly US$1 billion compared to 2016. The sector’s increase in its production value and output brought the sector to the highest position in terms of agricultural exports in the past year.

    Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said that in order to reach the target, the industry should give priority to high-tech shrimp and tra fish farming and processing models.

    He also noted that until June 30, drastic solutions need to be implemented according to the EU's recommendations for the removal of the yellow card.

    VNN


    0 0
  • 01/18/18--02:08: Article 0
  • Vietnamese productivity equal to 80% of Korea in some fields, but salaries far less



    GSO (General Statistics Office) has released a report showing that labor productivity is VND93.2 million per worker, or $4,159, in accordance with 2017 prices. 


    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, minimum wage, productivity, Samsung 

    Vietnam's productivity has improved significantly


    If calculating productivity in accordance with 2010 comparable prices, productivity in 2017 increased by 6 percent over 2016 and by 4.7 percent per annum in 2011-2017.

    GSO commented that though Vietnam’s productivity has improved significantly and the country has one of the sharpest productivity increases in ASEAN, its real productivity is lower than many other regional countries.

    If calculating in accordance with 2011 purchasing power parity, Vietnam’s productivity in 2016 was $9.9, equal to 7 percent of Singapore, 17.6 percent of Malaysia, 36.5 percent of Thailand, 42.3 percent of Indonesia.

    GSO report said that Vietnam’s productivity is even lower than Lao’s, just equal to 87.4 percent.

    If calculating in accordance with 2011 purchasing power parity, Vietnam’s productivity in 2016 was $9.9, equal to 7 percent of Singapore, 17.6 percent of Malaysia, 36.5 percent of Thailand, 42.3 percent of Indonesia

    The gap in productivity between Vietnam and other regional countries keeps widening. The gap between Vietnam’s and Singapore’s productivity increased from $115 in 2006 to $131 in 2016, while the figures are $220 and $1,422 compared to Vietnam’s and Lao’s productivity.

    The low productivity of Vietnamese workers was a hot topic of discussion at a workshop on investment and business opportunities in 2018 held in Thanh Hoa province.

    High productivity in some fields

    Vo Tri Thanh, former deputy director of CIEM (Central Institute of Economic Management) , noted that the average productivity of Vietnam is low, but productivity is relatively high in some fields and even higher than ASEAN’s average levels.

    Nguyen Mai from VAFIEs (Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises) agreed with Thanh, saying that Vietnam’s productivity has improved significantly in some production fields.

    The economist said Bac Ninh, CEO of Samsung Vietnam, told him that Vietnamese productivity is now equal to 80 percent of South Koreans.

    “This partially explains why Samsung makes a hefty investment in Vietnam: while Vietnamese productivity is equal to 80 percent of South Koreans, they receive a salary which is only 30 percent of that of Korean employees,” Mai said.

    Binh said it would take 1.5 to 2 years for Vietnamese to catch up with South Korean engineers.

    Most of the managers at Samsung’s factories in Vietnam are Vietnamese, he said.

    Intel’s CEO also praised Vietnamese laborers’ capability. He said it is necessary to analyze productivity in each field.

    In related news, a report says 74 percent of workers in the manufacturing & processing industry in Vietnam are expected to lose their jobs because of the impact of the fourth industrial revolution, the highest level among ASEAN countries.



     Kim Chi, VNN


    0 0
  • 01/18/18--02:46: Article 0
  •  Positive signs for Vietnam's rice exports



    Vietnam’s rice export industry has a bright future with good contracts after having a successful year.


     

    Vietnam had a successful year

    Vietnam has exported rice to 132 markets in the world and China remains Vietnam's biggest buyers.

    Vietnam exported over 570,000 tonnes of rice last December, a 38.6% increase compared to the same period in 2016. Local firms signed contracts to export 6.4 million tonnes of rice, of which 5.8 million was exported in 2017. The exports in the first eleven months of 2017 reached 5.52 million tonnes worth USD2.49bn, up 24.1% and 24.9%, respectively, compared to same period the previous year. It also exceeded the 5 million tonnes target set in early 2017.

    Some 764,000 tonnes of rice remains in the inventory. 209,000 tonnes of which belong to Vietnam Southern Food Corporation, Vietnam Northern Food Corporation has 107,000 tonnes and the rest belong to other companies in the Vietnam Food Association.

    The Indonesian Bureau of Logistics announced on January 15 that it will start a bidding to import 500,000 tonnes of rice to Indonesia conducted under a government to public deal for both local and foreign firms. The rice must be harvested in less than six months and must be delivered by Feburary28.

    According to the Jakarta Post, Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita said Indonesia would import rice from Vietnam and Thailand to ease local high prices.

    According to experts, rice supplies in many countries such as Malaysia, Philippines and South Korea fell because of climate change. Rice exports will continue to grow thanks to the expansion to other markets including Bangladesh and Iraq in 2017. Dang Thi Lien, director of Long An Food Stuff Company, said there were many contracts from China and Philippines and the rice prices also increased to USD20 or USD50 per tonne.

    Nguyen Thanh Long, director of Gao Viet Company, also think that rice exports will get better in the first quarter of 2018 if they have enough supply. The harvest time in several countries like Pakistan and Myanmar already passed while Thailand may harvest late by a month.

    However, local firms still need to improve to meet food hygiene and safety requirements and better strategies to compete with India or Pakistan in African markets.

    dtinews.vn


    0 0
  • 01/19/18--00:08: Article 1
  • Deadly synthetic drugs create many new addicts


    Waking up after five days in a coma at Hanoi’s BachMaiHospital, a 16 year-old girl does not recognise anyone, not even her father.


    Deadly synthetic drugs, new addicts, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam
    A 41-year-old patient suffering from severe methamphetamine shock is treated at BachMaiHospital’s Poison Control Centre. - VNA/VNS Photo


    No matter what anyone asks, she has the same answer: “I don’t know. I don’t remember anything.”

    She is one of two patients currently being treated for methamphetamine shock at the hospital’s Poison Control Centre.

    Nguyen Trung Nguyen, who is in charge of the centre, said that the girl was completely unconscious when she was moved here from a provincial hospital. Her nerves and heart have been affected.

    “The girl has come out of the coma but she is not able to recognise everything properly,” the doctor said.

    Her father, Tran Thanh Minh, traveled more than 2,000km from his hometown in southern KienGiangProvince to take care of his daughter.

    He said that his daughter was working as a cosmetics seller in northern HoaBinhProvince. Each month, she sent VND2.5 million to her family. On hearing of her coma, the whole family was shocked to learn that the girl was addicted to synthetic drugs.

    “I feel really sad. My daughter no longer remembers me,” he told the Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper.

    The centre is treating another serious case of methamphetamine shock. The 41-year-old male patient experienced brain, kidney and heart damage as a result of the drug.

    Dr. Nguyen said that poisonous elements included in the drug directly attack the heart and cause heart pain and kidney failure.

    “Addicted people experiencing delusions will cause risks to themselves and community members. They may kill others if they have weapons. Doctors have been attacked by addicted people in emergency cases,” he said.

    Nguyen said that methamphetamine use pose tremendous risks both when patients are directly under its influence and when they are addicted and use it chronically.

    “Acute addiction will cause after-effects. Those exposed to chronic addiction stand a high risk of heart failure and have a little chance of being saved,” he said.

    Recently, the centre has received patients suffering from shock with synthetic drugs such as amphetamines, khat leaves and lysergic acid diethylamide. Those admitted to hospital are mostly students and adolescents.

    The symptoms end with not only neurosis and illusions but also more severe reactions including coma and heart beat and blood pressure disorder, threatening patients’ lives.

    Two people treated at the centre recently died of complications to their hearts and nerves after taking methamphetamine.

    According to the Ministry of Health’s 2017 report submitted to the Prime Minister, there is an increasing trend of using Amphetamine-Type Stimulants. Methadone treatment is not effective with those taking synthetic drugs.

    In many localities, such as DongNaiProvince and Da NangCity, nearly 90 per cent of newly-addicted people take Amphetamine-Type Stimulants.

    According to the Ministry of Public Security, 210,751 people were addicted to drugs as of 2016. Of the total, 20,778 people were addicted to synthetic drugs.

    Doctor Nguyen said that there are new types of drugs hidden in medicine and games that are not easily recognised.

    Parents should watch their children closely for abnormal signs.

    “Young people should stay away from drugs and drug abuse because drugs not only affect their health, career and future, but drug takers may also lose their lives at any time if they suffer from acute poison. The poisons may spoil the nervous system, the heart and organs,” he said. 

    VNS


    0 0
  • 01/19/18--00:11: Article 0
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 19/1


    VIB posts strong profit growth in 2017

    The Vietnam International Bank (VIB) has reported pre-tax profit of over VNĐ1.4 trillion (US$62 million) in 2017, surging 100 per cent year-on-year or far surpassing the yearly target.

    VIB’s total assets also saw a positive yearly increase of 18 per cent to VNĐ123 trillion ($5.4 billion), while the bank’s total credit balance amounted to approximately VNĐ90 trillion ($3.95 billion), up 26 per cent year-on-year, according to its business results, which were released on Tuesday.

    As per the results, the bank’s capital adequacy ratio (CAR) was 13.1 per cent, its ratios of non-performance loan (NPL) and return on equity (ROE) stood at 2.49 per cent and 12.7 per cent, respectively. Earnings per share were VNĐ2,000, which was considered a high rate among domestic banks.

    On January 17, 2017, VIB debuted more than 564.4 million shares on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM), a move that the bank hoped would create transparency in its activities, share price, market capitalisation and share liquidity, to make it easier for investors to make decisions.

    After 12 months, the bank’s share price has increased by 71 per cent to VNĐ29,200 per share from VNĐ17,000 on the first trading day.

    Meanwhile, VIB has also been in the top ranking of Moody’s for many consecutive years. As one of 10 banks selected by the State Bank of Việt Nam to pilot Basel II, VIB said it will implement Basel II before the deadline set by the State Bank.

    “We are making greater efforts in ensuring the bank’s operation with the best and most transparent standards," VIB general director Hàn Ngọc Vũ said.

    In the years to come, VIB will focus on expanding its scale and continue perfecting the quality of products and services, the bank said.

    Top priority will be given to expanding its retail operations, consolidating its leading position in a number of products catering to individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises, bettering customer service, improving labour productivity and bettering risk control in line with international standards.

    The bank’s 2018 shareholders meeting will be held in late March. 

    Billionaire Thao's company replaces Posco E&C in Splendora

    The whole share volume owned by Poso E&C Co. (South Korea), equivalent to 50 per cent of the total shares at Splendora in Hanoi, has been transferred to Phu Long Real Estate JSC of billionaire Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao.

    Phu Long, which is under Sovico Holdings Company, is a big real estate company in Ho Chi Minh City. It has carried out major projects like DragonCity (33 hectares), DragonRiversideCity (3.1ha), DragonVillage (21.6ha), and developed HDBankTower and Sovico Phu Quoc.

    Before acquiring 50 per cent of Splendora’s shares from Posco E&C, at the end of 2017, Phu Long raised its charter capital from VND700 billion ($30.85 million) to VND3 trillion ($132.2 million).

    The deal marks the appearance of Phu Long on the Hanoi real estate market. This is also a good opportunity for Phu Long to acquire the 50 per cent left from Vinaconex because the corporation has been planning to divest from Splendora for a while now.

    Besides Splendora, Vinaconex has invested into various projects, such as a building complex at 97 in
    Lang Ha Street
    , 2B VinataTower at
    289 Khuat Duy Tien Street
    , a project at
    93 Lang Ha Street
    , and an apartment building at
    25 Nguyen Huy Tuong Street
    .

    At a recent roadshow, director general of Vinaconex said that Splendora could earn a total revenue of around VND1.2 trillion ($53 million) in 2018 with a profit of VND430 billion ($19 million). According to the plan, Splendora could gain VND2 trillion ($88.1 million) of revenue and VND500 billion ($22 million) of profit by 2020.

    Splendora is one of the largest-scale real estate projects in the west of Hanoi with its area of 264ha. An Khanh Joint Venture Company of Vinaconex and Posco E&C (now Phu Long JSC), is the project developer.

    Jollibee celebrates 100th store in Vietnam

    The third largest restaurant chain in the country marks a new milestone in Can Tho and solidifies commitment of spreading boundless joy in Vietnam.

    Jollibee, home of the world-famous Chickenjoy and the largest Asian food service company, celebrated today the grand opening of its 100th store in Vietnam in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho with an event that brought boundless joy to huge crowds of customers who love the restaurant’s renowned range of dishes.

    Vietnam is home to our largest Jollibee restaurant network outside of the Philippines, and as such, this country will always hold a special place in Jollibee’s history,” said Ernesto Tanmantiong, chief executive officer of Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC). “From our humble beginnings as a small ice cream parlor in the Philippines, it gives us joy that more and more people are coming to love Jollibee, helping us grow to become one of the biggest global food service companies to-date. This inspires us to stay true to our mission of spreading the joy of eating with everyone.”

    To celebrate this milestone, Jollibee is giving away 100 buckets of its famous Chickenjoy along with other freebies at its stores across the country to bring even more joy to Vietnamese families. Various special treats and surprises also welcomed customers at the 100th store grand opening in the Can Tho store.

    “Since opening the doors of our first store in Vietnam in 2005, it has been such an honour to see the nation embrace Jollibee,” said Dennis Flores, head of International Business at JFC. “For many, Jollibee is one of their first experiences of a memorable family bonding, whether by enjoying great food together or having a kiddie party. These, among many other moments, contribute to the boundless joy we have shared together with Vietnamese families over the years. As such, our business in Vietnam has been a core pillar of our international operations, and will continue to be one of our most important markets as we continue reaching more families around the world.”

    Jollibee opened its first branch in Co.op Mart Xa Lo Hanoi in 2005 and has been expanding steadily since then. Now it is one of the top three largest restaurant chains in the country as it stays true to its commitment of bringing joy to customers.

    “At Jollibee, we are dedicated to spreading the joy of eating to everyone. Now with 100 stores nationwide, we are even more ecstatic in bringing our unique brand of joy to families everywhere in the country—from the very south to the very north of Vietnam,” said Lam Hong Nguyen, general manager of Jollibee Vietnam.

    Vietnam runs a US$5.9 billion trade deficit with Southeast Asian countries

    The value of trade between Vietnam and the Southeast Asia region increased 18.8% to US$49.4 billion last year, of which exports accounted for US$21.7 billion (up 10.4%) and imports US$27.7 billion, up 14.9% on the previous year.

    According to the Asia-Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam is running a US$5.9 billion trade deficit with the region, a year-on-year decrease of 9.5%, due to petroleum imports.

    Vietnam’s primary sources of imported products were Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. Imports from Thailand jumped 16.3% to an estimated value of US$10.3 billion, with trade dominated by products such as machines, equipment and tools (US$944 million), petroleum (US$910 million), fruit and vegetables (US$866 million), plastic materials (US$639 million), computers and components (US$621 million), and chemicals (US$372 million).

    Meanwhile, imports from Malaysia surged by 10% to US$5.7 billion with key products being petroleum (US$1.18 billion), computers and electronic products (US$1.10 billion), machines, and tools and equipment (US$643 million).

    Imports from Singapore are estimated at US$5.3 billion, up 11.5% on the previous year, with petroleum imports accounting for 42% at US$2.2 billion.

    Vietnam also bought more than US$1 billion worth of products from Cambodia, a year-on-year rise of 41.4%, with key products being wood and timber goods, cashew nuts, and rubber.

    Aquatic export expected to hit 9 billion USD in 2018

    The Directorate of Fisheries has set a seafood export value of 9 billion USD for 2018, as heard at a conference held on January 16 by the sector to set out its 2018 tasks.

    The sector also targets a total yield of 7 – 7.5 million tonnes, of which 4 million tonnes come from aquatic farms. 

    At the function, Acting Director General of the Directorate of Fisheries Nguyen Ngoc Oai put forth a number of measures for the sector, including carrying out random inspections of input materials, building sets of standards for different areas, reforming administrative procedures, and fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Vietnam.

    Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said the 9-billion-USD goal is achievable, suggesting the sector focus on value-added increase and quantity reduction in aquatic exploitation.

    He said there is a need to develop the shrimp industry and seeks markets for Tra fish.

    He stressed between now and June 30, the sector ought to implement anti-IUU measures recommended by the EU in order to remove the warning under the European Commission’s “yellow card”.

    Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung, head of the Directorate’s Department for Science, Technology and International Cooperation, pointed to amendments of legal frameworks relating to fishing ports, inspections of fishing vessels, and international cooperation as potential solutions to the “yellow card”.

    Binh Duong province aims to attract 1.4 billion USD in FDI

    The southern province of Binh Duong has set a target of attracting 1.4 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2018, according to Tran Thanh Liem, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.

    Liem said that the province will prioritise partners with strong economic capacity and large economic groups, as well as projects using high technology friendly to the environment, and investment in industrial parks and clusters.

    He said that in order to continue attracting FDI, in the coming time, the province will focus on improving the investment environment, enhancing competitiveness and strengthening support for businesses.

    Binh Duong will also complete its infrastructure system such as transport, water supply, electricity and waste treatment system, while creating land for projects, developing human resources, added Liem.

    Currently, Binh Duong has 29 industrial parks with a total area of 12,790 hectares, of which, 26 have been operating. Under its master plan, by 2020, the province will have 34 industrial parks with a combined area of over 15,000 hectares.

    In 2017, the province lured over 2.5 billion USD of FDI, exceeding the yearly target by 79 percent, up 125 percent over 2016. Of which, 80 percent were disbursed, higher than the average figure of the previous years at 78 percent.

    Committee for state capital management to be founded in Q1

    The committee for state capital management at enterprises must be set up in the first quarter of 2018 so as to affirm its legal status, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has said.

    Hue, head of the Prime Minister’s working group on the committee establishment, made the remark at the first meeting of the group on January 16 after it had been formed under the PM’s decision one day earlier.

    Standing deputy head of the group Nguyen Hoang Anh is also Chairman of the committee for state capital management at enterprises. Other deputies are Minister-Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, and Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung.

    The working group also comprises five other members.

    At the meeting, participants looked into draft regulations on the working group’s operations, the issuance of a Government resolution on the committee establishment, and a Government decree on the committee’s structure, functions, and tasks.

    Deputy PM Hue asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to coordinate with other ministries to submit a draft Government resolution on the committee establishment for discussion at the Cabinet’s February meeting. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Planning and Investment needs to promptly build a draft Government decree on the committee’s structure, functions, and tasks.

    He noted while efforts must be made to set up the committee in the first quarter, ministries and sectors must continue speeding up the equitisation of and divestment from State-owned firms in 2018 as scheduled.

    Ministries must not abandon businesses immediately after the new committee takes over the firms, or the equitisation and divestment will slow down. Their responsibility for ailing projects remains intact, he added.

    Binh Duong province aims to attract 1.4 billion USD in FDI

    The southern province of Binh Duong has set a target of attracting 1.4 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2018, according to Tran Thanh Liem, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.

    Liem said that the province will prioritise partners with strong economic capacity and large economic groups, as well as projects using high technology friendly to the environment, and investment in industrial parks and clusters.

    He said that in order to continue attracting FDI, in the coming time, the province will focus on improving the investment environment, enhancing competitiveness and strengthening support for businesses.

    Binh Duong will also complete its infrastructure system such as transport, water supply, electricity and waste treatment system, while creating land for projects, developing human resources, added Liem.

    Currently, Binh Duong has 29 industrial parks with a total area of 12,790 hectares, of which, 26 have been operating. Under its master plan, by 2020, the province will have 34 industrial parks with a combined area of over 15,000 hectares.

    In 2017, the province lured over 2.5 billion USD of FDI, exceeding the yearly target by 79 percent, up 125 percent over 2016. Of which, 80 percent were disbursed, higher than the average figure of the previous years at 78 percent.

    Ho Chi Minh City to host Mekong Beauty Show in June

    Organic cosmetic products which are environmentally friendly will be introduced to consumers in sub-Mekong region at the Mekong Beauty Show scheduled to open at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre in Ho Chi Minh City on June 14.

    The three-day event is expected to lure more than 200 international and local cosmetics exhibitors, including those from the EU, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan.

    According to IMF Forecast, as an emerging market for cosmetic products, the sub-Mekong region with four countries of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar has experienced a growth of 30 percent in cosmetic product consumption in recent years.

    The show will serve as a venue to link businesses in the sub-Mekong region.

    At a press conference held on January 16 to introduce the show, Claudia Bonfiglioli, General Manager of Informa Beauty, said that Vietnam has huge potential to develop natural and organic cosmetic products. 

    However, the country still lacks programmes to connect enterprises in the sector, she noticed, adding that Informa Beauty has set up clubs for Vietnamese distributors and retailers and build connection with the Vietnam Essential Oil Association.

    Meanwhile, Bui Ngoc Quynh Giao, Brand Manager of Illahui Vietnam, underlined that Illahui has developed convenience stores in the country to sell its organic beauty products.

    Many local firms have paid due attention to branching out natural cosmetic products as they believe that the products will help the Vietnamese cosmetic sector to create breakthrough in the future.

    Vinacomin eyes payroll cut, revenue rise in 2018     

    Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung asked the Viet Nam National Coal and Minerals Group (Vinacomin) to focus on labour and environmental safety as it develops a specialised management model. He spoke at the conference held in Ha Noi on Tuesday to sum up Vinacomin’s operations in 2017 and launch tasks for 2018.

    “The group should continue to develop drastic solutions to ensure labour safety. It is also required to ensure environmental protection and consider it as a top requirement in production,” he said.

    Dung hailed Vinacomin’s contributions to the country’s development in 2017.

    He asked the group to strengthen discipline in exploitation and preventing trade fraud.

    He also highlighted the group’s shortcomings in exploiting unsuitable coals, which resulted in large inventory without meeting customers’ requirements.

    The application of science and technology in the exploitation and processing of the group’s main products has been undertaken slowly. Some investment projects have been delayed or ineffective, causing losses in State capital.

    The deputy PM said this year would determine the country’s success in completing the five-year socio-economic development plan in the 2016-20 period, creating heavy pressure for the coal and minerals sector.

    Vinacomin was also asked to enhance the mobilisation of social resources to attract investment into projects to upgrade current mines to increase coal output for the economy.

    Vinacomin should focus on restructuring its investments to create highly competitive products. This would help the group improve productivity, quality and effectiveness. It should also enhance its relationship with localities and partners both inside and outside the country.

    Vinacomin’s total revenue in 2017 reached VND109.2 trillion (US$4.8 billion), posting a 7.3 per cent year-on-year increase. Its profit was estimated at VND2.5 trillion, up VND1.5 trillion from 2016. It contributed VND13.4 trillion to the State budget.

    Dang Thanh Hai, Vinacomin’s general director, said the profit was partly contributed by its two aluminum plants producing 1.14 million tonnes. Revenue from the two plants was VND8.6 trillion. Nhan Co Aluminum Plant alone posted an output of 501,000 tonnes or 80 per cent of its designed capital.

    In 2017, Vinacomin’s coal consumption was estimated at 35.5 million tonnes. Of this, the local coal consumption was 34 million tonnes and the remaining was exported.

    Hai said by the end of last year, the group had 104,500 labourers, 6,000 people fewer than the previous year.

    Its labour productivity rose by 8.6 per cent from 2016 with the average salary of VND9.4 million per month.

    The group’s electricity output last year reached 9.38 billion kWh, increasing 10 per cent from the previous year.

    “Vinacomin will invest VND12.8 trillion in parent companies and its subsidiaries in 2018,” he said.

    He added that the group also aimed to produce and consume 36 million tonnes of coal this year including 34.1 million tonnes for local consumption and 1.9 million tonnes of exports.

    It targeted total revenue of VND113.8 trillion, profit of VND2 trillion and contributions of VND13.6 trillion to the State budget in 2018.

    The aluminum output was scheduled at 1.23 million tonnes.

    The group planned to reduce its payroll by some 4,500 people to bring its total staff to 100,000. 

    Construction achieves 8.7% growth rate in 2017: ministry

    Deputy Minister of Construction Lê Quang Hùng said 2017 has been a breakthrough year for the construction industry as it has met or surpassed almost all development targets.

    He was addressing a conference to review 2017 and set out new goals for 2018, with the attendance of Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.

    Hùng said in 2017 the industry witnessed a relatively high growth rate of 8.7 per cent.

    It contributed 0.54 per cent to the nation’s overall GDP growth rate of 6.81 per cent, ranking third among all industries in terms of contributions to GDP.

    The country’s urbanisation rate reached 37.5 per cent last year, increasing by 0.9 per cent year on year. The country currently has 813 urban areas, 11 more than in 2016.

    A report by the ministry said that last year, the average floor area per person increased by 0.6 sq.m compared to 2016, to reach 23.4 sq.m per person.

    A further 190,000 sq.m of social housing was added in urban areas, lifting the total area of social housing in urban areas to 3.49 million sq.m. About 220,000 accommodations for students were put into use.

    A total of 3,077 real estate projects are being implemented with investment capital of VNĐ3.3 quadrillion (US$144.9 billion), covering nearly 78,000 ha.

    Of these, about 300 projects are big projects, each of which has total investment of over VNĐ3 trillion and provide over 1,500 apartments.

    On tourism property, as of July 2017, there were 77 projects providing 16,437 hotel rooms, 11,174 villas and 12,056 condotels developed or being developed.

    Without revealing the number of condotels which had been sold to secondary investors, the deputy minister warned about the “hot” development of this type of property.

    "The supply of condotels has been abundant and more measures are needed to control it in the future," Hùng said.

    Hùng said some shortcomings had still not been solved during the past year, including rampant construction violations, which in some cases kept occurring even after punishments were handed out.

    The structure of products in the real estate market was still a problem, with an abundance of high-end apartments and deficiency of low-cost housing.

    He also admitted the slow pace of renewing old apartment buildings.

    Currently there are about 2,500 old apartment buildings nationwide, most of which were built before 1994. Of these, 600 buildings have seriously deteriorated and pose dangers to residents.

    The implementation of some social housing programmes shared the same fate due to the ending of the VNĐ30 trillion housing stimulus package, while the capital allocated to support social housing projects in the 2016-2020 mid-term public investment plan was not much.

    In 2018, the ministry will implement a project to conduct assessment and forecasting work, based on which it would propose solutions and policies to ensure the healthy and stable development of the real estate market.

    The ministry will also work to devise a project on economic security in the housing and real estate market to ensure social welfare and complete a database on the housing and real estate market.

    Another major goal will be cooperating with related ministries and agencies to solve difficulties in State budget allocation to effectively implement major housing projects.  

    Looking to the coming year, Prime Minister Phúc demanded the construction authorities decisively carry out solutions, aiming to achieve an annual growth rate of 9.2 per cent.

    “The ministry should increase the proportion of private investment, especially to encourage the public private partnership (PPP) model in order to utilise sufficient resources as well as improve the constructions’ quality,” Phúc said.

    More steps needed to develop low-cost housing: PM

    The Ministry of Construction should take more effective steps to support the development of low-cost housing and build an information system about housing and property market to improve transparency, management and planning, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

    PM Phuc made the remarks during a conference held by the Ministry of Construction in Hanoi on January 16 to review the sector’s performances last year and discuss plans for 2018.

    The PM spoke highly of the sector’s development and the ministry’s management of the local property market in 2017. 

    He also pointed out shortcomings of the sector last year, notably the poor quality of several construction planning schemes that had short-term vision and were not suitable to real-life situations; lack of inspections of at-risk and old buildings in urban areas; and an over-supply of luxury apartments and a shortage of low-end and mid-end housing projects.

    The PM urged the ministry to make more efforts this year to achieve a 9.2-percent growth and to complete all basic infrastructure projects by 2020.

    The sector must attract more private investments, particularly under the Public-Private Partner form, to improve the projects’ quality and efficiency; and at the same time, foster the use of advanced technologies to increase productivity in the context of the fourth industrial revolution.

    According to reports by the Ministry of Construction, the construction sector ranks third among the largest contributors to Vietnam’s GDP growth of 6.81 percent in 2017.

    The construction industry had a successful year in 2017 with most figures exceeding development targets, Deputy Minister of Construction Le Quang Hung said, noting that the industry expanded by 8.7 percent in 2017.

    The rate of urbanization was estimated at 37.5 percent, 0.9 percent higher than 2016 and now the country has 813 cities, up 11 cities year on year, he noted.

    The floor area per person averaged 23.4 sq.m last year, up 0.6 sq.m year on year, the Ministry of Construction reported. The country constructed a further 0.19 million sq.m of low-cost housing in urban areas, bringing the total area of urban low-cost housing to 3.49 million sq.m.

    In 2017, five more housing projects for low-income earners and workers at industrial parks were put into use, providing 1,225 apartments. Sixteen other projects are underway, expected to supply 5,200 apartments.

    At the event, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc awarded the Ministry of Construction and its subordinate units Labour Orders in recognition for their great performances.

    Direct flight launched between Chongqing (China) and Hanoi

    China-based Chongqing Airlines on January 16 launched a direct service connecting Chongqing, a major city in southwest China, and Hanoi.

    The flight departs from Chongqing at 9:15 am (local time) on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and returns from Hanoi at 14:45 pm (local time) the same day.

    Chongqing Airlines uses Airbus 320 aircraft for the direct route, expecting to welcome on board an average of 150 passengers each flight.

    Founded in 2007, Chongqing Airlines operates domestic passenger services in mainland China. It is jointly owned by China Southern Airlines and Chongqing Municipal Development and Investment Company.

    In recent years, the airline has expanded its services overseas with flights connecting Chongqing and major cities in the region, including Bangkok, Phuket (Thailand) and Singapore.

    Japanese Mitsui encouraged to invest in Vietnam’s infrastructure

    Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has suggested the Mitsui Company invest in infrastructure construction in Vietnam while meeting with a visiting executive of the Japanese group in Hanoi on January 16.

    During his visit to Vietnam, Mitsui Chief Executive Officer and President Tasuo Yasunaga, had working sessions with the company’s Vietnamese partners, including the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), on the Block B gas projects and cooperation in liquefied natural gas (LNG).

    The Deputy PM highlighted the growing extensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and Japan, reflected by the political trust between senior leaders, and fruitful cooperation between businesses in economics, trade and investment.

    Over the past time, Japanese investment in Vietnam has generated positive benefits for both sides, Dung said.

    He hailed the cooperation between the Japanese firm and its partners in developing the Block B gas projects, affirming that the projects play an important part in ensuring national energy security.

    For his part, the Mitsui executive reiterated that the Block B gas projects are among the company’s key cooperation agenda, pledging that the firm will work closely with PetroVietnam to accelerate the projects.

    He also highlighted the huge support the Government, ministries and sectors of Vietnam have provided for Japanese firms on the basis of the extensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

    Mitsui has great interest in transport infrastructure development, energy and health care in Vietnam, he added.

    Positive signs for Vietnam's rice exports

    Vietnam’s rice export industry has a bright future with good contracts after having a successful year. 

    Vietnam has exported rice to 132 markets in the world and China remains Vietnam's biggest buyers.

    Vietnam exported over 570,000 tonnes of rice last December, a 38.6% increase compared to the same period in 2016. Local firms signed contracts to export 6.4 million tonnes of rice, of which 5.8 million was exported in 2017. The exports in the first eleven months of 2017 reached 5.52 million tonnes worth USD2.49bn, up 24.1% and 24.9%, respectively, compared to same period the previous year. It also exceeded the 5 million tonnes target set in early 2017.

    Some 764,000 tonnes of rice remains in the inventory. 209,000 tonnes of which belong to Vietnam Southern Food Corporation, Vietnam Northern Food Corporation has 107,000 tonnes and the rest belong to other companies in the Vietnam Food Association.

    The Indonesian Bureau of Logistics announced on January 15 that it will start a bidding to import 500,000 tonnes of rice to Indonesia conducted under a government to public deal for both local and foreign firms. The rice must be harvested in less than six months and must be delivered by Feburary28.

    According to the Jakarta Post, Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita said Indonesia would import rice from Vietnam and Thailand to ease local high prices.

    According to experts, rice supplies in many countries such as Malaysia, Philippines and South Korea fell because of climate change. Rice exports will continue to grow thanks to the expansion to other markets including Bangladesh and Iraq in 2017. Dang Thi Lien, director of Long An Food Stuff Company, said there were many contracts from China and Philippines and the rice prices also increased to USD20 or USD50 per tonne.

    Nguyen Thanh Long, director of Gao Viet Company, also think that rice exports will get better in the first quarter of 2018 if they have enough supply. The harvest time in several countries like Pakistan and Myanmar already passed while Thailand may harvest late by a month.

    However, local firms still need to improve to meet food hygiene and safety requirements and better strategies to compete with India or Pakistan in African markets.

    TPBank receives PCI DSS 3.2 certification     

    Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) in Ha Noi received the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) certification on Tuesday.

    PCI DSS, the latest version 3.2 from the US ControlCase, is a comprehensive set of requirements for enhancing cardholder data security around the storage and handling of a customer’s credit card information.

    TPBank met with 12 strict requirements relating to information safety policies, IT infrastructure and data processing to ensure safety for card information. With the high security, the bank’s customers can be protected when using card services.

    Nguyen Hung, TPBank’s general director, said information security has been the most important factor for banks in the digital area. “This showed the bank’s interest and serious investment in ensuring system security,” Hung said.

    Suresh Dadlani, ControlCase’s managing director, said he valued the implementation of PCI DSS at TPBank. He forecast that the bank would continue to see rapid growth in digital banking services based on the security system.

    Earlier, TPBank also co-operated with different card organisations, such as Visa to develop contactless TPBank Visa Paywave cards, and with Napas to issue domestic chip cards. It was the first bank in Viet Nam to introduce cards with two latest technologies in the market.

    Thank to the IT foundation, TPBank has been one of the banks with a strong growth in new cardholders.

    Last year, it issued hundreds of thousands of new cards nationwide.

    PCI DSS standard was established by the Standards Council of Security for payment cards, including the founders: Visa, MasterCard, American Express (AMEX), Discover Financial Services and JCB International. PCI DSS standard was developed to help organisations protect card payment data against fraud and illegal data usage. 

    VN effectively uses ODA from South Korea: KOICA     

    Viet Nam is one of the countries that has effectively used the official development assistance (ODA) provided by South Korea over the past few years.

    This was revealed by Chairwoman of the Korea International Co-operation Agency (KOICA) Lee Mi-kyung, at a meeting with head of the Central Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh on Tuesday.

    Binh emphasised that Korea is one of the most important economic partners of Viet Nam, the largest foreign investor with more than US$50 billion and the fourth largest trading partner.

    The Viet Nam–Korea Free Trade Agreement, which came into force on December 20, 2015, has created a new impetus for the achievement of the goal of increasing bilateral trade between the two countries to $100 billion by 2020.

    Appreciating the effective co-operation of the government of Korea and KOICA in contributing to the overall development of relations between the two countries, Binh asked the Korean government, including KOICA, to continue to expand its co-operation with Viet Nam in all areas, especially vocational training and management capacity projects, in order to support the country in sustainable development and to implement the five-year socio-economic development plan in the 2016-20 period.

    Binh also asked South Korea to share its experiences with Viet Nam over financial and capital market development, industrial development, and tax and fiscal policies. Meanwhile, Mi-kyung affirmed that the agency would continue to support Viet Nam in the future to contribute to its socio-economic development and promote further co-operation between the two countries. 

    Vietnam growing as export destination for Republic of Korea

    Exports of the Republic of Korea (RoK) to Vietnam increased impressively in 2017, making its trade surplus with the Southeast Asian country surpassing that with the United States.

    Statistics of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) showed that last year, the RoK exported 47.7 billion USD worth of products to Vietnam, accounting for 8.3 percent of the country’s total outbound shipments.

    The increase is impressive compared with three years ago when Vietnam-bound shipments accounted for only 3.9 percent of the RoK’s exports.

    Vietnam entered the group of the RoK's top 10 export countries for the first time in 2009 with a total export turnover of 7.1 billion USD. In 2015, it ranked third after surpassing Japan

    The trade surplus with Vietnam has subsequently increased. After exceeding 10 billion USD in 2012, the surplus expanded to 20 billion USD in 2016 and to 31.6 billion USD last year, the data showed. Meanwhile, the figure for 2017 is more than the 17.9 billion USD with the US, KITA data showed.

    Trade analysts attributed the growth to a bilateral free trade agreement which came into effect from December 2015. Big name companies like Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have been setting up their production bases in Vietnam, also boosting the trade volume between the two countries.

    Ministry urged to design special mechanisms for north-south highway

    Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung asked the Transport Ministry to soon submit special mechanisms for the north-south highway project during a meeting to launch the sector’s activities for 2018. 

    Dung lauded the ministry for completing the task on building legal documents and goals regarding transport, traffic safety, transport infrastructure and administrative reform in 2017. 

    He required the ministry to continue working to reduce traffic accidents which still claim over 8,000 lives per year. 

    Another issue of concern is the development gap among different transportation modes, with the slow development of railways and highways putting pressure on national routes and reducing economic competitiveness, the Deputy PM said. 

    He also underlined the shortcomings of BOT projects which caused public disorder recently and assigned the ministry to review legal regulations in the field. 

    At the same time, the ministry should review service costs in airports and tighten the control of overload vehicles. 

    Transport Minister Nguyen Van The said the sector will tighten discipline in personnel work and raise the sense of responsibility of officials to fulfil its tasks.

    Phu Tho province looks to boost exports

    The northern province of Phu Tho has outlined plans to bolster exports in 2018 by focusing on trade promotion and building trademarks for local staples, said Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Manh Hung.

    The department will mobilise local enterprises to renovate their production lines to improve competitive capacity, he said.

    Significant efforts will be channeled into reform of administrative procedures and the implementation of guidelines of ministries, sectors and the province to remove bottlenecks for business and production.

    The province targets to earn 1.3 billion USD in export revenue in 2018.

    Last year, Phu Tho’s export value rose 36.8 percent year on year to 1.3 billion USD. This was the second time that the province’s export revenue surpassing 1 billion USD. Of the total amount, 1.1 billion USD was contributed by foreign-invested companies.

    Strong growth was seen in the shipments of garment and textiles, sport shoes, plastic and processed tea. 

    The US, the EU, ASEAN, Japan and the Republic of Korea remained Phu Tho’s key export markets.

    Local enterprises worked to seek trade partners, popularise products whie expanding production and improve product quality.

    TH Group begins construction of hi-tech milch cow farm in Phu Yen

    Vietnam’s TH Group, famous for its TH True Milk brand, held a ground-breaking ceremony in the south central province of Phu Yen on January 18 for a high-tech milch cow and milk processing complex. 

    Lying in Son Dinh commune, the mountainous district of Son Hoa, the project will raise 5,000 milch cows, build materials zones and produce around 72 tonnes of fresh milk per day in the first stage with a total investment of 1.151 trillion VND (51.15 million USD). 

    During the second stage, the cow herd will increase to 20,000 heads at a combined cost of 4.570 trillion VND. 

    Apart from more than 78 ha of land used for farms, the group will partner with local residents to build feed materials zone on a site of roughly 377ha, mostly corn and grass for cows.

    The milk processing plant is due to be built in An My commune, Tuy An district. 

    Thai Huong, TH Group founder, said the complex uses milch cow management technology of Israel, epidemics control system of New Zealand and water and waste treatment technology of Japan and the Netherlands

    Once operational in early 2019, the project will raise income for thousands of workers in the locality.

    VNN


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  • 01/20/18--19:38: Article 0
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 20/1


    Vietnam vows to remove investment hurdles with Laos


    Vietnam vows to remove investment hurdles with Laos, Vietnam, Mitsubishi Motors to develop electric vehicles, A lot of meat, few veggies for Tet, US door opens for Viet Nam powder milk, Phu Yen calls for investment in key projects 
      
    Removing all obstacles towards Vietnamese investments in Laos and the two countries’ joint projects will be among Vietnam’s priorities in further riveting co-operation with its western neighbour this year.

    At a meeting organised a few days ago between the government and Vietnam-Laos Co-operation Committee, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stated that Vietnam will further its bilateral investment co-operation with Laos this year, with a focus on implementing co-operation projects about seaports, electricity, and infrastructure.

    Focus will also be placed on boosting the implementation of delayed Vietnamese investment projects in Laos.

    “It is necessary to review some projects in Laos so that their construction can be boosted with the highest responsibility. All enterprises and investors failing to implement the projects effectively must be strictly punished,” Phuc said.

    During his bilateral meeting with his Lao counterpart Thoongloun Sisoulith in Cambodia more than one week ago, Phuc committed that Vietnam will create the most favourable conditions for Laos to exploit  Vung Ang seaport.

    A few years ago, the two countries inked an agreement on using this seaport, with the 2011 establishment of Lao-Viet International Port JSC in charge of using the port’s wharves 1, 2, and 3 to transport goods from the port to Laos.

    Wharves 1 and 2 have become operational in 2001 and 2010. Meanwhile, wharf 3 is under construction by this company and is expected to be put in operation in 2019.

    Besides, wharves 4, 5, and 6 will also be constructed in the near future by local and foreign firms.

    According to a document on Vietnam’s investments in Laos sent to VIR by the Department of Foreign Economic Relations (DFER) under Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), Vietnam currently has 276 valid investment projects in Laos, registered at about $5 billion, $1.6 billion of which has been disbursed. If loans from Vietnam’s banks are taken into account, the disbursed sum is $1.8 billion. Laos is Vietnam’s biggest overseas investment destination.

    Vietnam’s investments in Laos are focused largely on the hydropower sector, with the total capital of $1.47 billion, or 29.4 per cent of Vietnam’s total investments in Laos, followed by the services and infrastructure sector (over $1 billion or 20 per cent), the mining sector ($970 million or 19.38 per cent), the agri-forestry sector ($903.5 million or 18 per cent), and other sectors like property, finance, and banking.

    According to statistics from Laos, in the hydropower sector, Laos have inked memoranda of understanding with Vietnamese firms to implement 15 projects in Laos, with the total designed capacity of over 3,000 megawatts (MW), and the total investment capital of about $5.4 billion.

    Of this, MPI has granted overseas investment licences to six projects with the total capacity of 1,008MW and total capital of $1.47 billion, including Sekaman 1 (290MW), Sekaman 3 (250MW), Nam Cong 2 and 3 (total 110MW), Se Kong 3A and 3B (total 205MW), and Nam Mo (120 MW).

    However, “Reviewing results showed that many [hydropower projects] have failed to be implemented as per the investors’ commitments to the Lao government. Some projects’ MoUs have been extended many times, while the MoUs of some projects have passed their deadlines and have been revoked by the Lao government (such as Se Kong 3A and 3B, and Nam Mo),” said the document.

    In another case, Vietnam’s biggest Laos-based investment project which is to exploit and process potassium salt, begun construction last year. The $522.5-million project, invested by Vietnam National Chemical Group, will use potassium salt as material to produce potassium fertiliser. However, only 30 per cent of the plant’s construction has been completed, with over $74 million disbursed.

    “The project is faced with difficulties due to the plummeting price of potassium in the world market, falling from $480 to only $250 per tonne, while there is no sign of it bouncing back. This has made the project ineffective and the investor cannot mobilise capital for further implementation,” said the document. “The Vietnamese government and the prime minister have organised many meetings with ministries and Vinachem to alleviate the project’s difficulties.”

    Lao firms to display products in HCM City for first time

    A large-scale trade event introducing products of Lao businesses, the first of its kind, will be held in Ho Chi Minh City from January 24-28, said a Lao official.

    Somxay Sanam Oune, Lao Consul General in HCM City, said nearly 140 products made by Lao enterprises will be displayed at 100 booths, including specialties, processed food, medicinal herbs and handicrafts, among others.

    The Lao diplomat stressed that Lao companies consider Vietnam and HCM City in particular as an important market, and they expected that trade promotion and good exchange activities will be held more regularly in the coming time.

    Pham Thiet Hoa, Director of the HCM City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre, said the event is of great significance, helping to promote trade and bring Lao products closer to Vietnamese customers.

    To facilitate trade exchanges between Vietnamese and Lao businesses, HCM City-based export firms will also showcase their products at 40 pavilions, he added.

    In 2017, two-way trade exceeded 900 million USD, a rise of 10 percent against the previous year. The two countries are striving to bring the bilateral trade turnover to 4 billion USD by 2020.

    Seminar promotes Vietnam-India trade ties

    A seminar introducing cooperation potential between Vietnam and India in the domains of agriculture and processed food was organised on January 18 as part of the ongoing Global Food & Beverage Show of India in Uttar Pradesh, India.

    The event saw the participation of representatives from management agencies and food companies, and those specialising in exporting and importing ago-aquaculture products and processed food from the two countries.

    Addressing the event, Santosh Kumar Sarangi from India’s Ministry of Industry and Trade highlighted the recent impressive growth in two-way trade, and suddenly development of cooperation in processed food between the two nations. 

    Nguyen Le Thanh from the Vietnamese Embassy in India thanked the two countries’ ministries of industry and trade for organising the event, stressing that the economic and trade bond between the two countries has recorded fruitful results apart from their diplomatic and defence ties. 

    Meanwhile, Do Huu Huy from the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade proposed measures to expand bilateral trade, emphasising the need to forge exchange of visits, information sharing, and organisation of trade fairs.

    According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Vietnam-India trade hit 7.63 billion USD in 2017, up 41 percent year-on-year, and five times higher than that of 2007. 

    Vietnam imports aquatic products, vegetables and animal feed from India while exporting coffee, pepper, cashew nut and seafood to the Southern Asia country.

    Vietnam’s export turnover to India surged by 21 times, from 180 million USD in 2007 to 3.76 billion USD in 2017. 

    In the framework of the Show, a number of programmes were also arranged to introduce opportunities and potential for the development of food and beverages industry in India.

    Events to promote exchange with India exporters were included, making it easy for participants to seek partners and business opportunities. 

    Food and beverages industry is one of the important sectors that India gives priority to. The country is now the world leading producer of many agricultural commodities such as milk, rice, wheat, tea, cane sugar and spice. 

    India’s food processing industry values at 258 billion USD, and the country’s food market attracted 6.82 billion USD in foreign direct investment in the period 2000-2016. India’s agricultural product and food export is forecast to reach 70 billion USD in 2020. 

    SCIC’s pre-tax profit rises 33 percent

    State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) expects to make a pre-tax profit of 6.6 trillion VND (290.5 million USD) in 2017, posting a 33 percent year-on-year increase.

    The corporation said at a meeting on January 17 in Hanoi that it posted revenue of 7.38 trillion VND and after-tax profit of 6.3 trillion VND, up 36 percent from the set targets.

    Last year, it successfully sold its stakes in 38 firms, including total share sales at 36 units and a part of shares at two others. SCIC collected 932 billion VND from its divestments, 2.2 times higher than their cost prices.

    By selling a 5.4 percent stake in Vietnam Dairy Product JSC (Vinamilk), which was directly paid to the State budget, SCIC collected 21.2 trillion VND, which was 19.1 times higher than cost prices.

    So far, the corporation has sold State capital in 986 companies since its establishment in 2005, collecting 28 trillion VND, 3.5 times higher than cost prices.

    In November, SCIC successfully sold its 48.3 million shares of Vinamilk, equal to 3.33 percent of the dairy firm’s capital, to Singaporean firm Jardine Cycle & Carriage for 186,000 VND per share in a deal worth a total of 9 trillion VND.

    By the end of last year, SCIC was managing State capital worth 19.1 trillion VND in book value at 133 enterprises. SCIC plans to step up the handover of State capital ownership, strengthen management and continue restructuring as well as speed up the sale of State capital. Its financial investment activities will also be increased.

    Nguyen Chi Thanh, SCIC’s Deputy General Director, said SCIC met the set targets. It was not in a hurry to sell stakes in State-owned capital in 2017 as it forecast the VN-Index would be higher this year.

    “We keep assets to sell them when the VN-Index increases, thus creating higher value for divestments,” Thanh said.

    Vietnam, Mitsubishi Motors to develop electric vehicles

    The Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Industry Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade to conduct a joint research for electric vehicles development in the Southeast Asian country.

    Under the agreement, the Japanese group will cooperate with Vietnam to study the effective use of electric vehicles as well as policies and programmes to support the speedy adoption of sustainable automotive technology according to Japanese automakers.

    Director of the Industry Agency Truong Thanh Hoai said the joint research creates an important milestone in promoting the transition of a low carbon economy in Vietnam.

    Kozo Shiraji, Mitsubishi Motors’ Executive Vice President, said the company looks forward to sharing its pioneering expertise in electric vehicles and exploring how the government policy can support the adoption of this transformative technology.

    HCM City aims to attract investment in support industry, high technology

    Export processing zones and industrial parks in Ho Chi Minh City will prioritise attracting investment in the support industry and high technology, officials of the Ho Chi Minh City Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority (HEPZA) told the media on January 18.

    Nguyen Thi Lan Huong from the authority said that in 2018, HEPZA targets 900 million USD in investment, of which 60 percent is for the support industry and essential industries.

    Huong said that that in the coming years, local export processing zones and industrial parks will focus on transforming industrial structure, improving growth quality and competitiveness of the city’s economy.

    She also clarified four prioritised sectors for investment, namely mechanics-manufacturing, electricity-information technology, pharmaceutical chemistry-rubber and food processing.

    Meanwhile, Dao Xuan Duc, HEPZA Vice Director said that in order to lure businesses to local export processing zones and industrial parks, the authority will continue increasing activities to support new businesses, including cutting administrative procedures and removing obstacles facing them. The authority will also help connect businesses in the zones with enterprises in the city.

    HEPZA will also complete technical and social infrastructure systems in export processing zones and industrial parks to meet the requirements of businesses and workers.

    In 2017, HEPZA lured 840 million USD of investment, reaching 168 percent of the set target. As of the end of 2017, local export processing zones and industrial parks hosted 1,495 valid projects worth nearly 10 billion USD.

    Vietnam promotes prosperous growth, sustainable environment

    Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung suggested completing mechanisms to facilitate smooth operation of the market economy, creating equal business environment and pushing the restructuring process in state owned enterprises as solutions to achieve prosperous growth and sustainable environment in Vietnam.

    He was speaking at the Vietnam Sustainability Forum 2018 which was held in Hanoi on January 18.

    Vietnam should prioritise renovation, develop key economic zones to improve regional economic efficiency while ensuring equality and social integration and taking measures to respond to climate change, he stated.

    The Doi Moi (Reform) in the past three decades has created a facelift for the Vietnamese economy, Dung said, given that local livelihoods have been improved and Vietnam has become a middle-income nation.

    Despite regional and global economic challenges, Vietnam enjoyed an impressive economic growth of 6.81 percent in 2017, higher than the National Assembly’s set target and the highest level ever recorded in ten years.

    Thanks to the country’s efforts to shake up the economy, renew growth model and improve the business climate, Vietnam attracted 35.88 billion USD in foreign direct investment and its total import-export turnover reached 425 billion USD, Dung stressed. He underlined that the nation moved up 14 places to rank 68th  among 190 countries in the 15th edition of the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 Report themed “Reforming to Create Jobs”.

    However, economic experts said that daunting challenges for Vietnamese economy include low GDP per capita, total-factor productivity (TFP) falling short of expectations, high risks of middle income trap, and impacts of climate change, the 4th industrial revolution and global economic integration.

    Andress Schfeicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills, said that education and skills are important for Vietnam’s sustainable development in the context of strong industrial revolution.

    Meanwhile, Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Country Director for Vietnam suggested that Vietnam draw up solutions to support vulnerable people to ensure that no one is left behind.

    Hai Duong gets new animal feed plant

         

    Hai Duong Haid Company Limited, member of Singapore’s Haid Group, inaugurated an animal feed plant on Thursday at Dai An industrial extension zone in the northern province of Hai Duong.

    This is a foreign direct investment (FDI) project by Haid Group with a total investment of US$15 million.

    The factory is located on a 3.5ha area and started operations at the end of 2017. It specialises in producing and trading of animal feed, poultry and aquatic feed with an output of 500,000 tonnes every year.

    Assessing the role of the project, Nguyen Duong Thai, chairman of Hai Duong People’s Committee, confirmed that the project was completed within a year. He also hoped that the success of this project would motivate more investors from Singapore to invest in the province.

    Haid Group specialises in research and supply of agricultural products such as fish feed, animal feed and animal protection products. So far, the total feed production of the group has been nine million tonnes in a year.

    Haid Group has more than 200 companies worldwide.

    To ensure continuous development, the group has invested in six factories in Viet Nam. These are located in Dong Nai, Nha Trang City of Khanh Hoa Province, Long An, Binh Duong and Hai Duong. These factories manufacture a variety of feeds for aquaculture, breeding and trading of high-quality fish and shrimp, as well as for farming and trading of cattle and poultry. 

    A lot of meat, few veggies for Tet     

    The domestic market is forecast to bear an oversupply of pork, cattle and poultry meats for the Tet festival in 2018, while it may lack vegetables in some places if the weather is cold and unusually frosty.

    According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the price of live hogs in the country has recently fluctuated between VND28,000-34,000 per kilo.

    However, Nguyen Xuan Duong, deputy director of the MARD’s Department of Livestock Production, said the supply of pork this year is estimated to be plentiful enough to meet demand on the domestic market. Therefore, ahead of the Lunar New Year festival this year, there will not be a sudden increase in price of pork. Besides the plentiful supply, consumers will use high-quality pork products.

    Other animal products, such as chicken, duck and other kinds of poultry, are also oversupplied. The market may lack eggs, however, due to high demand during Tet. Three years ago, there was a shortage of eggs due to strong demand, reported baotintuc.vn.

    Meanwhile, Nguyen Huy Cuong, deputy director of the Department of Crop Production (MARD), said that if the weather is normal, the market will have plentiful green vegetables. However, if the northern mountainous area is hit by cold spells and frost, the market will lack vegetables in some parts of the country.

    The weather is good for the development of fruit products, so there is expected to be enough supply on the domestic market for the Tet festival, Cuong said.

    According to the ministry, food prices are forecasted to increase slightly due to high demand during the Tet holiday, but the market will not see a big change because of the stability in the food supply. Domestic rice supply will completely meet the local demand during the Lunar New Year 2018, which will fall on February 14.

    Sugar prices are stable despite increasing demand on sugar for producing confectionery and beverages products. There is enough salt for the local demand even though salt output decreased due to storms.

    Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said the MARD should closely follow the market to properly regulate the supply and demand of agricultural commodities.

    At present, the MARD and relevant offices, including the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department, have enhanced inspection and control of food quality, hygiene and safety as well as veterinary hygiene to ensure the supply and quality of farming products for domestic consumption and exports, especially during the upcoming Lunar New Year. 

    US door opens for Viet Nam powder milk     

    Viet Nam Nutrition Food JSC (Nutifood) signed a contract with Delori Foods International in HCM City on Thursday to export its milk products to the US.

    It was the first time Viet Nam’s milk powder have entered such a demanding market, thanks to its high quality and competitive prices.

    Under the contract, Delori will distribute high quality PediaPlus dissolved milk powder for malnourished children to more than 300 supermarkets in California.

    NutiFood had to meet the strict requirements of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to receive an import licence.

    Nutifood’s plants were also independently tested by Michelson Laboratories to make sure it met export conditions.

    Tran Thanh Hai, CEO of Nutifood, said it had taken the company more than a year to finish negotiations with Delori and fully comply with the FDA.

    He said the FDA carried out many strict check-ups on Nutifood’s plants.

    “We are proud to become one of the first Vietnamese firms conquering the market,” he said.

    The company’s export revenue to the US market in the first year is expected to reach US$20 million and increase by $100 million each year over the next five years.

    Its revenue in the local market is VND10 trillion (US$) a year.

    Delori intends to secure widespread distribution for its products in supermarkets across the US.

    Ta Hoang Linh, director of the Department for the Europe and America Markets under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said Viet Nam exported many key products to the US.

    However, they were traditional products, such as garments and textiles, timber furniture, machines and electronic equipment.

    Meanwhile, food and items relating to people’s health have accounted for a small portion of Viet Nam’s export structure.

    Linh said Viet Nam took twelfth place in US exports and was twenty seventh among countries importing from the US. It is the sixteenth largest trade partner of the US.

    Tran Quang Trung, chairman of Viet Nam Milk Association, said Viet Nam hoped to export milk products worth $120-130 million a year.

    However, with the strong investment of local companies in 2017, the turnover reached $300 million.

    The exports were mainly yogurt and liquid milk to the Middle East, Myanmar and Cambodia.

    Vietnamese firms have also promoted their investments in world dairy farms to provide milk products to both Viet Nam and foreign markets. 

    HDBank signs MoneyGram deal for funds transfer     

    HDBank has signed up MoneyGram, a global provider of money transfer and payment services, to provide its customers with quick and easy international money transfer services.

    Customers can use instant money transfer services, which takes only 10 minutes, to send money to 190 countries and territories around the world at reasonable cost.

    The co-operation is expected to bring a lot of add-ons and important services for both sides.

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, Rajendar Dhorkay, MoneyGram’s regional director for Malaysia, Brunei and Indochina, said: “MoneyGram expects to see continued growth in Viet Nam and the larger Asia region due to the increased demand for money transfer services as more people pursue work and educational opportunities outside of Viet Nam.

    “HDBank is a trusted and service-oriented name for Vietnamese and we are happy to be associated with one of the top banks in Viet Nam.

    “We actively work with our agents in other countries to develop new and tailor-fit products.

    “I am very excited to be here to witness the launch and we look forward to be able to service our Vietnamese receivers and Vietnamese senders living and working abroad."

    As one of the largest banks in the country, HDBank regularly rolls out new products and services in co-operation with many major foreign partners to offer the best experiences as well as facilities to customers. 

    New tourism project launched in Phu Yen     

    The construction on a resort and eco-tourism complex was launched in the central coastal province of Phu Yen on Thursday.

    The HCM City-based Tan Viet An House Trading and Investment Joint Stock Company has total investment of VND560 billion (US$24 million) in the complex.

    Covering an area of 9.2 hectares in Tuy Hoa City, the Viet Beach project includes an eight-floor hotel, 27 villas, 106 bungalows and some entertainment facilities such as a gymnasium and club, swimming pool, children’s playground and restaurants.

    Tran Duy Dung, general director of the company, said that the project is scheduled to be completed in two years.

    It is expected to create jobs for about 450 local workers. 

    GELEX lists on HOSE

    The HCM Stock Exchange (HOSE) has announced the listing and trading of shares in Vietnam Electric Equipment Joint Stock Corporation’s (GELEX).

    Accordingly, GELEX has listed 266.8 million shares, under the stock code GEX at a face value of VND10,000 (US$0.44) per share.

    Before January 15, GELEX’s shares were traded on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) of the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX) at VND28,200 ($1.25) per share.

    In 2017, GELEX approved a plan to issue VND500 billion ($22 million) worth of convertible bonds with maturities of up to three years.

    Between 2015 and 2017, the company’s annual before-tax profit increased by 63.5 per cent, with industrial production accounting for 70 per cent of its sales.

    Its current total charter capital is well over VND7.5 trillion ($333 million).

    Nguyen Van Tuan, GELEX’s chairman, said that the company’s listing on HOSE was an important milestone in its development, helping to increase its liquidity for the benefits of shareholders and investors.

    GELEX hopes to improve its production capacity and sustainable development in the fields of infrastructure and logistics as well, aiming for a 2018 before-tax profit of VND1.6 trillion.

    Tuan expects the company to enhance its levels of transparency, management standards and branding to attract more capital for business investment.

    Le Thi Tuyet Hang, HOSE representative, agreed and said that after listing, GELEX would strictly implement the exchange’s regulations on disclosure of information transparency to investors and the authorities. 

    Rong Viet Securities reports $6m profit     

    Rong Viet Securities on Thursday announced it achieved pre-tax profits of VND138 billion (US$6 million) for 2017, a 125 per cent rise from the previous year.

    Revenues rose to VND366 billion ($16 million), 42 per cent from securities services, a 32 per cent jump year-on-year.

    Brokerage activities contributed more than 23 per cent; the rest came from proprietary investment and was up 98 per cent compared to previous year.

    It said its capital had been increased to VND910 billion ($40 million) last year, and would rise to VND1 trillion ($44 million) through a bonus issue next April.

    The company plans to keep looking for strategic partners to increase its capital to VND1.2-1.3 trillion ($52-57 million).

    This year, it will table at the shareholders meeting a proposal for employee stock ownership of 3 per cent of the new capital.

    Rong Viet Securities is one of the top 15 securities companies in Viet Nam.

    It was established in 2006.

    Ba Huân Company to diversify into processed foods

    Ba Huân Company, which supplies fresh products and is well-known for its safe eggs in the southern region, has said that this year it will focus on processed items to offer customers more choices.

    Phạm Thanh Hùng, its deputy general director in HCM City, said: “We will also attach special importance to connecting scientists and consumer clubs through seminars to apprise consumers about nutrition, food safety and use of technology in food production.”

    This is aimed at helping “raise food safety awareness most efficiently,” he said.

    The company has invested over VNĐ1 trillion (US$44,052) to create a closed production system from farm to fork, including an 18ha poultry farm for eggs in Bình Dương, a 30ha poultry farm for meat in Long An, a feed processing plant with a capacity of 20 tonnes per hour, two poultry egg packaging plants, and a food processing plant with a daily capacity of 50 tonnes all in Long An.

    Its major products include chicken, chicken sausages, eggs, flans and other ready-to-eat chicken products, which are available in supermarkets, especially in Hà Nội and HCM City, as well as at traditional markets and safe food shops in large cities.

    The company also supplies eggs and poultry meat to many businesses and fast food producers.

    Phu Yen calls for investment in key projects

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, ministerial and local authorities, officials, international guests and representatives of a large number of domestic and foreign businesses attended an investment promotion conference in Tuy Hoa City, Phu Yen province on January 19.

    At the conference, Phu Yen leaders hoped investors will find opportunities in the potential land.

    Lying in the south-central coastal region, Phu Yen has several famous landscapes, and cultural and historical sites, and serves as a gateway to the East Sea for provinces in the Central Highlands. Its main infrastructure is completed with seaports, an airport, a north-south railway and a road network linking neighbouring provinces. Particularly, the Ca Pass Tunnel has been put into operation while the Cu Mong Pass project is expected to complete in early 2019, helping facilitate travelling on Highway 1A.

    According to provincial leaders, in addition to incentives under current regulations, Phu Yen has made a great effort to accelerate administration reforms to support businesses and attracted investment in sea and island tourism, cultural, historical and entertainment tourism, infrastructure and urban areas, hi-tech agriculture, agri-forestry and aquatic processing, fishery logistics services, the application of new technologies, industrial automation technology and renewable energy.

    They listed projects calling for investment like Xuan Dai Bay luxury sports and entertainment complex, Van Hoa eco-tourism complex and resort, a specialized tuna port, Phu Yen tuna market outlet, and infrastructure for an oil refinery industrial zone.

    Earlier, PM Phuc attended a ground-breaking ceremony for Da Rang Bridge over Chua River in Tuy Hoa City.

    Vietnam’s top taxi firm fears bankrupcy in the era of Grab, Uber

    Vietnam’s leading taxi company Mai Linh has asked the government to ease its social insurance responsibilities, saying that popular ride-hailing apps are pushing it to the brink of insolvency.

    The company has sent the request to the legislative National Assembly, Vietnam Social Security and the Ministry of Finance asking to be released from loan interest payments and penalties for social insurance debts.

    As of the end of October last year, the company owed nearly VND182 billion (US$8 million) in workers’ social insurance contributions, it said.

    The company is asking for its interest and penalties to be frozen for the next 20 years, promising to clear the debt by then and fulfill all its insurance payments from now on.

    Starting this year, businesses now face criminal responsibility for workers’ social insurance contributions, according to Vietnam’s revised Penal Code.

    Ho Huy, chairman of the company, said “intense and unfair” competition from Grab and Uber had caused its revenue to drop by 30% from previous years.

    The company, which launched its own ride-hailing motorbike taxi app last year, now only makes enough to cover daily expenses and cannot afford to clear its debts and interest payments, he said.

    Mai Linh could be driven out of the market soon, leaving its 24,000 drivers jobless, he said.

    “Without support from government agencies, Mai Linh will go bust very soon,” Huy said in a letter obtained by VnExpress.

    The company’s communications officer later refused to comment on the issue.

    A financial report from Mai Linh showed accumulated losses of nearly VND800 billion (US$35.2 million), 80% of its registered capital, at the end of June 2017. Its workforce has also dropped by 20% from late 2016.

    These figures should raise doubts about its ability to maintain stable operations, according to auditors.

    Grab and Uber arrived in Vietnam in 2014 and operate both car and motorbike taxi services. The two services have been running on a trial basis since early 2016 and will be officially authorized soon, according to a proposal made by the transport ministry earlier this month.

    Since their arrival, Vietnamese traditional taxi firms including Vinasun and Mai Linh have repeatedly reported losses and sliding revenues, blaming “unhealthy” competition from the new players.

    Taxi firms have accused the two of tax evasion and devaluation tricks.

    Japanese auto makers halt exports to Vietnam in wake of tightened quality checks

    Japanese auto manufacturers have decided to suspend exports to Vietnam following stringent quality regulations the Vietnamese government put in place on January 1 this year.

    Toyota said on January 16 that it has halted all production for export to the Vietnamese market, Nikkei said in a January 17 report.

    The firm manufactures auto components in Vietnam, but imports of completely built units (CBUs) from Thailand, Indonesia and Japan account for around one-fifth of what it sells in the market, said the report.

    Fellow Japanese giant Honda had previously planned to consolidate all production of its SUVs in Thailand to take advantage of a new tariff rule that also took effect this year to cut import tariffs for autos built and sold within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) from 30% to zero.

    The company has since abandoned that plan, and production of vehicles intended for the Vietnamese market has been suspended since early January.

    In a similar move, Mitsubishi Motors has suspended production in Thailand of its Pajero Sports SUV designed for the Vietnamese market, according to Nikkei.

    Vietnam’s new decree is aimed at protecting the local auto industry now that import taxes within the region have been eliminated, according to officials.

    And it looks like the rule is doing its job and causing difficulties for both importers and exporters of CBUs by costing them more time and money.

    The decree stipulates that traders are only permitted to import automobiles if they can provide valid vehicle registration certificates issued by authorities from the countries of origin.

    Original quality control certificates for each vehicle and letters of authorization regarding recalls of defective vehicles from the manufacturers are also required, along with copies of quality assurance certificates provided by the countries of origin.

    The decree also requires importers to have one car from each batch shipped to Vietnam to go through emissions and safety tests.

    Under the previous regulation, only one certificate was required for each model of car, regardless of how many batches were imported.

    Toyota Motor Thailand President Michinobu Sugata was quoted by Nikkei as saying that the company had been expecting “a big jump in 2018”, but due to the non-tariff barriers, “it cannot export to the market at all”.

    In November last year, the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association wrote to the Prime Minister urging the government to reconsider the regulation.

    The association said it was extremely difficult for traders to get valid vehicle registration certificates issued by authorities from the countries of origin, and the process would take both importers and exporters a lot of time and effort.

    Regarding the requirement for emissions and safety tests on every batch of imports, it said the move would raise the cost by an estimated US$10,000 per shipment because traders would have to pay for storage while the cars were checked, rather than selling them straight away.

    But the Ministry of Industry and Trade claimed the decree would protect consumers and create fair competition between local auto assemblers and CBU importers.

    Vietnamese spent US$2.15 billion importing 94,000 CBUs last year, down 16.8% in volume and 9.6% in value against 2016, customs data showed.

    Vietnam caps promotions for prepaid mobile subscribers

    Mobile carriers in Vietnam will have less freedom in their promotions to prepaid subscribers following a circular by the Ministry of Information and Communications enforcing a ceiling on how much ‘free value’ can be offered.

    Specifically, telecom providers in the country are now only allowed to offer no more than 20% of a service’s value to prepaid subscribers as a bonus during promotional campaigns.

    The limit will apply to different forms of promotion, including bonus credits, in-kind benefits, and other perks.

    Previously, the maximum promotional value was set at 50% for both prepaid and post-paid subscribers. This limit remains unchanged for the latter.

    According to the Ministry of Information and Communications, the new promotion ceiling aims to promote post-paid subscriptions and represents a crackdown on the abuse of prepaid SIM cards to send out spam messages, a technique typically employed by advertisers and online scammers.

    The regulation will also ensure fairer competition in the telecom market and better protect the rights of mobile subscribers, the ministry said.

    Prepaid users who switch to post-paid subscription plans will enjoy the 50% promotion limit after the switch.

    “Mobile carriers found to be in violation of this new regulation will be subject to administrative penalties and tax arrears for illegal promotional campaigns,” a ministry official said.

    Recently, three major providers in Vietnam – Viettel, Mobifone and Vinaphone – were forced to stop offering data plans that granted subscribers unlimited data to access Facebook and YouTube.

    These plans were found to be in violation of pricing regulations for telecom services.

    VNN


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  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 22/1


    Environment tax hike on fuels postponed

    A plan to slap the environmental protection tax of VND3,000-8,000 per liter on fuels, up from the current VND1,000-4,000, will be resent to the National Assembly (NA) in October next year, effectively putting off the tax hike.

    According to news website Dan Tri, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue assigned the Ministry of Finance to coordinate with the Ministry of Justice and other relevant ministries, agencies and localities to review and complete the draft of the amended environmental protection tax law including the new environment protection tax rates and submit to the NA for approval next year.

    On September 13 last year, the NA Standing Committee discussed the draft law.

    NA chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said the Government should increase State budget revenue by enhancing fee collection management, reducing tax arrears and fighting tax evasion and trade fraud, instead of hiking taxes.

    The proposal to raise the environment protection tax on fuels is unreasonable as the products do not cause the most serious environmental pollution while tax revenue from fuels accounts for over 93% of the total environment protection tax revenue, Ngan said.

    Therefore, NA chairwoman Ngan proposed the Ministry of Finance prepare the draft law more carefully and comprehensively to ensure benefits for local people and enterprises.

    VIB posts strong profit growth in 2017

    The Vietnam International Bank (VIB) has reported pre-tax profit of over VNĐ1.4 trillion (US$62 million) in 2017, surging 100 per cent year-on-year or far surpassing the yearly target.

    VIB’s total assets also saw a positive yearly increase of 18 per cent to VNĐ123 trillion ($5.4 billion), while the bank’s total credit balance amounted to approximately VNĐ90 trillion ($3.95 billion), up 26 per cent year-on-year, according to its business results, which were released on Tuesday.

    As per the results, the bank’s capital adequacy ratio (CAR) was 13.1 per cent, its ratios of non-performance loan (NPL) and return on equity (ROE) stood at 2.49 per cent and 12.7 per cent, respectively. Earnings per share were VNĐ2,000, which was considered a high rate among domestic banks.

    On January 17, 2017, VIB debuted more than 564.4 million shares on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM), a move that the bank hoped would create transparency in its activities, share price, market capitalisation and share liquidity, to make it easier for investors to make decisions.

    After 12 months, the bank’s share price has increased by 71 per cent to VNĐ29,200 per share from VNĐ17,000 on the first trading day.

    Meanwhile, VIB has also been in the top ranking of Moody’s for many consecutive years. As one of 10 banks selected by the State Bank of Việt Nam to pilot Basel II, VIB said it will implement Basel II before the deadline set by the State Bank.

    “We are making greater efforts in ensuring the bank’s operation with the best and most transparent standards," VIB general director Hàn Ngọc Vũ said.

    In the years to come, VIB will focus on expanding its scale and continue perfecting the quality of products and services, the bank said.

    Top priority will be given to expanding its retail operations, consolidating its leading position in a number of products catering to individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises, bettering customer service, improving labour productivity and bettering risk control in line with international standards.

    The bank’s 2018 shareholders meeting will be held in late March. 

    Billionaire Thao's company replaces Posco E&C in Splendora

    The whole share volume owned by Poso E&C Co. (South Korea), equivalent to 50 per cent of the total shares at Splendora in Hanoi, has been transferred to Phu Long Real Estate JSC of billionaire Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao.

    Phu Long, which is under Sovico Holdings Company, is a big real estate company in Ho Chi Minh City. It has carried out major projects like DragonCity (33 hectares), DragonRiversideCity (3.1ha), DragonVillage (21.6ha), and developed HDBankTower and Sovico Phu Quoc.

    Before acquiring 50 per cent of Splendora’s shares from Posco E&C, at the end of 2017, Phu Long raised its charter capital from VND700 billion ($30.85 million) to VND3 trillion ($132.2 million).

    The deal marks the appearance of Phu Long on the Hanoi real estate market. This is also a good opportunity for Phu Long to acquire the 50 per cent left from Vinaconex because the corporation has been planning to divest from Splendora for a while now.

    Besides Splendora, Vinaconex has invested into various projects, such as a building complex at 97 in
    Lang Ha Street
    , 2B VinataTower at
    289 Khuat Duy Tien Street
    , a project at
    93 Lang Ha Street
    , and an apartment building at
    25 Nguyen Huy Tuong Street
    .

    At a recent roadshow, director general of Vinaconex said that Splendora could earn a total revenue of around VND1.2 trillion ($53 million) in 2018 with a profit of VND430 billion ($19 million). According to the plan, Splendora could gain VND2 trillion ($88.1 million) of revenue and VND500 billion ($22 million) of profit by 2020.

    Splendora is one of the largest-scale real estate projects in the west of Hanoi with its area of 264ha. An Khanh Joint Venture Company of Vinaconex and Posco E&C (now Phu Long JSC), is the project developer.

    Jollibee celebrates 100th store in Vietnam

    The third largest restaurant chain in the country marks a new milestone in Can Tho and solidifies commitment of spreading boundless joy in Vietnam.

    Jollibee, home of the world-famous Chickenjoy and the largest Asian food service company, celebrated today the grand opening of its 100th store in Vietnam in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho with an event that brought boundless joy to huge crowds of customers who love the restaurant’s renowned range of dishes.

    Vietnam is home to our largest Jollibee restaurant network outside of the Philippines, and as such, this country will always hold a special place in Jollibee’s history,” said Ernesto Tanmantiong, chief executive officer of Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC). “From our humble beginnings as a small ice cream parlor in the Philippines, it gives us joy that more and more people are coming to love Jollibee, helping us grow to become one of the biggest global food service companies to-date. This inspires us to stay true to our mission of spreading the joy of eating with everyone.”

    To celebrate this milestone, Jollibee is giving away 100 buckets of its famous Chickenjoy along with other freebies at its stores across the country to bring even more joy to Vietnamese families. Various special treats and surprises also welcomed customers at the 100th store grand opening in the Can Tho store.

    “Since opening the doors of our first store in Vietnam in 2005, it has been such an honour to see the nation embrace Jollibee,” said Dennis Flores, head of International Business at JFC. “For many, Jollibee is one of their first experiences of a memorable family bonding, whether by enjoying great food together or having a kiddie party. These, among many other moments, contribute to the boundless joy we have shared together with Vietnamese families over the years. As such, our business in Vietnam has been a core pillar of our international operations, and will continue to be one of our most important markets as we continue reaching more families around the world.”

    Jollibee opened its first branch in Co.op Mart Xa Lo Hanoi in 2005 and has been expanding steadily since then. Now it is one of the top three largest restaurant chains in the country as it stays true to its commitment of bringing joy to customers.

    “At Jollibee, we are dedicated to spreading the joy of eating to everyone. Now with 100 stores nationwide, we are even more ecstatic in bringing our unique brand of joy to families everywhere in the country—from the very south to the very north of Vietnam,” said Lam Hong Nguyen, general manager of Jollibee Vietnam.

    Vietnam runs a US$5.9 billion trade deficit with Southeast Asian countries


     Environment tax hike on fuels postponed, Aquatic export expected to hit 9 billion USD in 2018, Committee for state capital management to be founded in Q1, Ho Chi Minh City to host Mekong Beauty Show in June 

    The value of trade between Vietnam and the Southeast Asia region increased 18.8% to US$49.4 billion last year, of which exports accounted for US$21.7 billion (up 10.4%) and imports US$27.7 billion, up 14.9% on the previous year.

    According to the Asia-Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam is running a US$5.9 billion trade deficit with the region, a year-on-year decrease of 9.5%, due to petroleum imports.

    Vietnam’s primary sources of imported products were Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. Imports from Thailand jumped 16.3% to an estimated value of US$10.3 billion, with trade dominated by products such as machines, equipment and tools (US$944 million), petroleum (US$910 million), fruit and vegetables (US$866 million), plastic materials (US$639 million), computers and components (US$621 million), and chemicals (US$372 million).

    Meanwhile, imports from Malaysia surged by 10% to US$5.7 billion with key products being petroleum (US$1.18 billion), computers and electronic products (US$1.10 billion), machines, and tools and equipment (US$643 million).

    Imports from Singapore are estimated at US$5.3 billion, up 11.5% on the previous year, with petroleum imports accounting for 42% at US$2.2 billion.

    Vietnam also bought more than US$1 billion worth of products from Cambodia, a year-on-year rise of 41.4%, with key products being wood and timber goods, cashew nuts, and rubber.

    Aquatic export expected to hit 9 billion USD in 2018

    The Directorate of Fisheries has set a seafood export value of 9 billion USD for 2018, as heard at a conference held on January 16 by the sector to set out its 2018 tasks.

    The sector also targets a total yield of 7 – 7.5 million tonnes, of which 4 million tonnes come from aquatic farms. 

    At the function, Acting Director General of the Directorate of Fisheries Nguyen Ngoc Oai put forth a number of measures for the sector, including carrying out random inspections of input materials, building sets of standards for different areas, reforming administrative procedures, and fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Vietnam.

    Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said the 9-billion-USD goal is achievable, suggesting the sector focus on value-added increase and quantity reduction in aquatic exploitation.

    He said there is a need to develop the shrimp industry and seeks markets for Tra fish.

    He stressed between now and June 30, the sector ought to implement anti-IUU measures recommended by the EU in order to remove the warning under the European Commission’s “yellow card”.

    Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung, head of the Directorate’s Department for Science, Technology and International Cooperation, pointed to amendments of legal frameworks relating to fishing ports, inspections of fishing vessels, and international cooperation as potential solutions to the “yellow card”.

    Binh Duong province aims to attract 1.4 billion USD in FDI

    The southern province of Binh Duong has set a target of attracting 1.4 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2018, according to Tran Thanh Liem, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.

    Liem said that the province will prioritise partners with strong economic capacity and large economic groups, as well as projects using high technology friendly to the environment, and investment in industrial parks and clusters.

    He said that in order to continue attracting FDI, in the coming time, the province will focus on improving the investment environment, enhancing competitiveness and strengthening support for businesses.

    Binh Duong will also complete its infrastructure system such as transport, water supply, electricity and waste treatment system, while creating land for projects, developing human resources, added Liem.

    Currently, Binh Duong has 29 industrial parks with a total area of 12,790 hectares, of which, 26 have been operating. Under its master plan, by 2020, the province will have 34 industrial parks with a combined area of over 15,000 hectares.

    In 2017, the province lured over 2.5 billion USD of FDI, exceeding the yearly target by 79 percent, up 125 percent over 2016. Of which, 80 percent were disbursed, higher than the average figure of the previous years at 78 percent.

    Committee for state capital management to be founded in Q1

    The committee for state capital management at enterprises must be set up in the first quarter of 2018 so as to affirm its legal status, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has said.

    Hue, head of the Prime Minister’s working group on the committee establishment, made the remark at the first meeting of the group on January 16 after it had been formed under the PM’s decision one day earlier.

    Standing deputy head of the group Nguyen Hoang Anh is also Chairman of the committee for state capital management at enterprises. Other deputies are Minister-Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, and Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung.

    The working group also comprises five other members.

    At the meeting, participants looked into draft regulations on the working group’s operations, the issuance of a Government resolution on the committee establishment, and a Government decree on the committee’s structure, functions, and tasks.

    Deputy PM Hue asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to coordinate with other ministries to submit a draft Government resolution on the committee establishment for discussion at the Cabinet’s February meeting. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Planning and Investment needs to promptly build a draft Government decree on the committee’s structure, functions, and tasks.

    He noted while efforts must be made to set up the committee in the first quarter, ministries and sectors must continue speeding up the equitisation of and divestment from State-owned firms in 2018 as scheduled.

    Ministries must not abandon businesses immediately after the new committee takes over the firms, or the equitisation and divestment will slow down. Their responsibility for ailing projects remains intact, he added.

    Ho Chi Minh City to host Mekong Beauty Show in June

    Organic cosmetic products which are environmentally friendly will be introduced to consumers in sub-Mekong region at the Mekong Beauty Show scheduled to open at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre in Ho Chi Minh City on June 14.

    The three-day event is expected to lure more than 200 international and local cosmetics exhibitors, including those from the EU, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan.

    According to IMF Forecast, as an emerging market for cosmetic products, the sub-Mekong region with four countries of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar has experienced a growth of 30 percent in cosmetic product consumption in recent years.

    The show will serve as a venue to link businesses in the sub-Mekong region.

    At a press conference held on January 16 to introduce the show, Claudia Bonfiglioli, General Manager of Informa Beauty, said that Vietnam has huge potential to develop natural and organic cosmetic products. 

    However, the country still lacks programmes to connect enterprises in the sector, she noticed, adding that Informa Beauty has set up clubs for Vietnamese distributors and retailers and build connection with the Vietnam Essential Oil Association.

    Meanwhile, Bui Ngoc Quynh Giao, Brand Manager of Illahui Vietnam, underlined that Illahui has developed convenience stores in the country to sell its organic beauty products.

    Many local firms have paid due attention to branching out natural cosmetic products as they believe that the products will help the Vietnamese cosmetic sector to create breakthrough in the future.

    Vinacomin eyes payroll cut, revenue rise in 2018     

    Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung asked the Viet Nam National Coal and Minerals Group (Vinacomin) to focus on labour and environmental safety as it develops a specialised management model. He spoke at the conference held in Ha Noi on Tuesday to sum up Vinacomin’s operations in 2017 and launch tasks for 2018.

    “The group should continue to develop drastic solutions to ensure labour safety. It is also required to ensure environmental protection and consider it as a top requirement in production,” he said.

    Dung hailed Vinacomin’s contributions to the country’s development in 2017.

    He asked the group to strengthen discipline in exploitation and preventing trade fraud.

    He also highlighted the group’s shortcomings in exploiting unsuitable coals, which resulted in large inventory without meeting customers’ requirements.

    The application of science and technology in the exploitation and processing of the group’s main products has been undertaken slowly. Some investment projects have been delayed or ineffective, causing losses in State capital.

    The deputy PM said this year would determine the country’s success in completing the five-year socio-economic development plan in the 2016-20 period, creating heavy pressure for the coal and minerals sector.

    Vinacomin was also asked to enhance the mobilisation of social resources to attract investment into projects to upgrade current mines to increase coal output for the economy.

    Vinacomin should focus on restructuring its investments to create highly competitive products. This would help the group improve productivity, quality and effectiveness. It should also enhance its relationship with localities and partners both inside and outside the country.

    Vinacomin’s total revenue in 2017 reached VND109.2 trillion (US$4.8 billion), posting a 7.3 per cent year-on-year increase. Its profit was estimated at VND2.5 trillion, up VND1.5 trillion from 2016. It contributed VND13.4 trillion to the State budget.

    Dang Thanh Hai, Vinacomin’s general director, said the profit was partly contributed by its two aluminum plants producing 1.14 million tonnes. Revenue from the two plants was VND8.6 trillion. Nhan Co Aluminum Plant alone posted an output of 501,000 tonnes or 80 per cent of its designed capital.

    In 2017, Vinacomin’s coal consumption was estimated at 35.5 million tonnes. Of this, the local coal consumption was 34 million tonnes and the remaining was exported.

    Hai said by the end of last year, the group had 104,500 labourers, 6,000 people fewer than the previous year.

    Its labour productivity rose by 8.6 per cent from 2016 with the average salary of VND9.4 million per month.

    The group’s electricity output last year reached 9.38 billion kWh, increasing 10 per cent from the previous year.

    “Vinacomin will invest VND12.8 trillion in parent companies and its subsidiaries in 2018,” he said.

    He added that the group also aimed to produce and consume 36 million tonnes of coal this year including 34.1 million tonnes for local consumption and 1.9 million tonnes of exports.

    It targeted total revenue of VND113.8 trillion, profit of VND2 trillion and contributions of VND13.6 trillion to the State budget in 2018.

    The aluminum output was scheduled at 1.23 million tonnes.

    The group planned to reduce its payroll by some 4,500 people to bring its total staff to 100,000. 

    Construction achieves 8.7% growth rate in 2017: ministry

    Deputy Minister of Construction Lê Quang Hùng said 2017 has been a breakthrough year for the construction industry as it has met or surpassed almost all development targets.

    He was addressing a conference to review 2017 and set out new goals for 2018, with the attendance of Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.

    Hùng said in 2017 the industry witnessed a relatively high growth rate of 8.7 per cent.

    It contributed 0.54 per cent to the nation’s overall GDP growth rate of 6.81 per cent, ranking third among all industries in terms of contributions to GDP.

    The country’s urbanisation rate reached 37.5 per cent last year, increasing by 0.9 per cent year on year. The country currently has 813 urban areas, 11 more than in 2016.

    A report by the ministry said that last year, the average floor area per person increased by 0.6 sq.m compared to 2016, to reach 23.4 sq.m per person.

    A further 190,000 sq.m of social housing was added in urban areas, lifting the total area of social housing in urban areas to 3.49 million sq.m. About 220,000 accommodations for students were put into use.

    A total of 3,077 real estate projects are being implemented with investment capital of VNĐ3.3 quadrillion (US$144.9 billion), covering nearly 78,000 ha.

    Of these, about 300 projects are big projects, each of which has total investment of over VNĐ3 trillion and provide over 1,500 apartments.

    On tourism property, as of July 2017, there were 77 projects providing 16,437 hotel rooms, 11,174 villas and 12,056 condotels developed or being developed.

    Without revealing the number of condotels which had been sold to secondary investors, the deputy minister warned about the “hot” development of this type of property.

    "The supply of condotels has been abundant and more measures are needed to control it in the future," Hùng said.

    Hùng said some shortcomings had still not been solved during the past year, including rampant construction violations, which in some cases kept occurring even after punishments were handed out.

    The structure of products in the real estate market was still a problem, with an abundance of high-end apartments and deficiency of low-cost housing.

    He also admitted the slow pace of renewing old apartment buildings.

    Currently there are about 2,500 old apartment buildings nationwide, most of which were built before 1994. Of these, 600 buildings have seriously deteriorated and pose dangers to residents.

    The implementation of some social housing programmes shared the same fate due to the ending of the VNĐ30 trillion housing stimulus package, while the capital allocated to support social housing projects in the 2016-2020 mid-term public investment plan was not much.

    In 2018, the ministry will implement a project to conduct assessment and forecasting work, based on which it would propose solutions and policies to ensure the healthy and stable development of the real estate market.

    The ministry will also work to devise a project on economic security in the housing and real estate market to ensure social welfare and complete a database on the housing and real estate market.

    Another major goal will be cooperating with related ministries and agencies to solve difficulties in State budget allocation to effectively implement major housing projects.  

    Looking to the coming year, Prime Minister Phúc demanded the construction authorities decisively carry out solutions, aiming to achieve an annual growth rate of 9.2 per cent.

    “The ministry should increase the proportion of private investment, especially to encourage the public private partnership (PPP) model in order to utilise sufficient resources as well as improve the constructions’ quality,” Phúc said.

    More steps needed to develop low-cost housing: PM

    The Ministry of Construction should take more effective steps to support the development of low-cost housing and build an information system about housing and property market to improve transparency, management and planning, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

    PM Phuc made the remarks during a conference held by the Ministry of Construction in Hanoi on January 16 to review the sector’s performances last year and discuss plans for 2018.

    The PM spoke highly of the sector’s development and the ministry’s management of the local property market in 2017. 

    He also pointed out shortcomings of the sector last year, notably the poor quality of several construction planning schemes that had short-term vision and were not suitable to real-life situations; lack of inspections of at-risk and old buildings in urban areas; and an over-supply of luxury apartments and a shortage of low-end and mid-end housing projects.

    The PM urged the ministry to make more efforts this year to achieve a 9.2-percent growth and to complete all basic infrastructure projects by 2020.

    The sector must attract more private investments, particularly under the Public-Private Partner form, to improve the projects’ quality and efficiency; and at the same time, foster the use of advanced technologies to increase productivity in the context of the fourth industrial revolution.

    According to reports by the Ministry of Construction, the construction sector ranks third among the largest contributors to Vietnam’s GDP growth of 6.81 percent in 2017.

    The construction industry had a successful year in 2017 with most figures exceeding development targets, Deputy Minister of Construction Le Quang Hung said, noting that the industry expanded by 8.7 percent in 2017.

    The rate of urbanization was estimated at 37.5 percent, 0.9 percent higher than 2016 and now the country has 813 cities, up 11 cities year on year, he noted.

    The floor area per person averaged 23.4 sq.m last year, up 0.6 sq.m year on year, the Ministry of Construction reported. The country constructed a further 0.19 million sq.m of low-cost housing in urban areas, bringing the total area of urban low-cost housing to 3.49 million sq.m.

    In 2017, five more housing projects for low-income earners and workers at industrial parks were put into use, providing 1,225 apartments. Sixteen other projects are underway, expected to supply 5,200 apartments.

    At the event, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc awarded the Ministry of Construction and its subordinate units Labour Orders in recognition for their great performances.

    Direct flight launched between Chongqing (China) and Hanoi

    China-based Chongqing Airlines on January 16 launched a direct service connecting Chongqing, a major city in southwest China, and Hanoi.

    The flight departs from Chongqing at 9:15 am (local time) on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and returns from Hanoi at 14:45 pm (local time) the same day.

    Chongqing Airlines uses Airbus 320 aircraft for the direct route, expecting to welcome on board an average of 150 passengers each flight.

    Founded in 2007, Chongqing Airlines operates domestic passenger services in mainland China. It is jointly owned by China Southern Airlines and Chongqing Municipal Development and Investment Company.

    In recent years, the airline has expanded its services overseas with flights connecting Chongqing and major cities in the region, including Bangkok, Phuket (Thailand) and Singapore.

    Japanese Mitsui encouraged to invest in Vietnam’s infrastructure

    Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has suggested the Mitsui Company invest in infrastructure construction in Vietnam while meeting with a visiting executive of the Japanese group in Hanoi on January 16.

    During his visit to Vietnam, Mitsui Chief Executive Officer and President Tasuo Yasunaga, had working sessions with the company’s Vietnamese partners, including the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), on the Block B gas projects and cooperation in liquefied natural gas (LNG).

    The Deputy PM highlighted the growing extensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and Japan, reflected by the political trust between senior leaders, and fruitful cooperation between businesses in economics, trade and investment.

    Over the past time, Japanese investment in Vietnam has generated positive benefits for both sides, Dung said.

    He hailed the cooperation between the Japanese firm and its partners in developing the Block B gas projects, affirming that the projects play an important part in ensuring national energy security.

    For his part, the Mitsui executive reiterated that the Block B gas projects are among the company’s key cooperation agenda, pledging that the firm will work closely with PetroVietnam to accelerate the projects.

    He also highlighted the huge support the Government, ministries and sectors of Vietnam have provided for Japanese firms on the basis of the extensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

    Mitsui has great interest in transport infrastructure development, energy and health care in Vietnam, he added.

    Positive signs for Vietnam's rice exports

    Vietnam’s rice export industry has a bright future with good contracts after having a successful year. 

    Vietnam has exported rice to 132 markets in the world and China remains Vietnam's biggest buyers.

    Vietnam exported over 570,000 tonnes of rice last December, a 38.6% increase compared to the same period in 2016. Local firms signed contracts to export 6.4 million tonnes of rice, of which 5.8 million was exported in 2017. The exports in the first eleven months of 2017 reached 5.52 million tonnes worth USD2.49bn, up 24.1% and 24.9%, respectively, compared to same period the previous year. It also exceeded the 5 million tonnes target set in early 2017.

    Some 764,000 tonnes of rice remains in the inventory. 209,000 tonnes of which belong to Vietnam Southern Food Corporation, Vietnam Northern Food Corporation has 107,000 tonnes and the rest belong to other companies in the Vietnam Food Association.

    The Indonesian Bureau of Logistics announced on January 15 that it will start a bidding to import 500,000 tonnes of rice to Indonesia conducted under a government to public deal for both local and foreign firms. The rice must be harvested in less than six months and must be delivered by Feburary28.

    According to the Jakarta Post, Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita said Indonesia would import rice from Vietnam and Thailand to ease local high prices.

    According to experts, rice supplies in many countries such as Malaysia, Philippines and South Korea fell because of climate change. Rice exports will continue to grow thanks to the expansion to other markets including Bangladesh and Iraq in 2017. Dang Thi Lien, director of Long An Food Stuff Company, said there were many contracts from China and Philippines and the rice prices also increased to USD20 or USD50 per tonne.

    Nguyen Thanh Long, director of Gao Viet Company, also think that rice exports will get better in the first quarter of 2018 if they have enough supply. The harvest time in several countries like Pakistan and Myanmar already passed while Thailand may harvest late by a month.

    However, local firms still need to improve to meet food hygiene and safety requirements and better strategies to compete with India or Pakistan in African markets.

    TPBank receives PCI DSS 3.2 certification     

    Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) in Ha Noi received the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) certification on Tuesday.

    PCI DSS, the latest version 3.2 from the US ControlCase, is a comprehensive set of requirements for enhancing cardholder data security around the storage and handling of a customer’s credit card information.

    TPBank met with 12 strict requirements relating to information safety policies, IT infrastructure and data processing to ensure safety for card information. With the high security, the bank’s customers can be protected when using card services.

    Nguyen Hung, TPBank’s general director, said information security has been the most important factor for banks in the digital area. “This showed the bank’s interest and serious investment in ensuring system security,” Hung said.

    Suresh Dadlani, ControlCase’s managing director, said he valued the implementation of PCI DSS at TPBank. He forecast that the bank would continue to see rapid growth in digital banking services based on the security system.

    Earlier, TPBank also co-operated with different card organisations, such as Visa to develop contactless TPBank Visa Paywave cards, and with Napas to issue domestic chip cards. It was the first bank in Viet Nam to introduce cards with two latest technologies in the market.

    Thank to the IT foundation, TPBank has been one of the banks with a strong growth in new cardholders.

    Last year, it issued hundreds of thousands of new cards nationwide.

    PCI DSS standard was established by the Standards Council of Security for payment cards, including the founders: Visa, MasterCard, American Express (AMEX), Discover Financial Services and JCB International. PCI DSS standard was developed to help organisations protect card payment data against fraud and illegal data usage. 

    VN effectively uses ODA from South Korea: KOICA

    Viet Nam is one of the countries that has effectively used the official development assistance (ODA) provided by South Korea over the past few years.

    This was revealed by Chairwoman of the Korea International Co-operation Agency (KOICA) Lee Mi-kyung, at a meeting with head of the Central Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh on Tuesday.

    Binh emphasised that Korea is one of the most important economic partners of Viet Nam, the largest foreign investor with more than US$50 billion and the fourth largest trading partner.

    The Viet Nam–Korea Free Trade Agreement, which came into force on December 20, 2015, has created a new impetus for the achievement of the goal of increasing bilateral trade between the two countries to $100 billion by 2020.

    Appreciating the effective co-operation of the government of Korea and KOICA in contributing to the overall development of relations between the two countries, Binh asked the Korean government, including KOICA, to continue to expand its co-operation with Viet Nam in all areas, especially vocational training and management capacity projects, in order to support the country in sustainable development and to implement the five-year socio-economic development plan in the 2016-20 period.

    Binh also asked South Korea to share its experiences with Viet Nam over financial and capital market development, industrial development, and tax and fiscal policies. Meanwhile, Mi-kyung affirmed that the agency would continue to support Viet Nam in the future to contribute to its socio-economic development and promote further co-operation between the two countries. 

    Vietnam growing as export destination for Republic of Korea

    Exports of the Republic of Korea (RoK) to Vietnam increased impressively in 2017, making its trade surplus with the Southeast Asian country surpassing that with the United States.

    Statistics of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) showed that last year, the RoK exported 47.7 billion USD worth of products to Vietnam, accounting for 8.3 percent of the country’s total outbound shipments.

    The increase is impressive compared with three years ago when Vietnam-bound shipments accounted for only 3.9 percent of the RoK’s exports.

    Vietnam entered the group of the RoK's top 10 export countries for the first time in 2009 with a total export turnover of 7.1 billion USD. In 2015, it ranked third after surpassing Japan

    The trade surplus with Vietnam has subsequently increased. After exceeding 10 billion USD in 2012, the surplus expanded to 20 billion USD in 2016 and to 31.6 billion USD last year, the data showed. Meanwhile, the figure for 2017 is more than the 17.9 billion USD with the US, KITA data showed.

    Trade analysts attributed the growth to a bilateral free trade agreement which came into effect from December 2015. Big name companies like Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have been setting up their production bases in Vietnam, also boosting the trade volume between the two countries.

    Ministry urged to design special mechanisms for north-south highway

    Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung asked the Transport Ministry to soon submit special mechanisms for the north-south highway project during a meeting to launch the sector’s activities for 2018. 

    Dung lauded the ministry for completing the task on building legal documents and goals regarding transport, traffic safety, transport infrastructure and administrative reform in 2017. 

    He required the ministry to continue working to reduce traffic accidents which still claim over 8,000 lives per year. 

    Another issue of concern is the development gap among different transportation modes, with the slow development of railways and highways putting pressure on national routes and reducing economic competitiveness, the Deputy PM said. 

    He also underlined the shortcomings of BOT projects which caused public disorder recently and assigned the ministry to review legal regulations in the field. 

    At the same time, the ministry should review service costs in airports and tighten the control of overload vehicles. 

    Transport Minister Nguyen Van The said the sector will tighten discipline in personnel work and raise the sense of responsibility of officials to fulfil its tasks.

    Phu Tho province looks to boost exports

    The northern province of Phu Tho has outlined plans to bolster exports in 2018 by focusing on trade promotion and building trademarks for local staples, said Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Manh Hung.

    The department will mobilise local enterprises to renovate their production lines to improve competitive capacity, he said.

    Significant efforts will be channeled into reform of administrative procedures and the implementation of guidelines of ministries, sectors and the province to remove bottlenecks for business and production.

    The province targets to earn 1.3 billion USD in export revenue in 2018.

    Last year, Phu Tho’s export value rose 36.8 percent year on year to 1.3 billion USD. This was the second time that the province’s export revenue surpassing 1 billion USD. Of the total amount, 1.1 billion USD was contributed by foreign-invested companies.

    Strong growth was seen in the shipments of garment and textiles, sport shoes, plastic and processed tea. 

    The US, the EU, ASEAN, Japan and the Republic of Korea remained Phu Tho’s key export markets.

    Local enterprises worked to seek trade partners, popularise products whie expanding production and improve product quality.

    TH Group begins construction of hi-tech milch cow farm in Phu Yen

    Vietnam’s TH Group, famous for its TH True Milk brand, held a ground-breaking ceremony in the south central province of Phu Yen on January 18 for a high-tech milch cow and milk processing complex. 

    Lying in Son Dinh commune, the mountainous district of Son Hoa, the project will raise 5,000 milch cows, build materials zones and produce around 72 tonnes of fresh milk per day in the first stage with a total investment of 1.151 trillion VND (51.15 million USD). 

    During the second stage, the cow herd will increase to 20,000 heads at a combined cost of 4.570 trillion VND. 

    Apart from more than 78 ha of land used for farms, the group will partner with local residents to build feed materials zone on a site of roughly 377ha, mostly corn and grass for cows.

    The milk processing plant is due to be built in An My commune, Tuy An district. 

    Thai Huong, TH Group founder, said the complex uses milch cow management technology of Israel, epidemics control system of New Zealand and water and waste treatment technology of Japan and the Netherlands

    Once operational in early 2019, the project will raise income for thousands of workers in the locality.

    HCMCity focuses on five sectors at new tech park

    Ho Chi Minh City will call for investment in five sectors at the city’s second science and technology park, which is scheduled to open in 2019.

    The sectors are information technology, renewable energy, biotechnology, semiconductor circuits and applied space technology.

    The city will offer low-interest and long-term loans for enterprises investing in the sectors.

    Le Hoai Quoc, head of Saigon Hi-Tech Park Management Board, said the aim is to attract big foreign companies to the park. Local enterprises will also have more opportunities for investment in the hi-tech park.

    However, local companies face more difficulty accessing capital and have less capital than foreign firms.

    A representative of one enterprise said that land rent, which was much higher than surrounding provinces, was the biggest barrier for local enterprises.

    Local enterprises also lack high-quality human resources because most of them are working for foreign-invested enterprises.

    The 200ha second science and technology park will be built in District 9 near the Saigon Hi-Tech Park.

    Quang Trung Software City (QTSC) in District 12 was the first science park to be set in the city and is the biggest in the country covering an area of 430,000sq.m.

    Established in 2001, it houses around 140 information and communication technology companies, with foreign firms accounting for nearly half, with a total of more than 20,000 workers and researchers.

    It targets becoming one of Asia’s top 10 software parks in human resources and value-added services by 2020. 

    Kagoshima prefecture’s firms wish to invest in Vietnam

    Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Japan’s Kagoshima prefecture Yoshitaro Iwasaki has expressed wish to connect the two countries’ businesses across aquaculture, farm produce and aquatic processing and personnel training.  

    During a recent meeting in Hanoi with Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc, Iwasaki said Kagoshima is strong in agriculture, fisheries and food processing. 

    Japanese localities have devised their own strategies to seek business opportunities abroad and call for foreign investment in Japan, he said, adding that he hopes the two nations’ firms will understand more about each other to form specific linkages on the back of the VCCI’s support. 

    He said the Kagoshima Chamber of Commerce and Industry will work closely with VCCI to arrange exchange of business visits, thus helping their companies to learn about the other market, and hold business dialogues and forums. 

    Loc agreed with the guest’s proposal to enhance exchange and connectivity between Vietnamese and Japanese enterprises. 

    He pledged to provide support for Kagoshima firms to fully tap existing business opportunities.

    Considered a gateway to Southeast Asia due to its location in southern Japan, Kagoshima prefecture advocates cooperation with Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam. It is home to nearly 1.6 million people with annual income per capita of roughly 2.5 million JPY (over 22,300 USD). 

    Its economy mostly relies on light and processing industry, animal husbandry and cultivation.-

    VNN


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  • 01/22/18--02:06: Article 0
  • Social News In Brief


    Eminent scientists receive TonDucThangUniversity Scientific Prize 2017

    TonDucThangUniversity in Ho Chi Minh City on January 19 held an award ceremony honoring four Vietnamese and foreign scientists who won the Ton Duc Thang University Scientific Prize 2017.

    Accordingly, Prof. Edward A. McBean of Guelph University, Canada and Prof. Nguyen Thoi Trung of TonDucThangUniversity received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

    The Rising Star Award belonged to Dr. Stephanie Kwai-Yee Ma from Hong KongUniversity. And Dr. Leo Choe Peng, Sains University of Malaysia got the Women in Science Award.

    Attending the ceremony were Vice Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Thu, Consuls-General of countries of Maylaysia and Canada in Ho Chi Minh City.

    Launched in May, 2017, the organizer received 62 submissions of scientists from countries throughout the world, including the Philippines, Pakistan, China, India, Canada, France, Italia, Israel, Russia, Belgium, Estonia, the U.S., Iran, Nigeria, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan (China), Malaysia, Hongkong (China) and Vietnam.

    TonDucThangUniversity Scientific Prize is established with the avowed purposes of honoring Vietnamese and international scientists who have excellent research results and contribute positively to society.

    Hospital in Binh Phuoc province performs hip replacement

    The general hospital in the southern province of Binh Phuoc has performed 14 hip replacement operations, said hospital director Dr. Le Anh Tuan on January 17.

    This is the result of the technique transferring program between Cho Ray hospital in Ho Chi Minh City and the province’s hospital.

    Medical workers in BinhPhuocProvince were trained to carry out the technique and the infirmary was upgraded to apply the technique so that they can perform the technique in the province.

    This move is one of the measures to help reduce patient overload in big hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City and cut cost for patients.

    The hospital in BinhPhuocProvince has been upgraded to have 315 beds with total investment of VND700 billion ($30,821,039). The upgrading process will complete in 2020.

    Health sector determined to reduce overloaded hospitals

    In its January 19 online meeting to implement its mission in 2018 and the project to develop medical network in the new situation, Vietnamese Ministry of Health was determined to tackle overloaded hospitals.

    According to leaders of the ministry, last year, the sector continued to adopt measures to improve examination and treatment quality focusing to fight patient overload in big hospitals. PAPI, or Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index, showed that district-level infirmaries have improved much the treatment quality; consequently, residents are more satisfactory with medical service.

    The network of satellite hospitals is expanded in 63 cities and provinces across the country. Central hospitals have transferred medical hi-techniques to its satellite infirmaries; subsequently, fewer cases have been transferred to big facilities.

    Moreover, test results carried out by a hospital will be used by other hospitals as one of the Ministry of Health’s project. Additionally, more hospitals will apply PACS, or picture archiving and communication system (a medical imaging technology used for storing, retrieving, presenting and sharing images produced by various medical hardware modalities, such as X-ray, CT scan, MRI and ultrasound machines) to cut cost for patients and increase efficiency as the Ministry’s project.

    At present, seven hospitals are approved to apply PACS and ten others will be given the green light to carry out the project. This move gradually control services provided by private companies for patients’ benefit.

    Furthermore, the Ministry will have regulation on technique procedures in Anesthesiology , Gastroenterology, Trauma and Orthopedics and Nerve departments. Some 6,389 over 17,216 technique procedures have been built up so far and they are most popular ones. Besides, hospitals are as quick as possible to adopt treatment guidance for common diseases in hospitals; therefore, hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City have over 2,000 treatment guidance for each popular disease.

    Noticeably, changes have seen in hospitals. Nevertheless, infirmaries achieved 2.75 points over 5 nationwide yet they must reach three points. As per the assessment of the the Medical Examination and Treatment Department under the Ministry of Health, it is acceptable with such points in the country’s current context of medical facilities.

    Along with this, patient satisfaction survey and medical workers’ behaviors have been conducted in hospitals. Initially, they provided useful information helping hospitals know what to be top priority to improve quality.

    Many clinics adopted online patient satisfaction survey system to measure patients’ opinion on treatment services; just in one year implementation, hospitals have collected over one million questionnaires showing the rate of inpatient and outpatient satisfaction of medical services is 75.6 percent and 66.3 percent.

    According to the Ministry of Health’s self-assessment of treatment quality, treatment quality can not meet increasing demand and there are a big gap between hospitals in different districts; as a result, people come to large hospitals in big cities for examination and treatment. District -level clinics are able to cure ailment not able to provide comprehensive taking care of patients.

    Worse, the country lacks clinics for senior patients, for patients with non-communicable diseases, and biological research facilities. Treatment paperwork for insured patients in some localities confused patients and medical workers’ behavior is not suitable. Security in hospitals is not good.

    The combination between modern and traditional medicine in some institutions is not as expectation because people belittle traditional medicine.

    Hence, the Ministry is determined to push up measures to reduce patient overload in 2018 especially in big cities such as Ho Chi MInh City, Hanoi, and central cities and provinces.

    Best of all, the Ministry will improve its regulations to enhance treatment quality supervision. It will set up teams to test treatment quality and present certificates to good facilities. Around 20 percent of hospitals in central provinces will be tested and the Ministry will announce its results in 2018.

    The Ministry will correct medical workers’ behaviors to achieve patients’ satisfaction so that 80 percent facilities will gain patients’ pleasure. The sector will reform paperwork in treatment procedure. Gradually, over half of hospitals from grassroot hospitals will conduct one-door paperwork.

    One more bridge to over Lo Gom canal to be built

    People’s Committee in Ho Chi Minh City has given the green light to four investors to build one more bridge over Lo Gom canal under build-transfer contract.

    The bridge connects district 6, 8 and Binh Chanh. Dong Me Kong Commercial Service Company and Construction Company 319 will build a section from Pham Van Chi in district 6 to Ta Quang Buu in District 8 with a total length of 1,413 meter including Binh Tien bridge and two branches.

    The investment is estimated VND2,604 billion ($114.6 million).

    Meantime, mechanics firm Licogi 16 and the Binh Chanh Construction Investment Shareholding Company will build a section from Ta Quang Buu to Nguyen Van Linh in Binh Chanh District with the total length of 1,805 meter, costing at VND903 billion .

    The metropolitan people’s committee asked people’s committees in districts 6 and 8 and Binh Chanh to pay land compensation.

    The construction of the project will start in June, 2018 (?) and is expected to complete after 18 months.

    Bridge collapses in Tien Giang following barge collision

    Colonel Ngo Xuan Tu, head of police station in the Mekong delta province of Tien Giang’s Chau Thanh district, yesterday said that investigators are still probing the bridge collapse after a barge hit it.

    In the dawn of the day, a barge with loading capacity of 150 tons driven by Phan Cong Duy carried 100 meter cubic of sand. The barge was traveling in canal Nguyen Tat Thanh

    When the barge arrived in Tay village, it turned into canal No.1 and because of strong current of water, the barge collided Long Hoa B bridge, sending its middle span to the water. The barge was plunged into the canal water also because it was pinned down by the fallen bridge.

    Steersman Phan Duy Nam and three sailors jumped out of the plunged barge.

    After the incident, the local transport sector and administrators put a sign to control travel while workers were sent to the spot to build the bridge as Tet holidays ( the Lunar New Year) is approaching

    Bridge Long Hoa B with the length of 39 meter, width of 3.5 meter connects canal No1. of village Tay No.1 and canal 2A of Long Dinh Commune. It is in poor repair.

    Joint concert brings Vietnamese and US music students together

    A concert themed ‘Spring Harmony’ was held in Hanoi on January 19, bringing together students from the Vietnam National Academy of Music and 50 choir members from the Juniata University, the US.

    The concert provided an opportunity to increase the mutual understanding of the culture of each country among the Vietnamese and US students, who share a similar passion for music despite their geological distance.

    The event was staged as part of the Vietnam tour of JuniataUniversity’s Choir Concert, during which they are scheduled to perform in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, under the baton of acclaimed conductor Russ Shelley.

    Over the past 23 years, the choir has toured many different countries around the world, including France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Ireland and Costa Rica, to honour the beauty of choral music and perfect their performance skills.

    Health sector facilitates universal healthcare coverage in 2018: minister

    The health sector is implementing a range of core tasks in 2018 towards universal healthcare coverage as set by the sixth plenum of the 12th Party Central Committee, Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien has stated.

    During a national teleconference on the healthcare tasks for 2018 this morning, Minister Tien affirmed that 2017 saw the health sector spare no efforts to effectively implement its tasks under the 'patient-centred' goal, which resulted in positive results.

    Last year, the proportion of health insurance coverage increased to 86.4%; drug prices were reduced by nearly 17% with the organisation of bidding for pharmaceutical products procurement; and Vietnam successfully produced a measles-rubella vaccine.

    Comprehensive solutions helped the sector to surpass the two goals assigned to it by the National Assembly (NA) in 2017, making the number of beds per 10,000 people reach 25.7% (the NA’s set target was at 25.5%) and health insurance coverage reach 86.4% (the set target was at 82.2%).

    Minister Tien revealed that this year, her ministry aims to exceed 11 more targets than 2017. In particular, the NA and the Prime Minister have assigned two tasks, to bring the number of hospital beds per 10,000 people to 26% and the proportion of the population participating in health insurance at 88.5%.

    Praising health officials at all levels for their great efforts to innovate in 2017, Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam affirmed that 2018 requires greater demand for healthcare innovation. The government official stressed the need to further strengthen the autonomy of hospitals, urging the health sector to provide support to the satellite hospitals to operate autonomously in order to ease the overload at higher level medical facilities.

    He also asked the sector to finalise service listings and treatment regimens for patients to follow, while facilitating focused national bidding for pharmaceutical products to reduce drug costs, and promoting IT applications in treatment.

    Educating students for the future, not the past

    The remarkable progress Vietnam has made over the last decade in raising access to education and improving quality suggests that the country is ready to take the next step towards building a 21st century education system that ensures the next generation is learning for their future, not the past.

    Mr. Andreas Schleicher, Director of the Directorate for Education and Skills at the OCED, told the Vietnam Sustainability Forum 2018 that Vietnamese students are quite good at acquiring knowledge but are weak in extrapolating from what they know and applying knowledge creatively in novel situations.

    Changes are needed in the instructional environment, where students have more control and ownership over the time, place, path, and pace of learning.

    He also identified previous weaknesses of Vietnamese students. The challenge is that developing quality requires a very different approach to learning and teaching and a different caliber of teacher.

    The past can be isolated, with schools designed to keep students inside and the rest of the world out, with a lack engagement with families and a reluctance to partner with other schools.

    The future needs to be integrated, he went on, with an emphasis on the integration of subjects and the integration of students. It also needs to be connected so that learning is closely related to real-world contexts and contemporary issues, and rich resources in the community must be made available.   

    Instruction in the past was subject-based, while instruction in the future needs to be more project-based, building experiences that help Vietnamese students think across the boundaries of subject-matter disciplines.

    The past was hierarchical but the future is collaborative, recognizing both teachers and students as resources and co-creators.

    In the past, he noted, different students were taught in similar ways. School systems now need to embrace diversity, adopting differentiated approaches to learning.

    The goals of the past were standardization and compliance, with students following the same standard curriculum and being assessed at the same time. The future is about building instruction from student passions and capacities, helping them personalize their learning and assessment in ways that foster engagement and talent. Students need to be encouraged to be ingenious.

    Schools were technological islands in the past, Mr. Schleicher believes, with technology often limited to supporting existing practices and students outpacing schools in their adoption and consumption of technology. Now schools need to use the potential of technologies to liberate learning from past conventions and connect learners in new and powerful ways, with sources of knowledge, with innovative applications, and with one another.

    The policy focus was previously only on the provision of education but now needs to be on outcomes, shifting from looking upwards in the bureaucracy towards looking outwards to the next teacher, the next school, and the next education system.

    Administration previously emphasized school management, he explained, but now the focus needs to be on instructional leadership, with leaders supporting, evaluating, and developing teacher quality and the design of innovative learning environment.

    Oshougatsu Cultural Festival 2018 in Hanoi


     Health sector determined to reduce overloaded hospitals, Bridge collapses in Tien Giang following barge collision, Oshougatsu Cultural Festival 2018 in Hanoi, 10 fishermen rescued from peril at sea

    The Japanese Cultural Festival Oshougatsu 2018 has been held at Hanoi University of Science and Technology. Oshougatsu is the Japanese traditional New Year festival.

    The festival is annually organized in Vietnam, aiming to reproduce the Japanese New Year and also to strengthen the solidarity and friendship between Vietnam and Japan.

    Yosakoi is a high energy traditional Japanese dance performed with wooden clappers called Naruko. Yosakoi was part of the Oshougatsu Cultural Festival. 

    Dieu An, a student of Hanoi University of Industry, who was performing Yosakoi said, “Yosakoi is a unique style of dance that originated in Japan and is performed at festivals and events. We have practiced and performed Yosakoi dance here in Vietnam. I am very glad of the chance to perform at this event.”

    The Japanese New Year called ‘Oshougatsu’ represents a significant and meaningful time of cleansing and renewal, of being with family, taking stock of the year gone by and of contemplating the year to come. 

    The Japanese Cultural Oshougatsu Festival is a non-profit event hosted by Japanese language club HEDSPI Nichibu. 

    Lai Van Hai, representative of the organizing board said, “This is the 6th Oshougatsu Festival hosted by the Japanese language club HEDSPI Nichibu at Hanoi University of Science and Technology as the cultural festival. Earlier, Oshougatsu was held by the Japanese language club but on a smaller scale.”

    The program was decorated with the largest Kadomatsu tree in Vietnam; along with 10,000 cherry blossoms, 5,000 wisteria flowers and a 3D-decorated space for participants to take photos.

    Entering to the festival, participants had the chance to explore the unique cultural features of Japan’s Oshougatsu festival through customs, dishes and traditional games such as Yosakoi dance, Japanese calligraphy, Kendama (Japanese toy consisting of a hammer-shaped handle connected by a string to a ball), New Year omikuji (fortune telling), and Yukata wearing (Japan’s traditional costume). 

    Lai Van Hai said, “Different from the last Oshougatsu festival, this year’s did not only feature the season of spring but also the other seasons of the year. With each period we have different cultural actives. At the festival, people also had chance to join hands to make some traditional craft products from Japan.”

    The Oshougatsu festival held in Hanoi’s University of Science and Technology attracted thousands of Vietnamese as well as Japanese people. 

    Shunto Adachi, a Japanese student, who is living and studying in Vietnam, said, “I was introduced to this festival by one of my Vietnamese friends. Being Japanese, I really want to join and help my Vietnamese friends in organizing events such as this one. I am very proud and happy to see a traditional Japanese festival held in Vietnam.”

    10 fishermen rescued from peril at sea

    Ten fishermen who were in distress at sea for two days have been plucked from danger by rescue forces of the MaritimeRescueCoordinationCenter and Nghe An border guards.

    Early on January 16, a fishing vessel with the number NA 93018 TS was imperiled by severe weather while fishing at sea, around 90 nautical miles northeast of Hon Me, ThanhHoaProvince.

    After receiving a mayday signal, Maritime Rescue dispatched SAR 273 to the scene. With support from Nghe An border guards, the fishing vessel and its crew were towed to safety and docked at Cua Lo Port on the afternoon of January 18.

    All 10 fishermen were reported to be in good health and are recovering from the ordeal with their families.

    HCMCity house fire leaves 2 injured

    Two people were injured after a house fire broke out in the early hours of January 19.

    According to preliminary information, the fire sparked on the ground floor of a house located on
    Au Co Street
    in Tan Binh district of Ho Chi Minh City. Four people were in the house at the time. Noticing the ferocious blaze, two of them evacuated the house, while the other residents were stuck inside.

    Upon receiving reports of the blaze, firefighters and fire engines arrived at the scene to battle the flames. It took them half an hour to rescue the trapped residents and bring the fire under control.

    Victims were taken to Cho Ray hospital for treatment immediately.

    The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

    Coca-Cola Street Food Festival set for Hanoi

    Following the success of the “Street Food Festival” in Ho Chi Minh City last November, a similar event will take place on January 20 and 21 at Quan Ngua Stadium in Hanoi, by Coca-Cola, Foody, one of the local leading food advisor websites, and Kenh 14, an online newspaper for teenagers.

    Hanoi cuisine is both rich and varied and it’s said its exquisite taste is best enjoyed in winter, as the food festival hopes to prove. Typical specialties of the capital will be available, such as pho, bun cha (grilled pork with noodles and fish sauce), nem (spring rolls), and others.

    Together with traditional food, popular street food will also be served, such as chao suon (rice soup with pork ribs), bun oc (snail with noodles), pho cuon (fresh spring rolls with beef rolled in a pho sheet), banh khuc (rice balls made from glutinous rice, green beans, pork, spices, and cudweed), banh cuon (a thin, wide sheet of steamed fermented rice batter filled with a mixture of cooked seasoned ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, and minced shallots), and oc luoc (boiled snails).

    Delicious dishes from all regions are also on offer, providing a major feast on the cusp of the new lunar year.

    All dishes are on a list compiled from votes by Foody readers.

    A bottle of Coca-Cola sells for only VND5,000 ($0.22), and the beverage giant will also hold games with food vouchers up for grabs.

    A new addition to the Hanoi holding not seen in Ho Chi Minh City is dynamic 3D photo booths with street art, for fans to take cool photos.

    The festival starts at 9am and finishes at 10pm on both days. Entry is free. Coca-Cola is also cooperating with Uber Vietnam to provide new users with two free trips to get to the festival, using the codes COCAFOODFEST or COCACOLA2018.

    Hanoi, Saigon among Southeast Asia’s cheapest cities

    Good news for those who are planning a trip to Vietnam as the country’s two biggest cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, just cracked into the top 10 cheapest cities in Southeast Asia for this year.

    HCMCity, the southern metropolis, took the 9th position when Hanoi secured the 7th spot, as shown in the Cost of Living Index 2018 conducted by Numbeo, the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide.

    Valenzuela in the Philippines is the city with lowest cost of living in the region.

    Aside from the two Vietnamese cities, the rest in the top ten are in the Philippines (PHL) and Indonesia (IDN).

    Numbeo measures the cost of restaurants, house renting, groceries and the purchasing power to come up with the average index for the cost of living in each country.

    The top five most expensive cities in Southeast Asia are Singapore, Bangkok of Thailand, Makati of the Philippines, Phuket of Thailand and Johor Bahru of Malaysia.

    In February last year, Vietnam was ranked as one of the cheapest destinations by Forbes after the magazine interviewed 14 travel experts who made it their business to keep track of the best bargains around the world to make a list of the most affordable destinations to visit in 2017.

    The country stood out as a low-cost travel destination in South Asia for affordable luxury resorts, healthy food at cheap prices and beautiful sights.

    In May 2017, HCMCity was named one of the most affordable cities for a couple's night out by Expatistan.com, a database that compiles the global cost of living.

    For a night out with a potential life-long love in HCMC, love birds have to shell out around US$35, while in Singapore a date may cost them at least US$80.

    Farmer Nguyen Quoc Viet becomes well-off thanks to agriculture start-up

    After finishing his military service in 2002, Nguyen Quoc Viet of Binh Tan district, Vinh Long province, started farming. Ten years later, he became well-off, and given many local young people a stable income.

    Several years after working on his family’s farm, Viet got a bank loan and bought a harvester, which he hires out to neighboring farms for extra income. A decreasing workforce for farm work prompted Viet to turn to machines. 

    He bought two more harvesters and a soil mixing machine to establish a rice harvesting group. Tran Huu Lam said his own income has risen since he started working for Viet: “The machines make the work much easier. We are very busy, especially during the harvest time. My income has grown”.

    Viet also produces rice varieties for cultivation. In 2012, he set up a 5-member production group working on an area of 7 hectares. They have managed to create high-quality rice seeds that produce 8 tons of rice per hectare. 

    Nguyen Quoc Viet said, “We apply advanced techniques to produce high-quality rice seeds. The local authorities encourage the establishment of more groups to expand the business to other areas”.

    Viet’s production group quickly grew to 30 members and expanded its operation to 33 hectares of land. They have received many orders, some of them from other provinces.

    Nguyen Hoai Phong, Secretary of My Thuan commune’s Youth Union, said Nguyen Quoc Viet is industrious and creative. From 4,000 square meters, Viet has expanded his farm land to 3 hectares and has generated jobs for 30 young local people. Viet has encouraged group members to put up US$1,000 to help young locals start their own business. 

    Mr. Phong said, “Viet has been successful in his business and has helped many others achieve a stable income”.

    Ms. Nguyen Quynh Thu, Secretary of Vinh Long province’s Youth Union, said, “Viet is ambitious and determined and an active participant in social work in his locality. He is a great source of inspiration for our startup movement”.

    Nguyen Quoc Viet received the Luong Dinh Cua award in 2015. The annual award, named after one of Vietnam’s greatest agronomists, honors outstanding young farmers across Vietnam

    HCMCity prepares human resources for smart city project

    Ho Chi Minh City has approved a smart city project until 2020 period with a vision to 2025. One of the project’s priorities will be creating qualified human resources.

    Investment in education and training has been one of the city’s top priorities, making up around 11.7% of the municipal budget (approximately US$150 million) every year. In addition to building new schools, upgrading schools with modern teaching equipment, and improving the staff, Ho Chi Minh City also gives high priority to projects and research on human resources development. 

    "A smart city only works when its citizens are smart. Education is the only way to improve our human resources and investment in this field is of great importance. This is what we will focus on in the near future., said  Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of the City’s People’s Committee."

    The city has learned experience from developed countries around the world. Acknowledging the importance of improving language skills and knowledge of science, the city has adopted a comprehensive project on improving education and training until 2030.

    "In addition to improving the environment for education, the city’s Department of Education and Training needs to cooperate with other ministries and sectors to devise incentives to attract and nurture talent.", said Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam, Chairwoman of Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Council.

    More specific mechanisms will be set up to further Ho Chi Minh City’s efforts to improve its human resources and prepare them for the future smart city.

    Vietnamese workers in Thailand allowed to get work permits

    Vietnamese migrant workers in Thailand are allowed to register for work permits in the country, according to an instruction that the Government of Thailand sent to its Ministry of Labour on January 18. 

    It instructed the Ministry of Labour to complete registration for work permits for guest workers from Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar by June 30, 2018. These three nations have signed labour exchange agreements with Thailand.

    It also said Vietnamese workers are allowed to register for work permits in the country like those from the three nations, however, no specific instructions were mentioned.

    According to the ministry, Vietnamese workers have permits to work in fishing and construction. There are no official agreements on other fields. Therefore, the country will only push granting permits for Vietnamese workers in these two fields. 

    Extra efforts to care for labourers essential: President

    President Tran Dai Quang stressed the need for trade unions to make continued efforts to improve incomes and working conditions and protect legitimate rights and interests of labourers and trade unionists as the fourth Industrial Revolution is bringing both opportunities and challenges.

    Speaking at the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL)’s conference in Hanoi on January 21, Quang asked the VGCL to focus on grassroots activities, instruct trade unions at all levels to fulfil their role of representing, caring for and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of labourers, especially through negotiating, signing, supplementing and realising collective agreements and holding dialogues at workplace.

    Attention should be paid to establishing close coordination with ministries, sectors, localities and press agencies to disseminate the Party’s policies and the State’s laws on collective agreements and dialogues.

    The President also emphasised the requirement to increase the efficiency of collective agreements and dialogues, and expand the scale of dialogues at businesses in order to contribute to building harmonious, stable and progressive labour relations.

    He requested ministries, sectors, localities, and employers to maintain collaboration with the VGCL and all-level trade unions to continue caring for labourers, particularly those in industrial, economic, and processing and exporting zones.

    At the conference, Dinh Sy Phuc, head of the trade union of the Taekwang Vina Industrial JSC in southern Dong Nai province, and Nguyen Thi Nghia, head of the trade union of the Lihit Lab Vietnam Co. Ltd, in northern Hai Phong city, shared their experience in protecting legitimate rights for labourers.

    On this occasion, the VGCL commended 70 outstanding heads of grassroots trade unions.

    Vietnam embassy attends Indonesia Immigration Festival

    The Embassy of Vietnam in Indonesia introduced Vietnam’s immigration policies during the Immigration Festival 2018 held by the Indonesian Ministry of Law and Human Rights on January 21.

    The festival, which also attracted the participation of over 20 foreign embassies and Indonesia’s Government officials, included a parade introducing local culture, and booths on partner countries’ immigration policies and cultural features.

    The initiative to renew passports and quickly solve passport-related procedures was the highlight of the event.

    The organising board planned to grant 1,600 new passports during the festival. However, as of 11am, 3,000 people had registered for new passports.

    Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna Hamonangan Laoly said that the public service in the field of immigration draws public attention. However, human resources and budget for this work remain limited and is unable to meet the increasing demand of middle-class Indonesians.

    Therefore, through the festival, the ministry hopes for a closer approach to the public, he added.

    Belarus supplies humanitarian aid to VN


     Health sector determined to reduce overloaded hospitals, Bridge collapses in Tien Giang following barge collision, Oshougatsu Cultural Festival 2018 in Hanoi, 10 fishermen rescued from peril at sea 


    A Belarusian aircraft with humanitarian cargo weighing a total of 42 tonnes landed at CamRanhAirport in KhánhHòaProvince on Sunday.

    The cargo was accompanied by a delegation of representatives from the Ministry for Emergency Situations of Belarus led by Deputy Minister for Emergency Situations, Aleksandr Khudoleev, according to a press release by the Belarusian Embassy.

    The delegation brought humanitarian aid to the regions of Việt Nam most severely affected by destructive typhoons and floods last year.

    The humanitarian aid includes goods from Belarusian producers such as food products (children’s dry mixes, cereals, canned meat), tents, blankets, diesel power generators, and camp cots.

    On the same day, a solemn ceremony took place at Cam Ranh airport in which the Ambassador of Belarus to Việt Nam, and Deputy Minister for Emergency Situations of Belarus handed over the humanitarian aid to the Vietnamese side.

    Leaders of KhánhHòaProvince as well as Việt Nam Disaster Management Authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Việt Nam and local Fatherland Front representatives attended the event. 

    Microsoft Office Specialist qualifiers begin

    The 2018 Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship qualifying competition for the southern region began last Saturday in HCMCity.

    The annual competition for students aged 13 to 22 comprises three contests - Microsoft Office 2013, Microsoft Excel 2013 and Microsoft PowerPoint 2013.

    It is organised by the Hồ Chí Minh Central Youth Union and IIG Việt Nam, an organisation for testing and educational quality accreditation.

    A total of 120 candidates from across the country will be chosen for the national championship.

    Three winners at the national championship will go on to the World Championship in the US from July 29 to August 1 this year.

    The first prize in the World Championship will be US$7,000, and the second and third prizes will be $3,500 and $1,500.

    The competition has been organised world-wide since 2002 and was first held in Việt Nam in 2010.

    Việt Nam won third place in Microsoft Word 2013 at the World Championship last year.

    Crew onboard 3 ships arrested for illegal fishing

    Border police of northern Hạ Long Province’s Hòn Gai port border gate on Thursday discovered three ships and arrested those onboard for illegal fishing.

    The sailors of the ships, all from the province’s Quảng Yên Commune, were caught storing and using electric fishing tools to catch fish in Hạ Long Bay.

    Earlier on Tuesday, police of the province’s Cô Tô Island District arrested four ships for illegally exploiting seafood in the water areas of Đồng Tiến Commune. They seized a 300m plastic pipe with electric wires, four sets of converters used to generate high-voltage electricity from batteries and eight self-modified electric guns used to catch fish.

    Local authorities fined the fishermen in line with current regulations and informed them about the importance of protecting maritime resources.

    Fishing using particular electric tools is prohibited in the country as it endangers users and reduces the number of fish. High-voltage electricity kills fish before the fishermen can harvest the fish using a net.

    Books featuring Vietnam-India ties debut

    A collection of books featuring India, its country, people, history and culture as well as potential of cooperative ties with Vietnam debuted in Hanoi on January 19.

    Speaking at the event, Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan said the compilation and publication of books are meant to celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties and the 10th anniversary of strategic ties of Vietnam and India in 2017. 

    Compiled and published by the Information and Communications Publishing House, the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics’ Centre for Indian Studies, and the Vietnam – India Friendship Association, the eight-volume collection highlights Vietnam-India ties across culture and economy, India’s strategy on building national security policies throughout periods, which was partly supported by Vietnamese experts. 

    Perspectives in the books will provide invaluable references for both countries to maintain their peace, stability and prosperity. 

    Ties between Vietnam and India dated back to nearly 2,000 years ago via cultural, religious and trade exchanges. In the midst of the 20th century, they were more solid and fostered by late President Ho Chi Minh, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and generations of leaders and peoples, becoming a common invaluable asset of the two nations. 

    In 2007, the Vietnam-India relationship was lifted to strategic partnership level, with a focus on the fields of politics-diplomacy, national defence-security, economy-trade, energy, science-technology and culture-education. 

    Following Vietnam’s visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2016, both sides upgraded their strategic partnership to comprehensive strategic partnership to meet demand in the new situation. 

    VNN


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  • 01/23/18--01:00: Article 1
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 23/1


    Vietnam promotes trade, tourism in Chile

    Vietnamese Chargé d'affaires a.i. in Chile Nguyen Minh Anh introduced the potential for cooperation between Vietnam and Chile in trade and tourism at a seminar in Chile on January 19.

    Anh highlighted the remarkable growth in bilateral trade exchange recently, with value reaching 1.28 billion USD. He noted that Vietnam is the 10th biggest foreign trade partner and the second largest Southeast Asian market of Chile.

    The diplomat underlined the trend among young Chilean entrepreneurs to seek investment opportunities in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam.

    A representative of the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the VietnamChile free trade agreement, effective in 2014, has made significant contributions to increasing trade exchanges between the two nations.

    Vietnam can serve as a gateway for Chilean products to enter ASEAN markets, while Chile as a bridge connecting Vietnam and Latin America.

    The seminar, jointly hosted by the Embassy of Vietnam and the Manufactured Product Exporters Association of Chile (ASEXMA) also aimed to announce the cooperation opportunities between the two countries at the 28th Vietnam International Trade Fair (Vietnam Expo 2018) slated for April.

    It drew a crowd of local enterprises operating in aquaculture, food processing, agriculture, energy, among others.

    Vietnam, South Africa have potential for multifaceted cooperation

    Vietnam and South Africa hold huge potential for boosting cooperation in many fields, including bringing bilateral trade turnover to two billion USD a year, said an official of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

    Speaking at a seminar promoting South Africa’s trade, investment and tourism held in HCM City on January 19, Deputy General Director of VCCI’s Ho Chi Minh City branch Nguyen The Hung said the most promising field for bilateral partnership is mining and mining technology.

    He added that Vietnam also wishes to work with the African country in thermal electricity, automobile manufacturing and assembling and food processing, among others.

    Currently, Vietnam’s major exports to South Africa include mobile phones and components, computers, electronic devices, footwear, rice, pepper corns, cashew nuts, coffee and wood furniture. Meanwhile, the country imports plastic, garment-textile materials and leather, chemical products, metals, iron and steel.

    Trade Counsellor at the South African Embassy in Vietnam Mat Matiwane said his country has been working to create optimal conditions for businesses of the two countries to seek investment opportunities. He also voiced his hope that Vietnamese firms will enhance investment and trade activities in seafood, shipbuilding and especially tourism.

    The major economic sector of South Africa is mining and exporting minerals, according to Matiwane. Besides, the country is striving to develop trade, services and information technology, which could serve as foundation for cooperation of the two countries’ enterprises.

    VietnamSouth Africa trade turnover increased five times during the recent 10 years, from 192 million USD in 2007 to 1.03 billion USD in 2016.

    Petrol prices increase by over 400 VND per litre


     HCM City keen on hi-tech agriculture, Steel Corporation committed to finish 2017’s leftover projects, KIDO Food remains ice cream market leader, VN-China trade likely to reach $100 billion

    The price of bio-fuel E5 increased by 429 VND while those of diesel 0.05S and kerosene increased slightly by 430 VND and 448 VND per litre, respectively in the latest regular adjustment of petrol and oil prices on January 19.

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance announced that the prices of E5 are not higher than 18,672 VND per litre, and those of diesel 0.05S and kerosene should not be higher than 15,959 VND per litre and 14,560 VND per litre, respectively.

    The changes took effect from 15:00 on January 19.

    The two ministries also decided to keep using the price stabilisation fund for E5 bio-fuel at 857 VND per litre while the use of the fund for diesel was 400 VND per litre, unchanged from the previous adjustment.

    The Ministries of Industry-Trade and Finance conducted a review of fuel prices every 15 days to adjust the prices in accordance with fluctuations on the world market.

    The average global price of petrol products during the last 15 days to January 19 was at 76.243 USD per barrel for RON 92 and 80.214 USD for diesel. 

    This is the first increase of the petrol and oil prices in 2018. In 2017, petrol and oil prices were adjusted 24 times, including nine hikes and nine drops.

    HCMCity keen on hi-tech agriculture

    HCMCity is urging farmers to adopt hi-tech agricultural techniques in an aim to increase productivity, quality and competitiveness, Lê Thanh Liêm, vice chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, said.

    The city is striving to become a centre for domestic animal breeding and seedling production in the south, Liêm said at a conference held on Friday in the city on the agriculture and rural development sector.

    Last year, agri-forestry-fishery production achieved strong growth, amounting to VNĐ19.48 trillion (US$856.26 million), up 6.3 per cent year-on-year, he said.

    The agriculture sector aims for a growth rate of 6.3 per cent this year, he added.

    Liêm asked the city’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to work with the AgriculturalHigh-techPark and agencies to support enterprises and farmers so they can access high-quality breeding, investment capital and technology transfer.

    Last year, the areas adopting high-tech agriculture increased to 389ha compared to only 101ha in 2016.

    Enterprises in the city last year exported a total of 281 tonnes of high-quality plant seeds of various kinds, a year-on-year increase of 25 per cent.

    Exports of ornamental fish rose 13.8 per cent year-on-year to reach revenue of $20 million.

    The volume of fruits and vegetables exports last year amounted to more than 453,400 tonnes, valued at VNĐ456 billion ($20.04 million).

    Seminar hails S Africa, VN trade     

    There is enormous potential for investment and trade between South African and Viet Nam, according to political counselor at the South African Embassy in Ha Noi, Mat Matiwane.

    Speaking at a seminar on trade, investment and tourism promotion by South Africa in HCMCity on Friday, he said the two countries have something to offer each other.

    South Africa is a major exporter of mineral-based commodities, which could assist Viet Nam in its expanding industrialisation.”

    Strong growth in domestic consumption fuelled by increasing income levels in both nations is creating demand for their respective products, he said.

    “Infrastructure development that took place in Southern Africa has also resulted in joint ventures between service providers such as Viet Nam’s Viettel in our neighbouring country.”

    Nguyen The Hung, deputy director of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s HCMCity office, said trade between Viet Nam and South Africa has increased significantly.

    It was worth US$924.5 million in the first 11 months of last year, with Viet Nam’s exports accounting for over $704 million, he said.

    “As of November last year South African firms had invested $1.22 million in seven projects in Viet Nam while Vietnamese firms had invested $1.6 billion in two projects in South Africa.

    "Despite the great strides in bilateral trade and investment relations, trade between Viet Nam and South Africa remains largely untapped.”

    In addition, South Africa, with its many spectacular sights and cool weather around the year, remains an unexplored destination for Vietnamese tourists, he said.

    Matiwane said: “It seems there is a lack of information on both sides about each other’s business opportunities as well as social and cultural environments. One cannot seize an opportunity if one does not know that it exists.”

    Some attendees pointed out that the difference in payment methods -- with South African firms wanting payment in advance while Vietnamese companies prefer letters of credit -- is another obstruction to trade.

    Matiwane listed areas in which the two sides could enhance co-operation, like aquaculture, shipbuilding, advanced manufacturing, infrastructure, metals, mining, furniture, agribusiness, garment and textile, and footwear.

    There is huge potential for export of Vietnamese agricultural products to his country, especially fruits it does not have, he said.

    South Africa boasts stable economic growth, an abundance of natural resources and modern infrastructure, and offers investment incentives, and could also act as a gateway for Vietnamese products to the rest of the continent, he added.

    He also encouraged investors and trade partners to “take a long-term view to co-operation” to ensure that their investment in trade with South Africa is sustainable and profitable.

    Viet Nam’s main exports to South Africa are mobile phones and accessories, computers, electronic products, footwear, coffee, rice, pepper, wooden products, and cashew nuts.

    It imports iron and steel, raw materials for footwear and garment and textile industries, chemicals and plastic materials.

    The meeting was organised by the VCCI in collaboration with the South African embassy in Viet Nam

    Steel Corporation committed to finish 2017’s leftover projects     

    The Vietnam Steel Corporation (VNSTEEL) needs support from the Government to resolve any remaining problems associated with its two key projects, general director Nguyen Dinh Phuc said at a meeting on Friday.

    VNSTEEL’s focus this year will be completing the two projects of Viet Trung Metallurgy and Mineral Co Ltd (VTM) and Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel JSC (TISCO), especially in TISCO’s second expansion phase, he said.

    Phuc said that the plan is part of the Government’s efforts to improve domestic long rolled steel and plated steel production and in line with the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s efforts to support local steel producers in 2018.

    He conceded that VNSTEEL met with difficulties during the expansion in 2017, as well as in VTM’s Lao Cai Iron and Steel Plant Project, so they both fell behind schedule.

    VNSTEEL’s negotiations and final settlement with contractors from the China Metallurgy Group were also fraught with difficulties. Due to the dispute’s complexity, legal support from consultancy companies was sought, and VSC also asked the Ministry of Justice for help in the matter.

    On another note, the VTM managed to complete its negotiations and amendments with foreign joint venture partners on Quy Sa Iron Mine Project by the end of 2017, and is now looking forward to the official signing, after receiving approval from its board of directors.

    Other investment projects from VNSTEEL’s subsidiaries like Phu My Flat Steel Company, Nha Be Steel JSC and Thu Duc Steel JSC, are still undergoing slow appraisal and approval, mainly due to difficulties in owner’s capital and investment certificate procedures.

    At the same time, VNSTEEL will work with representatives at TISCO on the latter’s State divestiture, decreasing from 65 per cent to 21.5 per cent of its charter capital, which is expected to be completed in 2018’s first quarter.

    According to VNSTEEL’s end-of-year report, in 2017, its total accumulated revenue hit VND18.8 trillion ($837 million), while combined profit reached VND650 billion ($28.9 million).

    The report also stated that last year, 22 out of 36 of its member companies completed or exceeded their business goals, at much higher growth rates compared to 2016. 

    Fuel prices hiked on increase in global prices     

    The retail price of biofuel E5 RON 92 rose VND429 to VND18,672 (US$0.82) per litre from 3pm Friday afternoon, per an announcement by the ministries of industries and trade and finance.

    This was the first increase in retail petrol price from the beginning of this year when biofuel E5 RON 92 completely replaced petrol RON 92 in Viet Nam.

    Diesel oil increased by VND430 to VND15,959 per litre, kerosene rose VND448 to VND14,560 per litre and mazut oil inched up VND150 to VND12,765 per kilogramme.

    According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, global oil and petrol prices were on an uptrend. The price of RON 92 which was used to produce biofuel E5 was at $77.35 per barrel on January 10 – the highest level since 2016.

    Prices of petrol RON 95 have seen significant increase by retailers after the elimination of petrol RON 92.

    Petrol RON 95 was sold at up to VND20,990 per litre, according to petrol retailer Petrolimex.

    Prices of RON 95 of Euro 3 emission standard and Euro 4 emission standard were now higher than biofuel E5 RON 92 by VND1,850 and VND2,050 per litre, respectively, triggering concerns that this was intended to promote the sale of biofuel.

    Recently, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue asked the two ministries to closely monitor the consumption of biofuel E5 RON 92 and RON 95 – the only two types of petrol in the market - in the first quarter of this year to announce basic prices.

    Reviews of fuel prices are set to be announced every 15-days to keep up with swings in the global market. 

    Conference highlights strong ties between Viet Nam, India     

    Bilateral relations between Viet Nam and India have developed significantly over the past years, especially in trade, agriculture and food processing.

    This was revealed at a conference in Uttar Pradesh in India on Thursday. The conference was held as part of the ongoing Global Food & Beverage Show of India.

    Two-way trade between the two countries had grown from US$1.53 billion in 2007 to $7.63 billion in 2017. Vietnamese exports to India in particular increased by 21 times from $180 million to $3.76 billion.

    Viet Nam exports coffee, pepper, cashew nuts and seafood to India, among others, while it imports meat, aquatic products, fruits, vegetables and animal feed from the Indian market.

    In his speech at the conference, Bui Trung Thuong, head of Trade Office at the Vietnamese Embassy in India, said there was scope for the two countries to accelerate bilateral co-operation in three reviewed areas.

    Do Huu Huy, deputy head of the Asia-Africa Market Department from Viet Nam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, who was also present at the conference, agreed. He emphasised the importance of organsing trade promotion programmes in both countries, facilitating participation of the two countries’ business communities in trade fairs and exhibitions, and speeding up the exchange of trade information to expand bilateral trade.

    At the event, 30 Vietnamese enterprises in food and food processing, agriculture, forestry and fishery heard about the potential of the Indian food and beverages sector and met directly with Indian traders to explore new business opportunities.

    The food and beverages industry is one of the sectors that India gives priority to. The country is now the world’s leading producer of many agricultural commodities such as milk, rice, wheat, tea, cane sugar and spices. India’s food processing industry is valued at $258 billion. The country’s agricultural product and food export is predicted to reach $70 billion by 2020. 

    Phu Yen ready for an explosion of tourism: PM     

    Investors should turn the potential of central coastal PhuYenProvince into money, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on Friday.

    Speaking at the largest investment promotion conference held in the province, Phuc asked the locality to continue to use tourism as its development momentum.

    “The province should attract big and prestigious investors while diversifying and improving tourism quality," he said. "It should also enhance links with other localities inside and outside the country.”

    Phu Yen has a north-south road system, railway, airways and seaway. It also has diversified natural resources, including sea economic sectors, hi-tech agriculture, agro-forestry, minerals and renewable energies.

    Phuc highlighted the advantages of the province and its dynamic authorities in welcoming “sunrise” development.

    The PM said he valued the province’s efforts in developing economic infrastructure and improving the investment environment.

    “With its advantages and hard-working people, Phu Yen can surely achieve sustainable and rapid development in the central and Central Highlands regions,” he said.

    Phuc urged Phu Yen to ensure stability, transparency and equal competition in accessing resources and business opportunities. It should also pay attention to start-ups, especially by young people in the rural areas.

    “Phu Yen was requested to follow the country’s reform flow as well as taking advantages of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in management, building e-governance and removing bureaucracy,” he added.

    The province was asked to quickly resolve investment barriers, while improving its provincial competitiveness index (PCI) and public administrative performance index (PAPI) and become known as trustworthy.

    He said Phu Yen should enhance regional associations, especially with Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Lam Dong and Dak Lak which could supplement advantages for the province.

    It could also mobilise social resources to attract investment of clean and hi-tech industries.

    He expected the province to develop seafood and prevent illegal exploitation. Businesses and investors should protect the environment and traditional culture.

    Secretary of the provincial Party Committee, Huynh Tan Viet, said the province had strong commitments to helping investors.

    Between 2011-17, Phu Yen received 284 investment projects, including 19 foreign direct investments with total registered capital of US$6 billion.

    “The province will give priorities to sea eco-tourism, culture and building distinctive tourism products," Viet said.

    "Phu Yen will also focus on key sectors of finance, logistics, information and telecommunications; support industries, energy and agro-forestry processing.”

    Viet added that the province would seek investment in urban infrastructure, housing and real estate and establish special cultivation areas with post-harvest and processing technologies.“Investors in the province are our citizens. Their success will be ours,” he added.

    At the event, the provincial People’s Committee approved 17 investment licences worth a total of VND12.4 trillion ($558 million) and signed memoranda of understanding with others.

    These have been big scale projects, contributing to the province’s development and providing jobs for local people.

    On the same day, PM Phuc attended the inauguration of the Da Rang- Song Chua Bridges to ease congestion at the south of TuyHoaCity and expanding Phu Yen Urban Area.

    The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism also announced the PM’s decision to approve development planning of Xuan Dai Bay National Tourism Area by 2030.

    Accordingly, Phu Yen will develop the area based on its advantages of the Ganh Da Dia (Sea Cliff of Stone Plates) to develop national tourism products.

    More than 500 delegates, including those from 260 domestic and international enterprises attended the conference. 

    KIDO Food remains ice cream market leader     

    KIDO Food continued to lead the ice cream market with growth of 16 per cent last year, the company said on Thursday.

    It quoted a report from Euromonitor saying that last year the average growth in the ice cream market was 14.7 per cent.

    The strong cash flow in the ice cream segment boosted the company’s revenues last year to nearly VND1.5 trillion (US$65 million), a 7 per cent rise from 2016.

    Some new products also contributed to the increase in revenue, the company said.

    The new products, including frozen french fries, pushed revenues from frozen foods up by 77 per cent.

    KDF reported profit after tax of VND152 billion ($6.6 million), a 6.7 per cent increase.

    The company said it would focus on R&D to achieve higher growth and profits.

    KIDO Food, a member of the KIDO Group, was established in 2003 after the latter bought the Wall’s ice cream plant from Unilever.

    The company has since established some iconic brands like Merino and Celano.

    In 2016, the company entered the frozen food industry and has periodically been adding new products to expand its portfolio. 

    Securities company SSI sees surging growth     

    Saigon Securities Inc. (SSI) reported pre-tax profits of VND380.8 billion (US$ 16.7 million) on revenues of VND1.018 trillion ($44.8 million) in the fourth quarter of last year, up 344.7 per cent and 66.8 per cent year-on-year.

    With this the whole year pre-tax profit rose 20.5 per cent to VND1.27 trillion on revenues of VND2.95 trillion, a 19 per cent rise.

    The company has assets of VND18.24 trillion, up 34 per cent from a year ago.

    Revenues from brokerage in the fourth quarter surged 263.7 per cent year-on-year to VND311.4 billion.

    Revenues from lending and receivables (margin lending and advances on securities sales) contributed an important part of revenues, rising 37.4 per cent to VND150.8 billion, accounting for 32 per cent of securities services revenues.

    The stock markets ended 2017 with the VNIndex up 48 per cent, the highest increase in 10 years, with average liquidity for each trading section rising to nearly VND5 trillion, a 63 per cent rise.

    Last year was a successful year for SSI as it maintained the leading position on both HOSE and HNX, with its brokerage market share 15.26 per cent, up from 13.04 per cent in 2016.

    Its HOSE market share was 17.97 per cent in the fourth quarter, its highest ever. 

    VinFast to showcase models at Paris Motor Show     

    VinFast Manufacturing and Trading Company Limited, a subsidiary of Vingroup, completed the contract of two model sedan and SUV cars with leading designer Pininfarina on Thursday.

    The contract was worth US$5 million. The models were developed based on two designs selected by Vietnamese consumers in the contest “Choose the car also,VinFast” in October last year.

    VinFast has acquired intellectual property rights from automaker BMW for car production.

    With co-operation agreements with reputable partners in the field of automotive design and production, VinFast continues its commitment to roll out quality, modern, safe and aesthetic models in the Vietnamese market, on a par with world-class car models.

    Earlier, the company also completed a partnership agreement with Magna Steyr and AVL, two of the world’s leading automobile technology and manufacturing consulting firms.

    The model cars developed by VinFast, under the slogan “Vietnamese identity — Italian design — German engineering — International standard,” will be exhibited at the Paris Motor Show 2018 to be held in France in October. VinFast will introduce them in Viet Nam in December.

    In addition to this, VinFast will organise a vote to gather ideas from customers for new models after it completes production of the sedan and SUV models. The scope of this referendum will be extended to the international audience, affirming pride in the Vietnamese car.

    In October last year, VinFast presented 20 sedan and SUV designs and officially launched a public contest to select the two favourite car models in Viet Nam.

    Nguyen Viet Quang, deputy chairman of Vingroup, said the firm would begin accepting orders from early 2019, gradually moving to export.

    “Born after other automakers, VinFast is keen to filter the essence of the global automobile industry into its first product. We have a process in place to learn and select partners in order to roll out high-quality, safe and modern products that will have Vietnamese identity but international standards.

    VinFast is confident of introducing its first two models at the Paris Motor Show, where most of the producers choose to stage their work. This event will also contribute to marking the Vietnamese automobile brand in the international arena,” said Quang.

    VinFast is urgently building a 500,000sq.m factory in northern HaiPhongCity’s Dinh Vu-Cat Hai Economic Zone, which is planned to be completed by July this year. Along with that, the company also focuses on improving human resources and product development. It has signed contracts with leading companies in the field of design, supplying solutions for car manufacturing, technology, equipment, components and auto parts and training of technicians, such as Bosch, Siemens, Pininfarina, Ital Design, Torino Design, Zagato, BMW, Magna Steyr, AVL and German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Viet Nam.

    These efforts are aimed at accelerating the process of transforming the car from a piece of drawing to reality, confirming the serious investment and commitment of Vingroup to introduce a Vietnamese car with international standards.

    VinFast stands for “Viet Nam— Style — Safety — Innovation — Pioneer.”

    The VinFast automobile manufacturing complex, the first of its kind in Viet Nam, started construction on September 2 last year in Hai Phong, with a designed capacity of 500,000 units by 2025 and expectation to become the leading automobile manufacturer in Southeast Asia.

    VinFast aims to manufacture cars that are a mix of modern style, comfortable quality, safety and international-class design, and are suitable to Vietnamese taste.

    Its first products will be available in the market in the third quarter of next year. 

    VN-China trade likely to reach $100 billion

    Bilateral trade between Việt Nam and China will touch a record high of US$100 billion this year, after reaching $93.69 billion last year, experts predict.

    Last year’s two-way trade was $21.79 billion higher than in 2016 and accounted for 22 per cent of Việt Nam’s total import-export value, according to statistics from the General Department of Customs.

    Vietnamese exports to China experienced a significant yearly increase of 61.5 per cent to over $35.46 billion. That helped to reduce Việt Nam’s trade deficit with China to $22.76 billion last year from $28 billion in 2016.

    Telephones, a major item of export, recorded the highest turnover of $7.15 billion, up $6.35 billion compared to that of the previous year, according to the latest data.

    Last year also saw 13 staple products with export earnings of more than $1 billion, up by six staples against the previous year. The new items include seafood, with nearly $1.1 billion in export earnings, rice ($1.02 billion), rubber ($1.44 billion) and footwear ($1.14 billion).

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade says bilateral trade ties between the two countries have been growing in the past few years.

    China is one of Việt Nam’s largest trade partners and is also a key export market, the ministry said.

    Besides trade, China is currently one of the 10 biggest foreign investors in Việt Nam, with a total registered investment capital of more than $12.1 billion.

    During a visit to China last May, President Trần Đại Quang urged Vietnamese and Chinese firms to continue initiating innovative ideas to create a new momentum for bilateral economic partnership.

    He suggested Chinese companies invest in infrastructure, logistics and electronics and support industries while protecting the environment and engaging in social activities in Việt Nam.

    President Quang asked the two sides to facilitate access to each other’s markets.

    RoK’s imports of Vietnamese farm produce soars after 2015 FTA

    The Republic of Korea (RoK)’s imports of Vietnamese agricultural and livestock products rose by 34 percent in two years since the two countries’ free trade agreement (FTA) took effect in December 2015.

    According to the data compiled by the Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI), the RoK imported 980 million USD worth of farm and livestock products from Vietnam in 2017, compared with 730 million USD in 2015.

    Vietnamese goods accounted for 3.5 percent of the RoK's total farm and livestock imports last year, compared with 2.8 percent in 2015.

    Two-way trade between the two countries has risen since the FTA went into effect in December 2015, making Vietnam the fourth largest trading partner of the Republic of Korea.

    The KREI predicted that the pace of growth in the RoK’s imports of Vietnamese farm products is expected to quicken over the bilateral trade deal.

    Exports to Southeast Asia forecast to keep upward trend

    Vietnam’s exports to many Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Cambodia have grown strongly recently and are predicted to continue the upward trend in 2018.

    According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s Department of Asian-African Markets, Vietnam shipped 1.2 billion USD worth of telephones and components, 427 million USD worth of crude oil, and 91 million USD worth of fibres to Thailand in 2017. The figures showed respective increases by 69 percent, 170 percent, and 31 percent.

    The MoIT said many goods which are Vietnam’s strength still account for a modest market share in Thailand, noting that there are high possibilities to increase market share in Thailand for such commodities as aquatic products, fresh fruit, steel products, electrical wire and cable, and ceramic and wooden items.

    There are also opportunities for Vietnam to sell more apparel and footwear to Thailand, which is switching its production to other fields with higher added value. Meanwhile, milk and dairy products, handicrafts, and furniture also hold potential for stronger export if obstacles are removed and businesses are assisted, the ministry noted.

    The Asian-African Market Department said the shipment of many goods to Malaysia also posted high growth rates. Last year, Vietnam earned around 1.17 billion USD from exporting computers, electronic products and components (up 36 percent from 2016), 609 million USD from mobile phones and components (up 37 percent), 228 million USD from crude oil (up 20 percent), and 235 million USD from steel (up 105 percent) to Malaysia.

    Singapore was also a strong consumer of computers and components, transport vehicles and spare parts, crude oil, and gasoline from Vietnam last year, the department added.

    Vietnam capitalizes on FTAs

    Vietnam is efficiently implementing many regional and bilateral free trade agreements pursuant to the national policy of global integration. The FTAs have expanded Vietnam’s export markets and improved its export values, economic structure, and competitiveness.

     To date Vietnam has signed and is implementing 10 regional and bilateral FTAs, including a framework agreement on ASEAN - China economic cooperation, an ASEAN - Republic of Korea trade in goods agreement, an ASEAN - Japan comprehensive economic cooperation partnership deal, an agreement on establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA, a Vietnam-Japan economic partnership agreement, and a Vietnam-Chile free trade deal. 

    Among the FTAs to which Vietnam is a signatory, the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Area (EVFTA) is viewed as the most noteworthy, given its comprehensiveness, quality, and balance of benefits to both parties. 

    Under the agreement, the EU and Vietnam commit to opening as much as 99% of tariff lines and trade turnover. A 0% tax rate will be applied to export items in which the two sides have strengths. These are garments and textiles, footwear, seafood, tropical agricultural products, and wood furniture from Vietnam and automobiles, machinery, equipment, pharmaceuticals, and temperate farm produce from the EU. 

    EU businesses will enjoy incentives when investing and doing business in Vietnam, especially in financial and banking services, distribution, and transportation.

    Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said the EVFTA will ensure that Vietnam is a transparent business environment and will attract qualified EU investment to Vietnam.

    He said “The EVFTA and new generation FTAs together with positive outcomes of Vietnam’s reform of its growth, investment, and business models and great potential can help Vietnam improve its relations with Belgium and the EU as a whole in all areas, especially in economics, trade, and investment.”

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who is also head of the National Steering Committee on International Integration, has ordered FTAs to be implemented efficiently while preparing for the enforcement of the FTAs of new generation. Ministries and sectors have been asked to conduct periodic reviews to ensure strict implementation of the documents, make a timely assessment of arising issues, and propose solutions to improve the efficiency of FTA implementation and carry out more communications programs to help enterprises and people make full use of the agreements.

    FTA implementation and further integration into the world economy have helped Vietnam’s economic development and modernization, and helped it expand goods and service export markets, participate more fully in the global value chain and production network, improve the export values of its key export items, and make its business environment more transparent and friendly.  

    PM Phuc said at a recent international economic integration conference that the Vietnamese government insists on a comprehensive integration policy with a focus on international economic integration and participation in FTAs.

    “The Vietnamese Government considers international economic integration a driving force for economic reforms. It’s true that integration has promoted economic growth and development,” said PM Phuc. 

    “It is necessary to focus on restructuring the economy in line with the socialist-oriented market economy mechanism, ranging from rearrangement of production and food safety to brand building and reform of growth models. It’s also essential to promote an enabling government to fine-tune the institutions and create a better business environment”, noted the government leader. 

    Eximbank gives up key position in Sacombank

    Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank–STB) has just announced that Vietnam Export Import Bank (Eximbank–EIB) is no longer a key shareholder of the bank.

    Eximbank has been selling STB’s shares since November 2017. The bank only owns 88.4 million shares now, equaling 4.91 per cent of Sacombank’s total capital.

    Thereby, the relationship between Sacombank and Eximbank has faded after six years of engagement. In January 2012, Eximbank bought 103 million STB shares from ANZ and became the most important strategic investor of Sacombank.

    Eximbank sent Pham Huu Phu to represent and become chairman of Sacombank. They planned a comprehensive co-operation between the two banks and expected a merger. However, Eximbank faced difficulties due to a high-level personnel crisis.

    After two years of being Sacombank’s chairman, Pham Huu Phu resigned and returned as Eximbank’s general director. Sacombank was acquired by new shareholders represented by Tram Be. Tram Be was standing vice chairman of Sacombank’s Board of Management. Several leaders of Southern Bank  were appointed as leaders of Sacombank. During the tenure, Tram Be and Phan Huy Khang, former general director, committed numerous violations and were arrested.

    In 2015, Southern Bank officially merged with Sacombank, the two banks became one. At the time, Southern Bank accumulated bad debts, pulled Sacombank's development.

    In the middle of 2017, the restructuring plan of Sacombank was approved and Duong Cong Minh was appointed as new chairman of the Board of Management. He has retrieved over VND19 trillion ($837 million) of bad debts and gained VND1 trillion ($44 million) in pre-tax profit for Sacombank.

    Thus, STB’s ticker has doubled in value as compared to last year. The divestment of Eximbank is considered a successful deal because STB is now around VND16,000 apiece, the highest in the last four years.

    Currently, the two banks have been doing their utmost to complete restructuring via the “New Eximbank” project and to retrieve Sacombank’s bad debts in the next 5-10 years.

    VPBank posts $356.6 million pre-tax profit

    Việt Nam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank) posted a pre-tax profit of more than VNĐ8.1 trillion (US$356.6 million) in 2017, registering a 65 per cent year-on-year increase.

    VPBank Finance Company Ltd (FE Credit) accounted for 51 per cent of the bank’s total profit in 2017.

    VPBank on Monday announced its financial report for 2017 showing it had outstanding results in all the basic criteria and sustainable and effective growth, as a result of its strategy to focus on retail banking.

    The bank’s total assets last year reached nearly VNĐ278 trillion, increasing 21 per cent from the previous year.

    Customer lending rose by 24 per cent to VNĐ196 trillion in 2017, and the deposit was VNĐ200 trillion, up 16 per cent from the previous year.

    Its turnover growth rate in 2017 was VNĐ25 trillion, posting a 48 per cent year-on-year rise. Of this, the net profit rose by 36 per cent and net services by 70 per cent. It used more than VNĐ8 trillion for its risk prevention fund.

    In recent years, VPBank’s growth rate has been higher than the average level in the market. Its average total assets rose by 22 per cent a year since 2012.

    The bank’s leaders said the outstanding loans of FE Credit accounted for 23 per cent of its total integrated assets.

    With its listing on HCM City Stock Exchange (HOSE) in 2017, VPBank’s charter capital and ownership capital rose to VNĐ15.7 trillion and VNĐ29.6 trillion, respectively, up 70 per cent from the previous year.

    The positive growth has created a firm foundation for the bank, both in mid- and long-term periods, contributing to further development.

    The bank’s growth quality was also seen through a return on equity (ROE) of 27.47 per cent and a return on assets (ROA) of 2.54 per cent.

    The business results have helped the bank complete its target to become one of the largest joint stock commercial banks in Việt Nam in the 2012-17 period.

    Its strategy of focussing on retail banking products and services, which was launched five years ago, brought the achievements to the bank.

    The turnover from market segments of individuals, consumption finance and small- and medium-sized enterprises accounted for 80 per cent of its total turnover.

    Its most bright point was that it has maintained high quality of growth owing to flexible business strategies and effective risk management system, though it has focused on segments with high risks.

    VPBank has applied effective solutions to collect debts totalling VNĐ3 trillion in 2017. Its bad debt was kept at 2.33 per cent.

    The bank said it would continue to maintain its retail banking strategy in 2018, specially focusing on digitalisation of financial products and services to better meet with customers’ demand and create a new growth momentum.

    It will also enhance association with fintech companies and strategic partners to create a diversified financial ecosystem, which could provide better products to all market segments.

    VNN


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