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  • 03/29/18--02:34: Article 0
  • Government News 29/3


    Vietnam, Mongolia to make defence ties meet potential


     

    Vietnam, Laos exchange experience in political system operation, Asian audit institutions target sustainable development, Hanoi, Jakarta seek to expand cooperation in urban planning, Vietnam, Hungary augment ties in judicial manpower training
    Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich receives Mongolian Ambassador to Vietnam Dash Bilegdorj (Photo: dangcongsan.vn) 

    Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich noted the growth in VietnamMongolia defence cooperation, which has yet to meet its potential, at a meeting with Mongolian Ambassador to Vietnam Dash Bilegdorj in Hanoi on March 28.

    At the reception, Lich said he believes the diplomat will contribute to collaboration and mutual understanding between the two countries and their armies.

    He affirmed the Vietnamese Defence Ministry is keen on working with its Mongolian equivalent to implement bilateral agreements more effectively, particularly in delegation exchanges, military health care, logistics and UN peacekeeping mission.

    Vietnam and Mongolia established diplomatic relations in 1954.

    Vietnam, Japan step up defence cooperation


     

    Vietnam, Laos exchange experience in political system operation, Asian audit institutions target sustainable development, Hanoi, Jakarta seek to expand cooperation in urban planning, Vietnam, Hungary augment ties in judicial manpower training
    Vietnamese Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich (R) presents a gift to Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Umeda Kunio (Photo: ​qdnd.vn) 

    VietnamJapan defence ties have received significant attention from leaders of the two countries and grown well, according to Vietnamese Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich. 

    He made the statement at a reception for Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Umeda Kunio in Hanoi on March 28.

    Lich said the progress has brought about mutual benefits and contributed to peace, stability and development in the region and the world.

    The minister suggested bilateral defence cooperation should focus on military health care, search and rescue, natural disaster prevention, bomb clearance and dioxin detoxification.

    For his part, Umeda Kunio lauded Vietnam’s role in the region, stressing that defence engagements between Vietnam and Japan have grown significantly in recent years.

    The diplomat said Japan is considering providing more aid for Vietnam to overcome the consequences of war.

    Vietnam, US enhance cooperation in humanitarian activities


     

    Vietnam, Laos exchange experience in political system operation, Asian audit institutions target sustainable development, Hanoi, Jakarta seek to expand cooperation in urban planning, Vietnam, Hungary augment ties in judicial manpower training
    Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Pham Quang Vinh (R) receives Vice President for International Services at the American Red Cross Jono Anzalone  

    Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Pham Quang Vinh received Vice President for International Services at the American Red Cross Jono Anzalone on March 26 to review the two countries’ humanitarian cooperation.

    The two sides highlighted the collaboration between the Vietnam Red Cross and the US counterpart in health care, natural disaster mitigation and climate change response.

    Anzalone said he prioritises relations with Vietnam and recognised the effective coordination of the Vietnam Red Cross.

    Since 2012, the American Red Cross has carried out two important projects to increase the capacity of climate change response and mitigation of natural disaster risks in central and mountainous areas which are prone to natural disasters in Vietnam, he added.

    Ambassador Vinh hoped the American Red Cross will continue working with the Vietnam Red Cross and help the Southeast Asian country’s localities cope with natural disasters.

    Anzalone affirmed his organisation would continue long-term cooperation with Vietnam through 2020.

    Belarus to invest in Hanoi bus system


     

    Vietnam, Laos exchange experience in political system operation, Asian audit institutions target sustainable development, Hanoi, Jakarta seek to expand cooperation in urban planning, Vietnam, Hungary augment ties in judicial manpower training
    Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung (R) and Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko 

    Belarus will assist Vietnam in building an auto manufacturing plant in Hanoi as a way to reduce the cost of the buses, said Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko.

    He shared the information at a working session with Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung on March 28, discussing the development of the bus system of the capital city.

    In order to increase the rate of people taking buses to 20 – 22 percent, Hanoi will add and replace 700 – 1,000 buses and open new routes between now and 2020, Chung informed his guest, saying the scenario offers good cooperative opportunities for the city and Belarusian auto manufacturers.

    Taking part in the meeting, Director General of the Hanoi Transport Corporation (Transerco) Nguyen Hoang Trung said Hanoi put into use 32 buses of 60 seats and 80 seats produced by the Belarusian Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ) in 2017.

    The buses have proved better quality in comparison to buses currently operated in the capital, he noted, adding that their prices are 25 – 40 percent higher than that of similar buses of different ranges.

    Agreeing with Trung’s opinion, the city leader said Hanoi wants to buy more MAZ buses, even smaller ones.

    He recommended Belarusian auto makers and Transerco discuss measures to cut costs.

    Chung said Hanoi is looking forwards to Belarus’ support and cooperation human resources training for management of public transportation.

    He suggested other sectors for collaboration such as tourism and infrastructure development, particularly projects on urban bridges and railways.

    For his part, Semashko said Belarus wants to supply a large number of buses for Hanoi rather than just 32 units last year.

    On behalf of the Belarusian Government, he invited his host to visit the country and study the local electric bus system.

    He said Belarusian firms are willing to discuss and assist Hanoi in developing its infrastructure, particularly its urban railway system

    Vietnam congratulates new Myanmar President


    Vietnam, Laos exchange experience in political system operation, Asian audit institutions target sustainable development, Hanoi, Jakarta seek to expand cooperation in urban planning, Vietnam, Hungary augment ties in judicial manpower training

     

    President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Win Myint (R) (Source: Xinhua)


    President Tran Dai Quang and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc have cabled messages of congratulations to President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Win Myint on his election. 

    Win Myint, 66, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, became the country’s 10th president since 1948 after he won the presidential run on March 28. 

    He used to work as a lawyer. In 2012, U Win Myint, a member of the National League for Democracy (NLD), was elected as a parliament member to the House of Representatives.

    He became Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2016.

    The presidential run was hosted by the Union Parliament to fill the presidency vacancy left by U Htin Kyaw, who announced resignation last week, citing health as reason.

    Malian President keen on boosting partnership with Vietnam


     

    Vietnam, Laos exchange experience in political system operation, Asian audit institutions target sustainable development, Hanoi, Jakarta seek to expand cooperation in urban planning, Vietnam, Hungary augment ties in judicial manpower training
    Vietnamese Ambassador to Vietnam Pham Quoc Tru presents credentials to Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita 

    Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita expressed his hope to strengthen partnership with Vietnam in many fields during a meeting with Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Quoc Tru who presented his credentials to him in Mali’s capital city of Mamako on March 27.

    President Keita showed his warm sentiments to Vietnam as well as his admiration towards President Ho Chi Minh.

    He said that he hopes Ambassador Tru will work to contribute to the growth of the Vietnam-Mali relations.

    For his part, Ambassador Tru conveyed President Tran Dai Quang’s invitation to visit Vietnam to the host.

    He affirmed Vietnam’s wish and determination to further bolster partnership with Mali in all areas.

    Earlier on March 26, the diplomat had a meeting with Malian Foreign Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly, during which the two sides discussed measures to boost the development of cooperation between the two countries in the future, especially in economy.

    They agreed on the need to increase the exchange of delegations, and the completion of legal framework to facilitate bilateral cooperation. They concurred to resume meetings of the Inter-Governmental Committee, while strengthening collaboration between the two Chambers of Commerce and Industry in connecting businesses of both sides and promoting trade and investment activities.

    The two countries will coordinate with and support each other at international forums.

    Vietnam and Mali established diplomatic relations in October 10, 1960, just one month after Mali declared its independence.

    In 1962, Vietnam opened its embassy in Mali, which was one of the first two embassies in Africa. The Malian side also supported Vietnam during the war against the US, the ambassador told Vietnam News Agency’s correspondent in Algiers.

    The two countries have enjoyed sound partnership, he said, adding that the sound traditional friendship between the two countries over the past decades has laid firm foundation for the growth of bilateral partnership in the future.

    However, he pointed to instable political situation in Mali, which hinders the development of bilateral ties. He said that he hopes the situation will be improved, and the two countries will strengthen cooperation in various fields, especially economy and trade.

    Two-way trade between Vietnam and Mali has increased through years. In 2016, Vietnam’s imports from Mali were about 45 million USD worth of goods, while exports were valued at nearly 5 million USD. The figures surged sharply to over 42 million USD and 30 million USD, respectively, in the first nine months of 2017.

    PM visits Bat Trang ceramics village


     

    Vietnam, Laos exchange experience in political system operation, Asian audit institutions target sustainable development, Hanoi, Jakarta seek to expand cooperation in urban planning, Vietnam, Hungary augment ties in judicial manpower training
    PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Bat Trang village  

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on March 28 visited the Bat Trang ceramics village in Hanoi’s Gia Lam district, one of the famous trade villages in the capital city and the country.

    The visit took place two days ahead of the village’s traditional festival, held annually between the 14th and 16th days of the second lunar month.

    Talking to local authorities, artisans, and people of the village, the PM expressed his impression on the local preservation of traditional cultural values and economic development amid the growth of a market economy, saying they reflect local national patriotism.

    Acknowledging inadequate policies in support of craftsmen, Phuc affirmed the Government will continue working on the issue and creating better mechanisms to facilitate the planning of Bat Trang village.   

    Praising overseas and domestic distribution of Bat Trang potteries, he suggested the application of advanced technologies for improved quality and product diversity.

    Phuc said the achievements the village has obtained can serve as an example for its peers nationwide.

    Highlighting good outcomes of new-style rural building in the village, the leader urged local authorities to help expand traditional craft production and pay attention to environmental protection.

    He required the authorities to connect the village with travel agencies to capitalise on the customer source of millions of tourists to Hanoi.

    Vietnam expands trade, investment with US: PM


     

    Vietnam, Laos exchange experience in political system operation, Asian audit institutions target sustainable development, Hanoi, Jakarta seek to expand cooperation in urban planning, Vietnam, Hungary augment ties in judicial manpower training
    At the reception  

    The Vietnamese Government attaches special importance to extending trade and investment ties with the US, particularly exchanges and partnerships between the two countries’ businesses, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has affirmed. 

    During a reception in Hanoi on March 28 for a delegation of the US– ASEAN Business Council (USABC) led by its President Alexander Feldman, the PM spoke highly of the contributions of the US, including its business community, to the success of the APEC Year 2017 and particularly the APEC CEO Summit. 

    He said the government advocates building policies in service of businesses and people so that attention is given to regular, transparent and open consultation with business community, including foreign-invested enterprises, towards refining policies and improving enforcement. 

    The Vietnamese government is determined to restructure economy in combination with renewing growth model, facilitating start-ups and renovation, grasping opportunities arising from the fourth industrial revolution, and stepping up administrative reform to create a favourable business environment, he said. 

    In order to achieve such goals, he said Vietnam needs support of enterprises, including those from the US

    The host asserted that the US business community always plays an important role in the development of bilateral ties as well as the growth of Vietnam.

    He asked USABC and US firms to continue expanding business operations in Vietnam and serve as a bridge connecting new US firms with the country.

    The US delegation lauded Vietnam’s economic growth last year and its improving business climate. 

    They wished that the PM and agencies concerned would clear obstacles facing the US’s projects in Vietnam in the fields of renewable energy, machinery engineering, electricity, beverages, information technology and cyber security.

    NA Chairwoman visits World Horti Centre in the Netherlands


     

    Vietnam, Laos exchange experience in political system operation, Asian audit institutions target sustainable development, Hanoi, Jakarta seek to expand cooperation in urban planning, Vietnam, Hungary augment ties in judicial manpower training
    National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan visits World Horti Centre 

    National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan held a working session with the Dutch Cooperative Organisation - Agriterra in the Dutch city of Arnhem on March 28 while visiting the World Horti Centre.

    Speaking at the session, Agriterra Managing Director Kees Blokland introduced the centre’s activities and horticulture cooperation model between Vietnam and the Netherlands

    He said Agriterra gathers the involvement of manufacturers, researchers, businesses and government in flower production and trade, adding that it offers consultancy-training, experience sharing, access to bank loans and improvement of services for farmers’ organisations, as well as facilitates dialogues among farmers, government and businesses.

    According to him, Agriterra sent experts to Vietnam and welcomed a Vietnam Farmers’ Union delegation to the Netherlands for training. It also signed an action programme on cooperation with the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance which was approved by the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam. 

    The centre’s flower transaction floor now boasts 4,000 member cooperatives, including 450 international ones, attracts 2,000 consumers and earns 4.7 billion EUR (5.8 billion USD) annually from export to 140 countries worldwide. 

    The floor records roughly 110,000 transactions per day and sells 12.4 billion branches of 20,000 different flower species. 

    The Vietnamese NA leader learned about Agriterra’s operating experience, especially manufacturing by value chain and the role of the legislature and government in supporting Agriterra and Dutch cooperatives in policies and resources.

    President hosts Belarusian Deputy PM


    Vietnam, Laos exchange experience in political system operation, Asian audit institutions target sustainable development, Hanoi, Jakarta seek to expand cooperation in urban planning, Vietnam, Hungary augment ties in judicial manpower training

     

    President Tran Dai Quang (R) receives Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko 


    President Tran Dai Quang expressed his delight at the development of the Vietnam-Belarus friendship and cooperation in all fields while hosting Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko in Hanoi on March 28.

    The VietnameseState leader recalled his memories of his visit to Belarus in June last year, while extending an invitation to visit Vietnam to President Alexander Lukashenko.

    He expressed his pleasure at the effective implementation of agreements reached during his visit, especially the Vietnam-Eurasia Economic Union free trade agreement that became effective in late 2016, eliminating 90 percent of tariffs and opening up new prospects in economic and trade ties between the two countries.

    He lauded the Belarusian Deputy PM’s bilateral working sessions with Vietnamese ministries, sectors and localities, suggesting that the two sides should maintain exchange of delegations at all levels, strengthen links in value chain as well as cooperation in production and exports, thus boosting two-way trade, cultural collaboration as well as people-to-people exchange.

    President Quang stressed that Vietnam hopes to receive more investments from Belarus, especially in automobile and automobile spare part production, chemicals, and industrial equipment.

    Vietnam will back Belarusian firms to engage in urban railway construction projects and create conditions for Belarus’s industrial and engineering products to access Vietnam, he pledges, showing his hope that the two sides will foster collaboration in defence, security, and criminal prevention and fight.

    He proposed that the two sides work closely in dealing with problems arising during cooperation in a flexible manner.

    The Vietnamese leader said he hopes the two countries will continue supporting each other at regional and international forums.

    For his part, Semashko said that his visit aims to evaluate outcomes of the bilateral affiliation since the Vietnam- Eurasia Economic Union free trade agreement took effect. He noted that he had working sessions with leaders of Hanoi, ministries, sectors and localities to discuss ways to promote cooperation projects in transportation, food and pharmaceuticals.

    The Vietnamese and Belarusian economies can supplement each other, which will contribute to the growth of both countries, he added.

    He agreed with President Quang’s proposal on the settlement of arising matters during cooperation, especially the implementation of the Vietnam-Eurasia Economic Union free trade agreement.

    Vietnam, Laos exchange experience in political system operation


    Vietnam, Laos exchange experience in political system operation, Asian audit institutions target sustainable development, Hanoi, Jakarta seek to expand cooperation in urban planning, Vietnam, Hungary augment ties in judicial manpower training

     

    At the seminar. (Photo: dangcongsan.vn) 

    Vietnamese and Lao experts gathered at a seminar held in Hanoi on March 28 to share experience in the operation of the political system.

    Assoc. Prof Le Quoc Ly, Vice Director of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics laid stress on the significance of refining the political system in each nation. In the past years, Vietnam and Laos have worked to step by step renew their political systems and renovate the Party’s leadership to build a law-governed socialist state.

    In Vietnam, functions and competence of the Party’s leadership, the State’s authority and the surveillance of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and other socio-political organisations have been assigned in a more specific manner.

    The apparatus has been streamlined to become more efficient, Ly noted, adding that Vietnam can learn from Laos’s management decentralisation from central to grassroots levels and personnel work in the election and appointment of state officials.

    In addition, Laos’s streamlined political system and its capacity to create unanimity among the Party, State and people are worth studying, he said.

    Meanwhile, Assoc. Prof Samut thong Som Pa Nit, Vice Director of the Lao National Academy of Politics and Public Administration, highlighted that the organization of the State apparatus as well as units in the political and administrative system depends on working environment and living conditions in each nation. It serves as a motive to improve the strengths of the Party, State and people. 

    Participants at the event agreed that the political systems in both nations have changed to meet the market economy’s development and regional and international integration demand.

    However, they should work more to identify and address the remaining shortcomings.

    Asian audit institutions target sustainable development


     

    Vietnam, Laos exchange experience in political system operation, Asian audit institutions target sustainable development, Hanoi, Jakarta seek to expand cooperation in urban planning, Vietnam, Hungary augment ties in judicial manpower training 

    “Environmental auditing for sustainable development” will be the theme of the 14th Assembly of the Asian Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI 14) slated for September 19-22, 2018 in Hanoi, with the participation of over 350 delegates from 46 ASOSAI members. 

    This will be also the topic of the seventh symposium within the assembly, said Vietnamese State Auditor General Ho Duc Phoc at a press conference in Hanoi on March 28.

    He noted that the theme reflects commitments, efforts and practical contributions of the ASOSAI to achieving the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) in general and tackling global environmental challenges in particular.

    The ASOSAI members will look into challenges, experiences and solutions to effectively fulfill the function of environmental auditing towards sustainable development, Phoc said. 

    The outcomes of the ASOSAI 14 are expected to help complete guiding documents, processes and standards of auditing, thus meeting demands for sustainable development in the member countries, he added. 

    As the host of the ASOSAI 14, the State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV) will become the ASOSAI Chairman for 2018-2021 and is a member of the ASOSAI Governing Board for three consecutive terms from 2015-2024. 

    He described the event as a good opportunity for the SAV to learn from international knowledge and experiences, while affirming its role and position to other ASOSAI members and regional and international organisations. 

    A logo and visual communications tools of the ASOSAI 14 were introduced on this occasion. 

    The Assembly of ASOSAI is the largest multilateral forum and the highest organ of the ASOSAI. It consists of all members of the organization and meets once in three years to exchange ideas and experiences in the field of public auditing in order to approve policies, documents of the organisation and to elect members of the ASOSAI Governing Board and ASOSAI Chairman for the next term.

    Hanoi, Jakarta seek to expand cooperation in urban planning


     

    Vietnam, Laos exchange experience in political system operation, Asian audit institutions target sustainable development, Hanoi, Jakarta seek to expand cooperation in urban planning, Vietnam, Hungary augment ties in judicial manpower training
    Delegates at the working session.  

    Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen The Hung has suggested Hanoi and the Indonesian capital of Jakarta expand cooperation in urban planning, smart city construction, public transport and environmental protection.

    Hung made the proposal at his reception on March 27 for a delegation of urban planning officials from Jakarta.

    He said that the two cities are facing similar challenges in urbanisation, environment and public transport.

    The vice chairman expressed his hope that the Jakarta delegation’s visit will connect the two sides’ enterprises, thus deepening bilateral relations.

    Vietnam, Hungary augment ties in judicial manpower training


     

    Vietnam, Laos exchange experience in political system operation, Asian audit institutions target sustainable development, Hanoi, Jakarta seek to expand cooperation in urban planning, Vietnam, Hungary augment ties in judicial manpower training
    The talks between officials of the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam and the Hungarian Prosecution Service  

    A delegation of the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam has paid a working visit to Hungary during which they held talks with Hungarian agencies, agreeing to step up cooperation in specialised training and applying IT in legal procedures.

    The delegation, led by Chief Justice Nguyen Hoa Binh, met with leaders of the Hungarian Prosecution Service, the National Office for the Judiciary and the Ministry of Human Resources.

    During talks with Prosecutor General of Hungary Peter Polt, Binh affirmed that the two countries have carried out several cooperation programmes in the field of prosecution. Since 2013, the Hanoi-based ProcuratorateUniversity has sent five students to study law in Hungary.

    Polt agreed with Binh’s proposal on creating more favourable conditions for Vietnamese students who study law in the country to practice at local prosecution agencies.

    He added the Hungarian Prosecution Service is ready to share its experience with the specialist staff of Vietnam in areas that Hungary is strong in like anti-economic, cyber and securities crimes.

    The two sides also discussed security measures in using IT in legal procedures and trials.

    Chief Justice Binh also held talks with President Hando Tunde of the National Office for the Judiciary, an independent ministry-level agency specialising in ensuring the funding, infrastructure and manpower training for Hungary’s court system.

    He asked Tunde to support Hungary’s assistance for the VietnamCourtAcademy in building a contingent of judges meeting international standards.

    The Hungarian official promised that the National Office for the Judiciary will create conditions for Vietnamese students to practice in local courts. It also welcomes the Hungarian Ministry of Human Resources’ helping Vietnamese court workers to study in the country.

    At a meeting with Zita Horvath, Deputy State Secretary for Higher Education at the Hungarian Ministry of Human Resources, Binh lauded the Hungarian Government’s look east policy, which allocates 45 million EUR for human resources training for Asian countries, including Vietnam.

    He asked the ministry to expand the training of bachelors of law and give five of the 200 scholarships it gives to Vietnam each year to the court sector. He also applauded his host’s proposal to boost cooperation between Vietnamese and Hungarian universities.

    VNN

    0 0
  • 03/30/18--01:27: Article 2
  • Social News 30/3(Hourly Updated)


    Huge blaze burns down warehouse in Hải Phòng


    Watchdog seizes over 4 tonnes of expired corn, Vietnam Television urged to improve TV programme quality, Building apartments, hotels to be required to buy fire insurance, HCMC to finish sustainable poverty reduction program earlier than planned
    The scene of the warehouse fire in Hải Phòng City.-- photo baomoi.com 

    A huge blaze burnt down a warehouse and three other houses last night in Hải Phòng city, reported the Voice of Việt Nam online,  vov.vn.

    According to people living in the local area, the fire started at the warehouse about 6pm Thursday at 648,
    Lê Thánh Tông Street
    . The place, owned by Nguyễn Văn Hảo, stored wooden and plastic plates.

    Eyewitness said there was a huge explosion at first, followed by black smoke coming out of the warehouse. Some 15 minutes later, the warehouse caught fire.

    The wooden and plastic plates aggravated the fire, which quicky spread to neighbouring houses. The warehouse owner tried to extinguish the blaze, but to no avail.

    The fire was put out after many hours, but just in time to prevent it from spreading to a nearby petroleum station.

    There was no loss of human life, but the blaze completely burnt down the warehouse, besides seriously damaging three houses next to it.

    The warehouse has been in the residential area for more than 10 years. People in the neighbourhood had reportedly complained to the local government in the past about safety concerns, but no action was taken.

    Bình Thuận to develop Mũi Né into national tourism site

    The central province of Bình Thuận plans to develop Mũi Né, a popular beach area in the coastal city of Phan Thiết, into a national tourism site by 2030, speakers at a conference in the province have said.

    BìnhThuậnProvince aims to develop Mũi Né into a national level tourism site by 2030. — Photo kenhdulich.org

    By 2025, Mũi Né would become the main resort centre of Bình Thuận and the south-central coastal region, welcoming 10 million visitors. And by 2030, the area would meet all requirements for becoming a national level site, with 16 million visitors and VNĐ58 trillion (US$2.5 billion) in tourism revenue.

    The area aims to attract new markets in central and northern Europe and the Middle East, and will focus on beaches, sports, culture and community tourism.

    Phạm Trung Lương, former deputy head of the Institute for Tourism Development Research, said: “To achieve the goal, BìnhThuậnProvince should create diverse tourism products, boost promotion and train people.”

    “The province should also care more about environmental factors and the effects of climate change,” he added.

    Lương emphasised that developing Mũi Né into a national tourism site would boost development in the region, and links with the Central Highlands.

    Representatives of tourism agencies and cultural experts in Bình Thuận and neighbouring provinces and cities attended the conference. They called for more investment in entertainment and traffic infrastructure.

    Ngô Thanh Loan of the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanities noted that Mũi Né’s “key resource is the beach, so protecting the natural landscape is a must during development”.

    Nguyễn Đức Hòa, deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, asked the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to collect opinions from all attendees at the conference.

    He asked the department to submit the development plan to the People’s Committee soon. 

    Tuyen Quang hosts Lao Front for National Construction officials

    Officials from the Lao Front for National Construction (LFNC) have asked Vietnam in general and northern Tuyen Quang province to help Laos in collecting Lao artifacts and old documents during its revolutionary time.

    LFNC Vice President Nhotkeomany Suphanuvong and her entourage made the requests at their meetings with leaders of northern Tuyen Quang province during their visit to the locality on March 28-29.

    During the meetings, the two sides exchanged experience in history studies and museology. During the anti-French struggle, Vietnam and Laos together fought to free their brothers and liberate the two countries, said Deputy Secretary of the provincial Party’s Committee Nguyen Hong Thang. The Lao revolutionary memorial complex in My Bang, Yen Son district, Tuyen Quang is an evidence of the special Vietnam-Laos relations and friendship, he added.

    Thang gave his guest an overview of cooperation between Tuyen Quang and Lao localities in the areas of agriculture and rural development, industry, trade, culture-tourism, and education. Tuyen Qang has offered scholarships for 23 students from Xiangkhouang to study in TanTraoUniversity. The Vietnamese province will continue providing scholarships in short-term vocational training courses for 10 students from Xiangkhouang this April.

    Nhotkeomany Suphanuvong, for her part, said her visit to Vietnam aims to strengthen the long-standing ties between the two countries. She briefly updated Tuyen Quang’s leaders on Laos’s recent socio-economic development, saying the LFNC has played a part in uniting Lao people from different ethnic minority groups and religions for the national building.

    She thanked Tuyen Quang for preserving the Lao revolutionary memorial complex and hoped that the LFNC would learn from theory and practices of the Vietnam Fatherland Front.

    Programme raises awareness of protecting water resources in An Giang

    The Vietnam Red Cross (VRC) in collaboration with the Procter & Gamble Vietnam held a ceremony to launch a programme “Clean drinking water for children” in Long Xuyen city, the Mekong Delta province of An Giang on March 29 in response to World Water Day.

    Addressing the event, VRC Vice President Tran Quoc Hung said An Giang is one of the provinces most affected by water pollution and suffering from severe water shortages.

    Water shortage is the root cause of numerous social issues, such as diseases, infant and children mortality, raise drop-out rate, and pose difficulties for people in their daily life, Hung said.

    Over the past two years, the clean water programme, funded by the Procter & Gamble Vietnam, has been launched in Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Long An, An Giang, Dong Thap, benefiting over 110,000 households.

    In 2017, the company provided 800,000 P&G Purifier of Water packets for more than 60,000 households in the storm-affected provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Tri and Nghe An.

    The programme helps raise the awareness of the importance of clean water for community health, thus reducing diseases and mortality caused by water pollution, he said.

    Claude Zuhowski, the Global Disaster Relief Coordinator at Procter & Gamble Vietnam said, over the past two years, the programme has helped many Vietnamese families have drinking water, particularly those severely affected by floods and natural disasters.

    Procter & Gamble Vietnam pledges to make greater efforts to expand the programme in all other Vietnamese localities suffering water shortages and vulnerable to natural disasters in the future, she said. 

    Fisherman refuses cash offer, releases rare turtle back to sea

    A Vietnamese fisherman has released a rare turtle back into the ocean after snaring it off the central coast of Ha Tinh Province despite being offered a large sum of money for the creature.

    The incident was reported on March 29 by the management committee of Ha Tinh’s fishing ports.

    Nguyen Van Truong said a dealer had offered him VND10 million (US$446) for the green sea turtle (chelonia mydas), but he had refused. Vietnamese' average annual income is US$2,385.

    “Turtles are endangered animals so I want to release it back into the sea and play a part in the conservation of the species,” he said.

    Truong received help from local authorities to free the marine creature back into its natural habitat.

    This isn’t the first time a rare sea animal has been saved by compassion in Vietnam. In August 2017, fishermen in the central province of Quang Tri released a member of the same turtle species that had become trapped in their net.

    The species is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

    Just recently, four chelonian species in Vietnam were listed among the world’s 25 most endangered tortoises and freshwater turtles. The list was published by the IUCN’s Turtle Conservation Coalition in its quadrennial report.

    Vietnam is home to green, hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback and olive ridley sea turtles, all of which are listed in the country’s Red Book for rare and protected wildlife. The country outlaws the hunting or trade of any of the five species.

    Fire threat stalks Bình Dương wood workshops


     

    Watchdog seizes over 4 tonnes of expired corn, Vietnam Television urged to improve TV programme quality, Building apartments, hotels to be required to buy fire insurance, HCMC to finish sustainable poverty reduction program earlier than planned
    Many woodwork plants in BìnhDươngProvince face a high risk of fire since they lack proper prevention equipment. -Photo: thanhnien.vn 

    With the year just three months old there have already been fires at many wood processing workshops in BìnhDươngProvince, which have caused injuries to people and damaged properties.

    Recently there have been several fires in Tân Uyên town that caused serious damage with thousand of square metres of workshops burnt down and several businesses going bankrupt as a result.

    In February a fire destroyed a 1000sq.m facility belonging to Mỹ Nghệ wood processing workshop in Thuận An town.

    The province has more than 600 woodwork facilities, but only 10 per cent of them have effective fire prevention equipment.

    Though losses caused by fire are huge, most businesses, with an eye on cost, fail to invest in fire prevention equipment. 

    Nguyễn Thanh Điệp, deputy director of the Bình Dương Fire Prevention and Fighting Police Department, said the main reasons for fires were a lack of awareness among people and failures to have proper fire prevention equipment.

    The fire department has begun to step up checks and is slapping penalties on those businesses that fail to meet fire prevention norms.

    Experts: Work on Long Thanh airport needs to be sped up

    Construction of LongThanhInternationalAirport in the southern province of Dong Nai at an earlier date than initially planned will help reduce overcrowding in Ho Chi Minh City-based TanSonNhatInternationalAirport, experts have said.

    At a seminar co-organised in HCMCity on March 28 by Tien Phong Newspaper, the Ministry of Transport and the provincial People’s Committee of Dong Nai, the experts said the opening of the Long Thanh airport will allow the Tan Son Nhat airport to decrease its number of flights and have time to upgrade and expand later.

    Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong held that creating favourable conditions for the construction of LongThanhInternationalAirport will offer a great opportunity for growth of the aviation market.

    According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Vietnam will become one of the five fastest-growing markets in the world in terms of additional passengers per year in the 2015-2035 period.

    At the seminar, many experts expressed concern about policies and measures related to capital resources, modes of investment, land clearance, resettlement and compensation to landowners.

    Nguyen Ngoc Hung, Deputy Director of Dong Nai’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said the airport project will be the largest one in the province since 1975, which will cover an area of 5,000ha, including 1,800ha of rubber trees.

    Relocating residents will not be a problem because most of them have agreed to move and cooperate in land clearance and compensation, he said.

    However, about 15,000 people, most of them farmers and workers at rubber plantations, need to be resettled and given new jobs.

    Land for two new residential areas is being recovered and vocational training for people of working age will be offered, Hung said.

    He suggested the Government set a clear policy related to land prices to avoid unreasonable price hikes and ensure profits for residents.

    The long wait for the start of this project has affected the living conditions of local people, because they don’t know when it is going to be built, said Duong Trung Quoc, a National Assembly deputy.

    “We need to draw up plans for urban planning instead of focusing on the airport project only,” he said, adding that the government should call for their contribution and see their participation as critical for long-term growth.

    The Long Thanh airport has been designed to handle about 100 million passengers and five million tonnes of goods each year. Total costs are estimated at 336.6 trillion VND (14.8 billion USD). Construction of the first phase is expected to begin in 2020 with completion in 2025.

    The first terminal to be completed in the first phase of the project is expected to handle 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of goods a year.

    Combating natural disasters – task of all: PM

    The combat against natural disasters is the task of the entire political system and society, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at a conference of the Central Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control in Hanoi on March 29. 

    The PM said the work requires the effective use of resources of the State, organisations and individuals, and puts people on the centre of the effort. 

    He lauded the establishment of the General Department of Natural Disaster Prevention and Control as a right decision as the unit works efficiently in consulting the Government, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), and other relevant agencies to steer responses to natural disasters.  

    Scientific and technological advances and traditional experience should be utilised at the same time in the effort, the leader said, asking agencies and localities to make natural disaster response as part of their socio-economic development plans. 

    Apart from increasing resources for the combat, localities need to step up international cooperation, while paying attention to the communications work and personnel training in this field, PM Phuc said. 

    He highlighted the participation of businesses in this realm and underlined the need for Vietnam to materialise its international commitments to natural disaster response. 

    Another task is to improve institutional tools and policies on natural disasters, the leader said, urging the Government’s Office to acquire proposals of ministries, agencies and localities and submit to the Government and the PM in order to serve the issuance of a resolution on natural disaster prevention and control in the coming time. 

    Vietnam is one of the five countries hardest hit by natural disasters. Over the past two decades, natural disasters left over 400 people dead and missing each year, caused economic losses of about 1-1.5 percent of GDP, and affected people’s living environment and conditions, as well as socio-economic activities and sustainable development of the country. 

    In 2017, a record number of 16 typhoons and four low pressures occurred in the EastSea. Natural disasters cost the lives of 386 people in the year, damaged more than 600,000 houses and caused economic losses of about 60 trillion VND (2.64 billion USD), with the worst being typhoons Doksuri and Damrey.

    Singaporean-funded project inspires reading habit

    The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) and Ho Chi Minh City’s General Sciences Library jointly launched the second phase of the Words of Wheel (WoW) project on March 29, aiming to benefit 7,000 students in primary and secondary schools in the city.

    The three-year project will provide Vietnamese and English books to students, along with online studying material, multimedia equipment and other library resources through four mobile libraries per week in seven schools in District 2 and District 8.

    About 120 Singaporean volunteers will come to Ho Chi Minh City to organise English and IT courses in the city.

    Bui Xuan Duc, Director of the Ho Chi Minh City’s General Sciences Library said that the WoW project is expected to inspire students and create reading habit among them.

    Lian Wee Cheow, SIF President said that positive impacts on the community were shown in the first phase of the project. In the second phase, the project is hoped to continue helping deal with common challenges of society. The project also reflects the sound friendship between people of Singapore and Vietnam over the past 45 years.

    The WoW in Ho Chi Minh City is part of efforts to enhance friendship and boost positive and sustainable growth in Asia.

    In the global scale, the project contributes to the UN sustainable development goals, particularly the goal number four on quality and goal number 17 on global partnership and cooperation.

    Since 2011, along with Ho Chi Minh City, the project has benefited 43,000 children in many other localities, including Hanoi, Bandung and Yogyakarta of Indonesia, and Jaffna of Sri Lanka.

    Watchdog seizes over 4 tonnes of expired corn


     

    Watchdog seizes over 4 tonnes of expired corn, Vietnam Television urged to improve TV programme quality, Building apartments, hotels to be required to buy fire insurance, HCMC to finish sustainable poverty reduction program earlier than planned

    The Hà Nội Market Management Department’s Team 14 seized four tonnes of corn seeds with unclear expiry date on Wednesday afternoon.

    The corn was seized at Tiên Tiến Agriculture Co. Ltd in Đầm
    Trấu Street
    of Bạch Đằng District.

    The team found that the company had kept over 820kg of expired corn seeds for sale and some 3.5kg of corn seeds with re-printed expiry date.

    A representative of the company also failed to show legal documents to prove the origin of the corn seeds.

    According to data from the city’s Steering Committee against Smuggling, Trade Fraud and Fake Commodities, nearly 1,050 cases of smuggling and trade fraud were detected and fined in March alone, contributing VNĐ435 billion (US$18.9 million) to the State budget.

    Event honours country’s first dead brain donor

    The 108 Military Central Hospital organised a ceremony to honour Major Lê Hải Ninh, a soldier whose lung, heart, kidney and corneas were donated after he was declared brain dead at a ceremony yesterday.

    His organs helped save the lives of six patients in the north and the south cities of Việt Nam

    Ninh contributed to the medical history in Việt Nam by facilitating the first lung transplant from a brain dead donor.

    Earlier, Ninh, 45, from Yên Mô District, NinhBìnhProvince, was sent to the hospital in a condition of deep coma due to stroke and brain oedema on February 23, 2018.

    “After learning about Ninh’s situation, his family decided to donate his organs, including the lung, heart, kidneys and corneas to save the lives of six needy patients, including two soldiers,” said Prof. Mai Hồng Bàng, director of 108 Military Central Hospital, at the event.

    “The hospital has carried out legal procedures, in accordance with the law on donation, removal and transplant of human tissues and organs. This is a noble and humanitarian gesture by major Ninh and his family,” said Prof. Bàng.

    On March 26, the 108 Military Central Hospital’s team of 60 doctors successfully performed the first ever lung transplant from a dead brain donor in Việt Nam in an eight-hour surgery.

    Trần Ngọc Hanh, 52, from NamĐịnhProvince, who received the lung, was diagnosed with severe respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and a lung transplant was the only way to save his life.

    At the same time, Ninh’s organs were transplanted to five other patients. A cornea was transplanted to a patient at the hospital, while the other one went to a patient at the CentralEyeHospital

    The hospital also collaborated with the National Organ and Tissue Transplantation Collaboration Centre, ViệtĐứcHospital in Hà Nội and ChợRẫyHospital in HCMCity to preserve and send the kidneys and heart to HCMCity by air to be transplanted to two other patients at ChợRẫyHospital.

    “All the six receivers are in stable health condition, especially Hanh, the lung receiver,” said Prof. Bàng.

    At the event, health minister Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến handed over a ’For people’s health’ insignia to Ninh, while the hospital leader presented free health insurance cards to his family.

    Tay Ninh, Cambodian localities cooperate to fight border crime

    Leaders of police of the southern province of Tay Ninh and its three neighboring Cambodian provinces – Svay Rieng, Tboung Khmum, and Prey Veng – signed a cooperative pact on border crime prevention on March 28.

    Under the document, the four localities, which share a border line, will continue information exchanges on border crime and joint work among their border forces.

    The sides will join hands to facilitate local residents to travel for tourism, health care and trade in line with Vietnamese and Cambodian laws.

    They will work together to ensure border security, plant border markers as scheduled, and tackle trans-border crime.

    They are also committed to collaborating with other agencies to boost communications activities to raise public awareness on the matter.

    In the past time, the sides carried out regular meetings to exchange information and discuss join action plans. They have thus far cooperated to investigate 11 cases, arresting four suspects and seizing over 16kg of drugs.

    Vietnam Television urged to improve TV programme quality

    Vietnam Television (VTV) should continue improving the quality of its broadcasting programmes, while harmonising news with other issues on national welfare and those of public concern with great social impact.

    The requirement was made by Politburo member and Head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Communications and Education Vo Van Thuong during a working session with the VTV staff in Hanoi on March 28.

    At the meeting, Politburo member Thuong acknowledged the active contributions made by VTV to national development and defence, external relations, Party building work and the construction of the political system.

    In the remaining months of 2018, the station should focus on disseminating the Party and State’s resolutions on the issues related to Party building and the fight against political and moral degradation, Thuong said.

    It also needs to raise the responsibility of its leaders and improve the capacity of its reporters and editors through offering them training, while ensuring information safety, the senior Party official added.

    VTV General Director Tran Binh Minh reported that his station is broadcasting on nine channels from VTV1 to VTV9 with a total broadcast time of about 205 hours a day, comprehensively informing the public on all important events. It has also developed paid channels as VTCcab, SCTV and K + with increasingly improved quality and coverage.

    VTV has focused on implementing a roadmap for converting technologies towards high definition TV programming and digital terrestrial television during 2015-2020, while continuing to improve its digital content quality strategy to adapt in the internet era.

    Minh also suggested that the Central Commission for Communications and Education and the Ministry of Information and Communications take stronger measures to prevent the violation of TV programmes copyright, as well as strengthening the management and control of information activities on social networks to prevent fake news.

    Spring Book Fair – A space for book lovers

    The Spring Book Fair 2018, considered as the reading culture festival, opened on March 28 at the Vietnamese Women's Museum,
    36 Ly Thuong Kiet Street
    , Hoan Kiem district.

    The event attracts a large number of book lovers.

    The book fair is an annual activity, organised by three major publishers: Women Publishing House, Kim Dong Publishing House and Youth Publishing House, held from March 28 to April 1.

    Nearly 40,000 books in various genres, including culture, education, politics, economics and literature are being offered at favourable prices starting from VND2,000 (US$0.08), as well as a sale promotion of up to 50 per cent, alongside interesting gifts accompanying the books being sold.

    In addition, the participations will have the opportunity to attend a talk on tips to hunt for government scholarships, which will be shared by writer Tran Ngoc Thinh, best-seller author of the book titled Du Hoc Khong Kho (Studying Overseas is not Difficult) at 9am, March 31.

    Noted writer Nguyen Thi Thu Hue will also discuss her short stories collection titled Cua De Danh (Reserved Property) with the audience at 3pm, March 31.

    Various games and drawing activities are also being held at the fair.

    On the occasion, the fair’s organising board will organise a ceremony to hand gifts worth VND10 million (US$438) to the library at Thien Phuc Pagoda in Quynh Phu District, in the northern province of Thai Binh.

    STF donates scholarships to Phu Yen students

    The STF – Pham Phu Thu scholarship program of the Saigon Times Foundation (STF) under the Saigon Times Group late last week joined forces with Phu Yen Province to hand over 30 scholarships worth VND3 million each to high-school students in Dong Hoa, Tay Hoa, Son Hoa, and Dong Xuan districts of the province. The scholarships were funded by Nha Be Garment Corporation.

    Since 2017, the program has raised VND5.05 billion from corporate and individual benefactors to present 532 scholarships and 21 sets of computers totaling VND2.2 billion to students in provinces and cities including Thai Nguyen, Ha Nam, Ha Tinh, Quang Ngai and Quang Nam.

    Founded in 2017, the STF-Pham Phu Thu scholarship program has a mission of providing financial support for students with poor family backgrounds to continue their schooling.

    The program is calling for contributions from businesses and other generous donors to help poor students.

    Kido picks two Vietnamese football players as brand ambassadors

    Two Vietnamese football players Bui Tien Dung and Quang Hai, who have garnered widespread attention from local fans after outstanding achievements at the recent Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Championship, have been picked as brand ambassadors for Kido Corporation.

    Dung and Hai are members of the Vietnam U23 football team that heaped praise from millions of supporters throughout the country for their strong fighting spirit at the AFC U23 tournament.

    The signing ceremony between the company and the two players took place at Van Hanh Mall in District 10 late last week.

    Building apartments, hotels to be required to buy fire insurance

    Facilities susceptible to potential fire and explosion hazards must purchase fire insurance, according to the Government’s Decree 23/2018/ND/CP.

    The decree which comes into force on April 14 requires compulsory fire and explosion insurance.

    Accordingly, apartment buildings, hotels, guest houses and hostels having five storeys or above, kindergartens of over 100 kids, and gas stations among others are subject to fire insurance.

    The decree regulates the total insurance for damaged assets at each place is less than VND1 trillion (US$43.9 million). The insurance rate is calculated on the minimum insurance premium multiplied by the premium rates in accordance with fire and explosion risks.

    Deduction of a maximum of 10% of the indemnity insurance will be made if facilities in danger of fire or explosion fail to fully meet fire prevention and fighting safety regulations, leading to bigger damages.

    The fire insurance seller will not make arising or additional compensation due to insurance fraud.

    Nearly 2,000 structures are not covered by fire insurance, and the majority of them are apartment buildings. Many buildings have yet to establish a management board while residents in others are not unanimous in purchasing fire insurance.

    He stressed those failing to purchase fire insurance as per the new decree will face a fine of up to VND80 million (US$3,506).

    HCMC to finish sustainable poverty reduction program earlier than planned

    As of this time, Ho Chi Minh City has 21,800 poverty-line households accounting for 1.1 percent, the city has accelerated multi-dimensional poverty in the poorest districts with the effort to shrink the poverty household rate below 0.3 percent by the year-end.

    Moreover, city leaders wanted to finish the sustainable poverty reduction program two year earlier.

    One of poverty house which local administration has helped to escape poverty is Le Hoang Thien’s family. The family is one of 375 social welfare beneficiaries in district 5, all of them escaped the poverty. In addition to district 5, districts 3 and 6 have no more poor households.

    Le Hoang Thien couple has three daughters while they have unstable employment. Worse, his wife was undergoing operations; accordingly, their lives got harder and harder. While they were in despair, local administrations have provide timely assistance.

    Early in 2017, the local administration presented the family a booth so that his wife can sell food for breakfast in front of Vien Dong condominium. Moreover, they are eligible for lending VND50 million ($2,190) from bank as capital while Mr. Thien can earn VND3.5 million with his new employment as a guard at Trung Dung Company in district 8.

    He said that he and his wife are unanimous not let children qui school despite difficulties. Understanding his family condition, the district leaders exempted his children from tuition fee as well as give scholarships to the three kids. His daughters are eligible for loans of VND28 million from the social policy fund when they become university students.

    Furthermore, the family is supported to have health insurance and their dilapidated house was repaired last year worth VND30 million.

    Finally, all his daughters all finished schooling and can make money to support the family.

    Revealing experience to finish the sustainable poverty reduction program earlier, Deputy Chairman of People’s Committee in district 5 Truong Canh Ba said that district leaders usually updated the number of poor households and nearly poverty households in the districts, the number of unemployed people to seek job for them or send them to vocational training.

    District leaders also study how many dilapidate houses to provide timely assistance. Within two years, 42 houses in poor repair have been built and repaired. Similarly, 660 poor households in district 6 gradually overcome the destitution and their children can continue schooling.

    Deputy Chairwoman of People’s Committee in district 6 Le Thi Thanh Thao said that the local government take heed to poor families’ children by providing scholarships. For past time, the district has presented nearly 5,200 scholarships worth VND5.1 billion.

    Moreover, 116 kids from low-income families are being sent to learn in vocational schools.

    In reality, poor people needs help to repair houses and vocational training. Annually, HCMC authorities help to build and repair around 1,000 houses of poverty-line and near poverty households. However, nearly additional 6,700 citywide needs repairing.

    Head of Sustainable Poverty Steering Board in HCMC Truong Van Luong urged that the city needs carry out synchronous measures including developing social condominium and building more new houses even investing in children of low-income family in schooling and employment.

    From now to end of the year, it is expected eight more district have no poverty houses helping reducing the rate of poverty households below 0.3 percent, said Mr. Luong.

    The city strives to finish the poverty reduction program for the period 2016-2020 two years earlier than planned, Mr. Luong added. Different from before, district leaders now focus on reducing poverty in the terms of education, medical care, employment, and housing also.

    Finalround of Math and Physics ViOlympic to take place on April 15

    The final round of the 2017-2018 ViOlympic, an online math and physics competition, will take place on April 15, 2018. Nearly 15,000 pupils from 50 provinces nationwide have entered the final round. This is the tenth year that the ViOlympic has been launched.

    The final round of Math ViOlympic (Vietnamese version) is for learners in Grade 5, Grade 9, and 12; Math ViOlympic (English version) is for learners in Grade 4 and Grade 8; Physics ViOlympic is in Grade 9 and Grade 12. 

    According to the ViOlympic Center (under FPT Corporation), one of the changes in this year’s final round is the form of continuous questions. 

    In particular, the final round lasting 60 minutes includes 3 same parts as free rounds and 1 special part where questions will appear without limit. When answering correctly, contestants receive 10 points per question. However, if they are wrong in 5 questions, the round will automatically stop. This helps to assess candidates’ ability and then categorize them precisely. 

    FPT signed the strategic cooperation agreement with the Vietnam Institute of Educational Sciences (under the Ministry of Education and Training) to study and adjust the content of the ViOlympic since the academic year of 2017-2018 in order to encourage student participation; they will also focus on adding applied math problems and puzzles for thinking development.

    They will develop other online learning and educational products in the future.

    In the near future, FPT will perfect a mobile version of ViOlympic and chatbot service – robot answering frequently asked questions.

    A coastal road to be built in Thai Binh province

    The Prime Minister recently approved an investment plan for the construction of a coastal road in the northern province of Thai Binh.

    The project will be implemented from 2018 to 2021, with the view of facilitating transport connection along the northern coastal corridor, expanding the land fund for production activities, enhancing the efficiency of sea resources use, and serving socio-economic development in the localities served by the road.

    The facility also aims to create favorable conditions for rescue work and response to disasters and climate change, while strengthening national defence and security in the coastal areas.

    The 35.5km road, which has a design speed of 80kph, will be built at total costs of VND3.87 trillion (US$170.28 million), including VND1.1 trillion from the State budget, VND1.59 trillion from the local budget and other legally mobilized sources, and VND1.29 trillion from the BOT investor.

    A 2.19km bridge across the HongRiver will be built to connect Thai Binh’s coastal road with the coastal road in the northern province of Nam Dinh.

    In terms of financial solutions, the project investor, to be decided through the form of bidding, will construct a toll station, with a projected toll collection period of 23 years and three months (from 2022 to 2045).

    The PM assigned the Thai Binh provincial People’s Committee to work with relevant agencies to finalize the project’s feasibility study report, and arrange the local budget and other legal capital sources in the province’s annual budget plan, in order to implement the project on schedule. 

    Experts discuss generating decent work for female migrant workers

    More than 100 experts from Vietnam’s government agencies and international and domestic organisations gathered in Hanoi on March 28 to discuss how to create a better environment for female migrant workers to access decent work.

    The seminar, themed “Decent work for Female Migrant Workers – Challenges and Solutions”, was jointly by the Plan International and the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

    According to a recent labour market scan survey in Hanoi by the Plan International, the majority of female migrant workers are working in the informal sector with limited access to social protection services, and have not been technically trained by employers. The survey also revealed that around 70 percent of surveyed migrant workers did not have employment contracts, meaning lack of access to work benefits such as social insurance, health insurance, sick leave, and annual leave.

    Nguyen Quang Viet, Deputy Director of the National Institute for Vocational Education and Training, said that Vietnam has quite an inclusive legal policy system on labour and employment, including those for migrant workers. 

    However, the State’s preferential policies on vocational training and employment often refer to registration books, which is a challenge for migrant workers, he added.

    He suggested State management agencies to carry out policies and mechanisms supporting vocational training and introducing jobs for female migrant workers.

    “The need for decent jobs, a safe living environment and access to social and protection services at destination is real. Many international commitments support women’s economic empowerment, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and a series of International Labour Organization conventions on gender equality,” said Sharon Kane, Country Director of Plan International.

    “Plan International supports women’s economic empowerment in line with these, and our programmes will continue to promote women’s ability to secure decent work, which contributes to advancing economies and sustainable development,” she added.

    Meanwhile, Elisa Fernandez, Head of UN Women Vietnam Office, highlighted that discrimination and inequality fuel social instability and income disparities. 

    "If efforts to close gender gaps and to promote better employment opportunities for women are not stepped up, current mega trends – such as climate change, demographic trends, migration flows and the technical revolution – will affect women and girls disproportionately," she said.

    To achieve sustainable development goals, she suggested Vietnam have a systematic commitment to "leaving no one behind", and in particular, generating the conditions for decent work and access to social protection that are inclusive and respect the rights of female migrant workers in Hanoi.

    First festival of Vietnam’s martial arts wraps up

    As many as 21 gold, 33 silver and 44 bronze medals were presented to participants of an international festival on Vietnam’s martial arts, which concluded on March 28 in Nha Trang city of the coastal central province of Khanh Hoa.

    The three-day festival, the first of its kind, was co-oganised by the Vietnamese Traditional Martial Arts Federation and Khanh Hoa’s Department of Culture and Sports.

    It drew the participation of four international delegations and 55 domestic ones from 24 localities nationwide.

    The festival aimed to honour cultural values and the quintessence of Vietnam’s martial arts, along with promoting traditional martial arts to foreign friends.

    Programme launched to provide clean water for children

    A meeting was held in Long Xuyen city, An Giang province, on March 29, to observe World Water Day 2018 and kick off a programme on ‘Bringing clean drinking water to children’.

    Addressing the event, Vice President of the Vietnam Red Cross Society Central Committee Tran Quoc Hung said that An Giang is one of provinces in Vietnam that is most affected by water pollution and shortages.

    In addition to causing social issues and disease among infants and children, water scarcity also affects people’s livelihoods.

    Over the past two years, the programme on ‘Bringing clean water to children’ has been held under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on humanitarian collaboration between the Vietnam Red Cross Society (VRC) and the US company Procter & Gamble (P&G).

    The programme has benefited more than 110,000 households in six cities and provinces, including Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Long An, An Giang and Dong Thap.

    It has also raised public awareness on the importance of water to people’s health and has helped to minimise sickness and mortality caused by contaminated water.

    Financial sector helps boost transition for low-carbon economy: experts

    Vietnam’s financial sector needs to play a key role in the transitional efforts to develop a low-carbon, climate-resilient, economy through re-orienting investment to more sustainable projects, while accounting for environmental and social risks, experts have suggested.

    Financial and environmental experts gathered at an international workshop on the theme of “Sustainable Finance on Climate and Energy,” which opened in Hanoi on March 29, to discuss measures to boost the financial sector’s activities in promoting Vietnam’s tangible results on environmental and sustainable policy goals.

    The event was jointly held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Vietnam Banking Association, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the world’s leading conservation organisation, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Vietnam.

    According to experts, climate change will have a profound impact on humans and eco-systems during the coming decades with adverse effects on the economy, cultures and livelihoods. The situation is particularly alarming for Vietnam. Extreme weather and snow in the north, with drought and salinity intrusion in the South Central and Mekong Delta regions, has seriously affected production and the daily activities of millions of people.

    Undeterred by such challenges, more than 180 countries gathered in Paris, France, to sign a landmark climate agreement to keep global temperature increases to well below 2 degrees Celsius, reaffirming the world’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. With domestic resources, Vietnam has pledged to reduce GHG emissions by 8% by 2030. This contribution could be increased to 25% with international support.

    The aforementioned goal requires an increasingly critical role of the financial sector in managing climate-related risks and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy. Its contribution is expected to be an important instrument to Vietnam’s accomplishment of commitments to the Paris Agreement, as well as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

    VCCI Secretary General Nguyen Quang Vinh said that Vietnam and its neighbouring countries will find the goals pledged during the ratification of the Paris Agreement unattainable if the financial sector fails to fulfill its duty. It is imperative that banks begin adopting a dismissive attitude towards investment projects that pose an inherent risk towards the environment and society. Only then, can the nation start working towards a sustainable economy, he stated.

    Naomin Tan, Sustainable Finance Engagement Manager of WWF-Singapore, agreed that the financial sector plays a pivotal role in the transition to a low-carbon economy by shifting capital away from unsustainable activities. Particularly in developing countries like Vietnam, financial institutions such as banks hold the key to turbo-charging sustainable development through the adoption of more stringent Environmental Social and Governance policies and by allocating capital to sustainable activities.

    With 25 years of implementing sustainable development, including nearly six years of delivering the Vietnam Green Growth Strategy, Vietnam has been taking advantage of an established foundation for low carbon development. During the same period, the financial sector has made great strides in term of policies to measure up to global standards. This was exemplified by the IFC partnership with the State Bank of Vietnam in which an environmental and social risk assessment handbook across ten sectors was drafted.

    Vietnam has implemented policies for delivering the Sustainable Development Goals. However, the lack of policy enforcement remains a key challenge, Naomin Tan said, adding that in the near future, WWF will collaborate with local banks, regulators and associations to promote sustainable finance though capacity building and the development of tools and guidelines.

    At the event, leading financial and environmental experts shared their knowledge and experience in low carbon development, risk assessment for environmental and social projects, and sustainable finance products.

    According to the “Sustainable Scenario for the Vietnamese Power Sector until 2050” report by WWF-Vietnam and Vietnam Sustainable Energy Alliance, 100% of Vietnam’s power can be generated by renewable energy technologies by 2050, whilst significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions linked to climate change. For that reason, the financial sector should make the transition towards investing in renewable energy while gradually divesting from unsustainable thermal power plants.

    New direct air route brings more tourists to Mekong Delta

    The travel and transportation services company WorldTrans on March 28 announced to provide 8 direct charter flights on Can Tho – Bangkok- Can Tho route.

    Accordingly, flights will depart from Can Tho Airport on June 6,10,14,18,22,26,30 and July 4, using 180-seat AIRBUS 320 aircraft. Flight duration is 1 hour and 25 minutes.

    A return ticket will be cost from VND4.6 million (US$200) (including tax and fees).

    On this occasion, the tour operator, Vietravel offers to travelers tour packages for five days and four night worth VND 7,190,000 – VND7,490,000.

    The direct route helps save about 6 hours transiting in Ho Chi Minh City as normal.

    The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho received more than 7.3 million visitors and reached a total turnover of VND2,897 billion in 2017.

    Can Tho expects to welcome 8 million tourists in 2018, including 350,000 international travelers and 2.45 million long-stay holiday makers; and earn a total revenue of VND3,500 billion, said Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism, Le Minh Son at the conference reviewing the city’s tourism industry in 2017 which was held in January.

    Building apartments, hotels to be required to buy fire insurance

    Facilities susceptible to potential fire and explosion hazards must purchase fire insurance, according to the Government’s Decree 23/2018/ND/CP.

    The decree which comes into force on April 14 requires compulsory fire and explosion insurance.

    Accordingly, apartment buildings, hotels, guest houses and hostels having five storeys or above, kindergartens of over 100 kids, and gas stations among others are subject to fire insurance.

    The decree regulates the total insurance for damaged assets at each place is less than VND1 trillion (US$43.9 million). The insurance rate is calculated on the minimum insurance premium multiplied by the premium rates in accordance with fire and explosion risks.

    Deduction of a maximum of 10% of the indemnity insurance will be made if facilities in danger of fire or explosion fail to fully meet fire prevention and fighting safety regulations, leading to bigger damages.

    The fire insurance seller will not make arising or additional compensation due to insurance fraud.

    Nearly 2,000 structures are not covered by fire insurance, and the majority of them are apartment buildings. Many buildings have yet to establish a management board while residents in others are not unanimous in purchasing fire insurance.

    He stressed those failing to purchase fire insurance as per the new decree will face a fine of up to VND80 million (US$3,506).

    VNN

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  • 03/30/18--01:50: Article 1
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 30/3


    Vietnam Airlines marks new step in Russian market


     

    Vietnam Airlines marks new step in Russian market, Vietnamese tech startups, Wood industry sees promise of growth in CPTPP, Japanese investors out of top three largest foreign investors during January-March

    The first flight using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft of national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines arrived at Domodedovo airport in Moscow, Russia, on March 27 (local time).

    Speaking at the welcome ceremony, Chief Representative of Vietnam Airlines in Russia Le Thanh Dung said the airline is striving to meet demand of passengers in Russia, adding that the airlines will operate new routes linking Vietnam and Russia in the future.

    Meanwhile, Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Ngo Duc Manh congratulated Vietnam Airlines on using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner for the Hanoi-Moscow air route, contributing to the enhancement of the partnership between Vietnam and Russia, especially in tourism and people-to-people exchanges.

    Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner can carry up to 311 passengers and saves 20 percent of fuel compared to previous generations of aircraft.

    Vietnam Airlines was recognised as a 4-star airline for two consecutive years in 2016 and 2017 by the international air transport rating organisation Skytrax.

    It targets a 13 percent increase in revenue and an 8.3 percent rise in the number of passengers in 2018. 

    Apart from Asia, the airline is also seeking to expand their markets in Europe.

    Vietnamese tech startups

    Vietnamese startups in new technology will be a key driver in luring in foreign capital within the next decade, said Maybank Kim Eng Group in March 27's conference in Singapore.

    As new and disruptive technology drives change and enables the ASEAN marketplace, Maybank Kim Eng Group believes that Vietnam’s tech startups will attract big-name investors from the region, mostly from within the ASEAN and China.

    “New technology in Vietnam, similar to ASEAN markets, is still in the early stages of development. The next decade will be the period of exponential growth for tech companies, propelling the boom of related industries such as logistics,” said John Chong, CEO of Maybank Kim Eng Group, during the Invest ASEAN 2018 conference in Singapore on March 27.

    According to the group, investors are excited about this growth potential and they are now shifting to the ASEAN from China and India.

    Chong told VIR that overseas investors pay strong attention to the region, particularly Vietnam, despite rising protectionist policies from developed markets such as the US.

    "From what we have seen, investors are driven by the fast growth rates of ASEAN countries, which average 5 to 6 per cent per year, the young population, and high penetration of Internet connection," he said.

    The capital for these deals mostly came from China and the ASEAN. Recent examples in Vietnam include JD.com’s investment in e-commerce firm Tiki in January and Central Group’s buyout of Zalora Vietnam in 2016.

    Statistics from Maybank Kim Eng show that funding to ASEAN tech startups has surged in the last two years. In the first eight months of 2017, disclosed equity funding for the startups was around $6.5 billion, double the $3.1 billion of 2016 despite the lower number of deals.

    Major deals in the region are Alibaba’s $4-billion investment into Lazada; Tencent, Temasek, and Google pouring $1.2 billion into Indonesian ride-hailing app Go-jek or JD.com putting $500 million into Thai fintech startup Tokopedia.

    “This is a very exciting time for the ASEAN as the young population is energetic and is becoming increasingly tech-savvy. We are studying at least twelve Vietnamese startups in fintech, consumer finance, and e-commerce to decide which one to invest in,” said Justin Hall, partner at Golden Gates Ventures. Golden Gates currently has three investments in Vietnam: Appota, Lozi.vn, and Wifi Chua.

    Google and Temasek estimate that the Internet economy in the ASEAN will reach $200 billion in 2025, a six-fold growth every year. In particular, the e-commerce sector will take up at least $5 billion, presenting fresh opportunities for investors and startups.

    Invest ASEAN is an annual conference held by Maybank Kim Eng Group in Singapore since 2013. This year, the event attracted 900 delegates from 132 funds around the globe, with the total amount of $16.3 trillion of assets under management. About 57 leading corporates from the region also joined to meet with investors, including five firms from Vietnam.

    Major topics at this year’s event include artificial intelligence, venture capital, and global macroeconomics updates.

    Wood industry sees promise of growth in CPTPP

    Once the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) comes into effect, tariffs on Vietnamese wood exports to signatories of the CPTPP will be cut down to zero, bringing many advantages for the wood sector, according to the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (VIFORES).

    Addressing a conference on wood exports on March 27 in Hanoi, Nguyen Ton Quyen, vice chairman of VIFORES, said Vietnam’s wood exports to the US amount to approximately US$3 billion annually.

    Meanwhile, CPTPP members such as Japan are also major importers of Vietnamese wood products. Some of the members have strong wood industries, like Canada with its annual output of 600 million cubic metres, said Mr Quyen.

    The CPTPP will help to facilitate the purchase of machinery, equipment, and technologies from developed countries such as Japan when tariffs are lower, which will enable Vietnam to become more competitive.

    Mr Quyen also pointed out challenges facing Vietnamese businesses such as intellectual property, saying that there is a limited knowledge base among Vietnamese businesses and management agencies regarding intellectual property.

    Despite exports of US$8 billion, the value of products designed in Vietnam makes up a small proportion of that, as domestic businesses manufacture products according to foreign partners’ designs that are protected by copyright, Mr Quyen said.

    He added that this is quite a complicated issue because domestic businesses find it difficult to build brand names and establish their own intellectual property.

    Mr Quyen emphasized that the enforcement of the CPTPP will relate to many partners including wood businesses, forest planting households, and wood commerce, transport, traders and processors.

    However, Vietnamese businesses’ knowledge of these issues remains imprecise. Businesses must make greater efforts to develop the supply of wood.

    Last year, forestry exports reached nearly US$8 billion, including US$ 7.7 billion from wood and timber products. The wood industry is striving to reach a target of US$9 billion this year.

    Next decade to see stronger capital flows to Vietnamese tech startups

    Vietnamese startups in new technology will be a key driver in luring in foreign capital within the next decade, said Maybank Kim Eng Group in today's conference in Singapore.

    As new and disruptive technology drives change and enables the ASEAN marketplace, Maybank Kim Eng Group believes that Vietnam’s tech startups will attract big-name investors from the region, mostly from within the ASEAN and China.

    “New technology in Vietnam, similar to ASEAN markets, is still in the early stages of development. The next decade will be the period of exponential growth for tech companies, propelling the boom of related industries such as logistics,” said John Chong, CEO of Maybank Kim Eng Group, during the Invest ASEAN 2018 conference in Singapore today.

    According to the group, investors are excited about this growth potential and they are now shifting to the ASEAN from China and India.

    Chong told VIR that overseas investors pay strong attention to the region, particularly Vietnam, despite rising protectionist policies from developed markets such as the US.

    "From what we have seen, investors are driven by the fast growth rates of ASEAN countries, which average 5 to 6 per cent per year, the young population, and high penetration of Internet connection," he said.

    The capital for these deals mostly came from China and the ASEAN. Recent examples in Vietnam include JD.com’s investment in e-commerce firm Tiki in January and Central Group’s buyout of Zalora Vietnam in 2016.

    This is a very exciting time for the ASEAN as the young population is energetic and is becoming increasingly tech-savvy. We are studying at least twelve Vietnamese startups in fintech, consumer finance, and e-commerce to decide which one to invest in.

    Statistics from Maybank Kim Eng show that funding to ASEAN tech startups has surged in the last two years. In the first eight months of 2017, disclosed equity funding for the startups was around $6.5 billion, double the $3.1 billion of 2016 despite the lower number of deals.

    Major deals in the region are Alibaba’s $4-billion investment into Lazada; Tencent, Temasek, and Google pouring $1.2 billion into Indonesian ride-hailing app Go-jek or JD.com putting $500 million into Thai fintech startup Tokopedia.

    “This is a very exciting time for the ASEAN as the young population is energetic and is becoming increasingly tech-savvy. We are studying at least twelve Vietnamese startups in fintech, consumer finance, and e-commerce to decide which one to invest in,” said Justin Hall, partner at Golden Gates Ventures. Golden Gates currently has three investments in Vietnam: Appota, Lozi.vn, and Wifi Chua.

    Google and Temasek estimate that the Internet economy in the ASEAN will reach $200 billion in 2025, a six-fold growth every year. In particular, the e-commerce sector will take up at least $5 billion, presenting fresh opportunities for investors and startups.

    Invest ASEAN is an annual conference held by Maybank Kim Eng Group in Singapore since 2013. This year, the event attracted 900 delegates from 132 funds around the globe, with the total amount of $16.3 trillion of assets under management. About 57 leading corporates from the region also joined to meet with investors, including five firms from Vietnam.

    Major topics at this year’s event include artificial intelligence, venture capital, and global macroeconomics updates.

    Shop & Store Vietnam to popularise franchising in Vietnam

    Shop & Store Vietnam 2018 was officially kicked off today to deliver enriched content and business opportunities in retail and franchise.

    Vietnam is considered a fertile land to develop the retail market, Kantar Worldpanel’s study has revealed incredible growth in Vietnam, with the market share of mini-stores growing by 32 per cent from 2015 to 2016, while online shopping grew by a remarkable 61 per cent.

    At the same time, Vietnam ranked 9th among the top 12 markets identified by the members of the International Franchise Association as the markets most valuable for international expansion. Additionally, Vietnam was profiled in the Top Markets Report.

    Suttisak Wilanan, deputy managing director of Reed Tradex, pointed out that Vietnam has all the necessary elements to rise, such as a large consumer base, rapidly rising incomes, and a generation of educated, young, and growing professional population. This offers great prospects for national and international brands to expand on the retail and franchising industry in the next five years.

    Shop & Store Vietnam 2018, organised by Reed Tradex, is taking place at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC) on March 28-30. With the presentation of 70 brands from 18 countries and regions, and three international group pavilions from Thailand, Singapore, and Japan, Shop & Store Vietnam 2018 provides a unique platform for business development with three comprehensive profiles: retail, franchise, and shop fitting.

    Among the exhibitors there are franchise brands like Miniso and Tupperware, as well as master franchises like Redsun ITI introducing King BBQ, Hotpot Story, and Khao Lao; Somy with Blackball; Vy Ha with Chabayom; and Global Notes presenting SIC, Renmi, and Nishio, among others.

    Beside large players who provide retail solutions like Happy Move, Senior Soft, Can Innovation, Paneles, and Suzhou Hongyua, Shop & Store Vietnam also introduces new technologies to apply in retail business, such as retail devices and digital signage solutions from Samsung or Hologram technology presented by Worldline or an e-commerce platform for retail from Haravan.

    It is inevitable that more and more Vietnamese businesses are now exploring new business opportunities via franchising. Nevertheless, there are a number of risks that a franchisor should investigate carefully before engaging or expanding in business in Vietnam.

    At its first edition, Shop & Store Vietnam focuses on developing content that helps entrepreneurs prepare to the most effective business strategy in Vietnam, as well as reach out to the world with the “Retail & Franchise Conference in Vietnam” in corporation with Retail & Franchise Asia, and “Legal Aspects in Franchising” in corporation with VF Franchise 

    Japanese investors out of top three largest foreign investors during January-March

    In the first quarter of this year, the three largest foreign investors in Vietnam have been South Korea with $1.84 billion in registered investment capital, Hong Kong with $689 million, and Singapore with $649 million. Japanese investors were crowded out from the top.   

    The investment capital of the three largest foreign investors made up 51.45 per cent of the total foreign direct investment (FDI) capital inflow in Vietnam.

    According to the statistics of the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) of the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), in the first three months of this year, Vietnam attracted $5.8 billion in foreign investment capital, reaching 75.2 per cent of last year's figure. This included $3.91 billion of FDI and $1.89 billion in M&A deals.

    Notably, as of March 20, 618 newly-registered projects received investment certificates with the total investment capital of $2.12 billion, 72.7 per cent of last year's figure, while 199 existing projects received added capital of $1.79 billion, 45.4 per cent. Meanwhile, 1,285 M&A deals were signed with a total investment capital of $1.89 billion.

    In the first quarter of this year, foreign investors invested in 17 industries nationwide. The processing and manufacturing industry still maintains the top position with a total of $3.44 billion, equaling 59.4 per cent of the total FDI inflow into the country. The runners-up are the wholesale and retail industry with $531 million and the real estate industry with $486 million.

    Besides, Vietnam’s cities and provinces saw decreasing FDI capital inflows as well changes in the ranking of provinces and cities receiving the largest FDI volume.

    Notably, foreign investors poured capital into 49 cities and provinces across the country. Ho Chi Minh City ranked first with $1.7 billion, making up 29.3 per cent of the total FDI inflow, while Haiphong overcame Nam Dinh to become the destination receiving the second largest FDI volume with $925 million, equaling 16 per cent of the total. Binh Duong remained third with $565 million.

    List of outstanding FDI projects in the first quarter:

    100 per cent Hong Kong invested Regina Miracle International Vietnam Co., Ltd. added $260 million to its existing sport clothes and shoes manufacturing factory in Haiphong.

    The $150-million Hanbaram wind-power project in Ninh Thuan province and the $80-million garment project funded by Ramatex Nam Dinh in Nam Dinh province

    A project producing motor vehicle spare parts in Hai Duong province of KeficoVietnam Company added $120 million to its investment project.

    A solar panel factory of Vina Cell Technology Company added $100 million to its investment project in Bac Giang province.

    Mekong Agritech Accelerator selects 2018 finalists

    Mekong Agritech Accelerator (MATCh) has announced that 23 startups have been invited to join its 2018 program, including 13 from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar and ten international startups proposing agri-tech solutions for these markets.

    MATCh’s competitive application process sought to identify agricultural technologies and new business models with the potential to reshape agriculture towards sustainable and inclusive growth in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS). Applications were received from 127 startups. A panel of agriculture and food industry experts as well as investors evaluated the applications and selected the finalists.

    When asked about the MATCh participants, Mr. Dominic Mellor from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), who heads up the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI), said: “We are extremely impressed with the innovations from the MATCh participants. MBI and our partners will work with the selected innovators and entrepreneurs on transforming the agricultural industry in the Mekong Region into a leading supplier of safe and nutritious food for all.”

    Finalists will learn, share, and grow their businesses and technology with mentors, industry experts, and investors. They will attend a boot camp to improve and refine their business models and build their networks. They will also join the 2018 GMS Leaders Summit in Hanoi on March 30 and 31 and showcase their solutions and technologies, and will also be part of the Future Food Asia Awards on May 23 in Singapore.

    “Through a number of MATCh applicants, we found that the GMS region has embraced technology quite fast and has tweaked it to make it more applicable to markets and customers,” said Ms. Isabelle Decitre, Founder and CEO of ID Capital, the company operating Future Food Asia - the first platform of its kind to accelerate agri-tech and food-tech innovations in the Asia-Pacific region. “Global solutions providers are more mature, and helping them develop in the GMS region will further accelerate the adoption of technology by providing role models local entrepreneurs can relate to.”

    MATCh is the first accelerator for agri-tech startups in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. It is funded by the Australian Government and the ADB and is co-organized by MBI, Future Food Asia, and the GMS Core Agriculture Support Program (CASP).

     “MATCh was launched on the sidelines of the Second GMS Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting in September 2017 in Siem Reap, Cambodia,” said Pavit Ramachandran, Principal Environment Specialist at ADB. “The meeting endorsed the GMS strategy for promoting safe and environmentally-friendly agriculture value chains and action plans for 2018-2022. MATCh is an important initiative as entrepreneurship and technology are key to enhancing the competitiveness of small producers and inclusiveness and sustainability of the supply chain.”

    eFounders Initiative for Asian entrepreneurs kicks off

    The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the AlibabaBusinessSchool enrolled the first class of 37 Asian entrepreneurs for the eFounders Initiative at an opening ceremony on March 26 at the Alibaba campus in Hangzhou, China.

    The eleven-day course is part of a commitment by Jack Ma, Alibaba Group’s founder and Executive Chairman and UNCTAD Special Adviser, to empower 1,000 entrepreneurs from developing countries over five years.

    The launch of the first program for Asian entrepreneurs comes after the success of the inaugural class for 24 African participants last November.

    Following a rigorous selection process, the final candidates from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam will embark on an eleven-day intensive course providing first-hand exposure to e-commerce innovations from China and around the world and will become eFounders Fellows.

    Eventually these young entrepreneurs will become catalysts in their home country and spur digital transformation in their economies.

    “We want to reach out to youth and include them in the work we do for inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” said Arlette Verploegh, Coordinator for the eFounders Initiative at UNCTAD. “The initiative is about bridging the digital divide for young entrepreneurs and unlocking their potential. It is part of a set of smart partnerships UNCTAD is creating to reach the sustainable development goals.”

    All participants are founders of their respective startups, in e-commerce, big data, logistics, fintech, payments, and tourism.

    “We are excited to extend this fellowship to entrepreneurs from Asia for the very first time as part of our commitment to empowering digital champions and communities around the world,” said Brian A. Wong, Vice President of Alibaba Group, who heads the Global Initiatives program.

    “Our goal is to inspire entrepreneurs to serve as pioneers in building a more inclusive development model that is not just good for their business but also good for society, by creating platforms that all can participate in and benefit from.”

    Under the auspices of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the initiative is aligned with the wider call to action to ensure that no one is left behind in the digital economy and to help bridge the digital divide faced by businesses in emerging markets.

    Jointly organized by UNCTAD and the AlibabaBusinessSchool, the eFounders Initiative also supports Alibaba’s mission to help small businesses succeed in their home markets and beyond. It was first announced in 2017 by Jack Ma in his capacity as the UNCTAD Special Adviser for Young Entrepreneurs and Small Business when he, together with Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, visited Africa.

    Participants in the eFounders Initiative will learn first-hand the transformative impact e-commerce and technology have on society in China and participate in lectures and discussions with local practitioners and executives to identify the lessons that can be applied to their own markets. Topics covered will include e-commerce, payment, logistics, big data and tourism from the Alibaba Group and other successful companies in the e-commerce value chain, with sessions touching on digital finance, smart logistics, and rural e-commerce development, among others.

    Upon graduation, participants will officially become Fellows of the eFounders Initiative and make formal commitments on how they will apply the learning from this program. As part of the wider eFounders Initiative community of promising young entrepreneurs around the world, UNCTAD and the Alibaba Group will also continue to advise on and provide support for the creation of e-commerce ecosystems with other stakeholders.

    The first class of eFounders Fellows - 24 entrepreneurs from Africa - completed the program in November 2017 after a similar two-week intensive workshop in Hangzhou.

    To continue the impact of the initiative, UNCTAD and Alibaba have already completed a full round of follow-up meetings with the fellows, each of whom are actively applying what they learned in their own enterprises as well as sharing insights with their home communities. They are working towards achieving their commitments and will continue to check in with UNCTAD and Alibaba every three months.

    Vietnam’s first-quarter GDP growth projected to hit ten-year high

    The Vietnamese economy is forecast to expand by more than 7% in the January-March period, which will be the best first-quarter performance in the last ten years.

    The estimate was announced by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) at a meeting on macroeconomic management chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue on March 27.

    MPI Deputy Minister Le Quang Manh said that the strong growth was mainly driven by the manufacturing sector.

    Agriculture has continued to grow thanks to favourable weather conditions and the ongoing restructuring efforts, while services were buoyant on the back of growing private consumption as a result of macroeconomic stability, Manh added.

    Vietnam’s level of inflation has also been kept in check, averaging 2.82% in the first three months of the year.

    Exports in the January-March period were estimated to surge by 23% to US$33.62 billion, outstripping imports by nearly US$1.1 billion.

    The MPI deputy minister estimated that total growth for the year could reach 6.8%, higher than the set target of 6.7%, if the current momentum is sustained.

    Deputy PM Hue said that although Vietnam’s outlook was bright in the early months of the year, there is no place for complacency, and urged all concerned parties to promote the drivers of growth and keep a close eye on developments in the domestic and global economy.

    The official economic data for Vietnam is scheduled to be announced by the General Statistics Office on March 29.

    Vietnam facilitates new ways for trade promotion to boost agricultural exports

    Vietnam is seeking fundamental changes for its trade promotion in both thinking and implementing methods, in the aim of increasing the presence of its agricultural products on international markets. Instead of organising conferences or exhibitions, many localities have brought delegations directly to the fields to discuss business with farmers.

    “Paper trading” is probably no longer suitable in the current business context, especially in the trading of agricultural products. Therefore, in 2017, the Department of Domestic Market (Ministry of Industry and Trade) updated some stages of the trade promotion process, bringing delegations of foreign traders to the raw material sites of mangoes, dragon fruit, and pineapples so they can witness the production process and directly discuss business with farmers. Specialists from the ministry or from the local Departments of Trade and Industry only play as facilitators.

    Deputy Head of the department, Hoang Anh Tuan, said that this visual method helps to reduce costs from organising meetings and raises efficiency thanks to the direct discussion of supply - demand between the sellers and the buyers.

    For example, in the past, dragon fruit farmers in Binh Thuan often had headaches because of their unstable output. However, in recent years, thanks to improvements in marketing, local dragon fruit has been traded at a stable rate and at a higher price. Director of the Department of Industry and Trade of Binh Thuan province Do Minh Kinh said that the province has more than 27,000 ha of dragon fruit, with output reaching about 600,000 tonnes per year. The amount of local dragon fruit for domestic consumption is 15%, while 85% is exported to 16 markets, of which 70% are in Asia.

    Binh Thuan is concentrating on dragon fruit exports via official channels for a more transparent, safe, and sustainable market. The Binh Thuan Industry and Trade Department has invited foreign traders to farms to enjoy the flavours of local dragon fruit cultivated in the new way, while discussing business directly with farmers.

    Similarly, in 2017, the Department of Industry and Trade of Ho Chi Minh City implemented a range of solutions to connect the city's businesses with other localities through bringing the city’s products to other provinces and enabling local businesses to connect and expand the market for consumption. At present, there are 75 investment projects between the city and other localities with a total investment of more than VND27.4 trillion, including farming and food processing projects and building factories and farms. Of this, the linkage providing capital for farmers to run bio-farm produce reaches VND2.5 trillion per year.

    Deputy Head of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade, Nguyen Phuong Dong, said that his department has organised field trips to introduce traders to producers and farmers in the fields. In such face-to-face meetings, the business cooperation procedure has been quicker and easier with reduced complications from third parties, and reduced risks in the commodity production chain. Moreover, it also helps improve product quality, reduce production costs, and increase products’ value and competitiveness.

    According to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the export turnovers of fruits and vegetables reached US$383.7 million in January, up 18.3% over the previous month and up 63.6% over the same period in 2017. Vietnam's exports of fruits and vegetables to major markets increased sharply. In addition to the main market of China, in January 2018, Vietnam also exported fruit and vegetables to other big markets, such as the US, Japan, Thailand, the Republic of Korea, and Malaysia. Notably, export turnover of this agricultural product to Japan reached US$10.6 million, up slightly from last month and up 77.5% over the same period of 2017.

    Statistics from the InternationalTradeCenter’s Trade Map showed that in 2017, the import value of vegetables and fruits in Japan reached US$9.5 billion, up 2% over 2016. To date, Vietnam has exported red dragon fruit, mango, lychee, and shiso leaves to the Japanese market. However, Japan is a market with strict requirements on the standards and quality of goods, as well as food hygiene and safety. The import value of vegetables and fruits from Vietnam only accounts for a very small proportion of Japan’s import demand, reaching US$132.5 million in 2017, up 5.2% compared to 2016.

    Experts suggested that to increase exports of fruits and vegetables to Japan, Vietnamese exporters must meet the strict requirements on plant quarantine and food hygiene, or during the production process, enterprises must have their raw material areas inspected and recognised by the Plant Protection Department with plant protection codes and meet the food hygiene and safety requirements.

    Commercial Counsellor of the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan Ta Duc Minh said that the Japanese market highly values agricultural products from Vietnam. The first batch of chicken exported to Japan in 2017 proves that Vietnamese agricultural products have passed the test to gain access to this fastidious market. Along with that, there is even greater potential in Vietnam’s bananas and mangoes. However, export prices of these products are still high, making it difficult to compete with Thai products as the products are easy to damage and transportation costs are quite high.

    Ensuring Vietnamese agricultural products stand firm and gain a foothold in selective markets is not an easy task. The Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research recommended that the core factor is to increase the quality of products and trade promotion activities, providing regularly updated information on demand and the standards of imported products for each market.

    In addition, Vietnam is heading towards sustainable agricultural exports, which requires a restructuring of the agricultural sector. Exporters should adjust towards focusing on quality rather than quantity. This task requires the right strategy on the material source. Previous raw material areas that help earn stable exports to middle and high-end markets need to be continuously invested in to improve the quality of their products. It also needs a roadmap from the business community in an effort to reduce unnecessary costs. On the part of the State, there should be more practical support in reducing the quantity and increasing the quality of agricultural products.

    Vietnam attracts nearly US$5.8 billion FDI in first quarter

    The total foreign direct investment (FDI) registered in Vietnam in the first quarter of 2018 reached approximately US$5.8 billion, equivalent to 75.2% of the same period last year, the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA), under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, has announced.

    From the beginning of the year to March 20, 2018, FDI disbursement in the first quarter of the year reached roughly US$3.88 billion, representing a surge of 7.2% against the previous year.

    Of the total, US$2.12 billion came from 618 newly licensed projects, while the remainder was contributed by 199 currently-operating projects that raised their capital by more than US$1.79 billion in total.

    In the first quarter of this year, foreign enterprises have invested in 18 sectors, among which, the manufacturing and processing industries continued to be the top sector, receiving FDI of US$3.44 billion, comprising 59.4% of the total registered FDI.

    From January to March, 76 countries and territories worldwide were making active investments in Vietnam. The Republic of Korea was the leading investor, with US$1.84 billion, 31.6% of the FDI pledged to the country. Hong Kong (China) was runner-up, with US$689 million, while Singapore followed with US$649 million.

    Ho Chi Minh City was the top recipient of registered FDI capital at US$1.7 billion, equal to 29.3% of the total newly-registered capital, followed by Hai Phong with US$925 million (16%), and Binh Duong with US$565 million (9.7%).

    Vietnam has 23 newly licensed investment projects abroad, with a total capital of US$123.6 million and added US$25.88 million to 5 operating projects in the first quarter of the year.

    Affordable apartments in HCMC in short supply

    A large number of apartment projects in HCMC are available on the market but small-sized and affordable units are in short supply, according to a Lao Dong newspaper report.

    The newspaper said a majority of housing projects put up for sale in HCMC between December 2017 and February 2018 fall into the mid-range category. Each unit costs over VND1.5 billion (US$65,750), excluding valued-added tax and other costs.

    Though prices are quoted in their advertisements at VND1 billion per unit, actual prices are much higher. VND1 billion is enough to buy units that are unattractive and small.

    Developers of affordable housing such as Hoang Quan Consulting Trading Service Real Estate Corporation, National Housing Organization JSC, and Le Thanh Real Estate Service and Construction Company have not put any new apartments up for sale since mid-2017.

    Major property investors such as Him Lam Land, Novaland, Hung Thinh, Vingroup and Nam Long are selling their homes at over VND1.5 billion each.

    The market is overwhelmed with apartments costing more than VND2 billion each, particularly those belonging to projects like Masteri An Phu developed by Thao Dien Investment JSC, Ascent Lakeside by Tien Phat Real Estate Investment Corporation and Gem Riverside by Dat Xanh Group.

    Market watchers said the HCMC property market is short of budget housing projects due to surges in building material prices and land scarcity. Local property developers have had no way but to push up home prices.

    The city government has banned construction of homes below 40 square meters each, said Tran Quoc Viet, general director of Cat Tuong Group, a local real estate firm.

    Low-income people can find small homes more affordable, he noted.

    Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the HCMC Real Estate Association, said the municipal government has capped the minimum area of commercial homes at 45 square meters each.

    To make more low-cost homes available on the market, the association has proposed the city government give property investors the green light to build smaller units as long as the number of such homes does not exceed one-fourth of all units in a single project.

    Chau said if infrastructure in outlying districts is adequate, residential blocks with a certain percentage of small units should be developed there.

    The city is home to around three million migrants, accounting for 23% of the city’s population. The majority of them are low-income earners and have great residential demand, he added.

    According to him, the local government should set up mechanisms to lure property firms into developing budget homes.

    The association has proposed the National Assembly, the Government, and the State Bank of Vietnam allocate VND1-2 trillion (US$43.8-87.6 million) from the State budget to beneficiaries of social apartments through bank loans with an annual interest rate of 4.8% until 2020.

    He said these State agencies should also come up with mechanisms to implement preferential credit policy for social housing investors in line with the Housing Law in the long run to reduce prices of these homes.

    HCMC tax office works with court over Uber lawsuit

    The HCMC Tax Department on March 26 showed up at the HCMC People’s Court providing documents related to a lawsuit filed by Uber B.V.

    Nguyen Nam Binh, deputy director of the HCMC Tax Department, told the Daily on March 26 that the department presented relevant documents to the court as requested. No specific schedule for the next steps has been made, he added.

    According to him, the department will have to go through each and every step of the legal process.

    As reported earlier, the department was sued by Uber for a decision to collect back taxes in the period between the firm’s launch in Vietnam and August 24, 2016, when the Ministry of Finance released Dispatch 11828 providing tax policy guidance for ride-hailing services in the country.

    According to Uber, it is not responsible for paying value added tax and personal income tax on behalf of drivers. The tax department cannot collect taxes that were due before the ministry’s guidance came out and the firm would just pay taxes after the guidance was issued, argued Uber.

    Binh said the firm has the right to sue or complain. However, the tax department adheres to the guidance of the ministry concerning Uber’s tax obligations.

    According to Binh, it is unreasonable that Uber refuses to pay taxes from the time of its debut on the local market as businesses are obliged to pay taxes.

    The back taxes the tax department requested Uber to pay amount to VND66.6 billion, including VND26.3 billion in value added tax, VND14.6 billion in personal income tax paid on behalf of drivers, VND10.5 billion in corporate income tax for foreign contractors, VND4.9 billion in late payment fines and VND10.3 billion for false declarations.

    This is the second time Uber has sued the tax department over the tax collection requests. The firm last December initiated the first suit, which was then dropped by the HCMC People’s Court as Uber B.V. has no legal status in Vietnam.

    Binh said management agencies should work out a new approach to deal with complex cross-border business models like Uber.

    LOGIVAN secures Singaporean investment

    The Singapore-based Insignia Ventures Partners, founded by former Sequoia Capital venture partner Yinglan Tan, has invested $600,000 in the Vietnamese freight-with-trucker connecting platform LOGIVAN.

    Linh Pham, Founder of LOGIVAN, said the fresh capital will enable it to expand to Ho Chi Minh City and other major economic hubs in Vietnam, serving companies that have high transportation needs.

    After noting that 70 per cent of trucks in Vietnam return from their destination empty due to a fragmented logistics market, Linh Pham founded LOGIVAN as a connecting platform for trucks, becoming the first company in Vietnam working to “Uberize” the trucking industry with technology.

    LOGIVAN offers a central platform that tracks the location of freight and trucks, enabling it to optimize truck routes and reduce their empty load return rates. To book a truck, customers access LOGIVAN online and indicate how many trucks they require and what type of cargo they need delivered.

    Linh Pham, a former Goldman Sachs technology analyst and CambridgeUniversity graduate, earlier founded Snappetite, a platform for deals, before launching LOGIVAN. According to World Bank rankings, Vietnam is 64th out of 160 countries in the world in logistics development and fourth in ASEAN after Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

    Vietnam’s logistics costs remain high, equivalent to over 20 per cent of GDP, compared to 9-14 per cent in developed countries, according to the Vietnam Logistics Association.

    Insignia Ventures Partners is a venture capital firm specializing in startup investments. It closed its maiden fund at $120 million in February. The milestone came less than a year after Tan left Sequoia’s office in Singapore and also marks the largest ever maiden vehicle by a venture capital firm in the region.

    The LOGIVAN app connects thousands of reliable trucks to meet all needs anytime, anywhere at competitive prices.

    Vietjet receives new A321 aircraft with special logo

    Vietjet received its newest A321 aircraft on Wednesday, featuring the official logo for the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Việt Nam and France.

    The handover took place in the presence of Nguyễn Phú Trọng, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam, who made an official State visit to France, and leaders from the two countries.

    The logo features the image of a Vietnamese woman wearing a nón lá (palm-leaf conical hat) and a red áo dài (traditional silk dress) holding hands with a French woman wearing a beret and a blue-white plaid dress.

    Vietjet’s Managing Director Lưu Đức Khánh said the aircraft acknowledges Vietjet’s continual efforts to introduce a vivid image of an innovative and integrated Việt Nam to the international community.

    “Standing high from profoundly comprehensive collaborations among Vietjet and French partners, we will contribute more to the development of economic-cultural-trade cooperation between the two countries,” he said.

    The newly added A321 aircraft is the 43th of a total 121 aircraft that Vietjet ordered from Airbus.

    The new addition to Vietjet’s expanding fleet will allow the airline to pursue its strategy to improve its services and to expand operations to farther destinations in South Korea, Japan, India and Australia as well as other destinations in the Asia-Pacific region, the airline said in a statement.

    Earlier on Tuesday, Vietjet also signed a comprehensive agreement with Safran-CFM on supplying 321 engines to power the airline’s 148 aircraft as well as on fleet management services, training, R&D programmes and technical management.

    Safran-CFM will also help the airline develop regional-level support maintenance capabilities.

    The airline also inked a finance agreement with GECAS France on purchasing and leasing six A321 Neo aircraft.

    VNN

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  • 03/30/18--01:59: Article 0
  • VTVCab to start IPO at US$6.26 per share


    The starting price for the initial public offering (IPO) of the Vietnam Television Cable Corporation (VTVCab) has been set at VND140,900 (US$6.26) per share.


     

    VTVCab to start IPO at US$6.26 per share, 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
    VTVCab will sell 47.84 per cent of its total shares at the initial price of US$6.26 per share at the coming IPO on April 14. - Photo kinhtedothi.vn


    VTVCab will sell 42.2 million shares, or 47.84 per cent of the firm’s charter capital, at its upcoming IPO on April 17 at the Ha Noi Stock Exchange.

    Under its equitisation plan, which was approved by the Prime Minister in January 2016, VTV Cab will have a charter capital of VND884 billion ($39.3 million), with the Government reducing its ownership to 51 per cent (more than 45 million shares).

    The total value of the company as of December 31, 2015, was more than VND7.9 trillion ($351 million), with the Government holding more than 80 per cent stake.

    More than one million shares (1.16 per cent of the capital) will be sold to the pay TV provider’s current employees at cheap prices.

    VTVCab is a State-owned enterprise founded in 1995. In 2012, the company was renamed to its current name and had opened more than 100 offices and branches across the country.

    During the 2014-16 period, VTVCab posted a steady growth in its total revenue, but its post-tax profit showed some decline.

    It earned an average of VND2 trillion in total revenue during that period. Its post-tax profit rose to VND130.5 billion in 2015 from VND126.5 billion in 2014 but fell sharply to VND76.5 billion a year later, in 2016.

    During 2018-20, the company projects its total revenue to increase from VND2.95 trillion in 2018 to VND3.5 trillion in 2019 and VND3.96 trillion in 2020.

    Its pre-tax profit for the next period is also expected to rise from VND74.3 billion (in 2018) to VND81 billion and VND106.6 billion in the next two years, respectively.

     VNS

    0 0
  • 03/31/18--01:24: Article 0
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 31/3


    Danang Hi-Tech Park needs VND1.3 trillion


    Danang Hi-Tech Park needs VND1.3 trillion, VinCommerce to  sbeplit soon, Retail sales, services revenue sees year-on-year rise of 11.05 percent, Many foreign projects increase capital in Q1

     


    Danang City is promoting investments into housing, training and service facilities in Danang Hi-Tech Park (DHTP) worth a combined VND1.268 trillion, according to the Danang Investment Promotion Agency.

    Director of the agency Le Canh Duong on March 26 said local and foreign firms could choose to invest through public-private partnerships (PPP), which include build-operate-transfer (BOT).

    In addition to seeking capital for these facilities, DHTP also wants to attract investors to a research and development center to assist operations of enterprises there. Such projects can be financed by official development assistance (ODA) capital, according to Doan Ngoc Hung Anh, deputy head of the DHTP management board.

    In particular, the housing development project comprises villas, adjoining houses and condominiums with an investment estimated at VND842 billion. It aims to provide quality accommodation for employees, experts and scientists working at DHTP. Meanwhile, service facilities that will go up need some VND316 billion.

    As for the training center project, an estimated VND110 billion will be needed to train and develop human resources.

    According to Satoru Takizawa, chairman of the Japanese Business Association in Danang, one major weakness of the city is its human resources have not met requirements of Japanese hi-tech firms. Therefore, it is crucial to invest in personnel training. 

    VinCommerce to  sbeplit soon

    Vingroup JSC will split VinCommerce into two separate retail units called VinCommerce and VinPro, the board chairman of Vingroup said last week in an announcement sent to the stock exchange.

    In the document posted at the website of the State Securities Commission of Vietnam and the Hochiminh Stock Exchange, Vingroup said that following the split, VinPro would be in charge of electronics stores while VinCommerce will operate other retail store chains.

    VinPro will be established with chartered capital of VND500 billion, of which Vingroup owns 42.63%, or nearly a 21.3 million shares transferred from VinCommerce.

    Prior to the separation, VinCommerce had been operating electronics chain VinPro, the supermarket chain VinMart, the convenience store chain VinMart+ and the e-commerce website https://www.adayroi.com.

    The VinPro retail chain currently has 33 supermarkets nationwide while VinMart has 65 stores and VinMart+ owns some 1,000 stores.

    TAEL to pour more investment into Vietnam

    Fund manager The Asia Entrepreneur Legacy (TAEL) expects to disburse US$150 million more into Vietnam, having already invested as much as US$175 million in this market over the past two years, news website Dau Tu reports.

    TAEL has just convened an investors meeting in HCMC, gathering representatives of investment funds and government funds in the region. The fund manager highly values opportunities in Vietnam, and has invested a quarter of its portfolio capital in the local market in the last two years, said Michael Sng, partner of TAEL.

    Its investments focused on high-growth enterprises in areas like healthcare, education, consumer goods and logistics, which are the priorities of the city.

    Its fund TAEL Two has since 2013 invested US$175 million in eight companies, six of which operate in above-stated fields, namely Cotec Healthcare, Institution of American Education, Pan Pacific Corporation, GTNFoods JSC, Vinasun Corporation, and Vietnam Trade Alliance.

    The Singapore-based fund was founded in 2007 with representative offices in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. The firm specializes in growth oriented investment with the minor but significant stakes in family-controlled companies.

    The ASEAN-focused private equity fund is now managing US$1 billion, specializing in institutional investors, State-owned funds, as well as equity funds from ASEAN, North America and the Middle East.

    Retail sales, services revenue sees year-on-year rise of 11.05 percent

    Retail sale and consumer service revenue in March amounted to VND85,248 billion ($3.7 million), an increase of 3.33 percent compared to February, reported The Department of Industry and Trade in Ho Chi Minh City. 

    It was estimated that in the first three months of the year, total revenue of retail sale and service reached VND254,491 billion, finishing 24.7 percent of the plan for 2018, a year-on year rise of 11.05 percent.

    Of which, retail turnover wass estimated VND165.429 billion, an increase of 10,97 percent compared to the same period last year.

    As per the Department’s forecast, by the first quarter, the growth speed of retail sale and services revenue will achieve 11.5 percent – 12 percent, partly thanks to state employees’ higher salary according to the Prime Minister’ decision which takes effect on July 1, 2018.  Moreover, there has been a rise in wage of retirees and social welfare allowance.

    The Department said there has been positive sign in the field of exports. Revenue of exports in HCMC in the first three months amounted to $8.83 billion, a hike of 10.56 percent including rude oil.

    Agriculture, forestry, fishery revenue posted a year-on-year rise of 23.8 percent with $1.23 billion. Coffee, fishery, rice, vegetables and cashews saw a year-on-year increase  of 24.3 percent, 23.1 percent, 21.7 percent, 41.3 percent and 52.7 percent respectively while industry revenue reached $5.98 billion, a climb of 17.6 percent.

    Wood firms have huge orders in the first months of the year. Consumers prefer Vietnamese-made wooden items; accordingly, it is an opportunity for the sector.

    Many foreign projects increase capital in Q1

    A number of foreign projects increased their investment capital to expand production in the first quarter of the year, according to figures from the Foreign Investment Agency at the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

    Most notably, the LG Innotek Hai Phong project increased its capital by $501 million while the Regina Miracle International Vietnam project added $260 million.

    The Kefico Vietnam project added $120 million and the Vina Cell Technology project $100 million.

    Thanks to LG Innotek's capital increase, South Korea held top spot among countries and territories investing in Vietnam in the first quarter, reaching $1.84 billion, or 31.6 per cent of total investment capital.

    Hong Kong followed, with $689 million, or 11.9 per cent of the total, then Singapore, with $649 million, or 11.2 per cent.

    Total foreign capital, both new and additional, and capital contributions and share purchases by foreigners in the first quarter stood at $5.8 billion, representing 75.2 per cent of the figure in the same period of 2017.

    Newly-registered capital was $2.12 billion, equal to 72.7 per cent of the same period of 2017, while additional capital was $1.79 billion, or 45.4 per cent. Capital contributions and share purchase reached $1.89 billion, or 121.6 per cent of the figure in the same period of 2017.

    As at March 20, foreign direct investment projects had disbursed an estimated $3.88 billion, an increase of 7.2 per cent year-on-year.

    Exports by foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) (including crude oil) was $39.34 billion, up 22.8 per cent year-on-year and accounting for 72.4 per cent of total export turnover. Excluding crude oil, the figure was $38.83 billion, up 24.2 per cent and accounting for 71.5 per cent of total export turnover.

    Imports by FIEs totaled $31.75 billion, up 13.7 per cent year-on-year and accounting for nearly 59.9 per cent of total import turnover.

    FIEs therefore recorded a trade surplus of $7.59 billion, including crude oil, and $7.08 billion excluding crude oil. 

    Le Thuy lures in foreign investors to wind power sector

    The enthusiasm of UPC Renewable Asia I Limited to develop two wind power plants in Le Thuy district of Quang Binh province, suggests Le Thuy might become the favourite destination of foreign investors in the wind power sector.

    According to the latest developments, on March 20, a representative of UPC Renewable Asia I Limited returned to Le Thuy to conduct a survey and measure wind power to develop projects.

    According to Phan Van Thuong, director of the Department of Industry and Trade of Quang Binh province, the province permitted the investor to install a wind tower to measure wind power. According to the regulations, the investor will be allowed to develop its project after 12 months of installing the wind tower.

    At present, the investor has also completed the dossier to submit to the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the prime minister for approval.

    Quang Binh is considered a dry land with little potential for economic development, while UPC is considered one of the world’s leading firms in develop renewable projects on all terrains, including mountainous, desert, even volcanic areas.

    Thus, UPC’s investment is expected to open new opportunities for the province.

    Regarding the potential to develop renewable projects, Pham Quang Nam, Secretary of the Le Thuy Party Committee, stated that the weather conditions of Le Thuy are suitable for solar power and wind power projects.

    Previously, in January this year, the group joined a working session with leaders of the Quang Binh People’s Committee and relevant authorities to report on its plan to develop the two wind power projects named UPC-Le Thuy and UPC-Quang Binh.

    Notably, UPC will pour VND2 trillion ($87.68 million) into building the UPC-Le Thuy wind power plant on an area of 16 hectares and VND10.2 trillion ($447.18 million) into UPC-Quang Binh on 130ha. Once the two plants come into operation, they will generate 158 million and 760 million kWh per year, respectively.

    According to information from the Quang Binh Department of Planning and Investment, along with UPC, numerous other investors have registered to implement wind power projects in Le Thuy.

    Accordingly, B&T Windfarm JSC aims to build two projects with a total capacity of 200MW in Quang Ninh and Le Thuy districts. Additionally, Tan Hoan Cau Group has proposed building a 300MW project in Minh Hoa district.

    Dohwa Group from South Korea has constructed a 49.5MW solar project. Being one of Dohwa’s renewable energy complexes, it has a total investment capital sum of $55 million and is expected to generate power by the end of this year.

    High-quality products fair to promote safe foods this year     

    The Vietnamese High-Quality Products Fair in HCM City early next month will have many new features, including a focus on introducing “Vietnamese High-Quality Products-Global Integration Standard” (GIS) certified products and others under the city’s food safety chain model.

    Speaking at a press briefing in HCM City on March 27, Vu Kim Hanh, chairwoman of the Vietnamese High Quality Product Business Association, its organiser, said the fair would have 600 booths set up by 300 exhibitors.

    Visitors can see “a strange garden” where they can see and touch quaint products made from Ben Tre Province’s coconut trees and fruits and grapefruits, which have been granted geographical indication certificates by the Ministry of Science and Technology, she said.

    The fair would have a “Green-Nice Market” where farms, co-operatives and start-up firms showcase farm produce grown to safe or organic standards, she said.

    The fair this year would also showcase activities to help local businesses further penetrate the global market through the association’s GIS project and a co-operation programme between the association and Saigon Innovation Hub, she said.

    There will also be a promotion in which over 3,000 items will be sold at VND20,000 at 10-10.30am and 4-4.30pm daily, game shows, a cooking contest, and lucky draws with prizes of tours to Cambodia and destinations in Việt Nam.

    For the first time the fair would be organised with the collaboration of the Food Safety Management Board of HCM City, and the two sides would organise an international seminar titled ‘Improving Quality Standards to Integrate into the Global Market’ on the sidelines of the fair, Hạnh said.

    Sixty six Vietnamese food firms have obtained GIS certification, she added.

    The fair will be held at the Phu Tho Stadium in District 11 from April 3 to 8 

    HCM City to play host to beauty expo     

    Cosmobeaute Vietnam, the largest beauty industry exhibition in Viet Nam, returns next month to HCM City, providing local and international exhibitors and visitors the opportunity to explore business opportunities

    CP Saw, founder of Cosmobeauté, said more than 200 exhibitors from 13 countries and territories, including China, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, the US, and Viet Nam would participate, and there would be four international pavilions from Korea, Singapore, Spain, and Taiwan.

    On display will be beauty equipment for every part from head to toe including skin care products cosmetics and makeup; laser machine for body slimming, skin rejuvenation, tattoo removal, face lifting, and whitening; and hair care products.

    Cosmobeaute will also host several programmes such as beauty workshops and seminars, live demonstrations, beauty shows and others, in which industry experts will share know-how and experience and update visitors on beauty trends.

    With a rising number of middle-income earners in Viet Nam, there is incrreasing demand for quality beauty products, Saw said.

    The event would be a platform for the local beauty industry to source premium brands, he added.

    To be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre from April 19 to 21, the event is expected to get 13,500 visitors. 

    Expert urges Vietnamese firms to explore other markets

    Vietnamese firms should expand their partnership to at least three markets to avoid sole dependence on a particular market, said economist Phạm Chi Lan.

    She also urged the firms to provide clear and transparent filings to meet the standards of exporting markets.

    Vietnamese enterprises must prove that they do not enjoy protectionism of the government and do not sell products at a dumping price level to ensure they are not affected by the anti-dumping tax policies of the exporting markets, she said.

    Given the context in which US regulators have planned to impose anti-dumping taxes on Vietnamese exports to protect their local fishery and steel industries, Lan suggested firms to explore other markets and diversify their targeted markets to ensure less reliance on a sole, large market.

    “A three-market strategy will ensure that a company’s export is balanced and that business will not depend on any particular market,” Lan said.

    Such business strategy will help Vietnamese firms to survive and exploit new opportunities in the context of a rising global trade war, following intense statements from China and the United States against each other, she said on the sidelines of a conference co-organised by the Vietnam Executive MBA Programme in Hà Nội, University of Hawai’i, and the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam last week.

    The United States announced a US$60 billion tariff bill on Chinese imports last week. China, in return, filed a list of 128 US products for retaliation, raising global concerns about a possible trade war.

    According to Jack Suyderhoud, professor of Business Economics at the Shidler College of Business, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, recent actions of the US government are aimed at protecting its local industries, such as fisheries and steel, against threats from cheaper imports from China and Việt Nam.

    Rising protectionism will encounter objection from those benefiting from free trade, Jack said, adding that the US government should notice how important the win-win principle is and how it exists in every trade deal.

    Lan urged local firms to strengthen their competency so that they can take advantage of benefits brought about by free trade agreements, to which Việt Nam must comply, and encounter less negative impacts from a possible global trade war.

    Besides the US and China, Vietnamese firms should increase its influence in other markets, such as the European Union, reducing its dependence on the world’s two largest markets, Lan said.

    “There are no winners in a trade war,” she said, adding that the United States and China are two of the largest trading partners of Việt Nam, thus, “we need to expand our trade relations to different markets to boost the country’s economy”.

    “The establishment of the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership), signed on March 8 without the United States’ participation, is a good way to deal with the unpredictable policies of the United States and China at the moment,” Lan said.

    The CPTPP deal will help other economies to get to know each other, increase their cooperation and protect their economies, offsetting the damages caused by US protectionism and China’s responses, she added.

    “CPTPP is proving to be attractive to other economies that are not partners to the deal, such as South Korea and the United Kingdom,” she said.

    TT Group to co-operate on railway, stadium renovation     

    The industry-real estate-finance conglomerate T&T Group and France’s industrial Bouygues Group on Tuesday signed a co-operation agreement to invest in urban railway project No 3 and upgrade Hang Day Stadium in Ha Noi.

    Accordingly, T&T Group plans to invest in and develop the project of urban railway No 3 (dual rail) in the form of Public Private Partnerships (PPP), connecting Ha Noi centre with Son Tay Township for a total length of 31.1km. The total value of investment in this project is estimated at 1.4 billion euros (US$1.74 billion).

    In addition, the plan for the Hang Day Stadium renovation has an estimated investment value of 250 million euros.

    Bouygues Construction is one of the world’s leading companies in the field of design and construction of international infrastructure projects. The Bouygues Group is committed to working with T&T Group in the design, construction, commissioning, maintenance, support and financing of the two projects.

    The agreement, which was signed during a recent official visit of Viet Nam’s Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to France to mark the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, will help open up investment opportunities in Viet Nam for the leading economic groups in the world and promote domestic and foreign cooperation for key national economic projects.

    Founded in 1993, T&T Group JSC operates in the real estate, finance, industry, sports, and import-export trading market segments. Its real estate projects include residential units, trade centres, office buildings, resorts, marine eco-tourism areas, and urban areas and industrial zones. The company currently has total assets of VND20 trillion ($877 million) and charter capital of VND5 trillion. 

    50-70% of surplus budget revenue to be used for wage hikes

    Half of surplus central budget revenue and 70% of surplus local budget collections will be kept to create resources for wage reform as from 2021, news website Vietnamnet reported.

    At a seminar on reform of social insurance and wage policies in Hanoi last Saturday, standing vice chairman of the Central Theoretical Council Phung Huu Phu said that wage and social in-surance reform will be among issues for discussion at the 12th Party Central Committee’s seventh meeting next May. 

    According to Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, head of the steering committee for reform of wage, social insurance and incentives for people with meritorious service, the commit-tee has consulted many agencies of the Party, Government and National Assembly, the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuracy, the International Labor Organization, the World Bank and countries with effective wage and social insurance policies.

    Regarding the wage reform, the Party Central Committee has given comments since 2003, but many problems remain unsolved and a resolution has not been passed yet.

    Hue said that the scheme must remove inadequacies of the prevailing wage policy.

    Wages in the public sector have yet to catch up with the private sector. Wage adjustments are not independent of adjustments of pension and incentives for people with meritorious service, affect sustainability of social insurance, and need to come close to international standards.

    One new point is to build two payrolls, one applying to positions and the other to specialist tasks, so as to avoid problems concerning wage payments made according to degrees. Those with high-er skills and higher positions will get higher pays to avoid the other way around like what is hap-pening, according to Hue.

    Incomes of State workers will also be based on international practices, with wages accounting for 70% and subsidies no more than 30%. Besides, heads of agencies can use 10% of bonus funds to give staffers additional pay for their excellent performance and have wage funds for ministries and localities to recruit talent.

    The scheme will eliminate wage coefficients and instead use absolute figures in the payroll. The minimum wage is the lowest level, and no one can pay lower than that. The minimum wage by the hour is also set, and the State’s interference in the payroll at enterprises is removed.

    As for social insurance reform, Hue said only workers having paid social insurance in over ten years can start to get pensions. Those leaving social insurance earlier than ten years can get only the amounts in their accounts.

    In addition, higher retirement ages will be applicable as from 2021 with an increase of three months a year until the retirement ages reach 62 for men and 60 for women. 

    According to the Deputy Prime Minister, if the retirement ages are not raised, the social insurance fund will be exhausted.

    Vietnam eyes 9 billion USD in forest product exports

    Vietnam’s exports of forest products are expected to reach 9 billion USD in 2018, experts have said.

    Reports delivered at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on March 27 said the country earned 8 billion USD from exporting forest products in 2017, of which 7.7 billion USD was contributed by wood and wooden products.

    Representatives from wood enterprises stressed that the 9-billion-USD goal is achievable this year.  

    Wood processing and export firms were urged to employ measures to ensure balance between demand and supply, towards promoting sustainable development of the wood processing and export sector. 

    At a recent seminar held in HCM City, experts also said that wood processing and export businesses of Vietnam have opportunities to expand markets and increase export value in the future.

    According to Vice Chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City Huynh Van Hanh, aside from the strong growth of the domestic property market, global demand for wood furniture and wood items this year are predicted to rise by 3.5 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

    Domestic wood enterprises were advised to pay more attention to updating technology, improving manpower quality and management capacity, building their own brands, promoting product quality and boosting support services.

    Petrolimex to issue e-invoices from Sunday     

    Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) will officially issue electronic invoices to replace ordinary paper bills from Sunday. The decision follows the Ministry of Finance’s Circular No 32/2011/TT-BTC, issued on March 14, 2011, guiding the creation, issuance and use of e-invoices for goods and services.

    According to Deputy General Director Tran Ngoc Nam, the issuance of electronic invoice will help to effectively make use of the information technology system in production and business activities of the enterprise, ensuring compliance with the trend of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

    Nam, who also heads Petrolimex’s electronic invoice project, said e-invoice was an inevitable trend and contributed to the reduction of printing costs, preservation of data, increase in the transparency of petrol business activity and simplification of administrative procedures, thereby making it convenient for customers.

    It would also be easier for the State management agencies to search for information to supervise, Nam said, highlighting that the move would benefit consumers, State and businesses and ensure convenience, safety and accuracy.

    Customers can easily access the electronic invoice by receiving the search code via email address or receipt and then visiting the website, www.petrolimex.com.vn, to get the bill.

    The e-invoices will be stored in the form of data files that will be kept on Petrolimex’s server for 10 years with back-ups, so there is no fear of the data getting lost or damaged. Instead, it will make it convenient to manage goods and expenses.

    To implement the decision, Petrolimex has researched and deployed the project since May 19, 2015, and the solution provider is VNPT-Vinaphone-Dakta joint venture. 

    Shop Store Vietnam expo opens in HCM City     

    The first Shop & Store Vietnam, a conference and exhibition on the retail and franchise industry, is being held in HCM City from March 28.

    The event has attracted 70 brands from 18 countries and regions, and three international group pavilions from Thailand, Singapore and Japan.

    The event, which will also feature conferences on retail and franchise and legal aspects on franchise, provides an opportunity for businesses in retail, franchise and shop fitting to show off their products.

    They include franchises like Miniso and Tupperware, King BBQ, Hotpot Story, Khao Lao, Blackball, Chabayom, SIC, Renmi, Nishio and others.

    The event also showcases new technologies in retail business, including retail devices and digital signage solutions.

    There will be demonstrations of ‘Cashless Showcase’ and 3D holograms and a ‘smart shopping’ competition.

    The organiser, Reed Tradex, has collaborated with Miniso and Ibox/2can to launch the "SSV CashlessPay" application for exhibitors and visitors to practically experience “cashless” transactions to make shopping more convenient.

    The event is being held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre in District 7.

    Vinpearl opens luxury condotel in Nha Trang     

    Vinpearl on Monday (March 26) opened the five-star Vinpearl Nha Trang Empire condotel.

    It is 40 stories tall and has over 1,221 rooms and other facilities.

    It has been built atop the Vincom Plaza mall, which opened last December.

    It is Vinpearl’s 18th hotel. 

    Hanoi’s CPI drops 0.22 percent in March

    The consumer price index of Hanoi in March declined 0.22 percent over the previous month but increased 2.7 percent over the same period last year.

    Major reason for the drop is a reduction in prices of three goods groups - food and catering services; housing, electricity, fuel and construction materials; and transportation. 

    Lower demand after the traditional New Year festival in February and warmer weather with abundant supply of farm produce pulled the prices of food and foodstuff down. Meanwhile, lower gas prices also led to a fall in the prices of housing, electricity, fuel and construction materials.

    A fuel price cut also made the price of transportation lower.

    The average index in the first three months of this year rose 2.54 percent over the same period last year. An upturn was seen in 10 groups of goods and the only one experienced a fall.

    Import-export revenue surges nearly 37 percent in March

    Total import-export revenue of Vietnam is estimated at 38.8 billion USD, a surge of 36.8 percent over the previous month, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    Of the figure, exports are calculated to reach 19.8 billion USD, a rise of 38.2 percent month on month, while imports are valued at 19 billion USD, up 35.4 percent over February.

    In the first three months of this year, total import-export revenue is likely to hit 107.32 billion USD, up 17.7 percent year on year, including exports of 54.31 billion USD and imports of 53 billion USD.

    Export value of garment and textile is estimated at 6.3 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 12.9 percent, while that of computers, electronic products and spare parts is about 6.29 billion USD, footwear 3.45 billion USD, wood and wooden products is 1.91 billion USD.

    Meanwhile, earnings from aquatic products are 1.67 billion USD, up 11.2 percent, and coffee export revenue is 989 million USD, a drop of 3.7 percent over the same period last year.

    At the same time, imports of computers, electronic products and spare parts in the first three months of this year are likely to reach 10.33 billion USD, a surge of 30.2 percent over the same period last year.

    A year-on-year drop of 4.3 percent was seen in imports of machines, tools and equipment to 7.37 billion USD. The country imported over 3.51 million tonnes of petrol for 2.2 billion USD, up 20.1 percent in volume and 37.1 percent in value.

    Vietnam is estimated to enjoy trade surplus of about 800 million USD in March and 1.3 billion USD in three months.

    Technology application—a new trend in HR training ahead of CPTPP

    Amidst growing demand for qualified manpower among domestic and foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs), technology applications in human resources training are predicted to become a popular trend in Vietnam ahead of the enforcement of the Comprehensive and Progressive Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

    For years, a shortfall of skilled workforce has remained a thorny issue for both domestic and FIEs in Vietnam. As shown in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) 2017, only 31 per cent of nearly 1,800 FIEs are satisfied with the labour quality in Vietnam.

    The Vietnamese workforce over the age of 15 is 53.5 million strong, but only 9.99 million people or 18.6 per cent are skilled workers, meaning unskilled workers make up 81.4 per cent of the country’s total workforce.

    The local workforce also lacks many necessary skills, like problem solving, IT, especially foreign language skills, and adaptability. Moreover, the levels of innovation and creativity among skilled local employees are still low.

    Looking at the competitiveness of businesses in Vietnam, it is easy to see how low quality workforce bridles the GDP growth rate. Every year, Vietnam's labour productivity increases by 3 per cent on average, while GDP expands at around 5 per cent.

    According to the General Statistics Office, Vietnam's labour productivity is even lower than Laos and Cambodia, and just one tenth of Singapore.

    In 2017, Vietnam's labour productivity was estimated at VND93.2 million ($4,159) per labourer. This figure is equal to 7 per cent of Singapore and 17.6 per cent of Malaysia. Singapore and Malaysia are also two member countries of the CPTPP.

    As enterprises continue to expand business and investment activities in the country, demand for qualified manpower grows more significantly than ever. However, improving labour quality in a cost-saving and effective manner is a big concern.

    At present, each Vietnamese firm spends around VND400,000 ($18.18) each year training an employee on average.

    Meanwhile, Angeline Teo, director of dOz International (Singapore), said that businesses that are thought to be successful in human resources development must spend 8 per cent of their revenues on such purposes.

    Vietnam is home to more than 500,000 enterprises, but over 90 per cent do not have their own internal training management system.

    According to experts, e-learning would be an optimal choice for businesses to improve their human resources quality and save on training costs.

    In developed countries, businesses focus on the application of high-tech solutions in training. The Industry 4.0 has resulted in the rapid development of e-learning, while cloud computing technology helps save costs and proves more efficient than traditional training methods.

    In Vietnam, technology solutions for e-training remain in the early stages of development with only a handful of suppliers.

    One of the famous brands is Huong Viet Group, which has ten years of experience in technology solutions for education and training with CLS.vn (Cloud Learning System)—the modules for training management based on a cloud system.

    CLS-Cloud Learning System (cls.vn) has proved to be a reasonable solution for smaller businesses as it is very cost-effective and easy to use.

    It is estimated that with CLS businesses can reduce 75 per cent of training costs and save 95 per cent of training time and 100 per cent of housing and travelling costs for trainers and trainees, thus helping businesses increase operational efficiency by 2.5 times and triple labour productivity.

    With a cheap cost (less than 10 per cent of foreign-developed technology solutions), CLS brings in an advanced internal training system for domestic and foreign-invested enterprises, with standards equal to those of developed markets. CLS is predicted to become the driving force of the e-learning market in Vietnam.

    "In globalisation and global integration, improving the quality of workforce is the key to increase competitiveness," said Tran Van Ba, deputy director of Huong Viet Group.

    Currently, CLS is being applied at 500 businesses throughout the country, ranging from distribution, retail, and services to education.

    In the technology era, Vietnamese firms can only stand firm if they pay due attention to applying technology in human resources training. If they fail to make changes, they might fall behind or be gobbled up, leaving the playground for FIEs to benefit from the CPTPP.

    According to a new World Bank report, the CPTPP will bring direct economic benefits to Vietnam. The CPTPP, along with other multilateral trade agreements, is expected to further boost investment in Vietnam through its export-driven growth model.

    The World Bank estimated that the CPTPP would lead to an increase of 1.1 per cent in Vietnam’s GDP by 2030, which could rise to 3.5 per cent given a modest boost to productivity.

    All income groups in Vietnam are expected to benefit from this new trade deal, and highly-skilled workers may reap the most benefits.

    State Audit of Vietnam becomes ASOSAI Chair for 2018-2021

    The State Audit of Vietnam (SAV) will become the Chair of the Asian Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) for the 2018-2021 tenure and will also serve as a member of the ASOSAI Governing Board for three consecutive terms (2015-2024).

    The State Auditor General of Vietnam Ho Duc Phoc made the announcement at a press conference in Hanoi on March 28.

    The 14th ASOSAI Assembly of the Asian Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI 14) is set to take place in Hanoi from September 19-22 in Hanoi with the participation of 350 delegates from 46 ASOSAI members.

    The political and diplomatic event provides a chance for the SAV to learn from and acquire knowledge and international experience and utilise potential resources from ASOSAI and its members to improve the operational efficiency. It affirms the SAV’s role and position among ASOSAI’s members and regional and international organisations, helping to elevate its stature to a new height, Phoc said.

    According to the Auditor General, the theme of “Environmental Audit for Sustainable Development” at this year’s assembly is also one of the important topics of the agenda, reflecting the commitments, efforts, and practical contributions of the ASOSAI community to pursuing the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) and dealing with global environment challenges.

    Following the theme, ASOSAI members will deliver reports on challenges, experiences, and solutions to effectively perform environmental audit functions with the aim of meeting SDGs. The outcomes of the 14th ASOSAI assembly are expected to contribute to fine-tuning auditing guidelines, procedures, and standards to meet SDGs among member nations.

    At the press conference, the organizing board also gave a presentation on the Assembly's Corporation Identify Program (CIP), which is seen as an effective promotional tool for the 14th ASOSAI Assembly with distinctive features and characteristics different from the previous meetings of this kind and other events.

    The CIP helps the ASOSAI community domestic and foreign organizations, delegates, and individuals, come away with strong and positive impressions of the international event, ASOSAI, and the SAV.

    The design of the CIP is inspired by the country’s unique historical and cultural relics and the theme of 14th ASOSAI Assembly. The main parts of the CIP include a logo and visual communication tools.

    Coffee city project underway in Dak Lak

    The Trung Nguyen Legend Group are developing a coffee-themed project in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.

    Trung Nguyen Legend Group on March 28 inaugurated the welcoming gate of the coffee city project which covers 45.45 hectares in Buon Ma Thuot City.

    The project includes an international coffee museum, houses, shopping centre, parks, schools and healthcare services. The coffee museum, which will display more than 10,000 coffee-related objects, is expected to enter operation this November.

    The site is intended to home around 5,000 people. Most of trees in the city will be coffee.

    Most of the project’s items have been scheduled to be completed by late 2020.

    The project, which has been delayed for many years, has a total investment of more than VND2 trillion (USD90,9 million).

    Hyundai Tan Phu plant under inspection

    The Inspectorate of Ba Ria-Vung Tau province will conduct an inspection on licensing and revocation of the investment certificate of the Hyundai Tan Phu producing and assembly plant located in Phu My 1 Industrial Park in Tan Thanh district.

    The decision came when the investor, which is a joint venture between Tan Phu JSC and Hyundai Group, continuously sent the documents to the local authorities to protest about its investment certificate being revoked in 2016.

    In March 2011, the Ba Ria-Vung Tau People’s Committee granted an investment certificate for Hyundai Tan Phu to develop a mini bus and truck production factory with the total investment capital of $40 million. The factory has a designed capacity of 20,000 mini buses and 30,000 trucks per year. The construction of the project was expected to kick off in May 2011 and completed one year later.

    However, the construction pace could not match the schedule. Even, when the investment certificate expired after delays in project development, the investor had yet to refresh the workshop leasing contract or submit the dossiers for a new investment certificate.

    Ba Ria-Vung Tau asked the investor to sign the contract and complete procedures for the new investment certificate before May 2016, otherwise the province would revoke the project and transfer it to other investors.

    As a result, the province issued the decision to withdraw the project because the investor missed the deadline to submit these dosseirs..

    However, after receiving the decision to revoke the project, the investor has sent documents to the local authorities complaining that it still wants to develop the project and that the long delay in construction is due to a lack of support from the local industrial park board of management.

    Notably, after receiving the investment certificate and the land, the investor spent VND40 billion ($1.75 million) developing infrastructure for the factory.

    Besides, the company completed its tax obligations. However, during 2015-2016, the investor asked the management board to guide it to sign the contract but they refused to meet the investor.

    Furthermore, the management board did not approve the investor’s desire to develop the project.

    The investor sent complaints to the relevant government agencies after the province did not entertain its opinion.

    Last June, after receiving the requests of the Government Office to report on the process of licensing and revoking the investment certificate, Ba Ria-Vung Tau asked the inspectorate of the province to conduct an inspection.

    In April 2016, the Nhon Hoi Economic Zone Management Authority in the central province of Binh Dinh decided to revoke the investment certificate of a long-delayed Russian automobile project.

    The project had the registered investment capital of $1 billion and was licensed three years ago, but was yet to get underway.

    Russia’s Buscenter Met Company Ltd. planned to establish a 50-hectare factory in the zone to manufacture and assemble automotive parts and agricultural machinery.

    Environmental tact appears in Vietnamese living space

    Green living space, the latest trend in the real estate development sector, has been adopted by some of the leading property developers in the country, including Vingroup, Gamuda Land, and Sun Group, offering an environment-friendly lifestyle to residents in the urban areas of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

    Over the past decade, an increasing number of real estate projects have been advertised with the keyword "green" as a core concept, signalling an all-about-the-ecosystem mindset among the residents of apartment complexes.

    Addressing the trendy sustainable lifestyle, Luk Ban La, vice president of Phuc Khang Investment & Construction Corporation, asserted that, "Residents in the business hub of Ho Chi Minh City, especially Vietnamese immigrants returning to their homeland, crave green living spaces, which allowed us to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle while keeping their ancestors’ cultural values at the heart of our projects."

    As a result, Phuc Khang was reported to integrate both modern and traditional living concepts into its real estate development projects, such as Ecovillage and Ecotown.

    In order to comply with this new benchmark, Phuc Khang set to pioneer the construction of green living spaces with sustainable humanitarian values which Phuc Khang and Mitsubishi Corporation shared.

    Previously, with the target of developing the LEED-certified Diamond Lotus project, Phuc Khang Mitsubishi Corporation Holding (PKMC) was created in late 2017 with $30 million charter capital, 49 per cent of which belonged to Mitsubishi and 51 per cent to Phuc Khang.

    Additionally, multisectoral giant Vingroup had four real estate projects, namely Vinhomes Riverside, Vinhomes Times City-Park Hill, and Vinhomes Imperia in Hanoi and Vinhomes Central Park in Ho Chi Minh City, rated as the top four most worthy living spaces in Vietnam by VIR readers.

    Le Khac Hiep, vice president of Vingroup, stated that, "The group committed to offer a more optimal living space, one that is mindful of the ecosystem and customer-centric to accommodate discerning citizens of the future green-living society."

    Seizing a spot in the top 20 projects setting "A new benchmark for living space" rated by VIR readers, Wyeren Yap Vooi Soon, general director of Gamuda Land, noted that, "The group aimed at delivering a smart and harmonious living space to its customers, commtting to a green coverage of 16 hectares at its real estate projects with the intent to create the most satisfactory residential experiences in Vietnam."

    Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), put forth and developed by the US Green Building Council, is a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings which emerged in the core concept of multiple real estate projects across progressive countries.

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  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF ¼


    No door for return of RON92 petrol

    After RON92 petrol was replaced by E5 bio-fuel for about three months, several enterprises said that the consumption of E5 was lower than that of RON92 and petitioned the authorities to resume the use of RON92. However, experts and businesses have asserted that the use RON92 petrol should not be resumed.

    Recently, Ho Chi Minh City One Member Limited Liability Oil and Gas Company (Saigon Petro) sent an official document to the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Ministry of Finance, saying that the consumption of E5 bio-fuel in the first two months of 2018 accounted for a very low proportion of the total petrol consumption of Saigon Petro, at over 30% of total petrol consumption, while the consumption of RON92 made up 65% of the total consumption.

    In addition, the company said that many vehicles that require the petrol standards of E5 or RON92 have to switch to using RON95, with a higher price, which is a waste.

    The company also recommended the reduction of the environmental protection tax on E5, as a basis for enterprises to lower E5 selling prices, thus stimulating the consumption of the product and avoiding the waste of social resources.

    According to Saigon Petro, the consumption of E5 will remain low in the future despite the application of the aforementioned measures. Thus, the firm suggested the resumption of the use of RON92.

    Economist Nguyen Tien Thoa, vice chairman and general secretary of the Vietnam Valuation Association, said that the government's policy on the use of types of petrol with less impact on the environment is the correct direction towards contributing to protecting the environment. Therefore, RON92 petrol should not be put into use again.

    Agreeing with Thoa, Nguyen Hong Minh, General Secretary of the Hanoi Transport Association and General Director of Nguyen Minh Taxi Company, said that Vietnam has deeply integrated into the world and must comply with international regulations. The general trend in the world is to use environmentally friendly fuels. Thus, RON92 should not be used anymore as it contains a large percentage of lead, creating negative effects on the environment.

    Experts said that more comprehensive measures are needed to boost the consumption of E5 bio-fuel.

    Thoa noted that tax reduction is one of the solutions to create a price gap between the two types of petrol, thereby motivating consumers to use E5. However, stimulating the use of E5 should not be based on tax reductions but must come from the supply of ethanol as the raw material for bio-fuel blending as there is only one ethanol producer supplying the raw material for the domestic market.

    In addition, the government should develop appropriate policies to create the price gap between E5 and RON92 in the first phase of the E5 launch to promote the consumption of E5, Thoa suggested.

    In particular, it must be proven in practice that the use of E5 is safe with engines and reduces greenhouse gas as a large number of consumers remain confused about the quality and safety of E5.

    Minh said that the top priority should be given to ensuring the quality of E5 if the authorities wish consumers to choose E5. "If E5 bio-fuel has good quality while protecting the environment, consumers will not refuse to use E5. Otherwise, if the quality is not guaranteed, lowered prices will not stimulate consumers to use the product,” Minh said.

    At the regular Government meeting in February 2018, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said that E5 bio-fuel, which replaced RON92 petrol, has been sold nationwide from January 1 this year according to the roadmap approved by the Prime Minister. According to reports by petrol wholesalers and Departments of Industry and Trade across the country, the amount of E5 consumption has increased quickly.

    The Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade reported that the total petrol consumption in Hanoi was about 110,000 m3 by the end of January 2018, including 53% of E5 and 47% of RON95 petrol. According to reports of petrol wholesalers and distributers in the city, after a month of switching from RON92 to E5 bio-fuel, consumers have gradually accepted the use of E5 and made a good evaluation of the product.

    Regarding businesses who want to stop selling E5, Deputy Minister Do Thang Hai affirmed that the right to do business is the right of the enterprises themselves. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will coordinate with the Departments of Industry and Trade across the country to solve any difficulties for enterprises and facilitate them in the trading of petrol, Hai noted.

    More optimistic outlook for Vietnamese economy in 2018


     

    Vnese vegetables & fruits to China to be traced origin from April 1, More optimistic outlook for Vietnamese economy in 2018, Foreign investment in Vietnam plunges in Q1, Private investors encouraged to join TSN airport expansion project 

     

    On the basis of the economic growth trend in 2017, almost all experts expressed their positive viewpoints on an advantageous year for the business circle at the end of Q1. 
    According to the Viet Nam Economic Seminar which was held on March 19 in HCMC, Viet Nam was forecast to benefit from positive influences from the outside world. 

    In Asia, Japan is one of the leading economies that rebounded in the two consecutive years after nearly two decades of recession. The concern over “hard landing” in China has yet caused much trouble. 

    The EU has escaped from the ‘hardest’ period of time. Similarly, the U.S. economy witnessed a series of policy amendments which encourage and support the business community. 

    Meanwhile, labor costs in emerging economies including Viet Nam remain low. 

    The aforesaid factors were projected to influence other economies especially Viet Nam which has deeply integrated into the global economy. 

    Dr. Vu Vien Ngoan, Head of the PM’s Economic Advisory Group was quoted as saying that in Viet Nam, business confidence has been improved. Macro-balances were forecast at stable level in 2018. However, inflation would surge but within control. 

    Experts discuss ways to promote herbal medicine

    Experts and scientists discussed ways to promote the herbal medicine industry in Việt Nam as at a workshop on March 28 in Hà Nội.

    Prof. Trần Văn Ơn, head of the phytological speciality of the Hà Nội University of Pharmacy, said that local herbal materials haven’t met the expected potential; it could not even compete with imported materials and products right in the market of Việt Nam.  

    “We now see the source of herbal material as a mine and we will continue digging until it is exhausted. That is the current situation of the pharmaceutical material industry in Việt Nam,” Prof. Ơn said.

    He added that the pharmaceutical material source has been exploited rampantly for export in many provinces and regions. This situation will lead to the exhaustion of natural sources in Việt Nam.  

    “We have only seen herbal plants as drug materials. It means that we have already missed a lot of chances to diversify many products that can be developed from our herbal plants, especially a chance to connect the development of herbal materials with tourism. From that we could participate in a huge market of no-smoke industry worth billions of US dollars,” Ơn said.

    “It’s time to revise the way we see the local pharmaceutical materials,” Ơn stressed.

    The director of the Quảng Ninh Health Department, Vũ Tuấn Cường, said that herbal medicines and health care products manufactured from herbs have gained a lot of competitive advantages in the current context of globalisation, global integration and severe competition due to Việt Nam’s favourable natural conditions and biodiversity.

    “The herbal medicine sector should choose three to five local herbal plants as key products in order to promote the development of medicine and international integration. South Korea, for example, has focused on two plants, Ginseng and Lingzhi, which can bring billions of dollars in export yearly,” Cường said.

    Therefore, we need to promote the value of good plants such as Ngọc Linh ginseng, Ba Kích (Morinda officinalis How) and apply advanced technologies for the development of herbal medicines from the selection of seedling to product underwriting and distribution following value chain.

    Nguyễn Huy Văn, deputy general director of Traphaco JSC, said that Việt Nam has around 4,000 herbal remedies, so it is necessary to focus on exploiting those sources of knowledge.

    In the current trend, traditional medicine is not only limited to traditional methods of herbal medicine production but also the application of advanced science and technology from product development and plant care to harvest, processing and packaging, according to Văn.

    Prof. Ơn said that a herb development system in the community of the university’s Department of Plant, in collaboration with the DK Pharma JSC, has formed a good business model and efficient value chain over the past 15 years.

    That is a model of medicinal garden combined with tourism development. Two medicinal gardens were established in Yên Tử (Quảng Ninh Province) and Bái Đính (Ninh Binh Province). A medicinal garden was proposed to be built in Quản Bạ District, Hà Giang Province.

    Standard Chartered credit card named "Best Affluent Program in Vietnam"

    Standard Chartered Bank Vietnam’s WorldMiles Credit Card has recently been named “Best Affluent Program in Vietnam” by MasterCard, recognizing the exclusive benefits and privileges cardholders enjoy across lifestyle categories.

    “We always strive to ensure that our credit cardholders enjoy exclusive and bespoke benefits when they spend and travel,” said Mr. Harmander Mahal, Head of Retail Banking at Standard Chartered Bank Vietnam. “Clients sit at the heart of what we do, and we are constantly innovating to deliver a richer and differentiated banking experience.”

    Launched in Vietnam in 2016 and targeting affluent frequent travelers, the WorldMiles Credit Card offers a host of superior travel and lifestyle benefits. The card is the first in Vietnam to offer total travel care worth up to $965,000 and the first to allow cardholders access to over 800 airport lounges worldwide using the Dragon pass app on their smartphone, without needing to present a physical lounge card. 

    Cardholders are also entitled to enjoy complimentary green fees at the top six golf clubs in Vietnam, with the option of booking tee-off times using the bank’s mobile app “The Good Life” under the Concierge function. They can also use The Good Life to find the nearest offers among 3,500 outlets when they travel around Asia, with discounts of up to 50 per cent. For every $1.1 spent on the credit card, holders will receive up to 3 travel points, which can be redeemed for dining, hotels and resorts, airport services, and luxury experiences.

    Standard Chartered Bank Vietnam was named ‘Best Foreign Bank in Vietnam” for three consecutive years, by the Global Banking & Finance Review in 2014 and 2015 and by Global Business Outlook in 2016.

    CBRE appointed manager of VTC Building

    CBRE Vietnam has been selected by VTC Television to be the exclusive property management consulting agent for its VTC Building.

    Located at 23 Lac Trung in Hanoi’s Hai Ba Trung district, the office tower has 19 floors and sits on an area of 6,786 sq m and a total construction area of 40,727 sq m.

    The developer has demonstrated its trust in CBRE and its professional, experienced and capable property management team. CBRE commits to delivering its quality management services to all users of the building.

    “CBRE has been in Vietnam for 15 years and property management has always been a core part of our business in Hanoi,” said Mr. Richard Colville, Director of CBRE Asset Services. “We are excited to win the opportunity to work on new projects, so when I visited the VTC Building recently I was immediately impressed by the energy and dynamism of the client.”

    “When the client informed me that they had selected us to manage their property, I promised that we would do our best onsite to deliver a smooth and efficient operation that supports the needs of VTC as well as using our hospitality experience to implement a responsive and helpful customer service standard onsite. I look forward to seeing it enter full operations with CBRE.”

    With a location near Hanoi’s main arteries and facilities such as banks, hospitals, food courts, and shopping malls, the VTC Building will provide a pleasant environment for tenants to work and develop their business.

    eFounders Initiative for Asian entrepreneurs kicks off

    The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Alibaba Business School enrolled the first class of 37 Asian entrepreneurs for the eFounders Initiative at an opening ceremony on March 26 at the Alibaba campus in Hangzhou, China.

    The eleven-day course is part of a commitment by Jack Ma, Alibaba Group’s founder and Executive Chairman and UNCTAD Special Adviser, to empower 1,000 entrepreneurs from developing countries over five years.

    The launch of the first program for Asian entrepreneurs comes after the success of the inaugural class for 24 African participants last November.

    Following a rigorous selection process, the final candidates from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam will embark on an eleven-day intensive course providing first-hand exposure to e-commerce innovations from China and around the world and will become eFounders Fellows.

    Eventually these young entrepreneurs will become catalysts in their home country and spur digital transformation in their economies.

    “We want to reach out to youth and include them in the work we do for inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” said Arlette Verploegh, Coordinator for the eFounders Initiative at UNCTAD. “The initiative is about bridging the digital divide for young entrepreneurs and unlocking their potential. It is part of a set of smart partnerships UNCTAD is creating to reach the sustainable development goals.”

    All participants are founders of their respective startups, in e-commerce, big data, logistics, fintech, payments, and tourism.

    “We are excited to extend this fellowship to entrepreneurs from Asia for the very first time as part of our commitment to empowering digital champions and communities around the world,” said Brian A. Wong, Vice President of Alibaba Group, who heads the Global Initiatives program.

    “Our goal is to inspire entrepreneurs to serve as pioneers in building a more inclusive development model that is not just good for their business but also good for society, by creating platforms that all can participate in and benefit from.”

    Under the auspices of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the initiative is aligned with the wider call to action to ensure that no one is left behind in the digital economy and to help bridge the digital divide faced by businesses in emerging markets.

    Jointly organized by UNCTAD and the Alibaba Business School, the eFounders Initiative also supports Alibaba’s mission to help small businesses succeed in their home markets and beyond. It was first announced in 2017 by Jack Ma in his capacity as the UNCTAD Special Adviser for Young Entrepreneurs and Small Business when he, together with Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, visited Africa.

    Participants in the eFounders Initiative will learn first-hand the transformative impact e-commerce and technology have on society in China and participate in lectures and discussions with local practitioners and executives to identify the lessons that can be applied to their own markets. Topics covered will include e-commerce, payment, logistics, big data and tourism from the Alibaba Group and other successful companies in the e-commerce value chain, with sessions touching on digital finance, smart logistics, and rural e-commerce development, among others.

    Upon graduation, participants will officially become Fellows of the eFounders Initiative and make formal commitments on how they will apply the learning from this program. As part of the wider eFounders Initiative community of promising young entrepreneurs around the world, UNCTAD and the Alibaba Group will also continue to advise on and provide support for the creation of e-commerce ecosystems with other stakeholders.

    The first class of eFounders Fellows - 24 entrepreneurs from Africa - completed the program in November 2017 after a similar two-week intensive workshop in Hangzhou.

    To continue the impact of the initiative, UNCTAD and Alibaba have already completed a full round of follow-up meetings with the fellows, each of whom are actively applying what they learned in their own enterprises as well as sharing insights with their home communities. They are working towards achieving their commitments and will continue to check in with UNCTAD and Alibaba every three months.

    Vinamilk opens high-tech dairy farm in Thanh Hoa

    The Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk) inaugurated a high-tech dairy farm in Thanh Hoa province on March 28.

    Covering a total area of 40 hectares in Thong Nhat town, Yen Dinh district, the facility was built with an investment of VND700 billion (US$30.5 million).

    With a designed milking cow population of 4,000, the farm was granted a GLOBAL G.A.P. (Good Agricultural Practice) Certification in recognition of its farm management, raw milk quality, and application of state-of-the-art technology.

    The farm is the first of its kind to be built in the Vinamilk Thanh Hoa dairy farm complex, which is designed to have four high-tech farms with a combined milk supply of 110 million litres per annum by 2020.

    Speaking at the event, Vinamilk CEO Mai Kieu Lien said that the inauguration of the farm aimed to help Vinamilk to achieve its business goals, while contributing to boosting the development of the dairy industry in Thanh Hoa and Vietnam in general.

    On the occasion, Vinamilk presented milk packs worth VND400 million (US$ 17,400) to poor children in Thanh Hoa province, with the aim of improving physical development and healthy growth in local children.

    Vietnamese farmers offered financial support to expand sustainable production

    Vietnamese smallholder farmers will be provided with financial support from a new US$163 million deal, recently signed between the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

    With the aim of improving inclusive and sustainable agricultural value chains, the deal was reached by ADB and JICA on March 28 to provide loans for Olam International Limited (OIL) – an agribusiness operating across the value chain, and Café Outspan Vietnam Limited (COVL), a subsidiary of OIL.

    OIL and COVL will directly offer support to 20,000 Vietnamese farmers, as well as those from Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste, in expanding their production and improving livelihoods by promoting inclusive and sustainable development.

    Accordingly, the Agricultural Value Chain Development Project will support OIL’s US$211 million investment plan until 2019 by financing an expansion in the firm’s processing of midstream products, while providing permanent working capital investments for smallholder farmers, particularly in coffee, cashew nut, cocoa and pepper cultivation in the aforementioned countries.

    The assistance will also help OIL to develop processing plants to create a more seamless integration of farmers, markets, and customers, adding more value in local markets and improving agricultural value chains.

    The project, which is ADB’s first non-sovereign assistance directly co-financed by JICA, includes US$3 million in technical assistance, partially financed by the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in Asia, to provide capacity building training to smallholder coffee farmers across the project countries. The technical assistance includes training in avoiding deforestation and increasing productivity through climate-smart agriculture practices, including water harvesting and soil management.

    This loan agreement underpins the mutual aims of Olam, ADB, and JICA to support the economic prosperity of farmers, as well as helping them to become stewards of the environment, which is essential for the future of agricultural production, said Prakash Jhanwer, Regional Head for South East Asia at Olam International.

    Private investors encouraged to join TSN airport expansion project

    Private investors can participate in the Tan Son Nhat International Airport expansion project, the Government Office said in a statement making clear Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung’s view on the matter.

    Due to different views on passenger and cargo transport growth, the capacity of the airport, the traffic system inside the airport, the connection to facilities outside the airport, and the feasibility and socio-economic effectiveness of the expansion project, Deputy PM Dung assigned ADP-I consulting firm to continue studying ways to expand the airport as per the Prime Minister’s direction.

    ADP-I should consider inputs from relevant ministries and agencies, the HCMC government and Airport Design and Construction Consultancy One Member Limited Company (ADCC).

    Deputy PM Dung also asked the consultant to make clear the basis for its estimates of air passengers and cargo.

    The consultant will also have to come up with solutions to use Can Tho Airport in easing overload at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, meeting the demand for transporting passengers and cargo in HCMC and southern provinces.

    Costs for the construction of items serving the airport expansion should be clarified as well.

    The Government assigned the Ministry of Transport to coordinate with the Ministry of National Defense and relevant agencies to determine the land required to be taken back for the airport expansion project, of which land managed by the Ministry of National Defense can be used for air traffic development, and propose implementing the project in phases.

    The Ministry of Transport needs to specify the investment for each phase and items which will be built in both the north and the south of the airport such as taxiways, aircraft parking slots and passenger and cargo terminals.

    The ministry will propose investment models for each item, encourage the use of private resources for the project, promptly complete a plan for expanding the airport and submit it to the Prime Minister and the Government for approval this month.

    Tan Son Nhat International Airport expansion solutions have caused numerous controversies among experts. There are still mixed views over whether to expand the airport towards the north or south wing.

    Property startups lead in new capital pledges in first quarter

    Real estate startups make up the largest proportion of newly registered capital, according to the Business Registration Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

    These startups pledge around VND79.1 trillion (US$3.4 billion), accounting for 28.4% of the total in the first quarter of this year.

    A report by the agency shows Vietnam has had more than 8,000 new market entrants with total registered capital of VND81.1 trillion this month. As such, the country has had over 26,700 startups capitalized at VND278.5 trillion in the first quarter, up 1.2% and 2.7% respectively compared with the same period last year.

    Each new company has average capital of VND10.4 billion, up a slight 1.5% against the year-ago period. The number of their registered employees is down 22.7% year-on-year to around 225,400 people.

    Startups in wholesale/retail, and repairs of automobiles and motorcycles account for 34.4% of the total in quarter one. The construction sector comes second with 13.4%, followed by the manufacturing and processing sector with 12.2%.

    Notably, startups in the real estate sector make up the largest registered capital of about VND79.1 trillion (US$3.4 billion), 28.4% of the total.

    New companies in the construction sector take second place with VND42.1 trillion (15.1%), followed by those in the sector of wholesale and retail, and repairs of automobiles and motorcycles with VND38.5 trillion (13.8%), and those in the manufacturing and processing sector with over VND28.9 trillion (10.4%).

    More than 8,400 enterprises have returned to business in the first quarter after a period of interruption, an 8.9% decline against the year-ago period. This brings the total number of businesses that have been newly established and resumed business operations to over 35,200.

    In the same period, over 12,200 companies have registered to suspend operations, a year-on-year rise of 22.9%.

    Of these, the companies in the sector of wholesale and retail, and repairs of automobiles and motorcycles represent 38.7%, followed by the construction sector with 15.2%, the manufacturing and processing sector with 12.8%, and the transport and warehousing sector with 5.9%.

    Wood exports seen growing but risks loom

    Exports of wood and wooden products are projected to post strong growth and reach US$9 billion in all of 2018, but risks in key markets loom, heard a seminar of the wood industry in Hanoi on March 27.

    Speaking at the seminar, To Xuan Phuc, senior policy analyst at Forest Trends, said last year’s wood and wooden products exports grew 12.6% against the previous year to nearly US$7.7 billion.

    This was an impressive result, especially at a time when protectionism was emerging in some major markets, Phuc added.

    In addition, the quality of export products improved. Exports of furniture under the HS 94 heading, the group with high added value, accounted for some 70% of the total export turnover last year, up from 63.5% in 2015 and 2016.

    Last year also witnessed strong export growth in main markets, particularly the U.S., China, Japan and South Korea. The four markets made up 76% of Vietnam’s total export turnover, with the U.S. alone accounting for 40.2%. Growth of the U.S. market was recorded at 13.6%, contributing greatly to boosting the industry’s 2017 export performance.

    According to participants at the seminar, though wood and wooden goods exports are faring well in terms of volume and quality, the industry may experience difficulties given possible policy changes in vital export markets, especially the Big Four.

    Phuc said a global trade war had been looming since U.S. President Donald Trump announced to impose US$60 billion in new tariffs on Chinese imports. Which products are subject to the new tariffs of the U.S. are unknown for now.

    However, if they include wooden products, Chinese wood processors might flock to Vietnam to set up shop, causing Vietnam’s exports to the U.S. to spike.

    There are signs of Chinese investments in Vietnam’s wood industry increasing. Chinese companies will pay lower U.S. duties when they export their products from Vietnam.

    The U.S. makes up around 20% of all goods exports of Vietnam. The country’s wood processing sector has a trade surplus of over US$2 billion with America. If Chinese investment in the local wood processing industry is not well managed, Vietnam might face U.S. anti-dumping probes.

    “This requires the industry and authorities to make necessary preparations,” Phuc noted.

    There are also risks in the Chinese, South Korean and Japanese markets.

    The Chinese market is open to Vietnam’s wooden products, bringing the sector an annual trade surplus of US$600 million. China is considering a stepwise approach to controlling the legality of wood used in its land. 

    As for Japan, this country started to implement the Clean Wood Act last May and is issuing documents guiding the implementation the act. Meanwhile, the South Korean government has the Act on the Sustainable Use of Timbers.

    The enforcement of those acts may entail measures to tighten timber imports of such markets, affecting Vietnam’s exports in the coming time.

    Foreign investment in Vietnam plunges in Q1

    New foreign investment approvals in Vietnam have reached US$5.8 billion in the first quarter of the year, down 24.8% year-on-year, according to the latest report by the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

    As of March 20, 618 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects had got investment certificates with total registered capital of US$2.12 billion, down 27.3% over the year-ago period. Besides, FDI investors had registered an additional US$1.79 billion for 200 operational projects in Vietnam, falling 54.6% against the same period last year.

    In addition, foreign investors have acquired local company shares worth US$1.89 billion in nearly 1,300 transactions, surging 121.6% year-on-year. Of which, there have been 732 transactions valued at US$1.34 billion that raise local companies’ chartered capital and 553 others with a total investment of US$547.8 million that keep domestic firms’ chartered capital unchanged.

    However, the higher number of projects whose shares have been bought by foreign investors has not led to an increase in committed foreign investments in Vietnam.

    According to FIA, companies from 76 countries and territories have invested in the country in the first quarter of the year. South Korea takes the lead with US$1.84 billion, accounting for 31.6% of the total, followed by Hong Kong with some US$689 million and Singapore with US$649 million, making up 11.9% and 11.2% respectively.

    Japanese investors, who used to inject a huge amount of capital in Vietnam, have not been listed in the top three countries with the most investment in Vietnam in January-March.

    International firms have invested in 17 sectors and the processing and manufacturing sector has attracted the largest investment of US$3.44 billion, representing 59.4% of the total. The wholesale and retail sector comes second with US$531 million and the real estate sector third with US$486 million, accounting for a mere 9.2% and 8.4% respectively.

    FIA estimated that US$3.88 billion has been disbursed for FDI projects, growing 7.2% versus the same period last year.

    As for locations of FDI projects, foreign investors have registered to implement projects in 49 cities and provinces nationwide in the first three months of this year. HCMC has attracted a combined US$1.7 billion, making up 29.3% of the total, followed by Haiphong City with US$925 million and Binh Duong Province with US$565 million, representing around 16% and 9.7% respectively.

    VNDirect to launch covered warrants

    VNDirect Securities Corporation and some other securities firms plan to launch covered warrants (CWs) on the domestic stock market this quarter, having secured permission from the State Securities Commission of Vietnam.

    VNDirect’s customers and investors can learn about CWs and seek opportunities to invest in CWs together with blue chips at seminars to be held by VNDirect in Hanoi and HCMC this Saturday.

    VNDirect securities experts will analyze opportunities to invest in CWs of Hoa Phat Group and FPT Group.

    VNDirect had earlier proposed the State Securities Commission approve its plan to launch CWs. According to stock exchanges, investors have great expectations of CWs with great advantages and risk management capability at a time of stock market volatility.

    CW is expected to prevent risks for investors and diversify securities options with lower investment than traditional securities.

    Vnese vegetables & fruits to China to be traced origin from April 1

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam and the Asia-Africa Market Department yesterday sent information to exporters of vegetables, fruits and agricultural products of Vietnam to China relating to comply with the labeling regulations on product origin.

    The Asia-Africa Market Department and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam received information from Chinese fruit importers from Vietnam, on traceability requirements of the Guangxi management agency for fruit export from Vietnam to China through the import borders of fruits in Guangxi.

    Accordingly, Chinese enterprises importing fruits from Vietnam need to provide pictures and product quality traceability information from April 1 when they apply the procedures for imported animal and plant quarantine permits at the inspecting and quarantining importing agency in Guangxi.

    The product information includes name of fruit products, the origin, name or packing code in Chinese or English. 

    Businesses can add labels to supplement the information mentioned above and add the bar code, QR code or anti-counterfeit stamps.

    Domestic cement consumption down, export market bright

    Domestic cement consumption fell in March, while cement exports had growth against the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Construction.

    Total cement consumption at home and abroad reached 7.96 million tonnes in March, a month-on-month increase of 340,000 tonnes but the same volume year-on-year, according to the ministry’s building material department.

    In March, cement consumption in the domestic market stood at 5.56 million tonnes, a reduction of 11 per cent year-on-year. Meanwhile, the export volume was 2.4 million tonnes, marking a growth of 30 per cent year-on-year.

    Experts attributed the difference in consumption between the two markets to lower domestic demand after Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) and higher demand in China, where cement production has temporarily stopped.

    The department said in the first quarter of this year, total cement consumption at home and abroad was expected to reach 20.97 million tonnes, 15 percent higher than the same period last year. Of this, export volume in the first quarter stood at 7.51 million tonnes, a year-on-year surge of 28 percent.

    Seminar updates trade opportunities in Israel

    A seminar was held in Hanoi on March 29 to provide Vietnamese firms with the latest information about trade development opportunities in Israel.

    Deputy head of the Trade Promotion Agency under Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade Le Hoang Tai said Vietnam and Israel have set up cooperation in wide-ranging fields since they established diplomatic ties in 1993.

    Two-way trade surpassed 1 billion USD in 2017 with Vietnam’s exports to Israel worth over 700 million USD, he cited.

    As of 2017, Israel ran 26 direct investment projects in Vietnam with total capital of over 47 million USD, ranking 11th among the 56 countries and territories investing in the Southeast Asian country.

    Notably, the processing and manufacturing industries attracted seven foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth more than 25 million USD.

    Israel has pledged to provide a credit package of 250 million USD for Vietnamese businesses in the coming time, he added.

    Deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Department of Asia-Africa Market Le Thai Hoa said Israel has a developing economy with hi-tech industries playing the crucial role.

    He hoped Israel will promote technological transfer to Vietnam to develop the economy.

    Israel is one of the countries with hi-tech agriculture development, he said, adding that Vietnam could become a potential market for Israeli businesses in manufacturing and creating state-of-the-art farming equipment.

    Vietnam is able to export farm produce like rice, coffee, tea, pepper, and timber products, as well as garments and footwear to the country.

    He suggested Vietnamese enterprises actively participate in trade fairs and coordinate with relevant agencies to promote their products.

    HCM City’s CPI falls 0.3 percent in March

    The consumer price index (CPI) of Ho Chi Minh City in March fell 0.3 percent from the previous month, but rose 2.2 percent compared to the same period last year, reported the municipal Statistics Office on March 29.

    According to the office, the prices of six out of 11 goods groups saw a month-on-month decline, with the largest fall of 0.68 percent recorded in transport.

    It was followed by housing, electricity, fuel, and construction materials, by 0.53 percent; drinks and cigarette by 0.5 percent; culture, recreation and tourism by 0.27 percent.

    A drop of 0.3 percent was also recorded in restaurant services, while the prices of commodities and other services fell by 0.22 percent.

    Meanwhile, the prices of equipment and household drinks climbed 0.21 percent; medicines and healthcare services rose 0.05 percent; apparels, hats and footwear were up 0.09 percent in the month.

    The prices of post and telecommunication and education remained unchanged, the office said.

    Earlier, Hanoi announced that its March CPI declined 0.22 percent over the previous month but increased 2.7 percent over the same period last year.

    Major reason for the drop is a reduction in prices of three goods groups - food and catering services; housing, electricity, fuel and construction materials; and transportation.

    The average index in the first three months of this year rose 2.54 percent over the same period last year. An upturn was seen in 10 groups of goods and the only one experienced a fall.

    Vietnamese goods leave impression at auto fair in Bangladesh

    Vietnamese products made strong impression on visitors at the Dhaka Motor Show 2018, which took place recently in Dhaka capital city of Bangladesh.

    The fair, one of the largest international automobile events in Bangladesh, featured more than 600 booths of businesses from France, Italy, the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, the United Arab Emirates, India, Vietnam and host Bangladesh.

    At the event, the Vietnam Engine and Agricultural Machinery (VEAM) introduced 2.5-tonne lorry and agricultural machines such as two-wheeled tractor, water pump, diesel engine and gearbox. The Vietnamese booth attracted over 200 visitors during the March 22-24 event.

    This was the second time that the VEAM had participated in the fair, marking its cooperation with Bangladesh’s Krishibid Group.

    The cooperation is part of a Memorandum of Understanding on machinery manufacturing signed between industry ministries of the two countries during the State visit of President Tran Dai Quang to Bangladesh on March 4-6.

    Prudential, Vietbank establish bancassurance partnership
       
    Prudential Vietnam Assurance Private Ltd. (Prudential) and Vietnam Thương Tín Commercial Joint-Stock Bank (Vietbank) on March 28 signed a bancassurance partnership deal to distribute Prudential’s life insurance products to Vietbank’s customers in Viet Nam.

    Under the partnership, Vietbank will distribute Prudential’s range of protection, savings and investment-linked solutions through its bank branches across the country.

    The partnership will focus on meeting the evolving needs of Vietnamese customers, including those related to education, critical illness, and wealth accumulation.

    Through the cross-selling of products, Vietbank customers will not only be offered banking products and services such as deposits and loans, but will also be able to seek advice on life insurance products and their benefits.

    Customers can apply for a policy, pay their premiums, and submit their insurance claims at Vietbank branches.

    The holistic experience means Vietbank customers have easier access to insurance solutions as well as professional consultancy from experts.

    As part of the partnership, Prudential and Vietbank will work to develop products and solutions integrated with both banking and insurance benefits, and develop platforms and distribution channels to reach more customers across the country.

    Doosan Vina ships 3 cranes to India
       
    Doosan Heavy Industries Vietnam Co Ltd (Doosan Vina) has recently shipped three rail-mounted quay cranes to India.

    They are part of an order of 12 cranes requested by India-based Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals Private Limited, to deal with substantial throughput at its unit in the Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai. So far, a total of nine units have been exported to India.

    The export is a key project of Doosan Vina, which has been prioritised for development by the Vietnamese Government.

    The three rail-mounted quay cranes have a total weight of 4,440 tonnes. Each crane is 73.8m high, 143m long and 26m wide. Each one is designed to handle 75-tonne containers.

    The last three cranes of the project are expected to be exported to India in September. Doosan Vina has so far exported 71 cranes to the world market, including PSA Port of Singapore, JNPT of India, Samarinda Port of Indonesia and several ports of Viet Nam.

    ACV expected to earn US$789mn in revenue
       
    Airports Corporation of Viet Nam (ACV) is expected to reach VND18.04 trillion (US$789.2 million) in accumulated revenue this year, marking an increase of 13 per cent compared to last year.

    This was revealed in a report of Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) Retail Research.

    The net profit could be VND6.45 trillion, up 26 per cent year on year, with an earning per share of VND2,815.

    The report also said ACV could move from UPCoM to HCM City Stock Exchange in the third quarter of the year. The corporation will continue negotiations to transfer 20 per cent of stakes to a strategic partner.

    The reduction of State ownership will help the corporation improve its efficiency and profitability.

    The Ministry of Transport plans to reduce the ownership of ACV by 65 per cent
    ​​by 2020.

    The report is optimistic about ACV’s international passenger growth in the first half of the year, which may see double-digit growth due to an increase in international arrivals to Viet Nam. In the first two months of 2018, international tourists to the country reached 2.9 million, up 30 per cent. Notably, foreign tourists coming to Viet Nam by air have increased by 26 per cent, according to data from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

    The Coffee House to open 1st foreign store this year
       
    The Coffee House, a Vietnamese-owned café chain, on Thursday announced plans to open its first store outside Viet Nam this year.

    Many markets are under company’s consideration, but the first should be China or Indonesia, the company said.

    Vo Duy Phu, the company’s marketing director, explained the choice by saying the Chinese market is rather similar to the Vietnamese one.

    Expanding abroad is a means for the company to achieve its target of taking Vietnamese coffee to the world.

    The Coffee House on Thursday also announced that it has started brewing the Arabica coffee it began to plant in Viet Nam three years ago at all its stores.

    It recently opened the first The Coffee House Signature outlet in HCM City’s District 1.

    According to CEO Nguyen Hai Ninh, the company now has a 33ha farm in Da Lat with a capacity of around 200 tonnes per year.

    The yield should be 250 tonnes this year and jump to 400 tonnes by 2019, he said.

    In future the company plans to grow many high-quality Vietnamese and global coffee varieties, he said.

    Coffee House grew strongly last year and now has a total of 80 stores nation-wide that serve over 40,000 customers a day.

    Last November it opened six Ten Ren’s Tea stores under a franchise agreement.

    Earlier this year the company acquired the coffee business of Cau Dat Farm.

    CBRE executive wins UK award for women
       
    Nguyen Hoai An, director of professional services at CBRE, Ha Noi, has won the Women of the Future Awards, South East Asia.

    She was chosen from a shortlisted pool of five women professionals in the property and construction sectors.

    She has an overview of research, consultancy, and valuation advisory, which includes overseeing feasibility studies as well as providing consultancy for development and property investments.

    “ In addition to supporting young professional women, my vision is to help improve the quality of property product offerings in Viet Nam and pave the way for a more transparent property market.”

    The awards, given away by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, were conferred outside the UK for the first time this year.

    Talent shortages are more widespread in Asia than any other region, with more than 48 per cent of Asia-Pacific employers saying the shortage is posing difficulties in the hiring process.

    Tapping under-utilised talent pools is crucial in easing this shortage and women represent an extremely large untapped resource.

    The programme aims to encourage, motivate and provide role models to inspire and strengthen the female talent pipeline and in the process create a global community of supportive and collaborative women.

    VNN

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  • 04/01/18--00:34: Article 2
  • Mountain train from Sa Pa to Fansipan station opens

    Lao Cai -Muong Hoa, Vietnam’s longest mountain rail route developed by Sun Group, was opened on March 31, connecting Sa Pa Town and the existing cable station to Fansipan Peak.

     Muong Hoa, Vietnam’s longest mountain rail route developed by Sun Group, opens on March 31 (Photo: reatimes.vn)

    The 2km rail route starts from MGallery Hotel in Sa Pa Town and ends at the cable station to Fansipan Peak, promising a spectacular journey for tourists.

    The two-carriage train can travel at a maximum speed of 10m per second and serve up to 2,000 guests per hour.


     

    The Muong Hoa rail route starts from MGallery Hotel in Sa Pa Town and ends at the cable station to Fansipan Peak. (Photo: VNA)


    It will shorten tourists’ travel time from 20 minutes by car over risky mountainous roads to four minutes by train through valleys, viaducts and tunnels offering beautiful views of surrounding villages as well as nature.

    The two carriages were designed and produced by Swiss company Garaventa. Each carriage is 20m in length and 3m wide, weighs 25 tonnes and can carry 200 passengers at once.

    The carriage has classic European interiors with antique lights, ceiling fans and huge glass windows.

     

    Inside the train on Muong Hoa rail route. (Photo: VNA)


    At the Muong Hoa Cable Station, tourists will continue to take the cable route over Hoang Lien Son range to reach Fansipan Peak, the top of Indochina, at a height of 3,143m.

    The new rail route and the world’s most modern three-rope cable car system, Fansipan Sapa, measuring 6,292.5m in length - which was opened to the public on February 2, 2016 - will complete service at the Sun World Fansipan Legend tourism complex.

    Located 350km northwest of Hanoi, Sa Pa town in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai is 1,600m above sea level. The town is dominated by the Hoang Lien Son mountain range which features Indochina’s highest mountain of Fansipan at 3,142 m above sea level.

    Sa Pa has many natural scenic sites such as Ham Rong Mountain, Thac Bac (Silver Waterfall), Cau May (Rattan Bridge), Bamboo Forest and Ta Phin Cave. The hill town is home to six main ethnic minority groups, including Kinh, Hmong, Dao, Tay, Day and Xa Pho with various traditional festivals and unique cultural practices, especially the Bac Ha market and Sa Pa love market.

    The resort town was recognised as a national tourism site in December 2017.

    VNA

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  • 04/01/18--00:40: Article 1
  • A problem many countries would love to have

    We see Thailand heading up the list in total overall international arrivals followed by Malaysia and Singapore – no surprise there

    A problem many countries would love to have

    Tourists in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    ASEAN tourist arrival statistics are in for 2017 and once again the big story is Vietnam, registering a whopping 29 percent increase in arrivals on top of the 25 percent increase in 2016, leading all ASEAN countries both years.

    We see Thailand heading up the list in total overall international arrivals followed by Malaysia and Singapore – no surprise there. All three countries have highly developed tourism sectors for several decades. Indonesia generated a lot of international interest last year finishing with the 4th highest number of visitors.

    ASEAN TOTAL INTERNATIONAL TOURIST ARRIVALS BY YEAR - MILLION

    A problem many countries would love to have
    (NB: In the absence of timely ASEAN-wide statistics being available the above data was collected from various country press releases and tourism ministry articles.)
    At this rate nearly 17 million international visitors will be welcomed to Vietnam in 2018 and over 20 million in 2019.


    World Heritage Sites Ha Long Bay, My Son Ruins, and many others are generating massive international interest as well as events such as the APEC Summit held late last year in Da Nang. Many friends overseas knew I’d been spending a lot of time in Da Nang and wrote to say how blown away they were by the beauty of the city as displayed during broadcasts of the APEC meetings.

    It’s all systems “go” if infrastructure and services can bear the burden of more tourists coming to Vietnam.

    So, where are all these visitors coming from?

    2017 TOP 10 MARKETS - INBOUND TOURISTS TO VIETNAM

    A problem many countries would love to have
    We see that the People’s Republic of China is heading up the list, no surprise since it’s the world’s most populous country and northern neighbour to Vietnam. Some of the statistics are mind-boggling:

    1. China’s population is 1.4 billion of which only 5 percent have passports, so that comes to 70 million that are eligible for international travel.

    2. Those 70 million passport holders made over 130 million trips abroad in 2017.

    3. Authorities are issuing new passports at a rate of about 10 million per year.

    4. At that pace China will have 100 million eligible international travellers by 2020.

    5. If those eligible continue to travel at the same rate as in 2017 Chinese travellers will make 185 million trips abroad in 2020.

    6. Chinese travellers spend 20 percent of worldwide overseas travel expenditures. That’s right, out of every $5 spent on travel in the world, Chinese spend $1.

    China and South Korea are the source of about half the tourists that come to Vietnam.

    Should they continue to arrive at the same pace during the next two years, China and South Korea would represent two-thirds of all arrivals to Vietnam by the end of 2019.  

    Of course this is great news all around – or is it?

    Yes it is great, but there are challenges on the horizon – and some already present and being worked on.

    Because of the sheer volume of visitors from those two countries some destinations, particularly Nha Trang and Da Nang are gaining reputations as destinations targeted mostly at Chinese and South Korean package tourists.

    Market pressure keeps prices down plus tourists from other sources are less likely to visit destinations perceived as being overrun by one nationality or another.

    Next issue is Chinese tour guides operating illegally in Vietnam have been arrested, which is a sensitive topic with 4 million visitors involved and laws that are hard to enforce in some situations. 

    For example, if one member of a group is leading a tour and says they are volunteering because they speak English or Vietnamese, who can state otherwise?

    Some of the illegal Chinese guides distort Vietnamese history implying that China still exercises some control over Vietnam. The current dispute in the East Vietnam Sea involving the notorious “9 dash line” is one of many examples.

    So Vietnamese authorities are left to manage a difficult situation so that only qualified professional local Vietnamese guides are used on Chinese and other tours.

    There is also a scam involving Chinese tourists called “Zero Dong Tours” which involve heavily discounted or free trips over land or by airplane to destinations such as Ha Long Bay, Da Nang, and Nha Trang.

    Then the customers are duped into shopping, dining, and lodging at establishments owned by those Chinese tour operators or companies with which they have a commission deal thus facilitating a tidy profit. Often customers are coerced into buying at heavily inflated prices making the profits that much greater.

    Payments are often made and transferred back to China electronically using online applications so the result is little or no profit goes into Vietnamese hands.

    The tourists end up with a sub-standard travel experience, legitimate Vietnamese businesses lose profit to the Chinese companies, and these illegal tours tarnish the image of Vietnam as a destination.

    This is also a tricky situation for Vietnamese authorities to manage because some of the transactions are perfectly legal, while others avoid taxes and are thus against Vietnamese laws.

    It’s well-known that Chinese tourists are often not the most polite guests. Some are considered so ill-behaved that the city of Da Nang distributed 5,000 copies of a Chinese-language etiquette book for Chinese visitors including appropriate dress, littering, and respect of sacred venues.

    Fair enough, the Chinese are new to the travel scene and need time to get up to speed on how to behave while abroad and it doesn’t happen overnight.

    Environmental issues are starting to cause concern leading to discussion on potentially limiting the number of tourists visiting the most cherished World Heritage Sites in the future. 

    Ha Long Bay, the Sa Pa region of northern Lao Cai Province, and historic Hoi An each welcome millions of visitors annually, so should a limit on visitors be considered?

    Visa availability is another tricky subject that has a direct impact on tourism especially in Southeast Asia, where competition among destinations is especially tough.

    Chinese citizens need a visa to enter Vietnam, but that appears not to be an impediment given the huge increase in arrivals. In 2015 Indonesia waived visas for 45 countries including China, resulting partly in the robust increases in arrivals we now see. 

    We have no way of knowing how many Chinese tourists would visit Vietnam if no visa was required.

    Vietnam offers temporary visa-free entry to citizens of 22 countries, including nine ASEAN member countries (ranging from 14 to 30 days per entry), South Korea, Japan, Russia (15 days each), and 10 European countries (also limited at 15 days).

    Some of the visa-free arrangements will expire in mid-2018 and others at the end of 2019, so difficult decisions will need to be made.

    Vietnam introduced a trial electronic visa system for citizens of 46 countries early in 2017 which processes 30 day tourist visas for US$25. This program could be expanded to include more countries and the online processing streamlined.

    The visa situation is difficult to manage because on one hand it makes good sense to control who enters Vietnam up front as opposed to tracking down unscrupulous visitors who work illegally or are involved in criminal activities after they’ve entered.

    Finally, airport commercial airline capacity is an issue shared by virtually every growing economy the world over, and Vietnam is faced with tough decisions and large infrastructural investments.

    The two largest airports in the country, Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City, each have expansions underway and more projects approved for the coming years.

    To reduce the pressure of increased traffic on those two airports many new destinations continue to be added to the other nine international airports in Vietnam as well as expansion of facilities.

    While there are many issues being addressed the huge upward trend in arrivals these past two years means there is a continued opportunity going forward. 

    Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll see Vietnam right at the top of the list of ASEAN tourist arrivals.

    In the meantime these are nice problems to have…..

         By Rick Ellis / Tuoi Tre News Contributor



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  • 04/01/18--00:59: Article 0
  • A true fisher of men on the Sai Gon River



    Some people have a job, others have a calling. Nguyen Van Chuc has a calling.


     

    Sai Gon River, true fisher, suicide, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam
    Nguyen Van Chuc, a resident from HCM City’s Binh Thanh District, once supported his family by fishing the Sai Gon River. Now, due to water pollution, the quantity of fish is scare, so he has to transport goods and passengers to supplement his income. He also regularly saves people attempting suicide by jumping into the river. - Photo zing.vn

    When the 60-year-old fisherman from HCM City’s Binh Thanh District isn’t working by transporting goods and passengers he fishes out drowning and dead people from the Sai Gon River, a river he lives on in a boat.

    When he was eight years old, Chuc followed his father rowing up the Sai Gon River to catch fish. On one occasion, someone hired his father to search the river for a missing relative.

    He was so scared when he saw his first dead body that he pretended to be ill so his father could not ask him to go the next time. However, after learning how meaningful the work was, he has never dodged and gradually grew accustomed to it.

    “It’s God’s will that right after I got married, my wife and I decided to settle under the Binh Loi Bridge. Many people come here to commit suicide due to problems like broken hearts and financial struggles,” Chuc recalled.

    Nguyen Thi Hinh, Chuc’s wife, said she was nervous the first time she saw a person jump into the river to attempt suicide. Seeing her husband row towards the victim and save him gave her great joy.

    Now Hinh often goes with her husband to fish out the dieing and the dead.

    “I can perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation better than my husband,” she said proudly.

    “Whether it’s day or night, sunshine or rain, whenever we hear the splash of something falling into the river, we quickly start the engine and rush off to save them,” Chuc was quoted by Vietnam Television as saying.

    If the victim was unconscious, he would perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation to save him. If there was no sign of life, he would inform police.

    They also take rotting bodies floating down the river ashore without hesitation.

    Chuc said that helping the dead find a grave to rest in is the right thing, adding that many Vietnamese shy away from taking dead body into their boats for fear of bad luck.

    “I’m Catholic. I’m not superstitious. However, my family usually gets bigger harvests, even twice or triple the amounts we catch normally after we have taken many dead bodies out of the river, ” he said.

    As many as 300 people have been rescued by the couple over the past forty years. But one incident from nine years ago is seared into Chuc’s memory.

    “Someone called me when they saw a body floating down the river. However, after pulling it closer, we saw a child tied with a rope to the body of a woman. I could not help but cry for the little child,” he said.

    “This was the first time he cried and cried for a long time. Even though we have rescued hundreds of people, he didn’t shed any tears even when his father died,” Hinh said.

    Life has never been easy for the couple.

    Because they were so poor, all of their five daughters had to drop out of school in the ninth grade.

    As they live on a boat, the couple have to tie their feet to their children at night, lest they hall into the river while they sleep.

    In the past, Chuc’s family made their living on fishing on the river but now due to water pollution, fish are scare. He survived on money earned from transporting goods and passengers along the river.

    Some of those Chuc saved come back to visit him, encouraging him to keep going with his work. Recently, on the occasion of Lunar New Year Festival, a pregnant woman, who was rescued by Chuc, took her son to his house. A boy who attempted to commit suicide even invited Chuc to visit him in Hanoi to express his gratitude to him.

    In recognition of his good deeds, local authorities have granted him certificates of merit and provided some financial support.

    When asked what he wants most out of life, Chuc said he hoped to have a piece of land where he could build a house and live in peace, making a living selling lottery tickets.

    But he admitted there’s a long way to go for his dream to become true.

    VNS

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  • 04/02/18--01:24: Article 2
  • Hanoians rally for better fire safety measures


     Residents living in apartment buildings in Hanoi are holding rallies to ask for better fire safety measures after Carina apartment fire in HCMCity.


    Residents rally against broke fire safety system

    According to the residents at TNR Goldsilk Complex, there have been many problems with the elevators, pumping system and fire safety equipment since late 2017. There have been a number of false fire alarms. Meanwhile the second to fourth floors which are used for gym, car parking lots and education facilities lack fire safety certification.

     

    There have been a number of false fire alarms at TNR Goldsilk Complex in Ha Dong District


    The residents at HeiTower in Thanh Xuan District brought out banners and went out to the streets to protest against many problems including blocked fire exits and the broken fire alarm system. They held the two-day rally after complaining to the investors, Hanoi Power Corporation & Hanoi Power Investment JSC.


    "We spent billions to buy their ‘high-end’ apartments but the fire safety system is sub-standard. Everyone fears that a deadly fire similar to the Carina fire will occur," a resident said.

    The residents at Van Phu Victoria Complex have had to deal with various issues in the past years such as contaminated water and poor management work. But most recently, the discovered that the fire alarm system has broken and held a rally on March 30. 

    The residents of Golden West Complex gathered in front of the headquarters of Thanh Xuan District People's Committee to complain about their apartment buildings which lack a fire safety certificate.


    Residents at HeiTower protest against fire safety violations

    Even people living at the high-end apartment buildings Trang An Complex also fear for their safety. On March 20, a fire broke out at an apartment but the fire alarm didn't work. Luckily the sprinklers worked and the fire was extinguished. 

    The representative of the residents said, "The fire broke out during the night of March 20 and the management board put up an announcement about it on the next day. We had to ask the investors to hold a meeting to talk about fire safety measures."

    However, their request was refused. According to the management board, they must invite an expert or wait until the fire safety drill in April. After the residents put up banners to protest, the investors agreed to meet with them. However, many residents said the investor was only trying to cover up the mistakes instead of fulfilling their responsibilities.

    The highest fine for the lack of fire safety certificate is VND80m (USD3,500), a small amount compared to the multi-billion projects and a situation which makes it easy for developers to ignore. Hanoi Fire Safety Department said management must be tightened in early stages by the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the inspectorate of the Department of Construction as well as the local urban management offices.

    tienphong

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  • 04/02/18--01:37: Article 1
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 2/4


    Aquatic export up 11.5 pct in first quarter

    The export of aquatic products in March was estimated at 608 million USD, bringing the total shipment in the first three months to 1.7 billion USD, up 11.5 percent annually, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

    Major importers in the first two months this year were the US, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea, accounting for 50.5 percent of the total. Notably, markets seeing strong export growths included the Netherlands (49.7 percent), Thailand (35.3 percent) and China (34.9 percent). 

    During March, aquatic products import reached 151 million USD, bringing the total value in three months to 423 million USD, marking a 32.4 percent year-on-year increase. 

    In the first quarter, the total aquatic production rose by 4 percent to 775,800 tonnes, 740,800 tonnes of which was tapped at sea and the remaining was home-grown. 

    The total tuna output was estimated at 6,406 tonnes in the three-month period, including 3,676 tonnes in the central province of Khanh Hoa, 1,500 tonnes in the central province of Binh Dinh and 1,230 tonnes in the central province of Phu Yen. 

    Meanwhile, tra fish production in the Mekong Delta was estimated at 230,200 tonnes, up 5.1 percent year-on-year, mostly in An Giang, Dong Thap and Vinh Long. 

    Tiger prawn output was 42,300 tonnes while white-legged shrimp output hit 40,300 tonnes.

    HCMCity’s index of industrial production rises 6.05 percent

    The index of industrial production (IIP) in Ho Chi Minh City picked up 6.05 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of this year.

    The figure in March rose 42.1 percent against the previous month and 7.07 percent against the same time last year.

    Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade Pham Thanh Kien attributed the IIP growth to the city’s programmes and policies to support the development of local industry and support industry.

    Output of the four key industrial sectors: manufacturing, electronics, chemicals-rubber-plastic and food processing experienced a year-on-year growth of 6.79 percent thanks to market expansion, renovation of equipment as well as improvement in the products’ quality and competitive capacity.

    Particularly, significant hike was seen in the electronics - information and technology sector with 16.91 percent, he said.

    Director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment Su Ngoc Anh said that the IIP surge was spurred by thorough preparations of materials, markets and stable production.

    In the first three months of the year, Ho Chi Minh City paid due attention to attracting investment from large enterprises and carrying out research activities to support the investors. Investment promotion was accompanied with infrastructure development and environment protection as well.

    Production value at high-tech parks in the city was calculated at 3.02 billion USD, up 24.5 percent from the same time last year. Meanwhile, export value surged 18.5 percent year-on-year to 2.6 billion USD. 

    Some 60 pct of local businesses expect better business in Q2

    Some 60 percent of local enterprises in a survey expect their business to do better in the second quarter of 2018 against the first quarter.

    The General Statistics Office (GSO) said this on March 29 while releasing the results of the survey on business trends of manufacturing and manufacturing enterprises in the first quarter of 2018.

    According to the survey, 33 percent of businesses said they had better business performance in the first quarter compared to the previous quarter, while 24.6 percent of them faced difficulties in doing business and 42.4 percent of them said their businesses were stable.

    In the second quarter of this year, 55.7 percent of surveyed enterprises expect their businesses to do better, while 10.4 percent of them predict difficulties and 33.9 percent of the enterprises expect stable business.

    The GSO also said in the first quarter of this year, 26,785 newly established enterprises were registered, with a total capital of 278.5 trillion VND, up 1.2 percent in terms of the number of enterprises and 2.7 percent in terms of registered capital year-on-year.

    Improving values of Vietnamese textile and garment brands


     

    Hanoi’s exports surge 16.9 percent in first quarter, Statistics office says CPI grows slightly in Q1, VIB in talks with foreign investors for treasury shares sale, Improving values of Vietnamese textile and garment brands

    In the past years, Vietnam’s textile and garment sector achieved double-digit growth rates, with a total export turnover of more than US$31 billion in 2017, which is expected to reach US$34bn in 2018

    Although Vietnam is the third largest garment exporter in the world, its brands have not yet found success at an international level, which would create high-added values. It is crucial for domestic enterprises to swiftly set out essential strategies for building strong brands as well as improving their values in order to increase their competitiveness in the new context.

    Over the past years, the sector has made encouraging achievements, including positive growth in industrial production value, sales, export turnover, and profits. It has also become one of the major contributors to the country’s socio-economic development with 7,000 enterprises, creating jobs and providing a stable income for nearly three million labourers.

    However, Vietnam’s textile and garment sector faces numerous difficulties and challenges in the period of deep integration into the world’s economy. On the domestic market, enterprises have been confronted with counterfeit goods. Meanwhile, in foreign markets, they are dealing with strong competition caused by trade barriers and protectionist policies which favour domestic goods of many countries. The difficulties require textile and garment businesses to make changes to adapt to the new situation.

    According to many experts, Vietnam has annually exported billions of US dollars of garments to the world market. However, the price of imported materials accounted for US$16 billion – US$17 billion. It can be said that domestic enterprises have been heavily dependent on imported materials, which has limited their ability to create a high-added value. On the other hand, they have done mostly processing and outwork for foreign companies. Therefore, the companies need to change their production methods towards original design manufacturing (ODM) and original brand manufacturing (OBM) models.

    In addition to investment and renovation in modern technology as well as the improvement of management and design to boost the exports and development of the domestic market, raising enterprises’ awareness and capacity of develop the values of intellectual property rights for their brands and products is very important. In particular, it is essential to develop a set of criteria for evaluating brand values; promote the brands; and build short-term and long-term strategies. The successful building and development of brands will increase the products’ market prices, creating huge surplus values for enterprises.

    Facing the increased competition in the both domestic and foreign markets, enterprises should set out effective strategies. Taking advantage of the abundant and cheap labour forces is no longer suitable for businesses in the period of deep integration. They need to pay close attention to enhancing their investment in building and developing strong brands as well as in improving the brand values, and creating strong competitiveness in the international market.


    Local enterprises advised to boost exports to Israel

    Việt Nam’s enterprises should promote the transfer of technology from Israel to develop their businesses and also increase trade promotion activities to this market.

    Lê Thái Hòa, deputy director of the Asia-Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said this at a seminar on trade promotion to Israel held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Hà Nội on Thursday. The seminar was aimed at updating Vietnamese enterprises with information about the Israeli market.

    Hòa said in the field of agriculture, Israel is one of the countries with a developed agricultural sector so, Việt Nam can become a potential market for Israeli enterprises in the fields of manufacturing and production of high-tech agricultural machinery.

    Key export products of Việt Nam will have the chance to enter the Israeli market, especially agricultural products such as rice, coffee, tea, and pepper, as well as furniture, garments and shoes.

    Israel is an easy market but it still needs quality goods. The market does not have many customers, but their income is quite high. Consumers in this market segment demand high quality and reasonably priced goods, he said.

    To enter the market quickly and efficiently, Vietnamese enterprises should participate in trade fairs. This is the best way for Israeli consumers to discover Vietnamese products, Hòa said.

    In addition, local businesses need to coordinate with relevant agencies to organise advertisement programmes, trade promotions and seminars to advertise Vietnamese goods.

    Lê Hoàng Tài, deputy head of the Việt Nam Trade Promotion Agency, said that since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1993, the two countries have established cooperative relations in many fields.

    The bilateral trade value of Việt Nam and Israel increased from US$68 million in 2005 to some $1 billion in 2017, Tài said. Of this, Việt Nam exported goods and services worth $700 million to Israel and saw imports worth $345 million from Israel.

    By 2017, Israel had 26 direct investment projects in Việt Nam, with a total capital of over $47 million, ranking 11th out of 56 countries and territories investing in Việt Nam. These include seven projects in the manufacturing and processing industry with a total capital of some $25 million.

    Meanwhile, Israel has committed to providing a $250 million credit package to Vietnamese businesses in the near future.

    Hanoi’s exports surge 16.9 percent in first quarter

    Hanoi’s export turnover hit 3.15 billion USD in the first quarter of 2018, representing a year-on-year increase of 16.9 percent, according to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade. 

    In the reviewed period, all key staples achieved strong growth in export value. 

    Computer components and peripheral devices were the biggest contributor to the city’s export earnings, with 463 million USD, up 23.2 percent compared to the same period last year.

    They were followed by textiles and garments, raking in 401 million USD, up 20 percent year on year.

    Transport vehicles and components, and footwear respectively reached 235 million USD and 72 million USD in export revenues, up 21 percent and 24.8 percent year-on-year. 

    Electronic products are the only group of commodities suffering a decrease in export turnover in the period, with a fall of 4.3 percent. 

    Hanoi’s export value has increased sharply in recent years because businesses in the city have taken advantage of the recovery of major economies of the world, such as the US, Japan, the European Union and China

    Experts said to increase the export value, enterprises should renew models of products according to the demand on markets and increase competitiveness by cutting production costs. 

    They have been also advised to improve product quality and develop the brand as well as promote cooperation with local businesses. In addition to this, they should take advantages in export opportunities from free trade agreements that Vietnam has signed with foreign partners

    Also in the first quarter of 2018, the city’s import turnover reached 7.92 billion USD, up 15.1 percent over the same period last year.

    Statistics office says CPI grows slightly in Q1

    The consumer price index (CPI) grew 2.82 percent in the first three months of 2018 compared to the same period last year, reported the General Statistics Office (GSO).

    The GSO and the Ministry of Planning and Investment held a press conference in Hanoi on March 29 to inform the country’s socio-economic indexes in the first quarter of this year.

    In March, the index declined 0.27 percent from February but increased 2.66 percent over the same period last year.

    The growth of CPI in the first quarter was attributable to an annual surge in a number of goods categories.

    The price index of health services soared 35.32 percent during the period, bringing the overall CPI up by 1.37 percent. The increase was a result of the Health Ministry issuing reference fees for health services targeting people without health insurance across 18 centrally run provinces and cities.

    A number of provinces increased tuition fees in the months, making the price index of educational services up by 6.57 percent, thus adding 0.34-percent increase to the overall CPI.

    Workers’ average wage has been raised since January 1 this year, followed by increases in prices of maintaining and fixing household items and water-electricity services.

    The first and second months involved the New Year holidays so there was a high demand for goods and then prices across various services, including food, beverage, apparel, public transport, and tourism were up.

    The price of beverage and cigarettes and that of ready-to-wear clothes rose 1.36 percent and 1.39 percent, respectively, while the price of public transport service rose 1.87 percent year on year.

    The price of gas was up by 2.83 percent and that of petroleum surged 9.18 percent year on year.

    The price of US dollar remained quite stable while that of gold fluctuated to the price in the world.

    According to the GSO, core inflation in January-March (CPI exclusive of fresh food, energy and State-run health and education services) moved up 1.34 percent year-on-year.

    VIB in talks with foreign investors for treasury shares sale

    Vietnam International Bank (VIB) is counting on surging foreign investment inflows in 2018 to offload its treasury shares to foreign investors as soon as in the third quarter, and is looking to bolster its charter capital through a private placement.

    VIB chairman Dang Khac Vy said at the bank’s annual general meeting (AGM) held today in Hanoi that its research team is working with at least five interested foreign partners from the US, the EU, and Japan on the treasury share sales, which is expected to be completed in either the third or the fourth quarter of this year.

    “We see a favourable environment that supports our treasury share sales at this time. A number of foreign investment banks with a large pool of spare funds find Vietnam as a destination for their investment. They are indeed very interested to invest in Vietnam,” said Vy.

    “We are negotiating with these investors, and should we feel any proposal to be most advantageous, we will try to seal the deal within this year,” he added.

    We see a favourable environment that supports our treasury share sales at this time. A number of foreign investment banks with a large pool of spare funds find Vietnam as a destination for their investment. They are indeed very interested to invest in Vietnam.

    Accordingly, part or all of the more than 33.868 million shares treasury shares, valued at VND718.64 trillion ($31.91 million), following its treasury share distribution to employees as a bonus, will be available to investors.

    The treasury shares were bought back in 2017, when VIB was traded at VND22,000 ($0.98) on the UpCom. VIB closed at VND43,000 ($1.91) today.

    VIB will also offer 10 per cent of its holdings, equivalent to a maximum of 56.44 million shares, to investors through a private placement this year, as part of an attempt to boost its charter capital to VND8.1 trillion ($360 million).

    In addition, the bank is looking to list its stocks on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HNX) later this year or in 2019.

    VIB reported a pre-tax profit of VND1.405 billion ($62.44 million) in 2017, doubling its 2016 result and achieving 187 per cent of the target set for the year.

    Credit growth, meanwhile, advanced some 26 per cent while its non-performing loans ratio stayed at 2.49 per cent.

    Mapletree opens second property in Ho Chi Minh City

    Singaporean property developer Mapletree is to open Oakwood Residence Saigon, its second property in Ho Chi Minh City in April this year.

    Located in District 7, Oakwood Residence Saigon is part of
    Saigon South Place
    . This development is invested by Singapore's Mapletree on 4.4 hectares, consisting of the integrated mixed-use SC Vivo City, a 17-story Grade A office tower, Oakwood Residence Saigon, and high-rise residential block RichLane Residences. There are also plans for two more commercial towers in the precinct in the coming time.

    “Mapletree is proud to launch our first Oakwood-branded property in Vietnam, and the second in the Asia-Pacific that we built after acquiring Oakwood Worldwide,” said Chua Tiow Chye, deputy group chief executive officer at Mapletree Investments.

    Chye added that this move was part of the company’s wider business strategy to bring the reputable Oakwood brand to global markets.

    According to Dean Schreiber, managing director, Oakwood Worldwide in Asia-Pacific, Vietnam has been experiencing robust economic growth and with international arrivals and domestic travel expected to continue on a growth trajectory, it is an opportune time for Mapletree to grow its presence in the country.

    Being the gateway to the Mekong Delta provinces, Ho Chi Minh City receives the highest number of tourists in the country, and international arrivals into Vietnam are expected to reach 20 million by 2020. Domestic travel has also seen a 15 per cent increase with expected continued growth.

    Preceded by Oakwood Apartments Ho Chi Minh City, which opened in December 2016 in District 3, Oakwood Residence Saigon is located in the city’s fast growing urban centre of Phu My Hung in District 7, adjacent to SC VivoCity and Mapletree Business Centre.

    Boasting 237 units ranging from studios to three-bedroom apartments, Oakwood Residence Saigon offers guests fully-furnished serviced apartments for both short and long stays.

    Shareholder activism tops banks' AGM agendas

    Over the past three years, the manipulation of voting rights or shareholder activism among leaders in the board of directors in Vietnam-based commercial banks was among the most debatable issues brought up at the banks' annual general meetings (AGM).

    On April 20, Sacombank (HSX: STB ) scheduled to hold its AGM to evaluate the 2017 financial year. The AGM will appoint two members of the bank's board of directors (BoD) for the term 2017-2021, one of whom would be an outside director.

    Previously, Kieu Huu Dung, permanent vice president of the BoD at Sacombank, handed in his resignation due to personal reasons, which was later approved by the bank's BoD. Notably, Dung was elected as a member of the bank's BoD for the term of 2017-2021, leaving three years befire his term would have ended.

    As announced by Sacombank, the proposal of dismissing Kieu Huu Dung as a permanent member of the BoD would be one of the main subject matters at the upcoming AGM. In particular, Dung was reported to own at least 300,000 STB shares, equal to 0.02 per cent of the bank’s charter capital.

    Over the past several years, Duong Cong Minh, chairman of BoD at Sacombank, was reported to be gathering STB stocks, signalling an attempt to raise his voting rights at the shareholders' meeting in late April.

    To date, the bank's BoD consists of six members, five permanent and one independent.

    On April 27, Eximbank will also host its AGM, mainly aiming at appointing two of the current four candidates as the next permanent members of the bank's BoD. To date, the BoD of Eximbank comprises of nine members, one president, two vice presidents, and six permanent members.

    Since 2015, Eximbank’s top personnel has been a "hot issue" among the bank's shareholders and employees. In addition, the bank failed to host multiple AGMs as the shareholders could never come to a unanimous decision.

    As of March 29, the commercial bank still has not finalised its financial statement to prepare for the approaching AGM in late April. In 2017, the bank secured VD1 trillion ($43.8 million) in pre-tax profit, with a declining rate of non-performing loans. In early 2018, the total value of the bank's divestiture at Sacombank climbed up to $500 billion.

    On March 28, LienVietPostBank held its 2018 AGM, expecting a change of members in its BoD and Board of Supervisors (BOS) for the term 2018-2023. Additionally, the AGM was expected to elect eight new permanent members for the BoD and three members of the BOS. Previously, Nguyen Duc Huong, president of the bank's BoD disclosed his intention of taking a step back from his current position, leaving quite a hot spot for the next head of the bank's BoD.

    Eventually, Nguyen Dinh Thang, former vice president of the bank's BOD, was elected as the new chairman of LienVietPostBank's BOD with nearly 800 million "for" votes from shareholders.

    Hyosung Group to expand business in Viet Nam     

    At the meeting, Cho said: "We plan to invest in the chemical and heavy industry sectors, including polypropylene and motor vehicles, and also get into construction of infrastructure including power, roads and ports in Viet Nam."

    Viet Nam is in urgent need of developing electricity, traffic and other infrastructure due to its rapid economic development.

    Hyosung is confident of achieving success in its Vietnamese infrastructure projects based on the skills and ideas it has accumulated in the power transmission and construction sectors.

    Prime Minister Phuc expressed Viet Nam’s desire to actively co-operate with Hyosung Group. Promoting IT-related businesses such as ESS, ATM, electronic payment and FinTech is also under consideration.

    Cho hyun-sang, President of Hyosung Group, accompanied President Moon Jea-in during his visit

    Cho hyun-sang, the president of Hyosung Group, accompanied the President’s economic mission to visit Viet Nam in order to promote the investment in Viet Nam.

    At the ASEAN youth job agreement ceremony and job fair, Cho Hyun-sang, the president of Hyosung, expressed the desire to actively contribute to creating overseas jobs for Korean youth in future. He also attended the Korea-Viet Nam business forum and state dinner between the two countries and supported the Government’s new southern policies by discussing future business co-operation plans with major government officials and business leaders from the two countries.

    Investing in Viet Nam– a key for Hyosung to lead global market

    Hyosung has invested around US$ 1.5 billion since its entry into Viet Nam in 2007. It is the largest Korean company at Nhon Trach Industrial Zone.

    At its 1.2million sq.m-site, it produces major Hyosung products such as spandex and nylon and steel tyre cords. It employs over 7,000 people locally.

    In addition, Hyosung has invested $1.3 billion to set up a polypropylene plant in the southern province of Ba Ria– Vung Tau. The company is now constructing a dehydrogenation process facility and an LPG storage tank in the central QuangNamProvince.

    Furthermore, since 2011 Hyosung has been sending teams of medical volunteers to treat more than 10,000 people. In the cases of patients found to be high-risk during treatment, Hyosung sent them to Korea for treatment and fully covered the cost.

    Hyosung has actively engaged in social activities such as donating libraries to elementary schools near its plant and gifting spectacles to students with poor vision.

    NAPAS to improve cashless payment system in Viet Nam     

    The National Payment Corporation of Viet Nam (NAPAS) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on market development co-operation with KEB Hana Card Co., Ltd and Alliex Vietnam JSC.

    Under the MoU, the participants will co-operate to study and build a feasibility report on the development and efficient management of a shared point of sale (POS) network in Viet Nam.

    They will share experiences as well as market research results from advanced countries in order to recommend a systematic solution in developing card payments through card-accepting equipment at the POS, promoting the development of the domestic card payment market, which is one of the areas of focus for NAPAS in recent years.

    With KEB Hana Card and Alliex’s cashless payment experience and technology and experience in providing services and infrastructure for interconnected card systems among Vietnamese banks that are NAPAS members, the co-operation is expected to help realise the State Bank of Viet Nam’s plan to develop bank card payments through card acceptance equipment by 2020.

    KEB Hana Card is one of the first payment organisations in South Korea, belonging to KEB Hana Financial Group, the country’s largest financial group. In South Korea, KEB Hana Card has issued 4.7 million credit cards, capable of making payments for nearly 2.5 million card accepting units.

    Meanwhile, Alliex Vietnam is a leading provider of fintech solutions in Japan, South Korea and Viet Nam. Alliex is revolutionizing money transfer and payment technologies online as well as offline. As a member of Alliex, Alliex Vietnam is applying advanced technology and proven expertise to invest in non-cash payment infrastructure throughout Viet Nam

    Quang Ninh Customs establishes support team for businesses


     

    Hanoi’s exports surge 16.9 percent in first quarter, Statistics office says CPI grows slightly in Q1, VIB in talks with foreign investors for treasury shares sale, Improving values of Vietnamese textile and garment brands
    The Quang Ninh Customs Department has set up a customs support team for import and export enterprises. - Photo quangninhcustoms.gov.vn 

    The Customs Department of Quang Ninh Province has set up a team to improve the quality of support for import and export enterprises.

    The team will collect feedback from enterprises and directly solve their problems in the implementation of customs procedures at the Quang Ninh Customs Department.

    Enterprises facing problems in the process of customs clearance can send their feedback to mailboxesquality@hqqn.vn or call the 24/7 helpline numbers of 0203.3826148 or 0969.596.646.

    The members of the support team will periodically see the representatives of enterprises to listen to their problems and give them information about import and export activities.

    Quang Ninh Customs Department will continue administrative reforms this year to ease customs procedures and reduce the time and costs for businesses.

    The province now has teams to support enterprises in mechanisms, policies and procedures of customs as well as help in the implementation of customs regulations.

    In 2017, it promoted administrative reforms to create a favourable business environment for import and export activities.

    Last year, Quang Ninh’s State budget revenue reached VND10.947 trillion, a strong growth against the target of VND5.4 trillion assigned by the Ministry of Finance and the target of VND10 trillion of the People’s Committee of Quang Ninh. 

    Hanoi meeting links Vietnam-China localities, businesses

    The Foreign Ministry of Vietnam and the Hanoi People’s Committee held a meeting between Vietnamese and Chinese localities and businesses in Hanoi on March 31.

    The event was part of the sixth Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) Summit and the 10th Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV) Summit on Development Triangle Area.

    The event was attended by Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung, Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung, Trade Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam Hu Suojin, officials of four Chinese provinces (Yunnan, Guangxi, Guangdong and Hainan) and 16 Vietnamese provinces and cities, along with hundreds of the two countries’ businesses.

    Opening the event, Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung highly valued the Chinese provincial leaders’ participation in the meeting. With big economic strength, the four provinces are also the Chinese localities taking the lead in economic, trade, investment and tourism cooperation with Vietnam.

    In 2017, trade between the four provinces and Vietnamese localities reached 59 billion USD, accounting for 63 percent of the two countries’ total trade revenue.

    He stressed that the Vietnamese Government welcomes and pledges the best possible conditions for foreign businesses, including those from the Chinese provinces, to invest in Vietnam.

    The official called on the Chinese central and local governments, especially authorities of Yunnan, Guangxi, Guangdong and Hainan, to continue opening their market for the goods that Vietnam is strong at and China has demand for like agricultural products, pork and milk. He also asked for the facilitation of customs clearance for Vietnamese goods in border areas and the development of bilateral trade in a healthier and more balanced manner.

    Hanoi always attaches importance to promoting collaboration with Chinese localities and businesses in the spirit of comprehensive, long-term and win-win cooperation, said Hanoi Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung. 

    He said the capital city is home to 262 projects invested by Chinese firms with total registered capital of 371 million USD, and Hanoi raked in 8.9 billion USD from export to China in 2017. 

    The municipal authority will continue promoting administrative reform, and work closely with customs agencies of Vietnam and China to maximise support for customs clearance, thus facilitating trade links and goods exchange between the two countries’ enterprises, he affirmed. 

    At the meeting, Vice Governor of Guangdong province Ouyang Weimin said by the end of 2017, as many as 114 enterprises from Guangdong invested in Vietnam with total capital of 240 million USD. 

    The authority and people of Guangdong hope the two countries will continue fostering strategic cooperation and joining initiatives, thus creating momentum for the China-Vietnam cooperation. 

    Guangdong and Vietnamese localities have many cooperation opportunities in the fields of transport, education, and tourism, he stressed, adding that his locality want to further bolster tourism link and people-to-people exchange with Vietnam, towards reinforcing cultural and social collaboration between the two sides. 

    He also called on Vietnamese firms to further invest in Guangdong, expressing his hope that Guangdong’s firms will enjoy favourable investment environment in Vietnam

    During the event, localities and enterprises of the two countries shared information about investment climate and opportunities for business cooperation in the coming time. 

    Hanoi meeting links Vietnam-China localities, businesses

    The Foreign Ministry of Vietnam and the Hanoi People’s Committee held a meeting between Vietnamese and Chinese localities and businesses in Hanoi on March 31.

    The event was part of the sixth Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) Summit and the 10th Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV) Summit on Development Triangle Area.

    The event was attended by Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung, Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung, Trade Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam Hu Suojin, officials of four Chinese provinces (Yunnan, Guangxi, Guangdong and Hainan) and 16 Vietnamese provinces and cities, along with hundreds of the two countries’ businesses.

    Opening the event, Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung highly valued the Chinese provincial leaders’ participation in the meeting. With big economic strength, the four provinces are also the Chinese localities taking the lead in economic, trade, investment and tourism cooperation with Vietnam.

    In 2017, trade between the four provinces and Vietnamese localities reached 59 billion USD, accounting for 63 percent of the two countries’ total trade revenue.

    He stressed that the Vietnamese Government welcomes and pledges the best possible conditions for foreign businesses, including those from the Chinese provinces, to invest in Vietnam.

    The official called on the Chinese central and local governments, especially authorities of Yunnan, Guangxi, Guangdong and Hainan, to continue opening their market for the goods that Vietnam is strong at and China has demand for like agricultural products, pork and milk. He also asked for the facilitation of customs clearance for Vietnamese goods in border areas and the development of bilateral trade in a healthier and more balanced manner.

    Hanoi always attaches importance to promoting collaboration with Chinese localities and businesses in the spirit of comprehensive, long-term and win-win cooperation, said Hanoi Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung. 

    He said the capital city is home to 262 projects invested by Chinese firms with total registered capital of 371 million USD, and Hanoi raked in 8.9 billion USD from export to China in 2017. 

    The municipal authority will continue promoting administrative reform, and work closely with customs agencies of Vietnam and China to maximise support for customs clearance, thus facilitating trade links and goods exchange between the two countries’ enterprises, he affirmed. 

    At the meeting, Vice Governor of Guangdong province Ouyang Weimin said by the end of 2017, as many as 114 enterprises from Guangdong invested in Vietnam with total capital of 240 million USD. 

    The authority and people of Guangdong hope the two countries will continue fostering strategic cooperation and joining initiatives, thus creating momentum for the China-Vietnam cooperation. 

    Guangdong and Vietnamese localities have many cooperation opportunities in the fields of transport, education, and tourism, he stressed, adding that his locality want to further bolster tourism link and people-to-people exchange with Vietnam, towards reinforcing cultural and social collaboration between the two sides. 

    He also called on Vietnamese firms to further invest in Guangdong, expressing his hope that Guangdong’s firms will enjoy favourable investment environment in Vietnam

    During the event, localities and enterprises of the two countries shared information about investment climate and opportunities for business cooperation in the coming time. 

    Work starts on second solar power plant in Ninh Thuan

    The construction of a solar power plant with a capacity of 50 MW kicked off in Phuoc Dinh commune of Thuan Nam district, the south central province of Ninh Thuan, on March 31.

    With total investment capital of 1.15 trillion VND (nearly 50.5 million USD), the project is built on 75 hectares of land in Bau Ngu Reservoir, under the build-own-operate format, according to Tran Huy Duc, Chairman of the project investor – Truong Thanh Development, Construction and Investment Joint Stock Company.

    The plant is expected to supply all 50 MW of electricity for the national grid before June 2019.

    Once operational, the Bau Ngu reservoir solar power plant will provide a considerable volume of solar power, helping to local boost socio-economic development. 

    Chairman of the Ninh Thuan People’s Committee Luu Xuan Vinh said according to international organisations, Ninh Thuan is eligible to develop renewable energy. It has the average wind speed of 7.1 metres per second at a height of 65 metres, while the number of sun hours is about 2,600 – 2,850 per year. 

    The province is also less vulnerable to storms, so it is an ideal destination for investment in renewable energy, he said, adding that Ninh Thuan considers renewable energy development one of the six pillar sectors to make economic breakthroughs, thereby soon turning the province into a renewable energy centre of Vietnam.

    The Government targets the solar power output in the province at 2,000 MW by 2020 and 8,000 – 10,000 MW by 2030.

    Apart from the Bau Ngu plant, the provincial People’s Committee has approved 48 other solar power projects to make survey. 

    The construction of the first solar power project in Ninh Thuan, which has a capacity of 30 MW, began in January 2018. The Bau Ngu plant is the second project to be built.

    Vietnamese firm granted operation licence at Cuba’s special economic zone

    The Cuban government has granted first administrative concession in the Mariel Special Economic Development Zone to the ViMariel S.A company, a subsidiary of the Vietnamese corporation Viglacera.

    The signing of the document to this effect was witnessed by Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh of Vietnam and Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Rodrigo Malmierca at the Vietnam-Cuba business forum held in Havana within the framework of General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit to Cuba from March 28-31.

    Under the document signed between Director General of the Mariel Special Economic Development Zone’s Management Office Ana Teresa Igarza and Chief Representative of Viglacera in Cuba Nguyen Anh Tuan, the Vietnamese firm will invest 300 million USD to build a 160ha industrial park with full road, telecommunication, water and electricity infrastructure to serve industrial establishments. It will take ViMariel S.A five years to construct the industrial park from 2019. The concession is 50 years. 

    Addressing after the signing ceremony, Igarza affirmed this is part of Cuba’s efforts in calling for foreign investment to serve necessary infrastructure development for potential investors in Cuba.

    The ViMariel S.A industrial park is expected to welcome businesses involved in logistics, biotech, pharmaceuticals, electronics and processing.

    Also at the business forum, a series of cooperation documents between Vietnamese companies and Cuban partners. They included a memorandum of understanding between the Hanel company of Vietnam and the Cubanacan group on the construction of a five star hotel in Havana, and a contract between Viglacera and Gran Caribe on management and operation, including upgrade and restoration, of the New York Hotel in Havana downtown.

    On this occasion, Minister Malmierca announced that the Cuban government had approved two projects of Vietnam’s Tin Thanh Company on agricultural development, and the construction of a bio-mass power plant, both in the central province of Camaguey

    Firms encouraged to engage strongly in regional development

    The Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) Business Summit, which opened in Hanoi on March 30 on the sidelines of the sixth GMS Summit as an initiative of Vietnam, has created an opportunity for governments to hold dialogue with enterprises and development partners, and encourage their stronger engagement in GMS activities.

    In his speech, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said, as GMS countries are likely to face the emergence of protectionism and the drop in foreign investment, they should strengthen efforts in regional integration and economic connectivity through prioritised areas of finance, economy, e-commerce and cross-border trade.

    Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that the GMS Business Summit is important as this is a chance for GMS countries to listen to the voice of enterprises and call for the firms’ stronger involvement.

    He revealed that China is widely opening its door for regional countries, showing China’s determination to promote trade liberalisation, open service market and attract more foreign investment.

    China has so far invested 40 billion USD in GMS countries through soft loans and funding for 20 infrastructure projects, he noted.

    Meanwhile, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith affirmed that the Lao Government will coordinate more closely with GMS states to promote business activities.

    He called on businesses to increase investment in regional projects, thus helping enhance competitiveness in the GMS, while strengthening affiliation in science, and technology.

    Myanmar Vice President U Henry Van Thio held that low labour costs and natural resources are no longer advantages of GMS countries, underlining that the states should create a new impetus for sustainable growth, in which the development of the private sector is vital.

    Sharing the Myanmar leader’ idea, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said he believes that creativity and digital technology will emerge as a new momentum for economic development on the foundation of public-private partnership.

    He highlighted the need to exploit digital economic potential, encourage businesses to apply scientific and technological advances and support them in accessing capital and markets. GMS countries should also foster market links to enhance competitiveness, he said.

    President of the Asian Development Bank Takehiko Nakao praised GMS countries’ progress in economic development, poverty reduction, community development and competitiveness improvement.

    He held that cooperation among GMS countries will help businesses optimise advantages from technological advances as well as access markets, enhance investment efficiency and share ideas.

    The ADB leader pledged that the bank will continue supporting the GMS in enhancing the involvement of the private sector in regional economic development.

    ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi said that the ASEAN is experiencing a dynamic developing period. The bloc is predicted to become the world’s fourth largest economy in 2050, which goes along with improved incomes and living conditions of people in the regional nations. This is also a great opportunity for investors, he stated.

    At the summit, Joaquim Levy, World Bank Managing Director and Group Chief Financial Officer, forecast that the global economic growth will reach 3.1 percent in 2018, and that of GMS will be 6 percent in following years.

    Although the poverty rate will continue to fall, there are still risks of instability that force GMS countries to be careful in macro-economic policy, Levy stressed.

    Changes in technology and population as well as climate change will greatly affect GMS countries where two-thirds of the population are poor, he noted. 

    The GMS Business Summit drew representatives from nearly 100 international organisations and development partners, together with more than 2,000 domestic businesses and those outside the GMS region.

    GMS was established in 1992 as an initiative of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The GMS Programme is the most complete cooperation programme that involves Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and China’s Yunnan and Guangxi provinces. 

    The sixth GMS Summit, themed “Leveraging 25 years of cooperation, Building an integrated, sustainable and prosperous GMS aims to celebrate the 25th founding anniversary of the GMS Programme and define cooperation orientations to build a region of prosperity, integration and sustainable development.

    GMS countries seek to boost open trade, multilateral trade system

    A symposium on the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and Global Trade was held in Hanoi on March 30 within the framework of the first-ever GMS Business Summit initiated by Vietnam to boost open trade and build a multilateral trade system in the region. 

    Participating businesses had a good chance to talk with government agencies of GMS countries about benefits, opportunities and challenges from globalisation and cross-border trade, which are important to the GMS development. 

    They were also updated about the cooperation achievements that GMS countries have gained over the past 25 years. 

    The session offered an opportunity for delegates to recognise and evaluate changes and developments in international trade order and reposition of GMS countries in regional and global trade panoramic. 

    The panels also discussed solutions to catching up with new developments in the global economy and continuously capitalize on tremendous opportunities that are set for the GMS economies. 

    Vice Chairman of the Central and Eastern European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam Csaba Bundik described the symposium as a high level with big decision makers from different countries. 

    Businesses were brought together to see their problems in different ways as well as update the GMS business trends, he said. 

    Meanwhile, Chris Malone, Partner and Managing Director of the Bolston Consulting Group, said the thematic session creates a lot of connection opportunities for businesses. For example, a lot of agriculture companies based in Vietnam are looking for business opportunities in the Southeast Asian country. 

    Furthermore, businesspeople look to understand more about the business trends that affect their business and get some ideas to benefit them in the GMS region, he added. 

    The really big opportunity in Vietnam would be the expanding consumer market, he said, adding that there is also interesting GMS connection in the tourism industry. The countries seek to work together to offer integrated tour packages, he took this as an instance. 

    Speaking at the session, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh highlighted notable achievements of the GMS over the past time, including the development of economic corridors by outlining nine priority railways to increase railway connection. 

    GMS countries have ratified the Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-Border Transport of Goods and People, signed the “Early Harvest” Memorandum of Understanding, implemented the one-stop-shop model, and cooperated in the field of e-commerce, he said. 

    He underlined huge opportunities for the GMS to forge economic and trade links and cooperation with China and India through economic corridors and free trade agreements signed between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China and India

    It is also possible to connect the GMS Economic Cooperation Programme with other regional cooperation structures such as ASEAN, Mekong-Japan Cooperation, Mekong-Ganga Cooperation, and Belt and Road Initiative in addition to joining regional and global value chains, especially in the fields of their strengths such as garment-textile, footwear, agriculture, seafood and tourism. 

    The official also pointed to challenges posed to GMS countries such as limited number of cooperation projects in cross-border trade promotion and facilitation in the region and differences in border gate and e-commerce management regulations and policies, causing difficulties to harmonise regulations to make it easier for trade. 

    He called on GMS nations to continue promoting open trade and build a multilateral trade system. 

    According to the Deputy Minister, to facilitate trade and investment, it is necessary to upgrade border gates, simplify administrative procedures, harmonise customs procedures and control effectively border gates as well as expand the one-stop-shop models along economic corridors and signing agreements on mutual recognition of standards on food hygiene and safety, animal and plant quarantine, and enhance cooperation between border management agencies. 

    The GMS should develop transport infrastructure and logistics along economic corridors, and database to facilitate trade, he suggested. 

    The region needs to increase opportunities to support businesses, especially small-and medium-sized ones, to take part in regional value chains, he recommended. 

    At the session, delegates exchanged the situation of cooperation in trade and investment among GMS countries. 

    They also talked about new development trends in the global economy that have impact on GMS countries and require adjustments of policies and enhancement of GMS cooperation such as building the ASEAN Economic Community, developing e-commerce, shifting to digital economy, and leveraging on opportunities from new-general free trade agreements and the fourth industrial revolution.

    Sunwah Group plans to invest in steel production in Vietnam

    The Hong Kong-based Sunwah Group wants to invest in steel production using high, environmentally-friendly technology in Vietnam and boost cooperation in education, solar energy and tourism with the country, said Chairman Jonathan Choi.

    As it has relations with many Japanese enterprises, the Sunwah Group plans to bring more Japanese businesses to Vietnam by establishing an investment fund with an initial capital of 200 million USD, Choi told Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on the sidelines of the sixth Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) Summit in Hanoi on March 30.

    Besides Japanese enterprises, Choi affirmed to do his utmost to bring more foreign investors to Vietnam, since he considers Vietnam as his second home.

    He also revealed that Sunwah will coordinate with the Vietnamese Embassy in Beijing to organise tourism promotion activities in the northeastern region of China later this year.

    PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc spoke highly of Sunwah’s business activities and its plan to expand presence in Vietnam in the time ahead.

    He expressed his hope that Sunwah will continue investing in the fields of its strength and affirmed that the Vietnamese Government will create more favourable conditions for the group.

    Private sector development a focus of GMS

    Plans for developing the private sector in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) will be among priorities of the GMS Business Council (GMS BC) from 2018 to 2020, heard a panel discussion in the framework of the GMS Business Summit in Hanoi on March 30.

    Phan Vinh Quang, Deputy Director of the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI) affirmed that the GMS BC has developed many ideas and visions to support the regional private sector, suggesting more programmes, projects and resources be provided to increase the sector’s participation in the regional development.

    He suggested the GMS BC implement more activities, including staff training in business operation skills to support the private sector, particularly micro-, super micro, and women-run enterprises.

    Dr. Sombat Thiratrakoolchai, Vice Chairman of the Thailand’s CP Foods PCL, said his company has made investment in all GMS nations. He underlined the significance for the GMS and regional enterprises to work together as one for the sake of community.

    The CP Foods PCL creates jobs with equal salary, benefits, training and promotion opportunities for all employees no matter where they come from, he said, adding that the company also cares about the environment.

    The winner of the Startups of the Mekong AgriTech Challenge (MATCh) highlighted the opportunities and challenges to startups to reach out for finance and technical assistance in the highly competitive market, not only in a certain country, but also in the whole region.

    She also stressed the need for development of technology solutions for SMEs and MSMEs access to finance and regional value chain.

    Will Taing, Director of the Australia-based Beanstalkagtech Technology Company, said his company has provided agricultural technology solutions to many clients in the Mekong region.

    The GMS Business Summit gives his company in particular and other international firms to connect with potential GMS partners, particularly Vietnamese ones, he said.

    Lan Vy Nguyen, CEO of the VKStar Ltd., Company, organiser of Ao Dai (long dress) shows, highlighted the similarities in cultural values among people in the GMS nations. She hoped that the GMS mechanism in general and the GMS Business Summit will connect her company with potential markets, thus introducing the Vietnamese traditional culture to the regional countries.

    The GMS Business Summit, a highlight of the sixth Greater Mekong Sub-region Summit (GMS-6), aims to strengthen dialogues between enterprises and governments and connect businesses in the region and the world, while encouraging resources from the private sector for the GMS Programme.

    The GMS cooperation was launched in 1992 as an initiative of the ADB. The GMS Economic Cooperation Programme is the most complete cooperation programme that involves Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and China’s Yunnan and Guangxi provinces.

    The programme prioritises infrastructure development, energy, telecommunications, tourism, trade-investment, human resources, and the environment.

    VNN

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  • 04/02/18--01:43: Article 0
  • Prime Minister sets growth target of 6.7 percent for 2018

    Hanoi -Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked Cabinet members to give feedback on the 2018 growth scenario, towards reaching growth of at least 6.7 percent this year, higher than the 6.5 percent assigned by the National Assembly. 

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (Source: VNA)

    During the Government’s regular meeting in Hanoi on April 2, the PM said the socio-economic situation continued to improve in the first quarter this year, with gross domestic product growth of 7.38 percent, the highest in a decade. 

    The agro-forestry-fisheries sector expanded by 4.05 percent, double that of the same period last year while agriculture and industry-construction grew 2.08 percent and 9.77 percent, respectively. 

    Manufacturing and processing rose nearly 14 percent, services went up 6.7 percent and wholesale – retail hiked 4.5 percent. 

    At the same time, Vietnam signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership with 12 states, held a national conference on disaster prevention and control, the sixth Greater Mekong Sub-Region Summit and the 10th Cambodia – Laos – Vietnam Development summit, particularly the GMS Business Summit, during which participants welcomed Vietnam’s initiatives, helping raise the country’s prestige in the international arena. 

    During the period, total retail and consumption services increased by 9.9 percent year-on-year. Foreign tourist arrivals in Vietnam were estimated at 4.2 million, up 30.9 percent annually. 

    Total exports surged 22 percent to 54.3 billion USD while social investment soared 10.4 percent. 

    The PM revealed that Nikkei said in its new release on the same day, the Nikkei Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index was 51.6 points, making it one of two countries with more than 50 points. 

    The business climate continued improving with the provincial competitiveness index reaching highest point since 2005. Vietnam’s securities market performed well in both scale and capitalisation with the VN-Index hitting a 10-year high of 1,170 points. Positive performance was also seen in labour, job, social welfare, culture-education and health care while unemployment dropped by 2.2 percent. 

    The number of newly-established enterprises only rose 1.2 percent annually while the number of firms that halted production remained high. 

    The PM urged promoting corporate development, especially in creativity and innovation. 

    Warning that though the consumer price index fell in March and rose slightly in the first quarter, inflation is still a risk, so ministries and agencies should take measures to stabilise macro-economy and control inflation. 

    He called for attention to latent risks of complicated weather as Vietnam is one of the five countries hardest hit by climate change. 

    As of late March, total State budget collection surpassed 308 trillion VND (13.68 billion USD), up 5.3 percent annually. State expenses were estimated at 290 trillion VND, up 1.7 percent. 

    Natural disasters caused losses of more than 178 billion VND, a 3.1-fold increase annually. As of March 15, there were 1,085 fires nationwide that killed 33 and injured 66, causing damage of more than 413 billion VND.

    In the morning, the Government discussed the socio-economic performance in March and the first quarter this year, the implementation of the Government’s Resolution on key measures to realise the socio-economic development plan and State budget estimate for 2018.


    VNA

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  • 04/02/18--02:10: Article 0
  • Vietnamese Painter’s Artworks Set For Auction at Sotheby’s


    Two paintings by the late Vietnamese artist Nguyen Huyen have been sold at a Hong Kong auction for almost US$22,000.


     

    Vietnamese Painter’s Artworks, auction, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam
    Under the hammer: Portrait of an Old Vietnamese Gentlemen by Nguyen Huyen.


    The artwork went under the hammer yesterday at Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction house.

    Huyen’s Portrait of an Old Vietnamese Gentlemen, lot 304, dated 1952 and painted with charcoal and red chalk on paper, sold for $2,800 but it was his second piece that fetched the most money.

    Nue De Mademoiselle Hai Duong (Miss Hai Duong’s Nude), lot 301, dated 1937, and painted with ink and gouache on silk laid on paper, was sold for $19.100.

    This confirms the large range of influence the Vietnamese art market has around the world, especially in Hong Kong.

    The decision of auctioning off Huyen’s artworks was made by Sotheby’s after many of his paintings were displayed and sold at an exhibition at Vietnamese Chon’s Auction House.

    Hoang Ngoc Hung, head of Chon’s Auction House, said the late painter’s Dang Ngoc (Natural Beauty), a rare nude lacquer painting, dating back to 1967, previously displayed at the house’s 9th auction, was sold for $45,000, out pricing other lots at the exhibition.  

    “However, we should only see it as a nice surprise, as we need more paintings to be set for auction to end up finding a reasonable average price for Nguyen Huyen’s artwork,” said Hung.

    He added on the last week of April, Chon’s will select half of the painter’s works, kept by eight collectors to go to auction, including The Portrait of Vietnamese Women (painted in 1938, priced at $600), The Portrait of Mademoiselle Van (dated 1940, priced initially at $700), Seeking a Friend (dated 1944, priced at $1,000), The Bo Market (dated 1961, priced at $600).

    Huyen was born in the northern province of Bac Ninh in 1915 and died in 1994.

    VNS

    0 0
  • 04/03/18--01:56: Article 2
  • Investors frown at unrealistic listing price of Saigon One Tower


    After ten years in the making, the crowning jewel of Saigon's vista, Saigon One Tower will be put on a public auction to resolve at least VND6.11 trillion ($268.22 million) non-performing loans by Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC), putting an end to one of the most anticipated construction projects in Vietnam.


     

    investors frown at discount price of saigon one tower
    Saigon's property pride are being bought off for debt collection

    To date, myriad market analysts forecasted that a notable number of investors would bid lower than $268.22 million in order to protest the unrealistic listing rate, considering ten years of inactivity due to inefficient investment and postponed development.

    Within four days, the estimated starting price of the project's total assets shrank from VND7 trillion ($307.3 million) to $268.22 million, which is still frowned upon by investors.

    Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association (Horea), asserted that the listing price was considered "reasonable," yet there are high odds that the public auction will not attract the right investor despite the enormous interest expressed.

    Specifically, the total assets which would be included in the public auction comprise of the ownership of a total 14,954 square metres of the commercial area and the intangible assets which is the asset management of the entire construction of the garage, shopping mall, offices for lease, and supporting construction.

     

    investors frown at discount price of saigon one tower
    A decade of postponed development brought doom to Saigon One Tower Company

    Previously, in 2017, SaigonOneTower was forfeited by VAMC with the purpose of resolving non-performing loans in accordance with Resolution 42 on the handling of non-performing loans after the owners fail to repay debts.

    On August 21 last year VAMC officially sized the asset of Sai Gon One Tower Company in order to collect non-performing loans worth more than $300 million.

    The construction of SaigonOneTower, commonly dubbed as Saigon’s “GhostTower,” was started in 2007 as a residential and office development project, with the involvement of Alpha King Real Estate Development JSC and M&C Real Estate as the main developers.

    Additionally, the project’s total capital mounted up to VND5 trillion ($219.5 million) with the initial target of becoming the third highest tower in Vietnam. However, after 80 per cent of the construction was finished in 2011, the entire development stopped until VAMC seized the asset in 2017.

    Vnexpress

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  • 04/03/18--02:31: Article 1
  • Van Don asks for suspension of projects pending special master plan


    Quang Ninh - The Van Don Economic Zone Authority has asked the People’s Committee of Van Don district and investors to stop establishing new projects, adjusting project plans and applying for investment pending the approval of master plans for the future special administrative-economic zone.

    A view of Cai Bau Island, part of Van Don district (Photo: VNA)

    Projects subject to the proposed suspension exclude new projects relating to social security of Van Don district along with  “Con duong di san” (
    Heritage Road
    ) project,  SonaseaDragonBay rerort complex, NgocVungIsland project and Sun Group project, which are major investments.


    The Van Don Economic Zone Authority proposed that other projects only be permitted to continue by the People’s Committee of Quang Ninh province after a master socio-economic plan and general construction plan of the Van Don special administrative-economic zone are approved.

    For the projects that have received investment approval or investment registration certificates, the authority will ask the provincial administration to allow them to reschedule their progress if necessary, so their implementation can continue after the master plans are adopted.

    The north-eastern border province of Quang Ninh is working to build Van Don into a special administrative-economic zone to meet new development requirements. Van Don is also expected to become a green coastal city and an example of climate change response in the region.

    Quang Ninh has employed Arcadis & Callison RTKL company, which has branches in the US, the Netherlands and some other countries, to make the plans.

    Van Don will be one of the first three special administrative-economic zones in Vietnam. The others are Bac Van Phong in central Khanh Hoa province and Phu Quoc in southern Kien Giang province.


    VNA

    0 0
  • 04/03/18--02:32: Article 0
  • Fetus dies as abortion pills mistakenly given to mother in southern Vietnam


    Three expectant mothers at the same medical center fell victim to the careless mistake, but only one of them suffered the worst consequence

    ​Fetus dies as abortion pills mistakenly given to mother in southern Vietnam
    Misoprostol, a type of abortion medication mistakenly dispensed to Huynh Thi Cuc, in southern VietnameseTienGiangProvince, March 9, 2018.

    Health authorities in the southern province of Tien Giang confirmed on Monday that a local mother had lost her first fetus early last month after taking abortion medicine a staff member of a local medical center administered to her by mistake.

    On March 7, Huynh Thi Cuc, a 32-year-old mother who was in her seventh week of pregnancy, was advised to stay in the medical center of Tan Phuoc District since she was at risk of miscarriage.

    Two days later, prior to her discharge, doctors prescribed her Miprotone, a type of embryo-nourishing medication.

    But a staff member at the dispensary provided her with Misoprostol, used for abortion purposes, after discovering that the embryo-nourishing medication was out of stock.

    Later in the day Cuc was rushed back to the center after bleeding from the consumption of two Misoprostol pills.

    As doctors at the center said they needed to continue watching her conditions, the family immediately took her to the TienGiangGynecologicalHospital, where they were told the fetus had died from abortion medicine.

    It was discovered later that on March 9, besides Cuc, two other pregnant patients at Tan Phuoc medical center were also mistakenly given Misoprostol. One of them had yet to use it, while the other safely received urgent treatment after the consumption.

    A report by the medical center admitted that some of its staff members have failed to follow the regulations on checking and reviewing in terms of drug prescription and dispensing.

    The report also said that a piece of software from the center had not been updated on medication information.

    Le Van Duc, the center’s director, supposed that the program and the resemblance in name between Misoprostol and Misoprostol were to blame.

    Vietnam’s Ministry of Health have ordered the Tien Giang health department to verify the incident and promptly submitted a report to it by 5:00 pm this Thursday.

    The ministry also required staff members implicated in the case to be honest in providing information and the medical center to punish those who are responsible without leniency.

    In January a pregnancy woman in the south-central province Quang Ngai also lost her six-week-old fetus after a midwife mistakenly gave her an abortion pill instead of pregnancy support drugs.

    By Thai Xuan / Tuoi Tre News

    0 0
  • 04/03/18--02:45: Article 1
  • Government News 3/4


    Vietnamese, Turkmen foreign ministries hold political consultation


     

    Vietnamese, Turkmen foreign ministries hold political consultation, Vietnam attends ASEANSAI conference in Indonesia, Deputy PM calls for efforts to keep core inflation at 1.6-1.8 percent
    Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son (R) and his Turkmen counterpart Vepa Hajiev at the political consultation in Hanoi on April 2 


    The Foreign Ministries of Vietnam and Turkmenistan need to continue bringing into full play their positive role and maintaining consultations and regular exchanges to help step up the two countries’ ties.

    The view was shared by Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and his Turkmen counterpart Vepa Hajiev at the political consultation between the two foreign ministries in Hanoi on April 2.

    The officials were delighted that the traditional friendship and cooperation between the two countries have enjoyed positive developments and agreed that the two countries should continue with exchanges at 

    all levels, high-level visits, and contacts between ministries, sectors and businesses.

    The two countries also need to sign documents and agreements to provide a complete legal foundation for their cooperation, while tapping on their potential for cooperation in economy-trade, education-

    training, culture, sports and tourism, the officials said. 

    They exchanged views on international and regional issues of mutual concern and shared the view of respecting fundamental principles of international law and the United Nations Charter. They affirmed 

    continuous coordination and mutual support at international forums, especially at the United Nations.

    Vietnam attends ASEANSAI conference in Indonesia


     

    Vietnamese, Turkmen foreign ministries hold political consultation, Vietnam attends ASEANSAI conference in Indonesia, Deputy PM calls for efforts to keep core inflation at 1.6-1.8 percent
    Delegates to the conference. 


    Deputy Auditor General of the State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV) Doan Xuan Tien is attending a symposium of the ASEAN Supreme Audit Institutions (ASEANSAI) in Indonesia on April 2-3. 

    The symposium aims to raise ASEANSAI members’ awareness of the importance of sustainable development goals (SDGs) in promoting transparency, accountability and anti-corruption. It focuses on efforts to build a society of harmony, peace and integration. 

    Tien said the implementation of the SDGs gear towards building an incorruptible, society, reducing social vices, and ensuring social equality and inclusiveness, so to accomplish UN programmes by 2030.

    He called on supreme audit institutions worldwide and ASEANSAI members in particular, especially the SAV, to contribute to increasing social transparency and accountability of the Government and 

    organisations in the management and use of public assets, as well as the fight against corruption in the region and the world. 

    In his opening remarks, Indonesian Deputy Foreign Minister A.M Fachir described transparency, accountability and anti-corruption as important factors to the completion of SDGs. 

    Chairman of the Audit Board of Indonesia Moermahadi told Vietnam News Agency on the sidelines of the event that the SAV is a dynamic agency that has constructively integrated into the ASEAN audit sector, and shared experience as well as common tasks of the sector. 

    ASEANSAI was established on November 16, 2011 in Bali, Indonesia, with ten members of SAI being the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

    ASEANSAI is expected to encourage and promote good governance within the ASEAN region. Thus, ASEANSAI will focus on capacity development for SAIs of the ASEAN member states and technical cooperation in dealing with important and common audit issues in the ASEAN region.

    Deputy PM calls for efforts to keep core inflation at 1.6-1.8 percent


    Vietnamese, Turkmen foreign ministries hold political consultation, Vietnam attends ASEANSAI conference in Indonesia, Deputy PM calls for efforts to keep core inflation at 1.6-1.8 percent 

    Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has asked for more efforts to keep core inflation at between 1.6-1.8 percent in the remaining months of 2018 (Photo: www.baogiaothong.vn)


    Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, who is also head of the National Steering Committee on Price Management, has asked for more efforts to keep core inflation at between 1.6-1.8 percent in the remaining months of 2018.

    Core inflation is the CPI exclusive of fresh food, energy and State-run health and education services.

    Under a recent guidance of the Deputy Prime Minister, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) was requested to manage monetary and fiscal policies to ensure inflation control targets.

    The central bank needs to control currency supply and balance foreign currency sources from foreign investment, while controlling the total credit in terms of both structure and quality. 

    It was also urged to take measures to stablise exchange and interest rates. 

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) will work with the Ministry of Finance to manage domestic petroleum prices via the reasonable use of the price stabilisation fund, thus stablising the price of the commodity.

    The MoIT will be responsible for managing power price in line with the price management scenario in 2018. 

    It is forecast that the next nine months, price increase pressure will come mainly from market-related factors such as the price recovery of petroleum and key materials in the world market, and the 

    implementation of market price roadmap for public services such as health care, education and those using State budget.-

    Party General Secretary hosts Chinese State Councillor


    Vietnamese, Turkmen foreign ministries hold political consultation, Vietnam attends ASEANSAI conference in Indonesia, Deputy PM calls for efforts to keep core inflation at 1.6-1.8 percent 

    General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong (R) receives Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Hanoi on April 2  

    General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong received Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Hanoi on April 2, voicing his hope that the official will contribute more to the countries’ comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

    General Secretary Trong congratulated China on successfully organising the 2018 sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the People’s Political Consultative Conference (PPCC) and electing the State and Government leadership for the new tenure. He also congratulated Wang Yi on being appointed State Councillor and Foreign Minister of China.

    He affirmed that the Vietnamese Party and State always treasure the friendly neighbourliness and sound cooperation with China, stressing that the two sides need to enhance friendship, cooperation, mutual support and common development in the time ahead.

    The host leader asked both sides to adhere to the common perceptions between leaders of the two Parties and countries and the reached agreements. They also need to seriously implement the agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues, control disagreements well, take no actions to complicate the situation, and together make efforts to maintain peace and stability in the EastSea.

    For his part, Wang Yi said he is happy to pay an official visit to Vietnam and attend the sixth Greater Mekong Sub-region Summit. He also congratulated Vietnam on successfully hosting the summit.

    He informed his host about the outcomes of his visit and the recent sessions of the NPC and the PPCC.

    He affirmed that the Chinese Party, Government and people attach special importance to the relationship with Vietnam. He noted with satisfaction the new strides in all fields of bilateral cooperation, asking the two sides to continue increasing strategic exchanges and cooperation, control sea-related disagreements well, and maintain the positive trend in the two Parties and countries’ relations.

    VNN

    0 0
  • 04/03/18--03:07: Article 0
  • Condotel segment forecast to keep booming in 2018


    The condotel (condo hotel) market is forecast to remain attractive to investors in 2018, with increasing amounts of capital poured by both domestic and foreign investors into the segment.


     

    Condotel segment forecast to keep booming in 2018, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news 

    Nguyen Tran Nam, Chairman of the Vietnam Real Estate Association (VREA), said the occupancy rate of hotels in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as well as luxury resorts exceeded 90%, describing room booking during holidays as a hard task. 

    “Hundreds of thousands of rooms need to be built to meet tourists’ demand,” he said. 

    Condotels and villa resorts have formed a new trend of investment in Vietnam in recent years, Nam said, citing more than 12,500 out of more than 22,800 available condotel apartments traded successfully in 2017 in major destinations like Da Nang, Khanh Hoa, Phu Quoc and Binh Thuan in the central region and the northern province of Quang Ninh. 

    Big domestic investors such as Vingroup, Sun Group and CEO Group have also invested in condotel projects. 

    According to VREA, Khanh Hoa province has the most condotels with upwards of 11,800 apartments, followed by Da Nang city with more than 7,000. Quang Ninh, a newcomer, put up to 1,300 condotel apartments on sale last year. 

    Stephen Wyatt, General Director of Joneslanglasalle Vietnam, a real estate services firm specialising in commercial property and investment management, explained that investors want to utilise the development of Vietnam’s tourism. 

    In 2017, Vietnam welcomed nearly 13 million international tourists, an increase of 30% against the previous year. Thanks to the number, Vietnam has been named in the list of the world’s top ten fastest growing travel destinations. 

    The demand for villa resorts and condotels will not cool down in the near future as Vietnam aims turn tourism into an economic spearhead. 

    The country is expected serve 15 million foreign arrivals in 2018 and up to 20 million in 2020. By 2020, the number of domestic holiday-makers is projected at 82 million and the sector’s contribution to national GDP at more than 10%. 

    However, Nam said, the condotel sector still faces challenges in terms of legality, adding that condotels have yet to be regulated, which has caused difficulties for State management agencies, and affected the interests of people and businesses. 

    Only the Tourism Law 2017 identifies condotel and villa resort as tourism accommodation establishments, he said.

    Nam underlined the need to soon address issues regarding the land granting, condotel and villa resort property rights certificates, possession duration, transfer of contracts and construction standards, among others.

    VNA

    0 0
  • 04/04/18--01:17: Article 3
  • Government News 4/4


    NA officials inspect Vietnam-Laos immigration agreement execution



    NA officials inspect Vietnam-Laos immigration agreement execution, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc receives German Ambassador, Ministry to speed up restructuring to ensure growth target 

    Scene at the working session


    A delegation from the National Assembly (NA) Committee for External Affairs met authorities in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien on April 3 to examine the local implementation of the VietnamLaos agreement on tackling free migration and undocumented marriage in their shared border areas.

    At the function, Deputy Chairman of the NA committee Nguyen Manh Tien praised efforts made by Dien Bien in carrying out the pact and asked the local authority to study the life of Vietnamese in Laos and help them overcome difficulties.

    The delegation noted shortcomings of addressing free migration and undocumented marriage in Vietnam - Laos border areas, which were said to partly stem from poverty among immigrants.

    Nguyen Thanh Do, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, reported since a project to implement the agreement was approved in 2013, Dien Bien has studied and classified the groups in border areas of Dien Bien, and Laos’ Luang Prabang and Phongsaly provinces.

    The three localities are completing their lists on the groups for proposing who will stay and who will leave, he added.

    Do said the implementation has contributed to improving the state management of population and national border, adding that it plays an important role in tackling the free migration issue and contributes to border security and socio-economic development of the areas.

    Earlier the same day, the delegation worked with authorities in Dien Bien district and officials at the Tay Trang international border gate, while visiting Na U commune to learn about free migration and undocumented marriage here.

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc receives German Ambassador
     

     

    NA officials inspect Vietnam-Laos immigration agreement execution, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc receives German Ambassador, Ministry to speed up restructuring to ensure growth target
    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) receives German Ambassador to Vietnam Christian Berger


    Vietnam treasures ties with Germany and wishes for the further development of bilateral cooperation, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has told German Ambassador to Vietnam Christian Berger.

    During the reception for the diplomat in Hanoi on April 3, he highly appreciated cooperation projects between the two countries which have been carrying out in Vietnam in economic, education-training and cultural fields.

    Ambassador Berger, for his part, thanked Vietnamese ministries and sectors for their cooperation to promote the two countries’ relations.

    He talked some measures to enhance the Vietnam-Germany relations, especially in economic, trade, investment, education and cultural areas.

    Taking note the Ambassador’s opinions, PM Phuc proposed both sides actively work together to boost the Vietnam-Germany ties.

    He welcomed German businesses to do business in Vietnam and affirmed the Government and relevant agencies of Vietnam will facilitate their operations in the country.

    Ministry to speed up restructuring to ensure growth target
     

     

    NA officials inspect Vietnam-Laos immigration agreement execution, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc receives German Ambassador, Ministry to speed up restructuring to ensure growth target
    MARD Deputy Minister Ha Cong Tuan addresses the press conference 


    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) will speed up the restructuring process as part of efforts to ensure the set growth target for the year will be achieved, said Deputy Minister Ha Cong Tuan.

    Speaking at a quarterly press conference of the ministry in Hanoi on April 3, Tuan said that this year, the ministry will focus on measures to stabilize and expand export markets, as difficulties are being seen in many major markets of Vietnamese agro-forestry-fishery products, including China, the EU, and the US.

    In 2018, the sector aims for a GDP growth of at least 3 percent, along with 40.5 billion USD in export revenue, nearly 40 percent of communes nationwide recognised as new-style rural areas, and 41.65 percent of forest coverage.

    Tuan said that together with restructuring to improve productivity and quality of farm produces, the ministry will design plans to develop major product groups to meet market demands and adapt to climate change.

    Agricultural product processing will receive more attention, he added.

    Meanwhile, Tran Van Cong, deputy head of the MARD’s Department of Processing and Trade for Agro-forestry-fisheries Products, said that the ministry will drastically streamline and simplify administrative procedures. In April, the ministries will reduce procedures of inspection to avoid overlapping.

    According to the General Statistics Office, in the first quarter of 2018, the GDP growth of the sector reached 4.05 percent, the highest figure in the recent 13 years. Production value of agro-forestry-fisheries products was estimated at about 189.5 trillion VND, up 4.18 percent over the same period last year.

    Export revenue of the products in the first three months of this year hit nearly 8.7 billion USD, a rise of 9.6 percent year on year and reaching 21.4 percent of the yearly target.

    As of March 20, the country has 3,289 communes, or 36.84 percent of total communes, have been recognised as new-style rural areas, 220 communes higher than that in the end of 2017.

    ASEAN, US hold 31st dialogue in Malaysia
     

     

    NA officials inspect Vietnam-Laos immigration agreement execution, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc receives German Ambassador, Ministry to speed up restructuring to ensure growth target
    Scene at the event (Photo: asean.usmission.gov)


    ASEAN and the US underscored the importance of their strategic partnership at their 31st dialogue in Selangor, Malaysia on April 2-3

    Participating representatives of the US and ASEAN celebrated the growth of political, security, economic and cultural ties between the sides, reflected through implementation outcomes of their action plan for 2016 – 2020. The plan saw 83 out of its 95 activities and projects carried out.

    A number of fruitful US-supported programmes in ASEAN included the Trade & Investment Framework Agreements, Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) Initiative, US-ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment project, Young Southeast Asian Leaders initiative, and Lower Mekong Initiative.

    The ASEAN member countries praised the Trump Government for maintaining its commitment to the bloc and stated their willingness to work with the nation to increase ASEAN self-reliance and realise the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

    ASEAN and the US agreed to effectively implement their action plan for 2016 – 2020, particularly in such realms as free trade – investment, digital economics, connectivity, marine cooperation, education, people-to-people exchange, and response to nontraditional security threats.

    Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton highlighted the importance of ASEAN in the US policy on Asia– Pacific.

    Voicing her support toward the bloc’s solidarity, unity, and centrality in the regional architecture, the official said the US will continue helping ASEAN tackle nontraditional security challenges like marine security, cybercrime, and terrorism.

    Thornton introduced the US’s idea of a free and open Indo-Asia-Pacific strategy, noting that through it, the US wants to work with ASEAN and other partners in the region to build a rules-based order of equality, free trade and investment.

    The US welcomes the negotiation between the bloc and China on the Code of Conduct of Parties in the EastSea in line with international law, including the UNCLOS, she added.

    She affirmed that the US supports peaceful settlement of disputes in the EastSea based on international law, stressing the importance of free navigation and overflight on the waters, respect to territorial sovereignty, and non-militarization.

    Addressing the event, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung said Vietnam attached importance to the ASEAN – US strategic partnership.

    The Vietnamese diplomat lauded the sides’ implementation of their action plan for 2016 – 2020 and the US’s practical moves to keep commitments to and foster cooperation with ASEAN.

    On behalf of the bloc member states, Dung affirmed ASEAN’s stance and principles on the EastSea issue.

    He listed opportunities and challenges that ASEAN, the US, and other dialogue partners of the bloc need to work together to address, including piracy, human and drug trafficking, illegal fishing, marine environmental protection, and peaceful settlement of disputes.

    He added the collaboration can be achieved through regional frameworks and mechanism like the ASEAN Regional Forum, East Asia Summit, and Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum, based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to maintain a peaceful and stable environment in the region.

    Vietnam, Mongolia boost defence ties
     

     

    NA officials inspect Vietnam-Laos immigration agreement execution, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc receives German Ambassador, Ministry to speed up restructuring to ensure growth target
    Sen. Lieut. Gen. Phan Van Giang, Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army (right) hosts a reception for Chief of the General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces Lieut. Gen. Dulamsuren Davaa on April 3. (Photo: VOV)


    Vietnam and Mongolia should further intensify partnership through the exchange of visits at all levels, cooperation in personnel training and experience sharing in UN peacekeeping mission, said Sen. Lieut. Gen. Phan Van Giang, Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA).

    Giang made the suggestion during a reception for Chief of the General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces Lieut. Gen. Dulamsuren Davaa in Hanoi on April 3 who is on a visit to Vietnam.

    Since Vietnam and Mongolia signed a Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral defence cooperation in 2013, the two countries have worked to step up affiliation in delegation exchange, personnel training and experience sharing in UN peacekeeping activities, said Sen. Lt. Gen. Phan Van Giang.

    He thanked the Mongolian Ministry of Defence for inviting Vietnam to workshops within the framework of the multinational peacekeeping drill Khaan Quest 2016, which is the capstone exercise for the United Nations Global Peace Operations Initiative Programme.

    Lieut. Gen. Dulamsuren Davaa, for his part, expressed his hope to learn from the VPA’s experience in use and management of military equipment and to increase exchange of visits at levels with Vietnam to further expand the two countries’ ties in defence.

    Last week, during a meeting with Mongolian Ambassador to Vietnam Dash Bilegdorj, Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich affirmed the Vietnamese Defence Ministry is keen on working with its Mongolian equivalent to implement bilateral agreements more effectively, particularly in delegation exchanges, military health care, logistics and UN peacekeeping mission.-

    Vietnam hopes for stronger ties with Switzerland in green energy
     

     

    NA officials inspect Vietnam-Laos immigration agreement execution, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc receives German Ambassador, Ministry to speed up restructuring to ensure growth target
    Overview of the talks between Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and Doris Leuthard, a member of Switzerland’s Federal Council and head of the Federation Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication in Hanoi on April 3 


    Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh has proposed that the Swiss Government continue paying attention to cooperation with Vietnam in energy development, renewable and green energy as well as climate change response.

    He hosted Doris Leuthard, a member of Switzerland’s Federal Council and head of the Federation Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication in Hanoi on April 3.

    Minister Anh showed his belief that the Swiss official’s visit will bring about new breakthroughs in the partnership between the two countries.

    He said that currently, Vietnam is opening its door and integrating into the world and that it will sign a free trade agreement with the EU and will implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

    A free trade agreement between Vietnam and four members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) - Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein– will be signed soon.

    He said that he believes that the deals will create favourable conditions and open up new opportunities for cooperation between Vietnam and its partners, including Switzerland.

    For her part, Leuthard said that Swiss firms were interested in Vietnam and seeking investment opportunities in energy.

    She affirmed that Switzerland highly values ties with Vietnam in all fields, highlighting affiliation potential between the two countries in the future, especially when progress has been seen in negotiations for the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EFTA.

    She agreed with Minister Anh that once the deal becomes effective, along with joint efforts of the governments, ministries, sectors, localities and businesses of both sides, the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Switzerland will continue thriving.

    State administrative apparatus needs reform for better efficiency
     

     

    NA officials inspect Vietnam-Laos immigration agreement execution, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc receives German Ambassador, Ministry to speed up restructuring to ensure growth target
    Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (second from right) attended an online conference reviewing Party building work in 2017 and deploying tasks of 2018. 


    Building a streamlined and effective apparatus for the political system is one of the key ta​sks that the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) has set for the 12th tenure.

    With high political resolve, Resolution 18-NQ/TW adopted by the 6th plenum of the 12th CPV Central Committee emphasised streamlining personnel in combination with re-organising, improving the quality of, and effectively using the contingent of officials, public servants and civil workers; cutting regular spending and contributing to reforming salary policies.

    To carry out the resolution along with related plans and resolutions of the CPV Politburo and the National Assembly, the Government issued a resolution on a Plan of Action on February 3, 2018, urging drastic and urgent actions.

    Under the resolution, the Government requires ministries, ministry-level agencies and Government agencies to review, re-arrange and streamline their apparatus, cut the numbers of general departments, departments, sections and sub-sections. The establishment of new organisations or sections under departments will not be allowed, except for special cases that need approval of competent authority. The number of project management units must be reduced to the minimum. Public non-business agencies must be merged and re-arranged to reduce their number and personnel.

    Right in the first quarter of 2018, ministers, heads of ministry-level agencies, heads of Government agencies, and Chairs of People’s Committees of provinces and centrally-run cities were ordered to design and issue plans to implement Resolution 18-NQ/TW and related plans and resolutions of the Politburo, the National Assembly and the Government.

    With a detailed plan and roadmap, the Plan of Action demonstrates the Government’s high resolve to concretise the Party’s policy, thus helping create remarkable changes in the awareness and actions of officials, public servants and civil workers at all levels as well as workers across all sectors and society as a whole regarding the reform of the political system’s apparatus.

    Previously, at a working session with the Government in August 2017, an inspection team of the National Assembly which monitored the reform of the State administrative apparatus during 2011-2016, noted that there were yet any remarkable changes in the Government’s organisation and structure in the direction of compactness and focusing on macro management and policy making, while cutting involvement in direct management and execution work.

    In the period from 2011 to 2016, the number of administrative units under ministries and ministry-level agencies increased by 28, while those under general departments rose by 822. As of June 2017, there were 42 general departments, double the number in the Government’s 11th tenure. The numbers of departments and sections also increased by between 4.7 and 13.6 percent compared to 2011.

    It is noteworthy that such an expanded apparatus was unable to cover all aspects of State management. According to the Government’s reports, in 2011 there were two aspects that had not been subject to State management and the problem was not solved until August 2017. At present, there are 18 aspects under overlapping management, or affected by differing viewpoints on the scope of responsibility among ministries and sectors.-

    Vietnam wants Japan’s support in overcoming war consequences

    Deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh has called for Japan’s support in dealing with war aftermaths, especially toxic chemical and dioxin consequences in Vietnam.
     

     

    NA officials inspect Vietnam-Laos immigration agreement execution, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc receives German Ambassador, Ministry to speed up restructuring to ensure growth target
    Dioxin-contaminated area in Bien Hoa airport


    He made the proposal during a working session with a delegation from Japan’s Foreign Ministry led by Yukiko Okano from the International Cooperation Bureau in Hanoi on April 3.

    Sen. Lieut. Gen. Vinh, who is head of the standing agency of the National Steering Committee on the Settlement of Post-war Unexploded Ordnance and Toxic Chemical Consequences (Committee 701), said that Vietnam hopes for having support from the international community, including Japan in dioxin remediation projects.

    He held that the Japanese delegation’s visit will lead to new cooperation activities between Vietnam and Japan in dealing with war aftermaths in general and dioxin consequences in Vietnam in particular, contributing to enhancing the partnership between the two countries.

    For her part, Yukiko Okano said that basing on information gathered during the visit, the delegation will discuss with experts and relevant agencies of Japan on the possibilities of cooperation with Vietnam in overcoming toxic chemical and dioxin remnants of war in Vietnam.

    The US army sprayed some 80 million litres of toxic chemicals from 1961 to 1971, 61 percent of which was Agent Orange containing 366 kilograms of dioxin, over nearly one quarter of the total area of South Vietnam.

    Preliminary statistics showed that 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin, and about 3 million people became victims. Tens of thousands of people have died while millions of others have suffered from cancer and other incurable diseases as a result. Many of their offspring have also suffered from birth deformities.

    VNN 

    0 0
  • 04/04/18--01:39: Article 2
  • Social News 4/4(Hourly Updated)


    Vietlott unveils lucky jackpot winner in HCM City


     

    New hospital building delayed due to slow compensation for residents, Artichokes help Sa Pa farmers prosper, Seat belt mandatory to prevent injury during accident, Only big breasted ladies need apply

    Vietnam Lottery Company (Vietlott) has recently awarded its jackpot 2 Power 6/55 worth more than VND25 billion to a very lucky customer, an 84 year-old man named T.H from HCMCity.

    According to an announcement by a Vietlott representative on April 3, the man brought the winning ticket to a Vietlott branch in HCMCity to collect his windfall prize.

    The winning numbers in the draw were 09 – 13 – 14 – 15 – 22 – 54. The Vietlot representative said Mr T.H was awarded the prize at a ceremony held in HCMCity recently. He is the oldest customer to have won the jackpot so far.

    Settling bomb, mine consequences urgent: PM


     

    New hospital building delayed due to slow compensation for residents, Artichokes help Sa Pa farmers prosper, Seat belt mandatory to prevent injury during accident, Only big breasted ladies need apply
    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the event.


    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked for greater efforts and higher awareness from relevant agencies in dealing with war-left landmines and unexploded ordnances (UXO) consequences and toxic chemical contaminated soil as the works is urgent to protect people’s safety and their living environment. 

    Speaking at an exchange programme marking International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action (April 4) in Hanoi on April 3, the leader asked for quick reduction of areas contaminated with bombs, mines and UXO, as well as better prevention and support for victims. 

    “Although the war has been over, the severe consequences of landmines, UXO and toxic chemicals still exist, affecting human health and living environment in many parts of the country,” said PM Phuc, who is also head of the National Steering Committee on the Settlement of Post-war Unexploded Ordnance and Toxic Chemical Consequences (Committee 701). 

    “Many people have lost their lives or suffered the loss of a part of their body or lost their loved ones. The consequences of landmine and UXO contamination have also limited socio-economic development and become an obstacle to Vietnam’s sustainable development goals,” he noted. 

    Over the past few years, the Party and the State have always paid great attention to the work, and rolled out major policies and guidelines to help overcome the consequences, especially supporting victims of landmines and toxic chemicals after the war, PM Phuc said. 

    Ministries, agencies and localities nationwide have also actively coordinated with international organisations to remove war-left bombs, mines and chemicals, he added. 

    The leader cited a dioxin remediation project at Da Nang airport between Vietnam and the US and another project on the settlement of bomb and mine consequences in the central provinces of Quang Binh and Quang Tri between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK). 

    He used the occasion to thank international donors and non-governmental organisations for providing equipment and funds to support these efforts. 

    The PM stressed that it is necessary to review relevant policies and laws, step up cooperation in this regard and increase information dissemination in order to raise public awareness of the work. 

    It is estimated that more than 6.1 million ha of land or 18.71 percent of Vietnam’s total area are contaminated with about 800,000 tonnes of bombs, mines and UXO left by wars, which are scattered over all 63 cities and provinces in the country, with the central region the hardest hit.

    Between 1975 and now, bombs and mines killed more than 40,000 people and injured 60,000 others, many of whom are family breadwinners and children. 

    Over 2,000 sappers died and got injured while searching for bombs and mines during the period.

    Vietnam decontaminated from 40,000-50,000 ha of land each year. However, it will take more than a century to clear all bombs and mines in the country, with an estimated cost of over 10 billion USD, excluding spending on resettlement and social welfare work in the danger zones.

    Lingering plight caused by war-left bombs, mines


     

    New hospital building delayed due to slow compensation for residents, Artichokes help Sa Pa farmers prosper, Seat belt mandatory to prevent injury during accident, Only big breasted ladies need apply
    Sappers are searching for war-left bombs and mines. 


    Post-war bombs and mines have remained a daily threat to people and a headache for Governments of many countries worldwide, including Vietnam.

    It is estimated that more than 6.1 million ha of land or 18.71 percent of Vietnam’s total area are contaminated with about 800,000 tonnes of bombs, mines and unexploded ordnances (UXO) left by wars, which are scattered over all 63 cities and provinces in the country, with the central region the hardest hit.

    Between 1975 and now, bombs and mines killed more than 40,000 people and injured 60,000 others, many of whom are family breadwinners and children. 

    Over 2,000 sappers died and got injured while searching for bombs and mines during the period. 

    Right after the end of war, the Vietnamese Party and State have identified the settlement of consequences caused by war-left bombs, mines and UXO as an urgent but regular, long-term task. 

    On April 21, 2010, the Prime Minister approved a national action programme on overcoming post-war bomb and mine consequences during 2010-2025 (Programme 504), aiming to mobilise domestic and foreign resources for these efforts. 

    During 2010-2015, the programme focused on surveying and drawing up a map of danger zones of bombs, mines and UXO. A centre was set up to manage data of bomb and mine victims, contamination situation and countermeasures. 

    For the 2016-2025 period, the Government aims to clear about 800,000 ha of bomb-and mine-polluted land, while calling for domestic and international resources for the implementation of the programme. 

    At the same time, residents living in the danger zones will be relocated and bomb and mine clearance projects will be added to local socio-economic development plans. 

    The Prime Minister issued a decision on May 24, 2017 on the establishment of the National Steering Committee on the Settlement of Post-war Unexploded Ordnance and Toxic Chemical Consequences (Committee 701).

    The committee has been tasked with proposing solutions to mobilise donations at home and abroad for the settlement of consequences of post-war bombs, mines and toxic chemicals in Vietnam

    Apart from the Vietnamese Government’s efforts, international donors and non-governmental organisations have provided equipment and finance to support the settlement of bomb and mine consequences in the country. 

    Thanks to the joint efforts, each year, Vietnam decontaminated from 40,000-50,000 ha of land. However, it will take more than a century to clear all bombs and mines in the country, with an estimated cost of over 10 billion USD, excluding spending on resettlement and social welfare work in the danger zones. 

    In Vietnam, 40 social service centres and 400 rehabilitation centres have been established so far to assist people with disabilities, including victims of post-war bombs and mines. 

    All bomb and mines victims in the country have been entitled to social welfare benefits such as free health insurance cards and support in functional rehabilitation and vocational training.

    Vietnamese Embassy assists Vietnamese victims in Bangkok apartment fire


    New hospital building delayed due to slow compensation for residents, Artichokes help Sa Pa farmers prosper, Seat belt mandatory to prevent injury during accident, Only big breasted ladies need apply 

    Some 13 Vietnamese were injured when a fire broke out inside the Ratchathewi Apartment in Bangkok on early April 3. (Photo: Khaosodenglish/VNA) 

    Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand Nguyen Hai Bang visited and offered comfort to 13 Vietnamese who were injured when a fire broke out inside the Ratchathewi Apartment in Bangkok on early April 3.

    The Vietnamese victims, who were sent to four hospitals in Bangkok, are getting better and two of them were discharged from the hospitals.

    The fire occurred at about 2:30 am on April 3. The flames quickly engulfed the seventh floor of the 30-year-old Ratchathewi Apartment, where some 30 Vietnamese, mostly students, live, in a lane on
    Phetchaburi street
    and later spread to the upper floors. 

    At least three people were killed and about 60 others were injured in the fire.

    Two out of the three dead were identified not Vietnamese while the remaining’s identify remains unknown.

    The Embassy of Vietnam to Thailand said they continue to keep a close watch on the case, get regular updates from local authorities, and take necessary steps to protect Vietnamese citizens.

    Thai authority suspected that a short circuit might have caused the fire.

    18,000 synthetic drug pills seized in Son La


     

    New hospital building delayed due to slow compensation for residents, Artichokes help Sa Pa farmers prosper, Seat belt mandatory to prevent injury during accident, Only big breasted ladies need apply
    One of the arrested drug traffickers


    Two Lao nationals carrying 18,000 synthetic drug pills and two heroin bricks were arrested in the northern mountainous province of Son La on April 2.

    The arrest was carried out by the provincial border guard’s department for drug and crime prevention in collaboration with the Chieng Tuong border guard station in local Yen Chau district and Yen Chau police.

    During the capture, a Yen Chau police officer was injured. He is under treatment at Moc Chau hospital.

    The two traffickers, born in 1986 and 1969, reside in Xam Neua, Laos’ Houaphan province. They admitted they were hired by a Vietnamese to transport the drugs from Laos to Vietnam.

    The case is under investigation.

    VFF leader congratulates Catholics, Protestants on Easter


     

    New hospital building delayed due to slow compensation for residents, Artichokes help Sa Pa farmers prosper, Seat belt mandatory to prevent injury during accident, Only big breasted ladies need apply
    President of the VFF Central Committee Tran Thanh Man (centre, left) extend​s Easter greetings to Catholic and Protestant dignitaries and followers in Hanoi on a visit to the Hanoi Archdiocese and the Evangelical Church of Vietnam on April 3.


    President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Tran Thanh Man extended Easter greetings to Catholic and Protestant dignitaries and followers in Hanoi while visiting the Hanoi Archdiocese and the Evangelical Church of Vietnam (North) on April 3. 

    In a meeting with Archbishop of the Hanoi Archdiocese Cardinal Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon, Man highlighted the country’s outstanding achievements of socio-economic development and major activities in the front work in 2017, saying that Catholics nationwide have made great contributions to attainments. 

    He expressed his belief that Cardinal Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon will encourage Catholic dignitaries and followers in the Hanoi Archdiocese to continue participating in patriotic movements and campaigns launched by the VFF, and implementing a programme on environmental protection and climate change adaptation.

    Cardinal Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon promised to continuously encourage parishioners to abide by legal regulations, and join hands in consolidating the national great unity bloc. 

    While visiting the Evangelical Church of Vietnam (North), Man said he believed head of the church Pastor Nguyen Huu Mac will work to encourage the Protestant community to join social activities and patriotic movements launched by the VFF.

    Pastor Nguyen Huu Mac thanked for the Party, State and VFF’s attention to and facilitation for the church’s activities and the development of its chapters in localities. 

    He affirmed the church will make more contributions to the national construction and defence.

    AFC lauds Vietnam’s female football squad


     

    New hospital building delayed due to slow compensation for residents, Artichokes help Sa Pa farmers prosper, Seat belt mandatory to prevent injury during accident, Only big breasted ladies need apply
    Vietnam’s female football squad (Source: the-afc.com)


    The Vietnamese have a proud record in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Championship, having been crowned regional champions in 2006 and 2012, while their most recent showing, in 2016, saw them finish as runners-up after losing to Thailand on penalties in the final. 

    They have been even more successful in the SEA Games, winning the gold medal in five of the past seven tournaments, including edging Thailand on goal difference to take first place last year, according to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

    At the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018, Vietnam found the net 27 times to win all four qualifying matches. 

    Following a ten-day training camp in Germany, the Vietnamese girls flew to Jordan for the tournament’s finals on April 2. They are scheduled to have a further four days of training in Amman, Jordan

    The team will face Japan on April 7, Australia on April 10, and the Republic of Korea on April 13.

    Coach Mai Duc Chung expressed his confidence in the team and called on them to follow the example of U23 Vietnam, who brought home the silver medal from the AFC U23 Championship last January.

    Writing contest promotes Ha Long tourism


     

    New hospital building delayed due to slow compensation for residents, Artichokes help Sa Pa farmers prosper, Seat belt mandatory to prevent injury during accident, Only big breasted ladies need apply

    The northern coastal city of Ha Long launched a press contest on local tourism as part of activities to promote National Tourism Year – Ha Long – Quang Ninh 2018.

    The competition is themed the smile of Ha Long, which is also the name of a local campaign that began in November 2014 aiming to turn each resident into an ambassador of hospitality. 

    Submissions must be articles published on printed or online newspapers between January 1 and October 31, 2018, focusing on real-life events and people that reflect the charm of local tourism.

    The northern province of Quang Ninh, home to the World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay, is host of National Tourism Year 2018 themed “Ha Long-Heritage, Wonder, Friendly Destination”. It is set to host at least 51 cultural, sports and tourism events throughout the year.

    Highlights include the opening ceremony and Carnaval Ha Long 2018 in Ha Long city, which is scheduled for April 28. 

    The locality welcomed 4.6 million tourists in the first quarter of 2018, up 21 percent against the same period last year, including 1.3 million foreigners, up 8 percent. It earned more than 7.3 trillion VND (320.4 million USD) from tourism, a year-on-year rise of 24 percent.

    Vu A Dinh Scholarship Fund strives to give bigger aid to needy students


     

    New hospital building delayed due to slow compensation for residents, Artichokes help Sa Pa farmers prosper, Seat belt mandatory to prevent injury during accident, Only big breasted ladies need apply
    Scene at the event  

    “We are making efforts to give ethnic minority students bigger scholarships so they can cover living expense, study well and become good citizens,” said former Vice President Truong My Hoa, who is President of Vu A Dinh Scholarship Fund.

    She made the remarks at the award ceremony of Vu A Dinh scholarships for impoverished ethnic minority students in Ho Chi Minh City on April 3.

    The fund provides about 5,000 scholarships to needy students every year, according to the fund President.

    Since the start of the 2017-2018 academic year, Vu A Dinh scholarships, worth 1 – 1.5 million VND each, were presented to poor students in 39 cities and provinces throughout the country as a gesture to recognize their hard work and motivate them to continue education, she noted.

    In this school year, the Vu A Dinh scholarships have been award to over 161 excellent students from difficult backgrounds who are studying at schools in HCMCity.

    This year, Be Phuong Thao, a third-year student of the University of Science, VietnamNationalUniversityHCMCity, received a scholarship for the second time. 

    “The scholarship has helped me cover parts of my living expenses and gave me motivation to continue study to become a math teacher and serve my hometown,” said Thao, who is from the Nung ethnic minority group.

    In addition, the Vu A Dinh Scholarship Fund has also hosted a number of programmes to support ethnic minority students, including the “Mo duong tuong lai” (Pave the way to the future) project which provided education for 100 ethnic minority girls, 50 of whom has graduated with Bachelor’s degree. 

    The other, “Thap sang tuong lai” (Light the future) project, is designed to provide education for students from 6th to 12th grades. Some 270 students have benefited from the project so far.

    The Vu A Dinh Scholarship Fund, established in 1999 by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee, aims to support ethnic minority students who are from poor families and achieve outstanding academic performances.

    New hospital building delayed due to slow compensation for residents


     

    New hospital building delayed due to slow compensation for residents, Artichokes help Sa Pa farmers prosper, Seat belt mandatory to prevent injury during accident, Only big breasted ladies need apply
    A design of the new facility for HCMCityHospital for Traumatology and Orthopaedics. Source http://www.medinet.hochiminhcity.gov.vn 

    Slow compensation for residents affected by the construction project has delayed construction on a new facility for HCMCityHospital for Traumatology and Orthopaedics for six years.

    The project to build the new facility was approved by the Prime Minister in 2010. In 2011, investors designed to build a 5,000-square metre facility, which was later expanded to more than 7,000 square metres.

    HCM City People’s Committee has instructed the authorities of Bình Chánh District, where the new facility will be located, and investors to speed up the construction many times, but the project still has not yet been started.

    In 2016, for instance, the committee required that the project begin in December of that year and would be expected to be completed this year.

    According to the city Department of Health, construction on the new facility with 500 beds was delayed to the second quarter of last year. Its total capital is VNĐ1.7 billion (US$75,555).

    However, Phụ Nữ (Women) newspaper reports that until now, no construction work has been done. The project continues to be delayed because of slow clearance and compensation.

    A 60-year-old woman living on the construction site said that her family still had not yet received money for compensation so they had not moved to another place to live.

    Phan Quang Trí, HCMCityHospital for Traumatology and Orthopaedics’s head, told the newspaper that nearly 2,000 patients every day visited the hospital for health examinations and treatment.

    All the hospital’s rooms for health examination and surgeries as well as others are being degraded, according to Trí.

    It needs a new facility to meet the demand of the high number of patients, he said, adding that patients would be in more clean, airy and hygienic rooms.

    The hospital’s leaders do not know the reason why this new facility is stalled.

    They want construction to begin soon for the hospital to be able to improve the quality of health examinations and treatment as well as provide professional technical training.

    Bình Chánh District’s People’s Committee has not yet explained the delay of the project and the slowness in compensation.

    Acecook Việt Nam to sponsor national football teams


    New hospital building delayed due to slow compensation for residents, Artichokes help Sa Pa farmers prosper, Seat belt mandatory to prevent injury during accident, Only big breasted ladies need apply 

    The Việt Nam Football Federation’s general secretary Lê Hoài Anh (right) and representative of Acecook Việt Nam Joint Stock Company in the signing ceremony on April 2. - Photo vff.org.vn 

    Acecook Việt Nam Joint Stock Company has inked a one-year contract with the Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF) in HCMCity to become the sponsor of national football teams.

    Attending the signing ceremony on April 2 was VFF general secretary Lê Hoài Anh, head coach of the national senior football team Park Hang-seo and general director of Acecook Kajiwara Junichi.

    Under the deal, Acecook will sponsor the national senior men’s football team, U23 team and national women’s team.

    Junichi said Acecook did not outline any goals for the Vietnamese teams but hoped they would achieve a lot.

    Anh said Acecook’s sponsorship would be a great support for the national teams to compete in international tournaments this year.

    For the first time in the country’s history, six Vietnamese football teams qualified for the finals of Asian championships, including the national team, national U23 team and women’s team.

    In 2018, VFF plans to spend some VNĐ70 billion (US$3.1 million) on the teams’ training and competition to help them prove the country’s talent in football in the international arena.

    Seat belt mandatory to prevent injury during accident


     

    New hospital building delayed due to slow compensation for residents, Artichokes help Sa Pa farmers prosper, Seat belt mandatory to prevent injury during accident, Only big breasted ladies need apply
    Parents practice wearing seat belt at the “Protect Your Precious” campaign in Hà Nội.  

    People who do not wear a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be thrown out of a vehicle during a crash.

    More than 75 per cent of people who are ejected during a fatal crash die from their injuries.

    The information was released at the launching of “Protect Your Precious” campaign in Hà Nội on Sunday. Co-organised by General Motors Việt Nam (GM Việt Nam), Việt Nam National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC), Ministry of Education and Training and Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation, it aimed to promote the use of safety seats for children and raise awareness of the importance of children wearing seat belts.

    The campaign includes a series of communication activities and three knowledge-sharing workshops for car-owning parents in Hà Nội, Đà Nẵng and HCMCity.

    Nguyễn Trọng Thái, NTSC’s chief officer, said there were more than 20 fatalities and 60 injuries (in Việt Nam) every day due to road accidents. Annually, accidents cost 2.5-2.9 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, or VNĐ250-300 billion (US$11 million - $13 million) per day.

    According to AIP Foundation, children are particularly vulnerable and road accident is the second-leading cause of death of Vietnamese children in the five to 14 age group. Every four minutes around the world, a child dies in a road crash. In Việt Nam, 2,000 children die in road accidents every year. 

    “As Việt Nam’s economy continues to grow, so too will the number of families who own cars and use them as their main mode of transportation. To protect our children and promote a culture of road safety, we must encourage safe habits among all road users, whether it’s wearing a helmet or buckling a seat belt,” said Greig Craft, President of AIP Foundation.

    “GM Việt Nam is conducting this campaign to join the Government’s efforts in ensuring the safety of young passengers through the 2018 National Traffic Safety Year, which is themed on ‘Traffic Safety for Children’”, said Ian Nicholls, president of GM Southeast Asia.

    The 2018 National Traffic Safety Year aims to reduce the number of children deaths caused by accidents by 10 per cent from last year.

    Government’s Decree 46/2016 made it mandatory since the beginning of this year for passengers in the back seats of a car to put on their seat belts on the road. Violators will be imposed a fine of VNĐ100,000-200,000. The old regulation only required the driver and passenger sitting next to the driver to wear seat belts.

    Artichokes help SaPa farmers prosper


     

    New hospital building delayed due to slow compensation for residents, Artichokes help Sa Pa farmers prosper, Seat belt mandatory to prevent injury during accident, Only big breasted ladies need apply 

    Artichokes are native to the Mediterranean region and can be found throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas, but they are less frequently encountered in Asian countries.

    They were first brought to Việt Nam by the French at the turn of the 20th century. The preferred regions to grow them were those with a more temperate climate, such as SaPa, Đà Lạt and Tam Đảo.

    Artichokes grown in the Sa Pa District of Lào Cai Province contain a high concentration of cynarin (artichoke concentrate) which can reduce cholesterol production by the liver and expel cholesterol from the liver and gallbladder. This process then stimulates liver bile production and distribution, which in turn helps in the breakdown of fat.

    During the 1990’s artichokes were so common in Sa Pa that local people would regularly collect the leaves, flowers or roots for personal use. The over exploitation of artichokes without proper re-cultivation eventually led to the plants becoming near-extinct in the region.

    By 1998 deputy general director of Traphaco Joint Stocks Company Nguyễn Huy Văn declared that the company intended on restoring artichoke farms to SaPa, having discovered that only a few artichoke trees were preserved in the region – in the garden of the Sa Pa Herbs Research Centre – part of the Herbal Medicine Institute.

    Traphaco asked the institute to import artichoke seeds from New Zealand and the Netherlands, or alternatively to transport them from the CentralHighlandCity of Đà Lạt in order to be planted in Sa Pa. Unfortunately, the seeds failed to adapt to the chilled climate of the mountainous northern region.

    “We finally concentrated on revitalizing artichoke production in SaPa, starting with the few trees nursed by the Herbal Medicine Institute,” Văn said, adding that it was essential that they applied the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines on sustainable agricultural and collection practices during the process.

    The company shared artichoke farming techniques with local farmers, helping them to grow the fruit, and committed to purchasing all output.

    Văn pointed out that Việt Nam has around 4,000 herbal remedies, meaning a valuable market could be created from utilising local knowledge in the field.

    “Currently, traditional medicine is not only limited to traditional methods of herbal medicine production but also the application of advanced science and technology from product development and plant care to harvest, processing and packaging,” Văn said.

    Thào A Từ, a farmer from Suối Hồ Hamlet, Sa Pa District said that since 2011, he has shifted more than 3,000 sq.m of land from rice production to artichokes, earning him around VNĐ70 million (US$ 3,000) annually– six times more than  he would have earned from rice cultivation.

    “Thanks to artichoke farming, I can afford to send my two children to school and build a new house,” Từ said.

    Another farmer Thào A Cáng, from Suối Hồ Hamlet, Sa Pả Commune, Sa Pa District said that before co-operation with Traphaco his family attempted to grow artichokes, but the trees wouldn’t adapt to the climate.

    Cáng went on to say that after Traphaco shared their growing methods and sent technicians to his farm to advise him, he could produce seedlings in abundance and even grow other crops in his artichoke garden to bring in more money.

    “I have worked with the company for eight years. I was the first farmer who grew artichokes in my hamlet,” Cáng said, adding that he later taught other farmers in the area to develop their artichoke farms.

    Director of LàoCaiProvince’s Agriculture Department Nguyễn Anh Tuấn said that nearly 200 families were growing artichokes on total area of 100 ha in two districts – Lào Cai and Bắc Hà - in the province.

    One hectare of artichokes could generate around VNĐ 300 million ($13,000) annually, and farmers could earn a yearly profit of up to VNĐ 150 million per hectare.

    “In artichoke farming zones, farmers have better incomes than others in the province,” Tuấn said.

    Tuấn said that thanks to the WHO’s guidelines on good agricultural and collection practices (GACP-WHO), production of artichokes in the province has noticeably increased.

    “Artichokes can grow well when combining local weather with improved cultivation from local farmers,” Tuấn said.

    He also said that the mountainous northern province wanted to expand artichoke production, although this is dependant on market demand.

    Besides artichokes, Traphaco are also co-operating with pharmaceutical companies to pilot growing other crops that could be used as herbal remedies

    Việt Nam Youth Theatre celebrates 40th anniversary


    New hospital building delayed due to slow compensation for residents, Artichokes help Sa Pa farmers prosper, Seat belt mandatory to prevent injury during accident, Only big breasted ladies need apply
    German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle will be performed by the Việt Nam Youth Theatre in celebration of the theatre’s 40th anniversary. Photo sankhau.com.vn


    The Việt Nam Youth Theatre will perform a series of plays in Hà Nội between April 5 - 10 to mark the 40th anniversary of its establishment. The opening performance of the five day extravaganza will be the play Ai Là Thủ Phạm (Who is the Culprit).  

    Written by the late playwright Lưu Quang Vũ, Ai Là Thủ Phạm brings to life the day-to-day experiences of families living in Hà Nội during the subsidy period of the 1980’s. The play deals with the generational differences of its characters, highlighting each generation’s approaches to social evils like corruption and moral depravity.

    Director Chí Trung has successfully recreated the subsidy-era characters on stage for the audience to experience. The play will be performed by prominent artists such as Lê Khanh, Minh Hằng and Đức Khuê – all of whom hail from the first generation of contemporary Vietnamese theatre.

    "The Youth Theatre is the only one to perform for young audiences in Việt Nam," said Chí Trung, who is also the theatre director. "The Youth Theatre is a go-to destination for young art lovers.”

    "The theatre will continue its mission to make good use of traditional culture to develop its performances. In the future the theatre will produce works in Broadway form. Additionally, the theatre will continue its music and theatre productions for young audiences."

    Established in 1978, the Youth Theatre has not only performed in Việt Nam but also co-operates with art troupes in countries such as Japan and Germany. It is currently a member of the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ).

    The theatre artists will perform the best from Đời Cười (Laughing Life), a comedy series that has attracted large audiences since its debut in 2001, as well as a music show on April 6 & 7 at the Hà Nội Opera House.

    On top of this, a street carnival will kick off at 10am on April 8 in the walking streets around HoànKiếmLake, giving the public a chance to watch performers parade in festive costumes. The day will be marked by two shows, including an open-door music show starting at 8pm at the Lý Thái Tổ Statue on Đinh
    Tiên Hoàng Street
    , and a performance of The Caucasian Chalk Circle at the Hà Nội Opera House.

    The The Caucasian Chalk Circle will be staged by German Dominik Guenther as part of an ongoing co-operation project between the Youth Theatre and Goethe Institute.

    A meeting of established and emerging artists who have worked at the theatre during its 40-year lifetime will be held on April 9 at the Hà Nội Opera House.

    Located at
    11 Ngô Thì Nhậm Street
    , Hai Bà Trưng District, the 500-seat Việt Nam Youth Theatre is among the rare State-owned theatre spaces in the capital city to perform three last days a week.

    Shuttlecocks and shuttle flights

    Employee benefits are important to many workers, but at the end of the day employers decided when and how they are doled out.

    An airport in the central province of Đồng Hới was fined VNĐ35 million (US$1,500) last week for closing a terminal so staff could play badminton.

    The terminal was closed from 7.55am to 9am, causing chaos for passengers of an aircraft coming from KhánhHòaProvince, who had to claim their baggage at a restricted area in another terminal.

    Some passengers who arrived at the airport early for their flights were forced to wait for the games to end before checking in.

    Kudos to the airport bosses for giving staff a chance to exercise. But perhaps shutting an entire terminal in the middle of the day was a step too far.

    Never too late

    Some say gender equality starts at home. Unfortunately, it certainly didn’t in the case of an elderly woman in TháiBìnhProvince, who divorced her husband at the age of 86 because “he never washes dishes.”

    Dzung and her ex-husband married when she was in her twenties. The man never once helped with household chores during their 60 years of marriage, Dzung said.

    “All these years all I asked of him was, for once, to help me to cook a meal or wash dishes when I was ill with a fever or had back pain,” she said. “But he never did.”

    She wanted to get divorced twice, in 1985 and 1992, but her family talked her out of it. In September 2014, Dzung decided she was through and filed for divorce. She was officially freed from the marriage in 2016.

    Having no children with her ex-husband, now at 88, Dzuing enjoys her time at a nursing home in Hà Nội, supported by her retirement pension and her relatives, with no husband in sight.

    A friendly reminder to men who think household chores are a woman’s job: Don’t take anything for granted, even a person you may think belongs to you.

    Only big breasted ladies need apply

    Appearance doesn’t seem to be a requirement just for beauty pageants anymore, but also for getting work in the railway sector.

    The Ministry of Health caused confusion last week with its announcement of health requirements for train drivers and assistants.

    The proposal included a breast measurement requirement: men’s not smaller than 80cm and women’s not smaller than 75cm. People with upper jaw protrusions were also unfit for rail work, the proposal said.

    The requirements hit the headlines, and after much debate from citizens, a health ministry official explained the breast size specifications.

    “It is only a biological measure to ensure candidates have large lung expansion and good respiration and are able to meet the job’s requirements,” said Lê Lương Đống, head of the Rehabilitation Department under the health ministry’s Medical Services Administration, member of the proposal drafting group.

    As for the jaw deformity, as if realising it has nothing to do with the job, Đổng said it will no longer be an issue for potential candidates.

    Next time if they plan to keep on having odd job requirements, officials may want to consider including an appendix.

    GM Vietnam launches Child Passenger Safety Campaign across Vietnam

    General Motors Vietnam, part of US automotive giant GM, has just kicked off its Protect Your Precious campaign in collaboration with the Vietnamese National Traffic Safety Committee, the Ministry of Education and Training, and Asia Injury Prevention Foundation to promote the use of child safety seats and the importance of children wearing seatbelts.

    Under the theme “Backseat. Buckled up,” the campaign includes a series of communication activities leveraging the media and social networks, along with three knowledge-sharing workshops for car-owning parents in the three major cities of Hanoi, Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City.

    The campaign is aimed at preventing unnecessary deaths and injuries among children by raising public awareness of the significance of child safety seats and seatbelts as well as emphasising parents’ responsibility for keeping their children safe when traveling in vehicles.

    At the kick-off event at DichVongAPrimary School in Hanoi, parents and their children actively participated in road safety games for kids and a knowledge-sharing workshop hosted by National Traffic Safety Committee experts.

    “GM Vietnam is conducting this campaign to join the government’s efforts to ensure the safety of young vehicle passengers through the 2018 National Traffic Safety Year, the theme of which is ‘Traffic Safety for Children’,” said Ian Nicholls, president of GM Southeast Asia.

    “GM has always been committed to serving and contributing to the development of the communities where we live and work around the world. Bearing in mind the ‘We care’ spirit, we will continue to strengthen this commitment through activities that make a difference in people’s lives,” he added.

    “GM is more than just an American business, it is a company that takes its role as a member of this community seriously to contribute to the greater good, to solve problems, and to improve the lives of the Vietnamese people. I am proud of the work GM is doing in Vietnam to improve transportation safety for children,” said Caryn McClelland, US Embassy deputy chief of Mission.

    According to AIP Foundation figures, road crashes in Vietnam cause approximately 22,419 fatalities and more than 453,617 injuries each year, which results in an annual loss of an estimated $3 billion.

    Children are particularly vulnerable. Every four minutes, a child in the world dies in a road crash. In Vietnam, 2,000 children die from road crashes each year. This is the second leading cause of death for Vietnamese children between the ages of 5 and 14.

    For children, wearing a seat belt is the most effective way to prevent death and serious injury in a vehicle crash. People not wearing a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash.

    “Many parents who drive cars in Vietnam are not aware of the risks of not wearing seatbelts or using child safety seats,” said Khuat Viet Hung, vice chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee. “Through the campaign, we will focus on educating parents and families about the importance of keeping their children safe and secure when traveling. Seatbelts and child restraints are a simple step that every family can take to reduce the risk of injury or death.”

    To promote the campaign’s message and share traffic safety knowledge with more families, two similar workshops will be held on April 8 at PhuDongPrimary School in Danang and April 13 at DinhTienHoangPrimary School in Ho Chi Minh City.

    With the support of the US Embassy and government authorities, the campaign is expected to include the participation of more than 700 parents in the three cities. With the assistance of the media, the campaign is expected to benefit more than 76,000 people across Vietnam.

    This is not the first time that GM Vietnam has engaged in traffic safety activities. In 2016, GM Vietnam collaborated with AIP Foundation to donate 1,000 motorcycle helmets to primary school students in Hanoi.

    GM Vietnam has also actively participated in a wide range of other social and charitable activities covering social welfare, healthcare, education, and environmental protection.

    In 2017 alone, activities included delivering Tet gifts, donating equipment to the Turtle Conservation Centre in Ninh Binh province, planting mangrove trees in Nam Dinh province, building playgrounds from recycled materials, and supporting the flood-affected community in Lao Cai province, among others.

    This year, GM Vietnam has presented 50 Chevrolet scholarships to disadvantaged students from 14 schools in Hanoi’s Thanh Tri district who had excellent academic achievements, and supported the construction of five charity houses in Thanh Tri district.

    Novaland inaugurates 7 new bridges in Dong Thap


    Seven bridges funded by property developer Novaland Group have been opened to public in the district of Hong Ngu in Dong Thap province after a near five month construction period.

    The new bridges will help to facilitate travel and the transportation of goods to the district’s centre, while ensuring greater safety for children commuting to school during the flood season.

    Novaland donated VND15 billion for the construction of the bridges. Bui Xuan Huy, Novaland CEO, says the bridges will contribute to improving the rural transport network and the living conditions of local people, while laying important foundations for rural economic development.

    On March 30, a cultural house was opened at Hoa An commune, CaoLanhCity, Dong Thap province. The new house was built with Novaland funds of VND700 million.

    Over the years, Novaland has implemented many communal activities in different localities, including the building of bridges in Dong Thap and Long An provinces, constructing compassion and cultural houses, joining summer campaigns, gifting cows to poor families, and granting thousands of scholarships to disadvantaged students in DongThapProvince.

    Novaland has also joined hands with Operation Smile to provide free surgeries to children born with congenital cleft lip and palate defects, and heart and eye diseases in the Mekong Delta region.

    Chubb Life gives new school to Quang Binh

    Chubb Life Vietnam Insurance Company has presented a new kindergarten school to Duy Ninh commune, Quang Ninh district, central Quang Binh province.

    This is the seventh school funded by Chubb Life Vietnam and the second to be co-financed by Chubb Charitable Foundation – International with a total value of VND2.5 billion.

    The two-storey school comprising six classrooms and national standard toilets will house more than 200 children and serve as an emergency shelter for around 300 local residents.

    Since 2005, Chubb Life Vietnam and Chubb Charitable Foundation – International have donated nearly VND21.5 billion to educational projects in Vietnam, including funds to build seven new schools, providing school equipment and facilities, and granting scholarships to disadvantaged students.

    One injured as North-south train hits truck

    A truck driver was seriously injured in a collision as the vehicle he was driving was hit by the SE5 train running on the north-south railway route at 9.20am on April 2.

    The train collided with the truck as the driver was attempting to cross the railway in Nghi Khe commune, Thuong Tin district, Hanoi while the train was approaching. The truck was completely destroyed as a result of the crash.

    Dang Hong Giang, head of the Railways Traffic Police Team under the Hanoi Police Department, said a rescue team was dispatched to the scene to bring the victim to hospital for treatment and clear the tracks in order to direct traffic and ensure the continued operation of train services.

    Police initially attributed the cause of the incident to driver error and a lack of traffic signals and barriers.

    The cause of the traffic accident is still under investigation.

    VNN

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