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  • 05/05/18--07:01: Article 3
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 5/5


    Haiphong as epicentre of investment in north Vietnam

    On April 23, the European Chamber of Commerce and Deep C Industrial Zones co-organised a Haiphong Investment Seminar for the business community in Ho Chi Minh City, with the support of KPMG and Saigon New Port.

    The seminar followed recent major infrastructure developments in the northern city of Haiphong involving intermodal transport (seaway, airway, road, waterway, and railway) that are game changers for foreign direct investment attraction and economic growth of both Haiphong and the northern region.

    Haiphong is home to the biggest deep sea port in northern Vietnam, HaiphongInternationalGatewayPort or Lach Huyen Deep Sea Port. Haiphong International Container Terminal, a joint venture between local company SaigonTanCangPort and its partners–Mitsui OSK Lines, Wan Hai Lines, and Itochu Corporation–will develop the first two container berths.

    With a draft of 14 metres, vessels with a capacity of 14,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) will be able to make calls at Haiphong, which is a significant improvement compared to the existing 2,000 TEU port. Once put into use in May, the port will lead to greater cross-border connectivity for the city and its

    surroundings. Specifically, shipping time to Europe will be substantially reduced from 30 to 23-25 days, time to the US East Coast will drop from 35 to 27-30 days, and time to the US West Coast will shrink from 20 to 13-15 days, thanks to new direct routes and the omission of transhipment.

    HaiphongInternationalGatewayPort is connected to the hinterland with other giant infrastructure projects, including highway connections to Hanoi, the coastal provinces, Quang Ninh, and China, as well as Cat Bi International Airport.

    The development of infrastructure and transportation networks has turned Haiphong into northern Vietnam’s main gateway to regional and world markets. In particular, it lowered the barriers to Vietnam’s major trading partners, such as Europe, the US, the ASEAN, and China, turning Haiphong into northern Vietnam’s “new Ho Chi Minh City.”

    According to Hans Kerstens, international business development manager of Deep C, Haiphong is the fastest-growing city in Vietnam, with a GDP growth rate of 14 per cent. The city has the necessary infrastructure, reliable utilities, labour supply, and a strategic location for investors to make the best of new opportunities from various free trade agreements. Haiphong has become a destination for established brand names such as Accor Group, Hilton, Daiwa House, Fujita, and AEON. Investments from these market leaders have been pouring into the city, aimed to develop facilities for business, but also forming a vibrant expatriate community.

    As a result, foreign investors can enjoy convenient access to a wide range of amenities like international banks, accommodation, restaurants, hospitals, and international schools. Deep C Industrial Zones is poised to become a regional hub for foreign investment. It possesses excellent connectivity to transport infrastructure, including the existing Dinh Vu Port and LachHuyenPort, in addition to the aforementioned highway and airport connections.

    The industrial zone itself is a modern facility integrating international standards and a philosophy of reliability into its operations. Investors are connected to a reliable utilities system ensuring stable operations throughout (including power, water, wastewater, fire-fighting, and drainage). It also promotes renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power for sustainable development.

    “Deep C lies in the heart of Haiphong’s infrastructure network, offering investors advantages not only in logistics, but also international-standard utilities provision, economic zone tax incentives, and support for investors to start businesses,” said Kerstens. This tax package allows savings on corporate income tax for 15 years and on personal income tax for the project’s lifetime.

    “The development in the region also catches the attention of European investors. This is the reason EuroCham started its northeastern chapter last year,” said EuroCham’s executive director Almut Roessner.

    First trimester FDI falls by a solid third

    In the first four months of the year, Vietnam saw decreasing foreign direct investment (FDI) capital, while overall foreign investment capital increased by 67 per cent on-year.

    According to the statistics of the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) of the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), in the first four months of this year Vietnam attracted $8.06 billion in foreign investment capital, reaching approximately two-third or 76.1 per cent of last year's figure. However, the disbursed FDI capital was $4.5 billion, up 6.3 per cent.

    Notably, as of April 20, 883 newly-registered projects received investment certificates with the total capital of $3.55 billion, which was 76.1 per cent of last year's figure, while 303 existing projects received added capital of $2.24 billion, 51.5 per cent. Meanwhile, 1,863 M&A deals were signed with a total investment capital of $2.26 billion, up 67 per cent.

    In the first four months of this year, foreign investors invested in 17 industries nationwide. The processing and manufacturing industry still kept the top position with a total of $4.52 billion, equaling 56.1 per cent of the total FDI inflows. The runners-up are the real estate industry with $807.5 million and the wholesale and retail industry with $779 million.

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

    Notably, foreign investors poured capital into 53 cities and provinces across the country. Ho Chi Minh City ranked first with $1.92 billion, making up 23.8 per cent of the total FDI inflow, while Haiphong received the second largest FDI volume with $1.03 billion, equaling 12.8 per cent of the total. Hanoi overcame Binh Duong to become the third largest investee with $746 million.

    Additionally, Japan returned to the top three largest foreign investors during January-April. The three largest foreign investors in Vietnam were South Korea with $2.34 billion in registered investment capital, Japan with $1.29 billion, and Singapore with $808 million.

    Notable M&A deals in the first four months of the year

    1. Nawaplastic’s purchase of Binh Minh Plastic: Nawaplastic spent approximately VND2.329 trillion ($102.33 million) buying 24.139 of the 24.159 million shares on offer at the initial price of VND96,500 ($4.24). The deal increased Nawaplastic’s holdings in BMP to 49.9 from 20.4 per cent.

    2. Itochu and Vinatex: Itochu Group spent $46.9 million buying an additional 10 per cent stake in Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex). The deal increased Itochu’s holding in Vinatex to 15 per cent, making it the second largest shareholder of the group, following the Ministry of Industry and Trade (53 per cent).

    3. Shinhan Card’s acquisition of Prudential Vietnam Finance: Shinhan Financial Group’s subsidiary finalised the acquisition, stating that it would grab 100 per cent of the shares of Prudential Vietnam Finance, which was commensurate with KRW161.4 billion ($150.8 million).

    4. Lotte Card acquired Techcom Finance: the Seoul-headquartered credit card firm took over 100 per cent of Techcom Finance from Techcombank, becoming the first South Korean credit card firm to engage in the Vietnamese finance and banking sector. According to newswire The Investor, the deal could climb up to VND1.7 trillion ($74.67 million) in value.

    Eximbank shareholders infuriated at slow response to crises

    At its annual shareholders' general meeting on April 27, the troubled Eximbank held its ground that it must wait for the official court ruling before returning depositors’ stolen money. Several shareholders have expressed their disappointment with the bank.

    In particular, Eximbank said at the meeting that it is working closely with regulators to prosecute the dishonest bankers. However, despite protests from Chu Thi Binh, the female billionaire who lost $10.8 million of her savings at Eximbank, the bank still refused to reimburse her and repeated that it must receive official court orders first.

    As in the case of six customers in Nghe An province who collectively lost $2.2 million of their savings, Eximbank said it has postponed a court meeting yesterday to focus on the AGM. The decision has been met with opposition from the customers and their lawyers who argued that the case is not related in any way.

    At the meeting, Eximbank CEO Le Van Quyet said the bank will “try its best to stand beside the customer and solve all issues according to the law.” According to the CEO, in response to the scandals, Eximbank has revamped its security system, re-installing the fingerprint identification step and rotating branch leaders to prevent wrongdoings.

    However, the shareholders at the meeting remained vocal about their disappointment. An 85-year-old shareholder said the bank’s inadequate response to crises has tainted its reputation and passed the burden to shareholders. Another investor wanted the board to resign and take full responsibility for their actions.

    “What were you doing when your employees embezzled the funds? How can you ask shareholders to pay for such a serious oversight on your part?” a shareholder questioned the board.

    CEO Quyet repeated that the bank has detected the wrongdoings at the early stages and immediately notified customers afterwards. He confirmed that Eximbank has conducted a thorough system-wide check and strengthened its security. No further explanation was given to shareholders.

    In the meeting, former CEO of Nam A Bank Luong Thi Cam Tu was elected as a new board member. Three other nominees have dropped out of the race yesterday “due to personal reasons.”

    Hotel room rates jump in Danang during holiday

    Hotel room rates in the central coastal city of Danang soared up to 20 times during the just-ended holiday compared to normal business, causing a huge headache for visitors and tour operators.

    Dinh Van Loc, general director of Viet Da Travel, told the Daily that he felt really shocked at the hotel room prices in Danang when searching available rooms for his customers via a well-known hotel-booking website on the recent holiday. He found that most hotels in Hoi An, Hue, Danang were full and the prices skyrocketed.

    At the four-star hotel Luxtery on Danang’s
    Pham Van Dong Street
    , one suite cost nearly VND43 million, or US$1,890, per night on April 29, according to the website booking.com. At another hotel, Le Manoir Premier Danang, on the seaside street of Vo Nguyen Giap, the price of a twin room was VND13.6 million per night on the same day, Loc said.

    However, room prices of the above-mentioned hotels on the page booking.com plummeted yesterday afternoon. For instance, one suite in the Luxtery hotel decreased from VND43 million as cited earlier to a mere VND5.5 million per night, while a twin room at VND455,000. The quoted prices manifest a shocking difference from eight to 20 times within just three days.

    During the weekend holiday, Danang had 712 lodging facilities with 29,735 rooms, up 113 units with 7,355 rooms year-on-year. It welcomed nearly 130,000 tourists who stayed overnight, up 16.4% against the same period last year, including some 55,000 foreigners, up 22.4%, according to the municipal Department of Tourism.

    Vietnam, Czech promote trade cooperation

    A seminar on promoting the economic and trade cooperation between Vietnam and the Czech Republic was held in Prague on May 3.

    Speeches presented at the seminar highlighted the fine diplomatic relations between the two countries over the past seven decades, which have created momentum for the development of their bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

    Two-way trade has increased each year and, in 2017, two-way trade between Vietnam and the CzechRepublic reached nearly US$257.6 million worth of goods, up 3% from 2016, US$151 million of which were Vietnamese exports, up 3.5% annually.

    In January-February 2018, the two countries’ trade reached nearly US$50 million, up 31.3% from the same period in 2017. As of the end of February, the CzechRepublic had deployed 36 valid investment projects in Vietnam, with capital at over US$90 million, ranking 49th out of the 126 nations and territories investing in Vietnam.

    The seminar, jointly organised by the Vietnamese Embassy in the CzechRepublic and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Parliament of the CzechRepublic, aimed to provide the Czech businesses with the latest information on the investment and business environment in Vietnam, as well as opening up new opportunities for cooperation between the two sides.

    Belgian businesses seek cooperation opportunities in Vietnam

    The Belgian Vietnamese Alliance (BVA) and the Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT) held a meeting on May 3 with a delegation of Belgian businesses ahead of the delegation’s visit to Vietnam from May 13-18 to explore cooperation opportunities.

    The delegation of nearly 90 entrepreneurs from 65 Belgian enterprises, led by Minister-President of Flanders Geert Bourgeois, is scheduled to visit Vietnam as part of activities to celebrate the 45th founding anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties.

    Addressing the meeting, Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium Vu Anh Quang praised the Flanders Minister-President for his efforts to develop the relations between Vietnam and the Flanders region in recent years.

    He hoped the upcoming visit will help Vietnamese and Belgian businesses to understand more about each other’s potential as well as trade and investment cooperation opportunities.

    The diplomat said the two nations are working to elevate the bilateral ties to strategic partnership in some specific fields.

    He added that the free trade agreement between EU and Vietnam, once signed and ratified, will open up numerous opportunities for Vietnamese and Belgian enterprises to strengthen connectivity and collaboration.

    This will also help increase Belgium’s investment in Vietnam, particularly in the fields of shipbuilding, agriculture, high technology, and clean energy, contributing to promoting sustainable and green growth in Vietnam, the ambassador added.

    For his part, Bourgeois hailed Vietnam’s strong development over the past 30 years with annual remarkable gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6 - 7 percent.

    Vietnam holds a lot of potential for economic development, and in fact, the country has been successful not only in calling for foreign investment but also in reforming trade and administrative procedures, he said.

    The Flanders leader added he has high expectations for Belgium-Vietnam partnership, adding that he hoped the two countries will work to improve trade balance in the coming time, citing the fact that the Flanders region exported 4.92 million EUR (5.8 million USD) worth of goods to Vietnam but imported 2 billion EUR from the market.

    The reality shows that goods made in Belgium and Vietnam, especially farm produce, are not competitive but supplementary, enabling the two countries to boost cooperation in trade and investment, he added.

    On the occasion of five-day visit to Vietnam, businesses from the Flanders region will hold meetings, promotions and field trips to promote their products and study cooperation opportunities with Vietnamese partners.-

    RoK helps Vietnam develop investment information system

    The Government of the Republic of Korea (RoK) will provide a non-refundable aid package worth 5.5 million USD to help Vietnam carry out a project on upgrading and developing the national investment information system for 2018-2021.

    A record of discussions to this effect was signed between Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Hanoi on May 3.

    The 6.2 million USD project aims to improve the ministry’s capacity for collecting, managing and analysing national database on investment, while providing online public services for investors.

    It is also seen as a tool assisting localities in granting investment licences and managing projects.

    MPI Deputy Minister Vu Dai Thang said the two sides committed to ensuring the progress of the project in order to contribute to promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam, and strengthening cooperation between Vietnam and the RoK.

    According to the MPI’s Foreign Investment Agency, Vietnam has to date attracted 25,524 FDI projects valued at nearly 320 billion USD.

    The RoK takes the lead among 126 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with more than 6,800 project worth over 59 billion USD.

    In the first four months of this year, the RoK invested and expanded investments in about 420 projects with total capital of more than 2.3 billion USD, the agency said.

    VNA, ST Aerospace in aircraft repair joint venture deal

    Vietnam Airlines (VNA) and Singapore Technologies Aerospace Ltd (ST Aerospace) on April 26 inked a memorandum of understanding to set up a joint venture to provide maintenance services for VNA’s Airbus A321aircraft.

    The joint venture, which will be headquartered at NoiBaiInternationalAirport in Hanoi, is expected to annually maintain 17,500 hi-tech parts of jetliners.

    The two sides will boost cooperation in aircraft maintenance and manpower training. Meanwhile, the project will contribute to enhancing the hi-tech application in Vietnam’s aircraft maintenance and repair field.

    The partnership with ST Aerospace, an arm of ST Engineering Ltd, will also enable the national flag carrier to do aircraft maintenance and repair work in Vietnam, instead of outsourcing it to partners abroad as at present, thus saving time and cost and improving aircraft’s operational efficiency.

    VNA deputy general director Dang Ngoc Hoa said the project marks a new development of the local civil aviation sector. The VNA-ST Aerospace cooperation will also help strengthen bilateral economic and trade ties between the two nations.

    Its partnership with VNA will help ST Aerospace expand to other markets, said ST Aerospace president Lim Serh Ghee.

    ST Aerospace plans to build an aircraft parts warehouse in Vietnam to promptly meet VNA’s demand for maintaining and repairing A321 aircraft.

    In October last year, the airline signed a contract with U.S. aerospace firm Pratt & Whitney (PW) to buy engines and support services for 20 A321neo aircraft.

    The airline on April 26 also announced its business performance in the first quarter of this year. It said it transported nearly five million passengers and operated some 33,000 safe flights in the period, up 5% and 4.3% year-on-year respectively.

    Its consolidated revenue reached nearly VND25.5 trillion (US$1.1 billion), of which the parent company generated VND18.6 trillion, up more than 13% over the same period last year.

    The airline reported consolidated pre-tax profit of VND1.46 trillion, 6.2% higher than estimated. Meanwhile, the parent company’s pre-tax profit was VND875 billion, up more than 30% over the year-ago period and 13% more than the target.

    During the first three months of the year, especially the Lunar New Year holiday, VNA’s passenger satisfaction and punctuality indexes hit 30% and over 90% respectively.

    The ratio of passengers implementing check-in procedures via VNA’s website and mobile app or at kiosks at Tan Son Nhat, Noi Bai and Danang international airports reached nearly 50%.

    Vietjet to launch new air routes

    Vietjet will expand its flight network to Japan, Australia and India to meet rising air travel demand.

    The low-cost carrier said at the annual general meeting on April 26 that the domestic and regional aviation markets will grow strongly this year.

    The Government has identified tourism as a spearhead industry, so more foreigners will come to visit Vietnam. This is an opportunity for the airline to open new international services to capitalize.

    Vietjet will open a new service connecting Vietnam and Japan, and air links between Vietnam and Australia, and between Vietnam and India.

    Speaking at the meeting, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, CEO of Vietjet, said the profit from international services was 20% higher than that of domestic ones as the airline can sell duty-free goods in-flight and buy jet fuel at a lower price.

    According to a financial report, Vietjet last year made VND42,303 billion in revenue and VND5,073 billion in after-tax profit, up 54% and 73% year-on-year respectively.

    In 2018, the carrier looks to VND50,970 billion in revenue and VND5,800 billion in profit, up 20.5% and 10% respectively against last year. The 2018 dividend is expected at 50%.

    Vietjet now has 55 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft and operates 385 flights a day. It has transported over 55 million passengers on 38 domestic and 44 international routes since its debut.

    Vietcombank cuts deal with SBF

    The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) has clinched a cooperation agreement with the Singapore Business Federation (SBF).

    The signing of the deal coincides with the celebration of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, and the fifth anniversary of the establishment of strategic partnership between Vietnam and Singapore.

    The signing ceremony was graced by the presence of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc who is in Singapore to pay an official visit and participate in the 32nd ASEAN Summit.

    According to the agreement, Vietcombank and SBF will join hands to foster development and efficiency of both, and support SBF in commercial expansion and investment in Vietnam.

    Vietcombank will be treated as a priority bank for SBF members in banking transactions like cash management, international payment, project funding, short-term credit, guarantees and consulting on M&A deals.

    Ho Meng Kit, CEO of SBF, said that under the deal, SBF members will have more favorable conditions to develop commercial activities and invest in Vietnam, contributing to boosting bilateral ties between the two nations.

    Established in 2002, SBF has 25,000 members who are active in 54 sectors and supports member companies to build business links with domestic and international partners. Almost 20% of SBF member firms have already invested in Vietnam.

    ABBANK to double capital, list on bourse

    Shareholders at a general meeting of An Binh Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ABBANK) on April 25 agreed to double the bank’s chartered capital and listing on the HCMC bourse.

    Vu Van Tien, who stepped down as chairman of the bank at the meeting, said the extra capital injection will allow the bank to increase investment in technology and governance. Local banks with over VND10 trillion in chartered capital also have plans for increasing capital this year, he noted.

    ABBANK’s chartered capital of some VND5.32 trillion is low compared to other banks in Vietnam. ABBANK previously proposed merging with another bank. However, bad debt at that bank was huge at the time, making the merger impossible.

    Higher capital will also contribute to increasing lending and investment while still focusing on energy, manufacturing and hi-tech agriculture projects.

    After its capital increase, ABBANK will list on the Hochiminh Stock Exchange (HOSE) though it has already been trading on the market for unlisted public companies (UPCoM).

    Explaining the plan to get listed on HOSE, Tien said it is a better choice for a number of reasons. In particular, the stock market has posted strong and steady growth, with bank stocks rallying. Besides, since 2017 many banks have listed on the bourse, most recently Tien Phong Bank.

    Once getting approval from the board, the bank will take the next steps so that it can be on the bourse in six to eight months.

    An International Finance Corporation (IFC) representative said IFC agreed with the plan of the board, but careful discussions are needed for a higher chance of success. The bank needs to take into account levels of capital rise as doubling the capital may affect indicators like the ratio of profit to equity and stock dilution.

    Regarding dividend payments, Tien said ABBANK pays a share dividend for 2017.

    At the meeting, shareholders elected a new board of directors for the 2018-2022 term with seven members, including Luu Van Sau and Nguyen Danh Luong as new independent members.

    Dao Manh Khang, vice chairman of ABBANK, replaced Vu Van Tien as chairman of the board. Khanh has 23 years’ experience in the financial-banking sector and has been with ABBANK for over 11 years.

    The current regulations ban senior bank executives, especially chairmen and CEOs, from concurrently holding leadership positions at other businesses.

    Since Vu Van Tien chose to stay on chairman and CEO of Hanoi-based import-export firm Geleximco, he had to relinquish his post as chairman of ABBANK.

    CPI rises 0.08 percent in April


    Inundating losses may force Ha Bac Fertiliser out of business, Petrol firms suggest increasing E5-RON 95 price difference, Ministry postpones CR stamp rule to next January, Textile-garment firms vague about new regulation 

    Belgian businesses seek cooperation opportunities in Vietnam

    The Belgian Vietnamese Alliance (BVA) and the Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT) held a meeting on May 3 with a delegation of Belgian businesses ahead of the delegation’s visit to Vietnam from May 13-18 to explore cooperation opportunities.

    The delegation of nearly 90 entrepreneurs from 65 Belgian enterprises, led by Minister-President of Flanders Geert Bourgeois, is scheduled to visit Vietnam as part of activities to celebrate the 45th founding anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties.

    Addressing the meeting, Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium Vu Anh Quang praised the Flanders Minister-President for his efforts to develop the relations between Vietnam and the Flanders region in recent years.

    He hoped the upcoming visit will help Vietnamese and Belgian businesses to understand more about each other’s potential as well as trade and investment cooperation opportunities.

    The diplomat said the two nations are working to elevate the bilateral ties to strategic partnership in some specific fields.

    He added that the free trade agreement between EU and Vietnam, once signed and ratified, will open up numerous opportunities for Vietnamese and Belgian enterprises to strengthen connectivity and collaboration.

    This will also help increase Belgium’s investment in Vietnam, particularly in the fields of shipbuilding, agriculture, high technology, and clean energy, contributing to promoting sustainable and green growth in Vietnam, the ambassador added.

    For his part, Bourgeois hailed Vietnam’s strong development over the past 30 years with annual remarkable gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6 - 7 percent.

    Vietnam holds a lot of potential for economic development, and in fact, the country has been successful not only in calling for foreign investment but also in reforming trade and administrative procedures, he said.

    The Flanders leader added he has high expectations for Belgium-Vietnam partnership, adding that he hoped the two countries will work to improve trade balance in the coming time, citing the fact that the Flanders region exported 4.92 million EUR (5.8 million USD) worth of goods to Vietnam but imported 2 billion EUR from the market.

    The reality shows that goods made in Belgium and Vietnam, especially farm produce, are not competitive but supplementary, enabling the two countries to boost cooperation in trade and investment, he added.

    On the occasion of five-day visit to Vietnam, businesses from the Flanders region will hold meetings, promotions and field trips to promote their products and study cooperation opportunities with Vietnamese partners.

    Fintech use is a must for Asia-Pacific economies: seminars
       
    Asia and Pacific economies must enhance their financial inclusion based on new financial technologies (fintech), senior officials said on Thursday at a high-level Asian Development Bank (ADB) seminar.

    “Governments in the region can improve financial inclusion by broadening access to basic digital infrastructure and providing an enabling environment for innovators and entrepreneurs,” said ADB President Takehiko Nakao.

    Policymakers in each regional country should consider methods to improve existing regulations to protect consumers from cybercrime and fraud. They should also achieve a balance between innovation and financial stability, Takehiko told the seminar.

    The seminar was a part of the 51st ADB Annual Meeting held in the capital city of Manila, the Philippines, drawing attention from a number of specialists and experts in the finance and technology sectors.

    It unfolded as policymakers and businesspeople are grappling with a boom in new technologies such as cryptocurrency, machine learning, big data and electronic ledger. These are the tools that can be used to improve the quality and security of the region’s financial system.

    In addition, fintech is also seen as a big obstacle for poor households and small businesses in the Asia-Pacific economic region to gain access to financial services. Specialists at the seminar estimated about two billion people in the world have not gained access to finance and half of those live in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Seminar panelists agreed that fintech is quite promising as it could help poor communities and groups of people and businesses overcome the challenges they face when they try to gain the collateral required for formal credit deals.

    According to Mitsuhio Furusawa, deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), fintech is the most promising way to boost the financial system in Asia, as it is accessible to those living in rural areas.

    Thanks to fintech, financial services will become more affordable and offer better accessibility to rural residents and small- and medium-sized businesses, he said, adding that local governments will play “a crucial role in creating an environment that promotes financial inclusion while mitigating the risks.”

    HCMCity eyes boost to supporting industries
       
    HCMCity will continue to focus on developing supporting industry, and targets meeting 45 per cent of national demand for manufactured inputs by 2020 and 65 per cent by 2025.

    These are said to be ambitious targets in the context that the sector is still poorly developed.

    Since the city’s Decision 15/2017/QD-UBND to help businesses develop the manufacturing and supporting sectors took effect on April 24, 2017, the Department of Industry and Trade has received applications from 11 projects.

    It has appraised nine projects requiring a total investment of VND943.2 billion (US$41.4 million), and two of them with a combined investment of VND222 billion have been approved by the People’s Committee for interest-subsidised loans of VND110 billion.

    The department has also co-ordinated with the State Bank of Viet Nam to organise bank-business linkage programmes to actively help enterprises borrow money.

    It has signed a memorandum of understanding with Vietinbank for a credit package of VND10 trillion ($438.59 million) for manufacturing and parts supply companies.

    In the first quarter of this year, the department also organised some other activities to enable parts manufacturers to market their products. They included a sourcing fair for connecting supporting industry with buyers, which featured more than 230 business-to-business meetings between 17 local and FDI firms in the electronics, automobile and mechanical engineering sectors and 80 local part suppliers.

    The department’s Centre for Supporting Industries Development has built a comprehensive database for the industry at http://csid.gov.vn with information about 530 out of the 860 supporting industry enterprises based in the city.

    This would help parts suppliers and buyers understand each other’s capabilities and explore tie-ups.

    The department has also worked with industrial parks and processing zones, and many of them such as Tan Thuan, Hiep Phuoc, Linh Trung, and Dong Nam processing zones plan to earmark areas or develop high-rise factories for supporting industry at reasonable rentals to meet demand.

    According to economists, there is huge demand for spare-part products, but domestic production is unable to meet it.

    HCMCity has certain advantages as it seeks to develop supporting industry.

    Tran Anh Hao, head of the department’s industry division, said the department would review the investment stimulus programme with regard to the manufacturing and parts sectors to submit to the city for approval.

    It would also build a programme to develop the sector, identify the most promising products this year, provide training and evaluate the local content rates in the city’s four key industries (food processing, chemical-rubber, mechanics and information technology) and two traditional industries (garment and textile, and footwear), Hao said.

    The city has rolled out practical support policies for enterprises to invest in upgrading their machinery and equipment and technologies, thereby increasing local content rates and enabling them to take part in the global supply chain, the department said.

    Manufacturing sector regains growth momentum


    Inundating losses may force Ha Bac Fertiliser out of business, Petrol firms suggest increasing E5-RON 95 price difference, Ministry postpones CR stamp rule to next January, Textile-garment firms vague about new regulation 

    Vietnam’s manufacturing growth picks up in April following sharp rises in new orders and output.

    According to Nikkei’s report released on May 2, the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) of the sector rose to 52.7 points in April, from 51.6 points in March. The production sector has become stronger in the past 29 months.

    Substantial increases in customers’ demand and foreign orders made manufacturing rise at faster pace. Also, employment growth has been registered for 25 consecutive months.

    However, domestic producers said that a dramatic hike in input costs made a startling contrast to the weak pace of rise in output prices.

    Andrew Harker, Associate Dierctor at IHS Markit which compiles the survey said that the Vietnamese manufacturers’ ability to maintain the large volume of orders is a striking point in the latest PMI report, with new export business up significantly in April.

    The competitive pricing is the prime motive for the success of a company as it explains the firm’s willingness to reduced margins in exchange for securing greater volumes of new work, he added.

    The PMI survey for the manufacturing sector is based on questionnaire responses from panels of senior purchasing executives at over 400 companies majoring in eight fields of metal, chemical and plastic, electronics and optics, food and beverage, engineering, garments, wood and paper, and transportation.

    The surveys have been conducted in more than 40 countries and also in key regions.  They are the most closely-watch business surveys in the world, favoured by central banks, financial markets and business decision makers for their ability to provide up-to-date, accurate and often unique monthly indicators of economic trends.

    Ministry postpones CR stamp rule to next January

    Apparel enterprises will have until January 1 next year instead of early this month to abide by a regulation on sticking Conformity to Regulation (CR) stamps on textile products, according to a new circular issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

    The ministry on May 2 approved amendments to Circular 21/2017/TT-BCT on the national standards for formaldehyde and aromatic amines derived from AZO colorants in textile products or QCVN 01 2017. Under the new circular 07/2018/TT-BCT, the date of implementation is extended to January 1, 2019 instead of May 1 as regulated in the old circular.

    The delay in implementing QCVN 01 2017 is considered a leniency for textile and garment firms, as the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) has admitted that many enterprises were vague about the rule while the date of implementation was nearing May 1.

    The old rule, if it stands, might force many apparel traders to freeze sales of their products on the market due to insufficient standards, or such products may be subject to confiscation.

    In related news, seven agencies have been picked to certify the quality of apparel products to this regard, meaning these agencies will certify whether apparel products meet criteria on contents of formaldehyde and aromatic amines. These agencies include Quatest 3 in HCMC; Hanoi and HCMC branches of Vietnam Textile Research Institute; Hanoi and Haiphong branches of Vinacontrol; Vinacontrol HCMC, and IQC Certification and Inspection JSC; and FCC Control and Fumigation JSC.

    According to the regulation, formaldehyde content is capped at 30 milligrams per kilogram of textile for kids under three years old, 75 milligrams for textiles with direct skin contact and 300 milligrams for products without direct skin contact. The content of aromatic amines derived from AZO colorants does not exceed 30 milligrams per kilogram.

    Textile-garment firms vague about new regulation

    Many apparel enterprises have yet to learn of a new regulation effective on May 1 that they cannot market products without Conformity to Regulation (CR) stamps, which implies that such products contain amounts of formaldehyde and aromatic amines at or lower than the permissible levels.

    Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, deputy general secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) and head of VISTA’s representative office in HCMC, told the Daily that the association these days is flooded with questions about the new rule.

    Numerous members of the association, mainly small and medium enterprises, are vague about the implementation of the national standards for formaldehyde and aromatic amines derived from AZO colorants in textile products, or QCVN 01 2017, which are provided in Circular 21/2017/TT-BCT, she said.

    The association had announced the new regulation to its members for long but they had not paid much attention until the date the rule took effect.

    Mai was afraid that such firms may be fined as their products could not meet the requirement.

    According to the regulation, formaldehyde content is capped at 30 milligrams per kilogram of textile for kids under three years old, 75 milligrams for textiles with direct skin contact and 300 milligrams for textiles without direct skin contact. The content of aromatic amines derived from AZO colorants is not above 30 milligrams per kilogram of textile.

    VISTA has worked with many testing companies, with charges of VND1.3-2 million imposed on textile tests, Mai noted.

    The regulation will not be imposed on apparel imports including those used in production for export and local consumption.

    Mai said the regulation for local textile-garment products is necessary to ensure safety for consumers. The association will monitor the implementation of the regulation and proposed to competent agencies amendments and abolishment if need be.

    Tourism-related services generate US$8.1 billion

    Restaurant, hotel and travel services grew strongly in the first four months of 2018, generating total revenue of VND184,900 billion, or US$8.1 billion, according to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GSO).

    GSO data shows that hospitality services contributed VND172,000 billion and transport services VND12,900 billion to Vietnam’s economy, up 9.4% and 26.1% respectively year-on-year.

    Revenues of these sectors performed strongly in Hanoi, HCMC and Haiphong cities and ThanhHoaProvince. HCMC in particular saw travel service revenue growing30.4% in the year to date.

    According to the GSO, although April saw the number of tourists declining a mild 0.1% compared to March, this figure was still far higher than that of last year.

    In particular, there were over 1.34 million foreign visitors to Vietnam in April, up 25.2% year-on-year. This means more than 5.5 million international visitors arrived in the country in the first four months, up 29.5% against the year-old period.

    A majority of foreign tourists came from Asia with more than 4.16 million over the past four months, increasing 35% versus the same period last year.The data also showsthe Chinese account for 39.7%, or 1.77 million, and the South Koreans67.3%, nearly 1.17 million.

    Meanwhile, the number of European tourists increasedby 12.9% against the first four months last year, with 843,000 arrivals.

    Foreign reserves increase to US$ 63 bln, Gov't Spokesman says

    Viet Nam’s foreign reserves rose to US$ 63 billion, Mai Tien Dung, Minister-Chairman of the Government Office told a room of reporters today.

    Minister-Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung chairs press conference held this afternoon following the Cabinet meeting.

    Dung, who is also the Government Spokesman, said the macro-economy remained stable in in the first four months this year.

    Consumer price index rose 2.8% and industrial production grew 11.4% in the reviewed period compared to 6.6% of the same period last year.

    Foreign arrivals increased by 29% to over 5.5 million, said Dung, adding that PM Phuc agreed to extend visa exemption for citizens of five European countries, namely the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, by three years (until July 1, 2021).

    This is the 3rd time, the Government has decided to extend the policy, which took effect since July 1, 2015.

    Under the policy, citizens from the five European countries shall not have to apply for visa if their time limit of stay not exceeding 15 days since the day they get entry permit to Viet Nam.

    The Government will continue considering institutional building, administrative reform, improvement of business environment as its top priorities in 2018, according to Dung.
    Hotel room rates jump in Danang during holiday

    Hotel room rates in the central coastal city of Danang soared up to 20 times during the just-ended holiday compared to normal business, causing a huge headache for visitors and tour operators.

    Dinh Van Loc, general director of Viet Da Travel, told the Daily that he felt really shocked at the hotel room prices in Danang when searching available rooms for his customers via a well-known hotel-booking website on the recent holiday. He found that most hotels in Hoi An, Hue, Danang were full and the prices skyrocketed.

    At the four-star hotel Luxtery on Danang’s
    Pham Van Dong Street
    , one suite cost nearly VND43 million, or US$1,890, per night on April 29, according to the website booking.com. At another hotel, Le Manoir Premier Danang, on the seaside street of Vo Nguyen Giap, the price of a twin room was VND13.6 million per night on the same day, Loc said.

    However, room prices of the above-mentioned hotels on the page booking.com plummeted yesterday afternoon. For instance, one suite in the Luxtery hotel decreased from VND43 million as cited earlier to a mere VND5.5 million per night, while a twin room at VND455,000. The quoted prices manifest a shocking difference from eight to 20 times within just three days.

    During the weekend holiday, Danang had 712 lodging facilities with 29,735 rooms, up 113 units with 7,355 rooms year-on-year. It welcomed nearly 130,000 tourists who stayed overnight, up 16.4% against the same period last year, including some 55,000 foreigners, up 22.4%, according to the municipal Department of Tourism.

    Vietnam, Czech promote trade cooperation

    A seminar on promoting the economic and trade cooperation between Vietnam and the Czech Republic was held in Prague on May 3.

    Speeches presented at the seminar highlighted the fine diplomatic relations between the two countries over the past seven decades, which have created momentum for the development of their bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

    Two-way trade has increased each year and, in 2017, two-way trade between Vietnam and the CzechRepublic reached nearly US$257.6 million worth of goods, up 3% from 2016, US$151 million of which were Vietnamese exports, up 3.5% annually.

    In January-February 2018, the two countries’ trade reached nearly US$50 million, up 31.3% from the same period in 2017. As of the end of February, the CzechRepublic had deployed 36 valid investment projects in Vietnam, with capital at over US$90 million, ranking 49th out of the 126 nations and territories investing in Vietnam.

    The seminar, jointly organised by the Vietnamese Embassy in the CzechRepublic and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Parliament of the CzechRepublic, aimed to provide the Czech businesses with the latest information on the investment and business environment in Vietnam, as well as opening up new opportunities for cooperation between the two sides.

    Vietnam Medi- Pharm 2018 aiming at grassroots healthcare

    The Ministry of Health and the Vietnam Advertisement & Fair Exhibition JSC (Vietfair) and related organizations held a press conference in the afternoon of May 2 about the upcoming 25th Vietnam International Exhibitions on Products, Equipment, Supplies for Pharmaceutical, Medical, Hospital and Rehabilitation (Vietnam Medi-Pharm 2018), which will take place in Hanoi from May 9-12.

    According to Mr. Nguyen Dinh Anh, Director General of the Health Communication and Reward Department under the Ministry of Health, because of the theme ‘Improving grassroots-level healthcare and working towards community healthcare’, the display area of Vietnam Medi-Pharm 2018 will focus on the propaganda of guidelines, policies and regulations of our Party and State on healthcare activities.

    On this occasion, the Ministry of Health will also introduce to the public its innovative and positive changes as well as its achievements and major missions in 2018.

    In the area of 9,000m2, there will be more than 530 stalls of 450 firms from many countries and regions in the world besides Vietnam such as India, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Taiwan (of China), Korea, the USA, Japan, Thailand, and Singapore. They will display and introduce their latest medical and pharmaceutical products as well as technologies.

    The Vietnam Medi-Pharm 2018 is expected to create various opportunities for commercial collaborations and experience exchange between domestic medical, pharmaceutical, medical equipment businesses and international counterparts.

    Belgian businesses seek cooperation opportunities in Vietnam

    The Belgian Vietnamese Alliance (BVA) and the Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT) held a meeting on May 3 with a delegation of Belgian businesses ahead of the delegation’s visit to Vietnam from May 13-18 to explore cooperation opportunities.

    The delegation of nearly 90 entrepreneurs from 65 Belgian enterprises, led by Minister-President of Flanders Geert Bourgeois, is scheduled to visit Vietnam as part of activities to celebrate the 45th founding anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties.

    Addressing the meeting, Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium Vu Anh Quang praised the Flanders Minister-President for his efforts to develop the relations between Vietnam and the Flanders region in recent years.

    He hoped the upcoming visit will help Vietnamese and Belgian businesses to understand more about each other’s potential as well as trade and investment cooperation opportunities.

    The diplomat said the two nations are working to elevate the bilateral ties to strategic partnership in some specific fields.

    He added that the free trade agreement between EU and Vietnam, once signed and ratified, will open up numerous opportunities for Vietnamese and Belgian enterprises to strengthen connectivity and collaboration.

    This will also help increase Belgium’s investment in Vietnam, particularly in the fields of shipbuilding, agriculture, high technology, and clean energy, contributing to promoting sustainable and green growth in Vietnam, the ambassador added.

    For his part, Bourgeois hailed Vietnam’s strong development over the past 30 years with annual remarkable gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6 - 7 percent.

    Vietnam holds a lot of potential for economic development, and in fact, the country has been successful not only in calling for foreign investment but also in reforming trade and administrative procedures, he said.

    The Flanders leader added he has high expectations for Belgium-Vietnam partnership, adding that he hoped the two countries will work to improve trade balance in the coming time, citing the fact that the Flanders region exported 4.92 million EUR (5.8 million USD) worth of goods to Vietnam but imported 2 billion EUR from the market.

    The reality shows that goods made in Belgium and Vietnam, especially farm produce, are not competitive but supplementary, enabling the two countries to boost cooperation in trade and investment, he added.

    On the occasion of five-day visit to Vietnam, businesses from the Flanders region will hold meetings, promotions and field trips to promote their products and study cooperation opportunities with Vietnamese partners.-

    RoK helps Vietnam develop investment information system

    The Government of the Republic of Korea (RoK) will provide a non-refundable aid package worth 5.5 million USD to help Vietnam carry out a project on upgrading and developing the national investment information system for 2018-2021.

    A record of discussions to this effect was signed between Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Hanoi on May 3.

    The 6.2 million USD project aims to improve the ministry’s capacity for collecting, managing and analysing national database on investment, while providing online public services for investors.

    It is also seen as a tool assisting localities in granting investment licences and managing projects.

    MPI Deputy Minister Vu Dai Thang said the two sides committed to ensuring the progress of the project in order to contribute to promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam, and strengthening cooperation between Vietnam and the RoK.

    According to the MPI’s Foreign Investment Agency, Vietnam has to date attracted 25,524 FDI projects valued at nearly 320 billion USD.

    The RoK takes the lead among 126 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with more than 6,800 project worth over 59 billion USD.

    In the first four months of this year, the RoK invested and expanded investments in about 420 projects with total capital of more than 2.3 billion USD, the agency said.

    Vietnam Cafe Show 2018 draws top domestic, int’l brands

    The Vietnam Cafe Show 2018 kicked off at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre in Ho Chi Minh City on May 3.

    Speaking at the event, Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City chapter of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Nguyen The Hung said the show is the specialised exhibition of the coffee industry, drawing the participation of leading Vietnamese and international firms.

    The three-day event offers a platform for businesses to share knowledge and experience in the industry, while seeking opportunities to expand their network, fostering Vietnam’s coffee sector in particular.

    It features more than 200 pavilions of over 100 leading local and international coffee brands, along with beverage and pastry businesses. It also introduces the industry’s materials, machinery and coffee shop interior designs.

    A highlight of the exhibition will be the Vietnam National Barista Championship, the first coffee making competition in Vietnam in accordance with standards of the World Coffee Event. The winner of the contest will represent Vietnam at the World Barista Championship 2018 in Seoul, the Republic of Korea.

    In addition, visitors are able to join performances of professional baristas and enjoy various types of coffee and pastry at the Coffee Training Station, Sweet Class and Vietnam Beverage Battle sub-events.

    In 2017, the Coffee Expo Vietnam was attended by over 100 famous coffee brands, attracting about 40,000 visitors.

    VNA, ST Aerospace in aircraft repair joint venture deal

    Vietnam Airlines (VNA) and Singapore Technologies Aerospace Ltd (ST Aerospace) on April 26 inked a memorandum of understanding to set up a joint venture to provide maintenance services for VNA’s Airbus A321aircraft.

    The joint venture, which will be headquartered at NoiBaiInternationalAirport in Hanoi, is expected to annually maintain 17,500 hi-tech parts of jetliners.

    The two sides will boost cooperation in aircraft maintenance and manpower training. Meanwhile, the project will contribute to enhancing the hi-tech application in Vietnam’s aircraft maintenance and repair field.

    The partnership with ST Aerospace, an arm of ST Engineering Ltd, will also enable the national flag carrier to do aircraft maintenance and repair work in Vietnam, instead of outsourcing it to partners abroad as at present, thus saving time and cost and improving aircraft’s operational efficiency.

    VNA deputy general director Dang Ngoc Hoa said the project marks a new development of the local civil aviation sector. The VNA-ST Aerospace cooperation will also help strengthen bilateral economic and trade ties between the two nations.

    Its partnership with VNA will help ST Aerospace expand to other markets, said ST Aerospace president Lim Serh Ghee.

    ST Aerospace plans to build an aircraft parts warehouse in Vietnam to promptly meet VNA’s demand for maintaining and repairing A321 aircraft.

    In October last year, the airline signed a contract with U.S. aerospace firm Pratt & Whitney (PW) to buy engines and support services for 20 A321neo aircraft.

    The airline on April 26 also announced its business performance in the first quarter of this year. It said it transported nearly five million passengers and operated some 33,000 safe flights in the period, up 5% and 4.3% year-on-year respectively.

    Its consolidated revenue reached nearly VND25.5 trillion (US$1.1 billion), of which the parent company generated VND18.6 trillion, up more than 13% over the same period last year.

    The airline reported consolidated pre-tax profit of VND1.46 trillion, 6.2% higher than estimated. Meanwhile, the parent company’s pre-tax profit was VND875 billion, up more than 30% over the year-ago period and 13% more than the target.

    During the first three months of the year, especially the Lunar New Year holiday, VNA’s passenger satisfaction and punctuality indexes hit 30% and over 90% respectively.

    The ratio of passengers implementing check-in procedures via VNA’s website and mobile app or at kiosks at Tan Son Nhat, Noi Bai and Danang international airports reached nearly 50%.

    Jotun to build 2nd paint plant in Vietnam

    Jotun Paints (Vietnam) will invest US$70 billion to build its second plant in Vietnam, said Johnny Kolding, general manager of the firm.

    The company on April 26 signed a contract with Hiep Phuoc Corp to lease land at the HiepPhuocIndustrial Park in Nha Be District, HCMC to develop the new facility.

    Kolding said the plant will cover 10 hectares and produce decorative, electrostatic, industrial, and marine paints and that the size of the new facility will be 10 times bigger than the current factory in neighboring BinhDuongProvince.

    In its startup years, the new factory will be able to turn out 80 million liters of liquid paint and 10 million liters of powdered paint a year.

    It will be designed and built in line with Leadership in Energy and Environment in Design (LEED) international standards. The plant will be equipped with solar power systems to minimize power consumption.

    Jotun A/S is among the top paints and coatings manufacturers in Norway, which produces four major high-class products namely decorative, electrostatic, industrial, and marine paints. Jotun entered the Vietnamese market in 1994 and its first plant was put into operation four years later.

    In 2004, Jotun expanded the plant by investing in advanced technology and increasing its capacity to 13 million liters of paint a year. In 2013, it injected an extra US$8 million into its Vietnam operations, increasing its total investment pledge in the country to US$16.1 million.

    In 2016, it further increased its yearly capacity to 30 million liters of paint and now 45 million liters.

    Vietjet to launch new air routes

    Vietjet will expand its flight network to Japan, Australia and India to meet rising air travel demand.

    The low-cost carrier said at the annual general meeting on April 26 that the domestic and regional aviation markets will grow strongly this year.

    The Government has identified tourism as a spearhead industry, so more foreigners will come to visit Vietnam. This is an opportunity for the airline to open new international services to capitalize.

    Vietjet will open a new service connecting Vietnam and Japan, and air links between Vietnam and Australia, and between Vietnam and India.

    Speaking at the meeting, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, CEO of Vietjet, said the profit from international services was 20% higher than that of domestic ones as the airline can sell duty-free goods in-flight and buy jet fuel at a lower price.

    According to a financial report, Vietjet last year made VND42,303 billion in revenue and VND5,073 billion in after-tax profit, up 54% and 73% year-on-year respectively.

    In 2018, the carrier looks to VND50,970 billion in revenue and VND5,800 billion in profit, up 20.5% and 10% respectively against last year. The 2018 dividend is expected at 50%.

    Vietjet now has 55 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft and operates 385 flights a day. It has transported over 55 million passengers on 38 domestic and 44 international routes since its debut.

    Vietcombank cuts deal with SBF

    The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) has clinched a cooperation agreement with the Singapore Business Federation (SBF).

    The signing of the deal coincides with the celebration of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, and the fifth anniversary of the establishment of strategic partnership between Vietnam and Singapore.

    The signing ceremony was graced by the presence of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc who is in Singapore to pay an official visit and participate in the 32nd ASEAN Summit.

    According to the agreement, Vietcombank and SBF will join hands to foster development and efficiency of both, and support SBF in commercial expansion and investment in Vietnam.

    Vietcombank will be treated as a priority bank for SBF members in banking transactions like cash management, international payment, project funding, short-term credit, guarantees and consulting on M&A deals.

    Ho Meng Kit, CEO of SBF, said that under the deal, SBF members will have more favorable conditions to develop commercial activities and invest in Vietnam, contributing to boosting bilateral ties between the two nations.

    Established in 2002, SBF has 25,000 members who are active in 54 sectors and supports member companies to build business links with domestic and international partners. Almost 20% of SBF member firms have already invested in Vietnam.

    ABBANK to double capital, list on bourse

    Shareholders at a general meeting of An Binh Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ABBANK) on April 25 agreed to double the bank’s chartered capital and listing on the HCMC bourse.

    Vu Van Tien, who stepped down as chairman of the bank at the meeting, said the extra capital injection will allow the bank to increase investment in technology and governance. Local banks with over VND10 trillion in chartered capital also have plans for increasing capital this year, he noted.

    ABBANK’s chartered capital of some VND5.32 trillion is low compared to other banks in Vietnam. ABBANK previously proposed merging with another bank. However, bad debt at that bank was huge at the time, making the merger impossible.

    Higher capital will also contribute to increasing lending and investment while still focusing on energy, manufacturing and hi-tech agriculture projects.

    After its capital increase, ABBANK will list on the Hochiminh Stock Exchange (HOSE) though it has already been trading on the market for unlisted public companies (UPCoM).

    Explaining the plan to get listed on HOSE, Tien said it is a better choice for a number of reasons. In particular, the stock market has posted strong and steady growth, with bank stocks rallying. Besides, since 2017 many banks have listed on the bourse, most recently Tien Phong Bank.

    Once getting approval from the board, the bank will take the next steps so that it can be on the bourse in six to eight months.

    An International Finance Corporation (IFC) representative said IFC agreed with the plan of the board, but careful discussions are needed for a higher chance of success. The bank needs to take into account levels of capital rise as doubling the capital may affect indicators like the ratio of profit to equity and stock dilution.

    Regarding dividend payments, Tien said ABBANK pays a share dividend for 2017.

    At the meeting, shareholders elected a new board of directors for the 2018-2022 term with seven members, including Luu Van Sau and Nguyen Danh Luong as new independent members.

    Dao Manh Khang, vice chairman of ABBANK, replaced Vu Van Tien as chairman of the board. Khanh has 23 years’ experience in the financial-banking sector and has been with ABBANK for over 11 years.

    The current regulations ban senior bank executives, especially chairmen and CEOs, from concurrently holding leadership positions at other businesses.

    Since Vu Van Tien chose to stay on chairman and CEO of Hanoi-based import-export firm Geleximco, he had to relinquish his post as chairman of ABBANK.

    An Giang: rice export up in both volume, value

    The rice export of the Mekong Delta province of An Giang rose both in volume and value in the first four months this year, said Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Vo Nguyen Nam.

    The province earned 276.48 million USD from exports, up 9.9 percent. Of which, 63.8 million USD was from shipping 126,860 tonnes of rice abroad, up 42.17 percent in volume and 54.8 percent in value.

    Meanwhile, up to 36,900 tonnes of frozen aquatic products worth 84 million USD were shipped abroad during the period. Among them, tra fish saw an 8.5 percent reduction in export volume but an increase of 14.2 percent in export value.

    In order to boost exports this year, the province has regularly updated policies and information about export markets and promptly removed obstacles to the export of key products such as rice and tra fish.

    The province has also flexibly directed cross-border trade and regularly maintained trade promotion activities, especially in border districts, contributing to raising its exports.

    Can Tho prepares 54 projects for investment promotion conference

    The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho plans to put up 54 projects to invite investment at its upcoming investment promotion conference in mid-August.

    The list of projects, which need a combined 100 trillion VND (over 4.38 billion USD), was reviewed at a conference on May 3 on preparations for the conference.

    The investment promotion conference under the theme of Sharing potential for mutual development, is slated for August 10. Around 500 domestic and foreign delegates are expected to attend the event, where the city will introduce its strengths, its commitment to investors along with local investment opportunities.

    The city plans to seek advice and experience for its development towards becoming a service and hi-tech agriculture centre as well as an information technology hub of the country. 

    Accordingly, three thematic discussions will be held on services, hi-tech agriculture and information during the conference.

    Some investment projects will be awarded licences at the event.

    Last year, Can Tho attracted some 77 foreign direct investment projects worth 656 million USD.

    The same year, the city posted its highest ever retail revenue of over 106 trillion VND (4.66 billion USD), up 10 percent from 2016. With that figure, Can Tho topped the Mekong Delta and was ranked third nationwide only behind Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

    Checkpoints for specialized inspections at ports should be removed: expert

    Checkpoints for specialized inspections at some ports and airports should be abolished as they have proven ineffective, said Nguyen Minh Thao, head of the Business Environment and Competitiveness Department at the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM).

    Thao told the Daily at a recent seminar on the business environment that she went to such a checkpoint at the Cat Lai port customs office in HCMC at 2 p.m. but she found the labs of the Quality Assurance and Testing Center 3 (Quatest 3) and Vinacontrol were not operational.

    These agencies later told her that the office rental and manpower costs they had to cover were higher than testing fee revenues, so they had no choice but to close their offices at Cat Lai port.

    Checkpoints for specialized inspections were set up at seaports and airports in late 2015 and early 2016 by the customs departments in QuangNinhProvince, HaiphongCity and HCMC. The checkpoints are represented by the Institute of Public Health, VeterinaryCenter for Region 6, PhytosanitaryCenter for Region 2, Quatest 3 and other agencies.

    Their establishment came after the Prime Minister issued Decision 2026 approving a scheme to improve the efficiency of specialized inspections of exports and imports.

    The ultimate goal is to shorten the time for customs clearance and reduce cargo storage and warehousing costs for exporters and importers who are subject to specialized inspections. However, not all types of commodities have their testing results returned at the same time.

    For example, individuals who receive gifts worth less than VND2 million (US$88) from their relatives overseas will conduct procedures for epidemics check and have their results returned immediately at the checkpoint at the TanSonNhatInternationalAirport.

    However, if their gifts worth more than VND2 million, the checkpoint will receive their requests for testing while other procedures will be transferred to its headquarters in downtown HCMC due to lack of testing equipment.

    Meanwhile, many agencies at the checkpoint at Cat Lai port do not have competent staff there, so important procedures must be done in the city center. Consequently, their testing results can only be returned after several days.

    Thao of CIEM cited a Government resolution on improving the country’s business environment and competitiveness as saying that after four years of execution, the number of commodities subject to specialized inspections prior to customs clearance has declined by a mere 10 percentage points, just half of the target.

    She added around 58% of commodities subject to specialized inspections face overlapping checks by ministries, or even agencies within a single ministry.

    Moreover, tests are still lengthy, leading to extra costs for enterprises.

    Specialized inspections have long been regarded as a terrible headache for importers and exporters. Therefore, the Government has repeatedly asked competent agencies to make radical reform in the field.

    More incentives for social housing development

    The legal corridor for social housing development has recently changed towards providing more incentives than it was first mentioned in the Housing Law in 2005.

    Last year, the nation’s average floor area per person rose 0.6 square metre to 23.4 square metres as compared to 2016.

    In 2017, a further 0.19 million square metres of social housing was added in urban areas, raising the total area for social housing in the urban region to 3.49 million square metres.

    According to Minister of Construction Pham Hong Ha, the country now has more than 4 million square metres of social housing but only 40 percent of public demand has been met.

    The Housing Law in 2014 and the government’s Decree No.100/2015/ND-CP have provided full regulations and policies on the development and management of social housing, he said.

    However, due to economic difficulties and limited State budget for development investment, the allocation of capital for implementing social housing support policies has not yet met the large demand of low-income people.

    In the medium-term public investment plan for the 2016-2020 period, the government could arrange only a small amount of 1.2 trillion VND for the field.

    Experts said it is necessary to create long-term capital sources for the development of social housing projects.

    Preferential credit packages are needed to help enterprises investing in the field and people buying social housing properties.

    Nguyen Ngoc Thanh, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Real Estate Association, said the 30-trillion VND (1.32 billion USD) housing aid package, which was launched in 2013 and ended in 2016, created a breakthrough in the field, but it was just an aid package, not credit policy.

    The government’s Decree 100 states clearly that the capital to implement social housing projects is sourced from preferential credits from the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies, he said.

    The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has decided to keep preferential loan interest rate unchanged at 5 percent for purchase, rent or hire of social housing projects in 2018.

    The decision took effect from the beginning of this year, replacing Decision No 2544/QD-NHNN, dated December 30, 2016, on interest rate for loans applicable in 2017 for social housing projects.

    China intensifies checks of fruit imports from Vietnam

    Like the U.S. and Australia, China has strengthened safety checks of Vietnamese products, mainly fruits, from now to 2020.

    A report sent to the Ministry of Industry and Trade by the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association on April 5 says Vietnamese fruits and vegetables, whose export revenue amounted to US$3.5 billion in 2018, are subject to China’s recently amended regulations on food safety.

    Guangxi’s quarantine agency has informed that it began on April 1 to trace the origin of and check the quality of fruits imported from Vietnam. This means when China restricts imports of fruits from Vietnam via border trade, Vietnam can ship just eight types of fruit – dragon fruit, rambutan, mango, longan, lychee, banana and jack fruit through official channels.

    This will force Vietnam to rethink the way its fruits are exported to China. It can no longer rely on border trade as had been done over the years.

    China’s increased inspections of the quality of Vietnamese fruits might heavily impact Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports as China is the biggest export market. In 2017, of Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports totaled US$3.5 billion, with China accounting for US$2.65 billion, or 75.5%.  Other nine export markets made up only 24.50%.

    CPI rises 0.08 percent in April

    Belgian businesses seek cooperation opportunities in Vietnam

    The Belgian Vietnamese Alliance (BVA) and the Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT) held a meeting on May 3 with a delegation of Belgian businesses ahead of the delegation’s visit to Vietnam from May 13-18 to explore cooperation opportunities.

    The delegation of nearly 90 entrepreneurs from 65 Belgian enterprises, led by Minister-President of Flanders Geert Bourgeois, is scheduled to visit Vietnam as part of activities to celebrate the 45th founding anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties.

    Addressing the meeting, Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium Vu Anh Quang praised the Flanders Minister-President for his efforts to develop the relations between Vietnam and the Flanders region in recent years.

    He hoped the upcoming visit will help Vietnamese and Belgian businesses to understand more about each other’s potential as well as trade and investment cooperation opportunities.

    The diplomat said the two nations are working to elevate the bilateral ties to strategic partnership in some specific fields.

    He added that the free trade agreement between EU and Vietnam, once signed and ratified, will open up numerous opportunities for Vietnamese and Belgian enterprises to strengthen connectivity and collaboration.

    This will also help increase Belgium’s investment in Vietnam, particularly in the fields of shipbuilding, agriculture, high technology, and clean energy, contributing to promoting sustainable and green growth in Vietnam, the ambassador added.

    For his part, Bourgeois hailed Vietnam’s strong development over the past 30 years with annual remarkable gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6 - 7 percent.

    Vietnam holds a lot of potential for economic development, and in fact, the country has been successful not only in calling for foreign investment but also in reforming trade and administrative procedures, he said.

    The Flanders leader added he has high expectations for Belgium-Vietnam partnership, adding that he hoped the two countries will work to improve trade balance in the coming time, citing the fact that the Flanders region exported 4.92 million EUR (5.8 million USD) worth of goods to Vietnam but imported 2 billion EUR from the market.

    The reality shows that goods made in Belgium and Vietnam, especially farm produce, are not competitive but supplementary, enabling the two countries to boost cooperation in trade and investment, he added.

    On the occasion of five-day visit to Vietnam, businesses from the Flanders region will hold meetings, promotions and field trips to promote their products and study cooperation opportunities with Vietnamese partners.

    HCMCity helps supporting industries improve quality
       
    The HCM City Centre for Supporting Industry Development has collaborated with other agencies to provide human resource solutions to supporting industries.

    Together with the International Labour Organisation, it has organised the SCORE programme for training workers at small and medium-sized enterprises in supporting industries.

    After the programme, six enterprises have improved production by applying the Japanese 5S model and Kaizen method.

    The former is designed to improve productivity through organisation and cleanliness, and the latter is used to evaluate and find the ways to improve the work done by the company.

    The Japan International Cooperation Agency has supported five small and medium enterprises in the automobile industry.

    Thanks to these programmes, enterprises have overcome shortcomings with respect to finance their development strategies, thus making them become suppliers to companies like Mitsubishi and Samsung.

    The city Department of Labour- Invalids and Social Affairs has urged the People’s Committee to hire foreign experts in the field of support industries, organise training programmes to skill managers and teachers at colleges and intermediate schools.

    The centre has also organised training courses for enterprises in areas such as starting up businesses and management.

    Purchasing power soars by 8.5%
       
    The purchasing power in the total national retail value of goods and services until April 2018 reached nearly VND1.40 trillion ($61.4 million), the General Statistics Office (GSO) reported.

    This is equivalent to a year-on-year increase of 9.8 per cent.

    The increase is estimated at 8.5 per cent if the price factor is excluded, higher than the growth of 7 per cent in the first four months last year. The rise was similar to that during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays when the consumption demand was high.

    GSO expert Vu Manh Ha attributed the surge in purchasing power in the first four months of this year to the high demand for accommodation, restaurant, services and travel in the summer season.

    Of these, the revenue from retail goods, which accounts for more than 75 per cent of the total revenue, hit $46.4 million, up 10.8 per cent from the same period last year.

    Food and foodstuff retail revenue increased by 12 per cent, garment retail revenue by 12.8 per cent, home appliances by 10.8 per cent, culture and education products by 9 per cent and transportation services by 8.2 per cent.

    Localities with high growth in retail revenue include HCMCity (12.8 per cent), Hai Phong (12.6 per cent), Da Nang (12 per cent), Binh Dinh (11 per cent), Nam Dinh (10.9 per cent) and Ha Noi (10.4 per cent).

    The revenue from accommodation and restaurant services, which accounts for 12.3 per cent of the total revenue, increased by 9.4 per cent to $7.5 billion in the first four months.

    The revenue from the tourism sector, which accounts for only 1 per cent of the total revenue, reached a growth of 26.1 per cent to $565.78 million in the first four months.

    Tourism in HCMCity recorded the highest increase in revenue (30.4 per cent), followed by Binh Dinh (28.9 per cent), Hai Phong (23.4 per cent) and Ha Noi (18.8 per cent).

    Fintech use is a must for Asia-Pacific economies: seminars
       
    Asia and Pacific economies must enhance their financial inclusion based on new financial technologies (fintech), senior officials said on Thursday at a high-level Asian Development Bank (ADB) seminar.

    “Governments in the region can improve financial inclusion by broadening access to basic digital infrastructure and providing an enabling environment for innovators and entrepreneurs,” said ADB President Takehiko Nakao.

    Policymakers in each regional country should consider methods to improve existing regulations to protect consumers from cybercrime and fraud. They should also achieve a balance between innovation and financial stability, Takehiko told the seminar.

    The seminar was a part of the 51st ADB Annual Meeting held in the capital city of Manila, the Philippines, drawing attention from a number of specialists and experts in the finance and technology sectors.

    It unfolded as policymakers and businesspeople are grappling with a boom in new technologies such as cryptocurrency, machine learning, big data and electronic ledger. These are the tools that can be used to improve the quality and security of the region’s financial system.

    In addition, fintech is also seen as a big obstacle for poor households and small businesses in the Asia-Pacific economic region to gain access to financial services. Specialists at the seminar estimated about two billion people in the world have not gained access to finance and half of those live in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Seminar panelists agreed that fintech is quite promising as it could help poor communities and groups of people and businesses overcome the challenges they face when they try to gain the collateral required for formal credit deals.

    According to Mitsuhio Furusawa, deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), fintech is the most promising way to boost the financial system in Asia, as it is accessible to those living in rural areas.

    Thanks to fintech, financial services will become more affordable and offer better accessibility to rural residents and small- and medium-sized businesses, he said, adding that local governments will play “a crucial role in creating an environment that promotes financial inclusion while mitigating the risks.”

    VN investors seek spots at DC summit
       
    More than 30 Vietnamese investors participated in a seminar held on Thursday in HCM City as part of the US Mission to Viet Nam’s ongoing recruitment for the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, DC in June.

    The first “Invest in the US” seminar, co-organised by the US Consulate General and AmChamHCMCity, described the benefits of investing in the US, home to the largest amount of FDI in the world.

    Experts from Baker & McKenzie law firm provided Vietnamese investors with an introduction on the legal and foreign exchange requirements for outbound investment and gave presentations on best practices for establishing operations in the US.

    One of the benefits of investing in the US is the variety of opportunities that exist across the country’s 52 states and territories. Representatives from the US states of Idaho, Iowa, and Pennsylvania spoke about investment opportunities in their states.

    Fred Burke, senior partner from Baker & McKenzie, highlighted how Viet Nam’s GDP growth was fueling greater interest in investing in the US.

    “It is often said that investment follows trade, and Viet Nam’s trade with the US has grown enormously in recent years such that it is one of Viet Nam’s top export markets. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Vietnamese firms are looking to invest in the US to support their trade relations and take advantage of opportunities there,” Burke said.

    The Investment Summit promotes the US as a premier investment destination and connects qualified foreign firms with US economic development organisations to facilitate business investment and job creation.

    Last year’s SelectUSA Investment Summit hosted by US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross drew the largest crowd yet, with over 3,000 registered participants.

    With 28 delegates, Viet Nam had the 12th largest delegation at the summit and the largest delegation from Southeast Asia.

    HCMCity eyes boost to supporting industries
       
    HCMCity will continue to focus on developing supporting industry, and targets meeting 45 per cent of national demand for manufactured inputs by 2020 and 65 per cent by 2025.

    These are said to be ambitious targets in the context that the sector is still poorly developed.

    Since the city’s Decision 15/2017/QD-UBND to help businesses develop the manufacturing and supporting sectors took effect on April 24, 2017, the Department of Industry and Trade has received applications from 11 projects.

    It has appraised nine projects requiring a total investment of VND943.2 billion (US$41.4 million), and two of them with a combined investment of VND222 billion have been approved by the People’s Committee for interest-subsidised loans of VND110 billion.

    The department has also co-ordinated with the State Bank of Viet Nam to organise bank-business linkage programmes to actively help enterprises borrow money.

    It has signed a memorandum of understanding with Vietinbank for a credit package of VND10 trillion ($438.59 million) for manufacturing and parts supply companies.

    In the first quarter of this year, the department also organised some other activities to enable parts manufacturers to market their products. They included a sourcing fair for connecting supporting industry with buyers, which featured more than 230 business-to-business meetings between 17 local and FDI firms in the electronics, automobile and mechanical engineering sectors and 80 local part suppliers.

    The department’s Centre for Supporting Industries Development has built a comprehensive database for the industry at http://csid.gov.vn with information about 530 out of the 860 supporting industry enterprises based in the city.

    This would help parts suppliers and buyers understand each other’s capabilities and explore tie-ups.

    The department has also worked with industrial parks and processing zones, and many of them such as Tan Thuan, Hiep Phuoc, Linh Trung, and Dong Nam processing zones plan to earmark areas or develop high-rise factories for supporting industry at reasonable rentals to meet demand.

    According to economists, there is huge demand for spare-part products, but domestic production is unable to meet it.

    HCMCity has certain advantages as it seeks to develop supporting industry.

    Tran Anh Hao, head of the department’s industry division, said the department would review the investment stimulus programme with regard to the manufacturing and parts sectors to submit to the city for approval.

    It would also build a programme to develop the sector, identify the most promising products this year, provide training and evaluate the local content rates in the city’s four key industries (food processing, chemical-rubber, mechanics and information technology) and two traditional industries (garment and textile, and footwear), Hao said.

    The city has rolled out practical support policies for enterprises to invest in upgrading their machinery and equipment and technologies, thereby increasing local content rates and enabling them to take part in the global supply chain, the department said.

    Industrial growth soars in first four months
       
    Viet Nam’s industrial production index (IPI) retained a significant 11.4 per cent growth rate in the first four months of this year, much higher than the 6.6 per cent increase in the same period last year.

    The period’s strong IIP rise was attributed to the fact that many industrial firms have taken advantage of the State policies in cutting off business conditions and speeding up administrative reforms to expand their operations as well as markets for their products, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

    In the January-April period, the manufacturing and processing sector, which accounts for nearly 80 per cent of overall industrial value, saw the strongest growth with 14 per cent, compared to 9.5 per cent in last year’s corresponding period, GSO said.

    Meanwhile, electricity production and distribution increased 9.7 per cent, and water supply and wastewater treatment went up 5.5 per cent. The mining sector witnessed a modest decline of 1.2 per cent.

    Areas posting high production growth include electronics, computers and optical products at 27 per cent, metal at 16.3 per cent, furniture production at 15 per cent and pharmaceuticals at 14 per cent. Surges were also recorded in major industrial products such as iron and steel (38.2 per cent), fabric (26.2 per cent), powdered milk (21 per cent), feed for aquaculture (19 per cent), television (18 per cent), and processed seafood products (12 per cent).

    Several other areas, however, saw industrial production reduce, including crude oil (9.4 per cent), urea fertiliser (4 per cent), animal feed (2 per cent) and milk (1 per cent). The northern province of Bac Ninh led the nation with an IPI growth of 34 per cent, followed by Hai Phong (24 per cent), Vinh Phuc (14 per cent) and Thai Nguyen (12.1 per cent).

    Others with positive IIP increases were Hai Duong (11 per cent), Ha Noi and Dong Nai (8.1 per cent), Da Nang (8 per cent), Binh Duong (7.9 per cent), Can Tho (7.3 per cent), Quang Ninh (6.5 per cent), and HCMCity (6.1 per cent).

    As of April 1, the number of workers in industrial enterprises increased 3.9 per cent compared to the same period last year. The number of workers in State-owned enterprises dropped 1.1 per cent, while those in non-State and foreign-invested businesses went up 4.3 per cent and 4.5 per cent, respectively.

    The number of workers in provinces and cities with large-scale industry also saw increases, such as Can Tho (23 per cent), Hai Phong (16.3 per cent), and Bac Ninh (14 per cent), as well as Thai Nguyen (8 per cent), Binh Duong (7 per cent) and Dong Nai (5.3 per cent).

    ASEAN+3 economies to grow slower in 2018-19
       
    Half of the ASEAN+3 economies are projected to grow at a slower pace in the next two years, reducing the region’s overall growth rate, reports the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO).

    ASEAN+3 includes 10 ASEAN economies and three other large economies---China, Japan and South Korea.

    Seven of the 13 economies that are predicted to grow more slowly in the next two years include the four East Asia economies besides Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia---the leading economies in the ASEAN region.

    The GDP (gross domestic product) growth rates for these economies range from 1.3 per cent to 6.6 per cent in 2018 and from 0.7 per cent to 6.4 per cent in 2019. Among them, China is seen as the strongest growing economy while Japan is considered the weakest as AMRO slashes its growth forecast for Japan from 1.3 per cent in 2018 to 0.7 per cent in 2019.

    AMRO predicts the GDP growth of the ASEAN+3 block to reach 5.4 per cent in 2018, down 0.2 percentage points from 2017.

    Two economies that may be steady in the next two years are Viẹt Nam and Cambodia, whose GDP growth may remain stable at 6.8 per cent and 6.6 per cent, respectively.

    Improving economies in the region include Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines. Among them, Brunei is projected to post the strongest GDP growth, which almost tripled from 0.6 per cent in 2017 to 1.6 per cent in 2018 and is expected to double to 3.4 per cent in 2019.

    Therefore, the region’s overall GDP growth is projected at 5.4 per cent in 2018 and 5.2 per cent in 2019, “underpinned by resilient domestic demand and export growth with stable inflation”, AMRO said in its “ASEAN+3 Regional Economic Outlook (AERO) 2018” report, released on Thursday in Manila, the Philippines.

    The overall inflation rate for the entire region is estimated at 2.1 per cent for 2018 and two per cent for 2019, up from 1.8 per cent in 2017. The overall inflation rate among ASEAN+3 economies has been steady at an average of 1.7 per cent in the past three years after falling sharply from 2.6 per cent in 2013-14.

    “Most regional economies are in their mid-business cycle, where growth is picking up with a small output gap close to zero and stable inflation,” AMRO said as credit has started slowing down in some of the regional economies after a period of “above-trend growth, partly reflecting the result of proactive policy action by authorities”.

    According to AMRO, risks confronting the region are mainly external, with near-term ones being the escalation of global trade tensions, faster-than-expected tightening in global financial conditions, escalation of regional geopolitical risks and weaker growth in the third quarter, while medium-term risk is the sharper-than-expected slowdown in China’s growth and capital flight.

    These risks can also have high impacts on the regional economic growth in future. In addition to this, the region can face perennial risks that lie in cyber-security attacks and climate change.

    “If these risks materialise, there will be spillovers to the region through capital outflows, higher borrowing costs and lower trade and investment flows,” AMRO said.

    To cope with the potential threats to the regional economic growth, AMRO suggeststhat policymakers in the region “should continue to build policy space, particularly in monetary policy, in anticipation of tighter global financial conditions ahead”.

    “Fiscal policy may have to play a greater role in supporting growth while macroprudential policy can help safeguard financial stability,” the report says.

    Meanwhile, regional governments should focus on strengthening their management policies to “raise productive capacity through building physical infrastructure and human capital and to promote economic diversification to improve resilience in the economy”, said AMRO’schief economist Hoe Ee Khor.

    To address these challenges, the region “should improve connectivity through investment in infrastructure with trade facilitation policies, grow a vibrant services sector and develop a skilled labour force through labour upskilling, immigration and education”, Khor said.

    First Vietnamese bank issues ATM card through LiveBank
       
    Tien Phong Joint Stock Commercial Bank (TPBank) has updated a new function of issuing ATM cards to customers through LiveBank - the first auto banking system in Viet Nam.

    Nguyen Hung, TPBank’s general director, said customers needed to click on the machine to connect with bank staff and provide their ID card or passport to scan on the machine as well as complete information registration. LiveBank will then automatically issue an ATM card to the customer after a review from the bank’s staff. The entire process is estimated to take a maximum of six minutes instead of several days or even a week when applying for an ATM card through a bank’s branch.

    Hung said customers can also register for debit card at LiveBank and receive the same at its branches.

    “The update is a roadmap to develop LiveBank and show TPBank’s commitment in increasing digital content in its products and services,” he said, adding that the function could help LiveBank become the most comprehensive auto bank in Viet Nam.

    Pham Ngoc Cuong, an engineer of TPBank’s digital bank project, said LiveBank could implement all of the most complicated transactions, such as opening a bank account, issuing ATM cards as well as opening and closing an online savings account any time.

    The bank now has 60 LiveBank machines, which are mostly located at large centres and streets in major cities throughout the country.

    The bank plans to increase LiveBank machines to 100 in 2018.

    ABBank appoints new general director
       
    An Binh Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ABBank) appointed Duong Thi Mai Hoa general director.

    Hoa, who was the CEO (chief executive officer) of giant property developer Vingroup for five years, has replaced Nguyen Manh Quan.

    Hoa is a renowned banker in the country. She has held key positions in many banks, including Maritime Bank and VIB. She has served as financial director of the US Oracle Group’s Oracle Vietnam Pte. Ltd and as chief accountant of Credit Lyonnais Vietnam.

    With many years of experience and a thorough understanding of the financial and banking systems, Hoa is expected to help ABBank make more profits from the retail market and achieve strong growth.

    Rice exports bring home 1.1 billion USD in Jan-Apr

    Vietnam earned 1.1 billion USD from exporting 2.16 million tonnes of rice in the first four months of 2018, up 35.7 percent in value and 21.7 percent in volume.

    China remained the biggest rice importer of Vietnam with 29.1 percent of the rice market share, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    The average export price for rice showed a year-on-year rise of 15 percent to touch 501 USD per tonne thanks to better quality.

    High-quality rice comprised of up to 81 percent of the rice export volume, the ministry said, forecasting the world’s rice market will see a decrease in supply and an increase in demand in the coming time.

    In 2018, Vietnam is forecast to ship 6.5 million tonnes of rice abroad, up 700,000 tonnes compared to 2017.

    According to Vietnam’s Rice Market Development Strategy from 2017 to 2020 with a vision to 2030, one of the country’s goals is to gradually reduce the rice export volume but increase the value of exported rice.

    Vietnamese rice is now exported to over 130 markets worldwide.

    Aquaculture output picks up 6 percent in four months

    Aquaculture output in the first four months of the year hit 1 million tonnes, up 6 percent from the same time last year, according to the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

    In the period, the Mekong Delta region harvested some 373,000 tonnes of tra fish, a year-on-year surge of 8 percent.

    With tra fish fetching high prices, local farmers have rushed to dig ponds and breed more fish, leading to the scarcity of fish fry and increase in their prices.

    In a stark contrast, farmers have been rushing off their feet to harvest shrimp for fear of price drop. Each kilogramme of white-leg shrimp is being sold at 110,000-120,000 VND (4.84- 5.28 USD), decreasing 10,000-20,000 VND (0.44-0.88 USD) per kg from the previous month.

    The country earned some 2.4 billion USD from exporting aquatic products in the first four months of 2018, representing a year-on-year rise of 13 percent.

    In April alone, the country raked in 650 million USD from the export of aquatic products.

    The US, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea were the biggest importers in January-March, making up 52 percent of the Southeast Asian country’s total aquatic product exports. The highest growth was reported in the Netherlands (55.7 percent), China (44.6 percent) and the UK (33.8 percent).

    In the four-month period, Vietnam imported 536 million USD worth of aquatic products, up 27.4 percent against the same period last year. Of the figure, 130 million worth of aquatic products were imported in April.

    Aquatic product exports in 2018 are expected to exceed 8.5 billion USD, up about 3 percent compared to 2017, though Vietnam's exports to the US and EU markets will continue to be affected by catfish inspection, anti-dumping and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU), according to the VASEP.

    Manufacturing sector regains growth momentum

    Vietnam’s manufacturing growth picks up in April following sharp rises in new orders and output.

    According to Nikkei’s report released on May 2, the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) of the sector rose to 52.7 points in April, from 51.6 points in March. The production sector has become stronger in the past 29 months.

    Substantial increases in customers’ demand and foreign orders made manufacturing rise at faster pace. Also, employment growth has been registered for 25 consecutive months.

    However, domestic producers said that a dramatic hike in input costs made a startling contrast to the weak pace of rise in output prices.

    Andrew Harker, Associate Dierctor at IHS Markit which compiles the survey said that the Vietnamese manufacturers’ ability to maintain the large volume of orders is a striking point in the latest PMI report, with new export business up significantly in April.

    The competitive pricing is the prime motive for the success of a company as it explains the firm’s willingness to reduced margins in exchange for securing greater volumes of new work, he added.

    The PMI survey for the manufacturing sector is based on questionnaire responses from panels of senior purchasing executives at over 400 companies majoring in eight fields of metal, chemical and plastic, electronics and optics, food and beverage, engineering, garments, wood and paper, and transportation.

    The surveys have been conducted in more than 40 countries and also in key regions.  They are the most closely-watch business surveys in the world, favoured by central banks, financial markets and business decision makers for their ability to provide up-to-date, accurate and often unique monthly indicators of economic trends.

    M2 Vietnam Joint Stock Company (M2) expanding in Vietnam

    M2 Vietnam Joint Stock Company (M2) is expanding its brand name all over Vietnam.

    The clothing company recently launched their latest showroom in
    Cau Dien Street, Hanoi
    to introduce their latest collection of clothes made in Vietnam. In April, M2 also launched many branches and showrooms in other provinces such as Thanh Hoa.

    Textile M2 Export Center in Thanh Hoa city has a total area of over 1,500 square meters on two floors and is the largest M2 store to date.

    Using a supermarket model, M2 Fashion Export Textile Center in Thanh Hoa is the place to showcase, introduce and sell diverse and fashionable products.

    Chairman and CEO of M2, Nguyen Hai Duong shared their goals of developing the market and reaching out to many areas to bring the brand closer to its consumers.

    "M2 launched its first point of sale, which officially opened its showroom at 19 Le Huu Lap (Thanh Hoa city) in April 2018,” said Nguyen Hai Duong. “It has a total area of over 1,500m2 on two floors. It’s part of our goal of developing the business network of the company, "

    M2’s brand name has affirmed its position in the market of fashion apparel and clothing with its wide network of shops in many central locations in the country and abroad.

    The fashion brand was launched in 2001 and has been establishing and developing itself for 18 years now. It’s a pioneer fashion business model and has a number of chains in Hanoi and a number of provinces. There is even a shop in Moscow (Russian Federation).

    What makes M2 stand out are its fashion products, good quality and competitive prices which are suitable for the majority of consumers in Vietnam.

    Gamuda Land wins award for environmental rehabiliation

    Gamuda Land’s maiden township development project, located in the south of Hanoi, clinched the World Gold Award for Environmental (Rehabilitation / Conservation) at the FIABCI (an annual international conference run by the International Real Estate Federation) World Prix d’ Excellence 2018, which took place at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai on May 1.

    “We are truly honored to receive this renowned award for GamudaCity,” said Mr. Ngan Chee Meng, CEO of Gamuda Land. “Receiving the award is testament to our principles in developing townships, of ‘listening to what the land has to tell us’. When we work closely with nature to restore and rejuvenate the land, we create a better place for the community to call home.”

    The environmental rehabilitation of Yen So Park and Yen So Lake remains a remarkable turnaround story that has transformed one of Hanoi’s most polluted and inhospitable areas into a thriving green lung. What was once a shunned wasteland of untreated sewage and physical rubbish in the south of Hanoi is now a picturesque parkland of scenic lakes, lush greenery, and abundant flora and fauna.

    “When we first came here about ten years ago, the absence of a proper sewage system in Hanoi had resulted in the contamination of its waterways and lakes and created growing concern about public health and the need for better water management practices,” Mr. Ngan said. “Backed by our credible experience and expertise in drainage and wastewater treatment projects, a proposal was made to the government of Hanoi to build the Yen So Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) as well as to rejuvenate Yen So Park in exchange for land development rights.”

    Today, the Yen So STP manages and treats up to 200,000 cu m of wastewater discharge daily. Since beginning operations it has brought an effective solution to the pollution problem in the SetRiver - KimNguuRiver in Hanoi.

    GamudaLand’s rehabilitation efforts have also delivered immense socioeconomic benefits to south Hanoi, effectively addressing chronic wastewater and sewage issues and various health hazards.

    The rejuvenation of Yen So Park has also repositioned south Hanoi as an attractive location vis-à-vis the north, which was historically a better-favoured location for development and dwellings. GamudaLand’s mindful planning and rejuvenation of Yen So Park has restored the land to its natural beauty, resulting in an environment conducive to further development and investment in the area.

    “What is most heart-warming for us is to see thousands of Hanoians enjoying the park’s facilities, especially on weekends,” said Mr. Ngan. “When we listen to the land in this way, it allows us to create a place where biodiversity thrives and the community can grow up and grow old in for generations to come.”

    FIABCI World Prix d’Excellence recognizes projects that best embody excellence in all the real estate disciplines involved in their creation. It has bestowed awards to deserving projects and developments in 60 member countries and has undoubtedly created a great reputation. Already in its 27th year, the awards have gained recognition as the “Oscars” of the real estate industry, and according to the organizers is “more than just a beauty contest - it represents projects that are a cut above the rest.”

    The Environmental (Rehabilitation/Conservation) category judged contenders based on architecture, design and planning, sustainable construction methods, environmental impact, and community benefits, among other criteria.

    Online dating app DatEat receives investments from international funds

    Online dating startup DatEat recently announced it has successfully attracted capital investment from international funds.

    In December last year, DatEat announced it had successfully raised $4.1 million in funds from the UK’s DMG Enterprise. This is the first time a Vietnamese online dating startup has raised investment from an international fund.

    In spite of the fact that the online dating market, which has been developing all over the world, has clearly been dominated by US and Europe brands, according to Ms. Kate Truong, Vietnamese Founder of DatEat, this Vietnamese startup has a lot of potential for growth.
    As a young startup, DatEat has proven itself as able to catch up with technological trends by using a range of advanced technologies such as Blockchain, AI and Big Data. In recent times, the use of Blockchain has become a popular trend around the world. This technology is encouraged in all developed countries. The Industrial Revolution 4.0 has put a lot of focus on technology, and those who are able to keep up with it will be successful.

    “DMG hopes that with the leading breakthrough technology DatEat has been implementing, as well as our initial financial support, this startup will go further to dominate the market, first in Asia and then in other markets worldwide,” said Mr. William Knightley, Angel Investment Director of DMG Enterprise.
    With its initial success, DatEat is confidently calling for capital investment of up to $23 million from investors in Asia and Europe. According to DatEat’s Chief Financial Officer, the process of calling for capital investment has been launched and has received positive feedback.

    DatEat helps users find their ideal partners while ensuring the security of users’ personal information via advanced Blockchain technology. DatEat is not only an online dating application but also has other functions that are essential for modern society, such as a mentorship function. DatEat’s Angels (experienced experts), via this function, are able to give useful advice to users in the fields of psychology, finance, sports, fitness, heaalth and beauty.

    In addition, DatEat has set up the Defound Foundation to help people who are coping with difficult situations, as well as provide support for teenagers and young people in dealing with psychological issues.
    “The project has taken successful steps to move towards a bright future for dating applications in Vietnam,” Ms. Kate Truong said. “In August this year, DatEat plans to reach 500,000 users in this market. Afterwards, DatEat will open in other Asian countries and reach 1.2 million people by the end of 2018. In June next year, DatEat will be used by around 5 million people in the Asia-Pacific region.”

    At present, DatEat is headquartered in Singapore and is planning to set up offices in other locations in Asia, including Vietnam.

    HCMC attracts FDI capital worth US$408 million in four months

    HCMCity has attracted US$408 million in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first four months, accounting for 11.5 percent of total investment capital. The city grabbed the second position behind Hanoi that has US$498.7 million, accounting for 14 percent.

    The city was followed by Binh Duong with US$364.8 million, accounting for 10.3 percent of total investment capital; Ninh Thuan attracting US$327.6 million occupying 9.2 percent; Dong Nai drawing US$273.9 million encompassing 7.7 percent; Ha Nam with US$187.7 million, accounting for 5.3 percent; Ba Ria- Vung Tau attracting US$182.7 million, accounting for 5.1 percent; and Quang Ninh with US$176.6 million, getting 5 percent.

    In the first four months, the southern economic hub has granted certificates of investment registration for 883 projects with total registered capital of US$3,553 million, while another US$2,244.8 million has come through 303 existing projects.

    The manufacturing and processing sector attracted the most registered capital with US$1,926.1 million, accounting for 54.2 percent of the total registered capital; followed by real estate business with US$455.5 million accounting for 12.8 percent, and other sectors with US$1,172.2 million accounting for 33 percent.

    The city’s largest investor is Japan with US$877.7 million accounting for 24.7 per cent of the total registered capital. It is followed by South Korea with US$830.8 million at 23.4 percent and Singapore with US$ 459.2 million at 12.9 percent.

    EuroSphere exhibition to bring over 150 European brands to Vietnam

    The EU-Vietnam Business Network (EVBN) has launched the second edition in Vietnam of EuroSphere, an exhibition dedicated to European Art of Living in the region.

    The event is being organized by EVBN from May 18 to 20 at the WhitePalaceConvention Center, HCMC. Over 150 European brands will exhibit their products, services, creativity, craftsmanship and knowhow to the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian markets. Exhibitors will represent all sectors related to the European Art of Living, such as gourmet food, fine beverages, fashion and accessories, perfumery, cosmetics, furniture and interior design.

    EuroSphere 2018 also serves as a business facilitator between Europe, Vietnam and other ASEAN countries. Distributors, importers, retailers, hospitality decision makers, interior designers, and media in the region will have the opportunity to meet exhibitors thanks to pre-arranged B2B meetings and conferences.

    Conference speakers include high-profile guests from Europe such as Donald Potard, former CEO of Jean-Paul GAULTIER Haute Couture, former CEO of Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, and currently chair of the Fashion department at Paris College of Art.

    EuroSphere 2018 will start with a VIP Gala dinner at the Reverie Saigon Hotel on May 17, designed to foster exchange and networking opportunities between exhibiting companies and their potential partners in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

    The dinner will also showcase three European fashion brands, two of them being presented for the first time in the region, while benefitting from the support of one of the world’s most famous Vietnamese fashion designers, Nguyen Cong Tri, who will open the show with his recent collection.

    Last year, EuroSphere featured 80 European brands, held 200 B2B meetings and lured 2,500 international visitors. This year it is expecting 4,500 business visitors from Vietnam and Southeast Asian countries and more than 650 B2B meetings.

    Exporters to EU to self-issue certificates of origin next year

    Exporters to the European Union from Vietnam will be obliged to issue certificates of origin for their own products next year. Otherwise, they will not enjoy the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the Vietnam News Agency reports.

    The GSP is a preferential tariff system which provides for a formal system of exemption from the more general rules of the World Trade Organization.

    The responsibility for issuing certificates of origin will rest with exporting companies instead of State agencies. This means these enterprises will carry out procedures, abide by criteria for origin, and be held accountable for their accuracy, according to the Import and Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

    Besides, exporters will be asked to provide evidence of origin like receipts without the involvement of State agencies.

    The GSP which has long been used in the EU for over 40 years has numerous advantages such as simplifying administrative procedures, reducing time and cost for enterprises, minimizing risks for licensing agencies, and easing pressure on customs authorities.

    The department’s deputy head Tran Thanh Hai said the EU will allow local enterprises to familiarize themselves with the system in six months. If they have yet to issue certificates of origin on their own, they can have such documents from State agencies during the period.

    Bui Kim Thuy, deputy head of the Goods Origin Division at the department, said those exporters whose turnover reaches at least US$10 million are allowed to issue their own certificates. They are also required to have long complied with tax, customs and import-export regulations.

    Data of the trade ministry shows as many as 2,700 local exporters with EU-bound shipments are enjoying incentives from the GSP.

    Vietnam may offer lower rice price for Philippines

    With the Philippines to reopen tenders for the procurement of 250,000 tons of rice tomorrow after rejecting the prices offered by Vietnam and Thailand, Vietnam may lower its price further this time.

    This country invited tenders for supply of 250,000 tons via the government-to-government (G2G) scheme, including 200,000 tons of 25% broken rice and 50,000 tons of 15% broken rice. However, Vietnam and Thailand as the two participating countries were eliminated as their prices were above the reference prices of the Philippines.

    In particular, the reference prices announced before the tender were US$483.63 per ton of 15% broken rice and US$474.18 per ton of 25% broken rice.

    Meanwhile, Vietnam offered the respective prices of US$540 and US$532 per ton. As for Thailand, it did not bid for 15% broken rice, but its price offer for 25% broken rice was US$530 per ton.

    A second chance was given to Vietnam and Thailand right after the first round, but the offered prices were still way higher than the reference levels despite being lowered. Specifically, Vietnam’s prices were cut by US$10 and US$11 per ton respectively, whereas Thailand offered US$520 per ton for 25% broken rice.

    Nguyen Dinh Bich, a rice market analyst, told the Daily that it is likely that Vietnamese rice traders could reduce the prices. How much Vietnam would lower its offers depends on Thailand, he noted.

    If Thailand’s price is slightly higher than that of Vietnam, the latter will lower the price further to win the bid, he said.

    Nonetheless, the question is how close Vietnam’s prices will be to the Philippines’ reference levels, but the cuts would be small given high prices on the domestic market.

    Finished IR 50404 rice, the type of rice often used for 25% broken rice contracts, is traded locally at VND9,400 per kilogram. With an exchange rate of VND22,700 per dollar, the domestic price is some US$414 per ton of IR 50404 rice and around US$450 per ton of 15% broken rice.

    This means with related costs included, Vietnam’ potential price cut cannot be deep.

    The Philippines will apply a new reference price to the tender set for tomorrow. Such a price will be calculated based on world rice market developments.

    Energy labels to be affixed to motorbikes

    Newly manufactured, assembled or imported motorcycles will have energy labels as of January 1, 2020 before being put up for sale, according to a plan being worked out by the Transport Ministry.

    The ministry will issue a circular on guidelines for labeling in 2018. It explained that cars and motorbikes consume some 70% of fuels in Vietnam which is regarded as a major source of emissions such as carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon, polluting the air and affecting people’s health.

    Therefore, using energy-saving vehicles is the most efficient method to reduce harmful emissions.

    In Vietnam, following the energy labeling rule that has applied to brand-new cars since January 1, 2015, new motorcycles for sale will be subject to the same rule in January 1, 2020.

    Energy labeling will help customers have further information for their choice of fuel-saving products, noted the ministry, adding that 40 million motorbikes currently in use will not be affected by the energy labeling rule.

    Ministry postpones CR stamp rule to next January

    Apparel enterprises will have until January 1 next year instead of early this month to abide by a regulation on sticking Conformity to Regulation (CR) stamps on textile products, according to a new circular issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

    The ministry on May 2 approved amendments to Circular 21/2017/TT-BCT on the national standards for formaldehyde and aromatic amines derived from AZO colorants in textile products or QCVN 01 2017. Under the new circular 07/2018/TT-BCT, the date of implementation is extended to January 1, 2019 instead of May 1 as regulated in the old circular.

    The delay in implementing QCVN 01 2017 is considered a leniency for textile and garment firms, as the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) has admitted that many enterprises were vague about the rule while the date of implementation was nearing May 1.

    The old rule, if it stands, might force many apparel traders to freeze sales of their products on the market due to insufficient standards, or such products may be subject to confiscation.

    In related news, seven agencies have been picked to certify the quality of apparel products to this regard, meaning these agencies will certify whether apparel products meet criteria on contents of formaldehyde and aromatic amines. These agencies include Quatest 3 in HCMC; Hanoi and HCMC branches of Vietnam Textile Research Institute; Hanoi and Haiphong branches of Vinacontrol; Vinacontrol HCMC, and IQC Certification and Inspection JSC; and FCC Control and Fumigation JSC.

    According to the regulation, formaldehyde content is capped at 30 milligrams per kilogram of textile for kids under three years old, 75 milligrams for textiles with direct skin contact and 300 milligrams for products without direct skin contact. The content of aromatic amines derived from AZO colorants does not exceed 30 milligrams per kilogram.

    Textile-garment firms vague about new regulation

    Many apparel enterprises have yet to learn of a new regulation effective on May 1 that they cannot market products without Conformity to Regulation (CR) stamps, which implies that such products contain amounts of formaldehyde and aromatic amines at or lower than the permissible levels.

    Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, deputy general secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) and head of VISTA’s representative office in HCMC, told the Daily that the association these days is flooded with questions about the new rule.

    Numerous members of the association, mainly small and medium enterprises, are vague about the implementation of the national standards for formaldehyde and aromatic amines derived from AZO colorants in textile products, or QCVN 01 2017, which are provided in Circular 21/2017/TT-BCT, she said.

    The association had announced the new regulation to its members for long but they had not paid much attention until the date the rule took effect.

    Mai was afraid that such firms may be fined as their products could not meet the requirement.

    According to the regulation, formaldehyde content is capped at 30 milligrams per kilogram of textile for kids under three years old, 75 milligrams for textiles with direct skin contact and 300 milligrams for textiles without direct skin contact. The content of aromatic amines derived from AZO colorants is not above 30 milligrams per kilogram of textile.

    VISTA has worked with many testing companies, with charges of VND1.3-2 million imposed on textile tests, Mai noted.

    The regulation will not be imposed on apparel imports including those used in production for export and local consumption.

    Mai said the regulation for local textile-garment products is necessary to ensure safety for consumers. The association will monitor the implementation of the regulation and proposed to competent agencies amendments and abolishment if need be.

    Tourism-related services generate US$8.1 billion

    Restaurant, hotel and travel services grew strongly in the first four months of 2018, generating total revenue of VND184,900 billion, or US$8.1 billion, according to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GSO).

    GSO data shows that hospitality services contributed VND172,000 billion and transport services VND12,900 billion to Vietnam’s economy, up 9.4% and 26.1% respectively year-on-year.

    Revenues of these sectors performed strongly in Hanoi, HCMC and Haiphong cities and Thanh Hoa Province. HCMC in particular saw travel service revenue growing30.4% in the year to date.

    According to the GSO, although April saw the number of tourists declining a mild 0.1% compared to March, this figure was still far higher than that of last year.

    In particular, there were over 1.34 million foreign visitors to Vietnam in April, up 25.2% year-on-year. This means more than 5.5 million international visitors arrived in the country in the first four months, up 29.5% against the year-old period.

    A majority of foreign tourists came from Asia with more than 4.16 million over the past four months, increasing 35% versus the same period last year.The data also showsthe Chinese account for 39.7%, or 1.77 million, and the South Koreans67.3%, nearly 1.17 million.

    Meanwhile, the number of European tourists increasedby 12.9% against the first four months last year, with 843,000 arrivals.

    Foreign reserves increase to US$ 63 bln, Gov't Spokesman says

    Viet Nam’s foreign reserves rose to US$ 63 billion, Mai Tien Dung, Minister-Chairman of the Government Office told a room of reporters today.

    Minister-Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung chairs press conference held this afternoon following the Cabinet meeting.

    Dung, who is also the Government Spokesman, said the macro-economy remained stable in in the first four months this year.

    Consumer price index rose 2.8% and industrial production grew 11.4% in the reviewed period compared to 6.6% of the same period last year.

    Foreign arrivals increased by 29% to over 5.5 million, said Dung, adding that PM Phuc agreed to extend visa exemption for citizens of five European countries, namely the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, by three years (until July 1, 2021).

    This is the 3rd time, the Government has decided to extend the policy, which took effect since July 1, 2015.

    Under the policy, citizens from the five European countries shall not have to apply for visa if their time limit of stay not exceeding 15 days since the day they get entry permit to Viet Nam.

    The Government will continue considering institutional building, administrative reform, improvement of business environment as its top priorities in 2018, according to Dung.

    Jotun to build paint plant in HCMC

    Jotun Paints (Vietnam), one of the world’s leading paints and coatings manufacturers, signed a land lease contract on April 26 with the Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park JSC to build its second paint plant in Vietnam.

    The new site is on 10 ha at the Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park (IP) in Ho Chi Minh City’s Nha Be district, where it will construct a production plant for decorative paints and performance coatings (marine, protective and powder coatings). This is Jotun’s second plant in Vietnam and also uses modern technology, is a green project of note in the IP, and is ten-times larger than its first factory, in southern Binh Duong province.

    The project will see production of 80 million liters of liquid paint and 10 million kilograms of powder coatings each year. Investment capital stands at around $70 million.

    One of the main reasons Jotun chose the Hiep Phuoc IP is its strategic location. “With convenient transport infrastructure and an international port system, Hiep Phuoc is attractive in the eyes of many industrial investors, not just Jotun,” said Mr. Johnny Kolding, General Director of Jotun Paints (Vietnam).

    Jotun decided to invest in the largest paint factory in Vietnam after just a year of survey and negotiation because of the potential and benefits of investing at the Hiep Phuoc IP.

    The plant is designed and will be built following LEED certification criteria for green projects, which is also a priority Hiep Phuoc sets for its investors. The plant will be equipped with a solar energy system to minimize power consumption.

    Jotun Paints is known for leading the way in the design, construction and operation of environmentally-friendly plants worldwide, including its projects in Vietnam. To ensure standards are met, projects must be implemented by well-known and experienced contractors.

    “Jotun is a multinational corporation with a history of over 90 years and famous for paints and coatings products,” Mr. Nguyen Truong Bao Khanh, General Director of Hiep Phuoc IP,” told the signing ceremony. “The long-term strategic investment partnership between Jotun and Hiep Phuoc will create confidence among other investors about the IP when they are seeking industrial land for lease in Vietnam. The cooperation will also create favorable conditions for other businesses already at Hiep Phuoc to participate in supply chains and cooperate with Jotun. Hiep Phuoc will also attract existing Jotun suppliers.”

    Hiep Phuoc IP is committed to completing a comprehensive infrastructure network and providing maximum support services and utilities so its tenants see stable and sustainable development.

    VNN


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  • 05/05/18--07:28: Article 2
  • Government News In Brief 4/5


    HCMCity pledges optimal conditions for Peruvian investors 

    HCM City pledges optimal conditions for Peruvian investors, Vietnamese Ambassador to UK presents credentials, Vice President meets Vinh Long voters ahead fifth NA session, Poverty rate remains high among ethnic minorities 
    Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong (right) and Peruvian Ambassador Augusto Morelli (Source: sggp.org.vn)


    Ho Chi Minh City will create the best possible conditions for Peruvian businesses to invest fruitfully in the city, especially in the field of tourism, said Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong.

    At a reception for Peruvian Ambassador Augusto Morelli on May 3, Phong expressed his hope for new steps of development in cooperation between HCMCity and localities of Peru.

    The official said he believes that Ambassador Morelli will work as a bridge between Peru and Vietnam, including HCMCity.

    For his part, Ambassador Morelli said he was impressed by the strong development of Vietnam, particularly the southern metropolis. 

    Peru and Vietnam share many cultural similarities and have substantial potential for cooperation, especially when the two countries join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement.

    The diplomat informed his host that he will propose establishing the Peruvian Consulate General in HCMCity.

    Vietnamese Ambassador to UK presents credentials


    HCM City pledges optimal conditions for Peruvian investors, Vietnamese Ambassador to UK presents credentials, Vice President meets Vinh Long voters ahead fifth NA session, Poverty rate remains high among ethnic minorities 
    Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK (R) shakes hands with  Queen Elizabeth II  while presenting credentials


    Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Tran Ngoc An presented his credentials to Queen Elizabeth II in London at a ceremony on May 3.

    At the ceremony, Queen Elizabeth II expressed her satisfaction over the friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and the UK over the past time.

    She said many members of the British royal family such as Prince Andrew and Prince William had visited Vietnam and all had good impression of the Southeast Asian country.

    Ambassador An said he was honoured to become Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK at a time when the relations between the two countries are growing well.

    He pledged to do his utmost to promote the bilateral friendship and cooperative relations.

    Later, at a reception for diplomatic representatives and overseas Vietnamese in the UK, An highlighted the development strides in the multifaceted cooperation between the two nations over the past time, especially in economics, trade, investment, defence, education and training.

    He noted that two-way trade posted annual growth of 13 percent in 2017. Vietnam welcomed nearly 300,000 visitors from the UK.

    The ambassador said 2018 is a special year in the two countries’ relations as it marks the 45th anniversary of their diplomatic ties.

    He informed the guests that the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK will coordinate with relevant agencies to host a series of activities to herald this event.

    Vice President meets Vinh Long voters ahead fifth NA session
     

     HCM City pledges optimal conditions for Peruvian investors, Vietnamese Ambassador to UK presents credentials, Vice President meets Vinh Long voters ahead fifth NA session, Poverty rate remains high among ethnic minorities
    Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh meets with voters in Vinh Long city and Mang Thit district, the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long, on May 2 - 3. 


    Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh met with voters in Vinh Long city and Mang Thit district, the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long, on May 2 - 3 to update them on the agenda of the fifth session of the 14th National Assembly and listen to their opinions and proposals.

    At the meeting, the voters spoke highly of the Communist Party and State’s efforts in the fight against corruption and wastefulness. They asked the Party and State to take more drastic actions in this fight and raise awareness and sense of responsibility among Party members.

    At the same time, they proposed that family members of those committed to acts of corruption must take joint responsibility for their actions.

    In addition, the voters voiced concerns over numerous issues, including the rampancy of fake goods, goods of unknown origin and low-quality commodities; food safety, environmental protection; distribution of fake and poor quality fertilizers; quality of healthcare services for health insurance card holders; attitude of medical workers towards patients and benefits for governmental employees working at offices of communes, wards and townships.

    Speaking at the event, Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh said the fifth session of the 14th National Assembly will take place in 19 days, the shortest ever.

    In response to the voters’ anti-corruption proposals, Thinh affirmed that the Party and State are determined to fight corruption, citing a number of recent high-profile corruption trials as an example.

    She said that wage policy reforms will be put on the table at the upcoming 7th plenary meeting of the 12th Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee.

    In terms of food safety and fake goods, the Vice President requested local authorities to intensify inspection and monitoring of violations and suggested people become smart consumers.

    Victory of Great Patriotic War marked in HCM City


    HCM City pledges optimal conditions for Peruvian investors, Vietnamese Ambassador to UK presents credentials, Vice President meets Vinh Long voters ahead fifth NA session, Poverty rate remains high among ethnic minorities 
    An art performance at the celebration (Source: voh.com.vn)


    The Ho Chi Minh  City Union of Friendship Organisations (HUFO) and HCMCity’s Vietnam-Russia Friendship Association jointly held a ceremony on May 3 to mark the 73th anniversary of the victory of the Great Patriotic War (May 9, 1945-2017).

    Addressing the ceremony, Hoang Minh Nhan, President of HCM City’s Vietnam-Russia Friendship Association, recalled the Great Patriotic War 73 years ago which killed 27 million Soviet people and destroyed hundreds of cities and villages.

    The former Soviet Union suffered the most during the World War II (1941-1945), he said, noting that Vietnamese and Russian people have carried forward the spirit of the victory and tightened their fine relationship.

    Russian Consul General in HCM City Aleksei Vladimirovich Popov said the celebration has contributed to enhancing the relations between Vietnam and Russia.

    NA Chairwoman meets voters in Can Tho city
     

     HCM City pledges optimal conditions for Peruvian investors, Vietnamese Ambassador to UK presents credentials, Vice President meets Vinh Long voters ahead fifth NA session, Poverty rate remains high among ethnic minorities
    NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan at the meeting with voters in Can Tho city 


    Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan met with voters in Tan Phu ward, Cai Rang district, the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, on May 3, ahead of the fifth meeting of the 14th legislature slated for mid-May.

     The voters expressed their concerns over anti-corruption work, health insurance, food safety and hygiene, counterfeit products, house and land use rights and allowance for the elderly.

    The chief legislator informed the voters about the expected agenda of the fifth meeting and the country’s socio-economic development in 2017 and the first months of this year.

    Apart from achievements, there remain shortcomings which have drawn public attention such as fire, especially in apartment buildings, she said, noting that the NA will conduct supervision on this issue in 2018.

    Mentioning Can Tho’s planning, NA Chairwoman Ngan stressed that the city’s master plan must be ratified by the Government, and the management should follow the approved plan.

    She asked the People’s Committee of Cai Rang district to review the Law on Housing as many households complained that they have yet to receive house and land use right certificates in urban areas in the locality.

    Regarding the anti-corruption work, Ngan highlighted the determination of Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption to fight corruption, as well as the spirit of no “banned zones” in combating corruption.

    Later the same day, NA Chairwoman Ngan attended a hand-over ceremony of Hung Thanh kindergarten in the resettlement area of Tay Do cultural centre in Hung Thanh ward, Cai Rang district, Can Tho City.

    Congratulations sent to leader of Communist Party of India 


    HCM City pledges optimal conditions for Peruvian investors, Vietnamese Ambassador to UK presents credentials, Vice President meets Vinh Long voters ahead fifth NA session, Poverty rate remains high among ethnic minorities 
    General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong


    General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong has sent congratulations to Sitaram Yechury on his re-election as General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

    Sitaram Yechury was re-elected to the post for a second term at the 22nd congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Hyderabad city, India, in April.

    Poverty rate remains high among ethnic minorities
     

     HCM City pledges optimal conditions for Peruvian investors, Vietnamese Ambassador to UK presents credentials, Vice President meets Vinh Long voters ahead fifth NA session, Poverty rate remains high among ethnic minorities
    Vice NA Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong speaks at the meeting 

    Minister-Chairman of the Government’s Committee for Ethnic Affairs Do Van Chien has pointed out that ethnic minority-inhabited and mountainous areas have suffered most difficulties, with a high rate of poor households.

    Although 53 ethnic minority groups in Vietnam make up only nearly 14.2 percent of the national population, the number of poor people among the groups account for 51.86 percent of the country’s total figure, Chien said at the sixth plenary session of the National Assembly’s Council for Ethnic Affairs in Hanoi on May 3.

    Many households still lack production land, he said, stressing asynchronous land and housing policies towards ethnic minority households which need resettlement due to urban development and hydro electric projects.

    According to Chien, the committee will implement a total of 15 programmes and policies relating to ethnic minorities in 2018, of which nine will be funded by the State budget.

    Members of the council said that a range of credit policies have been implemented in ethnic minority-inhabited areas. However, maximum loans are not enough to support business and production activities in the face of market uncertainties.

    Besides, there remain limitations in policies towards teachers and students in the ethnic minority-inhabited areas, they added.

    Addressing the meeting, Vice Chairwoman of the NA Tong Thi Phong said the Party and the State always pay due attention to developing ethnic policies.

    She asked ministries, agencies and localities to heed security in ethnic minority-inhabited areas in the Northwestern, CentralHighlands, and Southwestern regions.

    The meeting is expected to go on until May 5.

    Voters support Party-led fight against corruption
     

     HCM City pledges optimal conditions for Peruvian investors, Vietnamese Ambassador to UK presents credentials, Vice President meets Vinh Long voters ahead fifth NA session, Poverty rate remains high among ethnic minorities
    Politburo member and Head of the Party Central Committee's Commission for Communications and Education Vo Van Thuong speaks at the meeting with local voters in Bien Hoa city, Dong Nai province, on May 3.


    Voters in the southern province of Dong Nai have expressed their belief in the fight against corruption led by the Party, with several large cases having been uncovered and prosecuted recently.

    At the meetings with Politburo member Vo Van Thuong, the local voters called for continuous efforts to effectively deal with corruption and wastefulness in order to build a cleaner and stronger Party and State.

    The senior official, who is also Head of the Party Central Committee's Commission for Communications and Education, toured Dong Nai from May 2-3 to collect voters’ suggestions ahead of the upcoming 14th National Assembly (NA)’s fifth session, scheduled for late May.

    Politburo member Thuong affirmed that the Politburo and the Secretariat led by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong have been shown determination in handling cases related to corruption and wastefulness, including high-ranking officials, to strengthen the people's trust in the Party.

    He also informed the voters on the country's socio-economic situation and responded to several issues raised by the delegates at the meetings.

    * On Thursday, Politburo member and Head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh joined the NA deputies’ delegation of Quang Binh province in meetings with voters in Tien Hoa commune, Tuyen Hoa district and Quy Dat town, Minh Hoa district.

    At the meetings, the local voters expressed their delight at the achievements that the nation has gained in the first quarter of 2018. They also vowed to give their support to the anti-corruption measures by the Party and the State.

    Politburo member Binh emphasised that the anti-corruption and wastefulness activities are continuously and strictly implemented by the Party and the State. Information on the handling of corruption cases will be publicised on mass media for public supervision, he added.

    VNN


    0 0
  • 05/06/18--20:54: Article 1
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 7/5


    First Vietnamese bank issues ATM card through LiveBank


     

    First Vietnamese bank issues ATM card through LiveBank, ABBank appoints new general director, Rice exports bring home 1.1 billion USD in Jan-Apr, EuroSphere exhibition to bring over 150 European brands to Vietnam
       
    Tien Phong Joint Stock Commercial Bank (TPBank) has updated a new function of issuing ATM cards to customers through LiveBank - the first auto banking system in Viet Nam.

    Nguyen Hung, TPBank’s general director, said customers needed to click on the machine to connect with bank staff and provide their ID card or passport to scan on the machine as well as complete information registration. LiveBank will then automatically issue an ATM card to the customer after a review from the bank’s staff. The entire process is estimated to take a maximum of six minutes instead of several days or even a week when applying for an ATM card through a bank’s branch.

    Hung said customers can also register for debit card at LiveBank and receive the same at its branches.

    “The update is a roadmap to develop LiveBank and show TPBank’s commitment in increasing digital content in its products and services,” he said, adding that the function could help LiveBank become the most comprehensive auto bank in Viet Nam.

    Pham Ngoc Cuong, an engineer of TPBank’s digital bank project, said LiveBank could implement all of the most complicated transactions, such as opening a bank account, issuing ATM cards as well as opening and closing an online savings account any time.

    The bank now has 60 LiveBank machines, which are mostly located at large centres and streets in major cities throughout the country.

    The bank plans to increase LiveBank machines to 100 in 2018.

    ABBank appoints new general director
       
    An Binh Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ABBank) appointed Duong Thi Mai Hoa general director.

    Hoa, who was the CEO (chief executive officer) of giant property developer Vingroup for five years, has replaced Nguyen Manh Quan.

    Hoa is a renowned banker in the country. She has held key positions in many banks, including Maritime Bank and VIB. She has served as financial director of the US Oracle Group’s Oracle Vietnam Pte. Ltd and as chief accountant of Credit Lyonnais Vietnam.

    With many years of experience and a thorough understanding of the financial and banking systems, Hoa is expected to help ABBank make more profits from the retail market and achieve strong growth.

    Rice exports bring home 1.1 billion USD in Jan-Apr

    Vietnam earned 1.1 billion USD from exporting 2.16 million tonnes of rice in the first four months of 2018, up 35.7 percent in value and 21.7 percent in volume.

    China remained the biggest rice importer of Vietnam with 29.1 percent of the rice market share, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    The average export price for rice showed a year-on-year rise of 15 percent to touch 501 USD per tonne thanks to better quality.

    High-quality rice comprised of up to 81 percent of the rice export volume, the ministry said, forecasting the world’s rice market will see a decrease in supply and an increase in demand in the coming time.

    In 2018, Vietnam is forecast to ship 6.5 million tonnes of rice abroad, up 700,000 tonnes compared to 2017.

    According to Vietnam’s Rice Market Development Strategy from 2017 to 2020 with a vision to 2030, one of the country’s goals is to gradually reduce the rice export volume but increase the value of exported rice.

    Vietnamese rice is now exported to over 130 markets worldwide.

    M2 Vietnam Joint Stock Company (M2) expanding in Vietnam

    M2 Vietnam Joint Stock Company (M2) is expanding its brand name all over Vietnam.

    The clothing company recently launched their latest showroom in Cau Dien Street, Hanoi to introduce their latest collection of clothes made in Vietnam. In April, M2 also launched many branches and showrooms in other provinces such as Thanh Hoa.

    Textile M2 Export Center in Thanh Hoa city has a total area of over 1,500 square meters on two floors and is the largest M2 store to date.

    Using a supermarket model, M2 Fashion Export Textile Center in Thanh Hoa is the place to showcase, introduce and sell diverse and fashionable products.

    Chairman and CEO of M2, Nguyen Hai Duong shared their goals of developing the market and reaching out to many areas to bring the brand closer to its consumers.

    "M2 launched its first point of sale, which officially opened its showroom at 19 Le Huu Lap (Thanh Hoa city) in April 2018,” said Nguyen Hai Duong. “It has a total area of over 1,500m2 on two floors. It’s part of our goal of developing the business network of the company, "

    M2’s brand name has affirmed its position in the market of fashion apparel and clothing with its wide network of shops in many central locations in the country and abroad.

    The fashion brand was launched in 2001 and has been establishing and developing itself for 18 years now. It’s a pioneer fashion business model and has a number of chains in Hanoi and a number of provinces. There is even a shop in Moscow (Russian Federation).

    What makes M2 stand out are its fashion products, good quality and competitive prices which are suitable for the majority of consumers in Vietnam.

    Online dating app DatEat receives investments from international funds

    Online dating startup DatEat recently announced it has successfully attracted capital investment from international funds.

    In December last year, DatEat announced it had successfully raised $4.1 million in funds from the UK’s DMG Enterprise. This is the first time a Vietnamese online dating startup has raised investment from an international fund.

    In spite of the fact that the online dating market, which has been developing all over the world, has clearly been dominated by US and Europe brands, according to Ms. Kate Truong, Vietnamese Founder of DatEat, this Vietnamese startup has a lot of potential for growth.
    As a young startup, DatEat has proven itself as able to catch up with technological trends by using a range of advanced technologies such as Blockchain, AI and Big Data. In recent times, the use of Blockchain has become a popular trend around the world. This technology is encouraged in all developed countries. The Industrial Revolution 4.0 has put a lot of focus on technology, and those who are able to keep up with it will be successful.

    “DMG hopes that with the leading breakthrough technology DatEat has been implementing, as well as our initial financial support, this startup will go further to dominate the market, first in Asia and then in other markets worldwide,” said Mr. William Knightley, Angel Investment Director of DMG Enterprise.
    With its initial success, DatEat is confidently calling for capital investment of up to $23 million from investors in Asia and Europe. According to DatEat’s Chief Financial Officer, the process of calling for capital investment has been launched and has received positive feedback.

    DatEat helps users find their ideal partners while ensuring the security of users’ personal information via advanced Blockchain technology. DatEat is not only an online dating application but also has other functions that are essential for modern society, such as a mentorship function. DatEat’s Angels (experienced experts), via this function, are able to give useful advice to users in the fields of psychology, finance, sports, fitness, heaalth and beauty.

    In addition, DatEat has set up the Defound Foundation to help people who are coping with difficult situations, as well as provide support for teenagers and young people in dealing with psychological issues.

    “The project has taken successful steps to move towards a bright future for dating applications in Vietnam,” Ms. Kate Truong said. “In August this year, DatEat plans to reach 500,000 users in this market. Afterwards, DatEat will open in other Asian countries and reach 1.2 million people by the end of 2018. In June next year, DatEat will be used by around 5 million people in the Asia-Pacific region.”

    At present, DatEat is headquartered in Singapore and is planning to set up offices in other locations in Asia, including Vietnam.

    HCMC attracts FDI capital worth US$408 million in four months

    HCM City has attracted US$408 million in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first four months, accounting for 11.5 percent of total investment capital. The city grabbed the second position behind Hanoi that has US$498.7 million, accounting for 14 percent.

    The city was followed by Binh Duong with US$364.8 million, accounting for 10.3 percent of total investment capital; Ninh Thuan attracting US$327.6 million occupying 9.2 percent; Dong Nai drawing US$273.9 million encompassing 7.7 percent; Ha Nam with US$187.7 million, accounting for 5.3 percent; Ba Ria- Vung Tau attracting US$182.7 million, accounting for 5.1 percent; and Quang Ninh with US$176.6 million, getting 5 percent.

    In the first four months, the southern economic hub has granted certificates of investment registration for 883 projects with total registered capital of US$3,553 million, while another US$2,244.8 million has come through 303 existing projects.

    The manufacturing and processing sector attracted the most registered capital with US$1,926.1 million, accounting for 54.2 percent of the total registered capital; followed by real estate business with US$455.5 million accounting for 12.8 percent, and other sectors with US$1,172.2 million accounting for 33 percent.

    The city’s largest investor is Japan with US$877.7 million accounting for 24.7 per cent of the total registered capital. It is followed by South Korea with US$830.8 million at 23.4 percent and Singapore with US$ 459.2 million at 12.9 percent.

    EuroSphere exhibition to bring over 150 European brands to Vietnam

    The EU-Vietnam Business Network (EVBN) has launched the second edition in Vietnam of EuroSphere, an exhibition dedicated to European Art of Living in the region.

    The event is being organized by EVBN from May 18 to 20 at the White Palace Convention Center, HCMC. Over 150 European brands will exhibit their products, services, creativity, craftsmanship and knowhow to the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian markets. Exhibitors will represent all sectors related to the European Art of Living, such as gourmet food, fine beverages, fashion and accessories, perfumery, cosmetics, furniture and interior design.

    EuroSphere 2018 also serves as a business facilitator between Europe, Vietnam and other ASEAN countries. Distributors, importers, retailers, hospitality decision makers, interior designers, and media in the region will have the opportunity to meet exhibitors thanks to pre-arranged B2B meetings and conferences.

    Conference speakers include high-profile guests from Europe such as Donald Potard, former CEO of Jean-Paul GAULTIER Haute Couture, former CEO of Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, and currently chair of the Fashion department at Paris College of Art.

    EuroSphere 2018 will start with a VIP Gala dinner at the Reverie Saigon Hotel on May 17, designed to foster exchange and networking opportunities between exhibiting companies and their potential partners in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

    The dinner will also showcase three European fashion brands, two of them being presented for the first time in the region, while benefitting from the support of one of the world’s most famous Vietnamese fashion designers, Nguyen Cong Tri, who will open the show with his recent collection.

    Last year, EuroSphere featured 80 European brands, held 200 B2B meetings and lured 2,500 international visitors. This year it is expecting 4,500 business visitors from Vietnam and Southeast Asian countries and more than 650 B2B meetings.

    Exporters to EU to self-issue certificates of origin next year

    Exporters to the European Union from Vietnam will be obliged to issue certificates of origin for their own products next year. Otherwise, they will not enjoy the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the Vietnam News Agency reports.

    The GSP is a preferential tariff system which provides for a formal system of exemption from the more general rules of the World Trade Organization.

    The responsibility for issuing certificates of origin will rest with exporting companies instead of State agencies. This means these enterprises will carry out procedures, abide by criteria for origin, and be held accountable for their accuracy, according to the Import and Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

    Besides, exporters will be asked to provide evidence of origin like receipts without the involvement of State agencies.

    The GSP which has long been used in the EU for over 40 years has numerous advantages such as simplifying administrative procedures, reducing time and cost for enterprises, minimizing risks for licensing agencies, and easing pressure on customs authorities.

    The department’s deputy head Tran Thanh Hai said the EU will allow local enterprises to familiarize themselves with the system in six months. If they have yet to issue certificates of origin on their own, they can have such documents from State agencies during the period.

    Bui Kim Thuy, deputy head of the Goods Origin Division at the department, said those exporters whose turnover reaches at least US$10 million are allowed to issue their own certificates. They are also required to have long complied with tax, customs and import-export regulations.

    Data of the trade ministry shows as many as 2,700 local exporters with EU-bound shipments are enjoying incentives from the GSP.

    Vietnam may offer lower rice price for Philippines

    With the Philippines to reopen tenders for the procurement of 250,000 tons of rice tomorrow after rejecting the prices offered by Vietnam and Thailand, Vietnam may lower its price further this time.

    This country invited tenders for supply of 250,000 tons via the government-to-government (G2G) scheme, including 200,000 tons of 25% broken rice and 50,000 tons of 15% broken rice. However, Vietnam and Thailand as the two participating countries were eliminated as their prices were above the reference prices of the Philippines.

    In particular, the reference prices announced before the tender were US$483.63 per ton of 15% broken rice and US$474.18 per ton of 25% broken rice.

    Meanwhile, Vietnam offered the respective prices of US$540 and US$532 per ton. As for Thailand, it did not bid for 15% broken rice, but its price offer for 25% broken rice was US$530 per ton.

    A second chance was given to Vietnam and Thailand right after the first round, but the offered prices were still way higher than the reference levels despite being lowered. Specifically, Vietnam’s prices were cut by US$10 and US$11 per ton respectively, whereas Thailand offered US$520 per ton for 25% broken rice.

    Nguyen Dinh Bich, a rice market analyst, told the Daily that it is likely that Vietnamese rice traders could reduce the prices. How much Vietnam would lower its offers depends on Thailand, he noted.

    If Thailand’s price is slightly higher than that of Vietnam, the latter will lower the price further to win the bid, he said.

    Nonetheless, the question is how close Vietnam’s prices will be to the Philippines’ reference levels, but the cuts would be small given high prices on the domestic market.

    Finished IR 50404 rice, the type of rice often used for 25% broken rice contracts, is traded locally at VND9,400 per kilogram. With an exchange rate of VND22,700 per dollar, the domestic price is some US$414 per ton of IR 50404 rice and around US$450 per ton of 15% broken rice.

    This means with related costs included, Vietnam’ potential price cut cannot be deep.

    The Philippines will apply a new reference price to the tender set for tomorrow. Such a price will be calculated based on world rice market developments.

    Energy labels to be affixed to motorbikes

    Newly manufactured, assembled or imported motorcycles will have energy labels as of January 1, 2020 before being put up for sale, according to a plan being worked out by the Transport Ministry.

    The ministry will issue a circular on guidelines for labeling in 2018. It explained that cars and motorbikes consume some 70% of fuels in Vietnam which is regarded as a major source of emissions such as carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon, polluting the air and affecting people’s health.

    Therefore, using energy-saving vehicles is the most efficient method to reduce harmful emissions.

    In Vietnam, following the energy labeling rule that has applied to brand-new cars since January 1, 2015, new motorcycles for sale will be subject to the same rule in January 1, 2020.

    Energy labeling will help customers have further information for their choice of fuel-saving products, noted the ministry, adding that 40 million motorbikes currently in use will not be affected by the energy labeling rule.

    Inundating losses may force Ha Bac Fertiliser out of business

    Flooded by consecutive massive losses, Ha Bac Nitrogenous Fertiliser & Chemicals JSC (Ha Bac Fertiliser) may find it difficult to remain in operation.

    According to the audited financial statement published at the annual shareholders’ meeting, in 2017 Ha Bac Fertiliser suffered a loss of VND606 billion ($26.62 million), with which its accumulated losses increased to VND2.3 trillion ($101.03 million).

    Besides, the firm reported decreases of VND200 billion ($8.78 million) in net assets, VND606.7 billion ($26.65 million) in equity, and the loss of 290 employees. Meanwhile, its total debts increased by VND406.6 billion ($26.64 million) to VND9.27 trillion ($407.2 million).

    The bleak business results meant the leaders of the firm enjoy only a miniscule salary. Notably, the chairman of the board of directors received a salary of VND4 million ($175.72) per month, while the members of the Board of Directors received VND3 million ($131.79).

    In the first quarter of this month, despite the firm’s revenue increasing by 36 per cent to VND684 billion, it still reported a loss of VND168 billion ($7.38 million). Ha Bac Fertiliser estimated that the total loss for the whole year will be VND720.6 billion ($31.6 million).

    On July 26, 2017, Ha Bac Fertiliser made 272.2 million shares, representing a registered capital of VND2.71 trillion ($119.2 million), officially available for trading at the initial reference unit price of VND6,800.

    However, after three months of listing, there were no transactions. As of the transaction session on April 26, the firm’s shares were valued at VND1,600, decreasing VND5,200 compared to the starting price.

    In the framework of the shareholders’ meeting, the Board of Directors proposed a number of solutions to help the firm to escape from loss.

    Notably, Ha Bac Fertiliser proposed the Ministry of Industry and Trade to ask Vinacomin to extend the deadline for coal payments, while simultaneously maintain coal supplies with at a lower selling price for the firm.

    Besides, the firm requested the government to revise the value-added tax (VAT) for nitrogenous fertiliser to 0-5 per cent and revise the calculation method of export tax on nitrogenous fertiliser.

    A subsidiary of state-run Vietnam National Chemical Group (Vinachem), Ha Bac Fertiliser specialises in producing urea fertiliser, which makes up 80 per cent of its revenue.

    However, in recent years, the domestic demand for urea fertiliser fell far short of supply, leading to extreme imbalance. Besides, the domestic fertiliser manufacturing sector also needs to compete with imported products, especially cheaper Chinese ones.

    Petrol firms suggest increasing E5-RON 95 price difference

    Despite increasing E5 gasoline consumption in the first quarter, gasoline enterprises still propose different retail prices for E5 and RON 95 fuel.

    According to statistics of petrol companies, after over four months of deployment, E5 petrol consumption is showing positive signs and has increased significantly against late 2017 and early 2018.

    Specifically, Petrolimex remains the company holding the largest market share with total sales in the first quarter exceeding one million cubic metres, equaling an average consumption of 360,000cu.m per month, including 170,000cu.m of E5 and 190,000cu.m of RON95. In April’s first 15 days alone, Petrolimex’s total petrol sales hit 1.25 million cu.m, including 660,000cu.m of RON 95 and 592,000cu.m of E5.

    E5 petrol made up 50 per cent of its petroleum pumps over the country.

    The group also cited differences in petrol consumption among the country's regions. In the first quarter, E5 petrol sales made up 60 per cent of total regional sales in northern Vietnam, 30 per cent in the south, and 43 per cent in Central Vietnam.

    Similar consumption patterns were reported by PetroVietnam Oil Corporation (PVOIL). With an average E5 petrol consumption of 50,000cu.m per month, the northern and the central parts accounted for 60-63 per cent of total sales, while the south only made up 36 per cent.

    Most gasoline companies agreed that the little price difference between E5 and RON 95 (about VND857 per litre) leave consumers uninterested in switching. In addition, container fees and transportation for E5 petrol are higher than RON 95, making it business more difficult for petrol dealers.

    Therefore, gasoline companies proposed the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to set a reasonable, VND2,500 per litre price difference between E5 and RON 95 via the Environmental Protection Tax. They also proposed MoF to take measures to adjust the input and output special consumption taxes of E5 petrol to help increase sales.

    In March, the Vietnam Petroleum Association submitted a document to MoF requesting guidance on non-deductible excise tax on petroleum products used for the production of bio-fuel.

    Specifically, before 2016, the Law on Special Consumption Tax stipulated a 10 per cent tax rate for A92 petroleum processing. E5 and E10 gasoline were mixed with the corresponding rates, including A92 gasoline’s 95 per cent and 90 per cent, and bio-ethanol’s 5 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively. Therefore, the rate of special consumption tax on E5 and E10 gasoline was 9.5 and 9 per cent per litre, respectively.

    Since 2016, aiming to encourage bio fuel usage, MoF reduced special consumption tax on E5 and E10 gasoline to 8 and 7 per cent, respectively.

    However, during implementation, many enterprises have realised that value added taxes shouldered by petrol businesses are too large. Some businesses even withheld up to dozens of billions of VND per month in value added taxes. This issue is predicted to exacerbate in 2018 over rising E5 sales. Currently, MoF is working on a solution to this issue.

    Bisuco factory shutdown to worry the firm’s creditors

    The gloomy state of Binh Dinh Sugar JSC, with its production suspension and financial troubles, may create major problems for creditors like Standard Chartered Bank, who want to recover outstanding loan payments.

    Located in the central province of Binh Dinh, Binh Dinh Sugar (Bisuco), 97 per cent of which is owned by India’s NIVL JSC–a subsidiary of Singapore-based Indo China Food Industries Pte., Ltd.–may not be able to meet its debt obligations to one of its biggest creditors, Standard Chartered Bank. This is a result of the sugar company being caught out for environmental violations in Binh Dinh, causing a temporary shutdown while reportedly carrying VND800 billion ($35.56 million) in unsettled accounts to creditors, local farmers, its employees, and local tax authorities.

    Upon contacting the lender’s Vietnam branch to inquire about the loans that Bisuco (or, ultimately, NIVL) has made from Standard Chartered Vietnam and Standard Chartered Singapore, and the possibility for the bank to recover its loans in this case, Standard Chartered said, “it is inappropriate for the bank to comment,” at the current time. A couple of years ago, Standard Chartered Bank was reported by local media to have foreclosed a factory mortgaged by Bisuco, following the company’s failure to keep up with its loan payments.

    The order for Bisuco to temporary close down its operations was issued by Binh Dinh authorities on March 12. Bisuco was ordered to seal off its factory on March 23, until the company can finish all the environmental works requested by the Binh Dinh Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DoNRE).

    In its document sent to the Binh Dinh People’s Committee, however, Bisuco asked for permission to continue operations until the end of 2017-2018 sugarcane crop, which ends on June 30.

    VIR has made several attempts to contact the factory in Binh Dinh for further information, yet failed to get hold of any party then.

    DoNRE deputy director Huynh Van Vinh told VIR that after the call from the Binh Dinh People’s Committee, the province is completing procedures for sealing off the factory, and the fine for the violation–polluting the local river–is under consideration.

    “Previously, the local authorities had warned the factory to close several times over and ordered the company to resolve the consequences of the environmental impact, but we did not succeed. The pollution is getting more serious now, forcing us to seal off the factory entirely,” Vinh noted.

    Another subsidiary of NIVL, Hiep Hoa Sugar JSC in the southern province of Long An, was also suspended in 2016 for environmental violations and accumulated losses. It only resumed operation in early 2018.

    TTC Land raises capital for Western-style management after name change

    TTC Land, previously known as Sacomreal JSC, will raise capital from existing shareholders and adopt a Western-style management structure to lure in foreign investors.

    At its annual general shareholders’ meeting, TTC Land has outlined its plan for 2018, following the name change from Sacomreal JSC last month. The re-named real estate firm will issue 212 million new shares to current shareholders, aiming to raise its charter capital to VND5.5 trillion ($241 million). The additional capital will be used for mergers and acquisitions activities.

    Each new share will be offered at VND10,000 ($0.44) and each batch of 100 current shares entitles the investor to purchase 67 newly issued shares. Investors are free to trade these shares after purchase. The issuance is expected to take place in late 2018 or early 2019 and will be subject to approval from the State Securities Commission.

    Shareholders questioned the feasibility of this share sale as the market price of TTC Land’s stocks have been on the downslope, hovering at only VND11,000 ($0.48) per share, and TTC Land is also organizing a parallel share sale to existing shareholders.

    Chairman Pham Dien Trung expressed his optimism in TTC Land, stating that lots of foreigners are waiting to invest in the fast-growing firm.

    “We believe that we will raise at least VND1 trillion ($43.8 million) from this sale. Even if we cannot collect any money from investors, we can still resort to bank loans. I am sure that the banks are willing to lend us money as we have a wide range of assets under management,” said Trung.

    The chairman added that TTC Land’s stock price is likely to shoot up once positive news about the firm’s business plans spread.

    It is noteworthy that TTC Land plans to follow in the footsteps of Vinamilk and other conglomerates in Vietnam by modernising its corporate governance. In particular, the firm will abolish the inspectorate team and set up an internal auditing committee, as well as do research on international accounting standards. According to Trung, this Western-style structure will improve TTC Land’s transparency and its appeal for foreign investors.

    TTC Land will use the new capital to boost its stake at various industrial zones, shopping malls, and hospitality real estate. Previously, as Sacomreal JSC, the firm used to focus on the Ho Chi Minh City real estate market, but now it will expand to other areas such as Phu Quoc Island, Danang, Dong Nai, and Haiphong. The total area under management will be 1,500 hectares.

    Specifically, TTC Land will buy 79 per cent of Toan Hai Van JSC, the developer of the mega-project Vinh Dam Complex in the south of Phu Quoc Island. Half of the complex, or 110 hectares, will be used for sea ports and warehousing, while the remaining half will be developed into a resort area named Ocean Lotus Island.

    Another target company is Dang Huynh Industrial Zone Management JSC, in which TTC Land looks to boost its ownership to 51 per cent. Dang Huynh JSC is the operator of Tan Kim Industrial Zone in Long An province, spanning an area of 50 hectares, as well as warehousing facilities in Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, and Dong Nai.

    The last investee–Thanh Thanh Cong Industrial Zone JSC–currently operates the 1,020-hectare Thanh Thanh Cong Industrial Zone in Tay Ninh province.

    In 2018, TTC Land plans to reach VND2 trillion ($87.7 million) of consolidated revenue, up 4 per cent year-on-year, and after-tax profit of VND248 billion ($10.8 million), up 24 per cent. The dividend payout ratio will be higher than 7 per cent.

    Vietnam Medi- Pharm 2018 aiming at grassroots healthcare

    The Ministry of Health and the Vietnam Advertisement & Fair Exhibition JSC (Vietfair) and related organizations held a press conference in the afternoon of May 2 about the upcoming 25th Vietnam International Exhibitions on Products, Equipment, Supplies for Pharmaceutical, Medical, Hospital and Rehabilitation (Vietnam Medi-Pharm 2018), which will take place in Hanoi from May 9-12.

    According to Mr. Nguyen Dinh Anh, Director General of the Health Communication and Reward Department under the Ministry of Health, because of the theme ‘Improving grassroots-level healthcare and working towards community healthcare’, the display area of Vietnam Medi-Pharm 2018 will focus on the propaganda of guidelines, policies and regulations of our Party and State on healthcare activities.

    On this occasion, the Ministry of Health will also introduce to the public its innovative and positive changes as well as its achievements and major missions in 2018.

    In the area of 9,000m2, there will be more than 530 stalls of 450 firms from many countries and regions in the world besides Vietnam such as India, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Taiwan (of China), Korea, the USA, Japan, Thailand, and Singapore. They will display and introduce their latest medical and pharmaceutical products as well as technologies.

    The Vietnam Medi-Pharm 2018 is expected to create various opportunities for commercial collaborations and experience exchange between domestic medical, pharmaceutical, medical equipment businesses and international counterparts.

    Purchasing power soars by 8.5%
       
    The purchasing power in the total national retail value of goods and services until April 2018 reached nearly VND1.40 trillion ($61.4 million), the General Statistics Office (GSO) reported.

    This is equivalent to a year-on-year increase of 9.8 per cent.

    The increase is estimated at 8.5 per cent if the price factor is excluded, higher than the growth of 7 per cent in the first four months last year. The rise was similar to that during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays when the consumption demand was high.

    GSO expert Vu Manh Ha attributed the surge in purchasing power in the first four months of this year to the high demand for accommodation, restaurant, services and travel in the summer season.

    Of these, the revenue from retail goods, which accounts for more than 75 per cent of the total revenue, hit $46.4 million, up 10.8 per cent from the same period last year.

    Food and foodstuff retail revenue increased by 12 per cent, garment retail revenue by 12.8 per cent, home appliances by 10.8 per cent, culture and education products by 9 per cent and transportation services by 8.2 per cent.

    Localities with high growth in retail revenue include HCM City (12.8 per cent), Hai Phong (12.6 per cent), Da Nang (12 per cent), Binh Dinh (11 per cent), Nam Dinh (10.9 per cent) and Ha Noi (10.4 per cent).

    The revenue from accommodation and restaurant services, which accounts for 12.3 per cent of the total revenue, increased by 9.4 per cent to $7.5 billion in the first four months.

    The revenue from the tourism sector, which accounts for only 1 per cent of the total revenue, reached a growth of 26.1 per cent to $565.78 million in the first four months.

    Tourism in HCM City recorded the highest increase in revenue (30.4 per cent), followed by Binh Dinh (28.9 per cent), Hai Phong (23.4 per cent) and Ha Noi (18.8 per cent).

    VN investors seek spots at DC summit
       
    More than 30 Vietnamese investors participated in a seminar held on Thursday in HCM City as part of the US Mission to Viet Nam’s ongoing recruitment for the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, DC in June.

    The first “Invest in the US” seminar, co-organised by the US Consulate General and AmCham HCM City, described the benefits of investing in the US, home to the largest amount of FDI in the world.

    Experts from Baker & McKenzie law firm provided Vietnamese investors with an introduction on the legal and foreign exchange requirements for outbound investment and gave presentations on best practices for establishing operations in the US.

    One of the benefits of investing in the US is the variety of opportunities that exist across the country’s 52 states and territories. Representatives from the US states of Idaho, Iowa, and Pennsylvania spoke about investment opportunities in their states.

    Fred Burke, senior partner from Baker & McKenzie, highlighted how Viet Nam’s GDP growth was fueling greater interest in investing in the US.

    “It is often said that investment follows trade, and Viet Nam’s trade with the US has grown enormously in recent years such that it is one of Viet Nam’s top export markets. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Vietnamese firms are looking to invest in the US to support their trade relations and take advantage of opportunities there,” Burke said.

    The Investment Summit promotes the US as a premier investment destination and connects qualified foreign firms with US economic development organisations to facilitate business investment and job creation.

    Last year’s SelectUSA Investment Summit hosted by US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross drew the largest crowd yet, with over 3,000 registered participants.

    With 28 delegates, Viet Nam had the 12th largest delegation at the summit and the largest delegation from Southeast Asia.

    Industrial growth soars in first four months
       
    Viet Nam’s industrial production index (IPI) retained a significant 11.4 per cent growth rate in the first four months of this year, much higher than the 6.6 per cent increase in the same period last year.

    The period’s strong IIP rise was attributed to the fact that many industrial firms have taken advantage of the State policies in cutting off business conditions and speeding up administrative reforms to expand their operations as well as markets for their products, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

    In the January-April period, the manufacturing and processing sector, which accounts for nearly 80 per cent of overall industrial value, saw the strongest growth with 14 per cent, compared to 9.5 per cent in last year’s corresponding period, GSO said.

    Meanwhile, electricity production and distribution increased 9.7 per cent, and water supply and wastewater treatment went up 5.5 per cent. The mining sector witnessed a modest decline of 1.2 per cent.

    Areas posting high production growth include electronics, computers and optical products at 27 per cent, metal at 16.3 per cent, furniture production at 15 per cent and pharmaceuticals at 14 per cent. Surges were also recorded in major industrial products such as iron and steel (38.2 per cent), fabric (26.2 per cent), powdered milk (21 per cent), feed for aquaculture (19 per cent), television (18 per cent), and processed seafood products (12 per cent).

    Several other areas, however, saw industrial production reduce, including crude oil (9.4 per cent), urea fertiliser (4 per cent), animal feed (2 per cent) and milk (1 per cent). The northern province of Bac Ninh led the nation with an IPI growth of 34 per cent, followed by Hai Phong (24 per cent), Vinh Phuc (14 per cent) and Thai Nguyen (12.1 per cent).

    Others with positive IIP increases were Hai Duong (11 per cent), Ha Noi and Dong Nai (8.1 per cent), Da Nang (8 per cent), Binh Duong (7.9 per cent), Can Tho (7.3 per cent), Quang Ninh (6.5 per cent), and HCM City (6.1 per cent).

    As of April 1, the number of workers in industrial enterprises increased 3.9 per cent compared to the same period last year. The number of workers in State-owned enterprises dropped 1.1 per cent, while those in non-State and foreign-invested businesses went up 4.3 per cent and 4.5 per cent, respectively.

    The number of workers in provinces and cities with large-scale industry also saw increases, such as Can Tho (23 per cent), Hai Phong (16.3 per cent), and Bac Ninh (14 per cent), as well as Thai Nguyen (8 per cent), Binh Duong (7 per cent) and Dong Nai (5.3 per cent).

    Gamuda Land wins award for environmental rehabiliation

    Gamuda Land’s maiden township development project, located in the south of Hanoi, clinched the World Gold Award for Environmental (Rehabilitation / Conservation) at the FIABCI (an annual international conference run by the International Real Estate Federation) World Prix d’ Excellence 2018, which took place at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai on May 1.

    “We are truly honored to receive this renowned award for Gamuda City,” said Mr. Ngan Chee Meng, CEO of Gamuda Land. “Receiving the award is testament to our principles in developing townships, of ‘listening to what the land has to tell us’. When we work closely with nature to restore and rejuvenate the land, we create a better place for the community to call home.”

    The environmental rehabilitation of Yen So Park and Yen So Lake remains a remarkable turnaround story that has transformed one of Hanoi’s most polluted and inhospitable areas into a thriving green lung. What was once a shunned wasteland of untreated sewage and physical rubbish in the south of Hanoi is now a picturesque parkland of scenic lakes, lush greenery, and abundant flora and fauna.

    “When we first came here about ten years ago, the absence of a proper sewage system in Hanoi had resulted in the contamination of its waterways and lakes and created growing concern about public health and the need for better water management practices,” Mr. Ngan said. “Backed by our credible experience and expertise in drainage and wastewater treatment projects, a proposal was made to the government of Hanoi to build the Yen So Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) as well as to rejuvenate Yen So Park in exchange for land development rights.”

    Today, the Yen So STP manages and treats up to 200,000 cu m of wastewater discharge daily. Since beginning operations it has brought an effective solution to the pollution problem in the Set River - Kim Nguu River in Hanoi.

    Gamuda Land’s rehabilitation efforts have also delivered immense socioeconomic benefits to south Hanoi, effectively addressing chronic wastewater and sewage issues and various health hazards.

    The rejuvenation of Yen So Park has also repositioned south Hanoi as an attractive location vis-à-vis the north, which was historically a better-favoured location for development and dwellings. Gamuda Land’s mindful planning and rejuvenation of Yen So Park has restored the land to its natural beauty, resulting in an environment conducive to further development and investment in the area.

    “What is most heart-warming for us is to see thousands of Hanoians enjoying the park’s facilities, especially on weekends,” said Mr. Ngan. “When we listen to the land in this way, it allows us to create a place where biodiversity thrives and the community can grow up and grow old in for generations to come.”

    FIABCI World Prix d’Excellence recognizes projects that best embody excellence in all the real estate disciplines involved in their creation. It has bestowed awards to deserving projects and developments in 60 member countries and has undoubtedly created a great reputation. Already in its 27th year, the awards have gained recognition as the “Oscars” of the real estate industry, and according to the organizers is “more than just a beauty contest - it represents projects that are a cut above the rest.”

    The Environmental (Rehabilitation/Conservation) category judged contenders based on architecture, design and planning, sustainable construction methods, environmental impact, and community benefits, among other criteria.


    Aquaculture output picks up 6 percent in four months

    Aquaculture output in the first four months of the year hit 1 million tonnes, up 6 percent from the same time last year, according to the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

    In the period, the Mekong Delta region harvested some 373,000 tonnes of tra fish, a year-on-year surge of 8 percent.

    With tra fish fetching high prices, local farmers have rushed to dig ponds and breed more fish, leading to the scarcity of fish fry and increase in their prices.

    In a stark contrast, farmers have been rushing off their feet to harvest shrimp for fear of price drop. Each kilogramme of white-leg shrimp is being sold at 110,000-120,000 VND (4.84- 5.28 USD), decreasing 10,000-20,000 VND (0.44-0.88 USD) per kg from the previous month.

    The country earned some 2.4 billion USD from exporting aquatic products in the first four months of 2018, representing a year-on-year rise of 13 percent.

    In April alone, the country raked in 650 million USD from the export of aquatic products.

    The US, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea were the biggest importers in January-March, making up 52 percent of the Southeast Asian country’s total aquatic product exports. The highest growth was reported in the Netherlands (55.7 percent), China (44.6 percent) and the UK (33.8 percent).

    In the four-month period, Vietnam imported 536 million USD worth of aquatic products, up 27.4 percent against the same period last year. Of the figure, 130 million worth of aquatic products were imported in April.

    Aquatic product exports in 2018 are expected to exceed 8.5 billion USD, up about 3 percent compared to 2017, though Vietnam's exports to the US and EU markets will continue to be affected by catfish inspection, anti-dumping and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU), according to the VASEP.

    VNN

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  • 05/06/18--20:55: Article 0
  • Party Central Committee’s 7th plenary session opens


    12th-tenure Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee convened its seventh plenary session in Hanoi on May 7, under the chair of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.



    Party Central Committee’s 7th plenary session opens, Government news, Vietnam breaking news, politic news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news 

    Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong chairs Party Central Committee's 7th plenary session


    At the beginning of the morning session, the Party Central Committee approved the session’s working agenda.

    Main issues on the agenda of the six-day sitting include the personnel work at all levels, especially at strategic level, salary reform for officials, public servants, the armed forces, and workers, and social insurance policy reform, among others.

    In his opening remarks, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong noted the importance of the meeting, which takes place at the middle of the 12th tenure in the context of good development of the country and new opportunities for the renewal cause.

    He asked the Party Central Committee to uphold their responsibility and study carefully submitted reports and projects in order to make quality contributions to documents to be passed at the end of the session.

    VNA

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  • 05/07/18--01:21: Article 3
  • Philippines accepts 250,000T rice offers from Vietnam, Thailand

    Vietnam also won a separate deal involving 80,000 tonnes of 25 percent broken rice at $517.50 a tonne, below the NFA's budget of $520.50 a tonne


    Philippines accepts 250,000T rice offers from Vietnam, Thailand

    A farmer works on a rice paddy field in Quang Ngai province, Vietnam March 14, 2018. Photo: Reuters


    MANILA, May 4 -- The Philippines' National Food Authority (NFA) on Friday accepted offers from both Vietnam and Thailand for 250,000 tonnes of rice supply, as it rushes to rebuild depleted buffer stocks ahead of the lean local harvest season.

    The NFA, the state agency tasked with ensuring stable rice supply and prices in the domestic market, increased its budget by about 10 percent for the rice purchases, after initial offers last week from Vietnam and Thailand exceeded its reference prices.

    It reopened the tender on Friday for the government-to-government procurement. Vietnam will supply 130,000 tonnes and Thailand will deliver the balance of 120,000 tonnes.

    The NFA allocated $531 per tonne for its purchase of 50,000 tonnes of 15 percent broken rice, a deal won by Vietnam with an offer of $526.50 a tonne.

    Vietnam also won a separate deal involving 80,000 tonnes of 25 percent broken rice at $517.50 a tonne, below the NFA's budget of $520.50 a tonne.

    Thailand won a 120,000-tonne supply deal involving 25 percent broken rice with a similar offer of $517.50 a tonne.

    The offers were still subject to final approval by the NFA council, said Judy Carol Dansal, deputy NFA administrator and head of the panel that held the tender.

    The Philippines, a frequent rice importer, plans to buy another 250,000-tonnes in an open tender later this month.

    Delivery of its rice purchases begins next month, ahead of the so-called lean months of July to September when there is minimal or zero harvest locally.

    President Rodrigo Duterte in April directed the NFA to build up its rice buffer stock to the equivalent of 60 days of national consumption, or as much as 1.92 million tonnes, from less than 2 days of consumption in March.

    The fresh rice purchases come as the dwindling supply of cheap NFA rice led to a spike in domestic prices of the staple grain, feeding into inflation which accelerated at its fastest pace in at least five years in April.

    Reuters

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  • 05/07/18--01:35: Article 2
  • First Vietnamese martial art Grand Prix event in Algeria


    Algeria - The first Vovinam (Vietnamese martial art) Viet Vo Dao Grand Prix was held successfully in Algeria on May 4-5.

    Martial artists compete at the event (Photo: VNA)

    The event was sponsored by the Vietnamese Embassy and Vovinam Viet Vo Dao Federation in Algeria.

    It attracted a large number of martial artists from Vovinam clubs in Algiers city and neighbouring provinces.

    Thousands of spectators were present at the competition to cheer up the martial artists.

    Addressing the award ceremony at the end of the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Algeria Pham Quoc Tru encouraged martial artists to increase teaching and learning of this sport to spur the development of Vovinam Viet Vo Dao in Algeria as well as promote the relations between the two countries.

    Introduced to Algeria in the 1970s, Vovinam has become popular and is now being practised by over 20,000 people across the African country.

    Vovinam Viet Vo Dao was founded by Nguyen Loc (1912-1960) in 1936 but developed in 1938 with a view to providing practitioners with an efficient method of self-defence after a short period of study.

    Vovinam is practiced with and without weapons. It is based on the principle of combining between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’. It is not only about the training of the body but also of the mind.

    Vovinam has to date been practiced in more than 60 countries and territories, with millions of learners from thousands of Vovinam clubs.

    The sport was included in the 27th SEA Games in Myanmar in 2013 and the fifth Asian Beach Games in Da Nang city in 2016. It will be an official sport at the upcoming ASEAN University Games in Myanmar in December 2018.


    VNA

    0 0
  • 05/07/18--01:45: Article 1
  •  History through Hà Nội’s architecture


    Located in the centre of Hà Nội, Đồng Xuân Market has become an iconic landmark that has witnessed many ups and downs of the 1,000-year-old capital.


     

    Trading hub: The architecture of Đồng Xuân market in the heart of Hà Nội is known for its tropical features, though it was designed and constructed by the French in 1889 when they embarked on exploiting Indochina colonies. VNS photo Trương Vị


    The architecture of the market is known for its tropical features, though it was designed and constructed by the French in 1889 when they embarked on exploiting Indochina colonies.

    Specifically, the two-layer corrugated iron roof of the building aims to aid ventilation and release heat. Initially, the market had a total area of about 6,500m2 including a complex of five adjacent houses. The façade of the market consists of five big entrances featuring French-style doors, and the whole building is sheltered by air-gap walls that maximise ventilation and absorb natural light.

    Additionally, according to architect Đào Ngọc Nghiêm, vice chairman of the Hà Nội Association for Urban Planning and Development, the French skillfully designed the dome of the market similar to the entrance of the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long, which combined with French-style architecture to create a special building.

    The architecture of the market reveals that its designer aimed to create a typical market for a tropical area, seeking harmony between French and indigenous culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    It was also one of the first examples of how Vietnamese architectural elements were integrated into French-style buildings in the city.

     

    Mix of styles: Louis Finot Museum, presently known as the National Museum of Vietnamese History, features many examples of Vietnamese architecture, particularly in its roof system. VNS photo Trương Vị

    East meets West

    The French colonists first came to Việt Nam in the late 19th century. In 1886, the French in Hà Nội established the municipal council with the aim of "turning Hà Nội into a European city".

    Over a history of more than 100 years in Việt Nam, and Hà Nội in particular, the French left a valuable, unique and advanced heritage of their architecture and structures in Hà Nội.

    Before French colonialism, Hà Nội had three major components: the imperial citadel, commercial zone (the Old Quarter which featured streets on which a number of crafts and merchandise were sold) and the surrounding rural area.

    Hà Nội at that time was considered the administrative centre of the whole Indochina. The city planning that French architects brought to Hà Nội gave it a new face.

    Hà Nội, with mud-walled cottages, was transformed into a more organised, orderly city which featured both traditional tube houses in the Old Quarter, elegant houses and villas for the French living in Hà Nội and well off native merchants, the chessboard streets, tree-lined boulevards, entertainment structures imported from France as well as the advanced system of drainage, planned grid network of streets and parks, and public spaces for the community.

     

    Home of art: The curved corners of the roofs, a typical Vietnamese design, can be seen at the Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts, a construction by the French in the 1930s. VNS photo Trương Vị


    The French buildings and structures in Hà Nội belong to various styles – neo-classical, Indochina style, art deco – yet the finest and most important would be Indochina style. It is a fusion of modern and traditional architectural elements, of French and Vietnamese style that brought structures into harmony with the townscape as well as the tropical climate of Hà Nội.

     “When the French arrived in Việt Nam, they were impressed with the local architecture that was both beautiful and suitable to local culture, climate and scenery. In the second phase, after the First World War, more Vietnamese or Oriental elements were integrated into the structures to create a new architectural style, or Indochina style,” says architect Trần Quốc Bảo, a lecturer at the National University of Civil Engineering and also a member of the Group of Researchers on Architecture of Hà Nội.

    In the mid-1920s, a series of buildings were constructed in the Indochina style. The leading architect of this style, later on known as Indochina-style architecture, was E. Hébrard from France. After years of working in Indochina, he held a special interest in the indigenous culture and created many building projects in both Hà Nội and Đà Lạt in the Central Highlands province of Lâm Đồng.

    The representative buildings for this architectural style in Hà Nội include the l’Université d’Indochine, Louis Finot Museum, Direction des Finances, Church of Martyrs and Institut Pasteur.

    What is interesting about such buildings is that their interiors are totally in the French style and operate like any French buildings, but they are sheltered by Vietnamese-style structures.

     

    Complementing nature: The most popular Vietnamese features that could be found in Indochina-style buildings include the heat-proof roof, the system of light and ventilation, in addition to the maximum use of trees. Photo ashui.com



    Classic design: The l’Université d’Indochine (University of Indochina) is a charateristic building of Indochina architectural style. Over a history of more than 100 years in Hà Nội, the French left a valuable, unique and advanced heritage of their architecture and structures in Hà Nội. Photo ashui.com



    Still in use: Direction des Finances, designed by French architect E. Hébrard in 1924, has become the head office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo ashui.com

    The most popular Vietnamese features that could be found in Indochina-style buildings include the heat-proof roof, steep porch sheltering the buildings from rain and sun, the system of light and ventilation, in additional to the maximum use of shady trees.


    “Architecturally speaking, Vietnamese patterns used in French buildings were utilised particularly in the villas and condos, designed by a renowned French architecture and located on Trần Phú and Lý Nam Đế Streets,” Bảo says.

    In many Indochina-style villas, the tiled roofs contain many layers. The corners of the roofs are curved up and decorated with typical Vietnamese patterns like dragons, while the houses might be decorated with relief figures inspired by Oriental art.

    According to architect Nghiêm, the Indochina-style buildings and structures in Hà Nội are an important heritage, reflecting the creative application of French architectural solutions in Việt Nam’s natural and cultural conditions.

    Additionally, the bamboo or cloth curtain used in Vietnamese houses at the time was replaced by glass windows though which sunlight could still be absorbed to avoid the heat of Hà Nội.

    “The Indochina-style structure is an important symbol of integration, yet not losing the identity of Việt Nam,” says Nghiêm.

    Current state

    According to architect Bảo, there are nine public Indochina-style mansions and condos, which also now serve as public buildings, in good condition in the capital.

    “Most of the public buildings are used similarly to their original functions. For example, the l’Université d’Indochine is now the location of Việt Nam National University, Louis Finot Museum has been used as the National Museum of Vietnamese History, and the Direction des Finances has become the head office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Two major villas, on 36 Trần Phú Street and 4 Lý Nam Đế, have been transformed into public buildings, but their space is still well preserved,” he says.

    According to a recent survey, there are around 1,600 French-style villas in the capital, among which over 500 villas are privately-owned and over 1,000 others are state-owned.

    “The restoration and renewal of the French-style public buildings has been conducted methodologically, leaving barely any changes to their original states. Some privately-owned villas and condos; on the other hands, are suffering from severe deterioration,” he says.

    Conservation

    Hà Nội Department of Planning and Architecture has cooperated with the Urban and Architecture Institute to carry out the project "Preservation of French Architecture Legacy" in Hà Nội.

    The project developed a list of criteria to evaluate the value of French houses in Hà Nội.

    Factors taken into account include: architectural value (40 points), authenticity (20 points), historical and cultural value (15 points), planning and landscape value (15 points), functions and ownership (10 points). Those awarded more than 75 points will be listed as ‘especially valuable’, those with 60 to 74 points listed as ‘highly valuable’ and the rest listed as having ‘average value’.

    “It is important that experts carefully evaluate the current state as well as cultural, historical and architectural value of the structures and classify them to put them in the order of preservation priority,” says Nghiêm.

    “We do not have sufficient budget for the preservation of all structures. We need to conduct surveys to find the current state of these structures, carefully evaluate them and include the most valuable and characteristic in the list of strict conservation. The authorities should work out a detailed policy and instructions for this and listing must be based on very careful surveys and research.

    “What is more important is that the structures shouldn’t be treated as a relic but a ‘living’ structure with functions and values still maintained and continued today,” says Nghiêm.

    "We can learn from the conservation experience of other countries, for example Italy, Singapore or Thailand. There may be hundreds of ancient valuable houses but only a few are listed among the structures put under strict conservation schemes."

    Rapid urban development poses some challenges in conserving the city’s heritage. Hà Nội has yet to develop a plan and specific solutions for such conservation. We should also tap the role of the community in conservation. There must be an agreement between experts and the community.

    “We need to call for sponsors as well as owners to join in conservation work. The proceeds from tourism activities will be shared with owners and sponsors. Privatisation is a practical solution as we can hardly rely on the state budget for conservation work,” Nghiêm adds.

    Besides the preservation efforts of high-value French-style buildings in the capital, the architectural experts have also raised concerns about the mass construction of new buildings with French inspiration, which however, due to improper study of design, lack architectural authenticity.

    “The French-style buildings are valuable property of the city only when they are built in the proper period of time. It is already the 21st century, so there should no more new constructions of Indochina-style buildings in particular and French-style buildings in general in the city,” architecture lecturer Bảo says.

    Viet Nam News/by Lương Hương & Hồng Vân

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  • 05/07/18--01:53: Article 0
  • Social News In Brief 7/5


    Efforts made to fully tap Dien Bien Phu’s tourism potential


     

    Efforts made to fully tap Dien Bien Phu’s tourism potential, Deputy PM urges high-tech food safety, Labour safety and hygiene, Highway 12B construction delayed, Highway 12B construction delayed
    The Museum of Dien Bien Phu Victory is one of the most significant works to mark the 60th anniversary of Dien Bien Phu victory in 2014.  


    The northwestern province of Dien Bien, which has been famous for the glorious Dien Bien Phu victory against the French colonists, has worked to conserve the relic complex’s historical values to attract more tourists.

    The Dien Bien Phu battlefield complex features 45 relic sites, of which eight were put into operation to serve tourists. They include Museum of Dien Bien Phu Victory, victory statue, A1 Hill, Him Lam relic site, command tunnel of French General De Castries, Muong Phang relic site, monument featuring soldiers pulling artillery by hand, and parade field to commemorate the great victory.

    The Government, relevant ministries and sectors and local authorities have paid due attention to carrying out various projects to preserve and restore the relic sites. Particularly, the inauguration of the Museum of Dien Bien Phu Victory in 2014 was one of the most significant works to mark the 60th anniversary of Dien Bien Phu victory (May 7).

    According to Vu Thi Tuyet Nga, vice director of the museum, more and more tourists have come to the complex of Dien Bien Phu battlefield.

    Last year, the complex welcomed over 380,000 visitors. In the first four months of 2018, it attracted 130,000 people, including nearly 35,000 visitors during the recent public holidays (April 30 and May 1) alone.

    Besides the restoration of the relic sites, the locality has attached much importance to the communication and media work to promote tourism. Meanwhile, tour guide has been prioritised as well, Nga noted.

    Dien Bien province is planning to develop tourism into a spearhead economic sector, which is expected to create a driving force to boost other industries in the locality. However, the restoration has relied much on the state budget. The province should devise rational mechanisms to attract investment for preservation and upgrading projects with vision until 2030.

    The Dien Bien Phu victory played a decisive role in ending Vietnam’s resistance war against the French and bringing a new momentum to the country’s revolution and the struggle for peace, national independence and socialism.

    The battle occurred in Dien Bien between March and May, 1954 under the command of General Vo Nguyen Giap. The victory led to the signing of the 1954 Geneva Accord in which France agreed to withdraw its forces from the colonies in Indochina.

    Deputy PM urges high-tech food safety


    Efforts made to fully tap Dien Bien Phu’s tourism potential, Deputy PM urges high-tech food safety, Labour safety and hygiene, Highway 12B construction delayed, Highway 12B construction delayed

     

    Deputy PM Vũ Đức Đam (second right) is examining food safety at a workers’ canteen in the Tân Thuận Processing Zone in HCM City’s District 7. 


    Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam has urged HCM City to boost the application of high technology in tracing the origins of food products as a way to gradually change the habits of production and consumption to improve awareness of food safety.

    “In the long term, we need to meet the targets that ensure all people in the country can consume standardised and high quality food products like those that are for export,” stressed Deputy PM Đam yesterday.

    The Deputy PM made the request on a working tour to some food production and trading enterprises in HCM City where he also learned about their food safety activities.

    He also visited cooking areas and canteens for workers at such enterprises to examine the quality of food and hygienic procedures there.

    Visiting San Hà Limited Company, one of the enterprises producing and trading fresh and frozen poultry meat in HCM City, the Deputy PM highly praised the company’s food service chain, saying it had met food safety inspection guidelines.

    The company’s food service chain is implemented basing on the principle of taking the food "from the farm straight to the table".

    He hoped many other food enterprises in HCM City would follow such form.

    “The importance is that enterprises should ensure the connection to small-scale farmers to attract them to participate in the safe food chain," said Đam.

    Also yesterday, Deputy PM Đam attended a launching ceremony of the action month for labour safety and hygiene in HCM City.

    The event, which aims to focus on measures to prevent and control dangerous and harmful factors at workplaces to mitigate occupational accidents and diseases, has attracted the participation of foreign experts from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), businesses and over 600 workers in HCM City.

    Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Đào Ngọc Dung asked relevant ministries, departments, localities and enterprises to implement the campaign effectively and take good care of workers for sustainable development of businesses and society.

    He suggested increasing communication and training courses on labour safety and hygiene.

    The minister warned that in the new period of development, Việt Nam is facing challenges on labour safety and hygiene due to the increasing number of enterprises and workers, new occupations, and harmful factors caused by new technology and chemicals.

    Given that, he proposed the State management agencies step up inspections and apply strict punishment for companies violating regulations on labour safety and hygiene, while expanding effective models in sectors, industries and businesses as well as making good use of occupational accident and disease funds.

    Chang Hee Lee, Director of the ILO Country Office for Việt Nam, recognised the achievements that the Vietnamese Government had gained in implementing the Law on labour safety and hygiene.

    He said businesses played an important role in ensuring safety for the working environment and health of workers.

    At the launching ceremony, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the Việt Nam General Confederation of Labour presented certificates of merit to units and individuals in recognition of their active contributions to the field. 

    Highway 12B construction delayed


     

    Efforts made to fully tap Dien Bien Phu’s tourism potential, Deputy PM urges high-tech food safety, Labour safety and hygiene, Highway 12B construction delayed, Highway 12B construction delayed
    Efforts to restore and upgrade National Highway 12B section in Nho Quan district and Tam Điệp city of Ninh Bình Province will likely not be completed by late June as scheduled due to lack of progress on ground clearance. – Photo baoninhbinh.org.vn


    Efforts to restore and upgrade National Highway 12B section in Nho Quan district and Tam Điệp city of Ninh Bình Province will likely not be completed by late June as scheduled due to lack of progress on ground clearance.

    Although the authorities of Nho Quan District and Tam Điệp City have carried out several ground clearance measures for the investors to accelerate the project’s progress, many spots have not yet been cleared, according to project’s representative.

    At present, the road section through Tam Điệp City with total length of 4.7km, but 1km still requires clearance. The reason given for the delay was that the local people did not agree with compensation plan.

    Meanwhile, the 28.750km-road section in Nho Quan District could not be constructed because of protests by 250 local households who refused the compensation money and allocation plan.

    At present, the Ninh Bình People’s Committee has asked the provincial Transport Department and Natural Resources and Environment Department to push Nho Quan District authorities to solve the obstacles, the project’s representative told the paper.

    The stagnancy of ground clearance would cause a slowdown in the project’s progress and render the June 30 completion date untenable, he said.

    So far, the project has completed 9km of concrete road, 3km of asphalt road, the five bridges of Mí, Láo, Sui, Vĩnh Khương and Điếm Tổng and fixed girders of Rịa and Lập Cập bridges.

    The road section of the Nho Quan –Tam Điệp National Highway 12B was designed for car speeds of 60-80km per hour with width of 7m. It is capitalized at VNĐ1.17 trillion (US$51.7 million) from Government bonds.

    The section was an important road linking the National Highway 1 to Hồ Chí Minh Expressway, and served for rescuing activities when discharging flood of the Hồng (Red) River and fire in Cúc Phương National Park.

    The National Highway 12B would help to develop the local economy and ensure national defence for the country’s northwestern region as well as reduce traffic congestion during festive seasons of Ninh Bình Province.

    Youngsters will lead Việt Nam to future prosperity


    Efforts made to fully tap Dien Bien Phu’s tourism potential, Deputy PM urges high-tech food safety, Labour safety and hygiene, Highway 12B construction delayed, Highway 12B construction delayed
    CEO of Startup Việt Nam Foundation (SVF) Phạm Duy Hiếu speaks at a forum held on Friday in Hải Phòng.- Photo cafef.vn


    Young Vietnamese entrepreneurs must pay attention to six crucial steps in order to successfully found a startup business, said CEO of Startup Việt Nam Foundation (SVF) Phạm Duy Hiếu at a forum held on Friday in Hải Phòng.

    "First, you must find your inspiration. Once this has been found, it is important to learn the necessary basics of how to start a business. Next you should set up a startup group, in order to learn from and support fellow entrepreneurs who could possess invaluable skills to help you along the way. Once you’re connected you must learn the essential skills required for creating your own startup. It is important to make sure that you are always growing and learning from your mistakes, and finally, you must believe in yourself to become the champion," he said.

    The forum was organised to educate the many young people who have failed to launch a startup because they had no prior experience in running a business.

    The forum, co-held by the SVF and the city’s Science and Technology Department, also aimed to motivate more young people to have a go at creating a start up business.

    According to Hiếu, many people get inspired and take the leap to start their own business, but rather than continue to move forward and adapt, they simply stay where they are and complain.

    The second step would provide the most streamlined knowledge, he said, this knowledge was essential for someone starting a business, and would help them avoid hurdles along the way.

    The purpose of setting up a startup group was to help the people who want to start a business, by giving them the tools to find the complementary pieces for themselves, he said.

    “Each person in the group will have different talents, and some will be essential to support the other,” Hiếu said.

    Additionally, the launch of a startup requires the participation of mentors and advisors that could become shareholders of the startup. In the early stages, a startup needs to join hands with other forces to grow and develop together, he said.

    During the later stages, a startup should follow the rule of multiplication and division. The “multiplication-and-division” rule means that leading businesses should work together with startups, so that the benefits will be multiplied, and the scale and growth potential to each will be amplified accordingly, he said.

    However, Hiếu also added that youngsters should not be afraid of failure. If they failed to successfully create a startup then they should try again, because each failure will serve as a lesson to bring them closer to success.

    Other speakers at the forum answered questions from young people about mechanisms and policy at both central and local levels to support startups, as well as how non-governmental organisations work to give support for startups. Questions were also raised on how to choose a suitable field for a startup, what the role of the investor encapsulates, and how to gain access to investment funds.

    Speaking at the forum, vice chairman of the People’s Committee of the city Lê Khắc Nam said that the youngsters would be the generation to shoulder responsibility to make a prosperous Việt Nam in the future.

    Therefore, the city would create the most favourable conditions for local young people to create startup companies, he said.

    As scheduled, following the forum, a meeting will be held on May 31 by the Diễn đàn doanh nghiệp (Business Forum) newspaper and the Hải Phòng Young Entrepreneurs Association with the aim of allowing young people to network and share experiences related to startups.

    Last year, Việt Nam recorded the establishment of 126.859 new businesses, in part due to the Government’s strong promotion of startups.

    Data from the General Statistics Office shows that the country now has 561.064 businesses.

    The country is expected to become a startup nation with one million businesses by 2020.

    Italy’s Palermo city ready to host Vietnam Day


     

    Efforts made to fully tap Dien Bien Phu’s tourism potential, Deputy PM urges high-tech food safety, Labour safety and hygiene, Highway 12B construction delayed, Highway 12B construction delayed
    Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Cao Chinh Thien (R) and Mayor of Palermo Leoluca Orlando


    The administration of Palermo city in the autonomous region of Sicily in southern Italy is willing to coordinate with the Vietnamese Embassy in the country to organise a “Vietnam Day” in the locality. 

    Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Cao Chinh Thien and Mayor of Palermo Leoluca Orlando reached consensus on the plan during their meeting on May 5. 

    Under the plan, the event will not only feature cultural-art performance and exchange activities, but also see the participation of Vietnamese enterprises and those from Palermo and Sicily in general. 

    Orlando said the event would open more opportunities for the two sides to enhance multi-faceted cooperation between Italy and Vietnam.

    Thien, for his part, stressed in the context of fruitful cooperation and friendship between the two countries, the promotion of economic, trade and investment cooperation, as well as cultural and educational exchanges will contribute to concretizing their political relations. 

    The model of cooperation between Vietnamese and Italian localities has initially achieved good and promising results, he noted.  

    Previously, the Vietnamese Ambassador had a meeting with Prof. Fabrizio Micari, Rector of University of Palermo where over 30 Vietnamese students are pursuing their study in different majors. 

    The university is a prestigious educational institution in Italy in particular and in the Southern Mediterranean region in general. It has successfully implemented a training cooperation project with Vietnam’s Hanoi University over the last decade, benefiting hundreds of Vietnamese students. 

    Prof. Micari said the University of Palermo wants to expand training programmes, towards training more Vietnamese students in the coming time. 

    Palermo city is the metropolis of the autonomous region of Sicily and Palermo province. The 2,700-year-old city is well known for history, unique culture and architecture. It is named Italian Capital of Culture for 2018.

    Phu Quoc hotel keeps illegal construction on opening day


    Efforts made to fully tap Dien Bien Phu’s tourism potential, Deputy PM urges high-tech food safety, Labour safety and hygiene, Highway 12B construction delayed, Highway 12B construction delayed

     


    The investor of the five-star SeaShells Hotel on Phu Quoc Island has not yet removed the illegal constructions while still preparing for its opening today. 

    Construction of the hotel which lies on Vo Thi Sau Street, one of the best locations in Phu Quoc Island began in late 2015 by Phu Quoc Tourism JSC.

    The hotel has a design of a multi-floor ship with 250 rooms with investment of about VND300 billion (USD13.22 million). 

    The construction permit stated that the hotel had seven floors but it was built with nine floors. 

    In November 2017, the investor was asked to remove the two top floors for exceeding the official planning regulation height of the area.

    However, by May 5, only a small section of the two top floors had been removed while the grand opening ceremony of the luxury hotel will be held in the afternoon.

    Staff of the hotel said that they started receiving guests a day ago with room fee of between VND1-5 million (USD44-221) a night.

    Vietnamese student football tournament opens in Hungary


     

    Efforts made to fully tap Dien Bien Phu’s tourism potential, Deputy PM urges high-tech food safety, Labour safety and hygiene, Highway 12B construction delayed, Highway 12B construction delayed

    The Association of Vietnamese students in Hungary has opened a football tournament involving 9 Vietnamese and 1 Hungarian teams from different cities across the country. 

    Accordingly, 10 teams were divided into 2 groups and competed in a round robin format to choose 4 winners for the semi-final and final rounds.

    The winner of the tournament was team 84Vietnam. The second place went to the Hungarian team while Budapest FC team won the third place.

    The annual sporting event aims to promote healthy exercise and strengthen exchanges and solidarity among the overseas Vietnamese community in Hungary.

    VNN

    0 0
  • 05/08/18--01:33: Article 1
  • Social News In Brief 8/5


    18 reportedly die of rabies in January-April


    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes

    A woman got vaccinated at Diseases Control Centre in northern province of Thái Nguyên after being bitten by a dog. 


    At least 18 people died of rabies in the last four months, mostly because of ignorance about rabies control and prevention, reported the Preventive Medicines Department under the health ministry.

    According to the department, most of the victims were not vaccinated against rabies and lived in rural areas where unvaccinated dogs roamed freely.

    The department also warned that May-August was usually a peak time for rabies cases.

    The Drug Administration of Việt Nam, under the health ministry, has confirmed that there are enough rabies vaccines to meet the increased demand during summer.

    The demand for rabies vaccines reportedly increased since the beginning of this year amidst rumours of a shortage of the vaccine.

    However, the Drug Administration of Việt Nam said reports of vaccine importers showed sufficient supply of the vaccine.

    Currently, four kinds of rabies vaccines are allowed in Việt Nam. 

    In the northern province of Lào Cai, at least three people, including a 30-year-old man and two children aged six and and nine, reportedly died last week after being bitten by dogs. They were not vaccinated against rabies.

    Last month, the province’s Diseases Control Centre declared a rabies outbreak in Bảo Thắng District. Since then, 1,020 people have visited health centres for vaccination, double the number from last year.

    The health ministry advised those who got bitten by dogs/cats to first wash their wounds carefully with soap and clean water and then get vaccinated.

    The ministry also warned people against using unknown medicines or asking for treatment from quacks. 

    Two die, 14 injured in bus collision


    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes 

    The damaged bus after the accident on Sunday evening. - Photo zing.vn


    Two died and 14 others were injured when a sleeper bus slammed into a lorry in the central province of Hà Tĩnh late Sunday evening.

    According to the local police, the bus was travelling from Thừa Thiên- Huế towards Hà Nội on National Highway 1A’s section in the province’s Kỳ Anh District when it suddenly collided head-on with a lorry commuting ahead.

    The collision damaged the bus head heavily and left 16 people in the bus injured. Two died on the way to the hospital, including the bus driver, a resident of Thừa Thiên-Huế, and a 56-year-old woman passenger, a resident of the neighbouring Quảng Bình Province.

    The police said at the time of the accident, the bus had 20 passengers on board. The police did not reveal the cause of the accident, but said the bus skidded for a short distance before hitting the lane separator and stopping.

    The 14 victims are being treated at Hà Tĩnh Polyclinic, including two French and two Danish nationals. The French are Rimajol Bejamin, 34 and Belriard Aurellie, 32. The Danish are Ramus Lolck Rosenbcek, 29 and Emma Soffia Elkjcer Emil Sdottir, 20.

    The bus was a Hưng Thành Bus Carrier, a popular bus for tourists running daily between Huế and Hà Nội.

    A report by Vietnam News Agency in Hà Tĩnh said some of the injured victims from the accident had recovered and one of them was fit enough to leave the hospital. 

    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears


     

    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes
    HCM City’s VND10trn (USD440m) tidal drainage has stalled even though the rainy season is approaching.


    The system is supposed to control tidal flooding and minimise the effect of climate change for the 570-square-kilometre area with 6.5 million population. The construction started in June 2016 and was expected to be completed in June 2019. The HCM City People's Committee then brought the deadline forward to April 30, 2018, which the investors promised to meet.

    However, it is still unfinished and many workers stopped working.

    A resident in District 7, Nguyen Van Phuong, said last year, the tides overflew the embankment and flooded the area around Tran Xuan Soan Street. Some places were under half a metre of water. The locals were disappointed that the tidal drainage project is not completed.

    Another resident, Nguyen Thi Nam said Huynh Tan Phat Street in Nha Be District was easily flooded. She raised the house's floor to one metre to no avail.

    "Vehicles running on this road often got their engines flooded. I was hoping that my house won't be flooded this year," she said.

    The project's investor, Trung Nam Group, said 70% of the project had been completed but they had submitted the announcement to halt the project because the city people's committee hasn't approved to disburse the fund.

    Aside from slow disbursement, the ground clearance and compensation tasks haven't completed. Nguyen Tam Tien, head of Trung Nam Group said the locals were very supportive. If the ground clearance task had been completed on time, they could have had a test run on April 30 or in May.

    "This is a complicated project that has construction in six districts. So I understand that ground clearance can't be done quickly," Tien said.

    UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes


     

    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes
    Country Director of UNDP Vietnam, Caitlin Wiesen (right) hands over a house to a family in Quang Ngai Province on May 5 

    Forty safe houses have just been built for residents in the central coastal province of Quang Ngai’s Binh Chanh Commune to support them cope with climate changes.

    The houses, which were handed over to low-income people in the area on Saturday, were part of a joint Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and UN Development Programme (UNDP) project on improving the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities to the impact of climate change-related in Vietnam. 

    The project worth more than UDD29 million is funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) through the UNDP and is being carried out during the 2017-2022 period. It aims at raising climate change resilience through building safe homes, increasing the coverage of mangrove forests, and providing trustworthy information about climate risks.

    The project is expected to benefit 28 coastal localities, with the focus on northern Nam Dinh province, central Quang Binh, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces, and southern Ca Mau province.

    In Quang Ngai, it has been carrying out in Quang Ngai city and the districts of Mo Duc, Duc Pho, Binh Son, and Tu Nghia.

    According to Country Director of UNDP Vietnam, Caitlin Wiesen, 77 safe houses have been completed and handed over to residents in Quang Ngai so far. 

    "302 flood-resistant houses for coastal residents will be built this year in the province and another 329 next year," she said, adding that the project targets to build 4,000 such houses."

    Deputy director of C50 found dead in office


     

    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes 

    The body of Vo Tuan Dung (55), deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS)’s High-Technology Department (C50), was discovered at the ministry headquarters last Friday.

    The Criminal Police Department (C45) has blocked off Vo Tuan Dung’s office at the ninth floor of the MPS building at 47 Pham Van Dong street, Bac Tu Liem district for investigation. The cause of Dung’s death has yet to be announced.

    An insider told Vnexpress that while investigating the multi-million-dollar online gambling ring, Phu Tho’s public security agency has held working sessions with Vo Tuan Dung on several occasions to clarify his involvement and any wrongdoings. Before the prosecution of the Rikvip gambling ring, Dung and other suspects were asked to report to MPS.

    Doan Minh Huong, director of the Phu Tho provincial People's Procuracy, said that the provincial investigation agency and the procuracy have only arrived to Hanoi yesterday to work with Vo Tuan Dung.

    After nearly one year of investigating this online gambling ring, Phu Tho’s public security agency has prosecuted approximately 90 people, including two higher-ups of Dung named Phan Van Vinh, former director general of the General Department of Police, and Nguyen Thanh Hoa, former director of the High-Technology Department (C50).

    These two senior officials have been arrested and prosecuted on the charge of “abusing positions and/or powers while performing official duties” (Article 281 of the Penal Code 1999) and “organising gambling or running gambling-dens” (Article 322 of the Criminal Code 2015).

    This online gambling ring is the largest ever discovered in Vietnam with 43 million registered accounts, 14 million users, and over VND9.54 trillion ($420 million) in circulation. The case also involved telecommunications networks and game publishers in Vietnam.

    Art programme marks 64th anniversary of Dien Bien Phu Victory


    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes 

    The gala performance to mark the 64th anniversary of Dien Bien Phu Victory (Source: Bao Dien Bien Phu) 


    An art programme entitled “Unforgettable Days” was held in the northern province of Dien Bien, where the battle of Dien Bien Phu took place 64 years ago, to celebrate the victory that ousted the French from Vietnam.

    Songs and dances were performed to celebrate the previous generations’ heroic struggles and sacrifices to secure a triumph which was described as having resonated across the five continents and shook the world.

    With the participation of nearly 100 singers and dancers, the gala night brought the audience back to a historic period of the nation.

    Earlier at the A1 Cemetery for Fallen Soldiers, a candlelit vigil was held to pay tribute to those who have died for national independence.

    The cemetery was built in 1958 roughly 100 metres south of the A1 Hill, where the battle took place.

    On May 7, 1954, Vietnam secured a final victory over the French at Dien Bien Phu, forcing them to sign the Geneva Accords on restoring peace in Vietnam and ending nearly 100 years of French colonial rule in Vietnam.

    Information on martyrs and martyrs cemetery digitalised


     

    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes 

    The VPC has directed its branches in 63 cities and provinces nationwide to collect information, data and images at nearly 3,000 martyrs’ cemeteries across the country. 

    The Vietnam Post Corporation (VPC) launched a project on the building of a portal on martyrs, graves and martyr cemeteries at the Tam Nong Martyr Cemetery in the northern province of Phu Tho on May 6.

    The portal aims to digitalise the information on martyrs and provide images of martyrs’ graves and cemeteries across the country.

    Currently, approximately 200,000 remains of martyrs have not yet been reburied and roughly 300,000 have been buried at cemeteries but still lack information.

    The portal is expected to provide information on the fallen soldiers in a more accurate manner, as well as help their relatives in their journey to find the remains.

    In order to complete the goal of the first phase and open the portal in July 2018, the VPC has directed its branches in 63 cities and provinces nationwide to collect information, data and images at nearly 3,000 martyrs’ cemeteries across the country.

    Farmers in central province succeed in growing safe seedless watermelon


     

    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes 

    Farmers in Quang Ngai Province are harvesting their first organic seedless watermelons.

    For the very first time, farmers in Binh Son district in the central province of Quang Ngai harvested their first organic seedless watermelon crop.

    Farmers piloted to grow seedless watermelon in three hectare with productivity of 20 tons per hectare. Their produce is welcomed in the market so farmers are very happy.

    Early May, farmers ran off their feet to harvest the crop.

    This year, farmer Nguyen Thi Bich in Binh Thanh Tay Commune planted the new melon in 3,000 square meter. She started growing in February and it took 20 days to fertilize and watering as per instruction.

    “The watermelon tree rarely catches disease; therefore, we didn’t use pesticide but just biological fertilizer to increase its resistance.” , said Mrs. Bich. Seedless watermelon each weighs 7-8 kilogram. She harvested five tons while a kilogram of melon was being sold at VND7,000-8,000. She earned nearly VND40 million ($1,756) a crop.

    Farmer Nguyen The Cuong in the same commune who 1,000 square meter seedless melon harvested nearly two tons of the fruit. He netted VND10 million.

    Growing seedless watermelon model was piloted in Binh Son District with the participation of six households.

    Head of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Binh Son District Pham Hong Nguyen said participant farmers are supported seed, bio-fertilizer, organic fertilizer, and the devices. Their produce will be displayed in supermarkets and retail stores in the province.

    21 groups of medicine added in subsidy program

    Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee last week decided to add 21 more groups of medicine in the list of the medicine subsidy program comprising of 176 ingredients and 383 drugs.

    The municipal Department of Health said that right after the decision was issued, it liaised with the Department of Industry and Trade and participant enterprises to implement the program.

    The Department of health also instructed in writing document to grass-root medical clinics and infirmaries to run the program with different ways. Moreover, it sent officials to the sub-departments to work with them about the program.

    For hospitals, the Department often reminds them to carry out the program, asking hospital managers to director medical workers in prescription including subsidized medicines.

    So far, hospital pharmacies have added cheap medicine. Accordingly, subsidized drug revenue remained stable with VND71 billion ($3.1 million) in 2017. Over 531 drugs are added in the program to meet demand of patients.

    For enterprises, subsidized medicine rose by 30 percent, helping local-made drug to surge too. The rate of local-made drugs in subsidy program accounted for over 30 percent in big hospital and 40 percent in district clinics.

    As per the decision, subsidy program of essential drug in the city takes effect from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019 with the aim to balance the supply and demand and for security care.

    Moreover, it follows the campaign Vietnamese use Vietnamese goods launched by the Ministry of Health.

    All medicines in the program are made at GMP-WHO factories. Prices of subsidized items are 5-10 percent lower than prices of non-subsidized items in pharmacy stores.

    Ethnic culture village celebrates President Ho Chi Minh’s birthday


     

    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes
    At the Vietnamese Ethnic Culture-Tourism Village 

    A series of events themed “Uncle Ho with Central Highlands, Central Highlands with Uncle Ho” will take place at the Vietnamese Ethnic Culture-Tourism Village on the outskirts of Hanoi from May 2-31 to celebrate the 128th birth anniversary of President Ho Chi Minh (May 19). 

    According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the activities also follow the theme of Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) of Quarter 2. 

    A display of photos, artifacts, literary works and articles featuring Uncle Ho with ethnic minorities will be held from May 12-31 at the Ede ethnic village. 

    An exhibition “Lotus in Vietnamese cultural life”, slated for May 19-20, will feature lotus in photos and lotus-made food such as tea, jam and porridge, along with music performances on Uncle Ho and his sentiment to Vietnamese ethnic communities. 

    During May, a number of traditional festivals of ethnic groups will be held in the village such as wedding ceremony of Rag Lai group from the central province of Ninh Thuan, new house warming ceremony by Cham group from Ninh Thuan, music and dance performances in Ede and Gia Rai villages. 

    On May 27, a ceremony celebrating the Buddha’s birth anniversary will take place at Khmer pagoda complex in the village.

    Northwestern localities’ disaster adaptation to be improved


     

    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes
    PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the working session. 


    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has emphasised the need to implement a project on developing rural areas adaptable to natural disasters in six northwestern provinces.

    He had a working session on the project with representatives of the targeted northwestern localities, comprising Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Yen Bai, Dien Bien, Lai Chau and Son La, in Hanoi on May 7.

    With a total investment of 2.9 trillion VND (roughly 129.4 million USD), the project aims to develop small-scale infrastructure facilities in rural areas in order to raise productivity and agricultural production value sustainably, contributing to comprehensive rural development in the region.

    Such facilities are expected to be adaptable to climate change, helping mitigate adverse possible impacts caused by natural disasters in rural areas of these provinces.

    Focusing on such areas as irrigation, river and dyke management, and transport, the project will benefit about 420,000 local households.

    The project has been developed following the suggestion of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which launched the project on technical cooperation in a number of Vietnamese provinces.

    At the working session, PM Phuc said the northwestern provinces still have to face a range of difficulties such as high poverty rate and huge consequences of natural disasters.

    He asked relevant ministries and agencies to closely coordinate with the localities to ensure the efficiency of the project.

    The Lao Cai province People’s Committee has been assigned as the coordinator of the large-scale project.

    Changes in Muong Phang revolutionary base


    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes 

    Dien Bien Phu Victory Monument 


    Located over 30km from Dien Bien Phu city, Muong Phang commune used to be an important base for the Dien Bien Phu Campaign in 1954.

    At that time, the commune was selected to house the headquarters of the campaign’s command, which nestled in forest at the foot of Pu Don mountain.

    The nerve-centre agency of the Vietnamese army was stationed there from January 31 to May 15 in 1954.

    At this place, General Vo Nguyen Giap made important decisions which led to the historic Dien Bien Phu victory.

    The highest peak of Pu Don mountain range was the place where 64 years ago the Vietnamese army built a watchtower to monitor the situation in Muong Thanh hollow.

    The area attracted large numbers of tourists each year, especially around the anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu victory (May 7). 

    The Dien Bien Phu victory played a decisive role in ending Vietnam’s resistance war against the French and bringing a new momentum to the country’s revolution and the struggle for peace, national independence and socialism.

    The battle occurred in Dien Bien between March and May, 1954 under the command of General Vo Nguyen Giap. The victory led to the signing of the 1954 Geneva Accord in which France agreed to withdraw its forces from the colonies in Indochina

    The landscape in Muong Phang has changed a lot since then.

    Vice Chairman of the commune’s People’s Committee Mua A Kenh said Muong Phang has over 1,130 households with 5,250 people of the ethnic groups of Kinh, Thai and Mong.

    The local living standards have improved greatly over the past years, he said, noting that the ratio of poor households dropped to below 20 percent at present from 43 percent in 2011.

    The commune has adopted effective agricultural models to bring high and stable incomes for locals, with 500 hectares of rice and nearly 300 ha of other crops. Local farmers also raise fish in over 63 ha of water surface.

    Muong Phang market is always busy with sellers and buyers. Roads to villages have been concretized, facilitating travelling and trade.

    Muong Phang is expected to become a new rural area in late 2018 as it has fulfilled 16 out of the 19 criteria under the national programme on new rural area development.

    Mua A Kenh, Vice Chairman of the commune’s People’s Committee said the locality aims to rely on tourism to boost local socio-economic development.

    Training course on high blood pressure, diabetes management opens


     

    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes

    The Vietnam National Administration of Medical Services and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Vietnam opened a training course in Hanoi on May 7 for lecturers major in high blood pressure and diabetes management in communal medical stations.

    Speaking at the event, Deputy Health Minister Assoc. Prof Pham Le Tuan said under Resolution No.20-NQ/TW dated October 25, 2017 by the Party Central Committee on the protection, care and improvement of public health in the new situation, 95 percent of medical stations in wards, communes and townships will prevent, manage and treat several non-communicable diseases by 2025 and the rate will reach 100 percent by 2030.

    Earlier, the Prime Minister approved Decision No.376/QD-TTg dated March 20, 2015 on the national strategy on preventing non-communicable diseases for the 2015-2025 period and Decision No.2348/QD-TTg dated December 5, 2016 on strengthening health care at the grassroots level.

    WHO chief representative in Vietnam Kidong Park said high blood pressure and diabetes, which could be easily diagnosed and treated at grassroots medical stations, are the most important risks of cardiovascular and non-communicable diseases in Vietnam and the world.

    Participants discussed early diagnosis, treatment and management of high blood pressure and diabetes, nutrition and physical activities in the field, family medicine principles in management, common guidelines on prevention and management of non-communicable diseases at grassroots medical stations, among others.

    Statistics in 2015 showed that only 43.1 percent of high blood pressure patients were diagnosed and 13.6 percent were treated in medical stations. Meanwhile, 31.1 percent of diabetes patients and 28.9 percent were diagnosed and treated, respectively.

    Court delays trial on medical incident at Hoa Binh General Hospital


     

    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes
    Defendant Hoang Cong Luong at the trial


    The People’s Court of Hoa Binh city, the northern province of Hoa Binh, on May 7 delayed the first-instance trial on a medical incident causing eight deaths at the kidney dialysis division of the Hoa Binh General Hospital in May last year.

    The defendants are Bui Manh Quoc (born in 1986, Director of the Tram Anh Water Treatment Co. Ltd), who was prosecuted for “unintentionally causing deaths”, and Tran Van Son (born in 1990, employee of the medical material and equipment division of the Hoa Binh General Hospital) and Hoang Cong Luong (born in 1986, doctor in the Department of Intensive Care of the Hoa Binh General Hospital), both prosecuted for “lacking responsibility causing serious consequences.”

    Thirteen lawyers registered to take part in the trial, but only three of them were present. Former Director of the hospital Truong Quy Duong was also absent from the trial.

    After collecting opinions of the People’s Procuracy, the participating lawyers and defendants, the judging council decided to delay the trial and re-open it on May 15.

    On May 29, 2017, 18 patients suffered from symptoms of anaphylactic shock like breathing difficulty, sudden blood pressure fall, stomach ache and vomiting while receiving kidney dialysis at the kidney dialysis division of the Hoa Binh General Hospital’s Department of Intensive Care. Eight of the patients died in this incident.

    According to authorised agencies, unqualified water for kidney dialysis and equipment maintained and operated not in line with the regulated process were the causes of the incident.

    On April 20, doctor Hoang Cong Luong sent a letter to the Party, State and Government leaders, expressing his hope that the case will be judged in an open and fair manner.

    ‘One commune one product’ scheme helps boost rural economic development


     

    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes

    The “One Commune One Product” (OCOP) programme is being carried out in all localities across the country for 2018-2020, aiming to promote rural economic development toward increasing internal strengths and values.

    Under Decision No. 490/QD-TTg signed recently by Deputy Prime Minister and head of the Steering Committee for National Target Programmes Vuong Dinh Hue on approving the programme, the scheme is part of measures to promote the implementation of the National Target Programme on New Rural Building.

    It will focus on developing high potential agricultural and non-agricultural products, and services in each locality based on the value chain, which will be carried out by private and collective economic sectors.

    OCOP products and services should be locally sourced or localised, especially regional specialties. They will be rated in five levels, with the 5-star is the best, meeting international quality standards.

    Groups of goods and services defined in the programme include food (fresh and processed farm produce); beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinking); medicinal herbs (products made from herbal plants); fabric and textiles (products made from cotton and yarn); souvenirs - furniture - decorations (products made from wood, fiber, rattan, metal and ceramics); and rural tourism services and sales (services for sightseeing, tourism, study, research).

    The State will play the role of promulgating the legal frameworks and policies to implement the programme; managing the quality of products; supporting the training, application of technologies, trademark building, trade promotion, product introduction, and technical and credit assistance provision.

    The overall objective of the programme is to develop forms of production organisation and business (with the priority will be given to developing cooperatives and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), towards producing traditional products and developing  services with high competitiveness in the domestic and international markets, thus promoting rural economy and the national agriculture industrialisation and moderlisation.

    It is also hoped to help accelerate the shift of rural labour structure, protect the environment, and preserve the traditional values in rural areas.

    A comprehensive management system will be built for coordinating the programme at all levels, while a set of criteria to value and rank products; and specific policies related to the proggrame will be devised.

    By 2020, the programme will standardise at least 50 percent of existing products or about 2,400 products.

    It will also consolidate and improve production in the form of linking production households with cooperatives and enterprises; develop between 8-10 models of tourism culture villages; and establish about 500 new SMEs, and cooperatives joining the OCOP programme.

    The programme will be implemented at an estimated cost of 45 trillion VND, which is mainly mobilised from the society such as enterprises, cooperatives, production households as well as loans from credit institutions, investment funds, SMEs development funds, funds for developing cooperatives; and international organisations’ funding.

    Kuwait Fund supports poor communes in Ha Giang province
     

    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes 

    At the signing ceremony 


    Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance and the Kuwait Fund have signed a loan agreement worth over 13.3 million USD for a multi-target development project for ethnic minority-inhabited areas in poor communes of Xin Man district, northern mountainous Ha Giang province.

    Speaking at the signing ceremony in Hanoi on May 7, Deputy Minister of Finance Tran Xuan Ha said the project is expected to improve living standards of local ethnic minority people in Ha Giang’s Xin Man district and the northern mountainous region in general.

    Ha also expressed his hope that the Kuwait Fund will provide more preferential loans for Vietnam, especially for disadvantaged localities.

    Deputy Director General of the Kuwait Fund Hesham Al-Waqayan said this is an important and meaningful project to help Ha Giang’s ethnic minority inhabitants better their lives.

    The fund is willing to give more support for Vietnam to carry out similar projects in the future, he promised.

    The Kuwait Fund has so far provided loans worth over 182 million USD for Vietnam to carry out 15 projects, focusing on building infrastructure in rural areas and small irrigation works in disadvantaged provinces.

    Việt Nam beat Philippines at AFF U16 event


    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes

    Việt Nam vs the Philippines in the third match of Group A of the AFF U16 Girls’ Championships yesterday. – Photo vff.org.vn


    Việt Nam beat the Philippines 3-0 in the third match of Group A of the AFF U16 Girls’ Championships yesterday in Palembang City, Indonesia.

    Both sides were determined to get three points so they played very aggressively after the referee blew her whistle. However, no goals were scored in the first half.

    After the break, Vietnamese coach Nguyễn Thị Mai Lan changed her tactics and footballers to seek goals.

    In the 46th minute, captain Vũ Thị Hoa defeated goalie Isabelle Mapanao to open the score for Việt Nam.

    Just two minutes later, striker Đặng Thanh Thảo doubled the score for the Vietnamese side.

    After going two down, the Philippines fought back strongly to narrow the gap. They created several dangerous chances to equalise.

    In the 76th minute, Thảo tripled the score after receiving a spectacular pass from her teammate Trần Thị Hạnh.

    Việt Nam will meet Malaysia in the last group match on Wednesday. 

    Trans-Việt Nam junior cyclists event starts


     

    Flood barrier project unfinished as rainy season nears, UNDP provides Quang Ngai residents with safe homes
    The Trans-Việt Nam Small Cyclists Tournament started in Yên Sở Park in Hà Nội on May 6. - Photo thethaovanhoa.vn


    The Trans-Việt Nam Junior Cyclists Tournament started in Yên Sở Park in Hà Nội on May 6.

    More than 500 kids aged 1-6 took part in the event which was co-organised by Kids & Family TV Channel and Việt Nam Cycling and Motor Sport Federation.

    The event aimed to enhance the mobilization ablity, strength training and life skills for kids.   

    The Trans-Việt Nam Junior Cyclists Tournament’s other events will be held in HCM City on May 20 and Đà Nẵng on May 27.

    As planned, the event will be held annually in provincies and cities nationwide. It will also connect with international bike events for Vietnamese kids to have a chance to exchange.

    VNN

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  • 05/08/18--01:36: Article 0
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 8/5


    Advanced technology crucial to improve cashew output


     

    Advanced technology crucial to improve cashew output, Purchasing power soars by 8.5 percent, ACV targets over 5.6 trillion VND in 2018 profit, Top Thai Brands 2018 to open in Ho Chi Minh City


    Cashew yield could surge up to 40 percent if comprehensive advanced technology is applied to cultivation process, experts said at a conference on the cashew sector held in the southern province of Binh Phuoc on May 5.

    They stressed that this is a breakthrough solution to improve the performance of the cashew industry apart from investment in advanced processing.

    At the event, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said that the cashew sector needs to channel focus on enhancing connections between enterprises and farmers.

    Advanced processing and production linkages should receive due attention in order to increase production growth and better cashew product quality, he noted.

    According to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, as of the end of 2017, Vietnam was home to 337,143 hectares of cashew, up 4,410 hectares from the previous year. The cashew yield, nevertheless, remains low at under 1 tonne per hectares.

    There are over 465 cashew processing firms with total designed capacity of more than 1.4 million tonnes per year. However, the number of small scale production units accounts for nearly 70 percent.

    Vietnamese cashew has been present in over 90 countries and territories. Last year, the country raked in 3.6 billion USD from cashew exports.

    Also, the country has set up a cashew processing industry, creating jobs in the farming and processing sectors for nearly 1 million people.

    Purchasing power soars by 8.5 percent

    The purchasing power in the total national retail value of goods and services until April 2018 reached nearly 1.40 trillion VND (61.4 million USD), the General Statistics Office (GSO) reported.

    This is equivalent to a year-on-year increase of 9.8 percent. The increase is estimated at 8.5 percent if the price factor is excluded, higher than the growth of 7 percent in the first four months last year. The rise was similar to that during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays when the consumption demand was high.

    GSO expert Vu Manh Ha attributed the surge in purchasing power in the first four months of this year to the high demand for accommodation, restaurant, services and travel in the summer season.

    Of these, the revenue from retail goods, which accounts for more than 75 percent of the total revenue, hit 46.4 million USD, up 10.8 percent from the same period last year.

    Food and foodstuff retail revenue increased by 12 percent, garment retail revenue by 12.8 percent, home appliances by 10.8 percent, culture and education products by 9 percent and transportation services by 8.2 percent.

    Localities with high growth in retail revenue include HCM City (12.8 percent), Hai Phong (12.6 percent), Da Nang (12 percent), Binh Dinh (11 percent), Nam Dinh (10.9 percent) and Hanoi (10.4 percent).

    The revenue from accommodation and restaurant services, which accounts for 12.3 percent of the total revenue, increased by 9.4 percent to 7.5 billion USD in the first four months.

    The revenue from the tourism sector, which accounts for only 1 percent of the total revenue, reached a growth of 26.1 percent to 565.78 million USD in the first four months.

    Tourism in Ho Chi Minh City recorded the highest increase in revenue (30.4 percent), followed by Binh Dinh (28.9 percent), Hai Phong (23.4 percent) and Hanoi (18.8 percent).

    ACV targets over 5.6 trillion VND in 2018 profit

    The Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) said it is aiming at more than 5.6 trillion VND (246.4 million USD) worth of profit in 2018 at its Annual General Meeting of Shareholders held on May 4.

    As heard at the meeting, the year’s targeted revenue and dividend payment were set at 16 trillion VND (704 million USD) and 9 percent respectively.

    The ACV projected that aviation growth in 2018 would be slower than in 2017 due to various difficulties, particularly the domestic market’s slowdown. Between 2014 and 2016, the domestic market grew substantially at 20, 27, and 30 percent thanks to the engagement of private airlines, flexible price policy, and opening of several new air routes. The figure decreased to 18 percent last year.

    According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the number of air travellers in the world will hit 7.2 billion in the next 20 years, with Vietnam ranked among the top five markets recording the fastest passenger growth.

    The aviation sector in Vietnam has been supported by several advantages, such as increasing per-capita income and middle-class population, and policy assistance from the Government.

    Top Thai Brands 2018 to open in Ho Chi Minh City

    Top Thai Brands, a trade fair of its 16th edition, will take place in Ho Chi Minh City from May 10-13, attracting 300 leading Thai companies. 

    On display will be automobile and motorbike spare parts, beauty and health care products, fashion, education, processed food, dried fruits and beverages. 

    Nearly 20 Thai firms major in motorbike spare parts, household appliances and electronics will join the event. 

    Most of Thai businesses are strong in manufacturing products with attractive designs and competitive costs. They also offer franchising opportunities and sell goods online. 

    A representative from Thailand’s Herb & Her company expressed hope that the B2B (business-to-business) programme at the event will make it easier for the firm to seek agents and distributors. 

    Nearly 1,500 meetings between participating exhibitors have been held so far. 

    The event will be co-hosted by the Thai Commerce Ministry’s Department of International Trade Promotion, the Thai Commercial Affairs Office in Ho Chi Minh City and the Vietnam National Trade Fair & Advertising Company.

    International arrivals to Vietnam rise by 29.5 pct in first 4 months


    Advanced technology crucial to improve cashew output, Purchasing power soars by 8.5 percent, ACV targets over 5.6 trillion VND in 2018 profit, Top Thai Brands 2018 to open in Ho Chi Minh City

    VN-Czech economic cooperation potential yet to be fully tapped

    The economic, trade and investment cooperation between Vietnam and the Czech Republic has yet to meet the two economies’ potential and demands, said Vietnamese Ambassador to the Czech Republic Ho Minh Tuan at a seminar in Prague on May 3.

    Tuan pointed to several fields that the two sides can develop collaboration, including tourism and skilled labour exchange.

    He also called for more efforts to diversify the bilateral trade ties and encourage different economic sectors and localities to get involved in developing the relations.

    Vietnam always creates the best conditions for foreign enterprises, including those from the Czech Republic, to engage in the Vietnamese market, the diplomat affirmed.

    At the seminar, delegates and Czech enterprises were introduced to incentives in bilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation, several prioritised projects of Vietnam, as well as the outcomes and new features of the minutes of the sixth meeting of the Inter-Governmental Committee on Economic Cooperation recently held in Hanoi.

    Two-way trade has enjoyed positive growth over the past years, exceeding 1 billion USD last year, up 12 percent year on year. However, the turnover mainly comes from Vietnam’s exports.

    Meanwhile, the Czech Republic’s investment in Vietnam and vice versa remains modest. As of April, the Czech Republic had run 36 investment projects in Vietnam with a total capital of nearly 100 million USD, while Vietnam had only four projects totalling 5 million USD in the European nation.

    Delegates stressed the need for both sides to address shortcomings in economic, trade and investment ties, including difficulties in accessing each other’s market, lack of information about market, investment policies, and visa granting procedures.

    Zuzana Zahradnikova, Vice President of the Czech Chamber of Deputies’ Committee on Foreign Affairs, spoke highly of cooperation potential between the two countries.

    She vowed to back and boost bilateral trade cooperation, including addressing shortcomings in granting visas for Vietnamese citizens.

    Earlier the same day, at the meeting with Zuzana Zahradnikova, Ambassador Tuan asked the Parliament of the Czech Republic to soon ratify the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement in order to help promote trade ties between Vietnam and the EU and the Czech Republic in particular.

    He suggested the European country facilitate collaboration between the two countries’ businesses, especially in tourism and recruitment of Vietnam’s skilled workers.

    The host acknowledged the Vietnamese diplomat’s proposals, adding that she will work with her country’s authorised offices to handle the issues.

    Legal framework on data management in need to boost digital economy

    A workshop on Cross-border Data Flows took place in Hanoi on May 3 to discuss the importance of data access and sharing and the need to develop a legal framework on data management to boost the growth of digital economy.

    The event was co-held by the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) and the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA).

    Delegates talked about the prospects of Vietnam’s economy in the fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) and the development of digital platforms for e-commerce, e-services and infrastructure for cyber-security. They also outlined Vietnam’s opportunities and challenges in effectively forming a management system of new digital tools in business.

    Speaking at the event, ACCA Executive Director Lim May Ann announced a report on “Cross-Border Data Flows: A Review of the Regulatory Enablers, Blockers, and Key Sectoral Opportunities in Five Asian Economies: India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam.” The report provides an overview of the current policies on data management in these nations and their impacts on the economic growth at large and the development of small- and medium-size enterprises.

    It takes an investigative look at the way the five Asian economies are aggressively transitioning to more digitally enabled economies. While there are similarities in the drivers of these transitions, there are also significant differences in the approaches being adopted.

    The Philippines, for example, has no explicit “digital economy” policy, whereas India has become “Digital India” and Japan is striving to be the “World’s Most Advanced IT Nation.” Conversely, the Philippines has no explicit cross-border data flow restrictions and was the first Southeast Asian country to formally adopt a “Cloud First” approach.

    Vietnam today is among countries with high numbers of Internet users, estimated to account for over 50 percent of the population; and the Internet access rates in the country are on a par with others in the region, said former Standing Deputy Minister of Post and Telecommunications Mai Liem Truc. These have significant impacts on the country’s digital economy, he noted.

    According to the ACCA, Vietnam holds huge potentials to expand the digital economy but the country’s legal environment for cross-border data flows is not as open as compared to other four nations. The ACCA cited a number of provisions of the Law on Network Information and Security, which require cooperation with the government and facilitate State agencies in carrying out “technical measures” when necessary, which imply allowing the Government to access encrypted information that could undermine users and personal privacy in Vietnam. 

    Secondly, Decree 72/2013/ND-CP on Management, Provision and Use of Internet Services and Online Information requires IT companies to establish at least one server inside the country to “serve the inspection, storage, and provision of information at the request of competent state management agencies”. At the same time, Circular No.38/2016/TT-BTTTT, one of the documents guiding the implementation of Decree 72, also contains detailed regulations on the cross-border provision of public information. Certain providers of such content are required to implement content restrictions related to national and social security.

    Thirdly, the country has got tougher on taxation of the digital economy with stricter regulations for taxing income derived from Vietnam by digital companies from social media, accommodation and ride sharing sectors.

    Lim May Ann suggested that the Government of Vietnam should adopt a more cautious approach to ensure that building a safe cyber environment does not inadvertently restrict and hamper the potential of the digital economy and the entire economy at large.

    'Invest in the US' seminar held in Vietnam

    More than 30 Vietnamese investors participated in a seminar held in Ho Chi Minh City on May 3 as part of the US Mission to Vietnam’s ongoing recruitment for the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, DC in June.

    The first “Invest in the US” seminar, coorganised by the US Consulate General and AmCham HCM City, described the benefits of investing in the US, home to the largest amount of FDI in the world. 

    Experts from Baker & McKenzie law firm provided Vietnamese investors with an introduction on the legal and foreign exchange requirements for outbound investment and gave presentations on best practices for establishing operations in the US. 

    One of the benefits of investing in the US is the variety of opportunities that exist across the country’s 52 states and territories. Representatives from the US states of Idaho, Iowa, and Pennsylvania spoke about investment opportunities in their states. 

    Fred Burke, senior partner from Baker & McKenzie, highlighted how Vietnam’s GDP growth was fueling greater interest in investing in the US. 

    It is often said that investment follows trade, and Vietnam’s trade with the US has grown enormously in recent years such that it is one of Vietnam’s top export markets.  It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Vietnamese firms are looking to invest in the US to support their trade relations and take advantage of opportunities there, Burke said.

    The Investment Summit promotes the US as a premier investment destination and connects qualified foreign firms with US economic development organisations to facilitate business investment and job creation. 

    Last year’s SelectUSA Investment Summit hosted by US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross drew the largest crowd yet, with over 3,000 registered participants. 

    With 28 delegates, Vietnam had the 12th largest delegation at the summit and the largest delegation from Southeast Asia.

    Vietnamese enterprises in Japan strengthen linkages

    The Vietnamese Business Association in Japan convened its congress for the second tenure (2018-2020) on May 6, aiming to seek ways to better connect Vietnamese businesses.

    Speaking at the event, President of the association in the first tenure Dinh Ngoc Hai said that, after five years of formation and development, the association has gained initial achievements, contributing to connecting the two countries’ enterprises, particularly those from Japan and Vietnam’s Can Tho city and Ca Mau province.

    However, Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong stated that the connectivity between Vietnamese enterprises remains loose.

    Therefore, he expressed his hope that the second-tenure executive board will take more specific and practical measures to better connect Vietnamese enterprises in Japan and Vietnamese enterprises and Japanese partners.

    Vietnam-Japan relations are developing strongly, creating more space for Vietnamese enterprises to integrate more deeply into the Japanese market, Cuong added.

    At the congress, a new executive board of the association was selected, with 11 members, including one President and four Vice Presidents.

    Vu Hoang Duc, the association’s new chief, committed to helping the association grow further in order to become a trusted venue linking the two countries’ businesses.

    HCM City contact point for provincial trade     

    Southern provincial authorities should be more committed to work with HCM City to expand trade and export of Vietnamese products, the head of the city’s Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC) said on Friday.

    Pham Thiet Hoa, director of the centre, was speaking at a meeting with representatives from investment and promotion centres in several southern provinces about measures to help local companies enter foreign markets.

    HCM City has signed cooperation agreements with around 40 cities and provinces countrywide with an aim to diversify products in the city’s market and help bring investors to provinces.

    But due to a limited human resources and cost inefficiencies, the city cannot visit every single province to help promote trading and investment activities. Thus, it is seeking to form regional cooperation with southern provinces to make good use of their strengths and resources, he added.

    ITPC recently inaugurated a showroom on Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street to not only showcase specialties and new products of local companies, but also to serve as a contact point for investors and foreign businesses looking for opportunities in southern provinces.

    “Nguyen Hue is a ‘diamond’ street where there are many big investors as well as branch offices of foreign companies. It will attract a lot of visitors and businesspeople on vacation who also want to look for investment opportunities in Viet Nam,” Hoa said.

    He said the showroom is an effective model which has been adopted by other countries.

    As each province holds an investment and trade promotion only once a year, if foreign investors miss it, they will have few opportunities to seek investment information. They can visit the showroom when they are free to do so.

    At the showroom, ITPC staff with good English speaking skills will also be trained to provide information about provincial markets, he added.

    Tina Phan, Indochina director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), said that accessing information is one of the biggest challenges faced by Hong Kong businesses that want to enter the Vietnamese market.

    “Viet Nam has a very vibrant business environment and everyone wants to tap into it, but the problem is that information is not easy to obtain,” he said.

    To help Vietnamese companies find businesses opportunities in Hong Kong and bring Hong Kong businesses to Viet Nam, HKTDC has organised several trade and investment promotion events.

    In September, it will hold the fourth edition of In Style – Hong Kong, a mega promotion event, in HCM City with not only promotion activities, but also seminars and workshops on branding and exports that will share Hong Kong’s experiences with Vietnamese companies. 

    HCMC measures aid supporting industries     

    HCM City’s Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority (HEPZA) is working to add more land for supporting industries, according to the city’s Department of Industry and Trade’s Centre for Supporting Industry Development.

    Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park has dedicated around 80 hectares for 56 supporting industry businesses, while Le Minh Xuan 3 and Mechanical Vehicle industrial parks are focusing on improving infrastructure in preparation for businesses.

    Meanwhile, other industrial parks are working on compensation for land clearance.

    HEPZA is also pushing for the construction of factories; Tan Thuan export processing zone has finished two factories, one of which is being rented by a car parts manufacturer. Other industrial parks are working on procedures to lease their factories.

    This is part of HCM City’s plan to develop its supporting industry and meet its goal of 45 per cent of national demand for manufactured inputs by 2020.

    HCM City’s supporting industry has not been growing as quickly as others, and is affecting the city’s economic development as a whole. Around 95 per cent of the city’s supporting industry businesses are small to medium sized.

    Every year, the city has to import billions of dollars worth of materials and components.

    Strong growth for steel production     

    Steel production and consumption showed strong growth in the first four months of this year owing to favourable weather, said Nguyen Van Sua, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Steel Association.

    Steel production output in the first four months reached 3.21 million tonnes, a year-on-year increase of 8.8 per cent, including 850,000 tonnes in April. Meanwhile, the steel industry’s consumption stood at 3.07 million tonnes in the period, a year-on-year surge of 12.9 per cent, including 830,000 tonnes in April.

    The industry had optimistic results in exports also. In the first three months of this year, the value of steel exports exceeded US$1 billion, with the exports on an upward trend. Meanwhile, selling prices in April were stable in both north and south.

    The Cong thuong (Industry and Trade) newspaper quoted Nguyen Van Sua as saying the price of raw materials in the world had fluctuated to affect directly the price of steel in the domestic market. The industry imports many raw materials for domestic steel production, such as steel scrap, iron ore, coke and graphite electrode.

    “However, the good news is that domestic steel producers have actively produced a part of the raw materials to reduce dependence on imports,” said Sua.

    For instance, Ha Tinh Fomosa Factory has produced some 250,000 tonnes of hot rolled steel per month, reducing the import pressure on enterprises.

    As a result, Viet Nam had a year-on-year reduction of 24.3 per cent in steel imports to 4.27 million from January to April, including 1.16 million tonnes in April, down 19.3 per cent.

    Sua said in the future, the steel industry would continue to suffer pressures from trade protection measures adopted by other countries. Most large import markets such as the US and the EU have initiated investigations and applied tariff as a tool for trade protection to protect the domestic market, creating difficulties for exporters.

    Meanwhile, the domestic market has promised more prospects in production and business, because the economy has continued to grow and investment activities have picked up early this year.

    Therefore, to ensure the growth of steel consumption, state agencies should continue with policies and measures to strictly control the import of steel to protect domestic enterprises, he said.

    In addition to this, the State should continue to make policies to promote economic development and stabilise the macro-economy and banking interest rates to create confidence among businesses.

    The association expected that the steel industry will have a year-on-year growth of 20 per cent to 22 per cent in production this year. The production growth rate is estimated to reach 10 per cent for construction steel, 154 per cent for hot rolled steel, 5 per cent for cold rolled steel, and 15 per cent for welded-steel pipes. 

    Finance ministers, central bank governors prioritise issues     

    Finance ministers and central bank governors from ASEAN+3 economies reaffirmed their commitment to promote regional financial co-operation, during the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila on Friday.

    The senior officials of the ASEAN+3 economies also expressed their commitment to further support an open and rules-based multilateral trade and investment system, which has provided robust economic growth in the region,” Heng Swee Keat, Singaporean finance minister, said at the joint press conference of the 21st ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

    He also praised the successful completion of the first periodic review of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM), which will help strengthen the role of the CMIM as the regional financial safety net for the ASEAN+3 economies.

    The community will continue to support the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO), as an independent international organisation and a trusted advisor to the members of the ASEAN+3, he further added.

    Any substantial progress made in improving and strengthening the AMRO’s core surveillance function over the region’s socio-economic development is highly welcomed, he stressed.

    The meeting also highlighted the Asian Bond Markets Initiative (ABMI), as it has made significant contributions to the development of the region’s local currency bond markets and the regional bond market integration, Heng further said.

    Heng also expressed the commitment of members of the ASEAN+3 community to create a resilient financial infrastructure, to cope with climate and disaster-related risks, through establishing the Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Insurance Facility, which is expected to function as a regional catastrophe risk insurance pool and help narrow the protection gap in the region.

    The joint press conference was also attended by Dong Yeon Kim, deputy prime minister and minister of strategy and finance of South Korea.

    The ministers from the two countries agreed that the meeting is testament to the region’s mutually beneficial cooperation, which has lasted over two decades.

    The ASEAN+3 community has strengthened its macroeconomic structure and remains open to trade, foreign direct investment and capital flows, they said in the joint statement.

    In 2018, the community will aim to enhance regional financial stability and facilitate regional growth and financial integration, in line with Singapore’s ASEAN chairmanship priorities to maintain growth, ensure stability and foster innovation in the region.” 

    VN earns US$1.1bn from rice exports in Jan-Apr     

    Viet Nam earned US$1.1 billion by exporting 2.16 million tonnes of rice between January and April this year, up 35.7 per cent in value and 21.7 per cent in volume.

    China was the main importer, occupying 29.1 per cent of the market share, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    The average export price of rice showed a year-on-year increase of 15 per cent to touch $501 per tonne due to better quality.

    High-quality rice comprised up to 81 per cent of the rice export volume, the ministry said, predicting that the global rice market will see a decrease in supply and increase in demand in the coming time.

    In 2018, Viet Nam is expected to ship 6.5 million tonnes of rice abroad, up by 700,000 tonnes compared to 2017.

    According to Viet Nam’s Rice Market Development Strategy from 2017 to 2020 with a vision to 2030, one of the country’s goals is to gradually reduce the rice export volume while increasing the value of exported rice.

    Vietnamese rice is currently exported to over 130 markets worldwide.

    Belgian businesses seek cooperation opportunities in Viet Nam     

    Belgian Vietnamese Alliance and Flanders Investment and Trade held a meeting with a delegation of Belgian businesses on May 3.

    The meeting comes ahead of the delegation’s visit to Viet Nam from May 13-18 to explore cooperation opportunities with Vietnamese firms.

    The delegation, which comprises nearly 90 entrepreneurs from 65 Belgian enterprises and is led by Minister-President of Flanders Geert Bourgeois, is scheduled to visit Viet Nam as part of the celebration of the 45th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties.

    Addressing the meeting, Vietnamese ambassador to Belgium Vu Anh Quang praised the Flanders Minister-President for his efforts to develop relations between Viet Nam and the Flanders region in recent years.

    He hoped the upcoming visit of the delegation would help Vietnamese and Belgian businesses to understand more about each other’s potential as well as open up trade and investment cooperation opportunities.

    The diplomat said the two nations were working to elevate bilateral ties to strategic partnership in some specific fields.

    According to him, the free trade agreement between the European Union and Viet Nam, once signed and ratified, will open up numerous opportunities for Vietnamese and Belgian enterprises to strengthen connectivity and collaboration.

    This will also help increase Belgium’s investment in Viet Nam, particularly in the fields of shipbuilding, agriculture, high technology and clean energy, contributing to promoting sustainable and green growth in the country, the ambassador added.

    Bourgeois hailed Viet Nam’s strong development over the past 30 years with a remarkable gross domestic product growth of six to seven per cent.

    Viet Nam holds a lot of potential for economic development and, in fact, the country has been successful not only in seeking foreign investment but also in reforming trade and administrative procedures, he said.

    The Flanders leader added he had high expectations from the Belgium-Viet Nam partnership. He hoped the two countries would work together to improve trade balance in future, citing that while the Flanders region exported 4.92 million euros (US$5.8 million) worth of goods to Viet Nam, it imported goods worth two billion euros from the Vietnamese market.

    "The reality shows that goods produced in Belgium and Viet Nam, especially farm produce, are not competitive but supplementary, enabling the two countries to boost cooperation in trade and investment," he said.

    During the five-day visit to Viet Nam, the delegation from the Flanders region will hold meetings and field trips to promote their products and study cooperation opportunities with Vietnamese partners. 

    Vietjet’s profit rises by 254% in first quarter     

    Vietjet Aviation Joint Stock Company (HOSE code: VJC) recorded a yearly increase of 254 per cent in pre-tax profit at VND1.48 trillion (US$65 million) in the first quarter of 2018.

    During the period, the company’s revenue stood at VND12.56 trillion, up 146 per cent year-on-year, fuelled by the growth in passenger air transport, ancillary and sale as well as leaseback revenue, according to its consolidated financial results released on Thursday.

    Compared to the target of VND50.97 trillion in revenue and VND5.8 trillion in pre-tax profit for 2018, the first quarter results achieved 25.5 per cent of the annual target, Vietjet said in a statement.

    Thanks to fleet expansion along with the opening of new international routes, Vietjet’s air transport revenue reached over VND6 trillion, an increase of 52 per cent year-on-year and 10 per cent higher than the company’s target. This increased its core business profit by 74 per cent year-on-year to nearly VND737 billion.

    The results showed that Vietjet’s earnings per share (EPS) in the first quarter was VND3,026, one of the highest EPS in the stock market.

    The company said it would pay a cash dividend of 10 per cent on May 25 to its shareholders and was on its way to finalise the necessary procedures at the State Securities Commission of Viet Nam to settle the remaining 20 per cent dividend of 2017 by means of shares.

    From January to March this year, Vietjet operated 28,830 safe flights with a technical reliability of 99.7 per cent. The airline’s on-time performance in the first quarter stood at 83.4 per cent.

    Recently, Vietjet announced its plans to open international routes to India and Australia in line with the international flight network expansion strategy after achieving full coverage in the domestic airspace.

    Vietjet also won the title of the fastest-growing regional airline, awarded by Changi Airport. 

    Amid changing demographics, marketing needs to target couples: study

    In the majority of ASEAN households today the husband and wife both work and equally share household roles, and so brands need to adopt new marketing approaches that target couples, an ASEAN consumer forum heard in HCM City last Friday.

    The Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living ASEAN, a think tank established in Thailand in 2014 by Japan’s second largest advertising company, Hakuhodo Inc., reported this in its latest research into ASEAN consumer trends at the ASEAN Sei-Katsu-Sha forum.

    The institute uses the term sei-katsu-sha to describe an individual as more than a consumer but as an individual with a lifestyle, aspirations and dreams.

    The forum, “New Perspectives on Gender Equality at Home: Who Rules the House?”, covered the division of household chores and child rearing between husbands and wives and the processes ASEAN and Vietnamese couples go through when deciding purchases.

    It also highlighted the implications these findings have for marketing.

    The research found that Vietnamese households where the husband works outside and the wife takes care of the home and children are now in a minority at just 25 per cent. Families where these duties are shared are the majority at 74 per cent.

    In the remaining1 per cent of the households the wife works outside and the husband takes care of household chores and child rearing.

    On shopping decisions, the research found that a majority of couples make them together when buying electronic goods, new homes, financial products, and seasonal gifts, and others while wives make most decisions about daily necessities.

    Marketing approaches based on traditional ideas about gender are no longer suitable for today’s ASEAN families, including Việt Nam, it said.

    New approaches that take into account the reality of working wives, husbands that do household chores and joint decision-making may be required.

    Nguyễn Thị Trâm Anh, associate strategic planning manager at the institute, said though brand decisions are often made before shopping, in 39 per cent of cases brand switches are effected by salespersons.

    "Therefore, brands need to have experienced and knowledgeable salespeople to provide customers with sufficient information about the functions and benefits of products and comparisons with other similar products," she said.

    The survey was done online in five countries —Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Việt Nam — with 1,000 respondents in each place in addition to 8,100 home interviews.

    Economic region seeks gov’t guidance     

    Members of the Central Key Economic Region are seeking an institutional framework from the government to enhance collective co-operation within the region, as they have so far been unable to reach a common ground.

    According to the Council for the Central Key Economic Region, which includes the provinces of Thua Thien- Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh, the members have worked for 10 years, but no sound progress toward co-operation for mutual benefit has been made.

    Economic zones and industrial parks within the central provinces had been more interested in competing with one another so far this year, said Nguyen Van Cao, chairman of the council for the period of 2017-18.

    A report by the Viet Nam Institute for Industrial Policy and Strategic Studies said that the economic zones in the five central provinces that make up the Central Key Economic Region have functioned in similar industries, thus competition between them is understandable.

    Participants at a workshop held in Thua Thien- Hue last Saturday said that in order to resolve this situation, the Government must directly intervene.

    “The government should allow the region to have some power as an institution, so that it has a better ability to make decisions for itself,” said Dr Tran Dinh Thien, former director of the Viet Nam Institute of Economics, and a member of the Government Economic Advisory Group.

    Thien said the Central Key Economic Region is merely a name as it had no tangible ability to make decisions, adding that while the Government formed the key economic region with the intention of increasing co-operation, it has in the meantime licensed economic zones in each locality individually.

    “Each locality has an economic zone and they are affected by GDP growth pressure, leading to the need for competition,” he said.

    Dam Minh Le, deputy head of the Authority for Dung Quat Economic Zone and Industrial Parks in Quang Ngai, said that the Dung Quat Economic Zone in Quang Ngai and Chu Lai Economic Zone in Quang Nam were good examples of the failing cooperation within the region.

    At first, Dung Quat and Chu Lai were intended to be one economic zone, but the two couldn’t connect as the bridge connecting them had so far not been available, he said.

    Huynh The Du from Fulbright University Viet Nam said that co-operation between economic zones in the region was impossible, as one must ultimately sacrifice for the sake of the others.

    “Co-operation could be obtained if the government invested in better infrastructure and services for all five localities,” he said, adding that the investment would also help lure investors.

    Du said that the region should have a joint stock company gathering all the seaports in the region into one centralised entity, thus ensuring that no locality would be at a disadvantage in a co-operation plan.

    Thien concluded that the potential and industrial infrastructure in each of the five localities of the Central Key Economic Region were not equal. As such, any co-operation pact would mean that one region must sacrifice for the others.

    This problem could be solved by further integrating the region, and creating one solid institution to steer regional co-operation, he said. 

    Top Thai Brands 2018 to open in HCM City     

    The 16th annual Top Thai Brands trade fair will take place in HCM City from May 10-13, attracting 300 leading Thai companies. On display will be automobile and motorbike parts, beauty and health care products, fashion products, educational products, processed food, dried fruits and beverages.

    Close to 20 Thai major firms in motorbike spare parts, household appliances and electronics will join the event. Thai businesses are renowned for manufacturing products with attractive designs and competitive costs. They also offer franchising opportunities and sell goods online.

    A representative from Thailand’s Herb & Her company expressed hope that the B2B (business-to-business) programme at the event will make it easier for the firm to seek agents and distributors in HCM City. Nearly 1,500 meetings between participating exhibitors have been held so far. 

    VNN

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  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 9/5


    VNG to reach out Silicon Valley's Vietnamese talents for cooperation


     

    VNG to reach out Silicon Valley's Vietnamese talents for cooperation, The four domestic developers behind smart city near Nhat Tan Bridge, Vietnam's first reinsurance company ranks high

    On April 29, Vietnam’s leading internet enterprise VNG Corporation held the “Vietnam Internet Ecosystem” event in the Silicon Valley in the US' California to connect and seek co-operation opportunities with US firm Vietnam Resource & IT Development Group.

    The event mainly focused on the current situation of technological development, including artificial intelligence (AI) and data, as well as to pave co-operation opportunities between VNG and Vietnamese technology experts working in the Silicon Valley, with the hope of jointly building an Asian Silicon Valley in Vietnam.

    Speaking at the event, founder and CEO of VNG Le Hong Minh, said: "Vietnamese technology experts should consider returning to Vietnam to work as the market shows tremendous potential thanks to the great number of young Vietnamese people interested in technology. Their creations will directly reach dozens of millions of people."

    The Vietnam Internet Ecosystem event was held with the attendance of top VNG personnel, including CEO Minh, deputy general director Nguyen Hoanh Tien, leader of Payment Dang Viet Dung, and head of Data and Analysis Ma Nam.

    Besides, Nguyen Thi Ngoc Dung, management director of Vietnamese Science and Technology in San Francisco (the Ministry of Science and Technology), was also present, along with speakers from giant technology brands including Google, Cisco, and Athena Media, as well as more than 100 Vietnamese technology experts living and working in the US.

    This is the second time that VNG has held a meeting with foreign technology experts after Singapore last year. VNG is Vietnam’s pioneer in expanding connections between Vietnamese grey matter, especially the Vietnamese talent in the Silicon Valley, and other countries’ technology scenes.

    VNG expects these efforts to provide development opportunities not only for itself but the Vietnamese technology segment at large.

    Founded in 2004, VNG is a leader in value added services, developing and publishing online content, mobile platforms, and payment systems in Vietnam. Well-known products including the popular game Sky garden (People's Choice award at IMGA 2017) and the game Dead Target (Editor's Choice in 2016 on Google Play store), among others.

    Vietnam Resource & IT Development Group is a privately-held consultancy firm in California established to create and maintain a network of experts and diversified businesses and co-ordinate activities to promote links between Vietnam and the US, especially in the field of IT and agriculture.

    The four domestic developers behind smart city near Nhat Tan Bridge

    The smart city project near Hanoi's Nhat Tan Bridge will be developed by four Vietnamese developers and a Japanese partner by 2030.

    A proposal to develop a smart city has just been submitted to the Hanoi People’s Committee by a group of Vietnamese and Japanese investors.

    The developers include BRG Group, Phu Cuong RICO., LTD., VINAMCO, and Hanoi Real-Estate., JSC of Vietnam, as well as Sumitomo Corporation from Japan.

    The project would be based on 271.82 hectaré in Hai Boi and Vinh Ngoc of Dong Anh district and needs an estimated investment of VND94.348 trillion ($4.14 billion). Sumitomo has contributed 50 per cent of the VND14.26 trillion ($625.4 million) initial capital, while the remainder was contributed by the Vietnamese developers.

    The project aims to develop a smart city with synchronised technological and social infrastructure, applying information technology in its operation and management.

    The developers proposed to establish five companies to carry out five component projects, which are expected to break ground within this year to be completed by 2030. The first component project (73ha) will be developed between 2018 and 2030 with the total investment of VND13 trillion ($573 million), which will be followed by the four remaining component projects.

    Earlier, the co-operation agreement between the Hanoi’s People’s Committee, BRG Group, and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation to develop the smart city project was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc during his official visit to Japan in June 2017.

    According to the 1/500-scale master plan of the project, the Nhat Tan-Noi Bai route will be divided into three segments with the total length of 11km across nine wards in Dong Anh district and three wards of Soc Son district. The Phuong Trach trade and finance tower will be the centre of this area with the expected height of 108 stories.

    On the other hand, Victory Hotel JSC, a member of BRG Group since 2014, has also proposed developing a 36-story trading, hotel, and premium apartment complex on 42,000 square metres at 200 Yen Phu street, Tay Ho district, the site of Thang Loi Hotel, now Hilton Hanoi Westlake.

    However, the proposal faces strong opposition as it would cover land that is not allowed to house high-rise buildings or encroach on public space around the West Lake. The Hanoi People’s Committee has forwarded the proposal to the Ministry of Construction for review.

    Asset management of BVF continued to grow well, reaching VND47.8 trillion ($2 billion) in Q1/2018

    Bao Viet Fund (BVF) has announced its first quarter business results for 2018. Accordingly, total asset management continued to grow well, reaching VND47.8 trillion ($2 billion), up 7.5 per cent compared to the end of 2017, and revenue growth was 20.7 per cent higher than the same period last year.

    Open funds managed by BVF also achieved comparatively good results. Specifically, the Bao Viet Bond Fund (BVBF) recorded a NAV/CCQ growth of 10.44 per cent in the first quarter of 2018. Bao Viet Potential Fund (BVPF) also recorded a relatively high growth rate of 8.41 per cent.

    In 2018, BVF will focus strongly on its information technology platform to improve the quality of its services and to be able to provide more services for its customers. In fact, a new website with a more user-friendly interface was launched in January 2018. In addition, BVF also upgraded their online ordering software and developed its own mobile application to help investors easily track their portfolio and facilitate transactions.

    Bao Viet Fund Company Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Baoviet Holdings, which plays a pivotal role in managing the investment activities of Bao Viet Holdings. With a total asset management of nearly VND48 trillion ($2.1 billion), BVF is one of the two largest asset management companies in the market.

    BVF specializes in providing professional financial services, portfolio management, fund management and securities investment advice. Currently, the company manages three open-end funds (BVFED, BVBF and BVPF), one member fund (BVIF) and has many trusted clients. In the context of many market fluctuations, the investment activities of BVF always achieve satisfactory results and meet the expectations of its customers.

    Vietnam's first reinsurance company ranks high

    Established in September 1994, Vietnam National Reinsurance Corporation (VINARE) was the first reinsurance company in Vietnam’s insurance market. Since 2005, VINARE has been officially operating in the form of a joint stock company in which State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) holds 40.36 per cent stake and foreign strategic partner Swiss Re holds 25 per cent stake.

    VINARE activities include specializing in reinsurance for the local and international market, supporting the development of the local insurance market, contributing to the growth of businesses of the local market and making financial investments.

    Since its establishment twenty three years ago, VINARE has made many outstanding achievements and has been honored with many awards from the State such as the Third Class Independence Order and the First, Second and Third Class Labor Orders. In reinsurance, our gross written premium has had an annual average growth rate of 11 per cent and our net written premium has had an annual average growth rate of 17 per cent.

    In financial investment, investment income has had an annual average growth of 23 per cent. Average profit before tax has been growing at 19 per cent year-on-year. By the end of 2017, VINARE had paid-up capital of VND1.3 trillion ($57.1 million), equity capital of VND2.6 trillion ($114.2 million) and assets worth VND6.2 trillion ($272.3 million). 

    VINARE took the lead in carrying out the policy of restructuring state-owned enterprises with a successful equitization in 2004, raised additional capital and selected a strategic partner in 2007. Swiss Re, the biggest reinsurer in the world with 150 years of history, was selected as the only foreign strategic shareholder of VINARE. Together with a strategic cooperation agreement, Swiss Re has facilitated VINARE to access experience, know-how and the most advanced insurance products in the world, helping VINARE to enhance its competitiveness and reputation in the local and international insurance market. Selecting their strategic partner was voted as “The most successful transaction of Vietnam in 2008” by Finance Asia.

    A.M. Best has assigned VINARE with a financial strength rating of “B++” (Good) and an issuer credit rating of “bbb” (stable outlook). According to A.M. Best, the ratings reflect “VINARE’s solid risk-based capitalization, consistent operating performance, sound liquidity and strong presence in Vietnam’s non-life reinsurance market”.

    VINARE shares (VNR) have been listed on the Hanoi Stock Exchange since 2006. The Corporation has always taken the lead in enhancing the quality of corporate governance, ensuring transparency of information and shareholder interest. VINARE has been consistently honored in the Top 30 Transparent Enterprises of the Hanoi Stock Exchange since 2014.

    VINARE was part of the Top 500 most profitable companies in 2017 and ranked 5th out of 14 most profitable insurance companies according to the Profit 500 of Vietnam Report.

    VINARE was also honored as the Best Financial Indicators insurance company by the enterprise evaluation program of Hanoi University of Business and Technology and Vietnam Association of Accountants and Auditors. The Global Brands magazine headquartered in the United Kingdom also selected VINARE as “Best Reinsurance Brand Vietnam 2017”.

    Stepping up promotion of agricultural products

    Trade promotion to connect the supply and consumption of agricultural products is among the important trade activities that have received great attention from the authorised agencies, bringing about visible outcomes. The increasing consumption of lychees over the past few years is a typical example of the success in promoting agricultural products.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has recently coordinated with the five Northern provinces of Lang Son, Bac Giang, Hai Duong, Son La, and Hung Yen to organise a conference to promote the sale of longans and lychees in the Northern provinces from this year's crops.

    According to Director of the MARD’s Department of Cultivation Nguyen Hong Son, lychees and longans are major fruits in the Northern provinces of Vietnam with a total area of 98,300 ha, accounting for 27% of the total area of fruit trees in the Northern provinces. Of which, there are 58,800ha of lychees and 39,500ha of longans.

    In recent years, Vietnam has produced roughly 300,000 - 350,000 tonnes of lychees per year, becoming the world's third largest lychee producer after China and India. The yield of longans was also reported at 500,000 - 550,000 tonnes per year. Due to favourable weather, longan and lychee trees are growing well with the rate of flowering and matured fruit estimated at over 90% this year.

    Vice Chairman of Hai Duong provincial People's Committee Nguyen Anh Cuong said that Hai Duong has approximately 10,500ha of lychees, including 131.68ha that are eligible for growing lychees for export to the US, the EU and Australia. Thanks to its favourable climate, Hai Duong is expected to harvest 55,000 - 60,000 tonnes of lychees this year, a twofold increase compared to 2017, which is also the highest output over the past ten years.

    Meanwhile, backward preservation and processing technologies and a short period of preserving fresh lychees have caused difficulties for the transportation and consumption of the fruit.

    According to Vice Chairwoman of Bac Giang provincial People's Committee Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, lychees of the main crop in Bac Giang will be picked from June 15 to July 25, forecast to be a bumper crop of lychees, creating pressure for the province to boost the consumption of this fruit.

    Ha noted that Bac Giang also pays much attention to the new policy of China on the import of fruits, thus asking the MARD to promptly provide specific guidance for Bac Giang lychee growers. She noted that Bac Giang is seeking large enterprises to sign consumption deals with the local lychee growers.

    Meanwhile, a representative from Lang Son border province said that the province has invested in building warehouses, a rail route and upgrading roads to the 12 border gates with China in order to facilitate the export of fruit to China. In addition, the province is working to open several border gates specialising in exports and extend the clearance time up to 9pm to avoid the congestion of export fruits at border gates. The Lang Son administration is also negotiating with the Chinese side to conduct customs clearance on days off.

    Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong, who chaired the promotion conference, affirmed that the MARD will create favourable conditions for the Northern provinces to sell their agricultural products in Hanoi, while telling these provinces to pay heed to the southern market.

    Concerning the Chinese market, Cuong noted that the aim of exporting fruit to this market is to create high values for local farmers, emphasising that a bumper crop of fruits should not lead to a decline in the prices of agricultural products.

    To reduce the pressure on consumption of fresh agricultural products, it is necessary to promote the processing of products and encourage enterprises to boost the processing of lychees and longans, Cuong noted. In addition, it is advisable to effectively use bonded warehouse to temporarily store fruit while preparing all of the necessary logistics services to promptly consume fruit.

    Authorised agencies also need to create favourable conditions in terms of administrative reforms and transport to facilitate the consumption of lychees and longans.

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has also attached due attention to the promotion of agricultural products to connect supply and demand which has brought about positive results.

    The consumption of lychees is one of the most successful examples of the promotion of agricultural products over the past few years. Before 2013, the sharp declines in the prices of lychees became an obsession with local farmers in Bac Giang and other lychee growing regions. The situation has changed over the past few years thanks to the strengthened promotion of lychees before and during the crops.

    In 2017 alone, trade promotion made significant contributions to the consumption of lychees in Bac Giang, helping to consume 91,000 tonnes of lychees. In addition, the average selling prices of lychees hit a record high of VND38,000 per kg for domestic consumption and VND58,000 per kg for export.

    Besides, the MoIT has successfully held trade promotion activities for thousands of other products. The statistics showed that the ministry organised 1,280 trade promotion programmes with a total cost of over VND170 billion (US$7.48 million) in 2017. In North Vietnam, local trade promotion centres conducted 315 trade promotion activities, accounting for 25% of the total trade promotion activities nationwide and assisted more than 5,100 local enterprises in taking part in such activities. Trade promotion activities have not only contributed to boosting the consumption of lychees but have also enhanced the quality of agricultural products.

    Thanks to the activities to connect supply and demand, farmers, enterprises and consumers have a better understanding about each other's demand towards on-demand production instead of unplanned production.

    In 2018, the MoIT will focus on the implementation of 71 projects and tasks to develop the domestic market aligned with the implementation of the 'Vietnamese people priorities using Vietnamese goods' campaign.

    According to the MoIT, Vietnamese fruit exported to China should notice that China will increase their tracing of the origin of Vietnamese fruit. Since April 1 this year, Chinese enterprises importing Vietnamese fruit via border gates in Guangxi province must provide packaging images containing traceability and quality information of products when they follow the procedures for getting imported animal and plant quarantine permits at Guangxi’s import quarantine management agency.

    Telephone, computer exports decline in April

    Export earnings from telephones, computers, electronic products and components saw declines in April but still enjoyed growth in the first four months of 2018, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    The country’s exports of telephones of all kinds and components in April fell by 24.1 percent from the previous month to around 4 billion USD.

    However, the overseas shipments of these commodities in the first four months still soared by 36.8 percent year on year to 16.59 billion USD, said the department.

    Sharing the same downward trend last month, a month-on-month decrease of 11.1 percent was recorded in exports of computers, electronic products and components to stand at about 2 billion USD.

    Nearly 8.33 billion USD worth of these items were exported between January and April, up 10.8 percent from the same period last year.

    Earlier, the General Department of Vietnam Customs estimated the country’s total trade revenue in the four months at 144.13 billion USD, up 14.4 percent year on year. 

    Of the figure, the export value was likely to reach 73.76 billion USD, up 19 percent, while the import turnover was calculated at 70.37 billion USD, up 10.1 percent.

    Power losses in northern region continue to decline

    Electricity losses in the northern region have continued to drop, standing at 5.21 percent in the first four months of 2018, down 0.34 percent year on year, according to the Northern Power Corporation (NPC).

    The NPC, a subsidiary of the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) Group, reported that in April, it ensured safe and stable power supply for business activities and daily use, especially during big holidays like the Hung Kings Temple Festival, the South Liberation and National Reunification Day (April 30) and the May Day (May 1), in 27 northern provinces.

    Its commercial power output was estimated at 5.14 billion kWh in April, up 10.63 percent from a year earlier. About 68.19 percent of the output was provided for industry and construction while another 25.97 percent was supplied to people’s daily use.

    Commercial power output surpassed 19 billion kWh from January to April, rising by 13.29 percent year on year.

    Over the past months, the NPC has put nine transmission projects into operation, adding 165 MVA and 60km of 110kV power lines to its system. It has also started six projects, thus helping to improve the power grid’s capacity and power supply stability, the corporation noted.

    The NPC said it will press ahead with solutions to ensure safe and stable power supply, reduce power losses and accelerate the construction of power facilities in May, ahead of the peak power consumption season in summer.

    Tien Giang expects to have 730 new firms in 2018

    The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang expects to have 730 newly-established enterprises in 2018 with total registered capital of 3,196 billion VND (140.8 million USD), year-on-year rises of 9.3 percent and 9.1 percent, respectively.

    Since the beginning of 2018, almost 180 businesses have been set up in Tien Giang, which have combined registered capital of 1,115 billion VND (49.1 million USD), up 14.2 percent and 27.1 percent, respectively, from the same period last year.

    Tien Giang province is now home to 4,581 enterprises which have created a large number of jobs for workers and supplied a wide range of products for domestic consumption and export. 

    The province has also attracted five projects, including three foreign direct investment (FDI) projects, totally worth 483 billion VND (21.2 million USD), in local industrial parks and industrial clusters. 

    According to the provincial People’s Committee, Tien Giang has drastically deployed the Party Central Committee’s and the provincial Party Committee’s directives and resolutions on improving the efficiency of support and business development in 2018 with a vision through 2020.

    The province has continued creating the best conditions for enterprises, improving its investment-business environment, reducing relevant costs and encouraging businesspeople to invest in the fields of their strength.

    With regard to operating firms, the provincial authorities have encouraged them to renovate production lines and technologies and better their competitiveness in the markets.

    In addition, the province also set forth specific policies and measures for each of its key economic regions.

    PPP infrastructure investment should be promoted: official

    Encouraging investment in infrastructure in the form of public-private-partnership (PPP) is necessary to tap into domestic and foreign capital sources and technology, said Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vu Dai Thang.

    Thang cited an estimate by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that Vietnam needs about 16-17 billion USD for infrastructure investment between 2015 and 2025. The figure was forecast to be 17.2 billion USD by the Hong Kong – Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC).

    However, the State budget for public investment is limited, hence the need to mobilise investment from other economic sectors, Thang said. 

    He noted that the Ministry of Planning and Investment had made several efforts to promote PPP investment in the forms of some Decrees, such as the government’s Decree No.15/2015/ND-CP dated February 14, 2015 on PPP investment and Decree No.30/2015/ND-CP dated March 17, 2015 stipulating the execution of some articles in the Law on Bidding about the selection of investors. 

    However, the enforcement of those documents revealed many limitations, which failed to create an attractive environment and flexible investment methods for investors, especially those from overseas.

    The National Assembly has entrusted the government to study and draft a PPP law to remove difficulties and legal restrictions in promoting this investment form.

    The Ministry of Planning and Investment has embarked on the process to build the PPP law, which is expected to take three years. 

    The ministry has collected opinions from relevant ministries, sectors, localities and businesses on the need for such a law, and submitted a proposal on building the law to the Government. The proposal will be considered at the cabinet meeting in May and submitted to the National Assembly in July 2018.

    Forum discusses ways for youths to successfully establish startups

    Young Vietnamese entrepreneurs must pay attention to six crucial steps in order to successfully establish a startup business, said CEO of Startup Vietnam Foundation (SVF) Pham Duy Hieu at a recent forum held in Hai Phong.

    "First, you must find your inspiration. Once this has been found, it is important to learn the necessary basics of how to start a business. Next you should set up a startup group, in order to learn from and support fellow entrepreneurs who could possess invaluable skills to help you along the way. Once you’re connected you must learn the essential skills required for creating your own startup. It is important to make sure that you are always growing and learning from your mistakes, and finally, you must believe in yourself to become the champion," he said.

    The forum was organised to educate the many young people who have failed to launch a startup because they had no prior experience in running a business.

    The forum, co-held by the SVF and the city’s Science and Technology Department, also aimed to motivate more young people to have a go at creating a start up business.

    According to Hieu, many people get inspired and take the leap to start their own business, but rather than continue to move forward and adapt, they simply stay where they are and complain.

    The second step would provide the most streamlined knowledge, he said, this knowledge was essential for someone starting a business, and would help them avoid hurdles along the way.

    The purpose of setting up a startup group was to help the people who want to start a business, by giving them the tools to find the complementary pieces for themselves, he said.

    “Each person in the group will have different talents, and some will be essential to support the other,” Hieu said.

    Additionally, the launch of a startup requires the participation of mentors and advisors that could become shareholders of the startup. In the early stages, a startup needs to join hands with other forces to grow and develop together, he said.

    During the later stages, a startup should follow the rule of multiplication and division. The “multiplication-and-division” rule means that leading businesses should work together with startups, so that the benefits will be multiplied, and the scale and growth potential to each will be amplified accordingly, he said.

    However, Hieu also added that youngsters should not be afraid of failure. If they failed to successfully create a startup then they should try again, because each failure will serve as a lesson to bring them closer to success.

    Other speakers at the forum answered questions from young people about mechanisms and policy at both central and local levels to support startups, as well as how non-governmental organisations work to give support for startups. Questions were also raised on how to choose a suitable field for a startup, what the role of the investor encapsulates, and how to gain access to investment funds.

    Speaking at the forum, Vice Chairman of the Hai Phong People’s Committee Le Khac Nam said that the youngsters would be the generation to shoulder responsibility to make a prosperous Vietnam in the future.

    Therefore, the city would create the most favourable conditions for local young people to create startup companies, he said.

    As scheduled, following the forum, a meeting will be held on May 31 by the Dien dan doanh nghiep (Business Forum) newspaper and the Hai Phong Young Entrepreneurs Association with the aim of allowing young people to network and share experiences related to startups.

    Last year, Vietnam recorded the establishment of 126,859 new businesses, in part due to the Government’s strong promotion of startups.

    Data from the General Statistics Office shows that the country now has 561,064 businesses. The country is expected to become a startup nation with one million businesses by 2020.

    Tra Vinh calls for investment in industrial, agricultural projects

    The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh is giving priority to calling for investment in 59 projects in the fields of industry and agriculture between 2018 and 2025.  

    Under the list of prioritised projects announced on May 7, the province hopes to attract investment in 45 industrial projects and 14 agricultural ones.

    Those include a project to build an aquatic product processing factory with a capacity of 32,000 tonnes per year; a 40,000-tonne vegetable and food processing plant; a cattle and poultry meat processing factory with a capacity of 20,000 tonnes per year; and a 270MW-wind power plant.

    Besides, a high-quality rice production and processing plant with an area of 1,000 ha and a plant to produce peanut with a total area of 2,000 ha will also seek investors. 

    The projects will focus on producing high-tech products, clean farm produce by tapping potential in terms of materials and competitive advantages, thus increasing the added value of products. 

    Investors pouring investment into these projects will enjoy incentives related to land clearance, expenses for building technical infrastructure, production activities, processing and persevering farm produce, and environmental protection.

    Sweden shares experience in developing public transport

    The Swedish Embassy in Vietnam, the Swedish Commercial and Investment Office, and the Hanoi People’s Committee held a roundtable on May 7 to share Sweden’s experience in operating and monitoring public transport.

    At the event, representatives from Swedish companies including ABB, Erisson, Volvo Buses, Axis Communications, Volvo Cars and Roxtec, shared with Vietnamese partners measures to help Vietnam increase the number of public vehicle users, protect the environment and bring into full play the latest technologies, including Internet of Things (IoT) and eMobility.

    Like many other Asian nations, Vietnam is experiencing rapid urbanisation. As of 2017, around 40 percent of the country’s 90-million population lived in urban areas. The figure is expected to rise to 50 percent by 2025.

    In its strategy to develop public transport until 2020 within a vision to 2030, Vietnam sets a target of turning public transport into the top choice of people while controlling the growth of individual vehicles and improving urban transport quality.

    It also strives to have 20 percent of buses and taxis using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG) or solar energy by 2020.

    Quang Tri selects local products to join national staples

    The central province of Quang Tri has chosen coffee, pepper and shrimp to join the chain of national key products as they have competitive advantages, said the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    Quang Tri is now home to more than 5,100ha of coffee, mainly in Khe Sanh in the mountainous district of Huong Hoa. The province has focused on helping local people re-grow coffee trees to bring higher economic value.

    Accordingly, the province will provide 500kg of NPK fertiliser for each newly-planted hectare of coffee, organise training courses to transfer cultivation, treatment and harvest techniques and purchase coffee directly from local farmers.

    Quang Tri has to date grown over 2,500ha of pepper. In 2014, the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam issued a geographical indication certificate to pepper grown in Ho Xa town and Vinh Hien, Vinh Hoa and Vinh Nam communes of Vinh Linh district. 

    Especially, in April, pepper in four more districts of Cam Lo, Gio Linh, Vinh Linh and Huong Hoa also received the similar indication certificates.

    Besides, the province boasts a shrimp farming area of about 3,000ha, mostly in the coastal districts of Vinh Linh, Gio Linh and Trieu Phong.

    Quang Tri is striving to sustainably develop the shrimp-breeding sector by investing in infrastructure in farming areas, stepping up the application of technology in line with VietGap standards, and reducing diseases and environmental pollution, while making products which ensure food safety.

    For the sustainable growth of its main plants and animals, Quang Tri province also sought for support from the government to develop a hi-tech agricultural zone and pilot new land policies, along with calling for investment in infrastructure and agriculture.

    Fisheries sector enjoys great start to year

    Fishermen around the country caught 1.08 million tonnes of fish and other aquatic species in the first four months of the year, 2.7 per cent up year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    Marine species accounted for 1.03 million tonnes, up 2.8 per cent and inland catches for 49,000 tonnes, the same as last year.

    Favourable weather and the appearance of large quantity of marine fish like scad, Indian mackerel and beltfish have contributed to the increase, the ministry said. 

    The prices of fish at fishing ports are ruling high.

    Indian mackerel is sold at VNĐ40,000 – 50,000 (US$1.8 – 2.2) a kilogramme, cuttlefish at VNĐ100,000 – 200,000 ($4.4 – 8.8) and tuna at VNĐ70,000 – 115,000 ($3.1 - 5).

    However, in the central provinces of Phú Yên, Bình Định and Khánh Hòa, the country’s largest tuna fishers, the catch was down 14 per cent to 7,427 tonnes.

    Aquaculturists have harvested 1 million tonnes of various aquatic species, up 6 per cent year-on-year, according to the ministry.

    The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta, the largest producer, accounted for 373,000 tonnes of tra fish, an increase of 8 per cent.

    Tra prices are high at VNĐ31,000 – 32,000 ($1.3 – 1.4) because of high demand for exports.

    More farmers in the delta have started to farm the fish, resulting in a shortage of fingerlings for breeding.

    The region also harvested 46,700 tonnes of black tiger shrimp and 51,500 tonnes of white-legged shrimp, up 1 per cent and 28 per cent respectively.

    In the southernmost province of Cà Mau, the country’s largest shrimp producer, farmers have enjoyed a bumper harvest and good prices in the first shrimp crop of the year.

    Trần Quang Hiên of Tâm Thành Commune in Cà Mau City said he sold his first shrimp crop for more than VNĐ1 billion ($44,000) and  earned a profit of VNĐ700 million ($30,830).

    Conditions for breeding shrimp are highly favourable this year with the salt content in the water not being too high and the weather not being too hot compared to last year, local farmers said.

    Cà Mau Province has more than 300,000ha of aquaculture ponds, or 27.9 per cent of the country’s total, according to the local Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

    Investor proposes toll exemption in Ninh Lộc toll station

    A new proposal for the reduction of toll fees, as well as the exemption of tolls for cars of 17 communes and wards located in a 10km radius of Ninh Lộc Toll Station in Khánh Hoa Province, has been submitted to the Ministry of Transport. The proposal came as a means to relieve tension from local drivers who are protesting against what they call unfair fees.

    “In the event that the ministry does not accept the proposal, the investor proposed that they would stop collecting fees from Ninh Lộc station, and asked that the government refund the investment and place the transport ministry in charge of collecting fees at the station”, Trần Phúc Tự, general director of the BOT Đèo Cả Company siad told online newspaper Vietnamplus.vn.

    The previous proposal was made in January by the BOT Đèo Cả Company, an investor for a section of road on National Highway 1 in Khánh Hòa Province, but was rejected by the ministry.  

    The ministry accepted toll reduction and exemption for cars from three communes located within a 5km radius of the station, and this has been the case since December last year.

    However, the local people in communes and wards of Ninh Hòa Township, which has not benefited from the fee exemption, protested against having to pay toll fees at the local station.

    In recent days Ninh Lộc BOT toll station has ground to a standstill due to protests by drivers, and has had to lift its barriers to allow vehicles to go through at no charge to avoid traffic congestion, reported the Người Lao Động (The Labourer) newspaper.

    Many drivers at the tollgate have refused to move, causing traffic congestion, so the station has had to repeatedly stop collecting fees in order to contain the situation.

    The station stopped its operation 40 times last Tuesday and Wednesday.

    The situation continued to escalate as once the station resumed normal operations, drivers would gather around again, forcing it to open up all traffic lanes once more.

    Most of the protesting drivers at the tollgate were living in Ninh Hòa Township. The drivers said that the tollgate collects unreasonable fees from local people, and that it is not fair that they should have to pay these fees so often.

    Drivers were angry at the company as it origionally claimed to offer fee reduction or exemption for residents in 17 wards and communes of the town, but more recently reduced the number to eight.

    In addition, instead of exempting drivers from the toll fee as promised, they instead provided a 50 per cent discount. This, the local people said, is not good enough.

    To relieve the situation and ensure traffic safety, the company has asked the Ministry of Transport to accept the proposal of toll reduction and exemption for cars of 17 communes and wards nearby the station.

    Tiền Giang expands fruit production as prices rise

    Tiền Giang Province, the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta’s largest fruit producer, has increased its fruit cultivation area to nearly 75,000ha this year, up three per cent against the same period last year.

    Farmers have planted 1,300ha of new dragon fruit, 1,200ha of pineapple and 400ha of new green-peel and pink-flesh grapefruit this year.  

    Under its agricultural structuring plan, the province has encouraged farmers to turn farmland unsuited to growing rice into fruit orchards.   

    Cao Văn Hóa, director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province had set up concentrated fruit planting areas to produce specialty fruits for domestic and export markets.

    Specialty exports include Lò Rèn Vĩnh Kim milk apple in Châu Thành District, Ngũ Hiệp durian in Cai Lậy District, and citrus fruits in flood-prone districts.

    The province has also established a 7,000 concentrated durian planting area in Cai Lậy District, the largest durian planting area in the Mekong Delta.

    The milk apples, which are exported to the US, offer high profits for farmers.

    Advanced farming techniques, especially for off-season fruits, and good quality seeds have helped farmers increase profits by VNĐ300 – 500 million (US$13,200 – 22,000) per ha of specialty fruit a year. Some farmers can earn a profit of up to VNĐ1 billion ($44,000) per ha a year.

    Huỳnh Văn Kem, who plants 7,000sq.m of two specialty durian varieties - Ri6 and Mong Thong - in Cai Lậy District, said he harvests an average of 20 tonnes of durian a year and earns a profit of VNĐ1 billion.

    Durian yields high profits, but farmers must choose good seedlings, use advanced farming techniques and produce off-season fruits, according to Kem.

    Lê Văn Cẩn in Chợ Gạo District said he earns a profit of VNĐ100 million a year from planting 4,000sq.m of dragon fruit.

    This profit is four times higher than from rice, he said, adding that he planted rice on his farmland.

    Concentrated fruit planting trees have helped farmers increase their income, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    The province has also started production chains for durian, Hòa Lộc mango and dragon fruit cultivation to 2020.

    The development of new fruit orchards has increased the demand for fruit seedlings.

    Út Phương, a fruit seedlings producer in Cai Lậy District, said the price of seedlings of Ri 6 and Mong Thong durian varieties had risen to VNĐ100,000 a seedling, up two times against the same period last year. 

    VNN

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  • 05/09/18--01:39: Article 1
  • Social News In Brief 9/5


    Three fishermen rescued in Ba Ria – Vung Tau 

     

    VN Red Cross announces 2018 disaster prevention plan,
    The MRCC sends its rescue ship SAR 272 to the location to deploy the rescue mission. 

    The Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) of Region III rescued three fishermen from a vessel which was sinking offshore Ba Ria - Vung Tau province on May 8.

    At around 21.40 on May 7, the MRCC received notification from Ba Ria - Vung Tau Coast Guard that a ship carrying three fishermen had sunk around 10 nautical miles to the southeast.

    The MRCC worked with the Maritime Administration of Vung Tau to deploy its rescue ship SAR 272 to the location to carry out the rescue mission.

    At 2.40am on May 8, three fishermen from Binh Chau commune, Xuyen Moc district, Ba Ria - Vung Tau province, namely Tran Van Khanh, 33, Tran Van Mua, 57, and Le Minh Hung, 36, were discovered and rescued from the sea.

    They were then brought to hospital for treatment.


    VN Red Cross announces 2018 disaster prevention plan


     

    VN Red Cross announces 2018 disaster prevention plan,
    Red Cross staffs provide emergency aid to flood victims in Phú Yên Province. - Photo courtesy of Việt Nam Red Cross


    Việt Nam Red Cross (VNRC) Society has preserved VNĐ102 billion (US$4.53 million), including money and goods, to prepare for the 2018 natural disaster prevention season.

    The goods include daily essential tools, house tools, tents, mobile toilets, Aquatabs water purification tablets, water purification tools and water tanks. 

    VNRC presented its disaster prevention agenda at a pre-disaster meeting and workshop on the introduction of new models of provincial disaster response teams in Hà Nội today. 

    VNRC chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Xuân Thu said the organisation would deploy a safety community model and transfer the community-based natural disaster risk management model to provincial and city authorities nationwide to help localities improve disaster prevention and response activities in 2018.

    VNRC will also provide instructions relating to humanitarian aid, community action for disaster response, Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response, climate change, training documents on disaster management as well as response to local authorities.

    According to VNRC, the organisation had provided nearly VNĐ234 billion ($10.4 million) for disaster prevention and response activities in 2017, benefiting more than 578,400 disaster victims. It also carried out 20 disaster prevention and response projects, including 10 immediate release programmes and 10 prevention and response ones, worth more than VNĐ100 billion ($4.44 million) nationwide. 

    In 2017 alone, the organisation had provided more than VNĐ82.2 billion ($3.65 million) to help 33,630 families affected by Damrey typhoon in the provinces of Khánh Hòa, Phú Yên, Bình Định, Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi, Thừa Thiên-Huế and Đắk Lắk.

    Foreign and international Red Cross societies— and organisations funded projects also provided essential goods to more than 21,400 households while donating family tool boxes to 7,100 households and water purification tools to 1,500 families. Nearly 4,000 families were assisted to repair houses, and almost 1,400 received livelihood supports.

    Teamwork makes dream work 

    What is the secret of the strong collaboration?  A difficult question that has left many pondering for an age to work out the answer. But if you ask a group of burglars in Thái Bình Province, they may just give you the correct answer.

    Earlier this month police in the province successfully nailed a criminal gang. Those who found themselves in cuffs were Thái Bình-based Vũ Đức Quốc and Vũ Đức Ngọc and Lê Bá Khánh from Hà Nội.

    The trio was responsible for a number of break-ins of local state offices and businesses. Case report reads the gang fled with a stash worth somewhere in the region of VNĐ3 billion (US$131,000) last month along. Their haul included not just cash but also 2.4 ounces of 9999 gold of AIDI Company in Gia Lễ Industrial Zone along with some 400 lighters of Hoa Việt Company, both in Đông Hưng District.

    But in what was perhaps their most daring heist, they clearly wanted to be sure just exactly how much they were taken. So they took along with them a money counting machine to calculate their ill gotten gains. And the total? VNĐ2.6 billion ($114,000) stolen and divided equally among all.

    Lesson learnt? Even criminals have moral values to uphold. Unfortunately, these principals cannot secure them from being punished by the justice system. Proof if ever needed, that crime really doesn’t pay.

    In the mood for rain 

    Rain, someone once said, makes everything better. Washes away the dirt and cleans the soul. But for what I’m about to tell you, scrap that. And remember rain, I assume, can be a gentle reminder that the time has come to focus on the tasks at hand. Especially when it pours.

    After an investment of VNĐ118 billion (US$5.1 million), Điện Biên Phủ-Nguyễn Tri Phương Intersecting Tunnel in Đà Nẵng City opened in November last year.

    Despite the heavy capital poured into the project, the tunnel was severely flooded last week following a fresh midnight rain. The main cause, however, cannot be more surprised: a technician who was in charge of the pump… wait for it….  overslept.

    And if you, dearest readers, are still wondering why the high-end tunnel was so dependent on the manual operation then, Hứa  Thiện Vỹ, head of the instruction company, had the answer.

    He told Người lao động (The Labourer) newspaper that from April 24, the new pump was set up. Therefore, other automatic systems including the water level indicator were removed. One technician was assigned to manually handle the system in case water-logging happened. However, as he was so deep in the sleep, a midnight rain took a change to cause a flood of up to one metre, right inside the tunnel.

    Although the incident was dealt with, the sleepy technician, I think, must have acquired his own lesson that a midnight rain is not always followed by a bright sunrise.

    Who moved my meal? 

    A real man cooks, say a lot of women these days.

    Embracing a chance to shine in girls’ eyes, a man nicknamed BNT last week posted on a Facebook closed group a picture of delicious-looking Vietnamese meal captioned that “On my second time visiting my girlfriend’s family, I cooked them this meal. Qualified enough to be a husband?”

    T’s post received more than 6.8 thousand likes from group members along with countless praises on his perfect performance.

    A meal including Việt authentic summer dishes, from crab soup to fried tofu and stewed pork, attracted a lot of complements. People assumed that he must have successfully won the hearts of both his girlfriend and her family.

    “But wait,” someone said, “doesn’t it look like a meal posted several months ago by another Facebook user?”

    Comparing every detail, group members then surprisingly found out that the picture of the tempting meal was simply reposted. The authentic owner, however, is Thu Anh, a U40 mother living in Hà Nội who has a great passion for food and share her family’s daily meals online.

    “Sorry. I don’t want to make you down but these dishes look so familiar,” hilariously commented Huy Cường who posted Thu Anh’s album of meals for a proper comparison.

    Still, netizens sent T best wishes of having a wife even though it should have turned to be a challenge then as he revealed he was a poor attention seeker.

    Too many pictures… spoil the broth. Or in this case, spoil the post. 

    Deputy PM highlights importance of salary policy


     

    VN Red Cross announces 2018 disaster prevention plan,
    Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue 


    Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has underlined the critical importance of the salary policy, which, he said, is closely related to other policies in the system of socio-economic policies.

    He made the affirmation in a recent article on the plan on the salary policy reform for officials, public employees, civil servants, members of armed forces and employees in enterprises. This plan is one of the three important plans being discussed at the seventh plenary session of the 12th-tenure Party Central Committee, which opened in Hanoi on May 7.

    Deputy PM Hue, who is also a Politburo member and chairman of the central steering committee for reforming the salary policy, social insurance and special treatment for national contributors, noted that the salary policy directly relates to macro-economic balances, the labour market and the lives of salary earners. Its reform will help build a streamlined, clean and efficient political system and strengthen the fight against corruption.

    Regarding the targets and road map for the implementation of the salary policy reform, he said in the public sector, the basic wage has been adjusted upwards from 2018 to 2020 in line with the National Assembly’s resolutions so that it is not lower than the consumer price index (CPI) and in conformity with the country’s economic growth rate.

    From 2021 to 2025 and with a vision to 2030, a new salary regime will be applied for officials, public employees, civil servants and members of armed forces in the whole political system from 2021. 

    The country targets that in 2021, the lowest wage of officials, public employees and civil servants will be equivalent to the average lowest pay level in the business sector. By 2030, it is expected to be equivalent to or higher than the lowest salary level in the region with the highest pay of the business sector.

    Meanwhile, from 2018 to 2020, the region-based minimum wage in the enterprise sector is set to be raised in accordance with the socio-economic development situation, businesses’ payment capacity, and workers’ living standards so that the minimum wage will be able to meet basic needs of workers and their families, Deputy PM Hue noted.

    From 2021 to 2025 and with a vision of 2030, the State will increase the region-based minimum wage periodically basing on recommendations of the National Wage Council. It will not directly intervene in businesses’ wage policy from 2021.

    By 2025, it will manage employees and salary in State-owned enterprises by assigning fixed salary costs associated with production and business tasks to enterprises. It will gradually move towards only assigning production and business tasks to companies from 2030.

    In his article, Deputy PM Hue also clarified seven tasks and solutions to reform the salary policy, especially drastically carrying out financial and budgetary solutions to create resources for the salary policy reform and effectively implementing the resolutions on continued re-organising the political system and reforming the system and operation efficiency of public non-productive units, which were issued at the sixth plenary session of the 12th-tenure Party Central Committee.

    The Deputy PM added that Vietnam’s salary policy has been reformed four times, in 1960, 1985, 1993 and 2003. 

    In the public sector, the wage has been improved step by step, helping to improve living standards of salary earners. The basic salary has been raised 11 times since 2003, from 210,000 VND to 1.3 million VND per month, surging by 519 percent, which is higher than the CPI growth of 208.58 percent in the same period.

    Hau Giang raises public awareness of landslide risks


    VN Red Cross announces 2018 disaster prevention plan, 

    A landslide area in Phu Thanh hamlet, Mai Dam town, Chau Thanh district (Photo: VOV)


    Local officials should work to raise public awareness of landslide risks and consequences, said Chairman of Hau Giang province People’s Committee Le Tien Chau.

    He made the statement on May 8 while inspecting a landslide area in Phu Thanh hamlet, Mai Dam town, Chau Thanh district.

    Local residents should know how to protect their lives and assets in cases of natural disasters, he noted. 

    A temporary road will be constructed to facilitate local travel while preventing risks for the residents.

    Earlier, a landslide in 28 metre length occurred in Phu Thanh hamlet affected five households with 23 and caused a loss of 150 million VND (6,600 USD). 

    The affected families were evacuated to safer locations and there was no human damage.

    The locality has launched a landslide emergency and supported local people to recover the consequences, Chairman of Chau Thanh district People’s Committee Tong Hoang Khoi said.

    Hanoi works to ensure power supply during summer


     

    VN Red Cross announces 2018 disaster prevention plan,

    The Hanoi Electricity Corporation has set up a detailed plan to ensure sufficient power supply during this summer, said vice general director of the company Nguyen Anh Dung.

    The company has channeled efforts to accelerate the operation of key power projects like 110 kV power lines between Long Bien and Dong Anh-Gia Lam-Sai Dong and 100 kV power lines connecting Quoc Oai and Chem-Phuc Tho stations.

    Construction of tens of medium- and low-voltage power stations has been completed so far. Meanwhile, relevant units are rushing off their feet to set up plans for other projects to bury the medium-voltage and low-voltage electrical cables underground on 45 streets.

    To date, repairs of electrical equipment have been made in line with the set plan.

    However, Dung also pointed out that land clearance and compensation have hampered many power construction projects from being completed in accordance with the set timeline.

    Despite the electricity sector’s efforts, high power consumption during the summer will lead to overloading on the grid. Thus, local residents should join hands to save the power by turning off unnecessary electrical devices during peak hour and using air-conditioner from 26 degree Celsius, he added. 

    Programme prevents drowning among children


     

    VN Red Cross announces 2018 disaster prevention plan,

    A propgramme to teach safe swimming for children aiming to prevent drowning will be held in 63 localities nationwide from May to August 2018, the organising board announced at a press conference in Hanoi on May 8.

    The programme is a joint effort by the Vietnam Sports Administration under the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism, and the Ministry of Education and Training. A launching ceremony will be organised in northern Ninh Binh province on May 20.

    Major activities of the programme include communications on mass media on safety in swimming, a national swimming competition in July in the central city of Da Nang, and a drowning rescue contest in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap in August.

    At the conference, Vice Director of the Vietnam Sports and Physical Training Administration Pham Van Tuan said that drowning is the leading cause of death in children and adolescents in Vietnam, especially in summer and stormy season.

    He noted that an initial report showed that the ratio of children who can swim in Vietnam remains low at under 30 percent. Therefore, the teaching of swimming as well as skills of preventing drowning is vital and urgent among children.

    The programme targets a sharp drop in children drowning cases compared to 2017, added Tuan.

    Sweden helps HCM City build smart transportation network


    VN Red Cross announces 2018 disaster prevention plan,
    At the roundtable discusion in HCM City 


    Information and technology should be applied into the operation and management of public transportation to improve transport network in Ho Chi Minh City, Swedish companies recommended at a roundtable discussion held in southern hub on May 8.

    At the event, which was held by the Swedish Embassy in Vietnam in collaboration with the Swedish Commercial and Investment Office, Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Pereric Hogberg said that with considerable experience in urban planning solutions, Swedish experts and companies will help Vietnam set up plan to build sustainable urban areas with smart transportation network.

    He noted that emission amount has dropped 9 percent since 1990, and gasoline dependence has tapered off 90 percent since 1970 while Sweden is among the nations that have the lowest rate of traffic accidents.

    About challenges that large urban centres are encountering and HCM City’s solutions, Vice Director of the municipal Department of Transport Tran Quang Lam highlighted that the city has set up planning for eight Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) systems, three tramrails or monorails and six Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems.

    Like many Asian countries, Vietnam is experiencing rapid urbanisation. As of 2014, some 33 percent of the country’s 90-million population lived in urban areas and the figure is said to increase to 50 percent by 2025.

    In its strategy to develop public transport until 2020 within a vision to 2030, Vietnam sets a target of turning public transport into the top choice of people while controlling the growth of individual vehicles and improving urban transport quality.

    It also strives to have 20 percent of buses and taxis using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG) or solar energy by 2020.

    Cooperation potential in transportation between the two countries were on the table at the discussion.

    In addition, relevant parties met to discuss Sweden’s support for Vietnam to promote sustainable traffic development in urban areas, aiming to turn public transportation into a friendly and popular means of transport among the citizens.

    Family planning services help improve population quality


     

    VN Red Cross announces 2018 disaster prevention plan,
    Delivering family planning consultations in Bong Khe commune, Con Cuong district of Nghe An province 


    The family planning work has contributed to stabilising the scale, structure and quality of the population, according to Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Viet Tien. 

    Tien made the statement at a workshop to announce outcomes of a survey on the quality of family planning services in Vietnam jointly held by the Heath Ministry and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Hanoi on May 8. 

    The survey gathered responses from households and 6,000 women aged from 15-49 from Hanoi, the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai, the central province of Phu Yen, Dak Lak province in the Central Highlands, and the southern provinces of Dong Nai and An Giang in 2015-2016. 

    It reveals that up to 80.5 percent of married women aged from 15-49 are using a contraceptive method.

    Although 64 percent of them are using modern methods of contraception, 37.8 percent did not consult medical workers before their use. 

    The number of women using contraceptive methods in urban areas is higher than that in rural areas, with the highest rate recorded in the southeastern region (83.4 percent) and the lowest rate seen in the Red River Delta (75.1 percent). 

    About 17.4 percent of the correspondents said that they had abortions, with 19.6 percent reported in urban areas and 16.5 percent in rural areas. 

    The report said the surveyed communal medical centres have adequate infrastructure, equipment and human resources necessary to ensure the provision of family planning services. 

    However, only 9.7 percent of them fulfilled all the 25 indexes set. Of note, none of them in the north central, south central coastal and Central Highlands regions meet the index of readiness. 

    A number of the medical centres failed to satisfy the index regarding the supply of contraceptive methods such as tablets, condoms and intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD). 

    Up to 93 percent of the interviewees said they are satisfied with family planning services. However, only 40 percent of them said they will introduce the services to others.  

    The report on the survey’s results will be used as a reference for policy makers, programme managers, health experts and researcher to implement relevant programmes, helping Vietnam completing sustainable development goals (SDGs), said Deputy Minister Tien.

    Vietnam, Cuba enhance publishing cooperation


     

    VN Red Cross announces 2018 disaster prevention plan,
    At the signing ceremony 


    The Department of Publishing, Printing and Distribution under the Ministry of Information and Communications and the Cuban Book Institute (ICL) signed a publishing cooperation minutes in Hanoi on May 8.

    Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Hoang Vinh Bao and Vice President of the Cuban institute Juan Carlos Santana Molina witnessed the signing.

    Addressing the event, Bao highlighted the profound relationship between the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications and the Cuban Ministry of Culture, saying the two sides have inked documents on cooperation in the fields of press, telecommunication and information technology.

    He noted that the Department of Publishing, Printing and Distribution and the ICL need to discuss next concrete collaboration steps and make timely adjustments to better the two nations’ publishing activities.

    For his part, the ICL Vice President said the signing and realisation of this publishing cooperation agreement will contribute to deepening the relationship between the two countries and help Cuban people, via publications, understand more about the culture, people and achievements of Vietnam.

    At the signing ceremony, the representatives agreed that the cooperation minutes is a firm legal framework for the two sides to continue fostering their collaboration while affirming that they need to make more efforts to materialise the cooperation. 

    They expressed belief that both sides will share their values through books – a bridge that helps human beings to develop.

    In 2019, the Cuban Book Institute will create conditions for the Vietnamese department to take part in the International Book Fair of Havana. Vietnam plans to review five years of implementing Vietnam Book Day (April 21) and hopes the Cuban Book Institute will participate in this significant event.

    New development step in Vietnam-Laos educational cooperation


     

    VN Red Cross announces 2018 disaster prevention plan,
    At the launching ceremony 


    A project on training cooperation between Vietnam’s FPT University and Sengsavath College of Laos was launched in Vientiane on May 8, marking the first education cooperation scheme in the private sector between the two countries.

    Under a memorandum of agreement signed on March 13, FPT University will coordinate with Sengsavath College in providing two training programmes related to software technology and business administration for Lao students.

    Particularly, the Vietnamese university is responsible for sending teachers to Laos, providing teaching curricular in English, and ensuring training quality. Meanwhile, Sengsavath College has responsibility for providing facilities, introducing learning programmes to students and providing non-academic services.

    Speaking at the ceremony, President of the Sengsavath Education Group Khamsen Sisavong stressed that the cooperation helps increase the prestige of Sengsavath College and provides a good chance for Lao students to learn international-standard training programmes with reasonable tuitions, as well as contributes to strengthening educational cooperation between the two countries.

    FPT University President Le Truong Tung said that the partnership between the two sides will help Laos have high-quality human resources in order to better address challenges of the fourth Industrial Revolution, thus contributing to the nation building, development and safeguarding cause.

    It is also part of a strategy to open branches abroad of FPT University, he added.

    In their speeches, representative of the Vietnamese Embassy in Laos Nguyen Thanh Tung and Lao Deputy Minister of Education and Sports Kongsy Sengmany appreciated the linkage.

    The cooperation between the two private educational establishments becomes a new model of cooperation helping train Lao students in information technology and attract students in other ASEAN nations to Laos in the time ahead, they stated.

    Signing ceremony for food-safety supply chain between HCM City, Sóc Trăng


     

    VN Red Cross announces 2018 disaster prevention plan,
    The quality of Sóc Trăng Province’s agricultural and aquatic products in HCM City will be better managed via a food-safety supply chain. Photo: sggp.org.vn.


    HCM City’s Department of Food Safety Management and Sóc Trăng Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development held a signing ceremony recently to sell the latter’s agricultural and aquatic products to those involved in a food-safety supply chain to ensure food safety.

    The quality of products would be ensured from the first stage (cultivation, husbandry, gathering and exploiting) to the final stage (slaughtering, processing and trading).

    By the end of 2019, they expect all agricultural and aquatic products from Sóc Trăng Province sold in HCM City to be controlled via such food-safety chains.

    Phạm Khánh Phong Lan, head of the city’s Food Safety Management, said the department had encouraged enterprises to join the city’s food-safety supply chain.

    The department will also help enterprises advertise their products and access the city’s market through distribution systems. 

    Northern region to become cooler


     

    VN Red Cross announces 2018 disaster prevention plan,
    Rain is forecast in Hanoi and some northern localities on late Tuesday. - Photo for illustrative purposes only


    The northern region is likely to get rainfall on Tuesday afternoon, cooling some areas that have been suffering from a harsh early summer since the past week.

    A cold snap affecting the mountainous northern localities is expected to bring down temperatures in the northern delta provinces to 31-34 degrees Celsius on an average, according to the National Centre for Hydrometeorological Forecasting.

    Moderate to heavy rainfall is expected throughout the northern region by Tuesday night, with whirlwinds, sleet and wind gusts in some locations.

    The centre has predicted showers and thunderstorms in Hà Nội on Tuesday night, which are likely to continue on Wednesday morning.

    On Wednesday, temperatures in the capital city will peak at 27 degree Celsius by day and will dip to 23 degree Celsius by night.

    Thunderstorms are also predicted on Wednesday in central provinces from Thanh Hóa to Phú Yên.

    The early summer heat in the northern and north-central regions reached its peak on Monday, with the average temperature between 34-37 degrees Celsius. It reached 38-39 degrees Celsius in some districts in Hòa Bình and Hà Nội and in the provinces of Thanh Hóa, Nghệ An and Hà Tĩnh, causing people discomfort and exhaustion. 

    VNN

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  • 05/09/18--01:45: Article 0
  • Vietnamese agricultural products seek ways to make inroads into Australia


    Vietnam has diverse tropical agricultural products and specialities that can be exported to Australia, said Le Quoc Doanh, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development at a Vietnam-Australia agriculture policy dialogue held in Canberra on May 8.


     

    vietnamese agricultural products seek ways to make inroads into australia hinh 0

    Vietnamese and Australian agricultural marketing officials evaluated the implementation of agreements reached at the previous dialogue in 2016.

    Vietnamese Deputy Minister Doanh asked Australia to create the best possible conditions for Vietnamese agricultural products to penetrate the Oceania market. He said most agricultural products of the two countries are not competitive but complemented each other, which offers them an opportunity to further increase two-way trade values.

    Mr Doanh urged Australia to accelerate efforts towards opening the door to passion fruit, high quality longan and some other specialities from Vietnam and provide specific hygiene requirements for some kinds of meat, eggs, milk and dairy products to enable Vietnam to ship them to the market.

    While waiting for Australia to double check policies, Vietnam encourages Australian businesses to invest in testing laboratories in Vietnam so that they can test shrimps before exporting to the country. Vietnam also recommends Australia to evaluate and accredit equivalence of designated laboratories in Vietnam.

    Australian Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Water Resources Malcolm Thompson in turn said the two countries need to speed up negotiations on opening the door to fruit and vegetables, animal meat and other agricultural products. Particularly, Mr Thompson said the relevant working group should meet soon to discuss specific measures to boost exports of animal meat and seafood from the two countries.

    Australia is the world’s 6th largest agricultural producer although around 50% of its land can be used for agricultural production only. Australian agricultural workers make up only 2% of the national workforce but can meet domestic demand and export 80% of their total output with the help of science and technology and agricultural policies. The annual average income of an Australian farmer is US$100,000, higher than Australia’s GDP per capita (US$60,000).

    VOV

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  • 05/10/18--01:47: Article 5
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 10/5


    US Department of Agriculture and US Grains Council representatives welcome historic corn shipment to Vietnam

    According to an official announcement by the US Embassy, US Department of Agriculture and US Grains Council representatives, with the assistance of the Quang Ninh Port Joint Stock Company in the Port of Cai Lan, welcomed the first direct shipment of US corn to Vietnam on May 3.

    The shipment, which was 67,000 metric tons of US corn that arrived from the US Pacific Northwest, is the first vessel to arrive after USDA and Vietnamese plant health officials agreed to a new plant health protocol in September of last year.  The shipment is also the first of many US shipments of corn and other feed ingredients destined for Vietnam, which include soybeans, soybean meal and distiller’s dried grains. 

    The corn and feed ingredients are destined for Vietnam’s rapidly expanding dairy and livestock sectors. Vietnam, which produces approximately 30 million metric tons of feed per year, has emerged as a leading market for US corn and feed ingredients, with US exports of these products nearing $700 million annually. Vietnamese importers in attendance noted the high quality of the corn and the importance of strong relationships with US suppliers. The U.S. Grains Council provides trade servicing to Vietnamese feed and livestock producers to support the export of US grains.  

    At a separate meeting, the delegation discussed port and trade developments with local Port Authority Representatives and Plant Protection Department Representative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

    HCM City gets 6th safe farm produce market

         

     

    HCM City gets 6th safe farm produce market, Delta improves PCI ranking, Conference on sustainable development of cashew sector, Vietnamese enterprises in Japan seek to strengthen linkages

    The HCM City Department of Agriculture and Rural Development opened the city’s sixth safe farm produce market in Binh Phu Park in District 6 on May 6.

    Each market, held on Sundays, has 20-30 local and other co-operatives and farms taking part and selling fruits and vegetables, poultry, pork, and seafood.

    Nguyen Van Truc, deputy director of the department, said only products with food safety certification such as VietGap and GlobalGap can take part.

    The fair organisers regularly check the quality of produce and randomly test fruit and vegetable samples for plant protection residues, he said.

    The department plans to set up 10 such markets to bring together producers and buyers, he said.

    The department opened the first market in August 2016 at Dong Ho Restaurant in District 10, he recalled.

    Around 500-1,000 people shop at each market every week, he said, adding that exhibitors also sign supply agreements with canteens and restaurants.

    At the opening ceremony on Sunday, the Saigon Agricultural Products Chain Joint Stock Company signed agreements with four traditional markets, Binh Tay, Binh Tien, Minh Phung, and Phu Lam, to supply safe farm produce.

    The other four markets are at Le Van Tam Park in District 1, Le Thi Rieng Cultural Park in District 10, Tan Binh District Sport and Cultural Centre, and Quarter 6, Street No.19, in Binh Tan District’s Binh Tri Dong B Ward. 

    Delta improves PCI ranking     

    The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta region have improved their rankings in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI), the head of Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s legal department has said.

    Speaking at a conference in PCI in 2017 held in Can Tho last week, Dau Anh Tuan said the PCI of the delta had risen rapidly last year, with some provinces leading the country in areas such as administrative reform.

    Delta authorities, for example, created the “Business Coffee” model in Dong Thap Province and an “Every Monday” meeting with businesspeople in Can Tho City.

    Pham Thi Ngoc Dao, deputy director of the provincial Department of Finance, said the meetings allow authorities and local enterprises to discuss problems and come up with solutions.

    Despite the progress in the PCI, the Delta’s index of quality labourers has not yet changed in the last five years, and labour training facilities have improved only slowly, according to Nguyen Phuong Lam, deputy director of VCCI in Can Tho City.

    To attract investment from big enterprises, high-quality labourers play an important role.

    Only 10 per cent of labourers are trained in the delta, which has 10 million workers, as compared with the average level of labourers of 20 per cent in the country, according to a report in Tuoi Tre (Young) newspaper.

    The delta should have plans to attract high-quality labourers to the area, Tuan said.

    The other barriers include lack of good services to assist enterprises, and limited quality of execution in some departments and sectors.

    Vu Tien Loc, chairman of VCCI, said that to solve the problem, the authorities of the delta should create a District Competitiveness Index (DCI) like the northern province of Quang Ninh.

    The index measures the efficiency of economic management of the local government through eight criteria, including transparency, pro-active leadership, time costs of regulatory compliance, informal charges, policy bias, legal institutions, business support and accountability of leaders.

    In 2016, Quang Ninh ranked second out of 63 provinces and cities in provincial competitiveness index. 

    Conference on sustainable development of cashew sector     

    The cashew sector needs to restructure to achieve sustainable development, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has said.

    A report it tabled at a cashew development conference in Binh Phuoc Province on May 5, said the country had 337,143ha under cashew at the end of last year, 4,410ha up from 2016.

    Since 2014, intensive farming techniques had increased productivity from less than one tonne per hectare to 1.2 tonnes, but it fell again in 2016 and 2017 due to the impacts of drought, unseasonable rains and diseases.

    There are more than 465 cashew processors with a total capacity of over 1.4 million tonnes a year, but nearly 70 per cent are small in size.

    There are around 20 large enterprises who make 15,400 tonnes of highly processed products like salt-roasted, butter-roasted and honey-roasted cashew, wasabi cashew, roasted sesame cashew, cashew nut candies and cookies and others for export.

    Viet Nam has been the world’s largest cashew exporter for many years, with shipments last year topping US$3.6 billion worth.

    However, the sector is not very efficient.

    Delegates at the conference blamed this on the fact too many enterprises are involved in exports. Many exporters do not even have processing facilities but buy nuts and export small volumes, creating unhealthy competition and affecting overall exports.

    Thus, exports of highly processed cashew accounts for only 5 per cent while semi-processed items account for the rest, they said.

    The sector faces challenges like low productivity, diseases, unfavourable weather and lack of linkages between production, processing and consumption.

    Delegates said cashew productivity could increase by 30-40 per cent if advanced cultivation techniques become widespread.

    This is a key requirement to develop the industry though other solutions such as replacing old trees, linking stakeholders in the production chain and increasing the rate of highly processed items should be focused on to enable sustainable development, they said.

    Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said his ministry would focus on restructuring the sector with an emphasis on keeping the area under cultivation at 300,000ha and measures to double or even triple productivity.

    Businesses should invest in intensive processing and reorganise the production chain from production to export to enhance efficiency, he said.

    He urged them to develop the domestic market with top priorities given to high-quality products they could sell to tourists.

    The ministry would collaborate with the Viet Nam Cashew Association to organise the Golden Cashew festival every year to promote cashew products, he said. 

    Vietnamese enterprises in Japan seek to strengthen linkages     

    The Vietnamese Business Association in Japan convened its congress for the second tenure (2018-20) on May 6, seeking ways to better connect Vietnamese businesses.

    Speaking at the event, president of the association in the first tenure, Dinh Ngoc Hai, said after five years of formation and development, the association had gained initial achievements, contributing to connecting the two countries’ enterprises, particularly those from Japan and Viet Nam’s Can Tho City and Ca Mau provinces.

    However, Vietnamese ambassador to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong said the connectivity between Vietnamese enterprises was not strong enough.

    He hoped the second-tenure executive board would take more specific and practical measures to better connect Vietnamese enterprises in Japan as well as Vietnamese enterprises and Japanese partners.

    Viet Nam-Japan relations were developing strongly, creating space for Vietnamese enterprises to integrate more deeply into the Japanese market, Cuong added.

    At the congress, a new executive board of the association was selected with 11 members, including one president and four vice-presidents.

    Vu Hoang Duc, the association’s new chief, committed to helping the association grow further to become a trusted platform linking the two countries’ businesses. 

    Home Credit moves to fintech     

    Consumer finance company Home Credit Vietnam Finance Company Limited has announced that it is becoming a financial technology company to enhance customer service.

    It said it is focusing on building big data to set up a fully automatic contract approval process, greatly easing the application procedure for customers.

    One of the technology advances it has made is applications on mobile devices.

    After it was launched in March 2017, the app was downloaded 1.5 million times as of the end of the year.

    New customers can register for cash loans of up to VND80 million (US$3,500) online through the mobile app.

    Ten years after it came to Viet Nam, the Czech company has more than 9,400 points-of-sale nationwide and signed up an average of one million new customers a year, 60 per cent of them in the 20 – 30 age range. 

    Tight credit cools City real estate     

    With banks tightening credit to the property sector the HCM City market is cooling off, traders said.

    In District 9 for instance, unlike a month ago, many people are offering to sell their lands but cannot find buyers.

    The offers are much higher than bids, a broker said.

    Huu Tin, a broker from Binh Tan District, told Nguoi Lao Dong (The Labourer) newspaper there have been no transactions for a week.

    He has a 50sq.m house on Do Nang Te Street for sale for VND4 billion (US$175,000), but there are no takers, he said.

    Even recently everything on offer was being snapped up immediately, he said.

    Le Thi Hong Tham of District 7 told Viet Nam News she invested VND1.7 billion ($74,5000) to buy a piece of land near Long Hau Industrial Zone in Long An Province just off HCM City and sell it immediately.

    “Earlier, land could be re-sold within three or four days of buying. But now, half a month has passed but I have been unable to sell it.”

    A broker in District 12 said she no longer accepts offers for sale because there are no buyers.

    The deputy director of a real estate company in District 2 said in the last week or so the market has lost steam.

    While a month ago he was closing five to seven deals every day, it has come down now to just one or two, he said.

    According to insiders, the main reason for the slowdown is the tightening of credit by banks.

    Banks have started hiking interest rates on loans for buying property.

    The Viet Nam Export – Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank has increased interest by 1 percentage point to 11 per cent on all loans including buying new property or upgrading housing.

    Other banks have increased the rate to 12-12.5 per cent.

    Besides, lenders have cut the loan amount from 70 per cent of the property’s value to 30-40 per cent.

    A Sacombank credit official told Viet Nam News on condition of anonymity that there has been no official guidance from her bank’s leaders on interest rates.

    Her bank also limits the amount of loans for buying lands in places where the market has been hot like Districts 2, 9, Cu Chi and Nha Be. 

    Domestic cement consumption up, export rises sharply

    The country’s cement consumption in the first four months of the year posted a year-on-year increase of 13 per cent to reach 29.83 million tonnes.

    These statistics were revealed by the Department of Building Material under the Ministry of Construction.

    In April alone, cement consumption in the country reached 8.77 million tonnes, increasing by 10 per cent compared to the same period last year and meeting 25 per cent of the annual target.

    Remarkably, cement consumption in the domestic market has grown again.

    In April, cement sold in the domestic market rose by five per cent over the corresponding period last year to 6.32 million tonnes. The country exported 2.45 million tonnes of cement in April, a year-on-year increase of 30 per cent.

    Cement exports in the first four months of the year reached 9.98 million tonnes, representing a year-on-year increase of 29 per cent. 

    First direct shipment of US corn arrives in Vietnam

    The first direct shipment of US corn to Vietnam has arrived in the country with the assistance of the Quang Ninh Port Joint Stock Company in the Port of Cai Lan, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Grains Council representatives. 

    The shipment of 67,000 metric tonnes of corn that arrived from the United States Pacific Northwest is the first vessel to arrive after USDA and Vietnamese plant health officials agreed to a new plant health protocol in September in 2017, according to the US Embassy in Vietnam.

    The May 3 shipment is also the first of many US shipments of corn and other feed ingredients destined for Vietnam, including soybeans, soybean meal and distiller’s dried grains. 

    The corn and feed ingredients are destined for the rapidly expanding dairy and livestock sectors of Vietnam.

    Vietnam, which produces approximately 30 million metric tons of feed per year, has emerged as a leading market for US corn and feed ingredients, buying nearly 700 million USD of these products from the US annually.  

    Vietnamese importers present at the reception of the shipment noted the high quality of the corn and the importance of strong relationships with US suppliers. The US Grains Council provides trade servicing to Vietnamese feed and livestock producers to support the export of US grains.

    Vietnam businesses urged to use trade fairs to boost export to China

    Vietnamese firms will have many opportunities to promote exports to China via the China International Import Exposition (CIIE), which will be held in Shanghai city from November 5-10, said Hu Suojin, Trade Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam.

    Farm produce and consumer goods are among Vietnam’s strengths, he said, noting that China bought 1.3 billion USD worth of farm produce from the Southeast Asian country. 

    Vietnam’s footwear export to China also increased 40 percent this year in the first two months of the year. 

    Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VTPA) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Vu Ba Phu said Vietnamese businesses will open 60 pavilions at the CIIE, displaying various kinds of products such as farm produce, processed food, consumer products and trade services. 

    He said the CIIE is one of the most important trade promotion activities this year, adding that firms which participate in the event will receive support in pavilion rental fee, travel expense and other costs. 

    According to the VTPA director, in order to enhance export to China’s market, Vietnamese firms need to attend trade fairs in the country such as the ASEAN-China Expo and Kunming Fair.

    Phu also advised businesses to work to increase the quality of products, build brand names, and improve packaging and designing. At the same time, they need to update information about the market, import-export policies, and customers’ demand in different Chinese localities. 

    Bilateral trade between Vietnam and China reached 93.69 billion USD in 2017, with Vietnam registering a trade deficit of 22.76 billion USD. 

    Two-way trade may reach a record 100 billion USD this year.

    Hanoi draws 744 million USD of FDI in four months

    Foreign direct investment in Hanoi amounted to 744 million USD in the first four months of 2018.

    According to the municipal report on its implementation of socio-economic development plan, between January and April, of the total FDI amount, 498.6 million USD was poured into new projects, 55.4 million USD was added to existing projects, and 190 million USD was invested in company stakes.

    During the period, Hanoi also approved 21 privately financed projects with total investment of 16.3 trillion VND (717.2 million USD).

    The authorities also licenced the establishment of 8,139 new enterprises, with their registered capital totaling at over 78.2 trillion VND (3.44 billion USD). The value represented an annual increase of 27 percent.

    The capital city absorbed 3.4 billion USD in FDI last year.

    Tra Vinh calls for investment in industrial, agricultural projects

    The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh is giving priority to calling for investment in 59 projects in the fields of industry and agriculture between 2018 and 2025.  

    Under the list of prioritised projects announced on May 7, the province hopes to attract investment in 45 industrial projects and 14 agricultural ones.

    Those include a project to build an aquatic product processing factory with a capacity of 32,000 tonnes per year; a 40,000-tonne vegetable and food processing plant; a cattle and poultry meat processing factory with a capacity of 20,000 tonnes per year; and a 270MW-wind power plant.

    Besides, a high-quality rice production and processing plant with an area of 1,000 ha and a plant to produce peanut with a total area of 2,000 ha will also seek investors. 

    The projects will focus on producing high-tech products, clean farm produce by tapping potential in terms of materials and competitive advantages, thus increasing the added value of products. 

    Investors pouring investment into these projects will enjoy incentives related to land clearance, expenses for building technical infrastructure, production activities, processing and persevering farm produce, and environmental protection.

    Matthys van der Lely officially in charge of Masan meat business

    Matthys van der Lely has officially become managing director to lead and develop the meat business at Masan Nutri-Science Corporation, Vietnam’s largest fully-integrated branded meat platform, according to a company statement released today.

    Matthys van der Lely is a seasoned executive with 30 years of experience across retail formats and developing branded meat businesses in Southeast Asia.

    In his most recent role, as senior vice president of Mergers and Acquisitions, Business Development and Retail, he was responsible for building out Bounty Fresh’s retail business from the ground zero and has successfully turned the business into the Philippines’ second largest branded meat player while delivering strong profits.

    “I am excited to lead and accelerate Masan Nutri-Science’s vision of being the leading provider of safe and affordable meat products. Based on my experience, I strongly believe the Vietnamese meat market will evolve from predominantly warm fresh meat to chilled meat. Chilled meat will be the new standard as it is more delicious and hygienic,” said van der Lely.

    “With Masan’s 3F (Feed-Farm-Food) meat platform, I am confident we will deliver Vietnamese consumers the best chilled meat products at affordable price points. I look forward to working with the Masan team to make this vision a reality in the near future,” he added.

    With Masan’s 3F meat platform, I am confident we will deliver Vietnamese consumers the best chilled meat products at affordable price points.

    According to Masan Nutri-Science CEO Pham Trung Lam, the firm was established with the end goal of becoming a consumer meat company and they will launch the first branded, chilled meat products in the fourth quarter of this year.

    “The appointment of van der Lely will enable us to scale-up our meat business faster as he has a proven track record in other Southeast Asian markets and has strong entrepreneurial spirit. His skill set and experience strongly compliments our team and is core to our philosophy of combining international expertise with deep local understanding and know-how,” Lam said.

    Vinalines subsidiary proposes two new terminals at Lach Huyen Port

    The total investment of the project at Lach Huyen International Gateway Port is VND6.946 trillion ($307 million), 45 per cent of which will come from Haiphong Port JSC and the remaining from loans.

    Haiphong Port JSC (under Vietnam National Shipping Lines–Vinalines) has just sent a document to the Ministry of Transport proposing to build two container terminals in Lach Huyen Port (at DEEP C Industrial Zones in Cat Hai district).

    Accordingly, the firm proposed to build the two container terminals with the total length of 750m and the capacity to receive 100,000-DWT ships. Additionally, the proposal would also include a barge berth where 100-160-TEU barges could arrive. Technical items will be built synchronously to meet the flow of 1-1.1 million TEUs of goods annually.

    The total investment of the project is estimated at VND6.946 trillion ($307 million), 45 per cent of which would come from Haiphong Port JSC and the remaining from loans. If the Ministry of Transport (MoT) approves the project, it will be developed this year.

    In addition to cargo transportation, the project contributes to the key role of Haiphong Port JSC and Vinalines in the maritime sector.

    According to Decision No.2367/QD-BGTVT dated July 29, 2017 of MoT on approving the plan of the northern seaports by 2020 with a vision to 2030, Lach Huyen Port will be prioritised for development to raise its capacity and contribute to Vietnamese and international goods export-import activities. The port is estimated to have nine terminals with total length of 3,000m by 2020.

    Overseas entrepreneurs from South Korea eye opportunities in Vietnam

    YBLN Hanoi Forum 2018 was held in Hanoi for the first time with the participation of over 60 South Korean young business leaders that are operating in various countries and are closely following investment opportunities in Vietnam.

    New South Korean Ambassador to Vietnam Kim Do Hyun, chairman of Young Business Leaders Network Kim Han Shin (YBLN), and Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vu Dai Thang attended the forum.

    Ambassador Kim Do Hyun has just started his tenure in Vietnam on May 6. The forum is the first large foreign affairs events he attends after arriving to Vietnam. He has been the director of the international relations department and international markets development department of Samsung Group before being appointed as South Korean Ambassador.

    YBLN Hanoi Forum 2018 is being held on May 6-10, 2018 in Hanoi, offering market research activities, business workshops, site visits to surrounding areas of the capitol and Danang city.

    After 30 years of renovation, international integration, and maintaining high growth rates, Vietnam has become a middle-income country with nearly $230 billion of GDP and a golden population structure. Striving for openness, Vietnam has joined 11 FTAs with the total trade turnover of over $420 billion.

    As a result, Vietnam has been the most attractive investment destination in the ASEAN, luring in over $320 billion of FDI capital from 126 countries. The investment climate has been improving, costs are falling, and more and more preferential investment policies are issued.

    “A developed and integrated Vietnamese market is an opportunity and motivation for South Korean businesses to evolve co-operation and investment activities. We will join at deeper levels and reach higher in the global value chains. Vietnam commits to facilitate a transparent and favourable business climate, as well as create a fair playing field in all economic sectors, including South Korea businesses,” emphasised Deputy Minister Vu Dai Thang at the YBLN Hanoi Forum.

    Established in 2002, YBLN gathers young leaders from the leading South Korean businesses operating overseas. These businesses have been developing over the years and are creating a global economic network with South Korea at its centre. Earlier, this forum has been held in Singapore in 2011, Jakarta in 2013, Frankfurt in 2015, Sydney in 2016, and New York in 2017.

    South Korea is Vietnam’s largest FDI partner with nearly $60 billion of registered capital, the second biggest partner in bilateral development and tourism, and third largest trade partner. South Koreans make the most populous foreign community in Vietnam.

    In last March, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Vietnamese State President Tran Dai Quang promised to further elevate the strategic cooperative partnership. As part of this process, two-way trade turnover will be raised to $100 billion by 2020 from the $64 billion in 2017.

    MVL Chain to bring blockchain-based ride-hailing app to Vietnam

    Since Uber left Vietnam, both foreign and domestic firms race to launch ride-hailing services, setting themselves apart from Uber and Grab to gain market share. One of the latest players is Singapore-based transportation startup MVLchain, which owns the Grab-like platform MVL and is planning to utilise blockchain technology for the first time in Vietnam.

    Speaking at the introduction conference organised in Ho Chi Minh City on May 5, CEO Kay Woo stated that Vietnam is considered a key market of MVL (Mass Vehicle Ledger) and that the firm submitted the dossiers to establish a legal presence in Vietnam and operate as an IT firm.

    MVL will start to recruit drivers within this month and in case the dossiers are approved on time, the firm will launch the app in July. Drivers will not have to pay commission and the company will make a profit from selling data generated from its daily operations to insurance and market survey companies. This way, the firm expects to attract more drivers.

    Besides, the firm targets acquiring a 25 per cent market share of all four-wheel and two-wheel vehicles in Vietnam.

    According to CEO Kay Woo, the advantage of the firm’s ride-hailing app is using blockchain technology, which utilises a growing list of digital records which are linked and secured using cryptography. A blockchain system can act as a secure, open, and transparent distribution ledger to record transactions between two parties. Blockchain technology can be applied to manage assets, contracts, and global payments.

    Kay Woo added that along with the advantage of using blockchain technology, the firm will focus on luring in customers via a low-fare policy instead of pouring money into promotion programmes like Grab and Uber.

    Along with MVL, international and local firms are ready to join the ride-hailing race. The Fastgo ride-hailing app is ready to be launched after three years of software development. The app is built by Mpos Vietnam Technology JSC after the order of a large-scale taxi firm from Indonesia and Taxi Open99 Group from Vietnam.

    Fastgo offers advantages for both drivers and customers. Notably, with the exception of a fee to join the app, drivers will not have to pay commission to the operators of Fastgo.

    Customers will enjoy lower fares than with both traditional taxi brands and Grab. Besides, customers will be insured against any incident occurring during the trip, including traffic accidents or personal injured due to conflict with the driver.

    Besides, Phuong Trang Futa Group, a leading passenger transportation and parcel delivery company in Vietnam, invested VND2.2 trillion ($96.53 million) into developing the ride-hailing app Vivu and changed its name into Vato.

    Vato will not lure in customers via promotion programmes. Instead, it will offer numerous advantages compared to its competitors.

    Notably, drivers and customers can discuss the fare based on an initial fare issued by Vato. For example, after a customer orders a vehicle for a 5-kilometre ride, Vato will offer a fare of VND50,000, which the customer can then discuss with the driver.

    Besides, Vato’s base fare is VND8,500 per kilometre (similar to the fare of Uber), however, it only charges a 20 per cent commission, 5 per cent less than Uber.

    Furthermore, once customers download the Vato app, they will be able to order vehicles from other taxi firms, including Mai Linh and Vinasun.

    Furthermore, China-based ride-hailing player Didi Chuxing is waiting for the Vietnamese government’s approval to start operations in the country. In addition, motorcycle ride-hailing transportation provider Go-Jek from Indonesia has gathered a team of experts to advise its expansion in Vietnam to break the dominance of Grab.

    Frasers Property to acquire Phu An Khang for $18 million

    Singapore-based Frasers Property Limited, formerly known as Frasers Centrepoint Limited, is to acquire 75 per cent of the issued share capital of Phu An Khang Real Estate JSC.

    Frasers Property recently announced that its indirect wholly-owned subsidiary Frasers Property Investments (Vietnam) 1 Pte., Ltd. (FPIV1) has entered into a conditional share purchase agreement with Tran Thai Land Company Limited to acquire 24 million ordinary shares.

    These shares represent 75 per cent of the issued share capital of Phu An Khang Real Estate JSC.

    The completion of the proposed acquisition is subject to the fulfilment of the conditions set out in the acquisition agreement, Frasers Property’s statement said.

    If the proposed acquisition is completed successfully, Phu An Khang will become a subsidiary of Frasers Property. It is intended that Phu An Khang will undertake the development of a residential-cum-commercial project on a mixed-use development plot in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City.

    The aggregate consideration for the proposed acquisition is VND408.6 billion (approximately $18 million).

    The consideration was arrived at on a willing-buyer, willing-seller basis based on the estimated net asset value of Phu An Khang at completion, taking into account the value of the property.

    The proforma net asset value of Phu An Khang based on its unaudited financial statements is expected to be VND544.8 billion (approximately $24.2million) on completion of the proposed acquisition.

    Frasers Property further added that the consideration will be fully satisfied in cash on the occurrence of stipulated events as set out in the agreement and will be funded by the group’s internal cash resources and/or external bank borrowings.

    Frasers Property Vietnam made its maiden foray into Vietnam in 1999 with the development of 22-storey retail/office building Me Linh Point Tower in District 1, the central business district of Ho Chi Minh City. Since then, it has embarked on a mixed development project in District 2, Thao Dien ward.

    Vinhomes makes stock exchange record in market capitalisation

    Vinhomes, a subsidiary of Vingroup, expects to list 2.68 billion shares on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange on May 17, reaching a record market capitalisation of $13-13.5 billion.

    As one of the leading real estate developers in Vietnam, Vinhomes are currently implementing projects in 40 cities and provinces across the country. It also owns numerous golden land plots in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Haiphong, and Danang, among others.

    As of March 31, Vinhomes reported its asset value of VND94.69 trillion ($4.16 billion) and charter capital of VND38.24 trillion ($1.68 billion). The apartment sales volume in 2015-2017 made up 15 per cent of the country total.

    The firm has released its financial statement for the first quarter of this year. Notably, it earned VND10.53 trillion ($462.6 million) in net revenue and VND3.98 trillion ($174.8 million) in after-tax profit, tripling and quintupling its performance from last year.

    Recently, Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC issued plans to purchase ordinary shares and extend a debt-like instrument to Vinhomes, subject to the satisfaction of mandatory regulatory and other conditions. The combined value of the investment and debt instrument is approximately VND29.5 trillion ($1.3 billion).

    GIC is one of the largest investment funds in Vietnam. It currently holds a 5 per cent stake in Masan Group, 5 per cent in VietJet, 0.7 per cent in Vinamilk, and 3.5 per cent in FPT. Its total holdings reach a total value of VND15 trillion ($658.6 million).

    DeAura scam hard case to punished?

    DeAura, in collaboration with FE Credit, enticed thousands of customers to sign loan agreements of nearly $2,000 each without any financial check.

    DeAura set foot in Vietnam just two years ago, during which a lot of scandals point out dishonest business practices. Dozens of customers have visited the company headquarters to ask for a refund on DeAura's skincare products.

    Nguyen Thi Hoi coming from Thach That district (Hanoi) was very tired and said that after clicking “Like” on facebook by accident, she was invited to try DeAura’s beauty services and put into loan trap of VND43 million ($1,900).

    After trying the product on half of her face, she was invited to buy a set of skincare products at the preferential price of VND43 million ($1,900) (the original price was VND73 million–$3,200). Hoi denied numerous times because she was unemployed at the time.

    However, DeAura officers enticed her with sweet words that she should spend only VND50,000 ($2.2) a day to become more beautiful. She was offered to take the set right after trying and could return if she did not like it. DeAura gave out a series of papers to pass off as a purchase agreement.

    “She did not let me read it, I could only sign without reading it and finding out that it was a loan agreement. I thought it was a present and that I only have to pay if I come to the spa and use their services. If I knew it was a nearly $2,000 loan agreement, I would not have signed. I have tried to return the brand new product set, but could not,” recounted Hoi.

    Numerous DeAura customers said that they did not know that they signed a loan agreement. They only found out that each of them had just borrowed nearly $2,000 after opening the box at home.

    A customer called Le Thi Nhung (Hanoi) said: “When I arrived at DeAura Spa, I was led into a private room and drank the water of the spa, then some staff came in to persuade me to sign the contract. I was disoriented and did whatever they told. When I wanted to return the products, they asked me to pay a penalty of VND7 million ($300).”

    According to feedback from numerous customers, their skin looked better after the first treatment at DeAura Spa, but treatment at home (using the same products) did not bring results, some even contracted acne.

    Tran Thuy Linh (Hanoi) said that her face was swollen and pimples came out all over her face for one month. She has a certificate from the hospital, but DeAura has not allowed her to return the products and asked confirmation from a doctor appointed by DeAura.

    Most DeAura customers told VIR that they signed the loan agreement without understanding what it was. They also said that DeAura in collaboration with a consumer finance company misrepresented the agreement and trapped them to sign loan contracts, essentially committing fraud.

    On the social networks, numerous groups named “DeAura scam” have been established with thousands of members joining. This may be one of the reasons why DeAura had to be renamed. The parent company was renamed to Venesa in last March, while its spas also took on the names Lily, Aphrodite Eros, Camellia, Freyja, and Venus.

    23,000 people purchased DeAura’s products. However, many of these are unemployed, freelancers or workers with very low incomes (VND2-3 million, around $100 per month). However, in the loan contract, their incomes were noted to exceed VND10 million ($440) to meet the loan conditions.

    Banking experts said that DeAura and a financial company under Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank) have violated moral principles and Circular No.43/2016/TT-NHNN dated December 30, 2016 regulating consumer lending by finance companies.

    However, according to lawyer Truong Thanh Duc, chairman of Basico, it is very hard to penalise DeAura.

    “Regardless of whether DeAura and the consumer finance firm cheated or provided unclear advices, customers cannot refuse after signing the contract,” he said.

    He also warned consumers to keep an eye out and educate themselves as firms like DeAura are spreading fast. State agencies also need to closely monitor business activities and alerts customers for similar cases.

    Last month, the Vietnam Competition Agency (VCA) issued a penalty to DeAura Vietnam for VND400 million ($17,620) for violating regulations on cosmetics distribution and business.

    Four Vietnamese golf courses make top 18 list in Golf Digest

    The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip in Vung Tau, Laguna Golf Lang Co in Hue, FLC Quy Nhon Beach & Golf Resort in Quy Nhon, and Vinpearl Phu Quoc Resort & Golf in Phu Quoc are some of the best golf resorts in Asia.

    Vietnam dominated the list of the 18 best golf resorts in Asia, which was recently published by Golf Digest, a leading golf magazine headquartered in the United States. The list was based on the contributions of many golf experts from around the world and included four Vietnamese golf courses.

    One of the representatives of Vietnam, Mr Adam Calver, Director of Golf of Laguna Golf Lang Co, said that the course of Laguna Golf Lang Co has been hailed as Nick Faldo’s greatest design. He is one of the world’s top golf players and was ranked number one on the Official World Golf Ranking for a total of 97 weeks. He takes a personal interest in the ongoing enhancements of the golf course. The tropical beach’s coastline is amplified by the majestic beauty of the mountain backdrop that encases the entire Laguna Lăng Cô Resort. Faldo utilized every possible natural feature as he sculptured the course through ancient rice paddies and jungle mountains onto a peaceful beach that borders the signature Par 4, 9th hole. It provides a unique golfing experience like no other in Vietnam.

    The staggering Truong Son mountain range surrounds the entire resort. Golfers are surrounded by pure nature. Walking in the course is like walking through a national park. There’s a 400-foot waterfall that cascades down the mountain behind the 2nd green and the 3rd and 4th holes are carved into a traditional Vietnamese rice field, which is home to a family of water buffalo that likes to wade in the flooded paddy fields. The 5th and 6th holes turn into the jungle with giant boulders lining the fairway. The dense tropical jungle covering the mountainside is very spectacular. As you walk off the seventh green you get your first view of the East Sea and can see the waves crashing onto the beach behind the Par 3, 8th green. The 8th, 9th and 10th holes are all down on the sandy coastline where you can easily view the East Sea from each hole.

    The Bluffs Ho Tram strip has a course that was designed by Greg Norman, another legendary golfer. It was also listed as one of Golf Digest’s 100 best golf courses in the world earlier this year. The golf course sits perched on a coastal sand dune with elevation changes ranging from +5 meters to +50 meters. The ground surface has a sand base with limited vegetation. The Bluffs’ coastal location provides beautiful panoramic views of Ho Tram Beach and a unique atmosphere sure to offer a variety of challenges to even the most seasoned golfers. The Bluff’s clubhouse offers guests a variety of services including a pro shop with the latest equipment and accessories plus access to spacious locker room facilities and VIP salons.

    The Bluffs opened to great fanfare in October 2014 when former US Open champion Michael Campbell played an exhibition match against two-time European Tour winner Robert Rock. A year later, the spectacular seaside links won “World’s Best New Golf Course” at the World Golf Awards and served as the site of the Ho Tram Open, a $1.5 million Asian Tour event that attracted some of the biggest names in the game, including eventual champion Sergio Garcia.

    The 36-hole golf course at FLC Quy Nhon Beach & Golf Resort is a harmonious combination of unique design and the picturesque scenery of Nhon Ly Beach. The highlight of the course is Eo Gio, the most spectacular place to watch the sunrise in Vietnam. It was built on large sand dunes beside an evergreen pine hill and really poses a challenge for golfers. They can gaze out into the gigantic ocean and natural sand dunes, and enjoy the glorious sun and wind.

    The collaboration of two leading golf companies from the USA, Nicklaus Design and Flagstick, created one of the most gorgeous golf links in Asia, and it’s recognized by international experts. FLC Quy Nhon Beach & Golf Resort won the Best New Golf Course in Asia-Pacific award and was voted amongst the Top Ten Best Courses in Vietnam at the Asian Golf Awards 2016. The Asian Golf Awards is the golf industry’s equivalent of “The Oscars” and is owned by Asia Pacific Golf Group (APGG), the oldest specialist golf media house in the region.

    The fourth golf course on the list, Vinpearl Golf Phu Quoc, is located amidst the unspoiled woodlands of the northern part of Phu Quoc. It immerses you in nature on a magical island known for its tropical paradise and stunning beaches. Its breathtaking scenery and unique golfing experience promise to impress travelling golfers. Having opened in 2015, Vinpearl Golf Phu Quoc is the first and only 27-hole international standard course on the island that caters to all levels of golfers. Finely constructed on 100 hectares, this unique island course was beautifully designed by IMG Worldwide and features three clusters (9 holes) situated across three stunning locations. Each one distinguishes itself with signature terrain, challenging obstacles and varied levels of difficulty.

    Other golf courses in the list includes Bali National Golf Club & Resort (Indonesia); Datai Resort’s ELS Club Teluk Datai (Malaysia); Banyan The Resort, Black Mountain Golkf Resort Hua Hin and Santiburi Beach Resort & Spa (Thailand); Fuchun Resort, Mission Hills Haikou and the Westin Blue Bay Resort & Spa (China); Grand XIV Naturo Golf & Spa Resort, Kawana Hotel & Golf Course, Onahama Ocean, and Hotel & Golf Course (Japan); and Sono Felice, Yong Pyong Resort, and South Cape Owners Club (South Korea).


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  • 05/10/18--01:50: Article 4
  • Changing face of VN hospitality


    The fast-changing hospitality industry is offering many opportunities for developers to expand the number of rooms and market their properties to future new categories of guests like millennials, according to hospitality experts.


     

    Changing face of VN hospitality, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news
    The fast-changing hospitality industry is offering many opportunities for developers to expand the number of rooms and market their properties to future new categories of guests like millennials, according to hospitality experts.- Photo cafef.vn 

    Viet Nam has experienced unprecedented growth in the hospitality sector in recent years, Do Hong Xoan, chairwoman of the Viet Nam Hotel Association, said.

    Most hotels and resorts have had an average occupancy rate of nearly 60 per cent this year, Xoan said at a conference on hospitality investment held yesterday in HCM City.

    Many hotels are being built, and quite a few projects will be launched in the near future.

    Most upscale hotels and resorts are managed by a well-known international brand, resulting in good quality and services.

    At popular tourist destinations, the number of accommodation facilities has surged in the last few years, Xoan said.

    Last year, 25,600 accommodation facilities with a total of 508,000 rooms across the country were available, an increase of 21.9 per cent in the number of facilities and 20.9 per cent in the number of rooms, compared to the previous year.

    Meanwhile, the number of four- and five-star hotels reached 262 and 120 facilities, up 13.9 per cent and 15.3 per cent, year-on-year, respectively.

    The average room rate of three- to five-star hotels last year saw a 7-9 per cent increase year-on-year.

    Do Thi Thanh Hoa, deputy director of the Institute for Tourism Development Research, said the hospitality sector had become an important part of the country’s economy and had created millions of jobs.

    Infrastructure improvements and development of tourist destinations have fuelled foreign investment in the tourism sector, attracting more foreign tourists and spurring demand for accommodation in different price segments, Hoa said.

    Non-traditional hotels

    In addition, the Tourism Law 2017 created favourable conditions for the development of non-traditional hotels such as homestays and condotels that are becoming more popular in Viet Nam, she added.

    Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) have become an important travel source for the tourism and hospitality revenue, while sharing platforms like Airbnb provide millions of rooms in thousands of cities around the world, including in Viet Nam.

    Mauro Gasparotti, director of Savills Hotels Asia Pacific, said infrastructure development had spurred growth in the hospitality industry in the last few years.

    Around 5.8 per cent of GDP has been spent on infrastructure development, Mauro said.

    Five international airports are under expansion and two new international airports are in the planning stage, he said.

    The number of international direct routes from 2012 to 2017 doubled, from 54 routes in 2012 to 105 routes in 2017.

    Traditional hotels and resorts, with around 57,000 rooms, account for 84 per cent of the total supply in Viet Nam. Condotels with about 8,000 rooms account for 12 per cent.

    Specialised products, including those that offer specific functions such as wellness and spas and are design-oriented, with specific services, have around 2,600 rooms, accounting for four per cent.

    By 2020, 32 per cent of the total supply in Viet Nam will be condotels and 65 per cent will be traditional hotels and resorts.

    In the next two years, 18,000 condotel units will be added to key tourism destinations, according to Savills.

    Most of the condotels are managed by developers, but Savills said they had begun to integrate other brands into their projects.

    Millennials account for 24 per cent of the global population, Mauro said. By 2020, 320 million international trips are expected to be made by millennials, a staggering 47 per cent increase from 217 million in 2013.

    Viet Nam’s millennial population accounts for 38 per cent of the total population, or 33.7 million in 2016.

    The millennial traveler market will see at least two-fold growth from 2018, which will be a challenge for hotels to adapt with their existing products, Mauro said.

    Millennials prefer to spend money on experiences rather than on material goods.

    Instead of making an effort to embrace new concepts, there has been a lack of product diversification, and developers are only replicating what already exists, Mauro said.

    Building large rooms or lobbies no longer delivers a sustainable competitive advantage and guest satisfaction, he added.

    VNS

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  • 05/10/18--02:09: Article 3
  • Social News In Brief 10/5


    Percentage of both parents working in Vietnam highest in Southeast Asia


     

    Over 1,200 people with disabilities to be granted artificial limbs
    Male and female employees are at work at a footwear factory in Vietnam. Vietnam has the highest percentage of both husbands and wives working in Southeast Asia


    Vietnam has the highest percentage of both husbands and wives working in Southeast Asia, according to a latest survey released on May 4 by the Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living ASEAN (HILL ASEAN).

    The survey puts the Vietnam figure at 97% compared to the region’s average of 80%.

    At the ASEAN Sei-katsu-sha Forum 2018 held in HCMC, themed New perspectives of Gender Equality at home: Who rules the house?, results of the survey show that four other Southeast Asian countries – Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia – also have high percentages of households where both parents go out for work, at 91%, 80%, 80% and 74% respectively.

    In these households, the ratio of husbands earning more money than wives in Vietnam is the highest, 55%, followed by Indonesia with 54% and Thailand with 53%. Meanwhile, Malaysia and Singapore have the same percentage of 49%. The figures prove the proportion of Vietnamese wives earning more money than husbands is the smallest, 6%. The ratio of wives in Thailand paid more than husbands is 11%, Singapore 12% and Malaysia 10%.

    The survey also indicates Vietnam takes the lead in the region in terms of both parents enjoying equal pay, at around 37%, compared to 28% in Thailand, 20% in Singapore, 21% in Malaysia and 14% in Indonesia.

    Over 1,200 people with disabilities to be granted artificial limbs


     

    Over 1,200 people with disabilities to be granted artificial limbs
    Medical staff offer free medical examination for local people in the northern province of Yen Bai. 


    As many as 1,200 people with disabilities will be offered free screenings in order to grant artificial limbs during the 9th Young Doctors' Festival 2018, announced the organisers.

    At a press brief on Monday to introduce the agenda for the festival, the Organising Committee said that, as part of the programme, people with disabilities will be presented with artificial limbs.

    The festival, themed “Young voluntary doctors for public healthcare,” will take place from May 12 to 19 across the country, with the key event to be held in Tay Son district, Binh Dinh province on May 19.

    This year’s festival, co-hosted by the Vietnam Youth Federation and the Association of Vietnam’s Young Doctors, has attracted the participation of over 6,000 young physicians to offer free medical examinations and distribute drugs for 100,000 people.

    Free eye surgeries will also be provided to 500 elderly people, while first aid training will be granted to 5,000 teachers from 700 pre and primary schools nationwide.

    The festival also targets mobilising young people to donate 13,000 units of blood and guiding 50,000 children to participate in a festival featuring hand washing with soap to prevent diseases.

    Within the framework of the festival, localities across the nation will launch counselling centres to promote organ donations among the community, as well as implementing counselling on non-communicable diseases.

    Quang Binh holds reburial service for remains of martyrs


    Over 1,200 people with disabilities to be granted artificial limbs 

    The People’s Committee of the central province of Quang Binh held a memorial and reburial ceremony on May 9 for 18 set of remains of Vietnamese voluntary soldiers and experts who laid down their lives in battlefields in Laos during wartime.

    The ceremony drew representatives of the Special Working Committees of the Lao Government and Khammoane province, Laos’ Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, and leaders of the Military Zone 4 and Quang Binh province of Vietnam, among others.

    The sets of remains were searched and gathered by Team 589 under the Military Headquarters of Quang Binh province with the support from Khammoane province’s Labour and Social Welfare Department and Military Headquarters and Lao people.

    They were sent home in the first repatriation of this year during the 2017-2018 dry season.

    Participants at the ceremony offered flowers and incense to the martyrs, showing gratitude to the martyrs who sacrificed their live for the liberation of Laos.

    The remains were buried in Ba Doc Martyrs’ Cemetery in Dong Hoi city of Quang Binh.

    In May last year, Quang Binh also held a reburial ceremony for 26 sets of remains of Vietnamese soldiers and experts who died in Laos. They were unearthed during the 2016-2017 dry season.

    VND2.9 trillion project to help provinces in adapting to natural disasters


     

    Over 1,200 people with disabilities to be granted artificial limbs
    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at a working session with northwestern localities (Photo: VGP)


    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had a working session on developing rural areas adaptable to natural disasters with leaders of northwestern provinces of Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Yen Bai, Dien Bien, Lai Chau and Son La, at Government Office in Hanoi on May 7.

    The project investing in irrigation, river and dyke and transport has a total capital of VND2,900 billion (US$129.4 million), including the funds coming from JICA loans of about VND2,365 billion.

    After completing, the project will bring benefit to nearly 420,000 households in agricultural production, approaching the market, increasing productivity of crops and livestock farming, adapting to a changing climate.

    PM Phuc asked the northwestern provinces to carry out investment activities in accordance with the provisions of the regulations, and the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to inspect and boost the implementation and effective development of the project.

    Public concerned about chronic inundation in rainy season


     

    Over 1,200 people with disabilities to be granted artificial limbs
    Flooded street Le Duc Tho in Go Vap District  (Photo: SGGP)


    Flooding was seen everywhere in Ho Chi Minh City after the downpours yesterday, city dwellers worried that inundation would get worse during this year’s rainy season as the VND10 trillion (US$438.5 million) project on flood management measures has been halted indefinitely to wait for completion of related paper formalities.

    Though 75 percent of the project had been carried out, the project investor - Trungnam group – decided to halt it from April 27. Explaining the reason for the project halting, the company said that the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) stopped disbursement for the project because the city People’s Committee has not signed the project disbursement report for recapitalization procedure.

    The investor will start the project just after the bank and city authorities finish paper formalities of disbursement.

    The VND10 trillion anti-flood project was begun in June, 2016, comprising of six big sewers Ben Nghe, Tan Thuan, Phu Xuan, Muong Chuoi, Cay Kho and Phu Dinh. Additionally, it has an embankment along Sai Gon river with the length of 7.8 kilometer to protect major areas.

    With the aim of preventing floods for the area of 570 square kilometers, it is scheduled to finish on April 30 this year but it failed to finish on time because districts are late in land reclamation.

    Streets To Ngoc Van and Pham Van Dong in Thu Duc District remained more than 30 cm submerged after yesterday heavy rain causing difficulties for vehicle drivers meanwhile their peers in Le Van Viet in district 9 were struggling to run.

    Numerous people had to wade through flooded street La Xuan Oai in the same district on their way home, as a rainfall kept pouring down for hours in the late afternoon.

    In a bid to reduce flooding in the rainy season, the city anti-flooding center are striving to finish projects to tackle inundation including Me Coc in district 8, Luu Huu Phuoc and Luong Dinh Cua in district 2, Ton That Hiep, Ho Van Tu in district 11, Truong Vinh Ky in Tan Phu district, An Duong Vuong in district 6 and Huynh tan Phat in district 7.

    The center has also conducted maintenance and dredging of canals and rivers in the city.

    Moreover, it has piloted to lease the pump with a capacity of 27,000 to 96,000 cubic meters per hour to work in Nguyen Huu Canh Street in Binh Thanh District, which is often susceptible to flooding due to rain and high tides.

    Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong has ordered related agencies to take heed to fight flooding in rainy season.

    Travel promotion fair aims to boost Vietnam-India tourism


     

    Over 1,200 people with disabilities to be granted artificial limbs
    India is a potential market for Ho Chi Minh City particularly and Vietnam generally


    A travel promotion fair was held yesterday in Ho Chi Minh City to boost Vietnam-India tourist, comprising of a promotional mix of activities.

    A report of the city’s Department of Tourist said that the city welcomed around 57,000 Indian travelers in 2017, up by 10 percent compared to 2016, listing India in the top of 15 nations with most visitors to the city.

    India was in the top 15 largest foreign markets of the city with 57,000 visitors travelling the city in 2017.

    According to India Tourist Agency, around 85,000 Indian holiday-makers arrived in Vietnam last year. The quantity of tourists is not satisfactory; accordingly, India will beef up promotion in Vietnam in order to connect travel companies and aviation agents to promote India tourism in Vietnam.

    6,000 voluntary doctors to participate in annual community healthcare program


     

    Over 1,200 people with disabilities to be granted artificial limbs
    Young doctors provide free health check-ups to elderly. (Photo: Sggp)


    The Vietnam Youth Federation and the Association of Vietnam’s Young Doctors on May 7 announced the annual festival of young doctors with the participation of 6,000 physicians.

    This year’s event themed “Voluntary young doctors for community health” will give free medical check-up, drugs for 10,000 people; offer free eye surgeries for 500 elderly; provide first-aid training to 5,000 teachers in 700 primary schools and kindergartens; collect 13,000 units of blood; fund 20 water filters in primary schools and kindergartens; provide free health check-ups to 1,200 disabled people.

    Young doctors will also organize consulting activities on family planning and reproductive health care; present gifts to workers in industrial zones and export processing zones.

    The festival will take place in 63 provinces and cities throughout the country from May 12-19.

    Tra Vinh province strives to reduce dropout rate

    Chairman of People’s Committee in the Mekong delta province of Tra Vinh Dong Van Lam directed all sectors and agencies to adopt measures to reduce dropout rate so that the situation will not take place in the 2018-2019 school year.

    Though the academic year 2017-2018 is coming to end, dropping out in schools in the province seemed to happen.

    Relevant agencies and sectors must curb the student dropout rate, he said.

    Students dropped out because of their families’ poor economic condition, parent associations, the Studying Encouragement Association and other unions should provide timely support and encourage their parents to send their children back to schools in the next year, he added.

    Local administrators should take heeds to call for benefactors to contribute to a fund for poor kids’ education.

    The Department of Education and Training must liaise with school managers to keep an eye on students’ economic condition to give assistance to students who have highest risk of quitting schools.

    Moreover, school managers have to organize fresh courses for weak students to reduce the dropout rate to the minimum. Localities should take advantage of poverty reduction policies and projects as well as employment offering programs to near-poor and poor families with the aim to curb student dropout.

    According to the provincial Department of Education and Training, from the beginning of the year, over 1,000 students left schools; of whom, 127 are primary students, 590 are junior high school students, 160 senior high school students and 156 of them are from continuous studying centers.

    The findings revealed that family’s poor income, parents’ awareness of schooling’s benefit have direct influence over dropout rates. Many students even travelled from here to there with their parents to be employed to do seasonal jobs.

    VN, France issue joint statement on development of GEMMES Program

    The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the French Development Agency (AFD) on May 8 released a joint statement on development of GEMMES Program (Generalized Monetary Macroeconomics for the Ecological Shift). 

    Accordingly, Viet Nam has become the first nation in Asia to benefit from the program. 

    Through the GEMMES, the French Government has affirmed concerns and supports for Viet Nam in launching long-term strategies in response to climate change.

    Based on macroeconomic model for each region of Viet Nam, the objective of the program is to provide prediction about impacts of climate change on socio-economic activities in Viet Nam.

    The program will integrate and evaluate sectoral and/or local adaptation options, manifesting Viet Nam's determinations in the Paris Agreement.

    GEMMES Viet Nam will carry out three main tasks including studying different aspects of damages caused by climate change in Viet Nam and evaluating its adaptive strategies.

    The program heads to apply updated research methods on climate change’s effects on the economy, thus releasing evaluations on damages and adaption of Viet Nam, said AFD Director Fabrice Richy, adding that evaluations from the program will be used for identifying Viet Nam’s status in negotiations on climate and optimizing adaption investment for localities. 

    The GEMMES research, initiated in 2015, has been carried out in Brazil, Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Colombia. 

    Earlier on March 27, 2018, a memorandum of understanding on implementation of the Paris Agreement in Viet Nam was inked by Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Tran Hong Ha and Director General of the AFD Remy Gioux in Paris under the witness of President of France Emmanuel Macron and Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong on the occasion of the Vietnamese Party chief’s official visit to France in recent March.

    NASA helps improve land use status, change, impacts in VN


     

    Over 1,200 people with disabilities to be granted artificial limbs 

    The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has officially launched a project on Land use status, change and impacts in Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos from May 7-16.

    An international science team meeting and fields work on the project was organized on May 7 with the participation of more than 60 international and domestic scientists.

    The project is aimed at measuring the status, coverage and use of land and setting maps on changes related to population change and demographics in Southeast Asia including Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos.

    The cooperation with NASA will help domestic scientists to get access to modern technology in space technology and exploring, thus tackling issues on urban management, land use and response to climate change. 

    SMS campaign launched to help poor fishermen


    Over 1,200 people with disabilities to be granted artificial limbs 

    The Hà Nội Red Cross Society donates VNĐ1 billion and the Mecom Marine Equipment JSC. also donates 10 aqua products exploitation recorders to the Việt Nam Red Cross’s campaign.


    A humanitarian campaign was launched on May 8 to help poor fishermen in economic development and support them to maintain their fishing as well as protect the country’s sea and island sovereignty.

    The campaign, entitled Together for the sea and islands, was launched by the Việt Nam Red Cross (VNRC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the National Humanitarian Portal 1400.

    People can support the programme by texting BD to 1407 to June 26, 2018. Each mobile text message will contribute VNĐ20,000 (85US cents) to the fund.

    “We expect to mobilise at least 100,000 text messages or VNĐ2 billion (US$88,500) from local and international donors,” said VNRC President NguyễnThị Xuân Thu.

    Thu said that all collected money and goods will be used to provide a medicine box, training course on first aid and provide free health check-up and medicine to poor fishermen in coastal provinces of the country.

    The campaign will also donate communication equipment to help fishermen following weather information and alerts as well as to provide livelihood loans to help poor fishermen in production shift and economy development, according to Thu.

    At the event, the Hà Nội Red Cross Society donated VNĐ1 billion and the Mecom Marine Equipment JSC. also donated 10 aqua products exploitation recorders to the campaign.

    Nguyen Huu Canh flooded despite massive water pump

    Nguyen Huu Canh Street in downtown HCMC was still submerged under water after heavy rain on May 7 although the HCMC government earlier signed an agreement to hire a massive water pump to prevent the street from floods, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reports.

    Some sections of the street crossing Ward 22, Binh Thanh District were flooded after the rain while others from District 1 to Saigon Bridge were about 30 centimeters under water, causing many motorcycles to break down.

    The area near Saigon Bridge was most flooded, striking a large number of motorbikes and forcing people to wade through the flooded street.

    On April 19, the HCMC government clinched a deal to hire an industrial water pump from Quang Trung Industry Group Joint Stock Company to drain floodwater on Nguyen Huu Canh Street. The agreement says that if the street is about 15 centimeters under water, the pump cannot ensure efficient operation. Prior to the signing, the pump was deployed 13 times to drain floodwater from the road, of which only one time the anti-flooding effort failed.

    VRN launches Dialogue with Rivers photo contest

    The Vietnam River Network (VRN) has launched the 2018 Doi Thoai Voi Dong Song (Dialogue with Rivers) photo contest which is aimed at raising public awareness of water resource protection and calling for people’s practical actions for sustainable development in the region.

    With the theme “The Mekong Delta – Water and Women”, the fourth edition of the contest emphasizes images of women in the Mekong Delta who are facing environmental issues like water pollution, water shortage, saltwater intrusion and climate change.

    Lasting from May 1 to August 31, 2018, the contest will present monthly prizes, grand prizes and extra titles for entries selected by professional and experienced photographers and environment experts.

    Winning entries will be updated on the contest’s Facebook of VRN-Doi Thoai Voi Dong Song, and the best photos will be exhibited at the prize presentation ceremony.

    According to VRN, climate change, upstream Mekong River projects, and people’s activities of daily living and production have seriously threatened water resource security in the Mekong Delta over the past nearly decade. Besides, shorter rainy seasons and rising sea levels have worsened water pollution, freshwater shortage and saltwater intrusion in the delta.

    Ha Giang plans new administration center

    The northern province of Ha Giang has asked the Prime Minister for approval to construct a new provincial administration center in the build-transfer-lease (BTL) format at a total cost of around VND693 billion, news website Dan Tri reports.

    A report of the Ha Giang government shows that the project consists of two 12-storey blocks and that of the VND693 billion cost, loan interest would account for some VND127 billion.

    With the BTL format, Ha Giang would have to reimburse the investment capital plus interest in 11 years and recoup the capital in another nine years.

    Explaining the need for a new administration center, the provincial government said the current local government offices built in 1990 and 1991 are deteriorating and scattered on different roads, making it inconvenient for citizens and enterprises to work with State agencies.

    The southern province of Binh Duong became the first in the country to build a new provincial administration center, followed by the central coast city of Danang and others. However, in November 2015, the Prime Minister ordered a stop to this practice due to concerns about public overspending and murky sales of old provincial government buildings.

    Ha Giang is currently categorized as a poverty-stricken province with 74,313 poor households accounting for 43.65% of the total in 2016 and 38.75% this year.


    BOT Long An tollgate yet to be opened


     

    Over 1,200 people with disabilities to be granted artificial limbs
    A view of BOT DT 830 tollgate, which has yet to be operational due to undecided toll rates 


    BOT tollgate on Provincial Road DT 830 in Long An Province has yet to be operational on May 3 as scheduled for test toll collection, said Nguyen Van Hoc, director of the Transport Department of Long An.

    Hoc told the Daily that tolling time has yet been determined by the Long An government as more discussion on toll rates is needed.

    Test toll collection was originally slated to begin on May 3 and official collection on May 15.

    At a meeting on April 26 between the Long An government, relevant agencies and the developer of DT 830 project, May 18 was chosen to put the tollgate into operation with toll rates ranging from VND30,000 to VND165,000 per time, from VND900,000 to VND4.95 million per month and from VND2.43 million to VND13.365 million per quarter.

    Regarding container trucks, tolls depend on their load and drivers who go through two tollgates of DT 830 in the same direction are required to pay once a day.

    Hoc said the above rates were previously suggested by the developer and lender banks.

    DT 830 running from Highway 1 to Ben Luc and Duc Hoa districts in Long An Province helps facilitate goods transport to industrial parks in Long An. The project jointly invested by Bang Duong Investment-Construction-Trading Co Ltd and Bamboo Capital Group with total investment capital of some VND1,079 billion.

    Hanoi hosts procession to commemorate Russia’s Great Patriotic War


    Over 1,200 people with disabilities to be granted artificial limbs

     

    Participants of the Immortal Regiment procession in Hanoi on May 8 (Photo:hanoimoi.com.vn)


    Close to 1,000 people joined the so-called Immortal Regiment procession in Hanoi on May 8 on the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of the victory of Russia’s Great Patriotic War (May 9, 1945-2017).

    The event, held by the Russian Embassy in Hanoi, also marked the 43rd anniversary of southern liberation and national reunification (April 30, 1975-2018) and the 64th anniversary of Dien Bien Phu Victory (May 7, 1954-2018).

    Participants included Vietnamese war veterans and students along with representatives from embassies of Commonwealth of Independent States countries. Many held pictures of their late families’ members, who once fought in the Great Patriotic War and Vietnam’s past struggles for independence.. 

    Speaking at the event, Russian Ambassador to Vietnam Konstantin Vnukov said the term “Immortal Regiment” was coined in a similar procession in Russia’s Tomsk city in 2012. The procession since then was held annually in many parts of the world, he added.

    The diplomat said he expects the activity to become an annual event that spreads through localities of Vietnam.

    The Immortal Regiment walk first took place in Vietnam last year.

    Tra Vinh to relocate 700 erosion-affected households


     

    Over 1,200 people with disabilities to be granted artificial limbs
    A sea dyke in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh is affected by erosion.


    The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh will need about 280 billion VND (12.32 million USD) to move approximately 700 households from erosion-prone areas to safe places from 2018 – 2020.

    Of the amount, over 247 billion VND (10.86 million USD) will be spent on six new resettlement projects, accommodating over 450 affected families in Hoa Minh commune (Chau Thanh district), Long Vinh commune (Duyen Hai district), My Long Bac and Vinh Kim communes (Cau Ngang district), Duc My commune (Cang Long district) and Dinh An commune, Tra Cu district, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    The province is seeking to relocate 42 households in high-risk areas in Vam Ben Tranh village, Dinh An commune as soon as possible.

    The remaining fund will be budgeted for three existing projects in Duyen Hai, Chau Thanh and Cang Long districts.

    The complexity of extreme weather and climate change has put coastal areas and lands on the banks of rivers and canals in Tra Vinh at high risk of erosion, said Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Huynh Kip No.

    The department has proposed the provincial People’s Committee to consider additional public investment for urgent resettlement projects from now to 2020.

    The erosion of land along coasts and rivers has occurred in many parts of the Mekong Delta, including Tra Vinh, for many years. It has affected cultivation and the lives of millions of residents living in the province’s erosion-prone areas.

    Erosion and sea water intrusion are expected to become more severe. Experts forecast that the delta would lose 39 percent of its area to the sea if the sea level rises by 100cm by 2100.

    Since 2012, Tra Vinh has invested more than 107 billion VND (4.7 million USD) to support over 2,000 people living in high-risk areas, mostly by helping them move to safe places, receive vocational training and shift to new plants and animals that are more adaptive to local conditions.

    VNN

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  • 05/10/18--02:33: Article 2
  • 90% of Vietnam’s urban household wastewater dumped directly into environment: report

    While industrial waste is subject to strict oversight, household wastewater in Vietnam remains largely unregulated

    ​90% of Vietnam’s urban household wastewater dumped directly into environment: report
    The Nhue River in Hanoi turns black due to water pollution from human activities. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    A recent report in Vietnam has shed light on a worrying finding that 90 percent of urban household wastewater in the country is dumped directly into the environment without receiving any treatment.

    The report, compiled by the state-funded Center for Environment and Community Research (CECR), highlights the alarming state of water pollution across all 63 provinces and municipalities in the country.

    The annual production of household wastewater, which makes up over 30 percent of all wastewater discharged into the environment in Vietnam, rises annually as a result of the country’s rapid urbanization.

    “Ninety percent of urban household wastewater is dumped directly into the environment without undergoing treatment,” said CECR director Nguyen Ngoc Ly.

    “The majority of wastewater only receives primary treatment in septic tanks [where solids and organics are reduced through settling and anaerobic processes] before it is discharged through the sewer system into the environment,” she added.

    Household wastewater remains a primary cause of pollution in rivers, canals, and lakes within urban areas in Vietnam, destroying the landscape and deteriorating the quality of life for locals, Ly said.

    According to CECR’s report, major cities in Vietnam including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang already have concentrated treatment plants, but their capacity has not met the actual volume of daily household wastewater being discharged into the environment.

    Lackluster enforcement of environmental laws also adds to the problem, Ly said.

    “Rich levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in household wastewater can lead to excessive growth of algae, which threatens other marine organisms,” said Dr. Ngo Phuong Quy, general director of Phu Dien estate company.

    “Without proper and timely countermeasures to this threat, the water environment in big cities could be in grave danger,” he warned.

    Tuoi Tre News

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  • 05/10/18--02:42: Article 1
  • Salary reform heats up Party Central Committee’s 7th plenary meeting


    Hanoi -The 12th-tenure of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) discussed salary reform for officials, public servants, the armed forces and workers in the afternoon of May 9, the third day of its seventh plenary meeting.


     

    Finance Minister Dinh Tien Dung (Source: VNA)

    The working session took place under the chair of Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Politburo member and Chairwoman of the National Assembly. 

    Minister of Home Affairs Le Vinh Tan delivered a report clarifying objectives, tasks and breakthrough solutions to implement the salary policy reform project. 

    He emphasised the need to employ drastic solutions regarding finance and budget, personnel reduction, the restructuring of the contingent of officials and public servants, and the streamlining of the apparatus in the political system in order to ensure operational efficiency. 

    Tan also stressed information work to raise public awareness of salary reform, as well as the role of people, fatherland front and socio- political organisations in implementing the reform. 

    Members of the Party Central Committee (PCC) reached high consensus on the issuance of a resolution on salary reform. 

    Be Xuan Truong, Deputy Defence Minister, applauded the feasibility of the project, saying it matches the country’s development trend as well as salary policies of developed countries in the world. 

    He said among the solutions set forth in the project, resourcesmobilisation and personnel reduction are the most important, adding that a ten-percent reduction in personnel each year could facilitate salary reform. 

    Pham Hoai Nam, a delegate from the Naval Service, lauded thorough and scientific preparations for the project. 

    He said income and expenditure of officials in different regions should be taken into account during the implementation of the project, explaining that socio-economic development in localities and regions is not the same. 

    Ngo Dong Hai, deputy head of the PCC’s Economic Commission, highlighted breakthroughs of the project, noting that the problem lies in how to develop a modern salary system suitable to the country’s development periods, and to make salary the main source of income of officials, public servants, the armed forces, and workers, and a momentum for them to fulfill their assigned tasks. 

    Delegates suggested implementing four solutions, focusing on considering the salary in the public area is the basis to decide the basic salary for other areas; and giving clear regulations on macro and micro management on salary policy to promote the role, responsibilities and management ability of localities and organsations in the work. 

    They also gave solutions to effective implementation of the project, while stressing the payment basing on job title, working position, and performance. 

    They stressed the need to devise mechanisms, regulations and directions to well perform the project. 

    Attendees agreed that it is necessary to consistently build the payroll, and arrange staff in line with the job titles, give attention to building job title standards as a basis for building the payroll as well as the building of job titles and position projects, and replacing the examination for changing salary level with the appointment based on job requirements. 

    They said an effective public administration must be based on a contingent of civil servants and officials with good profession and virtue, and those with high-motivated spirit.

    It is necessary to fully implement the remuneration regime so that civil servants will keep their mind on their work, and be assured of pursuing their career, they said.

    Finance Minister DinhTien Dung lauded breakthrough measures in the salary reform policy scheme, ensuring transparency, fairness and empowerment for units and localities in terms of salary payment based on labour results. 

    He said the ministry will press on with the plan in accordance with the Party Central Committee (12th tenure)’s Resolutions No.18 and No.19, towards the goal of restructuring public debts to ensure safe and sustainable national finance in line with the Politburo’s Resolution No.07. 

    Accordingly, development expenditure will account for nearly 26 percent of the total State spending while regular spending and deficit will stay below 3.5 percent of the gross domestic product by 2020, and lower over subsequent years. 

    Spending for salary will increase by nearly 35-40 trillion VND (1.55 – 1.78 billion USD) by 2021 and 2022. 

    By 2021-2022, the State budget deficit will make up 4-4.1 percent of GDP. If official development assistance (ODA) disbursement for 2016-2020 exceeds the plan by 2.4-2.5 percent of GDP, public debts will be around 64.5 percent of GDP, close to public debt limit allowed by the National Assembly. 

    With the adjustment of the lowest salary to 4.140 million VND per month from 2021, the State budget will need roughly 115 trillion VND by 2021 and 95 trillion VND by 2022, he said. 

    President of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour Bui Van Cuong said workers hold high expectation on the Party’s important decisions on salary and social insurance. 

    In order to attract young and capable workforce, he lauded the plan to offer higher salary to qualified workers and prevent the situation that those with many working years are entitled to high salaries. 

    He said the State’s policy of not interfering into enterprises’ salary policy is new and progressive, adding that there should be specific regulations on the responsibilities of trade unions and organisations representing workers for negotiating salaries with workers in line with law. 

    In the near future, trade unions will sign collective labour agreements at the national and sectoral levels, and with employers.

    VNA

    0 0
  • 05/10/18--03:05: Article 0
  • 12 loss-making projects fall deeper into debts

     

    As of December 31, 2017, the total debts of the 12 loss-making projects increased by VND3.44 trillion ($150.8 million) to VND58.5 trillion ($2.56 billion), almost all of which is threatening to become bad debts.


    12 loss making projects fall deeper into debts
    Ninh Binh Nitrogenous Fertiliser plant is one of the 10 project slipping further

    According to newswire Vnexpress, after a year of implementing solutions in loss-making projects following a request from the National Assembly, with the exception of Lao Cai iron and steel plant and DAP 1 Haiphong fertiliser plant which managed to turn profit, the projects racked up VND18.67 trillion ($819.8 million) of accumulated losses, up VND2.55 trillion ($111.9 million) on-year.

    With this massive loss, it will be difficult to pay principal and interest to Vietnam Development Bank (VDB) and other lenders.

    Project loans from local banks amounted to VND41.8 trillion ($1.83 billion), including VND16.9 trillion ($1.83 billion) from VDB. Foreign loans guaranteed by the government totalled VND6.6 trillion and were used to fund Dung Quat Shipbuilding Industry Company Limited, Ninh Binh fertiliser plant, and Phuong Nam paper pulp mill.

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) said the projects’ outstanding loans were still high, especially those borrowed by Dinh Vu polyester fibre factory, Quy Xa iron ore mining and quarrying project, and Lao Cai iron and steel plant, as well as Ha Bac fertiliser plant.

    As of December 31, 2017, the 12 inefficient projects’ total equity decreased by VND4 trillion ($175.6 million) against 2016.

    According to MoIT, the total initial investment in these 12 projects was some VND43.7 trillion ($1.91 billion), which was later adjusted to VND63.6 trillion ($2.79 billion) (an increase of 45.65 per cent). Of this, equity was VND14.4 trillion ($632.3 million), accounting for 22.56 per cent, while loans made up 74.6 per cent with about VND47.5 trillion ($2.08 billion). The remaining 2.84 per cent came from other sources.

    At present, Phuong Nam pulp mill is on sale, and Bio-Ethanol Dung Quat plant has suspended operations after defaulting on its debts.

    Besides, Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel plant-phase 2 is in limbo. Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel JSC (Tisco), the investor of Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel plant, considered taking Chinese contractor China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) to court to deal with the overlong dispute over an engineering-procurement-construction (EPC) contract once and for all.

    The remaining projects have either maintained or resumed operations.

    VIR 

    0 0
  • 05/11/18--01:43: Article 7
  • VN Central Bank tells banks to stop ATM fee hikes


    The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), or the central bank, has told commercial banks to stop hiking ATM cash withdrawal fees as multiple banks have been rushing to revise up ATM card and Internet Banking service charges.


     

    VN Central Bank tells banks to stop ATM fee hikes, 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
    Some commercial banks are told to stop hiking ATM cash withdrawal fees 

    News website BizLIVE on May 9 quoted a source from the central bank as saying that currently there is a fees framework set by the central bank, so banks can use it as a basis to decide their own fees.

    But for any fee adjustments, banks should look into the interests of customers to ensure a balance between the two sides.

    Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) and Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) have adjusted up transaction fees for ATM and Internet Banking services.

    BIDV has hiked its ATM cash withdrawal fee to VND1,650 per transaction, with value-added tax included, for each transaction in its system since May 4.

    The new fee is VND550 higher than before and this is the same hike as Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank).

    VietinBank has also revised up its transaction fees to VND2,200 for debit cards and VND1,650 for C-Card and S-Card from the previous VND1,100. The new fees, including value-added tax, have been in force since May 5.

    Agribank has sent a notice on the most recent service fee hike to its ATM card holders. For example, the cash withdrawal fee, plus value-added tax, in the same-bank system will rise to VND1,650 per transaction from the current VND1,100 from May 12.

    VND1,100 per transaction has long been the standard cash withdrawal fee for ATM users, which is below the upper cap of VND3,300 allowed by the SBV, according to Agribank.

    The fee hikes by local banks are done as planned, said Dao Minh Tuan, chairman of the Vietnam Bank Card Association, at a banking forum held in Hanoi on May 8 by the Saigon Times Group.

    The central bank’s Circular 35, which came out in 2012, allows banks to collect ATM fees from March 2013. The maximum fee of VND3,300 for each transaction has been permitted since 2015 but most banks have kept their fees at either VND1,100 or VND1,650.

    Tuan said some banks have even suggested charging VND7,000 on each cash withdrawal from ATM.

    Tien Phong Bank and Baovietbank allow their customers to withdraw cash from their domestic ATMs at no charge.

    Enterprises complain about higher fees

    Enterprises have bemoaned the recent hikes in ATM card and Internet Banking service charges, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reports.

    The fee for SMS banking service at VIB has increased from VND50,000 to VND200,000 a month. VIB also monthly charges VND1 million on Internet Banking service, up from VND350,000, and requires a minimum balance of VND1 million in a customer’s account.

    In addition, VIB collects VND500,000 for a monthly deposit account management fee from special customers.

    VIB applies the new fees to enterprises with fewer transactions than the minimum level regulated by the bank. Therefore, the number of enterprises influenced by the new fees is small, the bank was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

    Many other commercial banks have also raised their service fees for individual customers. Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) from May 12 will adjust up the ATM cash withdrawal fee from VND1,100 to VND1,650 per transaction, including value added tax. The fee for inter-bank transactions has also risen 0.05% to at least VND8,000.

    Vietnam Export Import Commercial Bank (Eximbank) has increased its Internet Banking service fee to VND11,000 a month.

    In March, Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) revised up its SMS Banking service fee from VND8,800 to VND11,000. Besides, customers have to monthly pay VND5,500 for each money transfer of more than VND50 million among Vietcombank account holders and VND2,200 for account management.

    According to banks, the fee hike is aimed at offsetting costs for ATM and e-banking development and encouraging customers to use non-cash banking services.

    Many customers have complained that despite the higher fees, the quality of banking services has remained unchanged.

    Revenues and profits from service fees of many banks have soared.

    According to a report on the financial market last year by the National Financial Supervisory Commission, banks’ net revenue from services grew 34.7%.

    Many banks like Vietcombank, VietinBank, BIDV, Techcombank and Sacombank reported profits from services exceeding VND1 trillion.

    SGT

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