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  • 05/24/18--01:36: Article 1
  • Social News In Brief 23/5


    Working for safer buildings in smart cities


     

    Working for safer buildings in smart cities, Artistic programme marks 25 years of action for biodiversity, Public, private agencies commit to achieve green growth, “Don’t play with natural disasters” wins first prize of film contest
    At the workshop


    The use of smart fire prevention and detection technology is essential to ensure safety for buildings in smart cities, heard a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on May 22.

    US Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Mary Tarnowka said the rapid urbanisation is putting a lot of pressure on infrastructure and accommodation in HCM City.

    It is necessary to build quality inspection programmes and apply the latest technology for houses, offices, and public facilities to ensure their safety, she said.

    The recent deadly blaze at the Carina Plaza apartment complex in the city’s District 8 has raised the issue of preventing losses by pouring more investment in safety training and assessment, she added.

    Major General Doan Viet Manh, head of the police department for fire prevention and rescue under the Ministry of Public Security, called on investors to select the state-of-the-art technology for fire prevention and install smart fire warning systems in buildings.

    Pham Minh Ha, head of the State department on assessing quality of construction work under the Ministry of Construction, said the ministry will strengthen coordination with the Ministry of Public Security to inspect the maintenance of fire prevention systems in buildings and strictly handle any violations.

    The ministry is carrying out a project on fire safety and increasing the dissemination of life-saving skills for tenants in buildings, he noted.

    According to the Construction Ministry, about 600 out of 2,500 old apartment buildings in Vietnam are in dangerous or seriously dilapidated conditions, making up some 25 percent of the total number of old buildings.

    In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City which accommodate most old buildings, about ten buildings have been renovated or reconstructed, while the rest are being assessed and expected to be put into the renovation scheme by 2020.

    Artistic programme marks 25 years of action for biodiversity


    Working for safer buildings in smart cities, Artistic programme marks 25 years of action for biodiversity, Public, private agencies commit to achieve green growth, “Don’t play with natural disasters” wins first prize of film contest 
    Red-shanked douc (Pygathrix nemaeus) in Dong Chau-Khe Nuoc Trong forest in Quang Binh province  

    An artistic programme was held in Hanoi on May 22 to celebrate a quarter century of action for biodiversity, marking the 25th anniversary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

    The event, held by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), was attended by guests from Vietnamese and foreign agencies and organisations, experts in biodiversity conservation and students.

    Since Vietnam ratified the CBD on October 17, 1994, it has made great strides in nature and biodiversity conservation, including building a system of managerial agencies and a policy and legal framework on biodiversity, setting up nature reserves and implementing action plans to protect endangered fauna and flora species.

    The country has stepped up efforts in new biodiversity conservation issues like biological safety, access to genetic resources and sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources. Meanwhile, awareness of the importance of biodiversity to life and sustainable development has been improved.

    Vietnam boasts high biodiversity with various types of forests, swamps, rivers, streams and coral reefs, making it home to about 10 percent of the world’s animal species.

    However, the country is facing risks of biodiversity degradation and ecological imbalance, which will affect the human living environment and the Earth’s development. Therefore, biodiversity conservation needs multilateral cooperation and engagement from the entire society to reach the targets in the CBD and the National Biodiversity Strategy.

    Addressing the ceremony, UNDP Deputy Country Director in Vietnam Akiko Fujii said biodiversity in Vietnam has brought benefits to the people and contributed to the economy.

    She noted it is a fact that biodiversity in the country is being degraded, and the number of endangered species is increasing. Hence, it is critically important to improve public awareness of biodiversity and reasonably use biodiversity resources.

    At the ceremony, participants also joined a discussion on conservation with representatives of the Vietnam Environment Administration, the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment, the UNDP and ASEAN Biodiversity Hero Dang Huy Huynh.

    Public, private agencies commit to achieve green growth


    Working for safer buildings in smart cities, Artistic programme marks 25 years of action for biodiversity, Public, private agencies commit to achieve green growth, “Don’t play with natural disasters” wins first prize of film contest 
    The Vietnam Environment Forum takes place in Hanoi on May 22 under the theme “Enterprises towards environment protection and green growth” (Photo: daibieunhandan.vn)


    Protecting the environment is now becoming a common motivation of enterprises’ long term strategy, Nguyen The Chinh, head of the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment said at a forum on May 22.

    The Vietnam Environment Forum themed “Enterprises towards environment protection and green growth” hosted by Tai nguyen va Moi truong (Natural Resources and Environment) magazine attracted the participation of ministries’ representatives, experts and companies in Hanoi and other localities.

    According to Chinh, investment into organic and green agriculture has generated good profits for a lot of Vietnamese firms. Besides this, more and more enterprises are stepping into the industry of waste collection and treatment, as well as environmental protection programmes.

    By investing in eco-friendly industries and innovations, enterprises can enjoy positive benefits while spreading sustainable values to the community and country, experts agreed.

    They noted that enterprises could definitely improve labour productivity by ensuring a safe and healthy working environment for workers. They can also avoid legal risks by strictly complying with environmental regulations and investing into effective waste treatment systems.

    Therefore, on the occasion, experts and businesses asked related ministries, State agencies and the Government to complete the legal framework of natural resources management and environmental protection to create favourable conditions for enterprises to approach innovations and achieve the green growth.

    In another development, the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu affirmed a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, effectively use natural resources and improve climate change resilience by 2020 with a vision to 2025.

    Specifically, Bac Lieu province expects to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 10 percent by 2020, and up to 79 percent by 2025. Furthermore, it is set to have 80 percent of manufacturing facilities meeting the national environment standards by 2020.

    To attain these goals, the local authorities have implemented several solutions to raise awareness of the people, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the sectors of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and industry, and foster sustainable consumption among consumers.

    Duong Thanh Trung, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, stressed green growth as the cornerstone of the province’s socio-economic development, indicating the province’s commitment in realising the national strategy of green growth and climate change resilience.

    Gia Lai reburies remains repatriated from Cambodia


     Working for safer buildings in smart cities, Artistic programme marks 25 years of action for biodiversity, Public, private agencies commit to achieve green growth, “Don’t play with natural disasters” wins first prize of film contest
    Scene at the event (Photo: qdnd.vn)


    The Central Highlands province of Gia Lai on May 22 held a ceremony to rebury the remains of 21 Vietnamese volunteer soldiers who laid down their lives in Cambodia during wartime.

    The ceremony was attended by the provincial leaders, representatives from local organisations, military forces, and people from all walks of life.

    With support from authorities in the Cambodian provinces of Rattanakiri, Preah Vihear and Stung treng and the Cambodian Royal Army, the remains were found in the 2017-2018 dry season by Group K52 of the Gia Lai Military Command.

    Established in 2001, Group K52 has to date found 1,400 remains of Vietnamese soldiers and experts fallen in Cambodia. 

    The remains were repatriated and reburied at Duc Co Martyrs' Cemetery in Gia Lai’s Duc Co district.

    Forum spotlights partnership in biodiversity protection


     Working for safer buildings in smart cities, Artistic programme marks 25 years of action for biodiversity, Public, private agencies commit to achieve green growth, “Don’t play with natural disasters” wins first prize of film contest
    A view of Ru Cha submerged forest in Huong Tra township, Thua Thien-Hue province


    A biodiversity conservation partnership forum was held in Hanoi on May 22 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment and CropLife Vietnam.

    According to the Vietnam Environment Administration, since Vietnam ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity in October 17, 1994, the country has made strides in protecting the nature and biodiversity, building a system of management agencies as well as legal and policy frameworks on biodiversity.

    A system of wildlife reserves has been set up, while many endangered species of animals and plants have been protected by the law and through action plans. Vietnam has also sped up the settlement of new issues related to biodiversity conservation such as biological safety, genetic resource access and interest sharing from using genetic resources.

    The public awareness of the significance and role of biodiversity to the life and national sustainable development has been improved.

    Participants at the event agreed that with diverse terrains, land types, landscapes and climate, Vietnam is one of the countries that have high biodiversity, along with high risks of biodiversity degradation and imbalance, which has directly affected the living environment of people and threatened the country’s sustainable growth.

    The protection of biodiversity requires cooperation of many parties and strong engagement of the whole society, with the aim of fulfilling the targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity as well as the national strategy on biodiversity.

    Hoang Thi Thanh Nhan, Vice Director of the Department of Nature and Biodiversity Conservation under the Vietnam Environment Administration, said that four major areas in the partnership programme in the 2015-2020 include the building of policies and laws; the protection of endangered species and wildlife trafficking prevention; biodiversity and climate change; and economic tools and community-based conservation.

    From May 2018, as the department will also be in charge of protecting natural heritage and biosphere reserves, it needs more cooperation from domestic and foreign partners.

    “Don’t play with natural disasters” wins first prize of film contest


    Working for safer buildings in smart cities, Artistic programme marks 25 years of action for biodiversity, Public, private agencies commit to achieve green growth, “Don’t play with natural disasters” wins first prize of film contest 
    Winners of the film contest 


    The nine-minute documentary “Dung dua voi thien tai” (Don’t play with natural disasters) by Khanh Hoa province’s TV and Radio won the first prize of the short reportage and film contest, themed “Extreme natural disasters – lessons of the past and ideas for future actions”.

    The Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) held the awards ceremony in Hanoi on May 22.

    The winning documentary reveals how a storm destroyed all the life savings of local people in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa early in the morning of November 4, 2017.

    The organisation board also presented a second prizes to “Lu quet Mu Cang Chai – Nguyen nhan hinh thanh va Moi so giai phap (Flash Floods in Mu Cang Chai – Causes and Solutions) by Vietnam Television and “Chuyen cai ao” (The Story of a Pond) by Soc Trang TV and Radio. Three third prizes and three consolation prizes were also awarded.

    Speaking at the awards ceremony, permanent member of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control Tran Quang Hoai highlighted the crucial role of the media in reducing destruction caused by natural disasters.

    Natural disaster predictions and warnings need to be disseminated quickly and precisely to the public via different means, he added.

    Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Country Director in Vietnam, said the competition recognised the importance of the media in providing knowledge and skills to contribute to natural disaster prevention efforts.

    At the end of the awards ceremony, the 2018 contest with the theme “Minimising destruction caused by natural disasters and proactively adapting to climate change starting from communities” was launched.

    The contest aims to improve media coverage of natural disaster preparedness and improve public awareness of disasters.

    It also supports the realisation of targets set out in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

    Over the past 20 years, natural disasters have left some 400 dead and missing and caused economic damage of about 1-1.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) yearly.

    2017 was considered a year of extreme weather, with heavy and prolonged downpours, landslides, flashfloods and storms resulting in 386 dead and missing and some 60 trillion VND (2.6 billion USD) worth of damage.

    Trial for deadly medical accident resumes with new details 

     Working for safer buildings in smart cities, Artistic programme marks 25 years of action for biodiversity, Public, private agencies commit to achieve green growth, “Don’t play with natural disasters” wins first prize of film contest
    The first-instance trial for the accident at Hòa Bình General Hospital that killed nine people in May last year ended its sixth day on May 22 with a series of question and answer among defendants and the board of judges.


    The first-instance trial for the accident at Hòa Bình General Hospital that killed nine people in May last year ended its sixth day on May 22 with a series of question and answer among defendants and the board of judges.

    In the morning session, the court presented the testimonies of Trương Quý Dương, who was director of Hòa Bình Hospital when the accident occurred, and Trần Văn Thắng, the head of the hospital’s equipment department.

    On May 29, 2017, 18 patients suffered symptoms of anaphylactic shock while receiving kidney dialysis at the kidney dialysis division of the Hòa Bình General Hospital’s Department of Intensive Care. Nine patients died.

    Dương and Thắng were asked to show up to the court as persons related to the case but they refused, so the court had to present their testimonies.

    According to the statement Dương gave to the Hòa Bình Province’s Police, he said the dialysis section belonged to the intensive care department. Doctor Hoàng Công Lương was assigned to give medical treatment to the patients and take part in giving first aid within the intensive care department in case of emergency or accidents.

    However, doctor Lương disputed Dương’s testimony about his assignment at the hospital.

    Lương said that he was a doctor in the intensive care department, not the dialysis section.

    Also in the court session on Monday, Đinh Tiến Công, chief nurse of the intensive care department, affirmed that Lương’s assignment was chief doctor of the dialysis section.

    Regarding the responsibilities of the hospital’s equipment department headed by Thắng, Dương said the department was responsible for purchasing, providing and maintaining machines and equipment used in the hospital.

    The department’s staff had to regulate the RO water filter system for dialysis machines.

    He said he did not know the Thiên Sơn Company, which signed a contract to provide equipment to the hospital, had resold the contract to Trâm Anh Company.

    Meanwhile, Thắng said that defendant Trần Văn Sơn, who had worked at the department since August 2013, was in charge of managing files of medical equipment and verifying the equipment’s quality, including maintaining and repairing equipment in the dialysis section, intensive care and eye departments.

    Thắng said Sơn did not give him any records relating to repairing the RO system of the dialysis section with Bùi Mạnh Cường, director of Trâm Anh Company.

    The defendant Trần Mạnh Sơn disputed Thắng’s testimony.

    The defendants include Bùi Mạnh Quốc, director of the Trâm Anh Water Treatment Co Ltd and a resident of the northern province of Bắc Ninh, who was prosecuted for “unintentionally causing deaths.”

    The others are Trần Văn Sơn, an official of the medical material and equipment division of the Hòa Bình General Hospital, and Hoàng Công Lương, a doctor of the Department of Intensive Care of Hòa Bình General Hospital.

    Both Sơn and Lương were prosecuted for “lacking responsibility causing serious consequences.”

    According to the indictment of the provincial People’s Procuracy, Quốc had repaired and maintained the RO filter system of the dialysis machines. During the process, however, the machines’ water supply tubes were not purified carefully, leaving a chemical residue.

    After the pasteurisation of the RO filter system, Quốc failed to check the quality of water samples before handing the system over to the hospital. He was charged with “unintentionally causing deaths.”

    Sơn, 28, who was in charge of checking and supervising the replacement and maintenance of the filter system, failed to complete his assigned tasks. Nephrologist Lương, 32, allowed the dialysis treatment to commence without checking the water quality of the machines.

    Efforts to erase mother-to-child transmission of HIV, hepatitis B, syphilis


     Working for safer buildings in smart cities, Artistic programme marks 25 years of action for biodiversity, Public, private agencies commit to achieve green growth, “Don’t play with natural disasters” wins first prize of film contest

    A workshop was held in Hanoi on May 22 to gather ideas for the building of a national action plan to eliminate the transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis from mothers to children.

    Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien noted that the transmission of these diseases from mother to child causes many consequences, greatly affecting the health of mothers and children, stressing the ministry’s determination to complete the goals of erasing mother-to-child transmission of these diseases.

    He said that pregnant women lack access to health services in remote, border and island areas, creating a major challenge for the national programme to eliminate the diseases.

    The Ministry of Health’s Maternal and Child Health Department reported that the rate of HIV infection among the country’s two million pregnant women every year is 0.25 percent.

    At the same time, Vietnam is one of the countries with the highest prevalence of hepatitis B virus in the world, at 10-20 percent. Therefore, the prevalence of hepatitis B virus among pregnant women is also high.

    According to the Central Dermatology Hospital’s latest report, the incidence of congenital syphilis in newborns is on the rise.

    A draft on the National Action Plan to eliminate the transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis from mothers to children in the 2018-2030 period has been completed by the Ministry of Health.

    The plan will focus on key solutions: strengthening communication and finance, innovating new methods of treatment and enhancing the quality of health services such as screening, diagnosis, care and treatment for mothers and children.

    At the workshop, participants discussed issues such as antenatal care and pre-testing for disease discovery, interventions for pregnant women, mother-to-child transmission, funding for the implementation of the plan, inter-sector coordination and monitoring.

    According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in the western Pacific Region, every year, about 180,000 people are infected with hepatitis B, 13,000 children are infected with syphilis and 1,400 children are infected with HIV.

    These diseases can be prevented through simple and accessible interventions, including pre-testing for pregnant women and vaccination of infants after birth.

    Participants at the workshop agreed that in Vietnam, there is a lack of coordination among medical service providers such as clinics, hospitals and grass-roots health centres. This restricts mothers and infants from accessing advanced medical services and limits the effectiveness of medical intervention.

    WHO has developed a framework for the elimination of HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis from mothers to children in the Asia-Pacific region for the 2018-2030 period and recommended member states develop national action plans to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of the three diseases by 2030.

    VNN


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  • 05/24/18--02:48: Article 0
  • Developer to charge toll for boats traveling under railway bridge in Ho Chi Minh City

     

    This will be the first waterway toll imposed in the southern Vietnamese city

    ​Developer to charge toll for boats traveling under railway bridge in Ho Chi Minh City 
    The existing Binh Loi railway bridge in between Binh Thanh and Thu Duc Districts is seen from a birdview. Photo: Tuoi Tre.


    The rationale behind the first-ever plan to charge a waterway toll for boats passing under a new railway bridge in Ho Chi Minh City is raising eyebrows from locals who depend on the river for daily life.

    Local residents are wondering why boats traveling underneath the Binh Loi Railway Bridge will be expected to pay a toll, even though they will not be directly using the currently under construction infrastructure.

    Crossing over the Saigon River, the new railway bridge, developed by a joint venture between GUD and STD, links Binh Thanh and Thu Duc districts.

    The structure is part of Pham Van Dong Boulevard, a primary transportation route connecting industrial zones in the neighboring province of Binh Duong with the inland container depot in Ho Chi Minh City.

    A representative of the developer announced that the ‘river toll’ will be applied to boats passing under the facility once it is put into operation during the first quarter of 2019.

    The bridge, which is being financed under a BOT (build-operate-transfer) scheme , broke ground in late April 2015 as a part of an initiative to replace the deteriorating 112-year-old currently used by trains on the railway.

    In the BOT framework, the developer receives a concession from the private or public sector to finance, design, construct and operate a facility for a certain period, during which it has to raise the finances for, and is entitled to retain all revenues generated by, the project. The facility will be then transferred to the public administration at the end of the concession agreement.

    The project also includes upgrades to a 71-kilometer section of the Sai Gon River between Binh Loi Bridge and the Ben Suc Wharf in Binh Duong.

    Though many agree the construction is much needed, the rationale behind the imposition of a ‘river toll’ is raising serious concerns.

     ​Developer to charge toll for boats traveling under railway bridge in Ho Chi Minh City
    An architecture’s impression of the new Binh Loi railway bridge is seen is this photo provided by the developers.


    Asked to comment on the controversy, Vu Duc Cuc, a representative of the GUD-STD joint venture, confirmed that the waterway toll will only target boats with loads weighing more than 300 metric tons.

    “The new Binh Loi railway bridge will prevent boats from being stuck during high tide as the vertical clearance will be increased from 1.8 meters to 7 meters,” Duc said.

    ‘Benefiting transportation’

    Asked whether trains using the bridge will be forced to pay a toll, Duc clarified that only boats passing under the structure would be subject to the charge, and no trains will be subject to the fee.

    Duc underlined that GUD-STD will not be collecting the toll directly, but will instead contract the state agency charged with overseeing ports along the Saigon River, from the Binh Loi railway bridge to the Ben Suc Wharf, in order to “ensure transparency”.

    Addressing concerns that the toll will increase transportation costs and put further pressure on local merchants, Duc replied that the waterway toll is still less than the road toll trucks would pass to reach the same destination.

    “Thus, the price of goods will not be affected,” he said.

    “I believe putting the new Binh Loi railway bridge into operation will bring many benefits to transportation and trading as the existing bridge obstructs shipping between Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong,” the representative concluded.

    According to plan, the new Binh Loi railway bridge will be opened during the first quarter of 2019 while the upgraded section of the Sai Gon River between Binh Loi Bridge and the Ben Suc Wharf will be completed sometime between April and June.

    Tuoi Tre News


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  • 05/25/18--01:53: Article 2
  • Government News 25/5


    Vietnam always facilitates foreign investors: official 

     

    Vietnam always facilitates foreign investors: official, HCM City wishes to foster cooperation with Israel, Ministries urged to address slow public investment disbursement, Vietnam joins 10th Pan-Tonkin Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum,
    Minister and Chairman of the Office of the Government Mai Tien Dung (second from right) in a meeting with RoK large corporations. 

    The Vietnamese Government always creates favourable conditions for foreign businesses, including those from the Republic of Korea (RoK), to invest and expand operation in the country, said Minister and Chairman of the Office of the Government Mai Tien Dung.

    In a meeting with leading Korean corporations in Seoul on May 24, Dung underlined that as part of efforts to develop the economy, the modernisation of the public administrative system has been prioritised.

    In the future, the Vietnamese Government will focus on a project to branch out e-Government, he noted, expressing his hope that the RoK government and enterprises will share experience and support Vietnam to build the e-Government system.

    “Sharing issues of Vietnam’s priority with RoK friends means showing great expectations of effective cooperation between the two sides in the era of digitalised economy,” Dung said.

    Representatives from the RoK business association thanked the Vietnamese Government for giving them favourable treatment. They  noted that they are ready to work with the Vietnamese Government, ministries and authorities and large IT groups like FPT, VNPT and Viettel to develop e-Government in Vietnam.

    Chairman of the Office of the Government Mai Tien Dung is on a visit to the RoK from May 22-27.

    HCM City wishes to foster cooperation with Israel
     

    Vietnam always facilitates foreign investors: official, HCM City wishes to foster cooperation with Israel, Ministries urged to address slow public investment disbursement, Vietnam joins 10th Pan-Tonkin Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum, 
    Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan (L) hosts Israeli President Reuven Rivlin


    Ho Chi Minh City wishes to boost cooperation with Israel in short, medium and long terms, thus bringing practical benefits to both sides, said Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan.

    At a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem city on May 24 (local time), Nhan suggested the President continue supporting the promotion of collaboration between Israeli and Vietnamese partners, including those from Ho Chi Minh City, in fields of both sides’ strength and demand.

    He also proposed Israel, via its Agency for International Development Cooperation and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, continue granting scholarships to and assisting the city in training high quality human resources in high technology.

    He expressed his hope that the two counties will soon complete negotiations for the signing of a free trade agreement with a view to raising two-way trade to 3 billion USD in the years to come.

    For his part, President Reuven Rivlin congratulated Vietnam on the great achievements it has made over the past four decades, especially in agriculture, health and tourism.

    He spoke highly of the Vietnamese authorities’ support for the private economic sector and the development of the Vietnamese army.

    The same day, the Ho Chi Minh City delegation visited the Hebrew University, one of the oldest and most famous universities in Israel, with the largest number of scientists holding Nobel and Fields prizes. They also called at the Mobileye Company and the Israel Innovation Authority.

    Later on May 24, the delegation left Tel Aviv, concluding their working visit to Israel.

    Vietnam-Russia Friendship Association marks 68th year
     

     

    Vietnam always facilitates foreign investors: official, HCM City wishes to foster cooperation with Israel, Ministries urged to address slow public investment disbursement, Vietnam joins 10th Pan-Tonkin Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum,
    President of the Vietnam–Russia Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group Phan Xuan Dung makes a remark at the event.  

    A gathering was held in Hanoi on May 23 to celebrate the 68th anniversary of the Vietnam–Russia Friendship Association (May 23, 1950) and to recall great memories in the history of the Vietnam–Russia friendship.

    The event was hosted by the Vietnam–Russia Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group and the Central Vietnam–Russia Friendship Association, allowing the two organisations to share experience in foreign affairs work.

    In his opening remarks, President of the Vietnam–Russia Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group Phan Xuan Dung said Vietnam and Russia have focused on maintaining and developing ties between the two national assemblies.

    The two sides have exchanged visits to share practical experience in performing the legislatures’ functions, monitor the implementation of bilateral agreements signed by the two governments and improve the legal environment to facilitate cooperation between the two countries’ localities and businesses and increase understanding between their peoples, Dung noted.

    He expected the two nations will further foster their parliamentary and people-to-people diplomacy and promote coordination between the Vietnam–Russia and Vietnam–Russia parliamentarians’ groups.

    President of the Vietnam-Russia Friendship Association Tran Binh Minh, for his part, mentioned the association as one of the most active friendship associations in Vietnam because of its large number of members and the strong bonds between them. Minh said he hopes that activities of the Vietnam–Russia Friendship Association and the Vietnam-Russia Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group will play a significant part in expanding the two countries’ relations and developing people-to-people diplomacy.

    Russian Ambassador to Vietnam Konstantin Vkunov lauded the growth of Vietnam–Russia relations, saying he expects ties to be strengthened through exchanges of high-level visits and friendship activities between the two sides.

    Vice Chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam Uong Chu Luu congratulated Russia on the reelection of President Vladimir Putin.  He also looked forward to more activities by the Vietnam–Russia Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group and Vietnam–Russia Friendship Association to promote bilateral relations.

    Reforms to ensure social insurance key pillar in social security system
     

     Vietnam always facilitates foreign investors: official, HCM City wishes to foster cooperation with Israel, Ministries urged to address slow public investment disbursement, Vietnam joins 10th Pan-Tonkin Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum,
    At the seventh session of the 12th-tenure Party Central Committee 

    Reforming social insurance policies is aimed at ensuring social insurance is truly a key pillar in the social security system and to gradually expand its coverage for all people, according to a resolution of the Party Central Committee.

    Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong on May 23 signed off Resolution 28-NQ/TW on reforming social insurance policies, issued at the recent seventh session of the 12th-tenure Party Central Committee.

    The resolution states that the social insurance system will be developed flexibly into a diverse, multi-level and modern system that matches international practices. The State’s management capacity and efficiency will be improved while a lean, professional, modern, trustworthy and transparent system for social insurance policy implementation will be developed.

    The resolution also sets up detailed objectives for each period.

    It targets that by 2021, about 35 percent of the workforce will take part in social insurance, and about 28 percent will participate in unemployment insurance. About 45 percent of the persons beyond the retirement age will receive retirement pensions, monthly social insurance benefits and post-retirement benefits. The satisfaction with social insurance index will reach 80 percent.

    By 2025, around 45 percent of the workforce will take part in social insurance, and some 35 percent will participate in unemployment insurance. About 55 percent of the persons beyond the retirement age will receive retirement pensions, monthly social insurance benefits and post-retirement benefits. The satisfaction with social insurance index is expected at 85 percent.

    The resolution targets that by 2030, about 60 percent of the workforce will take part in social insurance, and about 45 percent will participate in unemployment insurance. About 60 percent of the persons beyond the retirement age will receive retirement pensions, monthly social insurance and post-retirement benefits. The satisfaction with social insurance index is hoped to reach 90 percent.

    The resolution requests reforms be made synchronously to expand social insurance coverage towards social insurance for all and to ensure the long-term balance of the social insurance fund.

    Those reforms include building a multi-level social insurance system, flexibly amending the regulations on the minimum social insurance participation duration eligible for retirement benefits, enhancing the connectivity of social insurance policies, and reforming the making and the implementation of policies to promote people’s trust in and satisfaction with the social insurance system.

    To achieve the abovementioned objectives, the resolution also devises certain resolutions, including fine-tuning the legal system on labour, employment and social insurance; improving the State’s capacity and efficiency of social insurance management; promoting the capacity of administering and effectiveness of implementing social and unemployment insurance policies; and enhancing the Party’s leadership and the role of people, the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organisations in this work.

    Ministries urged to address slow public investment disbursement

     

    Vietnam always facilitates foreign investors: official, HCM City wishes to foster cooperation with Israel, Ministries urged to address slow public investment disbursement, Vietnam joins 10th Pan-Tonkin Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum,
    Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue speaks at the function 

    Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue on May 24 asked the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Training, and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to quickly address their slow disbursement of public investment.

    According to Deputy Minister of Education and Training Pham Manh Hung, as of May 20, the ministry had disbursed nearly 233 billion VND (10.2 million USD), equal to 17 percent of the yearly target.

    Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Le Khanh Hai reported that in the first four months of this year, his ministry’s disbursement reached 15.1 percent of the yearly target. The capital belonging to the 2017 plan that was rescheduled to be disbursed in 2018 has yet been disbursed.

    Meanwhile, a report of the Health Ministry showed in the first five months of this year, the ministry disbursed over 233 billion VND, equivalent to only 4.43 percent of estimates.

    The ministry’s disbursement of public investment was 81 percent of the yearly target in 2016, and the figure in 2017 was 54.7 percent.

    Deputy Health Minister Pham Le Tuan attributed the slow disbursement tempo to the disbursement of the Bach Mai II Hospital project and Viet Duc Huu Nghi II Hospital project under the Project 125.

    He said it was difficult for the ministry to carry out the Project 125 projects within 3 years as the fact shows that it takes 5-7 years to accomplish the construction of big, modern hospitals. 

    Deputy PM Hue said the two projects are examples of weaknesses in public investment.

    According to him, the ministry’s change from Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract to small bidding packages is a reason for the slow progress of the project 125.

    He requested ministries, particularly the three above-mentioned ministries, to figure out reasons, and define the responsibility of the heads of the ministries as well as individuals and organisations involved in the slow transfer and disbursement of public investment.

    VFF Vice President sends wishes on Lord Buddha’s birthday
     

     

    Vietnam always facilitates foreign investors: official, HCM City wishes to foster cooperation with Israel, Ministries urged to address slow public investment disbursement, Vietnam joins 10th Pan-Tonkin Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum,
    Vice President and Secretary General of the VFF Central Committee Hau A Lenh  (second from left) extends congratulations on Lord Buddha’s birthday.  

    Vice President and Secretary General of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Hau A Lenh visited Most Venerable Thich Bao Nghiem in Ba Da Pagoda, Hanoi on May 24 to extend congratulations on Lord Buddha’s birthday.

    Most Venerable Thich Bao Nghiem is Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) Executive Council, Head of the VBS’s Faith Popularization Committee, and Head of the Executive Committee of the Buddhist Sangha of Hanoi and the central province of Ha Tinh.

    Lenh sent his best wishes to Most Venerable Thich Bao Nghiem as well as Vietnamese Buddhist dignitaries, monks, nuns and followers both at home and overseas on the 2562nd birthday of Lord Buddha and the annual Buddhist Rains Retreat this year. He hoped they were having a joyful and peaceful celebration of the Lord Buddha’s birthday.

    He spoke highly of the VBS as it has stayed united in harmony with the entire nation. At the same time, as an important member of the VFF, the VBS has actively taken part in many patriotic movements, charity events and activities to promote environmental protection and adaption to climate change, he said.

    The VFF official thanked the VBS for its contribution to the country in recent years, saying he expects Most Venerable Thich Bao Nghiem and the VBS will continue serving as a bridge between the State, Party and VFF and Buddhist followers.

    On the behalf of the VBS, Most Venerable Thich Bao Nghiem expressed his gratitude towards the VFF Central Committee’s gesture and affirmed that the VBS together with Buddhist monks, nuns and followers will continue maintaining and promoting the good traditions of the sangha and complying with the State’s policies and regulations.


    Vietnam joins 10th Pan-Tonkin Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum 

     

    Vietnam always facilitates foreign investors: official, HCM City wishes to foster cooperation with Israel, Ministries urged to address slow public investment disbursement, Vietnam joins 10th Pan-Tonkin Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum,
    Delegates at the 10th Pan-Tonkin Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum  

    Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Van Cong is joining 500 delegates from ministries, sectors, research institutes and enterprises of ASEAN countries and China at the 10th Pan-Tonkin Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum that opened in Nanning province of China’s Zhuang Autonomous Region on May 24.

    Addressing a ministerial-level dialogue, Deputy Minister Cong said that Vietnam speaks highly of the building of multi-mode transport routes connecting China’s southwestern region with Vietnamese localities as well as other countries in the region.

    The routes help save time and cost of transporting goods from ASEAN countries to central Asian and European countries, he said.

    He also called for all countries to continue cooperating closely in prioritised areas such as infrastructure, environmental protection, agriculture, and people-to-people contact, while mobilising capital and sponsorship for major projects within their partnership framework.

    During the event, participants discussed the achievements in cooperation after 10 years of organising the forum, the building of multi-mode transport routes between ASEAN and China through enhancing transport and infrastructure connection, and seaport cooperation, thereby strengthening exchange, trade, investment cooperation and people-to-people contact between the two sides.

    Launched in 2016, the Pan-Tonkin Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum groups China’s three provinces of Guangxi, Guangdong and Hainan, and 10 ASEAN countries - Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

    The forum also drew representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat, sponsor organisations such as the Asian Development Bank, as well as international scholars.

    VNN


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  • 05/25/18--02:17: Article 1
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 25/5


    Farmers in Mekong Delta rush to sell shrimp as price falls


     Farmers in Mekong Delta rush to sell shrimp as price falls, Programme launched to help domestic suppliers meet int’l standards, Support industry creates driving force for automobile sector
       
    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has warned shrimp farmers to remain calm and refrain from selling large batches of white-legged shrimps which have been dropping in price.

    Due to concerns about falling prices, many farmers in the Mekong Delta have been selling the shrimp at a low price.

    The price of 100 white-legged shrimp per kilo in Soc Trang Province is now VND70,000-80,000 (US$3.07-3.51), a drop of VND20,000-30,000 compared to earlier this year. The price of 60 white-legged shrimp per kilo is now only VND100,000.

    At these prices, shrimp farmers can only break even or have little profit.

    Vo Van Nhut, a shrimp farmer in My Xuyen District in Soc Trang Province, for example, said the latest crop had lost more than VND10 million.

    According to experts, the price has been low because several processing companies have been importing smaller shrimps and exporting them, especially to companies in the Chinese market.

    In addition, local processing plants are facing fierce competition when exporting to the US market because of cheaper Indian shrimp exports.

    Programme launched to help domestic suppliers meet int’l standards

    A new programme was launched in Hanoi on May 24 to help Vietnamese firms become suppliers of multinational corporations and as well as expand operations and improve added values of existing suppliers.

    The two-year programme will help domestic suppliers meet requirements of multinational corporations in terms of quality, prices and delivery, as well as connect with partners.

    The project was launched by the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Industrial Department and the International Finance Corporation – a member of the World Bank.

    Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said the move is the first step to improve competitiveness of domestic firms.

    In the next two years, the programme will partner with eight multinational corporations in the fields of automobiles, electronics, energy and consumer goods, including Bosch, Canon, Datalogic, Denso, Ford, General Electric, Panasonic and Toyota. As many as 45 domestic enterprises, as recommended by multinational corporations and trade associations, have been chosen to join the programme.

    Director of Panasonic Vietnam’s Strategy Plan Yamamoto Masahiro said the programme will help boost long-term business cooperation with promising partners and improve domestic supply.

    Ho Viet Tam, Director of the Export Mechanical Tool Jsc, said domestic support industry enterprises would gain opportunities to connect with and join the global value chain, thereby improving their competitiveness.

    Via close consultation with multinational corporations, the programme will also evaluate business opportunities and competitiveness of participating suppliers.

    If successful, similar schemes will be spread in other sectors with different multinational corporations, creating more opportunities for other firms.

    Support industry creates driving force for automobile sector

    Supporting industry development will create a driving force for Vietnam’s automobile industry, as heard a seminar held by the Vietnam Association of Supporting Industries (VASI) in Ho Chi Minh City on May 24.

    Pham Tuan Anh, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Industrial Department, said supporting industry helps improve value of domestic goods and competitiveness of industrial sector, contributing to industrialisation and modernisation of the national economy.

    Over the past years, the government has offered a number of incentives to facilitate support industries in general and those in motorbikes-automobiles in particular. However, the rate of domestically-made products used in automobiles remains limited while Vietnam’s automobile manufacturing cost is higher than regional countries’.

    Anh said there are only about 300 supporting industry firms in automobiles manufacturing nationwide. Moreover, the cost of producing spare parts in Vietnam remains high, making it hard for domestic enterprises to compete with foreign rivals. There remains loose linkage between assembly firms and spare parts providers while domestic technological expertise is weak.

    Almost foreign assembly businesses in Vietnam import spare parts from parent companies or partner with foreign businesses.

    VASI Vice Chairwoman and General Secretary Truong Thi Chi Binh suggested support industry firms devise long-term strategies, enhance connectivity and actively join the global supply chain. At the same time, they should regularly renovate manufacturing up to international standards and cut costs to improve competitiveness.

    Vu Quang Tam, member of the Board of Directors of the Vietnam Engine and Agricultural Machinery Corporation, advised firms to regularly upgrade technology, enhance manufacturing capability, and establish close ties with major manufacturers to join the global value chain for a long term.

    He proposed waiving special consumption taxes on domestically-made spare parts as well as boosting manufacturing of basic materials such as steel, rubber and plastics, in service of automobile sector and other industries.

    Nghi Son successfully produces first batch of diesel oil

    After successfully producing RON 92 (MOGAS92) and RON95 (MOGAS95) in early May, on May 23, Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical LLC in Nghi Son Economic Zone, Thanh Hoa province also successfully produced 5,000 cubic metres of diesel oil (DO) meeting all required specifications and sold it on the domestic market.

    Turki Alajmi, chief executive officer of Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical LLC (NSRP), said “We were very proud when NSRP successfully produced diesel oil. This achievement is attributable to the tremendous support and hard work of all employees of NSRP.”

    This is a remarkable milestone for NSRP, showcasing its capability to operate the refinery and ensure safe operations and stable production.

    NSRP is the second refinery in Vietnam with the total investment capital of more than US$9 billion and with a capacity of 200,000 barrels of crude oil per day in phase I, equivalent to 10 million tonnes of crude oil per annum.

    This is the largest refinery and petrochemical project in Vietnam, with four investors of Vietnam Oil and Gas Group, Kuwait Petroleum Europe B.V., Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd., and Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. from Japan.

    The project started in October 2013 and was completed in April 2017, using the world's most modern refinery technologies.

    Crude oil will be sourced from Kuwait throughout the life span of the project. When operating at the maximum designed capacity, NSRP will supply approximately 40% of the domestic petrol and oil demand and contribute to ensuring the significant growth of petroleum consumption in Vietnam in the coming years.

    HCM City, Chinese province pledge to facilitate bilateral trade

    Ho Chi Minh City and China’s Shandong province aim to facilitate bilateral trade by holding more networking events, encouraging investments between both sides, and signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), promising more support in the future.

    During a conference held in HCM City on May 23, numerous businesses in different fields from Shandong and Vietnam met to find potential partners.

    Vo Tan Thanh, Director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s HCM City branch, said that Vietnam and China have had a close business partnership for 68 years.

    According to VCCI, in 2017, bilateral trade between the two countries was over 93.6 billion USD (30 percent higher than 2016), accounting for 22 percent of Vietnam’s total bilateral trade.

    Vietnam exported over 35.4 billion USD worth of goods to China (61.6 percent higher than 2016), focusing on products such as seafood, rice, rubber, garments and mobile phones.

    As of March 2018, China ranked seventh among countries investing in Vietnam, with nearly 1,900 projects valued over 12.4 billion USD.

    In addition, according to Wei Xichen, Chinese Consul General in HCM City, many Chinese companies are interested in working with Vietnamese companies in fields such as rubber, fishery processing and tailoring.

    Compared to other markets, China is very open to Vietnamese goods without having many requirements, as long as the goods are of high quality, he said.

    China is especially fond of Vietnam’s basa fish, cashew, coffee beans, peppers and dragon fruits.

    Shandong is one of China’s most populated and economically developed regions, with a 2017 GDP of over 1 trillion USD, ranked third in China, according to Liu Xiaojiang, Vice Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) – Shandong Sub-council.

    The province also excels in fields such as agriculture, mechanics, construction and food processing.

    “The province considers Vietnam to be one of the most important business partners in ASEAN. In 2017, bilateral trade between Shandong and Vietnam was around 5.5 billion USD,” Liu said.

    Vietnamese firms have been encouraged to visit Shandong to find more opportunities to work with local businesses.

    The International Imports Exhibition in Shanghai, to be held in November, has invited Vietnam to attend.

    The VCCI and CCPIT also signed a MoU to foster trade, promising to increase collaboration efforts and networking opportunities for firms so they can find reliable long-term partners.

    According to VCCI, Vietnam and China aim to reach a two-way trade of over 100 billion USD in 2018.

    K-Startup Grand Challenge offers opportunities for Vietnamese firms

    Vice President of the Vietnam Software and IT Services Association (VINASA) Mai Duy Quang (centre) at the press conference in Hanoi on May 24.

    Vietnamese startups will have opportunities to attend professional training courses, receive consultations from experts and call for investment capital when attending the K-Startup Grand Challenge.

    The K-Startup Grand Challenge is a project conducted and financed by the Government of the Republic of Korea (RoK), Vice President of the Vietnam Software and IT Services Association (VINASA) Mai Duy Quang said at a press conference held in Hanoi on May 24 to introduce the programme.

    The K-Startup Grand Challenge aims to promote the expansion of an open entrepreneurship ecosystem in Asian region, he said, adding that Vietnamese startups will have chance to receive 100,000 USD as the first prize and assistance from the Korean Government.

    Youn Jung Park, director of the Korea IT Cooperation Centre (KICC), said Vietnam has a young and proactive startup community with many innovative ideas.

    Some 80 startups worldwide will receive 11,130 USD each to pay living costs during 3.5-month training and connect investment in the RoK, she said.

    Meanwhile, top 40 startup will be supported with more than 22,000 USD each in business establishment and operation in the first six months in the East Asian country.

    Registration to the programme should be made on http://kstartup.vinasa.org.vn no later than June 14. The qualification round will be organised on July 9-10 in Hanoi and July 11-12 in Ho Chi Minh City. Potential startups will be chosen to compete at the final round in the RoK.

    To date, 37 startups have registered their participation, including 16 Vietnamese.

    This is the third time that the K-Startup Grand Challenge has been held on the international scale.

    In the past two events, 41 startups called 26 million USD from investors. They inked 46 contracts and over 300 cooperative agreements. Particularly, over 80 startups have cooperated with large RoK corporations.

    Saigon Autotech & Accessories 2018 kicks off in HCM City

    The 14th Saigon Autotech & Accessories 2018 opened on May 24 at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre in Ho Chi Minh City with 300 booths organised by leading domestic and foreign firms in automobile and motorbike, spare part and accessories manufacturing.

    Addressing the opening ceremony, Pham Tuan Anh, Vice Director of the Department of Industry under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that the event is a good chance to connect manufacturers, suppliers and service providers and customers.

    The exhibition is hoped to create an opportunity to introduce latest products, technology and equipment in the field, he said.

    Anh held that support industry for Vietnam’s automobile sector has been initiated, but still can supply simple parts with low technology ratio. Meanwhile, there are rooms for the industry to develop, he added.

    He stressed that in the future, it is necessary to increase activities to promote investment, experience sharing between domestic and foreign enterprises in the field.

    Tao Linh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Asia Trade Fair and Business Promotion (ATFA), said that the new feature of this year’s exhibition is the stronger engagement of enterprises in support industry, and more activities to connect enterprises to foster their linkage in developing the automobile and motorbike industry in the coming time.

    First held in 2006, the Saigon Autotech & Accessories has become one of the most awaited events in Vietnam’s automobile, motorbike, electricity bicycle manufacturing and support industry.

    Last year, the exhibition was held in an area of 10,000 square metres with 350 booths from domestic and foreign enterprises from Switzerland, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and China, drawing about 12,000 visitors.

    The Saigon Autotech & Accessories 2018 will last until May 27.

    PVCFC’s output hits 5 mln tonnes of urea after 7 years of operation

    PetroVietnam Ca Mau Fertiliser Company Limited (PVCFC)’s total output hit 5 million tonnes of urea on May 24, after seven years of operation.

    The company, also known as Dam Ca Mau (DCM), has an annual capacity of about 800,000 tonnes of urea, which meets more than 40 percent of the country’s demand and approximately 60 percent of the market share in the Mekong Delta, the country’s largest rice bowl.

    Its products have been exported to a number of foreign countries, including Cambodia.

    Last year, PVCFC produced about 848,000 tonnes of urea, 13 percent higher than the firm’s yearly target and 5 percent higher than 2016’s figure. It sold more than 864,000 tonnes of urea for nearly 5.89 trillion VND (259.16 million USD), up 6 percent in volume and 13 percent value from a year earlier.

    The firm made its debut on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HOSE) on March 31, 2016 with more than 529 million shares offered at a reference price of 14,500 VND.

    Party official delivers speech at Russia’s Int’l Economic Forum

    Chairman of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee’s Commission for Economic Affairs Nguyen Van Binh delivered a speech at the opening of the 22nd International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg (SPIEF–2018), Russia on May 24.

    Binh said he was impressed with the hospitality and beauty of St. Petersburg and highly appreciated the Vietnam–Russia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

    He moved on to talk about Vietnam’s economic potential, saying following growth in 2018, Vietnam’s economy expanded 7.38 percent in the first quarter of this year and the country has made efforts to improve trade balance with other countries and expand international trade and economic cooperation.

    The global economy is facing a number of threats, including the rise of protectionism. In such context, Vietnam is committed to supporting free trade and global economic integration, the Vietnamese official said, adding that this forum is vital for Vietnam and other countries to step up international cooperation and sustainably develop the world economy.

    On the first day of the forum, the Vietnamese delegation, led by Binh, had a meeting with leaders of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and Gazprom, a large Russian producer of natural gas to review results of their cooperation and discuss the future of their partnership.

    The second day of the event on May 25 is set to attract great attention as Russian President Vladimir Putin will deliver a keynote address at the plenary session. The Vietnamese delegation will also be busy with meetings with many partners today.

    The SPIEF–2018 takes place from May 24-26. The forum drew an estimated of nearly 10,000 participants from Russia and other countries, including heads of state and government, politicians and corporate leaders. It aims to promote a constructive dialogue for policymakers, corporations and experts.

    Events of the SPIEF-2018 focus on four key categories – “The Global Economy in an Era of Change,” “Harnessing Russia’s Growth Potential,” “Human Capital in the Digital Economy” and “Technology for Leadership.”

    In 2017, the SPIEF drew more than 14,000 participants from 143 countries and saw some 400 investment agreements worth about 32.5 billion USD signed.

    VN’s first ever resort managed by Dusit International opens in Phú Quốc

    The Thailand-based global hospitality company Dusit International has made its entry into Việt Nam with the opening of the four-star Dusit Princess Moonrise Beach Resort on  the resort island of Phú Quốc. 

    Centrally located on the island’s stunning west coast and only a short drive from Phú Quốc International Airport and Dương Tơ town centre, the resort bears a modern twist of a contemporary resort, reflecting both Vietnamese culture and the rich heritage of Thai hospitality. The resort features 108 elegantly designed rooms, most of them with ocean views overlooking Long Beach.

    At Soi14, the resort’s beach front Thai bar and lounge, where Thai chef Somnuck has transferred the Bangkok street food concept into a resort environment, guests can enjoy contemporary Thai food creations or a classic cocktail whilst contemplating gorgeous sunsets. Other outlets, including an all-day-dining restaurant, a lobby lounge and a swim-up pool bar, embrace the modern fusion of Vietnamese, Thai and Western cuisines.

    Stepping into Luna Thai Spa, guests will enjoy a Thai inspired world of tranquility and rejuvenation. With a diversified spa menu, experienced therapists will awake your inner strength and harmonise the senses.

    “Phú Quốc’s growing reputation as a major tourist destination is only set to flourish over the next ten years, as many high-end developments are slated to open on the island,” said Group Chief Executive Officer of Dusit International, Suphajee Suthumpun.

    “Following our strategy for sustainable and profitable growth, which includes building our portfolio of international properties, the new hotel has opened under our newly developed franchise model, which helps property owners gain maximum returns whilst providing them with all the benefits they expect from a global brand,” she added.

    Programme to support local firms
       
    The Viet Nam Industry Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, officially launched the Viet Nam Supplier Development Programme (SDP) in Ha Noi on Thursday.

    This programme is aimed at helping Vietnamese companies become suppliers for multinational enterprises, while enabling existing suppliers to expand their business and share of added value.

    Recently, multinational enterprises (MNEs) have implemented a number of large investment projects in Viet Nam, providing opportunities to expand domestic supply to these companies. One of the obstacles, however, is the lack of suppliers in the country meeting global standard requirements.

    Given the scenario, the two-year SDP aims to help domestic suppliers meet the requirements of MNEs including quality, price and delivery throughout the value chain in targeted sectors. Subsequently, these firms can be linked to MNEs to seek supply opportunities in the future.

    MoIT’s deputy minister Do Thang Hai, said capacity building to establish new business links with MNEs is the first step to enhance the competitiveness of participating local firms. “The purpose of this programme is to move the local firms to the process of creating higher added value in the value chain so that they can produce more sophisticated products and become globally competitive,” he added.

    Over the next two years, the programme will work with eight leading MNEs in the automotive, electronics, energy and household appliance sectors, such as Bosch, Canon, Datalogic, Denso, Ford, General Electric, Panasonic and Toyota.

    The enterprises were chosen based on their interest in sourcing locally and assisting local companies in finding business opportunities. Some 45 local companies, who are wholly or largely Vietnamese-owned, have been selected to join the programme based on recommendations by participating multinationals and various business organisations.

    “Large foreign direct investments into Viet Nam with operations of leading global firms have brought up opportunities to promote Viet Nam’s supporting industry and facilitate local producers’ increased participation in the global value chain,” said Kyle Kelhofer, IFC country manager for Viet Nam, Cambodia and Lao PDR.

    Developed in close consultation with MNEs, the programme will assess the business performance and competitiveness of participating suppliers, identify areas for improvement and specific actions to build supply capabilities, and improve long-term competitiveness. In addition, the programme will strive to connect potential businesses with potential buyers effectively.

    “We are happy to work with local companies which could compete with suppliers from other countries,” said Yamamoto, corporate planning director, Panasonic Viet Nam. “We expect this programme can help us get business with some potentially long-term partners and promote our local sourcing,” Yamamoto added.

    Seminar discusses fire safety in buildings   

    Major cities around the world have seen a movement towards vertical living instead of horizontal, and Viet Nam is seeing a similar trend, a seminar heard in HCM City on Tuesday.

    Mary Tarnowka, US consul general in the city, said she had seen tremendous growth in HCM City’s residential and commercial infrastructure in the last two years.

    The urbanisation trend is not unique to HCM City as other cities around the country and in other ASEAN member countries are seeing an influx of people to urban centres.

    “Ensuring the safety of our homes, offices, and public spaces is an integral part of building trust and confidence among the residents of HCM City. This includes having frequent and reliable safety inspections that enforce the city’s building regulations as well as deploying the latest products and services.”

    She said she was saddened by the tragic loss of life at the Carina Plaza apartment complex in District 8 in March.

    “Incidents like this one are garnering more attention globally. Many can be prevented with a greater investment in building safety training, prevention through inspection services, and enforcement of rules and regulations.

    “Achieving safer buildings not only comes from more robust and rigorous safety inspection practices, but having the appropriate internationally recognised standards in place.”

    Pham Minh Ha, general director of the Ministry of Construction’s State Authority for Construction Quality Inspection Department, said ensuring the safety of people and assets in buildings had always been a top priority.

    “The legal framework related to fire safety, construction inspection and other safety aspects of buildings has been strengthened. Relevant ministries and agencies have enhanced co-operation to improve fire safety inspections of buildings.”

    The number of buildings built before 1990 remains high, with many degraded and threatening the safety of occupants, he told the seminar on “Working for safer buildings in smart cities” held by the consulate and UL, a US-based safety consulting and certification company.

    Besides, many buildings have been built subsequently in violation of licence conditions and without their designs strictly complying with fire safety provisions, he said.

    His ministry would continue to check compliance with construction norms, fire safety equipment and their maintenance, and severely penalise violations, he said.

    Major General Doan Viet Manh, director of the Viet Nam Fire and Rescue Police Department, said building owners should choose modern fire safety technologies and qualified consulting, design and construction supervision units, and use fireproof materials, intelligent fire alarm systems that are linked to the fire service and can alert people to ensure evacuation before emergency forces arrive.

    Many US companies also shared information and best practices to help Government leaders, developers, construction firms and other stakeholders explore ways to mitigate building safety and security risks.

    Corporate governance to be regulated
       
    The State Securities Commission (SSC) will promote the standardisation of corporate governance for public companies this year.

    There are also plans to issue the Code of Corporate Governance to improve the framework for the Vietnamese securities market in line with international practice.

    Le Cong Dien, director of SSC’s Public Enterprises Supervisory Department, delivered the statement at the workshop on investor relations held in Ha Noi on Wednesday.

    In 2018, the SSC is tasked with building the revised Securities Law, which should be submitted for the National Assembly’s review in the sixth meeting in October.

    Dien said the institution and maintenance of good corporate governance practice is an important issue in the revised law. This is also a critical topic in economic action programmes, business communities in most countries in the world.

    “Good corporate governance helps improve business performance and contributes to the prosperity of the economy in general,” Dien said.

    According to Phan Duc Hieu, deputy director of Central Institute for Economic Management under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the average corporate governance quality of Vietnamese companies is much lower than the common ground in the region.

    Viet Nam’s corporate governance scorecard of the six ASEAN countries was the lowest and lagged far behind the surrounding countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, Hieu said investor relation is also a very new issue for listed companies here.

    “There are very few companies aware of this problem, let a lone take actual action to implement this programme,” Hieu said.

    He said in the countries with high corporate governance quality, managers will apply the practice for the benefit of the company, even if the law does not require it.

    According to Hieu, as the corporate governance in Viet Nam is at a very early stage, the State invention is necessary to make sure companies comply with good practice.

    In 2017, the Government issued Decree No 71/2017/ND-CP and the Ministry of Finance issued Circular No 95/2017 on corporate governance applicable to public companies. The law introduction has demonstrated the Government and market regulators’ willpower to develop good corporate governance practice, at the same time creating legal framework for improving the quality of goods on the stock market.

    SSC and two stock exchanges have also made efforts to popularise and raise corporate awareness of enterprises, as well as encourage businesses to adopt good practice through training programmes and annual assessment on corporate governance of listed companies.

    Hieu also suggested the Government create the right environment and mechanism to develop the intermediaries or organisations that observe and evaluate companies, or carry out activities to protect the interests of shareholders. For example, in Malaysia, there are associations or companies established to protect shareholders.

    Such organisations would put pressure on companies to adopt better practice and mechanism to protect shareholders’ interests, Hieu said.

    Nguyen Anh Phong, deputy general director of the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, said good investor relations would bridge the gap between companies and their shareholders, at the same time supporting companies to raise capital from the securities market.

    Tra Vinh moves to support SMEs’ development

    The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh aims to have 4,000 enterprises by 2020, with more than 30 percent and 15 percent of them owned by woman and ethnic minority people, respectively, heard a conference in the locality on May 23.

    Held by the provincial Department of Planning and Investment and the Tra Vinh SME Development project, the event discussed plans to support the development of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

    According to Deputy Director of the project Pham Van Be Sau, from now to 2020, local SMEs are set to create 22,000-25,000 jobs per year, bringing monthly income of between 4.5-4.7 million VND for each labourer.

    They are hoped to contribute 50 percent, and between 45-50 percent to local GDRP and the local budget, respectively.

    Tra Vinh is home to 2,153 enterprises, with 98 percent of them SMEs, firms which usually struggle to access support policies, preferential loans, technologies and consumption markets.

    To promote SMEs’ development, local authorities will continue to perfect policies to create a healthy business environment.

    Attention has been paid to providing financial assistance for enterprises, and building and upgrading infrastructure systems.

    Start-up activities have been fostered in the locality, contributing to encouraging household businesses to transform into enterprises.

    To Ngoc Binh, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment and Director of the Tra Vinh SME Development project, said in 2018-2020, Tra Vinh plans to spend 2.66  trillion VND (116.7 million USD) on supporting local businesses.

    From 2012-2020, SMEs operating in the province are set to receive financial assistance worth 12.1 million CAD (9.4 million USD) for their production and business activities, including 11 million CAD of non-refundable assistance funded by the Canadian Government.Vietnam promotes trade, investment in France’s Toulouse city

    Bilateral economic cooperation between Vietnam and France has yet to meet potential of both sides, as two-way trade is accounting for only 1 percent of Vietnam’s total international trade, Vietnamese Ambassador to France Nguyen Thiep said.

    Addressing an audience of 80 entrepreneurs and scientists at an investment and trade promotion event in France’s southwest city of Toulouse on May 22, the ambassador reported that two-way trade in 2017 reached 4.6 billion USD, up 500 million USD over 2016.

    Of the figure, Vietnam’s exports were worth 3 billion USD while its imports stood at about 1.6 billion USD.

    French investment in Vietnam has mounted to nearly 3 billion USD since 1988, said the diplomat.

    France is the third largest European investor in Vietnam after the Netherlands and the UK, while ranking fifth in trade after Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Italy.

    The diplomat took the occasion to inform Toulouse businesses and scientists of the policies and investment environment in Vietnam, as well as sectors of priority in the country’s policy on investment attraction.

    Ambassador Thiep called on French firms to invest in high and green technology and green energy, biological agriculture, digital technology, e-government, health care, culture, education and climate change response.

    The promotion conference was jointly held by the North-South Economic Development Agency of Toulouse and the Vietnamese Agency in France.

    Toulouse is the fourth largest city of France, and the “capital” of Europe’s aerospace industry. The city was listed as the most dynamic city of France twice in 2013 and 2015 by L’Express and Challenger magazine.

    Toulouse and Hanoi have set up an effective partnership for years, especially in urban planning and restoring of historical heritage sites and Hanoi’s Old Quarters.

    Toulouse will be the host of the France-Vietnam cooperation conference slated for April 2019.

    In 2019, Hanoi is also scheduled to organise Hanoi Culture Days in Toulouse, which is expected to become a chance for people in the two localities to get better understanding and boost cooperation.

    CPI likely to reduce in May
       
    The Price Management Department could see a slight reduction in the consumer price index (CPI) in May against last month without too many unexpected fluctuations in prices of essential goods.

    May is the harvest season for many kinds of food products so the prices of these commodities are predicted to decrease slightly. At this moment, localities have also strengthened management and stability for price.

    The department, under the Ministry of Finance, said the strengthening of management and operation activities for price stabilisation by ministries, sectors and localities would keep market prices from unexpected fluctuations in the coming months.

    As of now, the petrol price, one among numerous factors that create pressure on the CPI, has complicated the fluctuations. However, the price increase of this commodity is forecast to be not as high as the world petrol prices. In the past, the petrol price in the domestic market was managed properly by flexible use of the petrol price stabilisation fund, reported vneconomy.vn.

    The Steering Committee on Price Management has proposed to the Ministry of Industry and Trade to lead and coordinate with the Ministry of Finance in operating the domestic petrol prices in harmony and using the Price Stabilisation Fund in a proper manner.

    They should actively have scenarios dealing with the increase of petrol prices in the second quarter on the world market to create favourable conditions to control the CPI for this year.

    The price for the group of housing and construction material products is forecast to increase because the hot weather would increase the prices of electricity and water.

    The other main reason for this increase is the high price of steel and steel products in recent months because of China’s production cuts.

    However, there are also some factors reducing the pressure on increasing the CPI in May 2018. For instance, the rice price may fall due to an increase in the supply of rice during the rice harvest season. Consumption of some fresh food items such as pork and poultry meat often reduces during the hot weather.

    The department said that in May and especially in the second quarter, the price management and operation activities must be very cautious, aiming to control the CPI growth rate every month to less than 0.2 per cent. This rate would create favourable conditions for price operations by this year-end, especially for the control in the price of goods managed by the State.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was required to monitor closely the market price of agricultural products. It must cooperate with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to balance the supply and demand of essential goods for the domestic market, including rice, pork, sugar and salt, to ensure stabilisation of the market.

    The ministry was asked to study and restructure the domestic market, while continuing to maintain the traditional export markets and seek new export markets for key agricultural commodities to stabilise the market and to improve the efficiency of agricultural production. 

    Air Seoul to open route to Vietnam this week

    Air Seoul Inc., the budget unit of Asiana Airlines Inc., of the Republic of Korea (RoK) said on May 17 that it will launch a new route to Da Nang in central Vietnam this week.

    The debut service to Vietnam is set to begin at 10:20 p.m. on May 18 (local time), with the 195-seat A321-200 aircraft being deployed on the route. The service will be available every day, according to the carrier.

    Currently, six other carriers of the RoK operate flights to Da Nang, a destination that draws about 500,000 Koreans a year.

    Air Seoul currently operates six A321 chartered planes -- two configured for 220 passengers and four with 195 seats. With the planes, the low-cost carrier offers services on routes to 16 destinations in five countries - Japan, Cambodia, Malaysia, China and the United States. 

    The budget carrier plans to add a seventh A321 plane to its fleet in the second half of this year.

    Vietnam welcomes AES’s gas investment: Deputy PM

    Vietnam values the presence of AES Corporation and investment in the Mong Duong 2 power plant in Quang Ninh, stated Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue.

    Hue made the statement at a reception for President of AES Vietnam David Stone in Hanoi on May 17. 

    At the reception, Stone said his company is carrying out researches for its investment in the Son My 2 gas-fired thermal power project in the form of Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and expected its participation will contribute to boosting Vietnam – US trade and investment. 

    The project consists of three power plants using liquefied natural gas, with designed capacity of 750 MW each. Built at the Son My industry-services-gas complex in the central coastal province of Binh Thuan, the facilities are set to become operational in 2023, 2024 and 2025.

    Stone also talked about AES’s coordination with the PetroVietnam Gas JSC (PV Gas) to implement the Son My liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal project in the south-central province of Binh Thuan.

    The Deputy PM said he supports the LNG terminal projects, urging both sides to speed up their signing of a partnership contract to implement the project as soon as possible.

    Regarding the Son My 2 project, he requested AES work with PV Gas to identify the most suitable investment model, adding that the Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade will directly address difficulties arisen in the sides’ cooperation.

    AES is a US-based power company, which is listed in the US Fortune-200. It joined shareholders from subsidiaries of Posco Energy Corporation from the Republic of Korea and China Investment Corporation to form the AES-VCM Mong Duong Power Company Limited in Vietnam. 

    The company is known for its 1,242 MW Mong Duong 2 power plant in the northern procvince of Quang Ninh. The coal-fired power project plant was built under a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) agreement and would be transferred to the government after 25 years.

    Vietnam’s veggie exports stage strong growth

    Vietnam’s vegetable and fruit exports in the first four months of the year rose a staggering 29% year-on-year to some US$1.3 billion, with China-bound shipments generating nearly US$1 billion, customs data shows.

    Last month alone saw veggie export revenue hitting US349.6 million, up 8.7% month-on-month, according to data of the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    Exports of vegetables and fruits to neighboring China fetched US$988.8 million in the four months, up 30.1% year-on-year, which accounted for 75% of Vietnam’s total export revenue in the sector. Last year’s corresponding proportion was 74.3%.

    The customs said that besides China, 14 other importers of Vietnamese vegetables and fruits have also bought much more than in the same period last year.

    The United States, Vietnam’s second biggest importer of vegetables, spent over US$38.8 million importing such farm produce in the past four months, a year-on-year surge of 12.8%.

    Meanwhile, Japan spent US$36.6 million on Vietnamese vegetables and fruits, up by 16.4% year-on-year, followed by South Korea and Thailand with US$34.78 million and US$22.65 million respectively, soaring 13.5% and 28.8%.

    Notably, scores of new buyers have spent much more money on Vietnamese veggies, including Australia with US$9 million, up 35.1%, France with US$8 million, up a whopping 42.9%, and Canada US$7 million, up 26.8%.

    Data of the department also indicates that only Russia and Taiwan have recently reduced veggie imports from Vietnam.

    Analysts attributed Vietnam’s strong surge in veggies export revenue to high quality and safe products and technical barriers being removed recently to create favorable conditions for other farm produce like dragon fruit, rambutan, longan and lychee to enter numerous choosy markets such as Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

    Sixth Vietnam Startup Wheel launched for entrepreneurs at all ages

    The sixth Vietnam Startup Wheel in 2018 was launched on May 15 nationwide for all individuals, groups and startup business founders residing in Vietnam regardless of their age.

    According to the organising board, contestants can submit their startup ideas, products, services or technologies to the contest from now to the end of May. The final and awards ceremony will be held in August this year.

    Truong Ly Hoang Phi, Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Business Startup Support Centre said that with the expansion of participants to all ages and all those residing in Vietnam instead of from 18-35 years old and Vietnamese citizens as previous, the contest aims to create an international environment for studying with the involvement of startups from all countries, thus helping domestic startups challenge themselves with competition from domestic and foreign rivals.

    Phi said that in the past, the annual contest has been the largest playground for Vietnam’s startup community, while helping them conquer important targets in their development strategy, introduce their products to investors and commercialise their products. 

    The contest aims to connect the startup ecosystem in the country, nurture startups and encourage the support of partners for young enterprises.

    Meanwhile, Ngo Minh Hai, Deputy Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union’s municipal chapter and Vice President of the Vietnam Youth Federation of Ho Chi Minh City said one of the objectives of the contest is spreading the startup movement among youngsters.

    Founded by Ho Chi Minh City Business Startup Support Centre and Young Businesspeople Association under the Vietnam Youth Federation of Ho Chi Minh City, Startup Wheel was first launched in 2013 and has become one of the biggest events for the startup community.

    Last year, the contest drew more than 30,000 participants with 767 ideas and projects.

    VNN  


    0 0
  • 05/25/18--02:39: Article 0
  • FDI from the US into Vietnam remains modest


    At many political and economic events, American officials and businesses all have said that they believe the US would be the top investor in Vietnam in the near future. But this has yet to happen.


     

    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, FDI, AmCham, MPI
    The US is the ninth biggest foreign investor in Vietnam


    Energy Capital Vietnam from the US and the Bac Lieu provincial People’s Committee have signed an MOU on cooperation to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply project and a gas-fired thermal power plant in a coastal area of the province.

    The 3,200 MW power plant project has investment capital of $4 billion, or VND91.4 trillion.

    There had been no large-scale FDI project registered so far this year until the MOU was signed.

    As of April 2018, the US was the ninth largest foreign direct investor in Vietnam out of 126 territories and countries with 879 valid projects, capitalized at $10 billion in total.

    In April alone, Vietnam licensed $166 million worth of US invested projects, including $60 million poured into capital contribution deals.

    American investors are believed to have the largest idle capital in the world. The ninth position is not a worthy position for the US.

    Vietnam has been continuously praised by the international organizations as an attractive destination point for investors. Increasing bilateral investments is the topic of discussion at all meetings of heads of states.

    Nguyen Mai, chair of the Vietnam Foreign Invested Enterprises’ Association (VAFIEs), said: “The investments from the US and Europe are still modest if compared with their FDI in other countries and in ASEAN countries.”

    Meanwhile, Vietnam has been continuously praised by the international organizations as an attractive destination point for investors. Increasing bilateral investments is the topic of discussion at all meetings of heads of states.

    Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said at an important event held recently that Vietnam is a playing field with a large scale and linkage.

    “I believe that US investors will have to consider investments in Vietnam, or they will lose they influence in the international game,” he said.

    “I believe that the US would soon consider coming back to CPTPP,” he said.

    According to Vo Hong Phuc, former Minister of Planning and Investment, complicated administrative procedures and embezzlement discourage investors.

    “Embezzlement is a big problem. American and European investors aren’t used to the so-called ‘lubricating fees’ like developing countries in Asia,” he said.

    Vietnam, which is drafting a strategy on FDI to 2030, has been advised to lure more investors from the US and the EU to diversify FDI capital sources.

    According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, total newly registered, additional foreign investment capital reached $35.88 billion in 2017, 44.4 percent over the previous year.



    Thanh Lich, VNN


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  • 05/27/18--02:50: Article 6
  • Construction violations still rampant in Hanoi


    Experts say construction violations are still rampant in the capital city of Hanoi, despite a new regime to create district-level inspection task forces.


    Construction violations still rampant in Hanoi, social news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news, Vietnam breaking news 

    An apartment complex in Hoàng Mai District, Hà Nội


    Đào Ngọc Nghiêm, vice chairman of the Hà Nội Association for Urban Planning and Development, said local authorities were to blame for violations ranging from building without permission or not complying with permits to illegal construction on farm land.

    An official from the Hà Nội Construction Inspectorate told the Kinh tế và đô thị (Economic and Urban Affairs) newspaper that there has been a tendency to tranfer construction inspectors from the municipal level to district, ward and commune levels.

    In 2016, the Hà Nội People’s Committee issued a decision asking district people’s committees to directly oversee construction inspectors in their localities. The arrangement was meant to help inspectors work more effectively.

    Under the new arrangement, the Hà Nội Department of Construction (DoC) will ISSUE guidance while district people’s committees will manage and assign construction inspectors’ duties. Construction inspectors at ward and commune levels have the responsibilities to detect violations and report to the district people’s committees to issue punishments.

    After the new management method was applied, the number of staff in the municipal inspectorate was reduced from 200 to 70.

    But the number of violations recorded by inspectors has also decreased since September 2016, the official said, adding that only two or three out of 10 violations were reported.

    Some inspectors at the ward level have colluded with local authorities to ’turn a blind eye’ on violations, he said.  As a result, they were only brought to light and addressed after being uncovered by the media.

    Illegal residential construction on farm land took place in a number of localities but wasn’t handled for a long time.

    In the latest case, the chairman of Mỹ Đình 2 People’s Committee in Nam Từ Liêm District was suspended from work for mishandling of construction related violations.

    The Mỹ Đình 2 People’s Committee reported two projects which did not comply with permits, but the city’s inspectors found up to five projects in violation of the rules.

    Similar violations relating to illegal construction on farm land were also recorded in Thanh Trì, Đông Anh and Ba Vì districts.

    Local residents said that to get permission for such construction, they just pay an “unofficial” fee ranging from dozens to hundreds of millions of Vietnamese đồng.

    Trần Ngọc Hùng, chairman of Việt Nam Construction Association, attributed construction violations to lax management and irresolute handlings of violations by local government. The fact that some investors and residents deliberately defied the law and then sought ways to rationalise their violations, opting to pay fines and enjoy the huge profits of their projects, was also to blame for the problem, he said.

    He suggested the city authorities strictly deal with violations. The head of district or ward people’s committee would be held accountable for settling violations. They might face criminal charges in some serious cases, he said.

    “In the coming time, the city’s inspectors will conduct inspection at a number of districts, wards and communes where lax management has been reported by newspapers”, said the official from Hà Nội Construction Inspectorate.

    Due punishment would be imposed on chairmen of the ward people’s committees if loose management were found to have helped violators, he said.

     VNS

    0 0
  • 05/27/18--02:59: Article 5
  • The door for Vietnamese products to US market narrows


    Vietnamese exporters have been warned that it will be more difficult to export products to the US as the US administration has increased local production protection and tightened control over imports.


     

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    Exporters have been warned it would be more difficult to export products to the US 

    According to the General Department of Customs (GDC), the US remained Vietnam’s biggest export market in the first four months of the year which consumed $13.8 billion worth of Vietnam’s exports, an increase of 11.4 percent over the same period last year.

    Vietnam-US bilateral trade turnover, which was $1.4 billion only in 2001, has been increasing steadily since the Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) took effect, reaching $50.8 billion last year.

    The big challenge for Vietnam is the strict regulations that export products have to observe. In addition to the federal law, each US state has different rules and regulations of its own.

    The big challenge for Vietnam is the strict regulations that export products have to observe. In addition to the federal law, each US state has different rules and regulations of its own.

    Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai warned that the US tends to tighten imports by setting up new requirements on product quality, food hygiene and product traceability.

    “The US’s big changes in its trade policies will have a big impact on the export of many Vietnam’s key items,” Hai said.

    “It will be not an easy task to maintain current export turnover or boost exports to the US,” he warned.

    The businesspeople present at the Vietnam-US Trade Forum held in HCMC several days ago confirmed that more Vietnam’s export products now bear anti-dumping duties or have to satisfy higher technical requirements. Any export product, from shrimp, fish to steel nails, and any business could be subject to anti-dumping or anti-subsidy lawsuits.

    Meanwhile, the majority of Vietnam’s businesses are small and medium sized which have little experience with lawsuits. They find it difficult to satisfy the requirements set by the US. Prolonged lawsuits and high lawyer fees also discourage them.

    Seafood companies have more experience than others in protecting themselves in lawsuits raised by the US.

    Truong Dinh Hoe, secretary general of VASEP (Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers) said since 2003-2004, when Vietnam began exporting seafood products to the US with export turnover of $1-2 billion a year, seafood companies have been facing a lot of anti-dumping lawsuits against catfish exports.

    The US policy to protect local production had tightened recently, which means the high possibility of Vietnamese exporters becoming defendants in lawsuits.

    Currently, Vietnam exports 60,000 tons of shrimp to the US, or just 10 percent of total shrimp products the US imports a year. Vietnam’s capacity is twice as much as the figure.

    According to MOIT, Vietnam’s major export products to the US are footwear, textile & garments, wooden furniture and electronics which have low added value.


    Mai Thanh,VNN

    0 0
  • 05/27/18--03:15: Article 4
  • Vietnamese students’ robots dance to changing music in university contest

     The robots were required to stand on their feet while moving their arms to mimic human dance steps

    Vietnamese students’ robots dance to changing music in university contest 

    Students watch a robot dance at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and Education in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, May 25, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    Spectators were excited to watch various robots dance in sync with music in an annual competition on Friday at a major higher education institution in southern Vietnam.

    Nearly 40 teams of undergraduates in robotics and mechatronics at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and Education showcased their robots in Dancing Robot at their school.

    The machines were required to have an acceptable appearance, stand on their feet while moving their arms with ease to imitate human dancing.

    Each robot danced first based on programmed patterns and then created their own choreograph in reaction to a mixture of different musical genres like electronic music and bolero, a slow-tempo type.

    “We ourselves designed the robot, created sequences of dancing movements, ran tests, and failed six times before eventually finding the optimal structure for it,” said Nguyen Duc Cuong, a junior.

    “Now our robot can perform lots of dances virtually without falling down. The nice-looking decorations it wears make its dance steps more interesting.”

    Six robots were selected for the international dancing contest at the school by the end of this year.

    Tuoi Tre News

    0 0
  • 05/28/18--01:07: Article 3
  • Bad debts tend to escalate


    After considering the Q1 finance reports of 13 large and medium sized commercial banks, analysts say they have found that bad debts are increasing again.


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    The report released in early 2018 by NFSC (National Finance Supervisory Council) showed that the quality of credit institutions’ assets has improved. 

    The non-performing loan (NPL) ratio of the banking system by the end of 2017 had decreased to 9.5 percent from 11.9 percent in late 2016.

    The council also showed optimistic signs of the bad debt settlement process, reporting that banks had been accelerating the process.

    However, the finance reports showed that bad debts returned in the first quarter of the year. 

    By March 31, 2018, the total debts of 13 surveyed banks had reached VND67.8 trillion, an increase of 8 percent over the beginning of the year. Twelve out of 13 banks saw the bad debt value increasing. 

    However, as the banks accelerated lending, only 8 out of 13 banks saw the ratio of bad debts on outstanding loans increasing.

    Meanwhile, the fifth-group of bad debts (the debts with the highest risk) had increased by 9.2 percent to VND34.6 trillion by the end of March in comparison with the beginning of the year. 

    The figure was equal to 51 percent of total bad debts, higher than the 50.5 percent at the end of 2017.

    After considering the Q1 finance reports of 13 large and medium sized commercial banks, analysts say they have found that bad debts are increasing again

    VP Bank had the highest NPL ratio among the surveyed banks, 4.15 percent, higher than the 3.39 percent earlier this year. However, most of them were third-group debts, or subprime debts, amounting to 58.6 percent of total bad debts, while the fifth-group debts accounted for 18 percent.

    Techcombank also saw bad debts increasing rapidly in the first quarter of the year, from VND2.6 trillion to over VND3 trillion, or 18.9 percent. Its fifth-group debts climbed to VND1.7 trillion, a sharp increase of 9 percent over the beginning of the year. 

    This is equal to 55.3 percent of the bank’s total bad debts which have increased from 1.61 percent to 1.87 percent.

    Regarding the bad debt value, BIDV is topping the list with VND14.2 trillion worth of NPL, up by VND200 billion compared with the beginning of the year. VietinBank, also a stated owned bank, ranks second with VND10.3 trillion.

    Bizlive has found that seven out of 13 banks made bigger provisions against risks in Q1 with the value of VND14.7 trillion in total, up by 36.9 percent over the same period last year.

    BIDV, for example, had provisions amounting to 70.4 percent of the bank’s net profit.

    However, all the banks reported high growth rates of tens or hundreds of percent over the same period last year.


    US$1=VND22,000


    VNN


    0 0
  • 05/28/18--01:29: Article 2
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 27/5


    HCM City works to promote innovative start-ups

    Ho Chi Minh City has created many programmes to support start-up activities, and has plans to expand its support to individuals and groups with potential, the Saigon Hi-tech Park Incubation Centre (SHTP-IC) has said.

    Since 2014, the centre has incubated 38 projects, 22 of which have been commercialised, according to SHTP-IC. Last year total revenue from incubated projects reached 41.4 billion VND (1.8 million USD), the centre said.

    The centre also helps businesses and projects register for intellectual property rights, conduct market research, improve model products to take to trade fairs, and connect entrepreneurs with investors, capital plans and venture capital funds.

    Le Thanh Nguyen, head of SHTP-IC, said this was a positive sign for a public incubation model for science-technology businesses.

    Last year, the city’s Department of Science and Technology kicked off a pilot programme for the incubation of science-technology businesses at HCM City-based Nong Lam University, HCM City University of Technology and Saigon Hi-tech Park.

    The department also provided consultation and added technological services for the businesses.

    In addition, a number of universities in the city have also established start-up support centres for their own students.

    Other private incubation centres have also been built such as Software Business Incubator (SBI) and FPT Ventures.

    Thanks to the diversity of incubation centres, start-ups can now easily find support, investment and partners, according to the centre.

    Most of Vietnam’s start-ups, however, are small in scale and yet to enter the capital-calling period, according to the Department of Science and Technology.

    They need support from the government and participation in public-private cooperation models, as well as contributions from part of the innovative start-up ecosystem.

    In addition, they are not lucrative enough to attract investors because of specific features and policies of public incubation centres.

    Tran Van Tung, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology, said the biggest weakness were start-up skills. A successful start-up business must bring its products to the market, he said.

    “In addition, mobilising capital from investors is very important. If start-ups cannot attract capital, they will not have enough resources to grow,” he said.

    Experts said the city would focus on encouraging innovative start-up activities among young people and high school students due to their great potential.

    Nguyen Viet Dung, Director of the Department of Science and Technology, said it was necessary to help individuals and businesses conduct research and reform their operations.

    Speaking at a recent meeting held in Hanoi, Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said more than 50 investment funds in diverse investment forms existed, but they were scattered and on a small scale.

    To foster start-up activities, the city has introduced many policies, including a programme to help small- and medium-sized businesses to innovate and increase global competitiveness in the 2016-2020 period.

    HCM City has set a goal to support 2,000 innovative businesses until 2020 by creating an innovative working environment for start-ups via public-private cooperation.

    Vietnam currently has 1,800 start-ups, of which 834 operate in HCM City.

    Despite strong growth, investment in innovative start-ups in Vietnam remains relatively modest, compared to the region and the world.

    Belgian potato exporters seek opportunities in Vietnam

    Belgium’s Flanders Agricultural Marketing Board held a press conference in Hanoi on May 14 to announce a plan to develop the Belgian potato market share in Vietnam. 

    Attending the event were five largest Belgian businesses major in exporting potato products and specialties to 100 different markets globally, including Agristo, Bart’s Potato Company, Clarebout Potatoes, Ecofrost and Mydibel, and the Belgian fries group

    The event was part of activities on the occasion of the Minister-President of Flanders’s visit to Vietnam from May 13-17 to seek business opportunities. 

    Romain Cools, General Secretary of the Belgian potato trade and processing industry association (Belgapom), expressed his delight at introducing Belgian potatoes in Vietnam following debuts in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. 

    He hailed Southeast Asia as one of the fastest-growing regions on the back of middle class growth, urbanisation and young population, adding that Belgium’s frozen fries are ready to meet demand. 

    Belgium is the world’s largest frozen fries exporter, with over 90 percent being shipped abroad. 

    In 2016, Belgium’s fries export grew by 14.3 percent to 1.68 million tonnes.

    Vietnam Medi Pharm Expo to return to HCM City in August

    About 350 domestic and foreign exhibitors will gather at the Saigon Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Ho Chi Minh City for the 18th Vietnam International Hospital, Medical and Pharmaceutical Exhibition (Vietnam Medi Pharm Expo 2018) from August 2-4.

    The number of foreign exhibitors increased annually over the past 3 years, particularly those from Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, India, and Malaysia, said Nguyen Khac Luan, general director of Vinexad, organiser of the event.

    Products on display at the expo will be medical equipment and equipment in the pharmaceutical and beauty industries, natural medicines and supplementary foods.

    Along with trading activities among the enterprises, the three-day exhibition will also feature seminars “Introduction to Vietnam’s Pharmacy and Medicine Market” and “Local Medical Pharmacy Market and Policies”.

    Besides, there will be a fact-finding tour of Cho Ray Hospital, a large hospital in HCM City, so that they can get an overview of the medical examination and treatment demands from local residents.

    Vietnam Medi-Pharm Expo is an annual event taking place in Ho Chi Minh City in August and Hanoi in December.

    The expo is designed to promote trade activities in pharmacy and medical equipment. The exhibition is a platform for advanced medical technologies and equipment companies from around the world to access local pharmacy companies, in which Vietnam has advantage to initiate exchanges.

    Last year, the Vietnam Medi Pharm Expo drew the participation of 250 businesses showcasing their products at 350 booths. Those included giant corporations and leading global companies from 22 countries and territories such as the US, Germany, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Uzbekistan, Iran, Turkey, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand.

    The 2017 event attracted about 14,200 visitors.

    Bac Lieu province works to lure more tourists

    Boasting various tourist attractions like Quan Am Nam Hai festival, Xiem Can pagoda and bird sanctuary, among others, the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu will splash out 1.35 trillion VND (59.4 million USD) on various solutions to local tourism development until 2020 with a vision until 2030.

    Improving tourism services, bettering transport roads and restoring cultural and historic sites are put at the first line of the solutions. Besides, the locality also pays due attention to setting up mechanisms and policies to call for investment in tourism projects in the province.

    According to Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Cao Xuan Thu Van, the province is currently home to 50 accommodation facilities with nearly 1,200 rooms. The Mekong Delta Tourism Association has listed Bac Lieu province among localities having outstanding tourism products in the southern key economic region.

    The regional “One destination-Four localities Plus” tourism product comprises five provinces of Can Tho, An Giang, Kien Giang, Ca Mau and Bac Lieu, he added.

    From the outset of the year, the province raked in over 110 billion VND (4.84 million USD) from welcoming 120,000 tourist arrivals, including 3,200 foreigners.

    This year, the local tourism sector strives to earn 1.28 trillion VND (56.32 million USD) in tourism revenue, up 6.7 percent from 2017. It targets over 1.6 million tourists, a year-on-year surge of 9.3 percent, with 41,000 foreigners.

    Exports of tra fish earns 438 million USD in three months

    Export turnover of tra fish reached 438.2 million USD in the first quarter of 2018, an increase of 18 percent year-on-year, according to the Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

    Some markets recorded strong growth such as China’s Hong Kong (45 percent), the United States (22.7 percent), and ASEAN with 56.5 percent.

    By the end of March, the export value of tra fish to China’s Hong Kong hit 101.1 million USD, accounting for 23 percent of the first-quarter figure, up 45 percent over the same period of 2017. Hong Kong is also the largest export market of Vietnam.

    VASEP has forecasted that exports of tra fish to this market will continue to grow due to its high demand.

    There are some concerns about exporting products and goods to China due to uncertainties in the market’s demand and payment method. Prices also matter as the prices through the official channel are often 1 USD per kg higher than the prices offered by cross-border channels. VASEP has requested the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Department to quickly inspect tra fish processing units to ensure product quality.

    At the same time, it urged the ministry to introduce more marketing and promotion programs in order to popularize tra fish in China. Exports of tra fish to ASEAN market also increased strongly in the first quarter of the year, reaching 46.7 million USD, up 56.5 percent over the same period last year. 

    Vietnam’s three biggest tra fish importers in the bloc were Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines, accounting for 97.9 percent, 26.8 percent and 32.7 percent, respectively.  It is forecasted that in 2018, ASEAN will continue to be the third largest import market for Vietnamese tra fish (after China and the US). 

    By the end of March, tra fish export value to the US reached nearly 75 million USD, accounting for 17 percent, and up 22.7 percent year on year. Exports of the product to the EU continued to decline by 17.7 percent to 41 million USD. 

    VASEP said that in the coming time, exports of tra fish to the US would continue to face difficulties due to the high anti-dumping tax rate, so ASEAN would be likely to overtake the US to become Vietnam’s second largest tra fish buyer.

    VCCI’s international cooperation helps improve domestic business environment

    The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has made great efforts in cooperating with international organisations and foreign embassies in Vietnam to promote partnership between Vietnamese and foreign partners.

    The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has been working with the VCCI in many cooperation projects, with the most prominent joint effort being the making of the annual provincial competitiveness index (PCI) rankings.

    The PCI has significant influence on the improvement of Vietnam’s business environment, especially from 2014 when the Resolution 19/NQ-CP on major solutions to improve the business environment and enhancing national competitiveness was issued. 

    On the foundation of the PCI, localities nationwide have designed detailed plans of actions and specific ideas to further better the local business environment.

    Meanwhile, according to Karashima Hiroshi, President of the Japan Business Association in Vietnam (JBAV), the VCCI has become a bridge linking the business communities of Vietnam and Japan. 

    With the support from VCCI, the  has received operation permit in Vietnam and exerted efforts to boost trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, he said.

    In 2017, the JBAV was the co-chair of the Vietnam Business Forum, and worked with the VCCI to successfully organize the event, he added.

    Currently, many Japanese firms have showed their interest to invest in Vietnam. The JBAV leader held that conferences held by the VCCI are useful for Japanese enterprises to learn Vietnamese trade information.

    The JBAV will continue to share information of VCCI events to member businesses, he stated.

    At the same time, the VCCI has maintained effective cooperation with the UN Development Programme and other UN organisations to support the sustainable development of businesses. 

    Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Country Director in Vietnam said that the UNDP will continue the close coordination with the VCCI in supporting private firms, which is also one of key focuses of the UNDP currently.

    She held that sustainable development goals cannot be completed without the engagement of the private sectors as well as the support of an organization representing the business community.

    The VCCI spent nearly three years to work with social, economic and environment experts as well as international partners to compile a sustainability index for enterprises, which will be applied soon.

    Lach Huyen int’l port opens in Hai Phong     

    The Lach Huyen international port in the northern port city of Hai Phong, which uses Japanese ODA funding, opened on May 13, according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

    The project is part of the International Port Infrastructure Construction Project through JICA.

    In addition, the Tan Vu intersection (of the Ha Noi-Hai Phong expressway, Tan Vu-Lach Huyen road and ring road of Hai Phong City) is under construction and is expected to be completed within this year.

    Under the project, the Dinh Vu Bridge which is 5.44 km long, is the longest bridge crossing the sea in Viet Nam. It also opened to traffic last September.

    The International Port Infrastructure Construction Project aims to build international deep seaports and other related infrastructure in Lach Huyen District in the eastern part of Hai Phong City.

    The project will help meet the growing demand for cargo handling in Viet Nam as well as enhance international competitiveness of the northern region.

    This is the first ODA project implemented in the form of Public Private Partnership (PPP) between Viet Nam and Japan.

    JICA signed an ODA loan agreement in 2011 with a loan amount of 114.12 billion yen (US$1 billion) of which the port component accounts for 65.252 billion yen and the bridge and road component 48.885 billion yen.

    Viet Nam and Japan have established long-term, reliable strategic partnerships in many fields. JICA has committed to continue to finance important transport infrastructure projects in Viet Nam.

    SBV allows Bao Viet Bank to open branches

         

    State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) last week approved Bao Viet Commercial Joint Stock Bank to open five branches and two transaction offices.

    The five branches are located in the northen province of Lao Cai’s Lao Cai City, central province of Thanh Hoa’s Bim Son Town, Central Highlands province of Gia Lai’s Pleiku City, southern province of Dong Nai’s Bien Hoa City, and HCM City’s Cu Chi District.

    The two transaction offices are to be opened in Nha Trang City of the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa and in Song Than Industrial Zone in southern Binh Duong Province’s Di An District.

    These branches and transaction offices must be operational within 12 months of the date of signing the document announcing the approval, failing which the approval will stand null and void.

    Techcombank raises $362m from second-phase treasury stock sale     

    Techcombank has completed the sale of 64.4 million treasury stocks, collecting more than VND8.24 trillion (US$361.5 million), the bank announced.

    The shares, equivalent to 5.85 per cent of the bank’s capital, were sold between April 27 and May 7 at an average price of VND128,000 ($5.61) per share through transactions on the Viet Nam Securities Depository Centre (VSDC).

    In the first phase (March 21 to April 19), Techcombank also offloaded 93.2 million treasury stocks, equalling 9.39 per cent of its capital, for VND8.48 trillion, or at VND91,000 per share.

    After the two offerings, Techcombank has raised more than VND16.7 trillion.

    In the third quarter of last year, Techcombank paid more than VND4.04 trillion to buy back nearly 172.4 million stocks (treasury stocks), equivalent to just VND23,459 per share.

    The bank’s share value has risen by more than five times since then.

    In April, Techcombank also sold 164 million shares worth VND21 trillion to foreign investors at the price of VND128,000 per share, valuing the bank at $6.5 billion.

    It is expected to list itself on the HCM Stock Exchange on June under the code TCB.

    VDSC announced the deadline for closing the list of shareholders registering ownership on May 11.

    Founded in 1993 with charter capital of just VND20 billion, Techcombank has emerged to be Viet Nam’s largest private sector bank with charter capital of nearly VND11.66 trillion and total assets of VND269.4 trillion by the end of last year.

    The bank posted a pre-tax profit of more than VND8 trillion in 2017 and has targeted a pre-tax profit of VND10.8 trillion this year.

    Techcombank’s shares are trading on the over-the-counter (OTC) market at around VND115,000 per share.

    SeABank appoints new CEO     

    Southeast Asia Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SeABank) has appointed Le Thu Thuy as its general director following the approval of State Bank of Viet Nam.

    This marks a strategic change at SeABank to strengthen its board.

    Born in 1983, Thuy has worked at SeABank for more than 10 years and has many years of experience with international financial and banking organisations.

    She held different positions at the bank before being appointed vice chairman of the management board, wherein she was responsible for building a modern, multi-functional retail bank and directly connecting and developing strategic co-operation with leading companies in the country.

    Previously, SeABank has had many changes – from strategy and business model to organisational structure – to achieve the goal of becoming a multi-functional, modern financial group and leading retail bank in Viet Nam.

    Last year, the bank posted a pre-tax profit of VND381 billion (US$16.7 million), an increase of 161 per cent over 2016 and surpassing 227 per cent of the set target. The bank’s total assets amounted to more than VND125 trillion; total outstanding loans reached VND70.5 trillion; and the bad debt ratio was 0.91 per cent.

    The company said around 120 different products, including the new Mi MIX 2S and Redmi Note 5 are on display there.

    Other products include scooters, robot vacuums, fitness accessories, air purifiers, desk lamps, and power banks.

    Xiaomi, which first came to the country a little over a year ago, already has six other Mi Stores, five in HCM City and one in Thanh Hoa.

    “It is awesome to be opening our first authorized Mi Store in Ha Noi,” Xiaomi Vietnam country manager Jack Yung said.

    “Ever since our first store opening at the beginning of the year, people have been asking us ‘when will you open in Ha Noi?’”

    Mi Store Hanoi is located at Level B1 in Times City, 458 Minh Khai Street.

    Nghi Son 2 thermal plant finally starts construction in second quarter

    After being delayed for numerous times, the construction of Nghi Son 2 thermal power plant is expected to be kicked off by the end of this quarter. The progress is thanks to the investor mobilising the majority of the required capital for the project.   

    Most recently, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) released the information that it signed a $560-million loan agreement to finance the project with Nghi Son 2 Power Limited Liability Company (NS2PC), the investor of Nghi Son 2 thermal power plant, which is a consortium of Japanese company Marubeni Corporation and Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO).

    The purpose of the loan is to support an overseas infrastructure project in which the Japanese company participates as an investor, as well as to operate and maintain a power plant over a long period of time, using advanced Japanese technologies. This loan thereby contributes to maintaining and strengthening the international competitiveness of Japanese industries.

    Along with the loan from JBIC, NS2PC also called loans from the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, MUFG Bank, Ltd., Mizuho Bank, Ltd., Shinsei Bank, Ltd., Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, Ltd., DBS Bank, Ltd., and Malayan Banking Berhad.

    The total co-financing amount is valued at $1.87 trillion. JBIC and KEXIM provide political risk guarantee for the portion of the loan financed by private financial institutions.

    The project will be developed under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format and have the installed capacity of 1,200MW, produced by two units of 600MW each. The electricity generated from this plant will be sold to Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) for 25 years.

    Earlier in June 2017, the Ministry of Planning and Investment granted the investment certificate for the investor. The project's capital was estimated at $2.8 billion. According to the initial plan, the construction of the plant should have started by the end of last year, but failed. The reason for the delay may be the difficulties in arranging capital on the side of the investors.

    The country now has 18 BOT thermal power projects. Some of them have been put into operation, including Phu My 1, 2, and 3 thermal power plants.

    According to the latest information, the $1.75-billion Vinh Tan 1 thermal power project, the largest Chinese-invested project in Vietnam, will come into commercial operation ahead of schedule after concerns of potential power shortages in the southern provinces in the time to come.

    Notably, its first unit will come into commercial operation in July 2018, five months earlier than initially scheduled. Previously, on April 18, 2018, the first unit of Vinh Tan 1 was successfully connected to the national grid and met all standard requirements during the testing as well as operation.

    Vinh Tan 1 is expected to provide more than 7.2 billion KWh per year, increasing the southern region's electricity supply and helping reduce the region's dependence on hydropower—especially during the dry season or droughts.

    Electronics purchases still weak despite big promotion in football season

    Though numerous electronics stores in Ho Chi Minh City catch FIFA World Cup fever to push sales of television sets this football season that is barely more than one month away, consumers show their indifference to the program.

    Sales are declining in electronics stores after Tet holiday (the Lunar New Year); subsequently, FIFA World Cup is believed to be a chance to kick-start the sales. For instance, staffs of Xanh ( Green) electronics store in Go Vap District gave warm welcome to all visitors to the store. 

    A salesman enthusiastically introduced television kinds to customers. A customer will receive discount of VND10 million ($439) if he buys a 55-inch LG television which is worth VND40 million.

    The salesman said that anyone who buys 49-55 inch televisions will enjoy big discount because it is in the football season and these televisions were produced last year.

    Another television brands offer discount from hundred thousands Vietnam dong to millions Vietnam dong with gifts such as vouchers or tourist tickets. Especially they can buy television or electronic appliances on instalment plan with interest rate of zero percent through consumer finance companies such as FE Credit or HD Saison.

    Maybe, Nguyen Kim electronics retailer is the first one that launched sales promotion program to spur purchase. In addition to discounts with gifts , customers can join a lucky draw with the prizes such as :  a tour to Russia to watch World Cup, Hitachi Inverter 584 refrigerator and free Budweiser beer in one year when you buy a product worth VND300,000 up.

    Very a few visitors watched televisions at Thien Hoa Electronics store’s display section. It seemed that they just wanted to see rather buy. Mr. Hung, a visitor at the store, said it is wasteful to buy a television because there are several television at home but it is a good chance for those who want to buy bigger television. He considered World Cup not as important as it is believed.

    Competition from CPTPP not big cause for concern - expert

    An expert in free trade at a workshop on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) held in An Giang Province on May 11 told local enterprises that competition ushered in by market openness is not a big cause for concern.

    Tran Thi Dep, chairwoman of the An Giang Business Association, asked if local enterprises would be adversely affected by CPTPP. She voiced concern at the workshop “Assessing impacts of CPTPP and new free trade agreements (FTAs) on Vietnam – opportunities and challenges for enterprises in An Giang Province.”

    More competition is by all means certain, as imported products can flow in due to lower import tariffs, said Phung Thi Lan Phuong, head of the FTA division at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Integration Center under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). However, such pressure would also bring benefits, she said.

    Phuong said when Vietnam allows products made in other countries to enter the domestic market, local firms would face tougher competition from such goods. However, local enterprises have adapted themselves to such competition, so it is not a big headache for them.

    Vietnam has allowed goods from neighboring markets like China and ASEAN under free trade agreements, and such goods have been competing strongly with domestic products as transport costs are low, she said.

    Therefore, there is no need to worry about remote markets with expensive products and high transport costs like CPTPP economies, Phuong said.

    She asserted that competition exerted by commodities from CPTPP economies would not be as strong as that from ASEAN and China commodities.

    In addition, competition will be motivation for domestic enterprises to enhance their capacity.

    An Giang vice chairman Le Van Nung said the development of enterprises, especially small and medium ones, is extremely important to the province as they offer jobs for local laborers and pay taxes to fuel the province’s growth. Therefore, the provincial government will enhance its support for enterprises.

    It is a must to provide enterprises and local officials with integration information to promote the growth of enterprises, contributing to the province’s socio-economic development, he said, appreciating the significance of the workshop.

    After the U.S. ditched the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in January last year, Vietnam and 10 other members renamed TPP as CPTPP.

    In March, CPTPP was inked in Chile. It will come into force after it is ratified by at least six members.

    Private firm to develop bus system at Saigon Hi-Tech Park

    Saigon Smile Co Ltd will invest VND100 billion (US$4.4 million) to develop a system of clean-energy and electric buses at the Saigon Hi-Tech Park to shuttle employees inside the sprawling park in HCMC’s District 9.

    The SHTP Authority on May 11 awarded an investment certificate for Saigon Smile Co Ltd to develop and operate the bus system.

    Truong Quang Do, representative of the investor, said the company will build bus stations and then operate 10 electric buses on the two routes of the park on a trial basis.

    The project which is scheduled for completion by 2021 will include 30 electric buses and 14 clean-energy buses, together with stations and stops. 

    Do added Intel, FPT, Nidec, Sanofi and Samsung which set up shop at SHTP have already arranged buses to transport their employees. Therefore, Saigon Smile will make deals to transport their staff on fixed routes.

    As Fulbright University Vietnam, Nguyen Tat Thanh University, and Hutech University have their facilities completed there, the park will see an increasing number of students. They will be potential bus passengers, said the Saigon Smile representative.

    The city’s Metro Line No.1 will be passing through the main entrance of the SHTP, so it is also a good chance for the investor’s bus system to transport metro passengers into the park.

    As bus routes in HCMC are partially subsidized by the city government, head of the SHTP Authority Le Hoai Quoc expressed concern over the effectiveness of the new bus project that will not get similar incentives.

    However, Do of Saigon Smile told the Daily that the company has thoroughly studied its project which is forecast to recover its investment within 10 years of operation.

    Enterprises encouraged to join city’s outstanding industrial products program

    The HCMC Department of Industry and Trade has invited enterprises to apply for a program to select outstanding industrial and supporting products in 2018 to honor manufacturers with products making contribution to the city’s development.

    The program functions as a bridge linking business activities together and promoting corporate development through networking among industries to help boost competitiveness and manufacturing capacity in the context of internationally economic integration. 

    Products eligible for the program should be those in mechanical engineering, rubber and plastics, food processing, electronics, apparel, footwear and leather. Companies from such sectors in the city and having manufacturing operations related to industrial and supporting products are qualified for participating in the program.

    Earlier, in the same program held two years ago, 38 products of 30 local enterprises operating in the above-mentioned sectors met all the criteria and were recognized as outstanding industrial and supporting products by the municipal government.

    Banks agree to delay fee hikes

    Member banks of the Vietnam Banks Association have agreed not to revise up card service fees for now as requested by the association.

    A representative of the association told news website Dan Tri last week that the fee collection is following the road map executed since 2012 and within the fee framework set out by the central State Bank of Vietnam. However, the fee hike must ensure the benefits of all parties involved.

    Many big banks have recently raised their charges on cash withdrawals from ATMs to VND1,560 per transaction with ordinary cards and VND2,200 with Gold cards. Inter-bank money transfers are now charged VND11,000 per transaction.

    Commenting on the recent fee rises at many banks, Dao Minh Tuan, chairman of the Bank Card Association of Vietnam, said Vietnam started to offer banking services in 1996. Regulations on services with charges are mentioned in the central bank’s Circular 35 issued in 2012.

    According to Tuan, banks were allowed to impose ATM fees from March 2013 at VND0-2,000 per transaction. From 2015 onwards, the fee level could be raised to VND3,000 per transaction.

    “Though the fee ceiling per transaction of ATM withdrawal is VND3,000, most banks are still charging VND1,000 per same-bank transaction,” Tuan said.

    Following the Government’s cashless payment plan, banks have in the past time invested heavily in modern banking services.

    Commercial banks’ increased charges of same-bank ATM withdrawal, besides being used to cover costs spent on ATM services, are one of the solutions to reduce cash payments.

    Transactions involving domestic cards have picked up from 0.7% in 2013 to 3%, but up to 80% of such transactions are money withdrawals.

    Petrol assoc says slow tax refund impacts biofuel traders

    The Vietnam Petroleum Association (Vinpa) has voiced its disagreement over the slow refund of excite tax on E5 bio-fuel to traders, saying many enterprises are facing financial distress due to the Finance Ministry’s slowness in this regard.

    E5 bio-fuel is a mixture of 95% RON 92 gasoline and 5% ethanol.

    Under prevailing regulations, the fossil fuel RON 92 is subject to 10% special consumption tax, while the bio-fuel is entitled to a rate of 8%, meaning the Finance Ministry is bound to refund the differential in tax sums to oil traders, an obligation the ministry has yet to realize.

    Data shows around 593,000 cubic meters of E5 bio-fuel was sold in the first two months of the year, accounting for 42% of the total fuel consumption. Consumption of the biofuel rose by over 30% from a year earlier, which is quite high, according to Vinpa. 

    However, the association said the increasing consumption has placed fuel traders in a dilemma, news website Dan Tri reports.

    The differential in special consumption tax between RON92 used to make E5, and finished E5 bio-fuel has led to a large amount of tax arrears owed to traders by the Finance Ministry, which has directly affected financial resources among firms.

    Vinpa said the association petition the Finance Ministry on this hangover this January, but it has yet to receive any guidance on the deduction and refund of special consumption tax on E5.

    If the situation persists, fuel traders will face numerous difficulties in making E5 a preferred product among local residents, as they cannot offer the product at a competitive price against RON95.

    Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue on April 3 asked the Finance Ministry to guide the deduction and refund of special consumption tax in line with prevailing regulations and under its authority.

    In case the tax deduction or refund proves difficult, the ministry should amend tax regulations accordingly to reimburse enterprises, according to the Deputy PM.

    The Law on Special Consumption Tax regulates the tax rate applicable to RON92 gasoline at 10%, while E5 and E10 bio-fuels - mixed with 5% and 10% ethanol - are subject to excise tax rates at 8% and 7% respectively. The lower tax is meant to cut petrol prices to attract more consumers.

    Travel firms offer numerous summer tours

    Many travel companies in HCMC have launched multiple tours for the upcoming summer season with prices unchanged or increasing slightly compared to normal days.

    Two leading tour operators,Vietravel and Saigontourist, have offered summer tours with various promotions such as discounts, extra services and gifts for customers. Several days ago, other tour operators such as TST Tourist and Lien Bang Travelink also began providing such tours.

    Vietravel deputy general director Tran Doan The Duy said the company targets selling package tours to 270,000 tourists, up 10% year-on-year, and open tours for 30,000 customers.

    The demand for summer tours grows slightly this year. Prices of other services during the peak season are high but the costs of all-inclusive tours have barely increased or are even unchanged as travel firms have prepared such tours long in advance to attract more tour buyers.

    Other travel companies also provided the same information, saying tour prices remain affordable though hotel room prices in Phu Quoc, Phan Thiet and Con Dao would grow by an average of 25% to 35% on weekends while those in the central region would go up by 15-25%.

    Like in previous summer seasons, beaches and tourist attractions in central provinces were forecast to lure a huge number of tourists.

    As for outbound tours, destinations in Southeast Asia countries still capture much interest, but it is Northeast Asia tours that will post the highest growth thanks to relaxed visa policy and reasonable tour prices.

    Services for the upcoming summer season are diverse with different tours meeting the needs of customers.

    In the past years, tourists preferred to travel on holidays. Nowadays, they tend to travel anytime in the year and carefully study destinations, said TST Tourist general director Lai Minh Duy. He revealed the number of tourists buying tours to France, Switzerland and Italy have surged, and his company will offer tours to Europe for some 1,000 customers from June 1 to August 15.

    For the imminent summer season, travel companies have invested heavily in marketing programs to attract customers to book tours early so that they can prepare well tourism services. They have hired celebrities, had their staffers riding motorcycles on streets and posted videos on social media to introduce their products.

    Deputy PM orders Sabeco’s back tax review

    Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has told the State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV) to review its conclusions on back tax and fines imposed on Saigon Beer, Alcohol and Beverage Corporation (Sabeco), the website of Phap Luat newspaper reports.

    The order comes after the Deputy PM’s meeting on May 2 with representatives of SAV, the Ministries of Industry-Trade, Finance and Justice, the Government Inspectorate, the Government Office, Sabeco and Hanoi Alcohol Beer and Beverage Corporation (Habeco) over special consumption tax debt owed by Sabeco and Habeco.

    Hue requested SAV to review its conclusions on special consumption tax debt, fines on tax payment delays and violations of tax laws in Sabeco and Habeco, and the rights and duties of their shareholders. SAV will later report results to the PM and relevant ministries, agencies and enterprises.

    The Ministries of Finance and Justice and the Government Inspectorate were told to swiftly comment on SAV’s conclusions. The Ministry of Industry and Trade was tasked with making a report on their comments and send it to the PM prior to May 10.

    SAV earlier sent results of its audits of Sabeco’s financial reports and activities related to the management and use of State capital and assets in 2016. The results showed Sabeco had made more than VND2.9 trillion (US$127.3 million) in profit by 2016.

    At the time, the Government held an 89.59% stake in Sabeco, so SAV proposed collecting VND2.5 trillion in undistributed profit of the Government as a majority shareholder of the corporation.

    According to a representative of the Finance and Business Renovation Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the retained profit would be used to fulfill special consumption tax obligations and administrative penalties concerning tax obligations.

    Sabeco had written to the HCMC Tax Department stating that it paid VND4.7 trillion in special consumption tax to the department in 2016 under the department’s direction.

    Sabeco has also agreed to pay over VND2.79 trillion for the State budget as requested by SAV and written to the HCMC Tax Department seeking advice on how to proceed with the payment.

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade is instructing Sabeco to pay the tax in line with the law and SAV’s requirements.

    The Vietnam Association of Financial Investors (VAFI) has warned that Sabeco’s payment of VND2.5 trillion for the State budget might cause serious consequences. VAFI has written to Deputy PM Hue, the Ministry of Finance and SAV as saying that based on the 2014 Enterprise Law, the firm could not pay dividends to shareholders without its board giving prior approval.

    If Sabeco pays VND2.5 trillion for the State budget, Sabeco board members and senior executives of the Ministry of Industry and Trade involved in the problem would violate the Enterprise Law and compensate for losses of thousands of Sabeco’s investors.

    Auto sales exceed 80,000 units in Jan-Apr

    Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA) members have reported April sales of 21,123 units, taking to over 80,680 the total in the first four months of this year.

    According to VAMA, sales of domestically-assembled cars reached 17,910 units, down a mere 5% month-on-month, while sales of imported completely-built-up (CBU) cars rose a sharp 37% versus last month to 3,213 units, including 13,549 passenger cars, up 5% month-on-month; 6,357 commercial vehicles, down 8%; and 1,217 special-purpose autos, down 8%.

    The April auto consumption figure is unchanged from March, at 21,127 units, down 4% year-on-year.

    Sales of pick-up trucks which were all imported from Thailand plunged sharply last month due to Government Decree 116. Last month saw nearly 350 pick-up cars sold and most of them were cleared by the customs in 2017.

    Chevrolet Colorado cars had gone through the required procedures by end-April. Ford, Toyota and Mitsubishi are still undergoing customs clearance procedures.

    As reported by VAMA, from January to April 2018, sales of passenger cars rose a mere 2% to 53,438 units, while sales of commercial vehicles dropped 18% to 23,993 units, and sales of special-use vehicles slipped 36% at 3,250 units.

    Sales of locally-assembled cars increased 8% to some 67,960 units, while sales of CBU automobiles plunged 47% at 12,722 units versus the first four months of 2017.

    However, auto imports are expected to rise strongly in the next two or three months as Vehicle Type Approval certificates have been issued by authorities of some exporting countries and also approved by the Ministry of Transport.

    VNN


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  • 05/28/18--01:41: Article 1
  • Social News 28/5


    Photos recalling 70 years of patriotic movements on display


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    Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh (centre) cuts a ribbon to launch a photo exhibition on 70 years of patriotic emulation movements in Hanoi on May 28.


    Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh cut a ribbon to launch a photo exhibition on 70 years of patriotic emulation movements in Hanoi on May 28.

    The exhibition is hosted by the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) to mark the 70th anniversary of President Ho Chi Minh’s call for patriotic work emulation on June 11, 1948.

    Opening the event, VNA Director General Nguyen Duc Loi said as an important and reliable news agency of the State and Party, the VNA has made contributions to national building and protection and the country’s industrialisation and modernisation.

    VNA journalists have captured numerous photos showing the fervent atmosphere of patriotic emulation among Vietnamese soldiers and people during the anti-French and anti-US wars and when the country began international integration and development, he noted.

    On display at the exhibition are a collection of 100 black and white photographs reminding people of large-scale movements during the national struggle for independence against the French and American, including “Hu gao khang chien” (Rice jar for the Resistance), “Diet giac doi, Diet giac dot, Diet giac ngoai xam” (Kill the hunger, Kill illiteracy, Kill invaders), “Thanh nien Ba san sang” (the youth ready for three tasks), “Phu nu Ba dam dang” (Women with three responsibilities) and more.

    The photos also tell stories about other patriotic movements during the renewal period, for example, people building new-style rural areas or paying tribute to those who served the nation.

    The exhibition will run through June 3.

    Seven decades ago, in the spring of 1948, the country was struggling as it waged its resistance war against the French. To encourage the nation to contribute to the war, President Ho Chi Minh made an appeal for patriotic work emulation on June 11, 1948.

    Opening the appeal he wrote: “The purpose of patriotic work emulation is to eliminate poverty and hunger and illiteracy and foreign aggressors. It means our entire people have enough rice to eat and clothing to wear. The entire population will know how to read and to write. The soldiers will have enough food and weapons to defeat the foreign aggressors. These are aimed to unite the entire nation. Thus we will have an independent nation, free civil rights and happy welfare of the people."

    Seventy years have passed, but the appeal he made in June 1948 as the country fought to defeat the French while building a stable future, always promotes work emulation of every Vietnamese.

    Famous film director dies at 90


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    Director Nguyễn Huy Thành, winner of many Golden Lotus awards, has died. He was 90. – Photo laodong.vn 

    Director Nguyễn Huy Thành, who rose to fame after winning the Golden Lotus Award for Nổi Gió (The Wind Rises) in 1970, passed away while visiting his children in France on May 22. He was 90.

    Thành was born in Đà Nẵng in 1929. He joined the military in 1945 and then moved to the North after 1954.

    In 1959, he studied directing at the Việt Nam Cinematography University (now the Hà Nội University of Theatre and Cinematography).

    Thành’s first film Làng Nổi (Floating Village) in 1965 was much-acclaimed.

    In 1970, he won the Golden Lotus award for Best Feature Film for Nổi Gió (The Wind Rises), given by the Department of Cinematography.

    He received the Golden Lotus awards for Best Feature Film and Best Screenplay for Về Nơi Gió Cát (Return to the Land of Wind and Sands) in 1983, and Best Feature Film and Best Director for Xa và Gần (Far and Near) in 1985.

    In honour of his contribution to cinematography, Thành was awarded the titles of People’s Artist and Meritorious Artist in 2007. He was also given State swards for Literature and Arts in the same year.

    The HCM City Film Association is preparing a memorial ceremony for Thành, and his funeral will be held in HCM City.

    Irrigation systems need repairs


     

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    The 2400ha Pá Khoang Lake within the Pá Khoang tourism site in the northwestern province of Điện Biên. The province’s irrigation systems have been prepared to deal with the upcoming flood season. 


    Nearly 900 irrigation systems in the northern mountainous province of Điện Biên will be reinforced in preparation for the upcoming flood season.

    Among those systems are 13 reservoirs, two electrical pumping stations and more than 880 spillways and temporary dams. Two other reservoirs are under construction, including Ảng Cang in Mường Ảng District and Nậm Khẩu Hu in Điện Biên District. Damaged constructions pose severe threats to people who live in downstream or riverside areas.

    According to Nguyễn Văn Định, head of Điện Biên Province Department of Water Management, the agency tasked reservoir owners to evaluate the construction’s conditions to draw up plans of flood prevention and resilience. Forest protection and better communication between reservoir owners and local authorities were stressed as essential.

    Nguyễn Văn Duyên, director of Điện Biên Irrigation Management Company, told Vietnam News Agency that since April 2018, the company had inspected 12 reservoirs and dams that it reinforced for extreme weather events.

    Điện Biên Province has several irrigation systems located in isolated areas which pose difficulties for search and rescue operations. Moreover, some reservoirs such as Bản Ban, Na Hươm and Sái Lượng are inaccessible in the flood season due.

    Meanwhile, the breakwater project along Quảng Thái Beach in the central province of Thanh Hoá is being postponed, exposing locals to danger when the storm season approaches.

    The project, which was invested with more than VNĐ180 billion (US$7.9 million) and was expected to be completed this month, is currently halted due to slow disbursement.

    At the same time, the casuarina forest playing the role of a natural breakwater was completely felled, letting waves directly hit the shore.

    Phạm Trung Tuấn, deputy head of Quảng Thái Commune People’s Committee, said that if a powerful storm hit the area, 300 local families would face severe damage.

    “Because of the postponed project, the landscape is negatively affected, fishing boats have no place to be moored and local fishing is ruined,” he said. — VNS

    Hanoi celebrates 590 years since King Le Thai To’s coronation


     

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    The palanquin procession marks 590 years since the coronation day of King Le Thai To on May 27 


    A ceremony was held by Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi on May 27 (13th day of the fourth lunar month) to mark 590 years since the coronation day of King Le Thai To, the founder of the Le so Dynasty (1428 – 1527).

    In 1416, Le Loi, posthumously known by his temple name Le Thai To, and prominent figures gathered at the Lung Nhai Oath Ceremony in the land which is now Thanh Hoa province to vow to liberate the country from the rule of the Chinese Ming invaders, who attacked the country in 1407.

    He launched the Lam Son Uprising in 1418 and it came to success in 1427, after 10 years of countless hardships and many resounding victories, forcing the Ming invaders to retreat.

    On the 15th day of the fourth lunar month in 1428, Le Loi came to the throne under the name Thuan Thien at Kinh Thien Palace in Dong Quan Fortress (now Hanoi), and renamed the country Dai Viet, a name used to exist from 1054 to 1400.

    The ceremony marking his coronation featured a palanquin procession with the participation of over 1,000 people and the incense offering at the King Le Thai To Statue relic site.

    A representative of the administration of Hoan Kiem district said the ceremony aimed to commemorate the great merit of Le Loi during the 10-year uprising against the foreign invaders. It was also meant to help preserve and uphold traditional spiritual cultural values and educate people about tribute to ancestors.

    Greetings extended to Buddhists on Buddha’s birthday


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    Most Venerable Danh Lung presents gift to Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Ngo Sach Thuc 


    A delegation led by Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Ngo Sach Thuc visited and extended greetings to Buddhist dignitaries and followers in Ho Chi Minh City on May 27 on the occasion of Lord Buddha’s 2562nd birthday.

    Visiting Most Venerable Thich Duc Nghiep, Vice Supreme Patriarch of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS)'s Patronage Council and dignitaries in Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, Thuc stressed that Buddhism always stays side by side with the nation and makes numerous contributions to the national development.

    Visiting dignitaries of Khmer Nam Tong (Theravada ) Buddhism sect in Candaransi Pagoda, Thuc acknowledged that together with Buddhist work, the VBS has actively participated in emulation movements and social welfare activities as well as making efforts to protect the environment, adapt to climate change and ensure food safety and traffic safety.

    Most Venerable Danh Lung stated that Buddhist dignitaries and followers continue promoting the good tradition of Buddhism, actively responding to the patriotic emulation movement and other campaigns initiated by the Vietnam Fatherland Front, and maintain contributions to the national great unity.

    On the day, the delegation also visited Most Venerable Thich Giac Toan, Vice President of the VBS’s Executive Council, who represents the Khat si Vietnam Nam (Mendicant Buddhist) Sect; Most Venerable Thich Thien Tam, Vice President of the VBS’s Executive Council and head of the Kinh Nam Tong Sect, and Most Venerable Thich Tri Quang, Vice Supreme Patriarch of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS)'s Patronage Council and head of the Executive Council of the VBS’s Ho Chi Minh City chapter.

    OV intellectuals in France, Belgium meet for national building


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    AVSE Global members, including many overseas Vietnamese intellectuals in France, met with Vietnamese specialists and businessmen living in Belgium in a gathering on May 27.


    Members of the Association of Vietnamese Specialists and Scientists (AVSE Global), including many overseas Vietnamese intellectuals in France, met with Vietnamese specialists and businessmen living in Belgium in a Brussels gathering on May 27.

    The AVSE held the gathering to connect Vietnamese intellectuals in the two countries and called on Vietnamese people living in Belgium and the Europe at large to together turn their hearts to the homeland and make contributions to the national building.

    In his remarks at the meeting, AVSE President Nguyen Duc Khuong said the meeting aims to provide overseas Vietnamese people and organisations in Vietnam, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and other countries with information and chances to take part in seminars, projects and training programmes the AVSE Global is carrying out.

    Present at the event, Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg Vu Anh Quang highly valued contributions made by the Vietnamese communities overseas, especially intellectuals, to the national building. He expected the Vietnamese intellectuals and businessmen in Belgium will look into the possibility to set up an association like AVSE in France.

    During the meeting, the AVSE gave the participants an overview of training courses, seminars, forums and projects it has been implementing. The participants then discussed opportunities to expand relations between the AVSE and organisations and individuals in Belgium and to take part in projects and programmes in Vietnam.

    Founded in 2011 in Paris, France, the AVSE brings together prestigious Vietnamese intellectuals, scientists and specialists who reside both at home and overseas. The group aims to contribute to the prosperous development of the country.

    Pho Hien set to be new tourism hub


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    The Xich Dang Temple of Literature, built in the 17th century in Xich Dang Commune. The temple worships Chu Van An (1292-1370), a revered teacher in the Trần Dynasty. It is among the 16 historical relics in the Pho Hien complex recognised as special heritage sites 


    The northern province of Hung Yen is branding itself as the gateway to Hanoi city, in an effort to attract tourists and market its cultural sites and products.

    In its tourism development plan, recently approved by the provincial authorities, the ancient Pho Hien (Hien Street) relic complex and the Hong (Red) River eco-travelling lodge have been listed as trademarks of Hung Yen tourism.

    The province has set a goal to develop tourism industry as a key sector for economic development. The province seeks to tap the abundance of local products, as well as improve facilities, and promote its cultural identity.

    Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duy Hung said the province has set out a variety of basic targets for development, in which priority was given to the development of the tourism industry; facilities and products that appeal to tourists; and particularly the protection of natural resources and the environment.

    The province also directed local tourism authorities to focus on improving transport infrastructure and urged the business sector to invest in this field, said Hung.

    He said, on the one hand, the province will focus on domestic markets, mainly attracting tourists from Hanoi and other provinces in the Red River Delta as well as other provinces in the country.

    On the other hand, he added, it will expand to international markets including those in Europe, Australia, and North America.

    Those in Northeast Asia and ASEAN member countries will also be considered, according to Hung.

    Hung Yen has, for several years, undertaken measures to preserve the ancient Pho Hien relic complex, which is recognised as a special national heritage site.

    Numerous projects have been implemented in the locality since 1997 to restore Pho Hien, in a bid to protect its cultural and historic value. Repairs have been made to the Xich Dang Temple of Literature, the Chuong Pagoda, the Mau (Goddess) Temple, and the Dong Do Quang Hoi and Hien Pagodas, among others.

    Now the province has cordoned off nearly 2,000 hectares of land to carry out a master plan to preserve ancient Pho Hien in line with local tourism development.

    Furthermore, the province has paid consistent attention to restoring Pho Hien traditional cultural festivals in order to maximise the tourism potential of the locality. Worshipping places in the complex remain particularly popular among domestic tourists.

    The Pho Hien relic complex contains countless pagodas and temples built in Vietnamese, Chinese and western architectural styles. A Catholic church boasting a gothic architectural style was built in Pho Hien during the 17th century.

    The complex was also once a bustling commercial port on the Red River, reaching its heyday in the 17th and 18th centuries. Pho Hien was second only to the imperial capital city of Thang Long as a trading point. It was well-known among foreign traders, especially those from China, the Netherlands, Japan and France.

    VFF President visits Buddhists in Soc Trang, Dong Nai provinces


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    President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Tran Thanh Man (front, right) visits Buddhists in Soc Trang province at Prek On Dot Pagoda on May 27 


    President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Tran Thanh Man has congratulated Buddhists in the southern provinces of Soc Trang and Dong Nai on Lord Buddha’s 2,562nd birth anniversary (15th day of the fourth lunar month, or May 29 this year).

    Visiting Prek On Dot (also called Can Duoc) Pagoda in Thanh Phu commune of Soc Trang’s My Xuyen district on May 27, he offered congratulations to Most Venerable Duong Nhon – Deputy Supreme Patriarch of the Patronage Council of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS), head of the provincial Association for Solidarity of Patriotic Buddhist Monks and head of Prek On Dot Pagoda; along with leaders of Thien Phuoc Pagoda in Xuan Hoa commune and Thien Thoi Pagoda in Thoi An Hoi commune of Ke Sach district.

    Man informed local Buddhists about Vietnam’s recent achievements which were greatly contributed by Vietnamese Buddhists.

    He extended greetings to all the Buddhists in Soc Trang, expressing his hope that they will continue encouraging dignitaries and followers to comply with the Party’s policies and the State’s law, including the Law on Belief and Religion, actively participate in social activities and patriotic emulation movements, and promote the great national unity bloc.

    Most Venerable Thich Minh Hanh, member of the VBS’s Executive Council and head of Thien Thoi Pagoda, appreciated the Party, State and VFF’s attention, affirming that they will further encourage Buddhist followers to contribute to national development.

    On May 26, the leader of the VFF Central Committee visited Most Venerable Thich Thanh Tu, Deputy Supreme Patriarch of the VBS’s Patronage Council, at Thuong Chieu Monastery in Phuoc Thai commune of Long Thanh district, Dong Nai province.

    He noted that the Law on Belief and Religion, which comes into force in 2018, will create more favourable conditions for all religions, including Buddhism. He asked Thuong Chieu Monastery and the VBS to build on the obtained achievements and contribute more to national development and protection.

    Buddhists in HCM City congratulated on Lord Buddha’s birthday


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    National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (fifth, left) visits Office II of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha in HCM City on May 27 


    National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, on behalf of the Party and State leaders, visited and extended congratulations to some Buddhist establishments in Ho Chi Minh City on May 27 ahead of Lord Buddha’s 2562nd birthday.

    Visiting Chairman of the VBS’s Executive Council Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon and Buddhist monks, nuns and followers at Office II of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS), she hailed the enormous contributions by Vietnamese Buddhists to national development throughout history.

    The VBS has done a number of activities benefiting the religion and life while encouraging Buddhists nationwide to have good faith, adhere to the State’s law, fulfill citizens’ obligations, actively take part in charitable work, and contribute to poverty reduction.

    She affirmed that the Party and State always respect and ensure people’s right to freedom of belief and religion, care for the socio-economic development of religious communities, and create favourable conditions for followers and dignitaries of different religious, including Buddhism, to practice their religions authentically and fulfill the obligations of a citizen.

    Appreciating the Party and State leaders’ attention, Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon said the VBS has been complying with Lord Buddha’s teachings to become a religion with humane values that is attached to humankind and generates good values for the life.

    Over nearly two millennia, the Vietnamese Buddhism has continually been standing by the country and become an integral part of the nation’s history, he noted.

    He pledged that the VBS will continue encouraging Buddhists to follow the State’s Constitution and law as well as the VBS’s policies and regulations, thus helping to develop the Vietnamese Buddhism sustainably and contributing to national development.

    Also on May 27, NA Chairwoman Ngan visited the Executive Council of the Giao hoi Tinh do cu sy Phat hoi Viet Nam (Vietnam Pure Land Buddhist Association) Central Committee.

    Talking to head of the association Nguyen Phuong Hieu, dignitaries, followers and members of the organisation, she spoke highly of their religious practices along with provision of free medical examinations and medicine and care for disadvantaged people, which have helped to build a more altruistic society.

    She applauded their efforts to join people nationwide to create great strides for Vietnam and improve the country’s stature in the international arena. She asked the Vietnam Pure Land Buddhist Association to continue charitable work to help with national development.

    Nguyen Phuong Hieu said all dignitaries, followers and members of the association always trust the State’s guidelines and policies on religions and beliefs. They have focused on their religious practices and strived to carry out charitable activities and develop the association.

    The Executive Council will continue promoting their followers’ adherence to law and the organisation’s rules, along with charitable work, thereby helping to bring peace and happiness to all people, he added.

    On May 26, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh also visited and sent congratulations on Lord Buddha’s birthday to Buddhists at Lam Son, Thien Minh and Bao Quoc pagodas in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

    Vietnam impresses Prague international art festival


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    Trong dance performed at 20th international art-cultural festival of national minorities in the Czech Republic


    Vietnam’s traditional dances gained big applause at the 20th international art-cultural festival of national minorities in the Czech Republic held from May 24-28 under the theme “Prague-Heart of Nations”.

    Vietnamese people living in the country brought to the festival three dances, and an ao dai (Vietnamese traditional dress) show.

    This was the first time a group dance from Vietnam, Trong dance (dance with drums), had been selected to be performed in the Gala Concert – the peak of the festival - in the stunning Vinohrady Theater on May 26.

    Nguyen Duy Nhien, President of the Vietnamese People’s Association in the Czech Republic, said that Vietnam has attended the festival for nine times, with the purpose of showing friendship and introducing the country’s cultural beauty to international friends.

    This year’s festival attracted the participation of 20 troupes from European, Asian, African and American nations.

    The festival is the largest joint festival of national minorities in the Czech Republic, which has been held since 1999.

    It features music & dance performances, costumeshows, exhibitions, demonstrations of old crafts, creative and dance workshops.

    Vietnam works to ease childhood micronutrient deficiency

    Statistics show that the stunting rate in Vietnam remains high at 24.3 percent, while obesity in urban areas is rising rapidly. Public awareness of nutrition is said to be low.

    Vegetable, meat, shrimp and fish are basic kinds of nutrition that mothers normally choose for their children in daily meals. However, not many of them know how much nutrition is enough. Many mothers think kids need to gain weight to be healthy.

    Tong Thu Thuy, a mother of two living in Ninh Binh province said it was hard to know how much nutrition is enough. If we want our kids to gain weight, maybe we have to consult doctors, she added.

    Sharing the viewpoint, Le Thi Loan, another mother in Ninh Binh province told reporters: "It’s difficult to know, only by doing test. I can only let them eat vegetables, fruit, meat and fish, that’s it."

    Childhood malnutrition is now concerning experts. Data show that as many as 13 percent of under five children in Vietnam now don’t get enough Vitamin A, while the rate of zinc deficiency is up to 70 percent.

    According to Prof. Dr. Nguyen Thanh Long, Deputy Minister of Health, Vietnam is now facing a serious deficiency of Vitamin A and folic acid. Nutrition imbalance between regions is also worrying us. The Ministry of Health launches campaigns every year to give more children Vitamin A, since the rate of vitamin A deficiency is still high.

    As many as 1 million Vietnamese children receive vitamin A during the annual campaign in all cities and provinces nationwide. However, the vitamin supplement is conducted during campaigns, not regularly.

    Malnutrition cause negative effects on children’s health and development. Increasing micronutrients in daily meal is the simplest and most sustainable way to improve the height and physical health of Vietnamese people.

    Da Nang forest fire service on high alert due to heat wave

    Forest fire season begins in central Da Nang city as heat wave here is prolonged and fiercer. The city forest fire service and local firemen are increasing their patrol, and monitoring to minimize the number of forest fires.

    In endless forests in Son Tra nature reserve, the fuels in the ground are immense, like fallen leaves and dried branches. In such a dry condition and low humidity like now, a reckless action by human can easily ignite a raging fire. And, it can go out of control.   

    Locals living around the nature reserve are deeply aware of protecting forests there.

    Among them is Le Viet Tien, who has joined a local rapid forest fire service team. When going into the forest, he often keeps an eye out all around the area, and quickly spots a fire if it is occurring.

    He told reporters: "During national holidays we have to be more vigilant and look out for any situations. If the fire is little, we can handle it by ourselves, if not, then we will call for fire fighters."

    As the forest fire season is in full swing, local rangers have increased their patrol. They always keep a close watch on bushes or the ground with thick fallen leaves.

    Tran Thang, Chief of staff of Son Tra – Ngu Hanh Son Park Ranger said: "We broadcast public announcement to inform public of the heat wave, and regulations on forest protection." During their work shift, they often remind visitors to refrain from using lighters or causing fire, he added.

    Da Nang is home to more than 62 thousand hectares of forest. It has defined fire prevention as the main task.

    Since the beginning of the drought season, the city ranger force has increased its resources. It has stayed on high alert in order to be the first to deal with any forest fires.

    Unpredictable weather patterns, and intense heat wave, in recent years, have caused some devastating wildfires.

    To minimize wildfire-related damage, Da Nang also needs to revise its prevention strategies. 

    This includes strengthening the existing fire service resources, and sending more personnel to high-risk areas to quickly get to a fire and distinguish it.

    Slavic writing, culture celebrated in HCM City, Hanoi


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    An art performance at the event in Ho Chi Minh City. 


    Events to mark the Day of Slavic Writing and Culture (May 24) were held in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi on May 26.

    In HCM City, the event was hosted by the Ho Chi Minh City Union of Friendship Organisations the Vietnam-Bulgaria Friendship Association and the Vietnam-Russia Friendship Association in the city. 

    Speaking at the festival, Hoang Thai Lan, Chairwoman of the Vietnam-Bulgaria Friendship Association in HCM City, said the Day of Slavic Writing and Culture (May 24) is observed annually by Slavic countries to commemorate Saints Cyril and Methodius, who created the Slavic writing. 

    Currently, more than 250 million people across the world are using the writing system, contributing to the development of the European civilization. The Slavic countries include Russia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Serbia and Croatia, among others. 

    Chargé d' Affairs of the Bulgarian Embassy in Vietnam Marinela Petkova highlighted cooperation in politics, economy, education, tourism, culture and sports between Vietnam and Bulgaria. 

    The two countries boast substantial potential for economic collaboration, she said, noting that Bulgaria highly values economic achievements Vietnam has recorded in recent years. 

    The diplomat held that more efforts should be made to deepen the bilateral ties.

    Da Nang: Dutch Day marks Vietnam-Netherlands ties


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    “Dutch Day” is part of the activities to mark 45th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Vietnam and the Netherlands. 


    The culture and people of the Netherlands grow closer to Da Nang residents through the “Dutch Day” held in the central coastal city on May 26.

    The event, held by the Dutch Embassy and Consulate General in Vietnam in collaboration with the municipal People Committee, is part of the activities to mark 45th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Vietnam and the Netherlands (April 9).

    It featured a wide range of activities, including “Bike Ride”, photo exhibition, book exhibition, and information exchange on studying in the Netherlands, among others.

    At the event, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Ho Ky Minh said that the “Dutch Day” will help enhance friendship and cooperation between Da Nang and Dutch localities, making contributions to fostering the bilateral ties between the two countries.

    According to Dutch Consul-General in Ho Chi Minh City Carel Richter, the “Dutch Day” will continue its journey to Da Lat city in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong in June, the northern port city of Hai Phong in September and the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho in November, focusing on agriculture, maritime and climate change, respectively.

    The events will serve as venues for businesses of both sides to meet and seek cooperative opportunities, he said.

    Reburial service held for soldier remains repatriated from Laos, Cambodia


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    At the memorial service  

    The Central Highlands province of Kon Tum held a memorial service and re-buried 16 sets of remains of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and experts who laid down their lives during wartime in Laos and Cambodia.

    The event was attended by representatives from the Government’s specialised committee on searching and repatriating volunteer soldiers’ remains, delegations from Laos’s Attapeu, Sekong and Champasak provinces, and Cambodia’s Ratanakiri province. 

    During the 2017-2018 dry season, the search team of the provincial Military High Command repatriated 16 sets of martyrs’ remains.

    Of the total, 10 sets of remains were found in Rattanakiri province and six others in Laos’s Attapeu, Sekong and Champasak provinces.

    Many personal belongings of the fallen soldiers were found along with the remains, including rifles, water containers and combs.

    Ministry marks 80 years of National Script Dissemination Association


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    Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Huu Do 


    The Ministry of Education and Training held a ceremony in Hanoi on May 25 to mark the 80th founding anniversary of the National Script Dissemination Association (May 25, 1938), which is the predecessor of the continuing education sector nowadays.

    Addressing the event, Deputy Minister Nguyen Huu Do said the romanised script, developed by French missionary Alexandre de Rhodes in the 17th century, became the official script of Vietnam in the early 20th century and was called Quoc ngu (national script). 

    But it was not until 1917 that the romanized script completely won against Han (Chinese) and Nom (modified Chinese script of Vietnam). However, up to 95 percent of Vietnam’s population was illiterate at that time.

    After the Communist Party of Vietnam came into being in 1930, the then Party Committee of the northern region decided to set up an organisation to fight illiteracy and invite intellectuals to take part in this organisation.

    The legality of the National Script Dissemination Association was recognised on July 29, 1938. However, the organisation took May 25, 1938 as its official establishment day.

    It opened the first course on September 9, 1938. From June 1940 to July 1944, the organisation ran 820 classes with 2,908 teachers and 41,118 students. Nearly 9,460 of the students had escaped illiteracy by September 1944.

    The organisation began operations in the central region on January 5, 1939 and in the southern region on November 5, 1944.

    After the August Revolution in 1945 that led to the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the mass education movement was launched, and the National Script Dissemination Association ceased operation.

    Deputy Minister Nguyen Huu Do said in nearly two decades since Vietnam declared the elimination of illiteracy and universalisation of primary education, illiteracy eradication efforts have been maintained and resulted in major achievements.

    The literacy rate has reached about 97.35 percent in the 15-60 age group and 92.56 percent among ethnic minority people, he noted.

    At the ceremony, the education ministry also honoured collectives and persons with outstanding attainments in illiteracy eradication in recent years.

    Vietnam presents gifts to Cambodia’s solidarity front


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    At the presenting ceremony 


    The Vietnamese Government on May 25 presented three cars and three sets of computers worth nearly 300,000 USD to the Solidarity Front for the Development of Cambodia Motherland.

    Defence Attaché at the Vietnamese Embassy in Cambodia Nguyen Anh Dung handed over these gifts to permanent Vice Chairman of the front Nhem Valy.

    Nhem Valy expressed the profound gratitude of the Cambodian people in general and the front in particular for Vietnam’s assistance.

    He said that the gifts will help the front contribute more to Cambodia’s nation building and development as well as the country’s relations with Vietnam.

    Over the past years, the front has coordinated actively with the Vietnam Fatherland Front, Defence Ministry and other ministries, thus helping consolidate and develop the traditional friendship and solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries’ people.

    Standard Chartered raises 74,000 USD for eye care programme


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    The Standard Chartered Bank (Vietnam) Limited has raised more than 74,000 USD from the “Cycling for tomorrow light” programme for its eye care programme. (Source: doanhnhansaigon.vn)


    The Standard Chartered Bank (Vietnam) Limited has raised more than 74,000 USD from the “Cycling for tomorrow light” programme for its eye care programme entitled “Light is belief.”

    The amount is much higher than the set target of 60,000 USD. It includes the amount donated by Standard Chartered which is equivalent to the sum raised from the community. All of the proceeds will be used to fund eye care projects in countries and territories where Standard Chartered is operating, including Vietnam.

    From the former imperial city of Hue, 27 staff members of Standard Chartered in Vietnam, ASEAN and South Asian countries rode across Hai Van Pass and Hoi An ancient city before reaching central Da Nang city.

    “Light is belief” is a cooperation programme between Standard Chartered, International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and leading eye care organizations in the world.

    Since its establishment in 2003, the programme has supported 163.5 million people through medical intervention, eye-screening tests and instruction on eye care measures.

    It has also provided training courses on eye care for 294,500 medical workers, carried out 167 projects in 37 countries and presented 1 million glasses to people with eye-related problems.

    In Vietnam, Standard Chartered has actively coordinated with partners to support and develop eyesight rehabilitation and eye care programmes. To date, “Light is belief” has provided eye-screening tests for 2.5 million people, performed 47,000 eye operations and presented 34,6000 glasses to targeted people.

    Under the programme, three projects are being implemented with total fund of 2.4 million USD, expected to benefit 2.2 million people, including workers in central Da Nang city and Quang Ngai province, students in Da Nang city, Hai Duong and Tien Giang provinces, and children and elderly people in Can Tho city and Ca Mau province.

    Vietnamese firms support poor households in Cambodia


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    At the ceremony to present gift packages to poor people in Cambodia 


    Vietnamese enterprises operating in Cambodia have presented gift packages through the Association of Khmer-Vietnam in Cambodia to 100 poor households, including overseas Vietnamese and Cambodian families.

    At the presentation of gifts in Phnom Penh on May 25, Chau Van Chi, President of the association, which was previously known as the General Association of Vietnamese-Cambodian People, thanked the Vietnamese businesses for the donation.

    Vo Tranh, an overseas Vietnamese living in Chbar Ampov district, expressed his gratitude to Vietnamese sponsors.

    Apart from this programme, the Khmer-Vietnam association will continue coordinating with Vietnamese and overseas Vietnamese entrepreneurs to support disadvantaged residents in Prey Veng province.

    In recent years, many delegations of Vietnamese and overseas Vietnamese volunteer doctors, enterprises and donors have provided free medical examination and medicines for disadvantaged locals and Vietnamese expatriates in Cambodia, contributing to enhancing the friendship between the two countries and their people in particular.

    Earlier on May 12, overseas Vietnamese doctors in Cambodia collaborated with local partners to provide free health check-ups and medicines to over 1,000 Cambodian and Vietnamese poor people in Kep province.

    The charitable activity was funded by Vietnamese enterprises and Overseas Vietnamese firms operating in Cambodia.

    The people were provided with services such as blood tests, ultrasound examination, electrocardiogram, general examination.

    They also received medicines and advice on how to prevent diseases. 

    Those with difficult circumstances, who can’t afford intensive treatment, will have their treatment funded by donors.

    Kien Giang province seeks partnership with French localities


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    At the gathering to mark the 45th founding anniversary of Vietnam-France diplomatic ties (Source: thoidai.com.vn)


    The southern province of Kien Giang wants to increase cooperation and people-to-people exchange with French localities, and welcomes French investors and businesspeople to the province, said a provincial official.

    Addressing a local gathering to mark the 45th anniversary of Vietnam-France diplomatic ties on May 25, Vice Chairman of Kien Giang People’s Committee Mai Van Huynh said as early as in 2012, the province signed with the French city of Lorient a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation on fishing, seafood processing, ship building, education-training, health care, tourism and investment support. 

    Since then, Kien Giang has also held a number of events to promote trade and investment ties with French businesses. The province is now home to two French investment projects with combined capital of 4.3 million USD. Some non-governmental organisations of France have implemented some support projects in Kien Giang in the fields of public health, education and rural development. 

    Deputy Ambassador of France to Vietnam Olivier Sigaud stressed that bilateral ties are enjoying development with effective cooperation across many fields after 45 years of diplomatic relations and five years as strategic partners. 

    He highlighted the growing partnership in culture, education, justice, administration, economic development, and defence-security. He particularly noted that more than 7,000 Vietnamese students are pursuing education in France. 

    The Deputy Ambassador said Vietnam has great potential for development and investors share the assessment that the country’s economy is seeing stable growth. 

    He affirmed that French businesses want to continue to invest in Vietnam, adding that for Kien Giang, France will promote investment in seafood processing, tourism and service. 

    Vietnam and France established a diplomatic relationship on April 12, 1973. France was among the first Western countries to set up ties with Vietnam and assist the country in national reconstruction. 

    The two countries entered into a strategic partnership in September 2013, marking a step forward in political trust and opening up new directions for close cooperation.

    Mekong forum highlights technology application in agro-aquaculture


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    Technology and plant display in the framework of the forum


    A forum discussing ways to enhance application of technologies in agriculture and aquaculture production take place in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on May 25. 

    The Mekong 2018 Forum was jointly organised by the Department of Technology Application and Development of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST ), Can Tho’s Department of Science and Technology, Cuu Long University, and the Asia industry information association.

    The event is part of a chain of events hosted by the MoST, which aims to promote technology application, transfer and innovation in the Mekong Delta region. 

    The forum featured introduction and demonstrations of modern and smart technologies for agriculture and aquaculture production and business networking activities for technology transfer in the region. 

    Dao Anh Dung, Vice Chairman of the Can Tho municipal People’s Committee said that the Mekong Delta region is a key agricultural area of the country, accounting for 50 percent, 65 percent and 70 percent of the nation’s rice, aquaculture and fruit yields, respectively. 

    The region also contributes 95 percent of rice export and 60 percent of aquatic product export of the country, he added. 

    However, he noted that the delta is vulnerable to challenges caused by climate change and rising sea level, which have direct impact on the production and the life of regional people. 

    Dung stressed the need to shift the way of thinking in agricultural production from ensuring food security to large-scale and modern agricultural production to meet market demand.

    MoST Deputy Minister  Tran Van Tung said thanks to application of science and technology  in agricultural production, regional research institutes and enterprises have created many varieties of plants and animals with high economic value, along with advanced production technologies, suitable with regional characteristics, thus developing key products with high competitiveness, contributing to promoting sustainable socio-economic development in  the region and the country in general.

    Participants, however, pointed out that science and technology have yet to become the main driving force of socio-economic development in the Mekong Delta.

    They suggested promoting  research, transfer and application of technologies in agricultural production in the region, focusing on new and smart technologies, automation technology solutions basing on the IoT platform such as Unmanned pesticide spraying aircraft; plant / animal quality monitoring system via smartphone, and precise irrigation technology.             

    It is both the current trend and a compulsory solution to increase productivity, product quality, and shift to modern agriculture.

    VNN


    0 0
  • 05/28/18--01:54: Article 0
  • Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien receives India’s noble award


    Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien, Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, was awarded with Padma Shri – the fourth highest civilian award of India – at a ceremony in Hanoi on May 27.


     

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    Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Parvathaneni Harish (L) presents Padma Shri award to Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien


    Speaking at the event, Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Parvathaneni Harish said the honour is in recognition of Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien’s contributions in religion and tightening Buddhist cooperation between the two countries.

    The diplomat wished Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien more success and hoped he will contribute more to bilateral ties.

    Vietnamese Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan, President of the Vietnam-India Friendship Association, said the Vietnam-India relationship originated from cultural and religious exchanges and was founded by late President Ho Chi Minh and India’s late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

    Over the years, the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha and Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien have carried out activities to boost Vietnam’s relations with Indian organisations and the Indian Embassy in Vietnam, helping boost ties between the two peoples, Tuan added.

    For his part, Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien, also Vice President of the Vietnam-India Friendship Association, expressed his honour and pride to receive such a noble award.

    He said Vietnamese Buddhism always stands side by side with the nation and acts as a bridge connecting Vietnam and India.

    He also vowed to do his best to enhance the Vietnam-India friendship and preserve Indian Buddhism historical and cultural relic sites in Vietnam.

    Padma Shri is a noble award of India normally presented to Indian citizens with outstanding achievements in numerous fields, ranging from science, literature, arts, education, health, diplomacy to industry, trade and social work.

    In 2018, the award is being granted to citizens in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the occasion of the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit. Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien is the first Vietnamese to receive the honour.

    VNA


    0 0
  • 05/29/18--01:38: Article 3
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 29/5


    Vietnamese organic products to be displayed at ThaiFex 2018

    Some 30 Vietnamese food and beverage producers will showcase their organic products and others at ThaiFex – World of Food Asia 2018, the international food and beverage trade fair held in Bangkok, Thailand from May 29 – June 2.

    Participating companies include Vinamit JSC; Ben Tre Import-Export JSC; Trung Nguyen Group; VinEco Agricultural Investment, Development and Productions LLC; Lai Phu JSC; Thuan Thien Thanh Food Investment and Development JSC; Co May Co Ltd; Bibica JSC; and Petrolimex Import-Export JSC.

    The Vietnamese pavilion has an “organic and natural village” with organic products like desiccated fruits, rice, processed coconut and milk, alongside products with geographical indication like Phu Quoc fish sauce, Binh Thuan dragon fruits, Binh Phuoc cashew nuts, Ben Tre Xiem coconuts and grapefruits and natural products like Dong Thap lotus on display.

    The Vietnamese delegation will run networking programmes between Vietnamese and ASEAN firms. There will be also a seminar with Vietnamese and foreign speakers discussing the potential of the ASEAN market and sharing their experience in developing and commercialising products with geographical indication.

    Organised by Koelnmesse Pte Ltd, Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion and the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thaifex is set to draw more than 2,500 exhibitors from some 40 countries and territories.

    The fair can help connect visitors with exhibitors, thus improving competitiveness of firms for their operation in the global market.

    Ha Long city expects investment wave in Boutique shophouses


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    The increasing numbers of visitor to northeastern Quang Ninh province’s Ha Long city in recent years creates excellent opportunities for investment deals, especially in boutique shophouses – a real estate model combining mini hotels and shophouses.

    Bai Chay, a tourism zone in Ha Long, is attracting real estate investors due to its clean and beautiful beaches. It is home to the Sun World entertainment complex and the hi-end Sun Premier Village resort.

    With a floor area of 100 square metres, a shophouse is only suitable for opening a restaurant, café or clothes shop.

    Meanwhile, a boutique shophouse with more floor area is multi-functional and can be utilised as mini hotels, bars, leisure facilities, restaurants, spa or beauty salons.

    Another plus point of boutique shophouses are their prime location along the Ha Long road and special design for commercial small hotels.

    With an area of 632-900 square meters, each boutique shophouse can have up to 21 rooms, allowing owners to enter the mini hotel business without additional renovation costs.

    Owners of boutique shophouses will also get long-term ownership certificates.

    The boutique hotel and shophouse model emerged in the 1990s in major cities around the world, including Paris, London, New York and San Francisco, and has flourished in Asian tourist resorts in the 2000s.

    It is fast becoming an attractive investment option in Vietnam even though it has only emerged in the country in recent years. 

    With stunning landscapes, clear turquoise sea and spectacular limestone pillars together with tourism investment projects, Quang Ninh boasts huge potential to develop tourism.

    The province has a coastline of more than 250 kilometres and 2,000 islets, two-thirds of the total in Vietnam. The spectacular stretch of coast connects the UNESCO-recognised World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay with majestic natural scenery, Bai Tu Long Bay, Van Don and Co To islands and Tra Co beach with Cat Ba National Park in the northern port city of Hai Phong.

    Along with the renowned Ha Long Bay, Quan Lan, Minh Chau, Ngoc Vung, Dai beaches  and in Van Don island district and Tra Co and Vinh Thuc in Mong Cai city have grown in stature among tourists thanks to their breathtaking sea and coral reef.

    In 2017, Quang Ninh welcomed almost 10 million tourists, over 4 million of whom were foreigners. The province aims to attract more than 12 million visitors this year, including 5 million foreigners.

    By 2020, Quang Ninh aims to welcome between 15-16 million tourists, including 7 million foreigners, and rake in 30-40 trillion VND (1.3-1.7 billion USD) in revenue. The tourism sector is expected to contribute 14-15 percent to the gross regional domestic product.

    ROK-funded project to foster energy efficiency in Vietnam’s industry

    The Republic of Korea’s government will provide 1.9 million USD in financial aid for a project promoting energy saving in Vietnam’s industrial sector.

    The project “Promoting Investment Market for Energy Efficiency in Industrial Sector in Vietnam” was launched by the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Department of Energy Saving and Sustainable Development and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) last week.

    The project is part of the World Bank-funded “Vietnam Energy Efficiency for Industrial Enterprises (VEEIE)” project that offers 101.7 million USD to give domestic industrial enterprises better access to loans for energy efficiency investment. 

    The financing provided by the WB includes two components – 100 million USD used on developing energy-saving projects for key industries and 1.7 million USD spent on technical assistance for those projects.

    The WB project aims to foster the development of energy service companies and to facilitate the implementation of energy saving and energy efficiency projects. It will aid the country’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment.

    ASEAN+3 economies enhance connectivity     

    Economies in the ASEAN+3 region should enhance their connectivity, boost the service sector and develop skilled human resources in order to meet global demand, participants were told during a seminar held in Ha Noi on May 25.

    The seminar, themed “ASEAN+3 regional economic outlook: resilience and growth in a changing world” was jointly held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance and the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO).

    ASEAN+3 comprises ten member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK).

    The ASEAN group comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

    Hoe Eo Khor, chief economist of AMRO, presented a report on the ASEAN+3 regional economic outlook conducted by his office.

    According to the report, with improving external demand, the region’s growth is expected to be maintained at 5.4 per cent in 2018 and 5.2 per cent in 2019.

    Viet Nam’s GDP in the first quarter of this year is projected at 7.4 per cent. However, the report warned the region to remain vigilant given the significant external risks in the short term of a faster-than-expected tightening in global financial conditions and an escalation of global trade tensions.

    If these risks are realised, there would be spillovers to the region through capital outflows, higher borrowing costs, and lower trade and investment flows, the report said.

    To enhance resilience, the report said 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 macro-prudential policy can help safeguard financial stability, the report said.

    Nguyen Duc Thanh, Director of the Viet Nam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR) said through the report, Viet Nam gets an insight into ASEAN and the Northeast Asian countries - China, Japan and the RoK. Delegates at the seminar held that regional economies have benefited from foreign direct investment (FDI) activities which look towards exports.

    Along with China and other major ASEAN economies, Viet Nam has succeeded in attracting FDI, setting up competitive production areas, generating jobs, increasing productivity and spurring exports, they said.

    They also pointed out challenges caused by trade protectionism, changes in the global value chains and new trends of technologies and production.

    Against the backdrop, the economies should intensify regional connectivity and integration to consolidate sustainable growth against external shocks, they suggested. 

    Banks cut interest rate for short-term deposits     

    Many banks have reduced the interest rate for short-term deposits while raising the rate for long-term deposits to restructure capital sources.

    BIDV has applied the new rates from May 22, lowering its annual interest rate for three-month and six-month deposits by 0.2 percentage points. Accordingly, the rates for these months are listed at 4.6 per cent and 5.1 per cent per year, respectively.

    The bank, however, has maintained a high interest rate of 6.9 per cent per year for 12-month and 24-month deposits.

    LienVietPostBank has also lowered the rate for short-term deposits, listing one-month, three-month and sixth-month rates at only 4.4 per cent, 5 per cent and 5.8 per cent per year, respectively.

    Vietinbank has followed suit, quoting the interest rate for under-three-month deposits at 4.1 per cent. The bank’s rate for four-month and five-month deposits is 4.6 per cent, while it is 5.1 per cent for six-month deposits.

    It has kept the interest rate at 5.5 per cent for six-month to 11-month deposits, much lower than the 6.8 per cent applied to 12-month deposits and 7 per cent for 36-month deposits.

    Eximbank has also kept a low rate of 4.6 to 5 per cent for deposits under six months since May 21. However, the bank has increased the rate for long-term loans with 6.8 per cent per year for 12-month deposits and 8 per cent for 24-month and 36-month deposits.

    According to the National Financial Supervisory Commission, capital mobilisation of the banking system in the first quarter of this year rose by 3 per cent against 2.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2017.

    Credit institutions hope the average mobilisation growth in the second quarter (Q2) of this year will be some 4.71 per cent, much higher than Q1, and the annual mobilisation growth will reach some 16.65 per cent, equivalent to the levels of 2016 and 2017.

    Credit institutions also expect deposits ranging from six months to one year to account for 83-86 per cent of the total mobilisation in Q2 and throughout 2018.

    On the inter-bank market, interest rates for overnight and one-week loans this week inched up by 0.01 percentage points against the previous week while decreasing by 0.01-0.03 percentage points for two-week and one-month loans. 

    Vietjet shareholders get dividend of 10%     

    Vietjet Aviation on Friday spent VND451 billion (nearly US$20 million) to pay a dividend of 10 per cent by cash to its shareholders.

    Consequently, the budget airline has finished its 2017 dividend payment of 40 per cent in cash, the company said in a statement.

    Earlier this month, Vietjet announced it would pay 2017’s dividend of 20 per cent by shares. In 2018, the company approved a dividend payment plan by 50 per cent.

    Over the years, Vietjet has regularly paid high dividends to its shareholders.

    In the first quarter of this year, Vietjet continued to grow. Specifically, revenue stood at VND12.56 trillion, up 146 per cent year on year thanks to the growth in passenger air transport, ancillary and sale and leaseback revenue.

    Profit after tax of the parent company’s shareholders stood at approximately VND1.37 billion, a yearly rise of 263 per cent. Earnings per share in this quarter was VND3,026, one of the highest figures in the stock market.

    Compared to the yearly target of VND50.97 trillion in revenue and VND5.8 trillion in pre-tax profit, the first quarter’s results achieved 25.5 per cent of the year’s target. 

    Huge opportunities in VN for business acquisitions: seminar     

    There are huge opportunities across ASEAN for mergers and acquisitions in almost every sector, particularly in Viet Nam, though challenges remain like regulatory hassles and how to add value to companies after inking an deal, experts told a seminar on M&A in HCM City on Friday.

    M&A activities are increasing across Southeast Asia, capitalising on the investment boom in the emerging markets in the region, Theng Bee Han, president of the Malaysia Business Chamber Viet Nam, said.

    There were a lot of M&A activities in Viet Nam last year, particularly in the real estate sector where transactions amounted to nearly US$1.5 billion, he said.

    The deals involved major players from Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and mainland China, he added.

    “Viet Nam, Malaysia and [generally] ASEAN’s wider integration with the global economy offers many new opportunities for M&A.”

    Ralf Pilarczyk, head of M&A for ASEAN, Standard Chartered Bank, said last year there were over 4,200 global cross-border M&A transactions valued at over $100 million and they were totally worth $5.1 trillion.

    North America and Europe accounted for 76 per cent of the global deals (by value) and the Asia Pacific for 18 per cent, driven by China.

    ASEAN accounts for 9 per cent of the world’s population and 2 per cent of global M&A. The bloc saw 116 deals worth $78 billion last year, including four deals in Viet Nam valued at $6 billion.

    Research by Pilarczyk and Tina Tejwaney, an M&A expert from his bank, found that some of the main drivers for Viet Nam’s M&A deals are its market size with more than 90 million people, strong growth prospects and the Government’s strong efforts to push for State firms’ equitisation.

    “Privatisation is an extraordinary programme,” Pilarczyk said.

    It provides tremendous opportunities for foreign investors to buy into the Vietnamese economy across various sectors, and Viet Nam would have huge opportunities to develop its capital market and attract foreign investment, he said.

    But the country needs to adjust its regulatory framework in the next few years to engage foreign investors better in accessing information and negotiating deals before they invest.

    "Bridging ASEAN" was hosted by Standard Chartered Bank in collaboration with the Malaysian Business Chamber Viet Nam and Singapore Business Group.

    The seminar attracted more than 100 business executives from Viet Nam and other countries. The bank held a bridging event last May.

    HCM City to hold Industry and Trade Promotion Fair     

    The 2018 HCM City Industry and Trade Promotion Fair will be held from July 24 to 29 at District 11’s Phu Tho Stadium, according to the city’s Department of Industry and Trade.

    The fair aims to attract 300 businesses and 450 booths, and will organise several events to help businesses promote their brands and products.

    A wide range of businesses will take part in the event, including companies in food and beverages, clothing, technologies, shoes, accessories and supporting industries.

    The fair plays an important role in improving firms’competitiveness and brand promotion and the reputation of Vietnamese goods, according to Hoang Tho Vuong, director of the HCM City Centre for Supporting Industries Development.

    The fair also helps businesses find potential partners and increase exports.

    Vietnam’s airlines blame high jet fuel price for pricey airfare

    No Vietnamese air carriers were able to make it to the world’s top 50 cheapest airlines, with industry insiders saying they have the domestic high jet fuel prices to blame for their inability to offer really reasonable tickets.

    Rome2rio, a leading travel planning platform, has recently published its third Global Flight Pricing report, which ranks the best value airlines for travelers based on the average cost per kilometer, after analyzing over 1.5 million economy-class prices from 200 airlines in the first two months of 2018.

    Tigerair from Australia led the list with an average cost per kilometer of US$0.06, followed by Malaysia’s AirAsiaX with $0.07, and AirAsia of Indonesia with US$0.08. Jetstar, a member of Australia’s Qantas Group, ranked fourth with US$0.09.

    Six carriers, including the second-largest airline of the United Arab Emirates – Etihad, Indonesia’s Citilink, Iceland's only high performance low-cost airline WOW Air, Oman Air, Indonesian Lion Mentari Airlines and Ryanair from Ireland, closely came after with the same average cost per kilometer of US$0.1.

    In the meantime, all three major Vietnamese carriers, Vietnam Airlines, Viejet and Jetstar Pacific, failed to make it to the top 50.

    No-frills Vietjet charges its passengers an average of US$0.14 per kilometer, compared to US$0.15 of its low-cost peer Jetstar Pacific.

    National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines had a much higher cost per kilometer ratio, $0.3.

    While the three are absent from the Rome2rio list based on the average cost per kilometer ratio, Vietnam ranked 15th in terms of average ticket price by country.

    A representative of a Vietnamese airline said that jet fuel is much more expensive in Vietnam than in other countries, resulting in higher airfares, given the fact that fuel accounts for 30%-40% of the total operating costs of a carrier.

    “The jet fuel price in Vietnam is 20%-30% higher than in other regional countries,” he told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

    At its latest shareholders’ meeting, Vietnam Airlines announced that fuel makes up 24-38 percent of the company’s expenses.

    Even a one-dollar rise in oil price will lift the cost of the national flag carrier by about VND230 billion (US$10.12 million) a year, according to Vietnam Airlines.

    Binh Dinh province calls for RoK investment

    The central province of Binh Dinh introduced its potential and advantages to businesses of the Republic of Korea (RoK) on May 28 with a view to attracting investment from this Northeast Asian nation.

    The conference to promote the RoK’s investment in Binh Dinh was held at the headquarters of the Korea Industrial Technology Association in Seoul, drawing representatives of about 100 Korean businesses.

    Chairman of the Binh Dinh People’s Committee Ho Quoc Dung said the potential and advantages of his province match RoK investors’ investment and business demand. It also shares cultural similarities with the RoK. Therefore, Binh Dinh has chosen the RoK, a dynamic and developed economy, to be the next step in its investment attraction plan.

    He called on RoK firms to invest in the fields Binh Dinh has demand for such as electronic component production, seaport and industrial park infrastructure, energy, tourism, and fisheries.

    He affirmed that all economic sectors are treated equally, and every enterprise is provided with favourable conditions in accessing information about policies, mechanisms, planning, and investment and business opportunities in Binh Dinh, a Vietnamese central coastal province full of potential and hospitality.

    On this occasion, the official also asked the participants to help his province popularise its potential and advantages to their friends, colleagues and other RoK investors.

    At the conference, Vietnamese Ambassador to the RoK Nguyen Vu Tu said the Vietnam-RoK strategic cooperative partnership is flourishing in all spheres. 

    The RoK is currently the biggest investor in Vietnam with total investment capital of more than 58 billion USD through last April. Bilateral trade surpassed 60 billion USD in 2017, making the RoK the second largest trade partner of Vietnam and Vietnam the fourth largest trade partner of the Northeast Asian nation.

    He noted that the fine political relationship and close people-to-people ties are the factors helping to ensure bilateral economic cooperation.

    In 2017, Vietnam welcomed 2.5 million RoK tourists while the number of Vietnamese visitors to the RoK grew by over 70 percent. Each country has more than 150,000 citizens living in the other nation at present, Tu added.

    Australia-Vietnam forum increases capacity for female entrepreneurs

    The Australia – Vietnam Capacity Building Forum for Women Entrepreneurs in Agrifood Business opened in Sydney on May 28, offering a chance for Vietnamese female entrepreneurs to have creative thinking and gain closer access to international standards.

    In his opening remarks, Vice-Chancellor and President of Western Sydney University Barney Glover said that Australia is one of the most reliable suppliers of high-quality agrifood in the world. 

    Two-thirds of Australia’s exported farm produce are shipped to Asia, so it is essential for the country to build a business network of agricultural products.

    He stressed the need to boost trade ties between Australia and Vietnam as the Southeast Asian nation is emerging as a new and potential market. The two countries’ agrifood holds numerous similarities and can supplement each other.

    Trinh Duc Hai, Vietnamese Consul General in New South Wales state, shared that the Vietnamese female entrepreneur community is expanding. Currently, 30 percent of the total Vietnamese enterprises are owned by women.

    The Vietnamese Government always supports the community with the aim of raising the proportion to 50 percent by 2020, Hai added.

    The Australia – Vietnam Capacity Building Forum is scheduled to take place until June 1. It aims to create opportunities for Vietnamese female entrepreneurs to update information on issues related to improving the competitiveness of enterprises in the market of agricultural production and processing, and understanding the current situation and demand for agricultural products in Australia.

    The forum, jointly held by Western Sydney University, Australia – ASEAN Council, and Ho Chi Minh City’s University of Economics, is also a chance for Vietnamese and Australian businesswomen to share their experiences on innovative solutions in preserving and processing agricultural products.

    Four criteria for high-tech agricultural firms


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    Hanoi attracts 860 million USD in FDI in five months


     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 capital city of Hanoi attracted 860 million USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first five months of 2018, said Director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Manh Quyen.
    Of the amount, 529.2 million USD was registered to invest in 225 new projects, over 131 million USD was added to 48 existing projects and 199.52 million USD was invested in domestic companies’ stakes.

    Quyen said the city has carried out 27 non-state capital projects with combined investment of 27 trillion VND (1.19 billion USD). In addition, 13 projects were permitted to increase investment capital by 1.98 trillion VND (87.2 million USD).

    In the first five months of 2018, Hanoi approved another public-private partnership (PPP) project with investment of almost 1.41 trillion VND (62.1 million USD), bringing the total number of PPP projects to 12 with total investment of more than 28.33 trillion VND (1.24 billion USD).

    During the reviewed period, 9,420 businesses were established in the city, with combined registered capital of 97.5 trillion VND (4.29 billion USD), down 1 percent in the number but up 36 percent in the volume of investment. The figure raised the total number of enterprises in Hanoi to 241,000.

    Last year, the capital city drew up to 3.4 billion USD in FDI.

    Workshop discusses application of int’l financial reporting standards

    Experience  in applying International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) from Japan, the Republic of Korea (RoK), the US, Malaysia and China was shared at a workshop in Hanoi on May 28.

    Jointly organised by the Ministry of Finance and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the event also aimed to collect comments on the draft project on application of IFRS in Vietnam, thus rolling out orientation for the process in the country. 

    Vu Duc Chinh, Director of the Accounting and Auditing Policies Department (AAPD) under the Ministry of Finance, said in the strategy until 2020, Vietnam’s accounting and auditing sector will approach international practices.

    Over the past 10 years, Vietnam issued 26 accounting standards, but they have exposed many shortcomings, requiring the Ministry of Finance to build a new standard system, he said.  

    However, the application of IFRS should be suitable to Vietnam’s condition as the country has many stakeholders in the accounting system because of different types of businesses, Chinh noted.

    The Ministry of Finance will gradually build a set of financial reporting standards and issue or recognise an international standard system.

    It is necessary to develop a system of accounting standards similar to the system of 26 standards to apply to other subjects, and manuals on the principles of financial reporting, he said. 

    The application of IFRS means that the accounting and auditing system will have a common "language" for all businesses in all countries in the world, and this will be very beneficial when Vietnamese enterprises participate in the international capital market, Chinh noted. 

    Trinh Duc Vinh, Vice Director of AAPD, said the application of IFRS in Vietnam is to overcome the limitations of the Vietnamese Accounting Standards System (VAS), perfect the legal framework on accounting, and increase the transparency of financial information. 

    This also aims to promote the accountability of businesses, helping Vietnamese businesses access more capital sources and list on the international market, so that Vietnam is internationally recognised as a full market economy, he added. 

    Sekiguchi Tomokazu from KPMG Vietnam - the provider of audit services said the roadmap for the application of IFRS (or equivalent standards) in each country is different, stressing the need to make thorough plans before application.

    Tran Anh Quan, Vice Director of KPMG Vietnam, noted that the application of IFRS is a great challenge to any countries, even developed ones. 

    Vietnam is a country with low starting point for economic development, so the application of IFRS is more difficult, he said.

    Representatives from JICA said the application of IFRS is very important and the agency can provide financial and technical assistance for Vietnam as well as share Japan’s experience in the work.

    Workshop discusses application of int’l financial reporting standards

    Experience  in applying International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) from Japan, the Republic of Korea (RoK), the US, Malaysia and China was shared at a workshop in Hanoi on May 28.

    Jointly organised by the Ministry of Finance and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the event also aimed to collect comments on the draft project on application of IFRS in Vietnam, thus rolling out orientation for the process in the country. 

    Vu Duc Chinh, Director of the Accounting and Auditing Policies Department (AAPD) under the Ministry of Finance, said in the strategy until 2020, Vietnam’s accounting and auditing sector will approach international practices.

    Over the past 10 years, Vietnam issued 26 accounting standards, but they have exposed many shortcomings, requiring the Ministry of Finance to build a new standard system, he said.  

    However, the application of IFRS should be suitable to Vietnam’s condition as the country has many stakeholders in the accounting system because of different types of businesses, Chinh noted.

    The Ministry of Finance will gradually build a set of financial reporting standards and issue or recognise an international standard system.

    It is necessary to develop a system of accounting standards similar to the system of 26 standards to apply to other subjects, and manuals on the principles of financial reporting, he said. 

    The application of IFRS means that the accounting and auditing system will have a common "language" for all businesses in all countries in the world, and this will be very beneficial when Vietnamese enterprises participate in the international capital market, Chinh noted. 

    Trinh Duc Vinh, Vice Director of AAPD, said the application of IFRS in Vietnam is to overcome the limitations of the Vietnamese Accounting Standards System (VAS), perfect the legal framework on accounting, and increase the transparency of financial information. 

    This also aims to promote the accountability of businesses, helping Vietnamese businesses access more capital sources and list on the international market, so that Vietnam is internationally recognised as a full market economy, he added. 

    Sekiguchi Tomokazu from KPMG Vietnam - the provider of audit services said the roadmap for the application of IFRS (or equivalent standards) in each country is different, stressing the need to make thorough plans before application.

    Tran Anh Quan, Vice Director of KPMG Vietnam, noted that the application of IFRS is a great challenge to any countries, even developed ones. 

    Vietnam is a country with low starting point for economic development, so the application of IFRS is more difficult, he said.

    Representatives from JICA said the application of IFRS is very important and the agency can provide financial and technical assistance for Vietnam as well as share Japan’s experience in the work.

    Vietnamese female entrepreneurs praised for creativity     

    Being creative to improve corporate management and approach international quality standards is one of the important factors that can help Vietnamese female entrepreneurs enhance their performance in selling farm produce.

    According to the Vietnamese Consul General in Sydney Trinh Duc Hai, Vietnamese women have proven themselves to be creative and proactive – these characteristics are often shown by women in the agriculture and food sectors.

    The female entrepreneur community is getting stronger, with 30 per cent of Vietnamese firms being led by women, Hai said at a forum on Monday.

    The Vietnamese Government always provides the best support for female entrepreneurs as it eyes 50 per cent of all Vietnamese firms being owned by women by 2020, he added.

    Truong Ly Hoang Phi, chairwoman of the HCM City Young Businessman Association, told the forum that many Vietnamese women have chosen the agriculture sector as the place to launch new businesses, and they need better access to the international community for improved experience, lessons and partnerships.

    The comments were delivered at the Australia – Viet Nam Forum, which was co-organised by the Western Sydney University, the HCM City Economics University and the Australia-ASEAN Council in Sydney, Australia.

    The five-day forum, which will end on Friday, is expected to help Vietnamese agriculture business leaders explore new methods of development to create new products that are competitive enough to enter overseas markets, especially those with strict requirements like Australia.

    Business owners are also able to explore the Australian market and get an overview of requirements for their products. In addition, the forum will launch a special seminar on how businesswomen perform and manage their firms and balance between their professional and personal lives.

    Barney Glover, vice chairman of the Western Sydney University, said that Australia is widely known as one of the highest-quality agriculture produce suppliers in the world.

    With two-thirds of its agricultural exports being shipped to Asian markets, it is essential for the country to develop a selling network among them, Barney said.

    As Viet Nam has risen as a potential market and there are plenty of similarities between Vietnamese and Australian agricultural products, improving the two sides’ trade relations is necessary, he added.

    VN to adopt int’l accounting rules     

    Viet Nam is expected to adopt International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), replacing the current Vietnamese accounting standards (VAS), by 2020 as part of its efforts to improve transparency, according to experts at a seminar held in Ha Noi on Monday.

    The event themed: “Experience in applying IFRS in some countries and roadmap for adoption in Viet Nam,” was co-organised by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to share experiences on the application of IFRS standards in countries such as Japan, South Korea, the US, Malaysia and China.

    Over the past 10 years, Viet Nam has established 26 accounting standards, but now these standards have disadvantages when compared to IFRS, and may create barriers and reduce confidence among foreign investors, said Director of the Accounting and Auditing Policies Department under the Ministry of Finance Vu Duc Chinh.

    Chinh said businesses’ financial statements under VAS standards cannot accurately reflect the value of assets and liabilities, so the application of the international accounting system is crucial and inevitable.

    “However, it is a tough task to apply international standards in Viet Nam because we have many different types of enterprises,” Chinh said.

    According to Chinh, after approval by the Government, the MoF will translate IFRS into Vietnamese so that local firms can accurately and fully understand the contents of the new financial reporting norms.

    Trinh Duc Vinh, deputy director of the MoF’s Accounting and Auditing Policies Department, said that the goals of applying IFRS in Viet Nam are to overcome the limitations of VAS, improve the legal framework for accounting, improve the transparency of financial information, enhance accountability of enterprises and help Vietnamese businesses access capital sources and become listed on the international market.

    Regarding the roadmap for Viet Nam, participants agreed that during 2018-20, 10 to 20 simple IFRS standards will be selected to be implemented, and officially applied to all the firms listed on the stock market from 2020. All other businesses that wish to apply IFRS and find that the application is possible are also encouraged to do so.

    Sharing experiences of some countries in the world, Sekiguchi Tomokazu, a representative from audit company KPMG in Viet Nam, said that the roadmap for the application of IFRS of each country differs depending on the actual situation of that country.

    In Korea, all listed companies, financial institutions, state-owned enterprises and other public interest entities are subject to the mandatory application of IFRS from 2011, he said.

    Meanwhile, in China, firms are still required to apply the Chinese national accounting standards, so there are no specific rules for applying IFRS, Tomokazu added.

    A representative of JICA said that the application of IFRS is very important. In Viet Nam, JICA can provide financial and technical support, facilitate the exchange of experiences on applying IFRS in Japan and help strike a balance between the application of IFRS and the national accounting system. 

    Gia Lai lures $220million investment     

    The Central Highlands province of Gia Lai on Monday granted licences to 10 projects with a total registered capital of VND5 trillion (US$220 million).

    The province also signed memoranda of understanding with 11 investors for funding totaling more than VND16 trillion ($700 million) during an investment promotion conference in Pleiku City to foster investment co-operation between the locality and HCM City

    In his speech at the event, the provincial People’s Committee vice chairman Vo Ngoc Thanh said from now to 2020, his province will continue to hasten the development of several sectors including hi-tech, agricultural processing, clean and renewable energies and tourism.

    Priority will be also given to support local enterprises to expand their co-operation with those from other provinces and overseas, he said.

    With its open mechanisms and preferential policies, Gia Lai is ready to welcome investors and to create the best possible conditions for them to operate in the province, he added.

    HCM City investors have to date carried out 26 projects capitalised at more than VND6.3 trillion in Gia Lai over the past 15 years, mostly in agro-forestry- fishery, infrastructure development of urban areas and trade, following a socio-economic co-operation programme, which was implemented by Gia Lai and HCM City.

    In return, Gia Lai investors have poured nearly VND30 trillion into projects in HCM City.

    Chairman of Dong Giao Foodstuff Export JSC (Doveco) Dinh Cao Khue suggested that local authorities establish a professional body in charge of calling for investment while supporting investors in registering their investment projects and addressing difficulties.

    He also petitioned the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to assist investors who invest in farming with production planning and facilitate links between them and local farmers.

    Also at the event, HCM City issued calls for investment in 190 projects, especially those related to smart urban development. 

    Steel firms urged to ensure material transparency     

    Local steel makers should follow laws and requirements on origin when exporting their products to the US.

    That’s the message from Ho Nghia Dung, chairman of Viet Nam Steel Association (VSA) after the US Department of Commerce (DoC) decided to levy import tax on steel produced in Viet Nam using Chinese-origin substrate.

    The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will continue to collect anti-dumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) cash deposits on imports of corrosion-resistant steel (CORE) produced in Viet Nam using Chinese-origin substrate at the rate of 199.43 per cent and 39.05 per cent, respectively.

    CBP will also collect AD and CVD cash deposits on imports of cold-rolled steel produced in Viet Nam using Chinese-origin substrate at the rate of 199.76 per cent and 256.44 per cent, respectively. Dung said the Viet Nam’s steel exports to the US would be sharply reduced with the decision.

    Statistics showed that the Viet Nam’s steel exports to the US were reduced from more than 900,000 tonnes in 2016 to 500,000 tonnes in 2017.

    After the DoC’s decision, VSA’s members have been quick to seek material for steel production from other countries or local ones instead of importing from China.

    He said a big amount of hot rolled steel – the material for colour coated steel and galvanised steel production - was provided into the market after Formosa came into operation.

    The amount of imported steel from China in the first quarter of the year was 1.1 million tonnes, half as much from the same period last year and a 29 per cent decrease in term of value.

    The US, however, is still the third largest steel importer of Viet Nam despite of the tax levy. In the first three months of the year, the amount of steel exports to the US reached 217,000 tonnes, accounting for 15 per cent of Viet Nam’s total steel exports.

    The chairman said the country’s steel sector has seen strong growth of construction steel and flat steel. Viet Nam has been able to produce construction steel products, from ore, steel scrap to hot rolled steel. Previously, Viet Nam had to import hot rolled steel from foreign countries including China, South Korea and Japan.

    VSA said they co-operated with ministries, sector and businesses to clarify two issues relating to DoC’s investigation on steel produced in Viet Nam using Chinese-origin substrate.

    They would clarify that not all Vietnamese steel originates from China. In addition, Viet Nam has been investing in large and modern scales of final production stages to produce galvanised and cold rolled steel.

    The latest information from the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) revealed that the DoC would remove the tax levy on Vietnamese steel exporters if they prove that their products were not used material from China.

    The ministry would continue to co-operate with relevant steel producers to resolve the requirements from the DoC.

    Chu Thang Trung, deputy director of the ministry’s Department of Trade Defence, said they suggested producers study and meet conditions from the DoC to be exempted from the tax levy.

    The ministry has closely co-operated with VSA and businesses to follow the case from the initiating of the investigation in June 2016.

    MoIT asked the DoC to implement investigations objectively and in line with WTO’s regulations as well as the US’s norms. They also asked the DoC not to impose the tax on Vietnamese steel exporters.

    VSA and Vietnamese steel producers have also closely co-operated with the US to clarify the material origin for steel production in Viet Nam.

    Thua Thien-Hue attracts US$87mn in 5 months     

    Thua Thien-Hue province attracted 11 projects worth nearly VND2 trillion (US$87.1 million) in the first five months of this year.

    This excludes the Laguna Lang Co project invested by Singapore’s Banyan Tree Group.

    So far, the province has attracted 151 investment projects, with VND72.3 trillion of registered capital, including 36 foreign-invested projects with an investment of VND31.2 trillion.

    Notably, large investment projects have been granted licences and are being implemented. The Prime Minister has approved the expansion of the Laguna Lang Co project, with a total investment capital of up to $2 billion, along with investment for a casino, as well as the solar power plant of Doan Son Thuy Investment Joint Stock Company, with an investment capital of VND1.15 trillion.

    Located in the Chan May – Lang Co Economic Zone, the first phase of the Laguna Lang Co project includes Angsana Lang Co Hotel with 229 rooms and Banyan Tree Residences with 57 villas and an 18-hole golf course, with an initial capital of nearly $300 million.

    According to the proposal of the investor, the casino occupies an area of ​​2.64ha with an investment capital of $250 million.

    The Banyan Tree Group’s additional investment (compared to its existing hotel portfolio), includes increasing the number of hotel rooms from 2,180 to 3,178. Currently, the investor is preparing to open the casino entertainment complex to foreigners by 2021. The investor also expects to diversify the casino business in three phases, including the first phase with 500 game machines and 50 poker tables.

    Tourism has always been a strength of the province and is also one of the most attractive fields of investment today. Other foreign investment projects in Thua Thien-Hue focus on cement, beer, mining, transportation, garments, hotels, restaurants and resorts. Few projects focus on agro-forestry production and agro-forestry-fishery processing.

    Currently, the province is trying to attract investment by creating a favourable investment climate to mobilise the highest social resources, prioritising resources for investment in infrastructure, production and economic development, ensuring high economic growth associated with environmental protection and social security and concentrating on overcoming the consequences of marine environmental incidents.

    In the short term, Thua Thien-Hue province plans to improve the quality of business associations. The region is investing more than VND2 trillion to implement the key programme of economic and technical infrastructure as well as industrial development in 2018, aiming to further improve the infrastructure of the entire province as well as service capacity while supporting production and business activities.

    Made-in-Vietnam woodwork conquering international premium markets

    Vietnamese woodwork is making a mark worldwide, from furniture in five star resorts to first class flights.

    With high quality and reasonable price, made-in-Vietnam woodwork has made its presence felt in luxury interior design projects worldwide.

    Last year, a team of 70 workers from Vietnam of design and construction company AA Corp were sent to the Caribbean to construct the interior of the luxury Park Hyatt St. Kitts resort.

    The US$16 million project included components on interior design, millwork and loose furniture.

    Dubai based airline Emirates, the largest in the Middle East, also used Vietnamese-made woodwork for the interior of their first class cabins.

    “The US, Japan, Dubai, Singapore, Myanmar and Laos all have premium constructions with signature material from Vietnam,” said Nguyen Quoc Khanh, chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA).

    Premium hotel and resort corporations in the world such as Starwood, Accor, IHG, Marriott, Hilton and Fairmont all want to select Vietnamese businesses to design and construct the interior of their buildings, Khanh said, adding that these companies like made-in-Vietnam wood products because of their high quality and reasonable prices. 

    With world class craftsmanship, Vietnamese wood businesses can now offer complete five-star woodwork instead of just selling individual products, said Nguyen Chanh Phuong, CEO of Danh Moc Limited Company, which designs kitchens. 

    Approaching the high-end segment of the market is what local businesses have been aiming for for years, Phuong said, adding that with improved customer service and advertising, Vietnam can penetrate even further into the premium market.

    Vietnamese wood companies also need to thrive to achieve better product value instead of running after revenue goals and export targets, said Tran Viet Tien, CEO of Lavanto Home Décor, which manufactures a variety of home products.

    Businesses also need to invest more in automation, human resources and design to reach new heights, Tien said.

    Vietnam is currently world’s top five exporter of wood, behind China, Germany, Italy and Poland.

    Last year, Vietnam exported US$8 billion worth of wood and forest products and the country aims to reach a US$9 billion target this year.

    Vietnam, EU boast high potential to bolster partnership

    There is room for Vietnam and the European Union to further bolster their economic, trade and investment cooperation although their partnership is growing strongly, said Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son at the “Meet Europe 2018” that was held in Hanoi on May 24.

    The Deputy FM said that Vietnam and the EU have enjoyed sound relations despite the complicated regional and international situation with fierce competition and trade protectionism.

    After a framework agreement on comprehensive partnership and cooperation between Vietnam and the EU took effect, the bilateral ties have been expanded in various fields and become more effective, he noted, adding that the EU has not only been the largest non-refundable development aid provider of Vietnam but also the second biggest trade partner and leading investor of the country.

    Son said that Vietnam has shared fruitful strategic partnership with the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, while setting up comprehensive partnership with Denmark, strategic partnership on climate change adaptation with the Netherlands, as well as traditional relations with many countries in Northern and Central Europe such as Sweden, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria.

    In the European Free Trade Association, Vietnam has enjoyed growing ties with Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

    Local-level cooperation between Vietnam and Europe has also developed effectively with the increasingly diverse engagement of many partners, stated Son.

    However, Son said that there is potential for Vietnam and Europe to expand their partnership. The signing and approval of the free trade agreements between Vietnam and the EU as well as the European Free Trade Association in 2018 are expected to bring about new breakthroughs in bilateral ties.

    The pacts are hoped to create new momentum for the two sides to optimise market potential, resulting in new cooperation and investment opportunities for enterprises.

    The Deputy FM stressed that the Vietnamese Government has drastically implement synchronous measures to improve its investment and business environment, ensuring that the business community from other countries, including those from Europe, operate smoothly and efficiently in Vietnam.

    Meanwhile, Ambassador Bruno Angelet, Head of the EU Delegation to Vietnam, said that the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU will be signed later this year.

    He said that the two sides should make reform and adjustments to seek proper measures to ensure the effective implementation of the deal.

    He held that the ‘Meet Europe 2018’ will help bring about new business chances for European firms and Vietnamese localities as well as lure more investment.

    The meeting is an event connecting enterprises with the Vietnamese Government. It is a joint effort between Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry and the European Business Association in Vietnam.

    Việt Nam waits for UK investment wave

    Numerous favorable conditions have come together to make Việt Nam an attractive investment destination in the ASEAN, Asia and the world.

    Its strategic geographic location, the free trade agreements it has entered into and improvements in the investment environment all make Việt Nam a prime target for a new wave of investments from the United Kingdom, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyễn Chí Dũng said at a meeting with the British Business Group Vietnam (BBGV) and the British Accreditation Council (BAC) on Thursday.

    Investments in infrastructure and human resources training also contribute to Việt Nam’s attractiveness, he said.

    At the meeting, Dũng highly appreciated the potential and capacity of UK businesses and expressed a desire to promote investment cooperation with British investors.

    In terms of opportunities awaiting investors, UK businesses can fully participate in infrastructure investments through the public-private-partnership (PPP) model or indirect investments through merger and acquisition (M&A) activities, especially in the context of equitisation and divestment of State-owned enterprises, as they have strengths in infrastructure development, banking and finance, and management technology in many areas, the minister added.

    He expressed hope that UK investors will not miss this opportunity, especially with the anticipated passing by the National Assembly of the Law on Special Administrative-Economic Zones, which is the basis for the establishment of three special zones featuring many institutions and preferential policies by the end of this year.

    Businesses and financial institutions from the UK can participate as major investors or strategic investors in these special administrative-economic zones, Dũng said, adding that potential investors can take advantage of this new game with very competitive rules to join with the Government of Việt Nam in creating and organising the playground in these special zones.

    Programme to support local firms
       
    The Viet Nam Industry Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, officially launched the Viet Nam Supplier Development Programme (SDP) in Ha Noi on Thursday.

    This programme is aimed at helping Vietnamese companies become suppliers for multinational enterprises, while enabling existing suppliers to expand their business and share of added value.

    Recently, multinational enterprises (MNEs) have implemented a number of large investment projects in Viet Nam, providing opportunities to expand domestic supply to these companies. One of the obstacles, however, is the lack of suppliers in the country meeting global standard requirements.

    Given the scenario, the two-year SDP aims to help domestic suppliers meet the requirements of MNEs including quality, price and delivery throughout the value chain in targeted sectors. Subsequently, these firms can be linked to MNEs to seek supply opportunities in the future.

    MoIT’s deputy minister Do Thang Hai, said capacity building to establish new business links with MNEs is the first step to enhance the competitiveness of participating local firms. “The purpose of this programme is to move the local firms to the process of creating higher added value in the value chain so that they can produce more sophisticated products and become globally competitive,” he added.

    Over the next two years, the programme will work with eight leading MNEs in the automotive, electronics, energy and household appliance sectors, such as Bosch, Canon, Datalogic, Denso, Ford, General Electric, Panasonic and Toyota.

    The enterprises were chosen based on their interest in sourcing locally and assisting local companies in finding business opportunities. Some 45 local companies, who are wholly or largely Vietnamese-owned, have been selected to join the programme based on recommendations by participating multinationals and various business organisations.

    “Large foreign direct investments into Viet Nam with operations of leading global firms have brought up opportunities to promote Viet Nam’s supporting industry and facilitate local producers’ increased participation in the global value chain,” said Kyle Kelhofer, IFC country manager for Viet Nam, Cambodia and Lao PDR.

    Developed in close consultation with MNEs, the programme will assess the business performance and competitiveness of participating suppliers, identify areas for improvement and specific actions to build supply capabilities, and improve long-term competitiveness. In addition, the programme will strive to connect potential businesses with potential buyers effectively.

    “We are happy to work with local companies which could compete with suppliers from other countries,” said Yamamoto, corporate planning director, Panasonic Viet Nam. “We expect this programme can help us get business with some potentially long-term partners and promote our local sourcing,” Yamamoto added.

    Microsoft’s big punt on cloud computing
       
    Microsoft said on Thursday that it is investing heavily in cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

    At the 2018 Azure Summit organised by the company in HCM City on Thursday, which attracted more than 200 developers, technology experts and IT managers, it unveiled a new cloud service called Microsoft Azure.

    The company said it is not simply a cloud storage but offers more than 100 services with end-to-end tools.

    It has become the first choice of 90 per cent of Fortune 500 companies, it claimed.

    Security, privacy and compliance are embedded into its development methodology and it has been recognised as the most trusted cloud for US Government institutions with more than 70 compliance offerings, the company said.

    Pham The Truong, country director of Microsoft Vietnam, said: “Without cloud, organisations will not have access to high-power computing and storage which supports big data analytics. Without big data analytics, emerging technologies like AI/cognitive/robotics will not be possible as they require data.”

    Microsoft also said it has invested in AI research and achieved some significant milestones that would have seemed impossible even a few years ago.

    At the beginning of this year, its researchers created a technology that uses AI to read a document and answer questions about it like a human being.

    Sai Gon-Ha Noi Securities and SHB Securities officially merged
       
    Sai Gon-Ha Noi Securities JSC (SHS) has completed the issue of nearly 5.4 million shares to swap with shares of SHB Securities JSC (SHBS), accomplising the merger of the two companies.

    After the swap, the total outstanding shares of SHS increased to nearly 105.4 million, an equivalent to a charter capital of over VND1.05 trillion (US$46.2 million).

    Towards the end of last year, Sai Gon-Ha Noi Securities approved the plan of merging SHB Securities JSC into the company in the form of a share swap. Accordingly, SHS would issue shares to SHBS shareholders in return for their shares at a swap ratio of 1:2.78, meaning 278 SHBS shares will convert into 100 SHS shares.

    The newly-issued shares will be subject to trading restriction within one year.

    In its annual shareholders meeting on April 24, SHS shareholders gave nods to the company’s plan of issuing 26.3 million shares to pay 2017 dividends at the rate of 25 per cent, as well as additional issue of 70.3 million shares to existing shareholders at the rate of 66.7 per cent at the price of VND12,000 per share.

    Its charter capital is expected to increase to VND2.07 trillion after the issues.

    The company reported a pre-tax profit of VND169 billion in the first quarter, a three-fold increase over the same period of last year.

    Commercial banks to support firms
       
    Business representatives have urged commercial banks to revise loan policies and simplify loan procedures to help them pursue investment opportunities.

    Speaking at a seminar held on May 23 in Ba Ria–Vung Tau Province, representatives of many firms agreed that complicated loan policies and procedures had caused them to lose many investment opportunities.

    The State Bank of Viet Nam’s Ba Ria–Vung Tau branch organised the seminar to connect banks and firms in the province.

    The companies said that mortgage assets needed for loan applications posed a significant challenge for them. Many firms with multiple businesses have already had to use mortgage assets to run their overall businesses, they said.

    Banks should allow firms to use business contracts as mortgages to apply for a loan, provide start-ups with more preferential loan policies, and revise existing policies that might no longer be relevant with reality, they recommended.

    Banks should also be more flexible when it comes to unsecured loans and have a stable interest rate for both short-term and long-term loans.

    Nguyen Loi, director of the State Bank of Viet Nam’s Ba Ria–Vung Tau branch, said the bank would collaborate with relevant agencies to launch more programmes, with an aim to enhance connections between banks and business firms.

    Credit institutions in the area said they had sufficient resources to support individual clients and firms that show potential and have effective business plans.

    The SBV will evaluate feedback from business firms and offer necessary support to help firms thrive.

    In July last year, the bank sector in the province proposed solutions to help business firms deal with difficulties.

    Some programmes included 0.5 per cent deduction in short-term interest rates, and preferential loan policies for firms in the organic, high-tech agricultural sector, among others.

    As of April 2018, the total outstanding loans for the economic sector had reached nearly VND62 trillion, up 5.9 per cent compared to the beginning of the year, and up 17.61 per cent year on year.

    Ba Ria–Vung Tau continues to have stable capital growth, ensuring economic development.

    Only 2% cooperatives have access to loans
       
    Cooperatives play an important role in improving the capacity and position of the economy. However, statistics of the Viet Nam Cooperative Alliance (VCA) show that only some 2 per cent of cooperatives have access to loans, while most still manage by themselves, VCA chairman Nguyen Ngoc Bao said.

    According to a report of VCA, cooperative economy and cooperatives have rapidly developed in both quantity and quality, with turnover and profits increasing each year. However, many Vietnamese cooperatives still have internal problems, especially in the new period with the national start-up movement and the application of high technologies in agricultural development launched by the government.

    To date, Viet Nam has more than 20,000 cooperatives, 93,266 cooperative groups and 59 cooperative unions in all sectors of agriculture, industry, commerce, service, construction, transport and credit. Cooperatives have played a significant part in promoting economic restructuring, building new rural areas, ensuring social security, stabilising politics and developing socioeconomic.

    However, lack of capital makes it difficult for many cooperatives to expand their production or business, even potentially pushing them into bankruptcy, while cooperatives that want to access advanced technology also face many challenges.

    The reason why cooperatives find it difficult to access loans is because they do not have collateral and do not meet the strict requirements of banks, the report explained.

    Experts suggested that cooperatives should promote the building of trademarks and products for cooperatives to improve their value as well as register their intellectual property for traceability. In addition to this, enterprises should associate with cooperatives in consuming products, bringing cooperatives’ products to domestic and foreign fairs.

    HCM City boosts development of supporting industry

    Ho Chi Minh City is enacting policies to aid businesses in the supporting industry by encouraging investment, networking between firms and banks, and creating special zones.

    The municipal People’s Committee has approved 15 investment projects related to the mechanical, plastic and food industries, with total investment of 938 billion VND (41.3 million USD), 581 billion VND of which would be supported by the government in the form of paid interest on loans, according to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade.

    A city multi-disciplinary team has also appraised nine projects, at a total of 943 billion VND (41.5 million USD). Two of them have been approved by the city.

    The HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority (HEPZA) is working with related authorities to form supporting-industry zones in Hiep Phuoc Industrial Zone and Le Minh Xuan 3 Industrial Zone.

    Nguyen Phuong Dong, Deputy Director of the Department of Industry and Trade, said that to provide space for businesses to operate, HEPZA was also building factories at Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone and Linh Trung 1 Export Processing Zone.

    Factories in the former are already being rented, while those in the latter are expected to start construction within this month.

    In addition, the Department of Industry and Trade is working with the State Bank of Vietnam - HCM City Branch to connect banks with businesses and encourage credit unions and financial institutions to offer credit packages to businesses in the supporting industry.

    Also, in accordance with Circular 29/2018/TT-BTC issued by the Ministry of Finance to manage funding for supporting industry development, nation-wide cities and provinces including HCM City can use state funds to provide financial aid to companies and organisations so they can organise exhibitions and conferences on attracting investment.

    Accordingly, the companies and organisations in the city would be given up to 70 percent of the total costs for such activities, or up to 12 million VND per participant, as well as help in promotion and brand registration, up to 50 million VND per brand.

    Also, according to the circular, the costs for sending business delegations to events in other countries will also be covered up to 70 million VND per participant, depending on the country.

    In addition, the costs for appraisal, counselling and certification for businesses in the supporting industry would be fully covered by the State Budget.

    All of these efforts are part of HCM City’s plan to develop its supporting industry. The city targets meeting 45 percent of national demand for manufactured inputs by 2020 and 65 percent by 2025.

    The supporting industry has not grown as quickly as others, affecting the city’s economic development as a whole.

    Vietnam exports three-coloured mangos to Australia

    The Mekong Delta province of An Giang has exported 5.4 tonnes of three-coloured mangos to Australia for the first time.

    The mango skin changes from green to reddish purple and then yellow when it ripens, so locals have named it the "mango of three colours."

    With seeds being imported from Taiwan, this mango variety has become increasingly popular in the Mekong Delta region over the years due to its large size, pretty colours and pleasant taste.

    The trees grow well, flowering easily and bearing fruit 18 months after being planted. Each mango weighs between 450g and 700g on average, with the largest ones reaching nearly two kilos.

    Deputy Director of An Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Si Lam said the province had cooperated with the Chanh Thu Im-export Company in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre since early April to select mango growing gardens in Cho Moi district, which grow the fruit under VietGAP standards.

    The department has also coordinated with a local plant quarantine centre to check quality and issue codes for growing gardens, which are qualified for exports to Australia and the US, said Lam.

    The province hopes to begin exporting mangos to the US soon, he added.

    Cho Moi district has become the hub of three-coloured mangos after the provincial People’s Committee approved financial support for project on building an area dedicated to the fruit several years ago. The fruit is being grown in nearly 5,000ha, mainly in the My Hiep, Binh Phuoc Xuan, and Tan My communes.

    According to Nguyen Phuoc Thanh, an official of the An Giang Plant Protection and Cultivation Agency, about 730 growing households had been trained produce high quality mangoes. Local authorities had set up a chain from supply to consumption with participation of growers and businesses.

    HCM City targets 9 percent growth in retail, consumer services

    The southern economic hub Ho Chi Minh City has set the target of achieving 6.82 – 9.06 percent growth in the total retail and consumer services from 2026-2030.

    It is set under a master plan on trade sector development until 2025 with orientations to 2030 recently issued by the municipal People’s Committee.

    Accordingly, services sector will contribute to at least 58 percent of the gross regional development product until 2020. The total retail and consumer services will expand by 8.55 – 11.53 percent annually while retail via shopping malls and supermarkets will reach at least 40 percent of the total.

    From 2021-2025, the respective figures will 10.89 – 14.02 percent and at least 50 percent.

    In order to achieve the above targets, the city plans to build and upgrade parking lots and warehouses around markets, and ensure food hygiene and safety with clear origin to improve competitiveness.

    The city is expected to have at least five leading retailers in Vietnam between 2025 and 2030. It also encourages the opening of convenience outlet chains to meet demand in outlying areas, industrial and processing zones, and apartment buildings.

    According to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, Ho Chi Minh City is home to 239 markets, including three wholesale markets, 14 first-grade and 54 second-grade markets, and the remaining are third-grade and makeshift markets.

    The city records 207 supermarkets and 43 shopping malls, 1,800 convenience stores and mini markets in the inner and outlying areas.

    Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Phuong Dong said the city’s retail market has thrived with the emergence of more shopping destinations for local residents.

    Auto imports drop sharply last week

    A total of 231 cars worth 10.2 million USD were imported to the Vietnamese market over the past week, reported the General Department of Customs.

    This marks sharp decreases in both volume and value as compared with the previous week, with 746 cars valued at 21.6 million USD, the department said.

    In the week, there were 97 cars with nine seats or less worth 2.5 million USD entering Vietnam, accounting for 42 percent of the total volume. Of the cars, 45 were from Germany and 40 were from Thailand.

    Of note, all of the 82 trucks valued at nearly 1.5 million USD imported to Vietnam last week were originated from Thailand.

    As many as 52 specialised vehicles worth 6.23 million USD were shipped to Vietnam, with 25 cars from Thailand, 12 from the Republic of Korea (RoK) and seven from China. The rest hail from Japan, France, Australia, Italy and Russia.

    Nearly 41.27 million USD worth of auto spare parts were also transported to the country, mainly from Thailand (12.7 million USD), China (6.78 million USD), Japan (6.45 million USD), the RoK (4.66 million USD) and Germany (4.19 million USD).

    Statistics show that 84 percent of auto spare parts imported to Vietnam last week were from the above-mentioned countries. 

    The Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA) reported on May 9 that up to 21,123 vehicles were sold in the domestic market in April.

    Of the total, the sales of tourist vehicles reached 13,549, up 5 percent, while the sales of commercial vehicles decreased 8 percent to 6,375 units and the sales of specialised vehicles also fell 8 percent to 1,217 units as compared with the previous month.

    Notably, the domestically-assembled cars segment saw a fall of 5 percent in sales to 17,910 vehicles. On the contrary, 3,213 vehicles were imported, up 37 percent month-on-month.

    During the January-April period, total automobile sales were 80,681 units, a decrease of 7 percent year-on-year. The sales of tourist vehicles increased 2 percent, while that of commercial and specialised cars fell 18 percent and 36 percent, respectively.
    The sales of domestically-assembled cars edged up 8 percent against a decrease of 47 percent in the sales of imported cars.

    Export of squid, octopus to Russia increase dramatically
       
    Export of squid and octopus to Russia has increased sharply since early this year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

    In the first three months of this year, the export value of squid and octopus from Viet Nam to Russia reached US$1 million, up nearly 9-fold against the same period last year.

    The VASEP said Russia is one of the nine largest export markets for Vietnamese squid and octopus, with impressive export growth recently.

    Russia has imported a large volume of Vietnamese fresh, frozen and salted octopus, accounting for more than 90 per cent of Viet Nam’s total octopus export value.

    This year, Viet Nam is boosting exports of these products to Russia to regain its market share from competititors from China, Peru, Belarus and Thailand.

    In 2016, Viet Nam was the third largest supplier of squid and octopus to Russia. However, in 2017, the exports dropped due to stiff competition from the big rivals.

    Government resolution eyes business environment improvement

    The Vietnamese Government has issued a resolution on continuing with solutions and tasks to improve the business environment and increase national competitiveness in 2018 and beyond.

    The resolution aims to improve indexes related to the business environment in order to jump 8-18 steps from the current 68th place the in World Bank’s Doing Business Rankings, with the focus on low-rated indexes.

    Specifically, the country will try to move up at least 40 places in the index of Starting a Business, 10 places in Enforcing Contracts and 10 places in Resolving Insolvency.

    Under the document, half of business and investment conditions will be eliminated or simplified, while the number of commodity types subject to specialised inspections will be reduced by at least 50 percent.

    State management will be shifted from pre-inspection to post-inspection. Additionally, products will be no longer be managed by more than one agency. The rate of import goods subject to specialized customs check will be reduced from the current 25-27 percent to under 10 percent.

    The resolution requires hastening the application of information technology in handling administrative procedures, including online public services.

    The Government asked Ministers and Chairpersons of People’s Committees of provinces and centrally-run cities to build action plans on carrying out the resolution before May 31, and to direct the implementation of measures to improve the business climate and competitiveness.

    Spinning sector greatly contributes to textile export

    Vietnam’s fibre and yarn production and export is witnessing a strong growth, boosting the country’s textile and garment export turnover.

    In 2017, Vietnam earned 31 billion USD from exporting textiles and garment products, fibre, cotton and materials, of which exports of fibre contributed 3.59 billion USD, up 22.7 percent year-on-year.

    Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, vice general secretary and chief representative of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Association (VITAS) in HCM City said in addition to traditional textiles products, high value-added items such as fabrics, fibre and yarn and textiles and garments accessories have grown well in the first months of 2018.

    Notably, Vietnam’s fibre and yarn export alone reached 906 million USD in the first quarter of 2018, up 16.5 percent year-on-year.

    Nguyen Binh An, General Secretary of the Vietnam Cotton and Spinning Association, said prior to 2000, the spinning sector’s production scale reached only 1 million spindles but its capacity was raised to 3.7 million spindles in 2007 and 7 million spindles at present.

    Two thirds of yarn produced in Vietnam is for export now, with the main importers being China, Turkey and European and American countries.

    Mai said the production scale of Vietnam’s spinning industry would become bigger in the future thanks to advantages brought by free trade agreements the country has joined.

    Vietnam is seen as an ideal destination for foreign-invested spinning projects. The Republic of Korea, China and Hong Kong (China) are leading investors of spinning factories in Vietnam. Japan also outsources yarn products to Vietnam.

    In 2017, Vietnam exported 700,000 tonnes of fibre and yarn to China.

    Experts said many foreign enterprises have invested in Vietnam’s garment and textile industry to exploit opportunities after the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement was signed.

    MoF aims for e-finance system by 2025
       
    Innovation in mobile devices and cloud technology on a large scale is key to technological application of the fourth industrial revolution, said Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung.

    According to the resolution, the Ministry of Finance is applying technological achievements of the fourth industrial revolution to build a smart governance system, as well as providing smart financial services, and actively participating in the development of the digital economy.

    The sector will plan to gradually switch applications to the cloud environment while setting up a comprehensive information security governance system, in compliance with Vietnamese regulations and international standards.

    When operational, the financial cloud will help improve the electronic working environment. The use of data sharing, streamlining and automating internal processes, and providing the ability to search information on mobile devices, will combine towards paperless offices.

    The application of new technology in the fourth industrial revolution period will also create a digital financial ecosystem based on the open data of the finance sector, creating conditions for people, enterprises, agencies and organisations to easily, and equally access information of the sector.

    At present, the Government of Viet Nam is investing heavily into the building of e-government structures.

    The digital government invests in new technologies of the fourth industrial revolution era such as Internet of Things, blockchain, mobility, cloud computing, big data, data analytics and artificial intelligence to streamline or eliminate processes. This will allow the Government to innovate management and public services, bringing greater efficiency and effectiveness in the digital era.

    Becamex, Warburg Pincus in joint venture
       
    Warburg Pincus, a leading global private equity firm focused on growth investing, and Becamex IDC Corp, the construction and development giant in Viet Nam, officially launched their joint venture BW Industrial Development Joint Stock Company on Tuesday.

    With an area spreading over two million sq.m and an initial investment capital of over US$200 million, BW Industrial is the largest ‘for-rent’ industrial and logistics developer in Viet Nam.

    In particular, BW Industrial will focus on supporting the sustainable development of Viet Nam. They are a strategic investor in the global supply chain. With the mission of providing value-added services to other industries through BW Industrial joint ventures, the company ensures to provide the best and most modern real estate solutions for investors in different fields such as mechanical manufacturing, electronics, automobile manufacturing, garments and footwear.

    BW Industrial was seeded with eight projects across five cities in each of Viet Nam’s strategic industrial hubs in the North and South, including Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Hai Phong, Hai Duong and Bac Ninh. According to the plan, BW will build the foundations of industrial real estate and logistics services to meet the needs of multinational corporations as well as e-commerce companies in Viet Nam.

    Jeffrey Perlman, managing director and head of the Southeast Asia division of Warburg Pincus, said, with a sizable population of nearly 100 million people and an increasingly diversified economy, manufacturing and domestic consumption had become the central areas of growth for Viet Nam. This was an ideal time to tap into these growth opportunities with the goal of taking Viet Nam’s industrial and logistics value chain to the next level, he added.

    According to Nguyen Van Hung, chairman of Becamex IDC, Becamex contributes only 30 per cent of capital in this joint venture. It is also the policy that Binh Duong Province wants to call for investors to invest in, build for the socio-economic development of the locality. This is also a priority for profit sharing for investors.

    Established in 1976, Becamex specialises in developing large-scale industrial townships with one of the largest industrial landbanks in key markets across Viet Nam. Becamex has formed a number of partnerships with foreign players such as Tokyu Corporation, a major Tokyo-based infrastructure developer, and Sembcorp, a Temasek-sponsored industrial group through the Viet Nam Singapore Industrial Park platform (VSIP), which is now widely recognised as one of the most successful industrial park developers in Viet Nam, with over $10 billion of investments to-date.

    Warburg Pincus started investing in Southeast Asia in 2013 with Viet Nam as its maiden market. Since then, Warburg Pincus has committed over $1 billion in the region, including in Vincom Retail, Lodgis Hospitality, ARA Asset Management, Go-Jek, NWP, Trax, and others. Currently, the firm has more than $44 billion in private equity assets under management.

    VN-India set to boost trade ties
       
    The Assam Investment Roadshow, which took place in Ha Noi on Monday, gave businesses from India in general and from the Assam region in particular investment opportunities with Vietnamese partners, especially in the agricultural field.

    A delegation of representatives from government agencies and businesses, headed by Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister of Assam, attended the event along with other Vietnamese firms and representatives from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    At the seminar, Sonowal invited Vietnamese businesses to invest in fields with preferential treatment in India and the Assam market, such as high-tech agriculture, industry, tourism, energy, and trade.

    “I am glad to showcase the potential and possibilities of the State at the Assam Investment Roadshow in Hanoi, and lead a delegation of legislators, officials and farmers to Vietnam, a country from which Assam can learn from immeasurably, especially in the agriculture sector,” said Sonowal.

    He also asked for Viet Nam’s help to accomplish the Government’s aim of doubling crop income by 2020, and requested Viet Nam open a consulate office in the Assam capital of Dispur.

    Assam is a major state in northeastern India, which in recent years has been playing a central role in boosting economic cooperation between India and ASEAN countries.

    Monday’s Roadshow was jointly organised by the VCCI in collaboration with Embassy of India and the Government of Assam, India.

    Before attending the Roadshow, Sonowal had met with Cao Duc Phat, a member of the Party Central Committee and Vice Chairman of Central Economic Commission, and Ha Cong Tuan, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as Hoang Binh Quan, Chairman of the External Relations Commission.

    Bilateral collaborations on technology and the exchange of knowledge for the benefit of farmers from both countries were discussed.

    According to figures from India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the General Department of Vietnam Customs, exports from Viet Nam to India in the first three months of 2018 had reached US$1.57 billion, up 111 per cent from the same period last year. March 2018’s exports from Viet Nam alone reached $637.63 million, up 120 per cent from March 2017.

    Imports from India to Viet Nam in the first quarter totalled $1.04 billion, a slight increase of 2.4 per cent from the previous year. The trade surplus for Viet Nam in March was around $267.75 million, and the first quarter reached $532.60 million, a record level so far.

    Viet Nam’s products with strong export growth include machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts, as well as steel products, coal, rattan, bamboo, rush and carpet products , and mobile phones and phone accessories.

    In the opposite direction, imported Indian commodities with high growth rates include ores and other minerals, plastic materials, car parts and paper.

    King Broker eyes nation-wide expansion
       
    King Broker plans to expand operations to all 63 provinces and cities, according to Trinh Nguyen Tuan Anh, the founder of the real estate company.

    King Broker has been in operation for five years, during which time it has set up systems to support property brokers including organising online training, setting up social media channels to connect brokers and solutions based on Big Data.

    It now has nine branches — in Lao Cai, Ha Noi, Thanh Hoa, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Binh Thuan, Dong Nai, Vung Tau, and HCM City – Anh said.

    Late last week, to connect brokers, King Broker and Investment Review organised a seminar for 200 brokers in Vung Tau and Dong Nai provinces.

    Participants spoke about the market in the two provinces and discussed opportunities and challenges thrown up by industry 4.0 were discussed so that brokers could learn how to succeed in the new technological era.

    VNN


    0 0
  • 05/29/18--01:55: Article 2
  • Trung Nguyen brand is threatened from domestic competition


    Dragged down by the three-year divorce proceedings between the main owners, Vietnam’s famous coffee brand Trung Nguyen not only seems farther away from its dream of dominating the global coffee market, but is also at risk of falling from grace on the domestic market.


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    Along with Vinacafé and Nestlé, the Vietnamese coffee market welcomed a range of new brands, including Highlands, The Coffee House, and Starbucks.

    zing.vn stated that currently the number of Trung Nguyen coffee shops is 60, less than half the number of Highlands stores (150). Furthermore, new coffee brand The Coffee House raised its stores to 80 and has started exporting coffee bought from Cau Dat Farm.

    Additionally, the domestic market also saw the entry of a brand that was previously entirely alien to coffee—NutiFood. In 2017, NutiFood announced pouring VND1 trillion ($44 million) into growing coffee plants in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak. This firm is also a strategic shareholder of Phuoc An Coffee JSC, a coffee company in Dak Lak that has an export turnover of $12-15 million per year.

    Tran Thanh Hai, chairman of NutiFood’s Board of Management, said that the firm will boost processing and exporting organic coffee, targeting the Japanese and the US markets.

    Previously, three years after entering Vietnam, in early 2016, Starbucks officially started offering its Vietnamese “DaLat Blend” in 56 markets. These high-quality coffee beans are sourced from Dalat (Central Highlands province of Lam Dong).

    Regarding domestic instant coffee processing segment, Trung Nguyen proves to be more inferior than its long-term competitors Vinacafé and Nestlé.

    Since merging with Masan one year ago, Vinacafé’s output has increased by 30 per cent and the firm’s products have been exported to Russia and East European countries. A report released by market research company Nielsen stated that in 2015 Vinacafé led the domestic instant coffee market by holding 41 per cent, equaling the cumulative market shares of Nescafé and Trung Nguyen.

    Masan currently owns 68.5 per cent of Vinacafé's shares and offered to purchase Vinacafé entirely for VND1.7 trillion ($74.9 million).

    According to giaithuong.org.vn, a website specialised in national brands, as of November 2017, Vinacafé made up 50 per cent of the domestic instant coffee market.

    According to data released by Euromonitor—a global market research company—Vinacafé and Nescafé in 2015 made up 37.5 and 38.3 per cent of the domestic instant coffee market, while Trung Nguyen only took up 4.7 per cent.

    Three-year divorce endangers Trung Nguyen

    Despite having been a Vietnamese coffee empire, Trung Nguyen is hugely affected by the overlong divorce dispute between chairman Dang Le Nguyen Vu and his wife Le Hoang Diep Thao.

    The dispute exploded in April 2015, when Vu suddenly dismissed Thao from her position as the group’s deputy general director. In a complaint sent to the Binh Duong People’s Court in November 2015, Thao said that in October of the same year Vu organised a board management meeting without her to dismiss her from her positions as chairman of the Board of Management and deputy general director.

    After Thao’s complaint sent to the Binh Duong People’s Court in 2015, Trung Nguyen’s G7 instant coffee products were suddenly pulled from the market due to “equipment maintenance.”

    Afterwards, on December 12, 2015, Trung Nguyen announced resuming selling G7 instant coffee products on the market.

    Three years after the divorce proceedings started, Trung Nguyen Group has been reporting weak growth.

    According to dantri.com.vn, its net sales in 2015 and 2016 were VND3.846 trillion ($169 million) and VND3.813 trillion ($167.9 million), respectively, and its profit was VND809 billion ($35.6 million) and VND768 billion ($33.8 million).

    Previously, in 2014, Trung Nguyen Group’s revenue and before-tax profit reached VND4 trillion ($176 million) and VND1.3 trillion ($57.2 million). In fact, this came from the 2012-2014 profits of its main subsidiaries (Trung Nguyen JSC specialised inexporting coffee to aboard markets and Trung Nguyen IC specialised in instant coffee processing ) transferred to the parent company Trung Nguyen Group.

    With the slowdown in growth and the fierce competition from old nemeses and newcomers, Trung Nguyen Group has its work cut out for it to balance the damage wrought by the divorce dispute.

    Trung Nguyen Legend Corporation specialised in high-end coffee products on May 24 announced entering an official co-operation with China-based Shanghai Qinzhou Trade Co., Ltd. to distribute the G7 instant coffee products in East China, including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, and Nanjing, with the revenue target of $1.6 billion. The value of Chinese coffee market is estimated at $9 billion, according to zing.vn.

    VIR


    0 0
  • 05/29/18--02:18: Article 1
  • Social News 29/5


    Fire rips apart nearly 2,000sq.m factory in HCM City


    Ministry responds to World No Tobacco Day, Fire destroys squid fishing vessel in Quang Nam, Summer Youth Volunteer Campaign held in 93 poor districts, Vietnam fines cruise ship for service scam reported by Australian tourist 
    Firefighters try to put out the blaze.


    A fire broke out at a wet wipes manufacturing company in Quang Trung industrial cluster in HCM City early Monday morning.

    It quickly spread to a nearby printing and packages company destroying more than half of both properties.

    As firefighters battled the 4am blaze, locals desperately tried to remove flammable materials from the storage facilities.

    At its height, 130 firefighters fought to control the flames and it was eventually extinguished after about three hours.

    Although no one was injured during the blaze, the fire did destroy around 1,700sq.m of the total 2,600sq.m of factory.

    The cause is currently under investigation.

    VWU launches contest to promote food safety, hygiene


     Ministry responds to World No Tobacco Day, Fire destroys squid fishing vessel in Quang Nam, Summer Youth Volunteer Campaign held in 93 poor districts, Vietnam fines cruise ship for service scam reported by Australian tourist
    A safe food fair organised in the framework of the campaign on promoting the production and trade of safe food and agricultural products. — Photo courtesy of the VWU 

    A national competition to create photos, writing, videos and screenplays to raise awareness of food safety and hygiene has kicked off.

    The competition is open for Vietnamese people at home and abroad as well as foreigners living in Việt Nam.

    The contest was organised by Việt Nam Women’s Union (VWU). Entrants can send their work to the organising board from now to July 26.

    Nguyễn Thị Tuyết, vice chairwoman of the VWU, said the contest looks for ideas to communicate food safety and hygiene to the public. She expects that the contest will help people produce and sell safe food, and instruct consumers to identify safe and unsafe food.

    It’s a part of a campaign on promoting the production and trade of safe food and agricultural products, which was held in Hà Nội on Sunday. Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam attended the event and stressed that the Government appreciates co-ordination in ensuring food hygiene and safety.

    He noted with pleasure that over the past two years, co-ordination among the Government, ministries, sectors, localities and social organisations has brought positive developments for food safety.

    He stressed that in addition to strengthening State management of food safety, it is necessary to raise public awareness and knowledge regarding the harms of unsafe food, which threaten people’s health.

    With improved knowledge, customers can distinguish between safe and unsafe food while producers can apply and develop safe production chain models and food supply chains, he explained.

    Every producer and business must be made aware of their legal and ethical responsibilities in ensuring food safety, he said. He also asked for the strict inspection and handling of violations in cases related to food safety. 

    Fee at Tiên Cựu toll booth to reduce


     Ministry responds to World No Tobacco Day, Fire destroys squid fishing vessel in Quang Nam, Summer Youth Volunteer Campaign held in 93 poor districts, Vietnam fines cruise ship for service scam reported by Australian tourist
    Under 12-seater cars, under two-tonne trucks and city public buses will enjoy the fee exemption policy while passing through the Tiên Cựu Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) toll booth in Tiên Lãng District.


    The Ministry of Transport (MoT) recently sent an official document to the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam and Tasco Company, the project’s investor, on fee reduction for vehicles driving through Tiên Cựu BOT toll booth located on National Highway No.10 in the northern coastal city of Hải Phòng, following the directorate’s earlier request.

    The ministry sought the collaboration of related agencies, including the directorate, investor, people’s committees of Hải Phòng City and Hải Dương Province as well as banks granting loans to reduce fee, ensure safety and prevent congestion at the toll booth.

    Besides the mentioned vehicles, the fee will be cut to half for cars having 12-30 seats and trucks weighing two to four tonnes travelling within 5km around the toll booth, including the communes of Quang Trung, Quốc Tuấn (An Lão District), Đại Thắng, Tiên Cường, Tự Cường, Tiên Tiến, Quyết Tiến, Khởi Nghĩa (Tiên Lãng District), Giang Biên and Dũng Tiến (Vĩnh Bảo District).

    Tiên Cựu BOT toll booth is part of the project of reinforcing and upgrading a part of National Highway No.10 connecting Quán Toan bridge to Nghìn bridge in Hải Phòng city under the form of BOT.

    According to MoT, there are 88 BOT toll booths in Việt Nam. Among them, 74 are managed by the ministry, while 14 are controlled by provincial People’s Committees.

    Nghệ An police seize over 600kg of firecrackers


    Ministry responds to World No Tobacco Day, Fire destroys squid fishing vessel in Quang Nam, Summer Youth Volunteer Campaign held in 93 poor districts, Vietnam fines cruise ship for service scam reported by Australian tourist 
    Đoàn Văn Tý, Nguyễn Trường Khánh and the seized firecrackers at Nghi Lộc Police Station. 


    Police in central Nghệ An province seized 600kg of illegal firecrackers in Nghi Xuân Commune, Nghi Lộc District.

    Following a tip-off, the provincial traffic police on Sunday stopped a suspicious truck passing through the commune. Upon inspection, police found firecrackers hidden under boxes of fruits.

    The 26-year-old truck driver, Đoàn Văn Tý, was a resident of Hướng Hóa District in the central province of Quảng Trị. He said he was hired by Nguyễn Trường Khánh, who owned the firecrackers, to transport them from Quảng Trị to Nghệ An for VNĐ8 million (US$350).

    Khánh was later arrested in Nghệ An Province’s Cửa Lò Township.

    The police are further investigating the case.

    The production, trade and use of firecrackers were banned in Việt Nam in 1994 for safety reasons. However, violations have become more rampants in recent years. 

    Kien Giang households escape poverty by harvesting forest products


    Ministry responds to World No Tobacco Day, Fire destroys squid fishing vessel in Quang Nam, Summer Youth Volunteer Campaign held in 93 poor districts, Vietnam fines cruise ship for service scam reported by Australian tourist 
    Many poor households that were given cajeput forests to protect and harvest as part of a local programme in Kiên Giang Province have escaped poverty.


    Many households in Forest Unit Area No 34 in Kiên Giang Province’s An Minh District have higher incomes now because of the rising prices of cajeput trees they are tasked to protect by local authorities.

    Located in Cán Giáo Hamlet in An Minh District’s Đông Hưng B Commune, the Forest Unit Area No 34 has more than 1,290ha of cajeput forests which have been allocated to poor households to protect since 2009.    

    Võ Văn Thạch, one of the first farmers given a forested area, said that, besides money from selling cajeput trees, his family now earns an average additional income of VNĐ60 million (US$2,600) a year from selling honey, fish and vegetables.

    Households who protect forests are allowed to harvest 10 per cent of allocated forests a year and have to replant new forests in the harvested area, he said.

    When forest-allocated households moved in the area, they were all poor and lived in temporarily thatch-roofed houses, he said.

    The area did not have electricity or roads at the time, and there were plenty of mosquitoes.

    The low prices of cajeput yielded little income, but the price has increased significantly since 2016.

    The price is now VNĐ15-20 million ($660 -880) per 1,000sq.m compared to VNĐ3 million per 1,000sq.m in 2009. Traders come directly to forests to buy the trees.  

    After harvest, more households are planting new cajeput forests.

    No fires have broken out as farmers were also asked to ensure protection for the area from fire. 

    Besides planting forests, the households breed fish, plant vegetables and lure bees to build hives in their forests to collect honey.

    With the income, many household have built houses and bought enough house facilities for their daily lives in recent years.  

    Trần Phi Hải, deputy director of the Forest Protection Board of An Biên and An Minh districts, said under the policy of the provincial People’s Committee on allocating cajeput forests for poor households to protect, 142 poor households who lived near the Forest Unit Area No 34 and did not have farmland for production were allocated forests for protection in 2009.  

    Each household was allocated an average of 5ha and allowed to harvest 10 per cent of allocated cajeput forests a year, he said.

    The allocated forests were 10 years old at that time.

    Quách Thị Diệp, one of the forest-allocated households, said previously she was very poor and had to work as a daily hired labourer or a peddler to earn a living. 

    Thanks to the policy, she now has a stable life, and has built a new house in the area.

    Similarly, Tôn Văn Rỏi, one of the households in the programme, now has a house and stable income.

    Besides harvesting cajeput forests and replanting new forests every year according to regulations, Rỏi breeds fish, plants vegetables and collects honey to improve income, he said.

    He also works an additional job as a cajeput trader to earn more income.  

    Since 2017, the Forest Unit Area No 34 has had access to the national power grid.

    Nguyễn Thành Công, a secretary for Cán Giáo Hamlet, said the lives of the households in Forest Unit Area No 34 had improved significantly.

    Only 60 households in the area are still considered poor, he said.

    Ministry responds to World No Tobacco Day

    The Ministry of Health has called on the public to support World No Tobacco Day.    

    The Ministry of Health hosts the meeting on May 27 in Danang City to celebrate World No Tobacco Day on May 31 and the National No Tobacco Week from May 25 to 31.

    Nguyen Viet Tien, Deputy Minister of Health and Head of the Fund for Tobacco Harm Prevention and Control hosted the meeting on May 27 in Danang City to celebrate World No Tobacco Day on May 31 and the National No Tobacco Week from May 25 to 31.

    Seven million people died of tobacco-related illnesses in the world in 2016 according to the World Health Organisation. In Vietnam, 40,000 people died of tobacco-related illnesses each year. This year, World No Tobacco Day will focus on tobacco and heart disease. Tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure contribute to 30% of all heart disease deaths and 20% of deaths from strokes.

    According to Tien, tobacco causes severe harm to health as well as the economy. Vietnamese spend approximately VND31trn (USD1.24m) on tobacco and VND24trn go into treatments for just five out of 25 tobacco-related illnesses every year.

    "We call on everyone, especially young people, to not abuse tobacco. Cigarette addicts should quit for yourself and the people around you. I hope the Tobacco Harm Prevention Law will be followed. Leaders at state agencies and private firms should be the models for other people," he said.

    Kidong Park, the World Health Organisation Representative in Vietnam, said that the tax on tobacco products in Vietnam is quite low compared to other countries, about 35% of retail price while the world average rate is 58% and much lower than the WHO's suggested 75%. Vietnam is among world's top 15 countries with the lowest tobacco prices with a pack of cigarette is sold at the prices of VND6,000 (24 US cents) to VND20,000.

    Park suggested raising the tax on tobacco by at least VND2,000 to VND5,000 per pack of cigarettes to curb buying. 

    Over 1,000 students in Danang participated in a group dance after the meeting near Trung Vuong Theatre and marched through many streets to raise public awareness about the problem.

    Da Nang exhibition showcases disabled kids’ paintings


    Ministry responds to World No Tobacco Day, Fire destroys squid fishing vessel in Quang Nam, Summer Youth Volunteer Campaign held in 93 poor districts, Vietnam fines cruise ship for service scam reported by Australian tourist 
    A painting displayed at the exhibition (Source: https://danangfantasticity.com)


    Artworks created by children with disabilities, orphans and those with difficult circumstances in the central city of Da Nang are on display at an exhibition that opened in the locality on May 28. 

    The event is organised by the Da Nang Fine Arts Museum and the municipal centre for sponsoring disabled and orphan children and the centre for providing social services. 

    As many 80 paintings showcased at the event reflect their love for the country, family and peace, and their aspiration for integrating into the community and having a better life.

    Nguyen Thi Trinh, Vice Director of the museum, said the exhibition aims to discover and develop the art talents among orphans and the disabled, thus helping them overcome difficulties. 

    It also offers a chance for local children to increase exchanges and promote their creativeness, she added. 

    The event will last until June 20.

    Thua Thien-Hue receives donation to develop traditional craft products


     Ministry responds to World No Tobacco Day, Fire destroys squid fishing vessel in Quang Nam, Summer Youth Volunteer Campaign held in 93 poor districts, Vietnam fines cruise ship for service scam reported by Australian tourist
    A man carves a bronze product at the bronze casting village in Phuong Duc ward of Hue city 


    Thua Thien-Hue has received 25,000 EUR (29,000 USD) from a UK national who donated the money to help the central province develop traditional craft products.

    Hoang Ngoc Khanh, Chief of the Office of the provincial People’s Committee, said on May 28 that the administration handed over the money, donated by a woman named Victoria Elizabeth Ho, to the Hue Centre for Cultural Preservation and Economic Development to fund marketing activities, development of traditional products, and exhibition of products of local craft villages.

    From now to 2020, Thua Thien-Hue plans to spend 144.3 billion VND (6.3 million USD) on supporting craft villages’ development, promoting the training and maintenance of traditional crafts, and expanding the market for products of craft villages and rural industries.

    In the short term, it will promote eight crafts and craft villages in association with tourism to enhance traditional craft production and create more tourism services, thus providing jobs for more rural residents.

    The craft villages that the province prioritises in the time ahead include Hue bronze casting village (in Phuong Duc and Thuy Xuan wards, Hue city), Phuoc Tich pottery making village and My Xuyen wood carving village (in Phong Hoa commune, Phong Dien district), Sinh folk painting village and Thanh Tien paper flower village (Phu Mau commune, Phu Vang district), Thuy Thanh conical hat village (Thuy Thanh commune, Huong Thuy township), My Lam conical hat village (Phu My commune, Phu Vang district), Zeng weaving village (A Roang and A Dot communes of A Luoi town, A Luoi district), and Bao La bamboo weaving village (Quang Phu and Quang Loi communes, Quang Dien district).

    Thua Thien-Hue has issued a development plan for local traditional crafts and craft villages until 2025. This plan aims to help accelerate the industrialisation and modernisation of rural areas while creating jobs and raising income for rural residents. 

    Accordingly, the province will step up craft villages’ application of science-technology in production activities to improve the design, productivity, quality and competitiveness of traditional craft products. It will also develop the crafts that generate high economic benefits and combine craft village preservation with tourism development.

    Fire destroys squid fishing vessel in Quang Nam

    A squid fishing vessel suddenly caught fire at 6:30 am on May 27 while docked at Ky Ha port in Tam Quang commune of Nui Thanh district in the central province of Quang Nam as it refueled and stocked supplies for offshore-fishing.

    The fire was sparked in a hold of the squid fishing vessel, and spread rapidly with thick columns of black smoke.  The boat was engulfed in flames within 30 minutes. The vessel’s owner, crewmen, and local residents failed to extinguish the fire.

    Fire engines and hundreds of fire fighters were mobilized to tackle the blaze, which took more than an hour to be brought under control.

    The huge fire destroyed property on the vessel worth more than VND10 billion. Nguyen Van Thinh, vice chairman of Nui Thanh district’s People’s Committee said the preliminary cause of the fire is a short circuit in the hold of the fishing vessel.

    Summer Youth Volunteer Campaign held in 93 poor districts

    The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee has announced the Summer Youth Volunteer Campaign 2018, which will feature a wide range of activities.

    Under the campaign, a “Tiep Suc Mua Thi” (Assistance during Exam Season) programme will be organised from June 3- August 3 for students, youth, pupils, educationists, and young teachers.

    The campaign will take place across 93 poor districts and in those that have escaped poverty, youth islands, especially disadvantaged communes, areas affected by pollution in 28 coastal provinces and cities, border communes, and communes which have targeted recognition as new rural areas in 2018.

    The movement aims to repair 1,000km and build 120km of new rural roads, develop 100 new “bright–green - clean –safe” routes, clean up at least one polluted area every week, and provide startup training courses for 100,000 youths and students.

    Vietnam fines cruise ship for service scam reported by Australian tourist

    Owner of a cruise ship in northern Vietnam has been fined VND15 million (US$660) following complaints from an Australian tourist of "horrific" experience during a tour on the famous Ha Long Bay.

    Tourism officials in Hai Phong said on May 25 that they have fined the tour operator after confirming that the tourist's report was "valid."

    Lynne Ryan, who was among a group of six Australian tourists visiting Vietnam early this month, came back with disappointment. "Horror trip, Ha Long Bay," she wrote in a Facebook post which drew the attention from many news outlets who published the story last week.

    Ryan said her group booked a cruise tour on Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province, which neighbors Hai Phong, with a travel company in Hanoi. She said she had been shown a glossy brochure with beautiful pictures of a boat and its services, but they were not what she and her friends actually received.

    They had a "junk boat," she said, listing a rat house under the sink in the bathroom, a rat coming through a window, and rat droppings in the room. One of their rooms had the toilet, door and air-con all broken down.

    "Sun decks on the top of boat had wood borers and were falling to pieces," she said, as cited by News.

    Her group described their Ha Long Bay tour as a "nightmare" trip.

    Hai Phong authorities said the ship providing the tour was registered in the city and has operated in Ha Long Bay without permission. They confirmed that the ship has been downgraded with poor hygiene in the kitchen and rooms for passengers.

    The ship was suspended earlier this week and Hai Phong authorities have also ordered the operator to apologize and compensate the tourists.

    Ha Long in Quang Ninh Province is one of Vietnam's biggest tourism magnets. The bay has been hailed by the U.S. travel guide site Smarter Travel as one of the best ecological spots in the world, while Business Insider said that an overnight Ha Long cruise trip is a “must-try” travel experience in Asia. The bay welcomed more than 28,000 foreigners during the first four months this year, according to Quang Ninh's tourism department.

    Australia is one of the biggest source of foreign tourists to Vietnam. The country received nearly 147,600 Australian visitors in the first four months this year, up 13% from a year ago.

    Vietnam’s internet to crawl as repair work starts on infamous cable

    Internet connections in Vietnam are expected to run at snail’s pace in the coming week as a major undersea cable will go under repair.

    A local internet service provider said the Asia America Gateway (AAG) is being fixed and work will reach the part connected to Vietnam' southern beach town Vung Tau on May 27. It is scheduled to finish on June 5.

    The incident would affect all service providers in Vietnam, meaning that internet users will have to face the sluggish speed on international websites.

    Several internet service providers are ready to reroute and transfer signals to other cables to minimize the impacts on users.

    This is the second time the AAG encountered a technical problem this year, following a reset last January, and at least five similar incidents in 2017.

    Connected in November 2009, the US$560-million AAG handles more than 60% of the country’s international internet traffic. The system runs more than 20,000 kilometers (12,420 miles), connecting Southeast Asia and the US, passing through Brunei, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

    Vietnam currently has six submarine cable systems, as well as a 120 gigabit channel that runs overland through China. With a download speed of 5.46 megabytes per second, Vietnam's internet speed was ranked 74th out of 189 countries and territories in a global survey of broadband speeds compiled by Cable.co.uk, a UK broadband, TV, phone and mobile provider, last August.

    Vietnam's average broadband speed was 10 times lower than its Southeast Asian neighbor Singapore, according to the survey. However, the country still managed to trump six other countries in the region.

    More than 50 million people in Vietnam, or more than half of the country’s population, are online.

    Russian man detained for trying to hack ATM in Vietnam

    Police in the central resort town Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa Province have detained a Russian man for trying to break into an ATM in the town's backpacker area.

    Leksii Vackvasaki, 35, was allegedly trying to pry open the control panel of an ATM on Nguyen Thien Thuat Street on May 24 when a local discovered his act and reported it to the police.

    Police said the man was carrying screwdrivers, a roll of black electrical tape and devices to access and read card information. Vackvasaki claimed he used the tape to block the ATM's security camera and was trying to steal card information of the ATM's previous users, according to Tuoi Tre newspaper.

    Police are still investigating the case, and would propose charges of "deliberate destruction of property" and "theft" against the foreigner.

    Despite calls from IT experts to raise security around payment systems, ATM networks in Vietnam remain a usual theft target. In March, police in Da Nang arrested two Chinese nationals who were attempting to install devices at local ATMs to steal users' card information. Another gang including members from Malaysia, Singapore, the US and Vietnam were arrested by police in the southern city of Can Tho the same month for similar crimes. Last December, a court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced a Peruvian man to 18 years in prison as investigation found his gang had cracked open many ATMs across the country in 2014 and 2015 and stolen a total of VND6 billion (US$264,000).

    Nearly 500 youth join “Blue Vietnamese Sea” campaign in Da Nang

    “Blue Vietnamese Sea”, a marine environment protection campaign, was launched at an event at Thanh Khe beach in central Da Nang City on May 26.

    The campaign is jointly organized by the Secretariat of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCYU) Central Committee, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Hanoi Beer Alcohol and Beverage Joint Stock Corporation. It is taking place from May 18 to 26 in Da Nang city and the provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Quang Binh, and Quang Tri. 

    The campaign aims to call on youth, organisations, and individuals to work together in cleaning up the sea for a future without rubbish filled oceans, and raising public awareness of the importance of protecting the marine environment. It contributes to promoting youth solidarity and enthusiasm in implementing the Party and State’s policies for building new-style rural areas and civilized urban areas.

    At the launch ceremony, Nguyen Manh Dung, Deputy Secretary of the HCYU Committee of Da Nang, said the central city has 92km of coastline and many famous beaches. Recently, Da Nang was selected as having one of six most beautiful beaches on the planet by the US magazine Forbes.

    In recent years, the Da Nang HCYU has organized many weekly and monthly campaigns to clean up the sea in response to the “Make the world cleaner” campaign. It will continue to intensify its efforts to spread information about environmental protection and hold activities to clean up the sea and collect waste to make Da Nang beaches cleaner and more attractive, said Mr Dung.

    On the occasion, the municipal HCYU presented a youth project to Thanh Khe district’s HCYU.

    Two Lao drug traffickers captured in Dien Bien

    Border guards in the northern province of Dien Bien have arrested two Lao nationals who were in the process of smuggling around 3kg of heroin.

    The two men who were apprehended on May 25 and have been named as Po Lia, 25, and Sa Tu, 23, both residing in Muang May district, Phongsaly province, Laos.

    Exhibits include 3kg of heroin, one mobile phone, and other evidence related to the case.

    The two men initially confessed that they are drug users and had bought the heroin in their home village before transporting them to Vietnam where they intended to profit from the sale and distribution of the drugs.

    The case is still under investigation.

    HCM City introduces southern fruit at 40 high-end hotels

    As many as 40 hotels of 4-and 5-star standards in Ho Chi Minh City will offer guests fresh southern fruits and welcome drinks made from these fruits from June 1 to 17.

    Huynh Khanh Thuy Nguyen, deputy director of the HCMC Center of Agricultural Consultancy and Support, talks about the Safe and Delicious Fruit contest, an event of the Southern Fruit Festival

    In addition, in the first week of June, many supermarkets in the city will introduce to customers Vietnamese fruit at separate corners. They will also show buyers how to distinguish between safe and unsafe fruit, and offer discounts for Vietnamese fruit.

    These are activities to promote southern fruit as part of the Southern Fruit Festival scheduled for June 1 to 17 at Suoi Tien Theme Park in Ho Chi Minh City's District 9.

    Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, deputy director of the HCM City Department of Tourism, said the organizers will cooperate with tour operators to lure more tourists to the festival by offering 50% discount on entrance tickets for groups of tourists.

    “We expect there will be 1.6 million tourists coming to Suoi Tien Theme Park during the festival this year, up 50% year-on-year,” she said.

    According to Suoi Tien Cultural Tourism JSC, the festival will feature many activities like “Safe and Delicious Southern Fruit” contest with about 500 participants, giant fruit parade, farm tools showcase, fruit art and fruit fair.

    The company buys fruit from quality farms to provide guests with safe and high-quality products.

    During the summer, visitors to the park will be able to buy a variety of Southern fruit at prices 20-30% lower than the average prices on the market.

    The festival is jointly organized by the HCMC Departments of Tourism and Trade-Industry, and Suoi Tien Cultural Tourism JSC. On International Children’s Day (June 1), children will enjoy free admission.

    Da Nang welcomes more than 3.2 million visitors in 5 months

    Central Da Nang City received more than 3.2 million visitors, including around 1.3 million foreigners and over 1.8 million domestic tourists, during the first five months of 2018, a year-on-year rise of 30.4%.

    The total income from tourism revenue is estimated at more than VND11.1 trillion, up 53.6% against the same period of last year.

    The municipal Department of Tourism has implemented procedures to build a headquarters of tourism promotion centre and continues to finalize the plan for a city-wide tourism accommodation database by 2025 with a vision to 2030.

    In addition, it submitted a tourism development plan to the People’s Committee and directly carried out many activities to support visitors to the city, such as introducing chatbot applications and publishing images and information about Da Nang through different channels.

    More than 35,000 visitors have been supported with tourism information, over 60% of whom sought out information on Da Nang during the first five months of this year.

    Da Nang is expected to lure around 7.4 million visitors this year.

    Lord Buddha’s 2,562nd birthday celebrated in HCM City


     Ministry responds to World No Tobacco Day, Fire destroys squid fishing vessel in Quang Nam, Summer Youth Volunteer Campaign held in 93 poor districts, Vietnam fines cruise ship for service scam reported by Australian tourist
    A musical performance at the event 


    The Ho Chi Minh City Buddhist Sangha held a music gala named “Lua thieng bat diet” (Eternal sacred fire) on May 27 as part of the activities to celebrate Lord Buddha’s 2,562nd birthday.

    More than 20 art performances at the programme extolled Lord Buddha, the Most Venerable Thich Quang Duc who immolated himself to oppose against Buddhist suppression 55 years ago, as well as praise patriotism.

    The event drew the participation of monks, nuns, Buddhist followers and local people from all walks of life.

    A Buddhist cultural week is underway in Ho Chi Minh City from May 22-29 with a wide range of activities, including Buddha bathing ceremonies, presenting 1,000 gifts to disadvantaged households in District 10, and incense offering at the monument dedicated to Most Venerable Thich Quang Duc.

    An exhibition on life and religious career of the Most Venerable Thich Quang Duc is part of the activities as well. 

    Works on Buddhist culture and art are also on display on the occasion.

    Hưng wins women’s blitz category in chess open


     Ministry responds to World No Tobacco Day, Fire destroys squid fishing vessel in Quang Nam, Summer Youth Volunteer Campaign held in 93 poor districts, Vietnam fines cruise ship for service scam reported by Australian tourist
    Nguyễn Thị Mai Hưng. — Photo zing.vn 

    Nguyễn Thị Mai Hưng won the title in the women’s blitz category at the Đào Thiên Hải Open Chess Tournament, which concluded in HCM City on May 27.

    Grand Master Hưng, 24, had also won the national women’s chess titles in 2011 and 2013.

    Meanwhile, Nguyễn Ngọc Thùy Trang won the title in the women’s rapid division.

    On the men’s side, FIDE (World Chess Federation) Master Đặng Hoàng Sơn won in the blitz division, while Mai Lê Nguyên Khôi triumphed in the rapid event.

    The fourth chess tournament attracted hundreds of chess players from HCM City and neighbouring provinces.

    The event aimed to seek young talents to compete in the upcoming Southeast Asia Junior Chess Tournament in the Philippines. 

    Rescuers recall 50 hours of retrieving body of dead VN trekker from deep forest

    A rescue team worked hard for more than two days to bring home the body of a backpacker who was found dead after getting lost while trekking through a forest path in southern Vietnam over a week ago.

    T.A.K. went missing on May 11 while trekking in a group on the 60-kilometer Ta Nang-Phan Dung trail, which runs from Lam Dong Province in Vietnam’s Central Highlands to the south-central province of Binh Thuan.

    The forest covering the trail is famous for its scenic beauty but poses potential danger to first-time explorers, as it has a number of waterfalls and fast-flowing streams.

    Over 100 people had joined in the efforts to search for the missing 24-year-old trekker, before he was finally found dead and trapped at the bottom of the Lao Phao waterfall in the jungle on May 20.

    It was not until May 23 that the rescuers managed to transport the body to the end of the Ta Nang-Phan Dung trail in Binh Thuan, after a strenuous bid that lasted about 50 hours.

    The victim’s mother was there to receive her son's corpse and took him to Ho Chi Minh City.

    K.’s body had lain at the waterfall for more than ten days as attempts to retrieve it met with hindrances of accessibility to the forest.

    A group of volunteers knowing the trail well and mastering rescue skills was formed for the purpose, including Nguyen Quoc Huy and Tran Ly Tuong, who felt sorry for the plight of the victim.

    Now that the search and rescue efforts ended, the group recalled the tough task and explained why it took them more than two days to be able to retrieve the body.

    On the first day after knowing of the location of the deceased trekker, the group set off in the early morning in Da Lat, the capital of Lam Dong, walked along devious paths in the jungle for nearly five hours before reaching the three-story waterfall, where K. was lying, according to Huy.

    “This is a completely deserted place that even no natives have ever got to,” Huy said.

    All members had to wear face masks and put on medicated oil to protect themselves from the assault of the odor emanating from the badly decomposing body, which they were unable to stand near for 30 seconds with a bare nose.

    Tuong said they anchored ropes at several points up the waterfall cliff, which he estimated to be 90 meters high, and manually pulled the body to the top gradually.

    The body was left at one-third of the height of the waterfall from the bottom when night fell and the volunteers became exhausted.

    They stayed awake through the night, shivering in icy cold winds in the jungle.

    “We initially thought the job would be done within a day, so we didn’t bring much food,” he admitted.

    “But it turned out to be too difficult and lasted longer than expected.

    “At the end of the day, our stomach was rumbling ravenously.”

    Huy added that the rescuers were worried they had to start afresh if there was a problem with the anchors and ropes.

    “We were all nervous and just wanted the morning to come quickly,” he said.

    The volunteers resumed at dawn and continued hard into the late afternoon, when they again felt worn out as a result of moving the rope system and pulling the body to the top.

    The body was then carried on a motorbike down a one-meter-wide slope which they said can only be maneuvered by the most skillful riders.

    Huy recalled that surrounding the vehicle was four subgroups; one cleared the path at its front, two kept the motorbike in balance and the other held the body in place at the rear.

    “We inched down along the way, hands all numb,” he continued.

    They reached the end of the Ta Nang-Phan Dung trail fatigued at 10:00 pm on May 25, around 50 hours since the strenuous effort was initiated.

    The victim’s mother collapsed at the sight of her son’s body, and the volunteers were moved to tears at the moment.

    “The mother had wept copiously for over ten days. Her voice was choked while she was saying the child’s name,” Tuong said.

    VNN


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  • 05/29/18--02:31: Article 0
  • Urgent measures to bring rail accidents under control: Deputy PM


    Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh called for urgent measures from transport authorities to bring railway incidents “under control”. 

    Rail accidents, “under control”, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam 
    A train running on the Hanoi-Vinh route crashed into a tank truck on May 27 as the truck’s driver was ignoring all safety signals and trying to cross over at a level crossing in the central province of Nghe An. — VNA/VNS Photo


    Deputy PM Binh’s directive came as Vietnam’s flagging railway system is once again under scrutiny as a series of train accidents have raised questions about the sector’s safety, quality management and operation capacity.

    His latest order came only three days after an order for a probe into the May 24 collision of a train into a dump truck at a level crossing in central Vietnam, killing two and injuring scores more. The incident marked the start of an unfortunate string of crashes over the weekend that resulted in two dead and 11 injured, damaged rail lines, carriages and locomotive cabs and hours-long disruptions to the vital North-South railway.

    Deputy PM Binh asked for expedited efforts to investigate the causes and strictly punish individuals and organisations deemed to be at fault. Railway leaders and transport authorities were also asked to “give timely updates to the media and news agencies.”

    Existing regulations and protocols on train operations will also be reviewed and consolidated, with greater accountability placed on the leaders of the railway sector if preventable accidents occur.

    Local police and the Ministry of Public Security were tasked with pinpointing and delivering suitable punishments to the violators of rail safety laws. 

    The diagnoses

    Traffic experts and railway authorities have weighed in on the causes of the string of accidents. Many said they are due to outdated infrastructure or weak capacity of railway staff.

    Vu Anh Minh, chairman of Viet Nam Railway (VNR), the State company entrusted with managing the railway system in the country, said the current allocated budget could only meet some 30 per cent of maintenance and upgrading needs, adversely affecting railway safety.

    “Eighty to 90 per cent of our locomotives and carriages are 20 years old or older. In spite of the old infrastructure, we still strive towards safe operation, but it depends largely on human factors. The repeated accidents in the last few days were just a rare occurrence,” Minh said.

    Nguyen Hong Truong, chairman of Viet Nam Traffic Safety Association, said the four accidents can be categorised into two groups: those caused by the fault of drivers in level crossing accidents, and those caused by “inherent issues” of the railway sector.

    Truong criticised the State-run railway sector’s “mostly manual operation methods that stay largely the same across decades” and called for digitalisation of all aspects of management, making fleet control similar to that of an airport’s traffic control unit.

    He told Vietnam News Agency that the primary responsibility in recent train wrecks lies with the State-run Viet Nam Railway (VNR) as they are assigned to “manage and effectively operate the system.”

    Another critical mistake leading to the recent increase in rail-related accidents was the dissolution of safety control committees. Previously, before three separate State companies managing rail activities in all three regions of the country (headquartered in Hanoi, Da Nang and HCM City) were merged into the current VNR, each company had their own safety committee that would cross-inspect each other when accidents occurred, a retired safety control expert told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

    Currently, VNR’s safety and security committee is comprised of only 20 people and based in Hanoi.

    Vu Quang Khoi, director of the railway department under the Ministry of Transport, admitted some mix-ups during the VNR’s restructuring process might have resulted in a "lack of accountability" and said the agency has asked the company to quickly address the situation.

    According to Khoi, the Law on Railway 2017 for the first time regulates the duration of the “useful life” of rail components (rail line, locomotives or carriages), which would keep outdated and unsafe components out of service. However, the law would only enter into force starting this July, Khoi said.

    Nguyen Huu Duc, senior traffic expert from Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), said Vietnam’s level crossing safety is inadequate, in an interview with Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.

    Duc also laid blame at the public railway’s “poor business performance”, which makes it too dependent on the already-strained State budget to carry out much-needed maintenance and upgrades.

    The latest plan by VNR to address long-standing level crossing issues was a three-year plan that costs VND1.7 trillion (US$75 million) to eliminate all illegal and unsafe level crossings across the country.

    According to recent statistics, accidents from violations of trespassing railroads at undesignated crossings account for 70 per cent of rail accidents.

    VNS


    0 0
  • 05/30/18--01:57: Article 4
  • High-schooler offered scholarships by 11 US universities


    A pupil in HCM City has been offered various scholarships by 11 universities which are ranked by US News and World Report as among the 100 best colleges and universities in the US.


     
    Nguyen Phan Tat Thanh started the Heart of the Youth project for disabled children affected by the Agent Orange

    Nguyen Phan Tat Thanh is studying at the High School for the Gifted, under Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City. Based on the achievements, Thanh was offered the highest merit-based scholarships. All 11 universities offered Thanh scholarships that are 50% to 90% discounts on tuition fees for four years. For example, the University of Denver offered USD104,000 in scholarships while the State University of New York - University at Buffalo offered a USD37,000 subsidy. He would still be liable to pay living costs.

    Thanh said he had been thinking about studying overseas for a long time but was unsure about his financial capability. However, his dream was realised after Heart of the Youth project for disabled children affected by the Agent Orange.

    "Studying overseas will enrich my knowledge and it will help me realise the desire to expand the project to the US and other countries," Thanh said.

    Thanh had the idea for the project when he met Agent Orange affected children at Hoa Binh Peace Village at Tu Du Hospital. Thanh and his best friend Nhat Thong then started the Hearth of the Youth project to teach the children.

    "The project aims to teach the children academic and soft skills. This is an opportunity for volunteers to help inspire the children, improve upon themselves and make the community better," Thanh said.

    Thanh's project has attracted 40 volunteers who teach 70 children at Tu Du Hospital, HCM City Oncology Hospital and the Green Bamboo Warm Shelter. Thanh also participated in many school activities, plays piano as well as many sports including table tennis and swimming.

    His academic achievements are impressive as he had been top students in secondary and high schools and won a city award for solving mathematics problems with a hand-held calculator. Besides SAT and TOEFL, Thanh's average scores since 8th grade have always been 9.0. However, Thanh said scores were only a small factor and the submitted essay, e-mail exchange with universities were what would decide the scholarships.

    Thanh said, "I often exchanged e-mails with the universities' representatives and asked interesting questions. It takes three minutes to read a 650-word essay to understand a student from far away. It took me three months and dozens of ideas to write the essay."

    Thanh wrote about his father who has great influence on his life. Thanh's father was a company director but his company went bankrupt. Thanh has witnessed his father's shock and struggle afterwards as he stayed home to take care of Thanh.

    "Five years later, he was hired at Agribank and was able to buy a better house at a better location. I have been provided better living condition, why can't I be as good?" he said.

    Thanh said he would pursue civil engineering and international business at the University of Massachusetts which offered a USD56,000 scholarship.

     dtinews.vn


    0 0
  • 05/30/18--02:15: Article 3
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 30/5


    Can Tho prepares for large investment promotion conference

    As many as 500 domestic and foreign delegates are expected to attend a conference to promote investment in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, which is slated for August 10, 2018.

    At a meeting held on May 29 to review preparations for the conference, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Truong Quang Hoai Nam said that the city is scheduled to call for investment in 54 projects worth over 100 trillion VND (4.4 billion USD).

    Among those, the three biggest projects are to develop infrastructure systems for industrial parks in O Mon and Thot Not districts, run by the management board of industrial parks and export processing zones of Can Tho city, with total estimated capital of about 18.2 trillion VND (about 801.7 million USD).

    Can Tho also hopes to lure investment for a project to build a level-two logistics centre of the Mekong Delta economic sub-region. The project is estimated to cost 150 million USD and covers 242 hectares in Cai Rang district. It is expected to reduce logistics costs for not only Can Tho but the whole region.

    Themed “Sharing Potential, Developing Together,” the Can Tho investment promotion conference 2018 will introduce the city’s strengths, potential and investment opportunities as well as investment plans and projects, and Can Tho’s commitments to investors.

    At the same time, the event will highlight major targets of the city, along with a list of projects needing investment in the 2018-2020 period.

    The city also hopes to learn experience to develop the city into a hub of services, effective agriculture and IT.

    Investment licences for some projects will also be handed over to investors at the conference. Meanwhile, a number of projects, including Vinmec Hospital and FPT University will also be inaugurated on the occasion.

    Ho Chi Minh City’s CPI up 0.43 pct in May


     Can Tho prepares for large investment promotion conference, Tra fish export to US increases despite anti-dumping measures, Agro-forestry-fishery exports up 9.9 percent in five months


    Ho Chi Minh City’s consumer price index (CPI) moved up 0.43 percent monthly and 2.9 percent annually in May, said the municipal Statistical Office on May 29. 

    Among 11 commodity and services groups, eight posted price increases, including transportation (1.99 percent); food and catering services (0.84 percent); and apparel, headwear and footwear (0.16 percent).

    Medicines and health care services experienced a price hike of 0.1 percent; household equipment and appliances (0.04 percent); other goods and services (0.03 percent); beverages and cigarettes (0.01 percent), and education (0.01 percent). 

    Others saw lower prices, including housing, water and electricity, fuel, construction materials (down 0.01 percent); culture, entertainment and tourism (0.53 percent); and post and telecommunications (0.23 percent). 

    During the month, gold and US dollar prices were down 0.43 percent and 0.09 percent, respectively, compared to April.

    Tra fish export to US increases despite anti-dumping measures

    Despite high anti-dumping tariff imposed by the US, Vietnam exported to the market 108 million USD worth of Tra fish products between January and April, up 26 percent from the same period last year.

    According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the sum accounted for 17 percent of the total value of the country’s Tra fish exports in the four months, which were close to 600 million USD, an annual increase of 18 percent. 

    The rise is partly attributable to increases of 5,000-6,000 VND in domestic material prices of Tra fish compared to last year, pushing up export prices during the period.

    VASEP predicted Tra fish export to the US in the second quarter to increase slightly against last year, but the number of exporters remains under 3. It said anti-dumping tariff and inspection are two main reasons that prevent many businesses from exporting to the market. 

    Apart from the US, Tra fish exports to China, ASEAN region, and Colombia were also forecast to be on the rise in the coming time.

    On March 20, 2018, the US Department of Commerce (DOC) announced the final results of the 13th administrative review (POR 13) of anti-dumping duties on frozen pangasius fillets from Vietnam between August 1, 2015 and July 31, 2016, slapping unprecedentedly high rates of up to 3.87 USD per kg. 

    Vietnam and China are currently the only two suppliers of Tra fish for the US, with Vietnamese Tra fish making up 90 percent of its total imports of the product.

    Agro-forestry-fishery exports up 9.9 percent in five months

    The total export value of agro-forestry-fishery products in the first five months of the year reached 15.6 billion USD, a year-on-year surge of 9.9 percent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    The export value of key agricultural products was estimated at 8.25 billion USD, up 9.6 percent from the same time last year. Meanwhile, seafood products contributed 3.12 billion USD to the total export turnover, up 9.7 percent, and forestry products 3.4 billion USD, up 8.7 percent.

    The Vietnam Administration of Forestry said that China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US were the four largest importers of Vietnamese wood and wood-based products. The export value of forestry products accounted for nearly 22 percent of the total export value.

    In May alone, the country raked in 347 million USD from shipping abroad some 452,000 tonnes of rice, bringing the total value and volume of rice export in the January-May period to 1.45 billion USD and 2.66 million tonnes, up 40 percent and 13.9 percent, respectively.

    Average rice price in the period experienced an increase of 12.9 percent to 503 USD per tonne. China remains the largest buyer of Vietnamese rice, holding 33.5 percent of the market share.

    Vietnam also enjoyed robust shipments of cashew. In the five month period, it sold 139,000 tonnes of cashew abroad and earned 1.37 billion USD, rising 19 percent in volume and nearly 23 percent in value as compared to the same time last year.

    Some 1.3 million tonnes of cassava and cassava products were sold in foreign countries at a price of 460 million USD, falling 25.6 percent in volume and soaring 7.3 percent in value.

    Meanwhile, coffee export increased 16 percent to 820,000 tonnes but dropped 0.8 percent in value to 1.6 billion USD. Rubber export also fell 12 percent in value to 620 million USD although the exported amount was estimated at 424,000 tonnes, or 16 percent higher than the same time last year. 

    The export turnover of pepper experienced a plunge of 37.6 percent.  A total 108,000 tonnes were shipped abroad at a value of 377 million USD.

    The ministry also said that the country spent 12.29 billion USD importing agro-forestry-fishery products during January-May, a year-on-year increase of 10.6 percent.

    Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park boosts investment climate improvement

    The Management Board of Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park (HHTP), based in Hanoi, will press on with improving its investment environment to attract more funding.

    Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Pham Dai Duong, who also chairs the HHTP Management Board, said in the first four months of 2018, the management board granted investment registration certificates for four projects worth nearly 10.92 trillion VND (477.7 million USD) and covering 15.4 hectares of land. 

    In 2017, certificates were provided for three projects with total investment of more than 5 trillion VND, covering 11.7 hectares of land.

    Compared to 2016, average investment per hectare of land here has risen by more than two times to 31.5 million USD at present.

    Duong said projects with investment registration certificates are being swiftly implemented. Notably, the factory of the Hanwha Aero Engines company, invested by the Republic of Korea’s Hanwha Techwin Co. Ltd, has had its construction completed and is operating on a trial basis. This factory project has total registered capital of 200 million USD, which is expected to rise to 260 million USD in 2021.

    Meanwhile, two of the five projects worth 1 billion USD in total in the HHTP invested by Japan’s NIDEC Corporation received investment certificates last April. They are working to finalise procedures for construction so as to put the plant into operation in the first quarter of 2019.

    He noted the HHTP Management Board will propose mechanisms and policies for the park to improve investment quality. It will also continue reviewing projects to ensure they are implemented as scheduled and prevent land wastefulness.

    The board has so far revoked 19 projects that lagged behind schedule or failed to run as planned. It has also reduced land areas used by two other projects, the official added.

    Located in Thach That and Quoc Oai districts, the 1,586-hectare Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park is being developed into a science city hosting investors in biotechnology, information – communications, new material technology and automation.

    Vinamilk named as most favourite brand in Vietnam

    Vietnam’s leading dairy company Vinamilk was the most chosen consumer brand in Vietnam for four consecutive years from 2014-2017, according to the 2018 edition of Kantar Worldpanel’s Brand Footprint report.

    With high Consumer Reach Points (CRPs), Vinamilk shines bright as the most chosen dairy brand in Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho, and rural areas across the country in 2017. 

    As the most popular fast-moving consumer goods brand in Vietnam, Vinamilk has various dairy products favoured by local shoppers like Ngoi Sao Phuong Nam, Ong Tho and Susu.

    Unilever, Masan Consumer and Vinamilk were in the top three of brand owners in the four cities and rural areas. In the food sector, Masan and Vinamilk were the two most-chosen brands while Unilever secured its stronghold in the non-food sector.

    Katar Worldpanel’s annual Brand Footprint study is based on research from 73 percent of the global population, a total of one billion households in 43 countries across five continents. 

    As part of the study, Kartar Worldpanel tracks more than 18,000 brands around the world across beverages, food, dairy, health and beauty and home care. This year’s ranking analysed the brands in the 12 months to November 2017.

    Brand Footprint is set apart from other brand rankings by providing information on real consumer behaviour rather than attitude. Consumer Reach Points (CRPs) from the basis of the ranking. The metric measures how many households around the world are buying a brand (penetration) and how often (frequency).

    Key industries of Hanoi enjoy good growth in five months

    Some key industries of Hanoi have posted good economic growth since the beginning of 2018, contributing to a year-on-year rise of 7.8 percent in the local index of industrial production (IIP) between January and May.

    In the five months, industrial production value approximated 223.75 trillion VND (nearly 9.79 billion USD), up 9.1 percent from the same period last year.

    Notably, the mining industry expanded by 7.5 percent while processing and manufacturing rose 7.9 percent. The production and distribution of electricity and gas and the water supply and waste and wastewater treatment sector respectively grew by 6.9 percent and 7.1 percent, according to the municipal Statistics Office.

    In May alone, Hanoi’s IIP increased by 5.6 percent from April and 11.3 percent from a year earlier.

    Industrial production value this month is estimated at nearly 46.75 trillion VND (more than 2 billion USD), up 5.9 percent month on month and 12.6 percent year on year.

    The Statistics Office said businesses in the capital continued to recruit new employees in May. 

    Compared to the same period last year, labour recruitment in May grew 9.6 percent in foreign invested companies and 3.2 percent in State-owned enterprises. Meanwhile, it fell 0.7 percent in non-State firms.

    Supporting firms key to autos

    The development of Viet Nam’s automobile industry depends a great deal on its supporting industry, which needs to be developed comprehensively, experts have said.

    Speaking at a conference in HCM City on Thursday, Pham Tuan Anh, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s industrial department, said there are only around 300 manufacturers of car components out of the 12,000 supporting industry companies in Viet Nam.

    Around 90 per cent of the 300 are foreign businesses, he said.

    In the case of large vehicles, they are able to meet around 55 per cent of the component demand, but manufacturers of smaller cars have to rely heavily on part imports since they can only source around 10 per cent locally, he said.

    The domestic companies mostly make simple components such as doors, wheels and wires, yet they are modest in terms of quality and variety and use inefficient machinery and production techniques, he said.

    With their production size often being small, their prices are not very competitive either and so car manufacturers usually opt to buy from foreign-owned companies or import, he said.

    Since the demand for vehicles in Viet Nam is still relatively low, large international components makers are not interested in investing in the country, he said.

    Dr Truong Thi Chi Binh, director of the Supporting Industry Enterprises Development Centre, said with components costing more in Viet Nam, the cost of manufacturing vehicles is higher here than in most other ASEAN member countries.

    The industry aims by 2020 to meet 35 per cent of local demand and achieve exports of US$4 billion. By 2035 it hopes to increase them to 65 per cent and $10 billion.

    The speakers at the conference said the Government should focus on supporting these companies, help them invest in better technologies, provide more training and encourage them to acquire international quality certificates.

    It should also help component and auto manufacturers link up and form partnerships, they said.

    “The supporting industry is very important for the development of the automobile industry, and there is a lot more that the Government can do to facilitate their growth,” Phan Dang Tuat of the Ministry of Industry and Trade said.

    HCM City to hold Industry and Trade Promotion Fair
       
    The 2018 HCM City Industry and Trade Promotion Fair will be held from July 24 to 29 at District 11’s Phu Tho Stadium, according to the city’s Department of Industry and Trade.

    The fair aims to attract 300 businesses and 450 booths, and will organise several events to help businesses promote their brands and products.

    A wide range of businesses will take part in the event, including companies in food and beverages, clothing, technologies, shoes, accessories and supporting industries.

    The fair plays an important role in improving firms’ competitiveness and brand promotion and the reputation of Vietnamese goods, according to Hoang Tho Vuong, director of the HCM City Centre for Supporting Industries Development.

    The fair also helps businesses find potential partners and increase exports.

    Vinafood 2 deep in losses after successful IPO

    The outstanding loans of Vinafood 2 (Southern Food Corporation) from banks stood at nearly VND2.3 trillion ($101.25 million) at the end of 2017, including VND1.186 trillion ($52.25 million) owed by the parent company and VND1.113 trillion ($49 million) by the subsidiaries.

    The parent company Vinafood 2 (code: VSF) conducted its initial public offering (IPO) successfully in last March, selling all 23 per cent of the total capital to investors to gain VND1.159 trillion ($51 million) in proceeds, and listed on UPCOM since April 23.

    However, the business results of the company are not good as it announced a big loss of VND196 billion ($8.6 million), including VND146 billion from the corporation office, while the equitisation plan was meant to put the corporation VND209 billion ($9.2 million) in the green.

    For the first time, in 2017 Vinafood 2 lost its leading position and moved to the third rank in rice exports with the volume of 230,000 tonnes, while the country’s rice exports rose by 29 per cent to 6.6 million tonnes. Vinafood 2 faced many difficulties in developing export and domestic markets, which resulted in poor sales. Sales during the year reached only VND17.546 trillion ($773 million), equivalent to 93 per cent of the annual target.

    In addition to the output markets, loans and debts were also big problems affecting the business results of Vinafood 2 last year. CafeF.vn claimed that the outstanding loans of Vinafood 2 from banks was nearly VND2.3 trillion ($101.25 million) at the end of 2017, including VND1.186 trillion ($52.25 million) held by the corporation office and VND1.113 trillion ($49 million) by the subsidiaries.

    The outstanding loans of the subsidiary Tra Vinh Food Company were VND367.4 billion ($16.2 million) and could not pay its loans. Thus, the bank also automatically deducted VND258.6 billion ($11.4 million) from the deposit account of Vinafood 2 to recover the debts and overdue interest of Tra Vinh Food Company. This is really a big amount and significantly affected Vinafood 2’s business performance last year.

    According to Vinafood 2's financial statement in the first half of 2017, accumulated losses were more than VND900 billion ($39.6 million), liabilities were VND4.914 trillion ($216.5 million), while equity was VND3.885 trillion ($171 million). Thereby, the corporation was still able to balance its finances.

    However, the sharp decrease in market share and business activities of its store chain are bad signs. According to the reports of the 12 subsidiaries operating 84 convenient shops, their sales in 2017 were VND2.28 trillion ($100 million), but profit was negative VND1.9 billion ($83,620), including VND5.9 billion ($260,000) of actual profit at eight subsidiaries and VND7.8 billion ($343,620) in losses at four.

    This was because inventory in 2016 was too much, increasing production costs. Moreover, Vinafood 2’s subsidiaries failed to follow market trends and only depended on the Chinese market without developing other export markets. Sales volume was low, leading to high costs and losses.

    Despite the losses in 2017, Vinafood 2 still set out rather high business targets for 2018, including a 15 per cent rise in sales revenue to VND20.156 trillion ($888 million) and profit of VND240 billion ($10.6 million). This plan is based on the assumption that the amount of export consignment will quintuple.

    Achieving the 2018 plan set forth depends on many factors, including the performance of subsidiaries and reducing losses or interest costs for Vinafood II.

    Mobile World denies closing thegioididong stores

    Mobile World Group (MWG)’s announcement of closing of seven mobile stores this year took the market by surprise as this was the first time Mobile World had reneged on its aggressive expansion strategy. However, a company representative clarified that the affected units were transferred to the Dien May Xanh chain instead of being closed.

    vnreview.vn quoted Dang Thanh Phong, Mobile World’s marketing and communications director , said: “We transferred some thegioididong stores to Dien May Xanh to expand the household electronic appliance business (refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners). No shops have been closed by MWG.”

    The firm’s financial report stated that during this year’s first four months, the number of thegioididong stores dropped from 1,072 to 1,065. The total revenue from the chain of mobile stores was VND12.4 trillion ($546.2 million), slightly up 5 per cent on-year.

    According to the firm's website, MWG has a total of 168 mobile phone shops in Hanoi and 232 in Ho Chi Minh City. In fact, the number of stores is high in certain areas that it may lead to competition between thegioididong stores.

    vnreview.vn also stated that MWG’s stores are crowding the streets in large cities, with three stores located on the same 3-kilometre street. According to the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HSX) the firm’s huge branch network and its unreasonable distribution lead to competition between its own mobile stores. Therefore, the firm needs to restructure the system of its thegioididong stores and temporarily halted opening more stores in late last year.

    According to HSX, the average revenue growth of each thegioididong store is nearly 0 per cent because the firm has to spend a lot on operating over 1,000 stores in prime locations of large cities.

    Additionally, as e-commerce is becoming more developed in Vietnam with many popular names, such as Tiki, Lazada, and Shopee, the maintenance of traditional stores like Mobile World’s stores are becoming increasingly felt.

    Reports of AC Nielsen and GFK identified that the market has reached the saturation point and will gradually go down. This January, the sales of the Mobile World's retail chain fell by 11 per cent on-year.

    Parallel with the decreasing sales of its mobile phone retail chain, according to enternews.vn, MWG has turned to focus on the development of Dien May Xanh chain specialising in sales electric appliances, and Bach Hoa Xanh - the firm's convenience stores.

    “We want to develop these two chains into major business segments with their performance doubling that of the MWG chain. If it is successful, sales of the group will surpass the target of VND86.4 trillion ($3.8 billion),” confirmed the leaders of MWG earlier this year.

    However, this seems a far off ambition as the Bach Hoa Xanh chain is currently deep in red. At the annual general shareholders’ meeting, MWG’s chairman Nguyen Duc Tai indentified that developing the Bach Hoa Xanh chain would be a bit early as the brand is not strong enough.Thereby, the store opening target in 2018 was revised to 500 stores instead of the initial target of 1,000 stores.

    At the end of the first quarter, total pre-tax losses, loan interest, and depreciation of Bach Hoa Xanh amounted to VND60 billion ($2.64 million) and three shops were closed. This was the major reason behind MWG shares falling by 20 per cent since the beginning of the year.

    Industry insiders said that MWG’s decision to develop Bach Hoa Xanh is a “step back.” It may be a mistake to apply Dien May Xanh's development strategy to Bach Hoa Xanh.

    Mobile World Group operates under two distribution formats, including the “thegioididong” which means Mobile World, and “dienmay” which means consumer electronics. Thegioididong.com currently distributes digital mobile devices (mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and accessories) in all 63 cities and provinces of Vietnam. The first store was launched in 2004.

    Dienmay specialises in the distribution of consumer electronics and digital products. On May 4, 2015, dienmay.com has changed its name to DIEN MAY XANH with 600 stores in its distribution network across 63 cities and provinces.

    As MWG's business has been pulled down by Bach Hoa Xanh, on May 25, the two sisters of Nguyen Duc Tai, chairman of MWG, surprised the market by registering to sell a large number of MWG stocks for "personal purposes." Since focusing on Bach Hoa Xanh, MWG's stock price fell from VND130,000-140,000 ($5.7-6.1) to VND100,000 ($4.4) on May 24.

    Ministry of Construction to divest from Viglacera

    The Ministry of Construction (MoC)’s divestment from Viglacera Corporation JSC may be an opportunity for strategic shareholder VinaCapital to increase its holding in the leading company of the building materials industry?

    MoC recently released its approved plans to divest 80.57 million shares, equaling 17.97 per cent of Viglacera’s charter capital, in the first phase. The offered stake makes up 33 per cent of MoC’s holding in the company. The sale will be conducted through the order matching method on the Hanoi Stock Exchange, expected to take place in two month's time.

    After the sale, MoC will decrease its holdings in Viglacera to 161.4 million shares, equaling 36 per cent of the charter capital of the corporation.

    The selling price will be equal to the ceiling price determined on the transaction session on the same date, but not less than VND26,100 per share or the average reference price of 30 consecutive trading days on the stock market prior to the date the information on the divestment is disclosed.

    Previously, at the September 14, 2017 transaction, five investment funds under VinaCapital management, namely VOF Investment Ltd., Asia Value Investment Ltd., Vietnam Investment Ltd., Vietnam Investment Property Holdings Ltd., and Vietnam Ventures Ltd., purchased a total of five million shares, raising VincaCapital’s ownership in Viglacera from 16.36 to roughly 21.36 million shares, making it a strategic shareholder.

    Thus, MoC’s divestment is an opportunity for VinaCapital to buy more shares to increase its holding in Viglacera if it has ambitions to do so.

    Most recently, Viglacera and Kaisheng Group signed an agreement to establish Yen Phong Ultra-Clear Glass Co., Ltd. to develop an ultra-clear laminated glass factory with the daily capacity of 650 tonnes in the expanded Yen Phong Industrial Zone in the northern province of Bac Ninh. The construction of the factory is expected to kick off in the third quarter of this year and be finished by 2020.

    Once completed, it will be the first ultra-clear laminated glass factory in the country. Its products will be used to manufacture solar panels.

    Besides, Viglacera and its partners are accelerating the construction of a $106.4-million ultra-clear glass factory located in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau so that the factory can go into pilot operation in the second quarter of 2019.

    In early May, Viglacera and Prodimat Corporation of Cuban Construction Material Company (Geicon) of the Cuban Ministry of Construction signed a contract to launch the 50/50 SANVIG joint venture manufacturing building materials.

    The project has a total investment of $59.7 million and charter capital of $39.86 million. In the first phase, the joint venture will focus on renovating and upgrading its two existing ceramic tile factories to improve productivity, quality, and change product design in order to meet the designed capacity of three million square metres of tiles and 150 thousand sanitary ware products per year.

    Then, in the second phase, the joint venture will invest in a brick factory with a capacity of three million sq.m and a sanitary ware factory with a capacity of 500,000 products per year.

    Standard Chartered Vietnam asks Quang Minh Corporation to pay $4 million debt

    At the first instance hearing, the representative of Standard Chartered Vietnam asked Quang Minh Corporation JSC (QMC) to pay its debts of VND89.9 billion ($4 million), and Standard Chartered Mauritius also asked for the repayment of over VND38 billion ($1.7 million).

    In 2013 Standard Chartered Vietnam and Standard Chartered Mauritius granted letters of short-term credit for Quang Minh Corporation JSC (at No.1 Thanh Nien street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi) limited at $20 million.

    Then they signed contracts of mortgaging goods, receivables, insurance contracts, as well as all of QMC’s accounts and deposits in banks to secure the loans. Standard Chartered Vietnam lent VND60.9 billion ($2.7 million) at the annual rate of 7.6 per cent first (later adjusted to 8.3 per cent), and an additional VND5.1 billion ($225,000). These debts expired in April 2015, but QMC has only paid VND290 million ($12,775) to date.

    In 2015, Standard Chartered Mauritius also gave $5.1 million and $0.522 million to QMC. These two debts expired in early 2015 but QMC has only paid $4.2 million, while $1.3 million remains left to be paid.

    At the first instance hearing, the representative of Standard Chartered Vietnam asked QMC to pay VND89.9 billion ($4 million) to offset its debt and interests. The bank did not wish to take collateral to recover the loans.

    The representative of QMC acknowledged the loan Standard Chartered Vietnam claimed. However, the corporation has been facing many difficulties and is unable to pay the debts. QMC asked the bank for a grace period to collect the money, but could not give a timeline of payment, and affirmed that the company’s situation is still very difficult.

    The court identified that the letter of credit is in line with regulations, the agreements are voluntary and valid for all parties, thus accepted Standard Chartered’s lawsuit.

    QMC will have to return VND89.9 billion ($4 million) to repay the original debt and interest to Standard Chartered Vietnam and VND38.4 billion ($1.7 million) to Standard Chartered Mauritius. QMC has to pay over VND128 billion ($5.7 million) in total.

    Quang Minh Corporation JSC produces agricultural products, feed for husbandry, as well as processes and trades in cooking oil with the brands Mr Bean, OilLa, and Soon Soon.

    The corporation had the charter capital of VND989 billion ($43.6 million) in 2010 and produced several accomplishments as one of the 500 biggest businesses in Vietnam. Some banks used to grant letters of credit limited at trillions of dongs (around half a hundred million dollars) for QMC’s large projects.

    However, QMC ran on a rough patch in 2015 after being named on the list of tax debtors. The corporation closed its website and kept quiet on the market since then.

    Related to the unrecovered outstanding loans of Standard Chartered Bank, Binh Dinh Sugar (Bisuco) may also not be able to meet its debt obligations. This company is carrying VND800 billion ($35.56 million) in unsettled accounts to creditors, local farmers, its employees, and local tax authorities.

    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.

    Yeah1 to sell 7.8 million shares on HSX

    DFJ VinaCapital-backed entertainment group Yeah1 will offer 7.8 million shares for both foreign and local firms before trading 27.4 million shares on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HSX).

    According to the plan, Yeah1 will start to put these shares on sale with the expectation to acquire $100 million in proceeds at the share price of VND300,000 ($13.17). To date, numerous foreign firms from the UK, Singapore, Japan, and Thailand registered to buy 70 per cent of the offered shares. Some of the largest names lining up for a stake are Capital Asset Management, Probus Group, and TT International Limited, among others.

    Yeah1 will spend the acquired money on expanding its operations via investments, M&A deals, as well as partnerships.

    Recently, HSX released that it had received Yeah1’s application to trade 27.37 million shares, equivalent to VND274 billion ($12 million) of charter capital, making it the first local entertainment company to list on the stock market. The first transaction session is expected to be in June.

    The entertainment group previously approved plans to raise capital from VND238 billion ($10.4 million) to VND312.8 billion ($13.7 million) and raise the foreign ownership ratio to 100 per cent after listing the shares on the stock exchange.

    As of the end of 2017, the group was owned by Nguyen Anh Nhuong, chairman of the Board of Directors (41.4 per cent), DFJ VinaCapital (35.71 per cent), Ancla Assets Ltd. (12.49 per cent), and the group’s CEO Dao Phuc Tri (4.37 per cent).

    Established in September 2006, Yeah1 specialises in entertainment for young people in Vietnam and runs a series of entertainment channels including Yeah1TV, Yeah1family, Imovietv, and SCTV2, with nine subsidiaries and four indirect subsidiaries, including Yeah1 Vietnam Co., Netlink Online Corporation, and TNT Media Advertising. In 2008, DFJ VinaCapital, a venture fund of Vietnam’s leading asset manager VinaCapital invested $1.4 million in Yeah1.

    Yeah1 has partner relations with numerous giants, including Samsung, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Heineken, and Viettel. In addition, the group expanded its operations to Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

    MoT conclusion: loose management and advance payments at ACV

    A series of shortcomings in airport infrastructure projects developed by ACV (Airports Corporation of Vietnam) has just been uncovered by the Ministry of Transport's (MoT) Inspectorate.

    The Ministry of Transport (MoT) has just completed the conclusions of its ten-month inspection on the mobilisation, management, and usage of capital in ACV. During the inspection all procedures of developing investment and construction projects were reduced since ACV’s establishment in 2012 through the merger of Northern, Central, and Southern Airports Corporation of Vietnam.

    ACV manages projects using the greatest volume of state capital in the transport sector. Between 2012 and 2016, this corporation developed 85 projects which exceeded the VND15 billion ($0.66 million) of investment value each. The total investment of these projects was over VND42.14 trillion ($1.86 billion), including VND1.42 trillion ($62.6 million) from public capital, VND4.222 trillion ($186 million) from government bonds, VND12.443 trillion ($548.2 million) in ODA capital, and over VND24 trillion ($1.06 billion) from ACV’s counterpart fund.

    In addition to reviewing the management of basic construction investment, the Inspectorate of MoT also highlighted ten projects and outlined particular conclusions for each. These are:

    The 64-page inspection conclusion (No. 5045/KL-BGTVT) provides a list of shortcomings in the management of investment at airports developed by ACV. The first issue is the large number of projects that have been completed for a long time but have yet to finalise the balance sheet.

    44 of the 85 projects with the total investment value of VND30.4 trillion ($1.34 billion) and total execution value of VND25.298 trillion ($1.11 billion), and total disbursement value of VND24.94 trillion ($1.1 billion).

    Beside the normal reasons for slow settlement that every developer usually faces, some projects of ACV could not even complete basic construction procedures for a variety of unique reasons.

    According to MoT’s Inspectorate, the firm was loose in paying in advance for building materials, so the advance payments exceeded the contractual value.

    Also, the Inspectorate has mentioned another issue occurring at least three times in ACV’s investment management. Accordingly, ACV is a joint stock company, but state-owned capital captures 95.4 per cent of its charter capital. This means ACV’s investment capital is mainly state capital.

    The Inspectorate said that ACV is an investment decision maker, the developer, and the recipient of the projects. Thus may not be completely objective throughout the management of construction investment.

    BMW recall of 470 cars in Vietnam may be due to fire risk

    German car manufacturer BMW’s sudden recall of 470 cars in Vietnam may be related to the car giant’s re-exporting of 88,000 vehicles in the UK due to fire risk.

    AFP stated that on May 18, BMW expanded a British safety recall for another 88,000 vehicles because of a fire risk.

    At the same time, BMW Asia Group made a press statement announcing to re-export 470 cars, 106 MINI vehicles, and 55 motorcycles (BMW Motorrad) from Vietnam back to Germany. Accordingly, these vehicles are still in containers at VICT (Ho Chi Minh City) and Cai Mep Port (Ba Ria-Vung Tau).

    “The Vietnamese General Department of Customs approved BMW and BMW Asia to re-export these vehicles back to Germany. Currently, we are tightly co-operating with the Ho Chi Minh City Customs and the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Customs to complete procedures to recall these BMW vehicles,” stated BMW Asia’ press release.

    However, the press release did not mention the reason of the recall. To clarify this issue, VIR contacted to representative of BMW in Vietnam who refused to immediately answer questions.

    According to AFP, last Friday’s press release was BMW’s second press release in two weeks, expanding BMW’s initial recall of 312,000 diesel and petrol vehicles on May 9 due to a risk of the engines cutting out.

    BMW will now examine another 88,000 cars, plus 200,000 cars that have already been checked.

    “We are taking the opportunity of the existing recall to proactively check for other issues,” BMW’s spokesman added last Friday.

    Previously, BBC also stated that BMW is focusing on recalling the BMW 1 Series, the 3 Series, the Z4, and the X1 cars that were produced between March 2007 and August 2011 to check speed brakes.

    In 2013, BMW also recalled about 500,000 vehicles in the US, Australia, Canada, and South Africa.

    VOF makes loss on newly-bought state-owned firms

    VinaCapital’s Vietnam Opportunity Fund seems to have suffered a loss from purchasing a stake in Vietnamese state-owned firms BSR and PV Power after the big firms’ shares fell post-IPO.

    In the first quarter of this year, VOF spent $45 million acquiring stakes in Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (BSR) and PetroVietnam Power Corporation (PV Power).

    Both BSR and PV Power are large-scale state-owned firms and their initial public offerings (IPOs) broke records on the stock exchanges.

    The starting prices for the IPOs were also very high. However, after the successful deals, the share’s value dropped, decreasing the value of VOF’s investment.

    Notably, VOF spent approximately $25 million acquiring 10 per cent of BSR at VND22,000 per share.

    Factors that made VOF invest approximately $25 million in BSR include the fact that it is the only operating oil refinery in Vietnam, commanding 33 per cent of the market share, with the remaining 67 per cent of refined products being imported.

    The refinery business tends to be less affected by oil price volatility than other segments of the oil and gas sector.

    Besides, the market cap of the company at the starting price was $2 billion, making it one of the largest companies in Vietnam. More importantly to the investment, the starting price was very attractive, at an estimated 2017 P/E of 5.6x and 2017 EV/EBITDA of 3.8x compared to the current market P/E of 20x.

    However, according to the transaction session on May 22, BSR’s share was valued at VND19,700. Thus, VOF has suffered a slight loss.

    In PV Power, VOF’s investment was more than $20 million. VOF also saw this as an attractive investment with an estimated P/E of 11.5x at the starting price of VND14,400.

    However, after the first transaction session at the price of VND17,800, PV Power’s shares decreased by 25 per cent to VND13,300. Most recently, the share value increased to VND14,000, thanks to the impact of the positive business results of the first quarter.

    VIR contacted VinaCapital to clarify information as well as enquire whether VinaCapital, through VOF, will sell its stakes in BSR and PV Power if the share values continue to decrease. However, VinaCapital declined commenting.

    Tundra Fonder becomes major shareholder of HSG as others withdraw

    Tundra Fonder has just bought one million additional shares in Hoa Sen Group (HSG) to become a major shareholder, while Le Phuoc Vu’s wife is selling all her stocks in the group.

    Tam Thien Tam Co., Ltd., a big shareholder of Hoa Sen Group, has just announced sell its entire holding of 19.21 million HSG stocks, roughly 5.49 per cent of HSG’s charter capital. The transaction is expected to take place between May 23 and June 21.

    One month ago, Tam Thien Tam Co., Ltd., where Hoang Thi Huong Xuan (HSG chairman Le Phuoc Vu’s wife) is chairwoman, also sold five million HSG stocks to reduce its ownership to 5.49 from 6.92 per cent.

    Tam Thien Tam divested from Hoa Sen Group as the stock was on a downward trend. The stock had three consecutive sessions of decrease during the last week. At the end of the May 18 session, HSG was around VND14,000.

    It has decreased by 22 per cent over a single month to the previous bottom price three years ago. Accordingly, Tam Thien Tam will earn around VND269 billion ($11.85 million) after successfully selling 19.21 million shares.

    Several days ago, Tundra Fonder increased its ownership in HSG to over 12 million shares, equivalent to 3.49 per cent. Along with the HSG shares owned by Tundra Sustainable Frontier Opportunities Fund, Tundra Fonder now owns over 18.1 million HSG shares, equivalent to 5.18 per cent, and is a key shareholder at Hoa Sen Group.

    Tundra Fonder is a Swedish asset manager specialising in frontier markets and new emerging markets through its Tundra Vietnam Fund, Tundra Pakistan Fund, Tundra Sustainable Frontier Fund, and Tundra Frontier Africa Fund.

    In early 2018, Tundra’s growth hit 15.4 per cent, which was the highest growth among its markets in Vietnam, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Tundra Vietnam Fund started in May 2014, and total asset value has just reached around $165 million.

    Currently, the biggest shareholders of HSG are Hoa Sen Investment Co., Ltd. (25.1 per cent), Hoa Sen Investment and Tourism Co., Ltd. (20.25 per cent), Le Phuoc Vu (10.7 per cent), Tam Thien Tam Co., Ltd. (5.49 per cent), and Tundra Fonder (5.18 per cent).

    According to HSG’s business results in the first quarter of 2018, the group’s net profit was only VND115 billion ($5 million), equivalent to 20 per cent of the same period last year, due to increasing costs. HSG gained only VND87 billion ($3.7 million) in profit in the first quarter of 2018, which is the lowest amount within the last four years for this group.

    Meanwhile, the liabilities of Hoa Sen Group stood at VND18.436 trillion ($0.8 billion), up VND2.167 trillion ($95.5 million) over the beginning of the year. Thereby, the group has to spend around $100,000 per day for interest payments.

    Walt Disney deal to give facelift to Dai Dong Tien Plastics furnishing

    As the Vietnamese plastics and packaging industry is luring in a new wave of foreign investors with its strong growth, a domestic plastics manufacturer has teamed up with Walt Disney to take over the market.

    Most recently, Dai Dong Tien Corporation, a local plastics manufacturer, entered into a co-operation with The Walt Disney Company (Southeast Asia) Pte., Ltd. to develop the former’s plastic products.

    Accordingly, Dai Dong Tien became the only strategic partner of Walt Disney in the Vietnamese plastic sector authorised to use the images of beloved Disney characters (Avengers, Spiderman, Disney princesses, Frozen, and standard characters) on home furnishing products and to sell such products in Vietnam.

    Dai Dong Tien expected that the deal will create a new face for local plastic household products which are currently decorated mostly with monotonous images of animals and flowers.

    Besides, co-operating with the global entertainment group will help Dai Dong Tien gain market share, bringing them closer the target of becoming the leading plastics manufacturer in Vietnam.

    With its great unexploited potential, the plastics sector is a lodestone to foreign investment.

    Ho Duc Lam, chairman of the Vietnam Plastics Association, said that the plastics sector will continue to grow on the back of strong growth in the domestic demand. Per capita plastics consumption is projected to increase to 45 kilogrammes in 2020, mainly due to growth in the packaging and construction segments.

    Co-operating with The Walt Disney Company will help Dai Dong Tien gain market share, bringing them closer the target of becoming the leading plastics manufacturer in Vietnam. Additionally, numerous foreign investors have ambitions to acquire local plastics manufactures via M&A deals.

    In December 2017, Japan’s Sojitz Pla-Net, the plastics division of Sojitz Corporation, entered into a strategic partnership with Rang Dong Plastic JSC to establish greater co-operation in the market, with Rang Dong Plastic selling a 20 per cent stake in its subsidiary Rang Dong Long An Plastic JSC to Sojitz Pla-Net. (Sojitz Pla-Net concluded an agreement for a strategic alliance with RDP in March 2016).

    The firms will join forces to develop the Rang Dong Long An factory complex in the southern province of Long An. The first phase of the project started operations in mid-May.

    With $32 million in investment capital for the first stage, the plastics complex will house three factories on an area of 8.7 hectares. The factories will employ the latest technology from Germany, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.

    Previously, in September 2015, Dongwon Systems, a packaging unit of Dongwon Group, released the information on its website that it completed the purchase of controlling stakes in Vietnamese packaging firms Tan Tien Plastic Packaging and Minh Viet Packaging for the total cost of $96 million.

    According to the agreement, Dongwon Systems would transfer technology to the Vietnamese firms to export high-performance packaging materials. The firm expected that it will be able to leapfrog to become a global integrated packaging company with the acquisition of Tan Tien and Minh Viet.

    In the same year, SCG completed the acquisition of an 80 per cent controlling interest in Vietnam’s Tin Thanh Packing JSC (Batico) for $44.4 million. At the time, the deal was the largest purchase in the Vietnamese plastics sector.

    At the time, Batico was one of Vietnam’s top five packaging companies, churning out some 230 million square metres of products on average each year and it held a 40 per cent market share in the southern region.

    Previously, in December 2013, Oji Holdings Corporation acquired 75 per cent of all the issued shares of United Packaging Joint Venture Co., Ltd. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

    At present, the Vietnamese plastics industry has 3,000 enterprises operating across the country. The 2016 revenue of the plastics industry was estimated to reach nearly $14 billion, a 10.3 per cent increase compared to 2015.

    Walt Disney deal to give facelift to Dai Dong Tien Plastics furnishing

    As the Vietnamese plastics and packaging industry is luring in a new wave of foreign investors with its strong growth, a domestic plastics manufacturer has teamed up with Walt Disney to take over the market.

    Most recently, Dai Dong Tien Corporation, a local plastics manufacturer, entered into a co-operation with The Walt Disney Company (Southeast Asia) Pte., Ltd. to develop the former’s plastic products.

    Accordingly, Dai Dong Tien became the only strategic partner of Walt Disney in the Vietnamese plastic sector authorised to use the images of beloved Disney characters (Avengers, Spiderman, Disney princesses, Frozen, and standard characters) on home furnishing products and to sell such products in Vietnam.

    Dai Dong Tien expected that the deal will create a new face for local plastic household products which are currently decorated mostly with monotonous images of animals and flowers.

    Besides, co-operating with the global entertainment group will help Dai Dong Tien gain market share, bringing them closer the target of becoming the leading plastics manufacturer in Vietnam.

    With its great unexploited potential, the plastics sector is a lodestone to foreign investment.

    Ho Duc Lam, chairman of the Vietnam Plastics Association, said that the plastics sector will continue to grow on the back of strong growth in the domestic demand. Per capita plastics consumption is projected to increase to 45 kilogrammes in 2020, mainly due to growth in the packaging and construction segments.

    Co-operating with The Walt Disney Company will help Dai Dong Tien gain market share, bringing them closer the target of becoming the leading plastics manufacturer in Vietnam.
    Additionally, numerous foreign investors have ambitions to acquire local plastics manufactures via M&A deals.

    In December 2017, Japan’s Sojitz Pla-Net, the plastics division of Sojitz Corporation, entered into a strategic partnership with Rang Dong Plastic JSC to establish greater co-operation in the market, with Rang Dong Plastic selling a 20 per cent stake in its subsidiary Rang Dong Long An Plastic JSC to Sojitz Pla-Net. (Sojitz Pla-Net concluded an agreement for a strategic alliance with RDP in March 2016).

    The firms will join forces to develop the Rang Dong Long An factory complex in the southern province of Long An. The first phase of the project started operations in mid-May.

    With $32 million in investment capital for the first stage, the plastics complex will house three factories on an area of 8.7 hectares. The factories will employ the latest technology from Germany, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.

    Previously, in September 2015, Dongwon Systems, a packaging unit of Dongwon Group, released the information on its website that it completed the purchase of controlling stakes in Vietnamese packaging firms Tan Tien Plastic Packaging and Minh Viet Packaging for the total cost of $96 million.

    According to the agreement, Dongwon Systems would transfer technology to the Vietnamese firms to export high-performance packaging materials. The firm expected that it will be able to leapfrog to become a global integrated packaging company with the acquisition of Tan Tien and Minh Viet.

    In the same year, SCG completed the acquisition of an 80 per cent controlling interest in Vietnam’s Tin Thanh Packing JSC (Batico) for $44.4 million. At the time, the deal was the largest purchase in the Vietnamese plastics sector.

    At the time, Batico was one of Vietnam’s top five packaging companies, churning out some 230 million square metres of products on average each year and it held a 40 per cent market share in the southern region.

    Previously, in December 2013, Oji Holdings Corporation acquired 75 per cent of all the issued shares of United Packaging Joint Venture Co., Ltd. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

    At present, the Vietnamese plastics industry has 3,000 enterprises operating across the country. The 2016 revenue of the plastics industry was estimated to reach nearly $14 billion, a 10.3 per cent increase compared to 2015.

    Motorbike sales hit a red light

    Foreign investors in motorcycle manufacturers witnessed only a marginal increase in unit sales during the year’s first quarter and with Yamaha Motor Vietnam’s reports of unit sales decreasing, concerns are circulating that this market is reaching its saturation point.

    The total number of motorcycles sold in this year’s first quarter – from the likes of Honda Vietnam, Piaggio Vietnam, Suzuki Vietnam, SYM Vietnam, and Yamaha Motor Vietnam – is 803,204 units, a mere 1.9 per cent increase on-year according to the Vietnam Association of Motorcycle manufacturers (VAMM).

    Each month the five firms sold nearly 270,000 motorbikes on average, which means that approximately 9,000 motorbikes were sold each day nationwide.

    There are no details on the individual company sales, but in recent years, Honda Vietnam has been dominating the sector with a market share of about 69 per cent in 2017 according to Honda Vietnam, with Yamaha Vietnam following behind.

    A fortnight ago, Yamaha Motor announced consolidated business results for the first quarter, saying that “Unit sales in developed markets decreased due to factors such as a decline in total demand and irregular weather in Europe. Unit sales in emerging markets such as Indonesia, the Philippines, and Brazil increased, but decreased in the Vietnamese market.”

    According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), as more people in Vietnam tend to choose other travel methods than motorbikes, the market has suffered low growth in recent years.

    Vietnam is the fourth-largest motorcycle market in the world, after China, India, and Indonesia. According to the MoIT’s latest data, the number of motorbikes in Vietnam has already surpassed 45 million, 25 per cent above the government’s plan. It is an astounding figure that one in every two people owns a motorcycle.

    VAMM has forecast that the market is entering a saturation period. Currently, automatic motorbikes account for 45 per cent of the market share.

    Tuan Anh, a salesman at the Yamaha store on Kieu Mai Street in Hanoi, said his store receives 40 per cent fewer customers than four years ago.

    “In the past we would earn several million dong in profit for each Yamaha we sold, but now we are only taking several hundred thousand dong. If we include the cost of rent and employee salaries, we are lost,” said Anh, adding that some Yamaha stores had closed due to sustained losses.

    Vietnam’s motorbike market is in trouble and will continue to slow down in the near future as the supply has already surpassed demand, a representative of Honda Vietnam told VIR.

    The competition for a share in the saturated Vietnamese motorcycle market is going to heat up in the next few years, with companies targeting the few remaining niche markets and raising the quality of their after-sale services, according to VAMM.

    Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park boosts investment climate improvement

    The Management Board of Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park (HHTP), based in Hanoi, will press on with improving its investment environment to attract more funding.

    Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Pham Dai Duong, who also chairs the HHTP Management Board, said in the first four months of 2018, the management board granted investment registration certificates for four projects worth nearly 10.92 trillion VND (477.7 million USD) and covering 15.4 hectares of land.

    In 2017, certificates were provided for three projects with total investment of more than 5 trillion VND, covering 11.7 hectares of land.

    Compared to 2016, average investment per hectare of land here has risen by more than two times to 31.5 million USD at present.

    Duong said projects with investment registration certificates are being swiftly implemented. Notably, the factory of the Hanwha Aero Engines company, invested by the Republic of Korea’s Hanwha Techwin Co. Ltd, has had its construction completed and is operating on a trial basis. This factory project has total registered capital of 200 million USD, which is expected to rise to 260 million USD in 2021.

    Meanwhile, two of the five projects worth 1 billion USD in total in the HHTP invested by Japan’s NIDEC Corporation received investment certificates last April. They are working to finalise procedures for construction so as to put the plant into operation in the first quarter of 2019.

    He noted the HHTP Management Board will propose mechanisms and policies for the park to improve investment quality. It will also continue reviewing projects to ensure they are implemented as scheduled and prevent land wastefulness.

    The board has so far revoked 19 projects that lagged behind schedule or failed to run as planned. It has also reduced land areas used by two other projects, the official added.

    Located in Thach That and Quoc Oai districts, the 1,586-hectare Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park is being developed into a science city hosting investors in biotechnology, information – communications, new material technology and automation.


    The rise of social network retailers in Vietnam

    Like many urban Vietnamese women, Nguyen Thu Trang never lets her smartphone out of reach. The first thing she does every morning is checking Facebook on her phone to see what her friends are up to and what items are for sale.

    “Social networks help me keep in touch with friends and stay up to date with latest trends. It is also a very effective shopping channel,” said the 32-year old office worker in Hanoi.

    Trang prefers Facebook to local e-commerce sites because she can directly inquire sellers for the specific information she needs. For fashion products such as clothing items or shoes, she can decline to buy the items when they are delivered if they don’t fit or their quality doesn’t match what she expects.

    Trang is just one of millions of Vietnamese social media savvy users who regularly shop on channels like Facebook, Instagram and homegrown Zalo. They buy everything, from groceries and homemade products, to cosmetics, clothes and household items from informal online family-run businesses.

    In a user-friendly interface where sellers and buyers are easily connected, many Vietnamese are choosing social network shopping instead of going to big brands in the e-commerce industry which don’t always offer them the items they need. 

    According to experts, since social networks in Vietnam, especially Facebook, have amassed a huge following with their newsfeed algorithms designed to grab user’s attention and boost engagement, these platforms have become the perfect market place.

    Vietnam ranked 7th worldwide for number of Facebook users last year, at 64 million or more than half of the country’s population, according to a report by marketing and advertising agency We Are Social.

    Vietnamese also spend more time on Facebook than users in most other Southeast Asian countries and are much more apt to use it as a platform to start a business, Joe Nguyen, ComScore Inc. senior vice president of Asia Pacific told Bloomberg.

    Many people sell their items on Facebook just to make some extra income on top of their day jobs. However, there are those who take Facebook seriously and base their entire business on the social network.

    It is estimated that there are about 50 young Vietnamese from the age of 19 to 20 who have become dollar millionaires for making money online, said Huynh Kim Tuoc, a representative of Facebook in Vietnam in the Vietnam Online Business Forum 2017.

    “We haven’t seen this scale in other places,” Joe Nguyen said. “Vietnamese are very entrepreneurial. Everyone wants to try to sell something.”

    Nguyen Thanh Mai, who works at a biotechnology center in Hanoi, is one of them. Customers can order fresh or processed food from her on Facebook and wire her the money or pay cash on delivery.

    “Selling products on social networks is the easiest way,” Mai said. “I don’t have to pay monthly rent like a brick and mortar business, which is a huge advantage to new ventures like mine.”

    The online shop has turned the 35-year-old office worker into a successful entrepreneur. After two years, her one-woman business now employs eight people.

    “As long as the social network is people’s favorite, I can make a living out of it,” Mai said.

    In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City alone, there are at least 27,000 Facebook accounts that use the social media network as a retail platform, according to estimates by local authorities, who have yet to figure out how to collect taxes from these shops.

    Many, if not most of the Facebook retailers are run by mothers who often start as a way to supplement their income when they are on maternity leave.

    Their customers, fellow mothers, trust the seller as someone who’s been there, done that. Someone, who is using her reputation and experience as a mother to not simply sell but also share parenting experience with her fellow friends, argues Dr. Nguyen Thu Giang who is studying motherhood in the time of Facebook and food scares.

    As Vietnamese have a habit of physically “touching” a product, another reflection of trust issues, they often surf the Internet for prices without actually ordering from the online retailers. Facebook retailers, on the other hand, tend to offer a more flexible return policy, allowing customers to physically check out the product first, before paying. 

    Online sales in Vietnam have expanded rapidly in recent years, currently accounting for 3.39% of the country’s retail market. The total retail market grew 10.9% last year to US$173.27 billion, as reported by local media.

    The World Bank forecasts that Vietnam’s US$200 billion economy is likely to grow to a trillion dollars by 2035. More than half of its population, compared with only 11% today, is expected to join the ranks of the global middle class with consumption of US$15 a day or more.

    According to one estimate, about 30% of the population will be buying goods and services over the internet in 2020, with each shopper spending an average of US$350 per year.

    However, Trang believes there is no reason not to have a favorite cosmetic, fashion or household product delivered at her doorstep with only a small amount of delivery fee after ordering on a social network.

    “Social networks will continue to be my favorite shopping channel in the future.”

    E-commerce giants struggle to find profit in Vietnamese market

    Multiple online retailers in Vietnam have been struggling to gain profits for years due to high operational costs in a competitive market.

    Tiki.vn, one of the most popular e-commerce firms in Vietnam, recently reported a VND322 billion (US$14 million) loss in two years.

    The loss in 2017 of the online retailer, which sells a variety of products including clothes, household items and electronic devices, has tripled its charter capital and is seven times its loss in 2016.

    Tiki.vn is not the only e-commerce company in Vietnam that has been suffering from losses in recent years.

    Before being acquired by the Chinese giant retailer Alibaba in 2016, Lazada Group said that it has lost US$334 million in 2015 the Southeast Asia market, including Vietnam. This lost is double what it posted in 2014, according to TechCrunch.

    Some local e-commerce companies like Lingo.vn, Deca.vn and Beyeu.com have also been forced to shut down due to prolonged losses.

    According to experts, e-commerce is an industry which requires a long time to recover capital and gain profit, therefore the losses of these giants in the Vietnamese market is understandable. Big brands in the field such as U.S.-based Amazon and Alibaba has to go for 10 years before having profit.

    Operating cost, especially logistics costs, is one of the main reasons for the losses. As large e-commerce firms often require massive warehouses covering thousands of square meters and hundreds of staff to work in them, logistics costs account for 60-70% of online retailers’ revenues, said trade expert Vu Vinh Phu.

    This enormous cost can be seen from the case of Tiki and Lazada Vietnam, each has a storage of over 4,000 square meters (about 1 acres) with 300 staff in Ho Chi Minh City. It is estimated that the operating cost of one of these storages is VND1 billion (about US$44,000) a month. With three warehouses in operation, the two companies spend about US$2 million a year, according to local media.

    In addition, marketing also plays a part in the high costs of e-commerce companies in Vietnam. When entering the market, Lazada Vietnam invested heavily in television and online advertising to attract users and gain market share. This company used to spend up to US$2 million per month for advertising programs, local media said.

    The popularity of shopping on social networks such as Facebook or Zalo is also creating challenges for big online retailers. “There is an unbalanced competition between e-commerce giants such as Lazada, Tiki and Shopee with social network sellers,” said Pham Thai Binh, head of retails at property consultancy Savills Ho Chi Minh City.

    As businesses on social networks don’t have to pay high costs of investment, item price range is lower which in turn attracts the majority of Vietnamese people, Binh said. On the other hand, famous brands have to invest a great deal in terms of staff, operating system and other relating costs, he added.

    As Vietnamese has a habit of physically “touching” a product, they often surf the Internet for prices without actually ordering from the online retailers. The lack of information and customer service tools also plays apart in the problem.

    To compete in the market, retail giants in Vietnam are under pressure of price competition which leads to a loss of profit. Under pressure from investors, many businesses sometimes accept to sell 10 or 20% below market price, local media said.

    Despite those difficulties, experts believe that there is still great potential for e-commerce in Vietnam in the future.

    In a survey of about 1,000 participants conducted by CBRE Vietnam, a commercial real estate services and investment firm, 25% said that they will reduce the frequency of shopping at brick and mortal businesses. About half of participants said that they will shop online more in the future.

    In the annual survey of Vietnam’s Business Studies and Assistance Center (BSA), the number of people shopping online has tripled from 0.9% in last year to 2.7 this year. As young people start to participate more in online shopping, e-commerce is a potential area for retailers to exploit, which will bring many benefits to customers, said a representative of BSA.

    E-commerce is a fast growing industry as customers’ behavior change every day, said Tran Tuan Anh, CEO of the online retailer Shopee Vietnam. “This year will be the year of e-commerce as Vietnamese people are now very familiar with online shopping,” he said.

    Price will continue to be an important factor for Vietnamese customers, but product quality and service are becoming more important, he said. As more and more consumers are aware of e-commerce, the brand, service, technology and value added services such as shipping and payment will need to be improved, Anh said.

    Tran Ngoc Thai Son, CEO of Tiki, also believes that the transition from traditional to online shopping is inevitable. E-commerce, now accounts for 3% of the US$90-billion revenue of Vietnamese retail market, will grow to a 5 or 10% segment in the future, Son said. However, online shopping will not be able to replace brick and mortar businesses, he said. 

    “The growth rate of Vietnam’s e-commerce market is estimated at about 35%, which is 2.5 times higher than Japan,” said industry expert Duc Tam at the Vietnam Online Business Forum 2017.

    According to one estimate, about 30% of the population will be buying goods and services over the internet in 2020, with each shopper spending an average of US$350 per year.

    VN produce to show off at Thai expo
       
    Thirty leading Vietnamese food and beverage companies will showcase their organic produce and other foods that meet global standards, as well as geographical indication-protected products at an expo to be held in Bangkok from May 29 to June 2.

    This will be the first time the Vietnamese High Quality Products Business Association is sending businesses to ThaiFex – an International Trade Exhibition for Food and Beverages, Food Technology and Retail and Franchise in Asia, said Vu Kim Hanh, chairwoman of the association.

    The participating companies will include Vinamit JSC; Ben Tre Import-Export JSC; Trung Nguyen Group; VinEco Agricultural Investment, Development and Productions LLC; Lai Phu JSC; Thuan Thien Thanh Food Investment and Development JSC; Co May Co Ltd; Bibica JSC; and Petrolimex Import-Export JSC.

    The Vietnamese pavilion will have an “organic and natural village” to showcase organic products such as desiccated fruits, rice, processed coconut and milk, alongside products with geographical indication like Phu Quoc fish sauce, Binh Thuan dragon fruit, Binh Phuoc cashew nuts, Ben Tre’s Xiem coconuts and grapefruits, and natural products like Dong Thap lotus.

    A cookery show by food artisan Bui Thi Suong and the Viet Nam Culinary Conservation, Research and Development Centre will be held on the first three days of the exhibition, to introduce Viet Nam’s unique dishes to visitors, Hanh said.

    The Vietnamese delegation will organise business matching programmes between Vietnamese and ASEAN firms, and there will be an international seminar with Vietnamese and foreign speakers discussing the potential of the ASEAN market and sharing their experience in developing and commercialising products with geographical indication.

    Hanh said businesses could promote their products and technologies, seek business partners and get updated on global consumer tastes and market trends in the food and beverages sector.

    Jointly organised by Koelnmesse Pte Ltd, Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion and the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thaifex is expected to draw the attendance of more than 2,500 exhibitors from over 40 countries and territories.

    Bamboo Airways to fly 40 routes by 2023

    The FLC Group’s Bamboo Airways plans to open 24 domestic routes and 16 international routes by 2023.

    Given the plan, the 24 aircraft to be received from Airbus in the 2022-2025 period is only part of its overall strategy, according to General Director Mr. Dang Tat Thang.

    Bamboo Airways has already conducted a number of practical activities, such as signing a memorandum of understanding to purchase 24 Airbus A321neo aircraft and a purchase agreement for ten Boeing 737 Max 9 and five 777X aircraft.

    While waiting for the handover of aircraft from Airbus, Bamboo Airways will lease 20 Airbus and Boeing aircraft in the fourth quarter of 2018 in order to conduct flights.

    The “hot” aircraft in the market, the A321neo is suitable for short-haul flights. After a period of operations and performance testing, Bamboo Airways will consider expanding its investments.

    As soon as the contract for 24 Airbus 321neo aircraft is completed, the FLC Group plans to order 26 Airbus A321 LR (Long Range) aircraft, bringing its fleet to 50. The A321 LR has the longest fuselage among all aircraft and is capable of flying some 7,400 km without refueling, making it suitable for Bamboo Airways’ long-term operations.

    Boeing has suggested the Dreamliner 787 and Dreamliner 787-10, which are designed with 20 to 45 per cent load capacity, a capacity of 323 passengers, 60 per cent noise reductions, and 20 per cent fuel savings. They would be a suitable option for long-haul international flights, especially to the Americas and Europe, which Bamboo Airways could develop after its launch in the domestic and Asian markets.

    The FLC Group and Bamboo Airways continue to actively negotiate with many other companies specializing in selling and leasing aircraft in the world to expand its flight services.

    Established in 2017, Bamboo Airways is a member of the FLC Group, has charter capital of VND700 billion ($31.1 million), and is a pioneer in the hybrid model (a combination between traditional and low-cost carriers). Passengers will be offered the same facilities as traditional airlines at a only slightly higher cost than on budget carriers.

    In its first year of operations, Bamboo Airways is expected to operate eight to ten routes to priority domestic destinations such as Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Thanh Hoa, Quy Nhon, and Nha Trang in Vietnam.

    In subsequent years it will add international routes to Japan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan. By 2023 it will open long-haul routes to the Americas, Europe and Africa.

    Vietnam grants first casino licence in ten years to Laguna Lang Co

    Laguna Lang Co, one of Asia’s largest integrated resorts with international hospitality operator Banyan Tree as its managing partner, has officially got a casino licence from the Vietnamese government, marking it the first casino license in recent 10 years in Vietnam.

    Laguna Lang Co is part of a chain of integrated resorts created and managed by Banyan Tree under the Laguna brand and includes Laguna Bintan in Indonesia and the flagship Laguna Phuket in Thailand.

    Laguna Lang Co’s Phase 1 development, with an investment of US$285 million, comprises both Banyan Tree and Angsana hotels, an 18-hole championship golf course designed by golf legend Sir Nick Faldo, luxury private villas and residences, convention facilities, recreational activities, and beachfront land for six more hotels, part of a 280-hectare project. It will be celebrating its 5th anniversary this month on May 25-27.

    “With the commemoration of Laguna Lang Co’s 5th anniversary, the issuance of the casino licence is a good start for our second phase,” said Ho Kwon Ping, executive chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings. “Many hotel investors and development funds have been awaiting the casino licence and the selection of a casino operator before finalising their investment into our Phase 2.”

    This is the first casino licence issued by the Vietnamese government in the past ten years. Laguna Lang Co welcomes world-class casino operators and investment partners to join in the next exciting phase and growth of its integrated resort development in Central Vietnam.

    Known for its sustainable efforts towards the environment, the local community, and the economy of Hue, Laguna Lang Co is the first luxury resort development of Banyan Tree Holdings Limited in Vietnam and has received numerous international awards. Existing infrastructure, including transportation, electrical, water, and environmental management systems, will allow the rapid development of Phase 2 and future phases.

    The expansion project running from 2018 to 2022 will see investment capital increase from US$875 million to US$2 billion and include international-scale casino operations on its existing land.

    Integrating a casino within the beach-golf resort which is in close proximity to three UNESCO Heritage sites provides a unique cultural, sporting, and entertainment experience that will further boost tourism in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue and attract global travellers.

    Trung Nguyen Legend Coffee expands to China market

    Trung Nguyen Legend has signed a cooperation deal with Shanghai Qinzhou Trade Co., Ltd, the China’s Food Products Wholesalers, aiming to send G7 coffee products to eastern China where is home to the world’s busiest cities and commercial centres such as Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Nanjing.

    Shanghai Qinzhou Trade Co., Ltd has been considered a “golden distributor” for ten consecutive years in the market. With strong distribution network  on both General Trade (GT) and online channels, including mega malls like Carrefour, Lotus, Auchan, Metro, Tesco, and NGS and websites such as JD, Amazon, RT-Mart, Century Mart, Missfresh.com, and womai.com, Qinzhou will sell Trung Nguyen Legend coffee products, especially G7 instant coffee to customers in eastern China and the rest of the country.

    Trung Nguyen Legend has also accelerated trade promotion activities in China, introducing G7 instant coffee at Food & Beverage Innovation Forum 2018 (FBIF2018) in Shanghai and selling it on reputable websites such as Alibaba, Taobao.com, tmall.com, Yihaodian.com, and jd.com and at more than 1,000 supermarkets in China. It plans to further promotion activities and open more selling points in China’s major cities.

    Turnover from China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, was estimated at more than US$30 million in 2016-2017 and expected to reach US$100 million this year.

    Trung Nguyen Legend has made great effort to develop Chinese and other foreign markets through promotion activities and building new plants in the country to step by step conquer the world market and consolidate its brand on the international market.

    Fruit and vegetable exports see robust growth over 4 months

    Vietnam’s exports of fruit and vegetables jumped 29.1% to US$1.32 billion during the first four months of the year, according to preliminary statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    This is the first time that exports of fruit and vegetables have exceeded the earnings from crude oil (US$668 million) and set the highest record for growth in years.

    Vietnam’s fruit and vegetables have penetrated 60 countries and territories with many stable markets such as China, Japan, the US, and the Republic of Korea. It is noteworthy that Vietnamese products have been exported to Thailand and Indonesia, which are agricultural strongholds in themselves.

    China remained the largest importer of Vietnamese products, buying US$988.77 million in four months, accounting for 75% of Vietnam’s total fruit and vegetable exports, up 30.3% against the same period last year.

    The general picture shows that exports to most markets obtained growth over the period, with leading markets being Southeast Asia (up 19.4% to US$56.39 million), the US (up 12.3% to US$38.84 million), Japan (up 15.9% to US$36.55 million), and the EU (up 11.8% to US$32.22 million).

    A stand out performer, despite the modest export value of US$0.82 million, Cambodia became the fastest growing market with export growth of 279%.

    Some markets saw a decline in exports, including Indonesia (down 77.6% to US$0.25 million), Ukraine (down 33.6%), the UK (down 22%), and Russia (down 15%).

    Fair targets promoting furniture consumption in local market
       
    The Vietnam Furniture and Home Furnishing Fair will promote locally-made wooden furniture, home decor and handicraft products for the domestic market.

    VIFA Home 2018, to be held in District 11’s Phu Thọ Stadium from November 16-19, will feature 600 booths displaying outdoor and indoor furniture, handicrafts and home decor, household appliances, garden decor, gifts and souvenirs.

    Huynh Van Hanh, permanent deputy chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association (HAWA), said: “Unlike previous years when the fair just allowed enterprises that have factories in Viet Nam to take part, this year the fair is also open to woodworking firms from other countries.”

    Many property firms will also join the fair, creating favourable conditions for woodworking firms to exchange information and explore business co-operation, he said.

    Hanh said exhibitions and trade fairs offered opportunities for exhibitors to promote their brands and products, expand market share, and enhance co-operation with potential business partners.

    VIFA Home last year attracted more than 12,000 visitors, including wholesale buyers in the city and from other cities and provinces, leading to many direct sales at the fair.

    Wooden furniture production for domestic consumption reached US$1.65 billion last year, he said.

    Viet Nam has become a centre for producing quality wood furniture from legal timber sources for both domestic and export markets.

    The domestic market is the most promising market thanks to the rapid development of the property market in the last two years.

    “Normally, wooden furniture demand from the new apartment segment accounts for 40 per cent of total demand, offering a great opportunity for woodworking firms,” he said.

    According to the fair’s organisers, Hawa and Hawa Corporation, enterprises that register early for the fair will receive special incentives.

    Building materials market maintains stability
       
    The domestic building materials market has remained stable and is growing well in the first months of 2018, meeting consumer demand, the Ministry of Construction (MoC) said.

    The MoC said total cement consumption nationwide reached about 29.83 million tonnes by mid-second quarter of 2018, a year-on-year increase of 13 per cent. The production of building glass products was estimated at 105 million sq.m, up nine per cent compared to the same period last year.

    The country’s ceramic tile production stood at 257 million sq.m, up 9 per cent against the same period in 2017, while porcelain construction production reached 5.3 million products, an increase of 10 per cent. Nationwide production of unleaded bricks was estimated at 2.45 billion units, up 11 per cent.

    The MoC is currently completing the master plan for the exploration, exploitation, and use of minerals as primary building materials by 2025, with an outlook through 2035. The master plan will be submitted to the Prime Minister by the end of the second quarter of 2018.

    In the immediate future, the MoC will boost the handling and use of ash in high-power plants and chemical plants, and fertilisers as raw materials for construction materials and construction work, as stated in a Prime Minister’s decision issued last year.

    Petrolimex to spend 94% profit on dividends
       
    The Viet Nam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) will close the list of shareholders on June 15 to pay dividends for 2017 at the rate of 20 per cent.

    This is equivalent to VND2,000 (8 US cents) per share.

    The payment is due on June 29, 2018.

    Petrolimex will spend some VND162 billion ($7 million) to pay dividends to shareholders.

    The group decided to pay cash dividends at the rate of 20 per cent, equivalent to some 94 per cent of total after-tax profit to distribute among shareholders.

    Last year, Petrolimex recorded more than VND5.046 trillion in net revenue and VND171.4 billion in after-tax profit.

    In 2018, the group targets a net revenue of over VND5.53 trillion, a year-on-year increase of 10 per cent. The after-tax profit is expected at VND189.45 billion, up by 11 per cent compared to 2017.

    The group will also try to spend at least 80 per cent of the entire year’s after-tax profit to pay dividends to shareholders.

    Green products promoted in HCM City
       
    Many activities and environment projects are being carried out under the "Green Products Consumption Campaign” in HCM City, which has since 2010 sought to improve people’s awareness of environment protection.

    Organised by Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper, the departments of Industry and Trade and Natural Resources and Environment, and Saigon Co.op until June 30, the event encourages businesses to be more socially responsible, caring for the environment and consumers’ health, and the public to consume eco-friendly products.

    Volunteers will go to residential areas around the city to educate and help the community identify and consume products made by businesses that fully comply with environmental regulations.

    Supermarkets will display “green products” and offer discounts on them to promote consumption of those items.

    This year, the campaign includes the Green Capacity Project for Community, under which volunteers will visit residential communities to instruct residents in classifying garbage.

    They will also liaise with waste recycling units to create eco-friendly products.

    The Green Brand is a key programme that will help the community identify green and eco-friendly products through a smart phone application.

    There will also be a programme to promote consumption of green products at Co.opmart supermarkets in June. Co.opmart will gift 4,000 “green consumption coupons” to consumers for shopping at its stores.

    It will also collaborate with green businesses to run promotions to increase consumption of products made by environment-friendly businesses and encourage consumers to use environment-friendly bags and take part in activities to encourage consumption of green products at Co.opmart stores.

    A representative of Saigon Co.op, which owns Co.opmart, said sales of green products had increased by 50-60 per cent during the campaign.

    Phung Thi Ai Van, head of the campaign organisation board, said the campaign launched in 2010 has proven effective by raising public awareness of environment protection.

    People in Viet Nam increasingly consume environment-friendly products and those meeting hygiene and food safety standards, turning their backs on products made by enterprises causing pollution, she said.

    These are positive signals indicating the green consumption trend has taken root, she said.

    Saigon Autotech Accessories expo opens
       
    The 14th Saigon Autotech & Accessories, which opened on May 24, hopes to provide networking opportunities for manufacturers and suppliers of automobiles and other vehicles and components.

    The four-day international expo is being attended by around 200 companies, 60 per cent of them from countries and territories such as China, Korea, Taiwan, and Indonesia.

    On display are products like cars and electric bikes and their components like lights, braking systems and others.

    There will also be several forums to provide more networking and learning opportunities for participants besides business matching events.

    Pham Tuan Anh, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s industrial department, said while the automobile and component industries have been receiving a lot of support from the Government, there is room for improvement.

    Most local companies in auto supporting industries remain focused on simple parts such as glass, mirrors, seats and wires, he said.

    “Businesses and authorities need to develop supporting industries and invest more in the automobile sector. If the auto industry is well developed, it will push other industries, especially supporting industries, to grow along with it.”

    He stressed the importance of organising more networking and investment promotion events and providing learning opportunities.

    The expo, at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre in District 7, is organised by the Asia Trade Fair and Business Promotion Joint Stock Company.

    VNN


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  • 05/30/18--02:47: Article 2
  • Social News 30/5


    People at high risk of contracting HIV provided with PrEP


    Almost 536 tonnes of rice offered to northern Ha Giang province, Lord Buddha’s birthday celebrated abroad, Tien Giang province breeds more tra fish on alluvial areas 

    A conference is held in Ho Chi Minh City on May 29 to review the implementation of a trial project on PrEP.


    A total of 1,200 people who are at high risk of contracting HIV have been provided with Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), which can reduce the risk of infecting HIV if taken consistently.

    The information was released at a conference held in Ho Chi Minh City on May 29 to review the implementation of a trial project on PrEP after one year.

    The project was jointly implemented by the Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Health Organisation.

    Mei Mei Peng, a representative of USAID, said the project has been carried out in Vietnam since March 2017, with the focus on high-risk groups, including men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender women and partners of HIV-infected people.

    The drug has been provided in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City through public clinics, private healthcare centres and community organizations.

    In 2015, WHO recommended using PrEP as part of a comprehensive HIV preventive strategy for high-risk people.

    VAAC Director Associate Prof. Dr. Nguyen Hoang Loang stressed that together with antiretroviral treatment for HIV people, PrEP is expected to help Vietnam eliminate the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030.

    With this result, Vietnam will expand the provision of PrEP, firstly in 11 provinces and cities with the aim of providing PrEP for 5,610 people at high risk by 2019 and about 7,300 people by 2020, Long said.

    Almost 536 tonnes of rice offered to northern Ha Giang province


     Almost 536 tonnes of rice offered to northern Ha Giang province, Lord Buddha’s birthday celebrated abroad, Tien Giang province breeds more tra fish on alluvial areas 

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has decided to provide nearly 536 tonnes of rice as aid to the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang during the between-crop period of 2018.

    The rice, sourced from the national rice reserve, aims to support local residents in Ha Giang and ensure no one suffers from hunger during the period.

    The PM assigned the Ministry of Finance to allocate the rice to Ha Giang, while asking the provincial authorities to ensure timely delivery to appropriate beneficiaries in line with regulations.

    In February, the PM also decided to provide over 5,504 tonnes of rice from the national reserve as food aid to seven localities – Quang Ngai, Quang Binh, Binh Dinh, Dak Nong, Dak Lak, Soc Trang and Kon Tum - on the occasion of the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.

    Another package of more than 4,432 tonnes of rice aid was offered to eight provinces to ease hunger during the between-crop period. Beneficiaries include Cao Bang, Lai Chau, Lang Son, Quang Ngai, and Binh Dinh.

    About 74 tonnes of rice aid was also be given to the northern mountainous province of Bac Kan to help it alleviate crop damage caused by diseases on rice, while the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai received over 1,173 tonnes to cope with hunger during Tet and the between-crop time.

    Lord Buddha’s birthday celebrated abroad


     

    Almost 536 tonnes of rice offered to northern Ha Giang province, Lord Buddha’s birthday celebrated abroad, Tien Giang province breeds more tra fish on alluvial areas
    A ceremony was held at Phat Tich Pagoda in the Lao capital city of Vientiane on May 29 to mark the 2,562nd birth anniversary of Lord Buddha. 


    Vietnamese Buddhist monks, nuns and followers gathered at Phat Tich Pagoda in the Lao capital city of Vientiane on May 29 to mark the 2,562nd birth anniversary of Lord Buddha.

    Addressing the ceremony, Most Venerable Thich Minh Quang, head of the Phat Tich Pagoda, conveyed the message of Supreme Patriarch of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue on the occasion of Lord Buddha’s birthday. 

    The Supreme Patriarch called on all Vietnamese Buddhists to make unceasing efforts to help Buddhism continue playing an important role in the great national unity bloc and the process of national development and protection.

    At the ceremony, the Buddhist dignitaries, monks and nuns conducted traditional rituals to pray for peace and happiness.  

    The same day, a similar event was held at Budhha Vihara Pagoda in Delhi, India, during which Buddhist followers heard the messages of Supreme Patriarch Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue and Chairman of the VBS’s Executive Council Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon. 

    The Buddhist followers conducted traditional rituals and expressed their solidarity with and love for the homeland. 

    On May 27 night, the Association of Vietnamese Buddhists in the Czech Republic also held an event to celebrate the Lord Buddha’s birthday, with the participation of 500 Buddhist followers from many cities and provinces of the country. 

    Established in 2007, the association has 13 branches with 3,000 core members. Buddhist monks, nuns and followers contributed to building five pagodas and eight worshipping places in the country.

    Tien Giang province breeds more tra fish on alluvial areas


     

    Almost 536 tonnes of rice offered to northern Ha Giang province, Lord Buddha’s birthday celebrated abroad, Tien Giang province breeds more tra fish on alluvial areas
    The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang is developing intensive tra fish farming in alluvial areas along rivers to produce high quality fish for export.


    The province is using more than 120ha of ground area along rivers to breed fish, mostly tra fish, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    Tan Phong commune, which is an islet in the Tien river, is one of the major areas for breeding tra fish in alluvial ground areas in the province.

    The commune has more than 60ha of alluvial ground areas used to farm tra fish, accounting for 50 percent of the province total’s tra fish breeding area, according to Kieu Manh Quan, Secretary of Tan Phong commune’s Party Committee.

    Cao Van Hoa, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said to develop tra fish breeding in alluvial ground areas, the province has paid attention to zoning farming areas and transferring farming techniques for farmers.

    The province will also create favourable conditions for tra fish breeders to participate in the delta’s three-tier cooperation plan for production of high-quality tra fish breeds in the delta.

    The cooperation plan, which was approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in March, aims to establish three-tier tra fish breed production chains that produce about 50 percent of the region’s demand of 2.2 – 2.5 billion fries a year by 2020. 

    The department has encouraged farmers to breed tra fish under Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) standards.

    The province has 51.4ha of tra fish bred under GAP standards, including 6.4ha under global GAP standards and 45ha under Vietnamese GAP standards. It also has 15.8ha bred under Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standards.

    In Tien Giang, main tra fish breeding areas are in islets and alluvial ground areas along the Tien river in Cai Lay and Cai Be districts.

    The province plans to have about 180ha of tra fish with an annual output of 67,000 tonnes by 2020.

    Located downstream of the Tien River, a tributary of the Mekong River, Tien Giang has a dense network of rivers and canals which have advantages for aquaculture development.

    Conference spotlights Japanese farming technologies


    Almost 536 tonnes of rice offered to northern Ha Giang province, Lord Buddha’s birthday celebrated abroad, Tien Giang province breeds more tra fish on alluvial areas

    The workshop on "Applying new technologies for Vietnam - Japan agricultural value chain development" is held in Hanoi on May 29. 


    Benefits of applying Japanese agricultural technologies in Vietnam were discussed at a workshop in Hanoi on May 29.

    Nguyen Hong Son, Head of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said Vietnam’s agriculture is shifting its focus from quantity to quality, stressing science and technology are key to the process.

    Advanced technologies ought to be applied throughout the production chain from field to market, he added.

    Japan’s agricultural technologies are suitable to Vietnam and will help boost bilateral trade, as Vietnamese farm produce exported to Japan must meet quality demand from the market, Son noted.

    “The quality of a product is based largely on its production technology,” he said.

    Participating Japanese businesses introduced a number of new technology features, including bio-products, aquaponics, organic fertilizers and insecticides, and heat-control materials.

    Koichiro Abe, CEO of Raycean Inc., said high-tech farm produce is sold at high prices in Japan.

    Technologies and marketing strategies could multiply the value of agricultural products, he said.

    Vietnam-Japan trade is on the rise in recent years, particularly concerning fruits and vegetables. 

    Japan is now the second biggest importers of  Vietnamese fruits and vegetables, after China.

    Dak Lak: UXO victims receive financial aid to improve livelihoods


     

    Almost 536 tonnes of rice offered to northern Ha Giang province, Lord Buddha’s birthday celebrated abroad, Tien Giang province breeds more tra fish on alluvial areas
    Twenty aid packages, worth 10 million VND each, are presented to victims of war-era unexploded ordnances (UXOs) in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak on May 29. (Photo: Dai Doan Ket)


    The Vietnam Association for Supporting UXO/Mine Action efforts (VNASMA) presented 20 aid packages, worth 10 million VND each, to victims of war-era unexploded ordnances (UXOs) in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak on May 29. 

    The donations were given to UXO/Mine victims from difficult backgrounds in an event in the provincial capital of Buon Ma Thuot to support their livelihoods.

    The financial aid is expected to help the victims develop their business and escape from poverty, said Lt. Gen. Pham Ngoc Khoa, VNASMA Vice President.

    He noted that the VNASMA will continue educating people on the consequences of war-era UXOs and how to prevent related accidents and injuries. The association will ramp up activities to support the victims’ livelihoods and give them access to medical treatment, orthopedic and rehabilitation services. 

    Furthermore, people living in UXO-contaminated land will be supported to move to safer places while more funds will be mobilized from donators both at home and overseas to assist the victims and mine clearance efforts.

    Some 18 charity events of this kind have been held by the VNASMA since 2015 to support the livelihoods of UXO/Mine victims in 17 cities and provinces.

    The Central Highlands province of Dak Lak has more than 152,000 hectares of land contaminated by mines and UXOs. Since 2010, four UXO/Mine accidents have occurred in the province, killing three people and injuring seven others. Over 6,400 bombs and mines alongside thousands kilogrammes of ammunition have been discovered so far.

    According to a report of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs last year, Vietnam is one of the most UXO-contaminated countries in the world. It is estimated that about 800,000 tonnes of UXOs were left across the country after the war ended, mostly in the central region. 

    Some 6.13 million hectares of land are polluted with or suspected of being polluted with UXOs, accounting for 18.82 percent of the country’s total area.

    Since 1975, UXO incidents have killed more than 40,000 people and injured 60,000 others, most of whom were breadwinners of their families or children.

    Raincoats cut queues

    Hundreds of drivers travelling through the Thủ Thiêm Tunnel that crosses the Sài Gòn River in HCM City were surprised to see traffic officers handing out free raincoats during recent downpours.

    The giveaway is set to run until November, as a part of a project by Sài Gòn River Tunnel Management Centre to curb traffic jams during heavy rain.

    A common sight during downpours is drivers stopping under bridges or in tunnels to avoid getting wet. The stopped vehicles can worsen congestion for road users and present a hazard for other vehicles at key junctions or intersections.

    A foreign resident told the writer he was surprised to see how much Vietnamese drivers were afraid of getting wet in the rain.

    And, of course, sheltering under bridges is not a good solution, at least in the view of traffic officers. 

    Fish folly

    A group of tourists from Hà Nội were enraged at having to pay an extra VNĐ500,000 to use 10 seats on Đồ Sơn Beach in the northern port city of Hải Phòng last Friday after having seafood at a restaurant.

    The tourists publicised a video about the unreasonable charge online, calling for a boycott on Đồ Sơn tourism. One of the tourists said the restaurant served seafood and was obligated to offer seats for their customers.

    “Should tourists buy the crabs and eat them while they are standing?” she said.

    Vice chairman of Đồ Sơn District’s People’s Committee Hoàng Trung Hiếu on May 28 said that putting chairs on the beach for business was banned and it was illegal for businessmen to force tourists to pay for seats on the beach, Người lao động (The Labourer) newspaper reported.

    The restaurant was fined VNĐ2 million for forcing tourists to buy tourism services/goods.

    Logic would dictate the VNĐ500,000 would return to the tourists, right?

    Wrong, authorities demanded it be given to the State budget.

    Something certainly smells fishy here, and it’s not the crabs.

    A man with two valid marriage certificates

    Vietnamese laws don’t allow a man to have two lawful wives at the same time but a 60-year-old man in central province of Hà Tĩnh has found himself in that very situation with two marriage certificates at the same time.

    Online newspaper baodatviet.vn on May 28 reported that a teacher in Hương Vĩnh Commune, Hương Khê District early last year, submitted divorce proceedings to Hưng Khê District People’s Court as he and his first wife wanted to divorce.

    The court sought measures for conciliation in order to help the couple clearly realise their responsibilities towards their children. Conciliation is not only a legal procedure, but also reflects the Vietnamese people’s morals. After the conciliation, the wife changed her decision but the court, on January 24, still permitted the divorce without considering the wife’s change of heart.

    Meanwhile, 15 days after the divorce decision took effect, the man registered to get married to another woman at Hương Vĩnh Commune People’s Committee. The second wife signed in a lawful marriage certificate and the couple are living happily.

    The case is dealt with by the superior People’s Court in Hà Nội as the first wife asked for cassation - the review of a legally valid judgment or decision which is protested against because of serious law violations detected in the handling of the case.

    When courts are confused to address the violation, the communal People’s Committee has called on the male teacher and his second wife to get a divorce. Is it so unfair to the second woman? 

    Bad luck after bad luck

    Phạm Duy Hưng, 32, of the northern province of Hà Nam’s fell into deep distress when he learned he’d been cuckolded last Friday, as he learned his girlfriend was having a sexual relationship with another man.

    Hưng was so angry that he grabbed a shotgun, a scimitar and then drove his car to the hotel his girlfriend was staying in with her new partner to punish the man and win his lover back.

    Luckily, fortune doesn’t always favour the bold or potentially murderous.

    Hưng was arrested on the way to go to the hotel by local police for illegal possession of weapons.

    Losing your lover and liberty on the same day has to be a bitter pill to swallow! 

    SCG brings International Children's Day to disabled children

    SCG, one of the leading conglomerates in ASEAN, recently organized its annual International Children’s Day celebrations for 257 students at the School for Disabled Children in Ba Ria Vung Tau. The event, which has taken place for the eight consecutive years in the southern province, aims to support the development of disabled children by offering them various life experiences.

    This year, under the theme “Passion for Better Education”, SCG also donated educational equipment to the school.

    “SCG has a passion to lift the quality of life in communities where we operate,” said Mr. Booneuame Noiaim, Deputy General Director of the Long Son Petrochemical Complex. “With our strong belief that a better education will facilitate a better life, in Ba Ria Vung Tau, the home of our flagship project Long Son Petrochemicals, SCG is delighted to cooperate with the School for Disabled Children in Ba Ria Vung Tau to provide necessary education for the special children here. With our continuous effort over the past eight years, we are glad to watch many children grow and become helping hands for their families.”

    SCG has shared its passion for better education with the school and local families, which opens the door to a better future. On the occasion of International Children’s Day, SCG, together with the school and local families, hosted various activities, including educational games and stage performances, and presented gifts to the children. It will also provide incentive scholarships to 50 students at the school and donate a screen projector and other school equipment.

    “Students at our school have made clear progress in development over the past few years thanks to SCG’s continuous support to improve the school’s facilities,” said Headmaster Mr. Nguyen Huu Dung. “This valuable support gives more opportunities to our children, especially their right to study and live equally regardless of their limited abilities. For us, it is a meaningful gift, especially for International Children’s Day.”

    In 2009, SCG began to make efforts to renovate the school and install teaching equipment. Since 2011, it has organized International Children’s Day activities for the school on an annual basis, together with making regular donations to improve the school’s teaching and learning environment.

    SCG has also supported the local community in Ba Ria Vung Tau in various other social projects, such as building playgrounds for schools and presenting scholarships to local students.

    In late February, it held a breaking ground ceremony to kick off the Long Son Petrochemical Complex. It recently signed an agreement to be the main sponsor of the Ba Ria Vung Tau Football Club, with its commitment to supporting the province develop a better football team and enter the V-League, the national competition.

    Laos presents Labour Order to Viettel joint venture


     

    Almost 536 tonnes of rice offered to northern Ha Giang province, Lord Buddha’s birthday celebrated abroad, Tien Giang province breeds more tra fish on alluvial areas
    Lao Defence Minister Senior Lieutenant General Chansamone Chanyalath presents the Labour Order to Unitel Director Cao Anh Son 


    The telecommunication company Star Telecom (Unitel), a joint venture between Lao Asia Telecom and Viettel Global, received the Labour Order and a certificate of merit from the Lao State on the occasion of its 10th founding anniversary (April 1, 2008) in Vientiane on May 29.

    Lao Defence Minister Senior Lieutenant General Chansamone  Chanyalath presented the second-class Labour Order to Unitel in recognition of its significant contributions to the socio-economic development in Laos.

    He described the company’s achievements as active contributions to nurturing and enhancing the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries’ Parties, Governments and peoples.

    On the occasion, the Lao Ministry of Defence also honoured Unitel’s outstanding individuals.

    Unitel has helped the telecom industry in Laos develop faster over the past 10 years, not only serving the Lao State and Government but also the local social services.

    Director of Unitel Cao Anh Son said Unitel is now the biggest telecom provider in Laos with over 1,500 Vietnamese and Lao employees and 2.9 million mobile subscribers, making up 52 percent of the market shares.

    The company’s accumulative revenues have reached 1.3 billion USD, contributing over 350 million USD to the Lao State budget.

    Unitel boasts over 6,000 stations in charge of 95 percent of 2G/3G/4G network coverage across Laos.

    The company is a symbol of successful cooperation between the two armies in particular and the two countries in general.

    It has actively sponsored a lot of programmes worth up to 13 million USD including the internet development project for Lao schools.

    Son thanked the Lao Party and State for their recognition and pledged to develop Unitel into a leading business in promoting cooperation between the Vietnamese and Lao governments.

    Province cracks down on illegal sand mining


     

    Almost 536 tonnes of rice offered to northern Ha Giang province, Lord Buddha’s birthday celebrated abroad, Tien Giang province breeds more tra fish on alluvial areas
    Bình Thuận Province cracks down on illegal sand mining. 


    The People’s Committee of Bình Thuận Province has asked local authorities to monitor and detect violations of illegal sand mining.

    If the authorities do not handle or prevent such acts, they will be severely punished, according to the committee.

    A report from the provincial police found that illegal sand mining occurs frequently in Tuy Phong, Hàm Tân, Bắc Bình, Đức Linh, Tánh Linh, Hàm Thuận Nam and Hàm Thuận Tân districts.

    Sand is being illegally exploited in all 10 communes in Hàm Tân District.

    Recently, Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hoà Bình ordered the people committees of provinces and cities, including Bình Thuận Province, to strictly handle violations committed by organisations and individuals.

    In addition, the deputy prime minister has required authorities of provinces and cities to develop solutions to prevent illegal sand mining and submit a report to the Prime Minister before May 31.

    Children and mothers to receive Vitamin A supplements


     

    Almost 536 tonnes of rice offered to northern Ha Giang province, Lord Buddha’s birthday celebrated abroad, Tien Giang province breeds more tra fish on alluvial areas
    Children will get Vitamin A supplement in Ninh Bình Province as part of the Micronutrient Day which falls on June 1 and 2. — Photo courtesy of the National Institute of Nutrition


    Children and new mothers will receive Vitamin A supplements as part of Micronutrient Day celebrations, the National Institute of Nutrition said.

    The supplements will be provided to children between six and 60 months of age in 22 provinces with high stunting rate as well as children aged between 6-36 months old in the remaining 41 provinces and cities on Micronutrient Day, which falls on June 1 and 2.

    The institute’s director Lê Danh Tuyên said Vitamin A supplements will also be given to new mothers and children under high malnutrition risk, such as those with severe malnutrition, prolonged diarrhea, acute respiratory infection, and measles.

    In addition, children from 24 to 60 months in 22 provinces and cities that have a high rate of stunted growth will be dewormed. Communication and education efforts will strengthen awareness about nutrition and nutritional requirements, and encourage good eating practices among people, Tuyên said.

    “Việt Nam has made remarkable strides in addressing the malnutrition problem, especially among children under 5,” he said. “Low weight and malnutrition have gone down rapidly and sustainably from 30.1 per cent in 2000 to 14.1 per cent in 2015 and 13.8 per cent in 2016."

    However, Tuyên said Việt Nam still faced many challenges, such as the stunted growth rate of children under the age of five, which remained high at 24.3 per cent in 2016. The number of malnourished children differs across the country, with high rates of malnutrition being recorded in the Central Highlands and northern mountainous areas. Meanwhile, obesity is on the rise in urban areas.

    Micronutrient deficiency prevention is one of the six important tasks of the National Nutrition Strategy for the 2010-20 period, which puts focus on comprehensive measures, including providing micronutrients for high-risk groups as immediate solution, adding micronutrients in food as a medium-term solution, and diversification of daily meals as a way to reduce micronutrient deficiency in a sustainable and long-term way.

    Foundation honouring late writer forced to close


     

    Almost 536 tonnes of rice offered to northern Ha Giang province, Lord Buddha’s birthday celebrated abroad, Tien Giang province breeds more tra fish on alluvial areas
    Late writer and poet Phùng Quán. A foundation which was founded in his memory has closed due to a shortage of funds. — Photo vnweblogs.com


    The Phùng Quán Foundation, founded in memory of the late famous writer and poet Phùng Quán, has been forced to close due to a shortage of funds.

    Poet Ngô Minh, founder and manager of the foundation, announced the closing of foundation because of its financial complete exhaustion.

    Founded in 2011, the foundation aims to encourage excellent pupils from the writer Quán’s hometown in Thủy Dương Ward, Hương Thủy Town, Thừa Thiên-Huế Province. It also aims to praise outstanding works of literature by Huế authors. The foundation has been run with more than VNĐ100 million (about US$4,400), which is the remains of donations from kind-hearted people to build the tomb for writer Quán and his wife. The foundation has also received small contributions from two other sponsors.

    Born in 1932 in Thủy Dương Commune, Hương Thủy District in Thừa Thiên-Huế Province, Phùng Quán in 1945 joined the Vệ Quốc Quân force, which is the predecessor of the Việt Nam People’s Army.

    His debut literary work, Vượt Côn Đảo (Escape from Côn Đảo Island Prison) rose to fame, receiving the Việt Nam Writers’ Association Prize in 1955.

    In 1988, he published his novel Tuổi Thơ Dữ Dội (The Fierce Childhood) and received the Children’s Literature Prize of the Việt Nam Writers’ Association in 1990.

    Alongside novels, Quán also composed several famous poems including Hoa Sen (Lotus), Hôn (Kiss) and Đêm Nghi Tàm Đọc Đỗ Phủ Cho Vợ Nghe (Reading Poems by Đỗ Phủ for my Wife in the Night in Nghi Tàm). His wife is Vũ Thị Bội Trâm, a teacher at the Chu Văn An High School in Hà Nội.

    Quán passed away on January 22, 1995 in Hà Nội. Five years later, his wife also died. Obeying his wishes when he was alive, his family and friends brought his remains and those of his wife to be buried at his birthplace in Hương Thủy Town.

    In 2007, Phùng Quán was granted the National Award for Literature and the Arts by the State of Việt Nam.

    Việt Nam Coal and Mineral whip Sơn La


     

    Almost 536 tonnes of rice offered to northern Ha Giang province, Lord Buddha’s birthday celebrated abroad, Tien Giang province breeds more tra fish on alluvial areas
    Việt Nam Coal and Mineral vs Sơn La in the third round of the National Women’s Football Championship - Thái Sơn Bắc Cup on May 28. — Photo vff.org.vn


    Việt Nam Coal and Mineral easily crushed Sơn La 6-0 in the third round of the National Women’s Football Championship — Thái Sơn Bắc Cup.

    Việt Nam Coal and Mineral were in clear control from the opening minutes of the game, which was held in the northern province of Hà Nam on Monday.

    Thúy Hằng gave Việt Nam Coal and Mineral the lead in the 16th minute, scoring off a pass from one of her teammates.

    Six minutes later, Phạm Thị Hằng doubled the score for Coal and Mineral.

    Nguyễn Thị Vạn raised the score to 3-0 before the end of the first half.

    After the break, Sơn La fought back strongly to try to narrow the gap but failed to score any goals.

    Meanwhile, Coal and Mineral proved their mettle by scoring three more goals.

    Earlier, Phong Phú Hà Nam beat HCM City 2, 5-0, while Hà Nội bested defending champion 1, 2-1.

    Hà Nội is the provisional leader in the rankings with nine points, followed by Việt Nam Coal and Mineral with six points, and Phong Phú Hà Nam with four.

    Teams have a day off on Tuesday to prepare for the event’s next round.

    Healthcare programme to mark International Children’s Day


     

    Almost 536 tonnes of rice offered to northern Ha Giang province, Lord Buddha’s birthday celebrated abroad, Tien Giang province breeds more tra fish on alluvial areas
    Children receive gifts at a children’s healthcare programme organised last year by the HCM City Public Health Association.


    A programme on children’s healthcare will be held at HCM City’s Đầm Sen Park on June 2-3 to mark International Children’s Day (June 1)

    Parents and children will be taught about healthcare, prevention of diseases, proper nutrition and food safety.

    Children will be examined and given medicine if they are found with some illness.

    There will also be gifts and games for them.

    The annual programme is organised by the city Public Health Association together with the Department of Health, Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union and the amusement park.

    It is expected to attract around 10,000 kindergarten and primary school children.

    Birthday of Lord Buddha celebration in HCM City


     

    Almost 536 tonnes of rice offered to northern Ha Giang province, Lord Buddha’s birthday celebrated abroad, Tien Giang province breeds more tra fish on alluvial areas
    Lanterns along Nhiêu Lộc – Thị Nghè canal near Pháp Hoa Pagoda in HCM City attract local residents during the week-long celebration of the Lord Buddha’s birthday. Photo vnexpress.net


    The significant contributions made to the cause of religious freedom and national liberation by Vietnamese Buddhists were remembered yesterday in HCM City on the occasion of the 2,562th birthday of Lord Buddha.

    A grand ceremony was held at the Việt Nam Quốc Tự Pagoda in District 10, which was attended by the Supreme Patriarch Council of Việt Nam Buddhist Sangha (VBS), Executive Council of VBS, and thousands of nuns, monks and Buddhist followers and local authorities.

    At the ceremony, the Most Venerable Thích Trí Quảng, deputy head of the Supreme Patriarch Council of VBS, read a message from the Most Venerable Thích Phổ Tuệ, supreme patriarch of VBS, which said that Buddhists should continue to contribute to the country’s prosperity.

    “Over the past 26 centuries, the Lord Buddha has enlightened our life, bringing happiness, peace and prosperity to humanity across the planet, keeping away inequality, war, conflict and poverty,” the message from the supreme patriarch said. 

    The Most Venerable Thích Phổ Tuệ called on Buddhist followers and members of VBS to support the spirit of “Wisdom - Ethics - Integration – Development”, which is essential for the national unity bloc, as well as build and defend the motherland of Việt Nam.

    On behalf of HCM City authorities, Tô Thị Bích Châu, president of the HCM City Fatherland Front, praised the outstanding contributions and services of Buddhist dignitaries and followers to national construction and defence.

    Châu said the Việt Nam Fatherland Front and other city agencies would create favourable conditions to promote the good values ​​of religions as well as ensure the Party and State’s consistent policies in facilitation of freedom of religion.

    Religious dignitaries and religious followers are encouraged to actively participate in patriotic emulation movements and campaigns launched by the Government and the Fatherland Front at all levels, she added.

    The celebration of Lord Buddha’s birthday this year took place when Buddhists nationwide marked the 55th anniversary of the self-immolation of Bodhisattva Thích Quảng Đức for the cause of national independence and protection of Buddhist traditions and Vietnamese culture.

    Ceremonial activities at the pagoda included incense offering and releasing of pigeons to pray for peace and happiness. 

    HCM City, Dutch Lady organise contest on food safety for schools


     

    Almost 536 tonnes of rice offered to northern Ha Giang province, Lord Buddha’s birthday celebrated abroad, Tien Giang province breeds more tra fish on alluvial areas
    A contest was held by the HCM City Department of Education and Training for schools to improve knowledge of food safety. —Photo Courtesy of FrieslandCampina Việt Nam


    Students of Lê Văn Sỹ Primary School in HCM City’s Tân Bình District have won the first prize in this year’s Food Safety and Hygiene Contest for students.

    The month-long contest also included another category - for cooks – and attracted more than 250 primary schools in the city that make lunch for their students.

    It was aimed at improving knowledge of food safety and hygiene and reducing the danger of food poisoning.

    Contestants had to take online tests, fill questionnaires on food safety and hygiene and cook.

    In the category for cooks, Nguyễn An Ninh Primary School in Hóc Môn District won the first prize.

    The contest was organised by the city Department of Education and Training in co-operation with FrieslandCampina Việt Nam’s Dutch Lady brand.

    The rate of obesity among children aged below five in HCM City has increased by three times over the last 10 years while in the case of high school students it has doubled, according to a press release from FrieslandCampina. 

    VNN


    0 0
  • 05/30/18--02:58: Article 1
  • VN cement industry on the clinker road to recovery


    Vietnam’s cement market is seeing the light of recovery at the end of the tunnel, thanks to the strong clinker exports.


     VN cement industry on the clinker road to recovery, 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 country’s cement and clinker sales volume reached 80.3 million tonnes in 2017, posting a positive growth rate for the third year in a row.

    Although domestic consumption has been making up the lion’s share of total sales for several years with over 70 per cent, recent years have witnessed its growth rate slowing down, from 9.5 per cent in 2015 to 1.4 per cent in 2017.

    While domestic consumption was beginning to stagnate, export activity drove the market, with export volume surging up to 19.7 million tonnes, meaning a strong on-year growth of 27.7 per cent, thanks to increasing demand from key markets like Bangladesh and the Philippines.

    Besides, China emerged as a potential exporting market, since China’s government implemented an unprecedented pollution crackdown in November 2017, leading to the shutdown of tens of thousands of cement factories in an effort to combat this nation’s infamous pollution.

    In comparison to 2016, cement export volume fell sharply by 21.4 per cent, while clinker posted a strong growth of 53.8 per cent, making clinker the key driver for cement export activity in 2017. This can be explained by the fact that foreign countries tend to favour clinker over cement imports due to the costs. This trend could continue to shape Vietnam’s cement export picture in the long term.

    While local private companies continued to launch mega-projects, foreign giants strengthened their presence through mergers and |acquisitions (M&A) activities.

    According to the StoxPlus database, there are 107 cement facilities belonging to 93 companies in Vietnam, with total capacity of 120.9 million tonnes per year – with state-owned Vietnam Cement Industry Corporation (Vicem) and foreign-owned companies recording a high utilisation rate of over 80 per cent.

    In 2017, private companies continued to operate five new mega-projects – with designed capacity of over two million tonnes per year – equivalent to 18.5 million tonnes per year, resulting in an 18-per-cent surge in total production capacity.

    The projects are not only developed by giant local companies such as Vissai or ThaiGroup, but also by other local players like Thanh Thang and Long Son, which indicates a trend in favour of large-scale projects.

    In line with StoxPlus’ analysis, cement facilities can hardly operate efficiently if the designed capacity is less than one million tonnes per year, especially when taking into account electricity costs, maintenance expenses, and other fixed costs. As for foreign players, 2017 witnessed an upturn in M&A activities when Siam City Cement Company and Siam Cement Group invested heavily into share acquisitions in LafargeHolcim and Vietnam Construction Materials JSC, respectively.

    Last December, the Vietnamese government issued Decree No.125/2017/ND-CP, which is expected to boost Vietnam’s cement export activities. The 0-per-cent export tariff for cement has heightened Vietnam’s competitiveness, especially in the fierce race with other ASEAN countries. It is estimated that export companies can enjoy an increase in profits of $3-4.5 per tonne under the new tariff. Additionally, enterprises are being encouraged to participate in exporting activities, thanks to VAT reimbursement schemes. New regulations have taken effect immediately, which shows in the export numbers for the first four months of this year. In these months, total cement sales reached 29.83 million tonnes, recording a growth rate of 13 per cent on-year, mostly thanks to the active export activities, which increased by 29 per cent on-year.

    Based on StoxPlus’ analysis of macro-economics and historical cement demand from 2000, taking under consideration the impact of related factors such as the status of infrastructure development and the residential sector, demand growth for cement is projected to hit a rate of 5 per cent until 2030.

    Vietnam is expected to be faced with continuous supply surplus before reaching an equilibrium in 2027 at 130.8 million tonnes of cement, not taking into account uncertain cement projects in Vietnam. Even though Vietnamese cement still moves in tandem with the real estate boom, this industry is still expected to enjoy healthy growth in the years to come.

    Hai Khieu Analyst, StoxPlus

    VIR


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