Thứ Sáu, 19 tháng 1, 2018

BUSINESS IN BRIEF 19/1

VIB posts strong profit growth in 2017
The Vietnam International Bank (VIB) has reported pre-tax profit of over VNĐ1.4 trillion (US$62 million) in 2017, surging 100 per cent year-on-year or far surpassing the yearly target.
VIB’s total assets also saw a positive yearly increase of 18 per cent to VNĐ123 trillion ($5.4 billion), while the bank’s total credit balance amounted to approximately VNĐ90 trillion ($3.95 billion), up 26 per cent year-on-year, according to its business results, which were released on Tuesday.
As per the results, the bank’s capital adequacy ratio (CAR) was 13.1 per cent, its ratios of non-performance loan (NPL) and return on equity (ROE) stood at 2.49 per cent and 12.7 per cent, respectively. Earnings per share were VNĐ2,000, which was considered a high rate among domestic banks.
On January 17, 2017, VIB debuted more than 564.4 million shares on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM), a move that the bank hoped would create transparency in its activities, share price, market capitalisation and share liquidity, to make it easier for investors to make decisions.
After 12 months, the bank’s share price has increased by 71 per cent to VNĐ29,200 per share from VNĐ17,000 on the first trading day.
Meanwhile, VIB has also been in the top ranking of Moody’s for many consecutive years. As one of 10 banks selected by the State Bank of Việt Nam to pilot Basel II, VIB said it will implement Basel II before the deadline set by the State Bank.
“We are making greater efforts in ensuring the bank’s operation with the best and most transparent standards," VIB general director Hàn Ngọc Vũ said.
In the years to come, VIB will focus on expanding its scale and continue perfecting the quality of products and services, the bank said.
Top priority will be given to expanding its retail operations, consolidating its leading position in a number of products catering to individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises, bettering customer service, improving labour productivity and bettering risk control in line with international standards.
The bank’s 2018 shareholders meeting will be held in late March. 
Billionaire Thao's company replaces Posco E&C in Splendora
The whole share volume owned by Poso E&C Co. (South Korea), equivalent to 50 per cent of the total shares at Splendora in Hanoi, has been transferred to Phu Long Real Estate JSC of billionaire Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao.
Phu Long, which is under Sovico Holdings Company, is a big real estate company in Ho Chi Minh City. It has carried out major projects like Dragon City (33 hectares), Dragon Riverside City (3.1ha), Dragon Village (21.6ha), and developed HDBank Tower and Sovico Phu Quoc.
Before acquiring 50 per cent of Splendora’s shares from Posco E&C, at the end of 2017, Phu Long raised its charter capital from VND700 billion ($30.85 million) to VND3 trillion ($132.2 million).
The deal marks the appearance of Phu Long on the Hanoi real estate market. This is also a good opportunity for Phu Long to acquire the 50 per cent left from Vinaconex because the corporation has been planning to divest from Splendora for a while now.
Besides Splendora, Vinaconex has invested into various projects, such as a building complex at 97 in Lang Ha Street, 2B Vinata Tower at 289 Khuat Duy Tien Street, a project at 93 Lang Ha Street, and an apartment building at 25 Nguyen Huy Tuong Street.
At a recent roadshow, director general of Vinaconex said that Splendora could earn a total revenue of around VND1.2 trillion ($53 million) in 2018 with a profit of VND430 billion ($19 million). According to the plan, Splendora could gain VND2 trillion ($88.1 million) of revenue and VND500 billion ($22 million) of profit by 2020.
Splendora is one of the largest-scale real estate projects in the west of Hanoi with its area of 264ha. An Khanh Joint Venture Company of Vinaconex and Posco E&C (now Phu Long JSC), is the project developer.
Jollibee celebrates 100th store in Vietnam
The third largest restaurant chain in the country marks a new milestone in Can Tho and solidifies commitment of spreading boundless joy in Vietnam.
Jollibee, home of the world-famous Chickenjoy and the largest Asian food service company, celebrated today the grand opening of its 100th store in Vietnam in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho with an event that brought boundless joy to huge crowds of customers who love the restaurant’s renowned range of dishes.
Vietnam is home to our largest Jollibee restaurant network outside of the Philippines, and as such, this country will always hold a special place in Jollibee’s history,” said Ernesto Tanmantiong, chief executive officer of Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC). “From our humble beginnings as a small ice cream parlor in the Philippines, it gives us joy that more and more people are coming to love Jollibee, helping us grow to become one of the biggest global food service companies to-date. This inspires us to stay true to our mission of spreading the joy of eating with everyone.”
To celebrate this milestone, Jollibee is giving away 100 buckets of its famous Chickenjoy along with other freebies at its stores across the country to bring even more joy to Vietnamese families. Various special treats and surprises also welcomed customers at the 100th store grand opening in the Can Tho store.
“Since opening the doors of our first store in Vietnam in 2005, it has been such an honour to see the nation embrace Jollibee,” said Dennis Flores, head of International Business at JFC. “For many, Jollibee is one of their first experiences of a memorable family bonding, whether by enjoying great food together or having a kiddie party. These, among many other moments, contribute to the boundless joy we have shared together with Vietnamese families over the years. As such, our business in Vietnam has been a core pillar of our international operations, and will continue to be one of our most important markets as we continue reaching more families around the world.”
Jollibee opened its first branch in Co.op Mart Xa Lo Hanoi in 2005 and has been expanding steadily since then. Now it is one of the top three largest restaurant chains in the country as it stays true to its commitment of bringing joy to customers.
“At Jollibee, we are dedicated to spreading the joy of eating to everyone. Now with 100 stores nationwide, we are even more ecstatic in bringing our unique brand of joy to families everywhere in the country—from the very south to the very north of Vietnam,” said Lam Hong Nguyen, general manager of Jollibee Vietnam.
Vietnam runs a US$5.9 billion trade deficit with Southeast Asian countries
The value of trade between Vietnam and the Southeast Asia region increased 18.8% to US$49.4 billion last year, of which exports accounted for US$21.7 billion (up 10.4%) and imports US$27.7 billion, up 14.9% on the previous year.
According to the Asia-Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam is running a US$5.9 billion trade deficit with the region, a year-on-year decrease of 9.5%, due to petroleum imports.
Vietnam’s primary sources of imported products were Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. Imports from Thailand jumped 16.3% to an estimated value of US$10.3 billion, with trade dominated by products such as machines, equipment and tools (US$944 million), petroleum (US$910 million), fruit and vegetables (US$866 million), plastic materials (US$639 million), computers and components (US$621 million), and chemicals (US$372 million).
Meanwhile, imports from Malaysia surged by 10% to US$5.7 billion with key products being petroleum (US$1.18 billion), computers and electronic products (US$1.10 billion), machines, and tools and equipment (US$643 million).
Imports from Singapore are estimated at US$5.3 billion, up 11.5% on the previous year, with petroleum imports accounting for 42% at US$2.2 billion.
Vietnam also bought more than US$1 billion worth of products from Cambodia, a year-on-year rise of 41.4%, with key products being wood and timber goods, cashew nuts, and rubber.
Aquatic export expected to hit 9 billion USD in 2018
The Directorate of Fisheries has set a seafood export value of 9 billion USD for 2018, as heard at a conference held on January 16 by the sector to set out its 2018 tasks.
The sector also targets a total yield of 7 – 7.5 million tonnes, of which 4 million tonnes come from aquatic farms. 
At the function, Acting Director General of the Directorate of Fisheries Nguyen Ngoc Oai put forth a number of measures for the sector, including carrying out random inspections of input materials, building sets of standards for different areas, reforming administrative procedures, and fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Vietnam.
Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said the 9-billion-USD goal is achievable, suggesting the sector focus on value-added increase and quantity reduction in aquatic exploitation.
He said there is a need to develop the shrimp industry and seeks markets for Tra fish.
He stressed between now and June 30, the sector ought to implement anti-IUU measures recommended by the EU in order to remove the warning under the European Commission’s “yellow card”.
Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung, head of the Directorate’s Department for Science, Technology and International Cooperation, pointed to amendments of legal frameworks relating to fishing ports, inspections of fishing vessels, and international cooperation as potential solutions to the “yellow card”.
Binh Duong province aims to attract 1.4 billion USD in FDI
The southern province of Binh Duong has set a target of attracting 1.4 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2018, according to Tran Thanh Liem, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.
Liem said that the province will prioritise partners with strong economic capacity and large economic groups, as well as projects using high technology friendly to the environment, and investment in industrial parks and clusters.
He said that in order to continue attracting FDI, in the coming time, the province will focus on improving the investment environment, enhancing competitiveness and strengthening support for businesses.
Binh Duong will also complete its infrastructure system such as transport, water supply, electricity and waste treatment system, while creating land for projects, developing human resources, added Liem.
Currently, Binh Duong has 29 industrial parks with a total area of 12,790 hectares, of which, 26 have been operating. Under its master plan, by 2020, the province will have 34 industrial parks with a combined area of over 15,000 hectares.
In 2017, the province lured over 2.5 billion USD of FDI, exceeding the yearly target by 79 percent, up 125 percent over 2016. Of which, 80 percent were disbursed, higher than the average figure of the previous years at 78 percent.
Committee for state capital management to be founded in Q1
The committee for state capital management at enterprises must be set up in the first quarter of 2018 so as to affirm its legal status, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has said.
Hue, head of the Prime Minister’s working group on the committee establishment, made the remark at the first meeting of the group on January 16 after it had been formed under the PM’s decision one day earlier.
Standing deputy head of the group Nguyen Hoang Anh is also Chairman of the committee for state capital management at enterprises. Other deputies are Minister-Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, and Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung.
The working group also comprises five other members.
At the meeting, participants looked into draft regulations on the working group’s operations, the issuance of a Government resolution on the committee establishment, and a Government decree on the committee’s structure, functions, and tasks.
Deputy PM Hue asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to coordinate with other ministries to submit a draft Government resolution on the committee establishment for discussion at the Cabinet’s February meeting. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Planning and Investment needs to promptly build a draft Government decree on the committee’s structure, functions, and tasks.
He noted while efforts must be made to set up the committee in the first quarter, ministries and sectors must continue speeding up the equitisation of and divestment from State-owned firms in 2018 as scheduled.
Ministries must not abandon businesses immediately after the new committee takes over the firms, or the equitisation and divestment will slow down. Their responsibility for ailing projects remains intact, he added.
Binh Duong province aims to attract 1.4 billion USD in FDI
The southern province of Binh Duong has set a target of attracting 1.4 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2018, according to Tran Thanh Liem, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.
Liem said that the province will prioritise partners with strong economic capacity and large economic groups, as well as projects using high technology friendly to the environment, and investment in industrial parks and clusters.
He said that in order to continue attracting FDI, in the coming time, the province will focus on improving the investment environment, enhancing competitiveness and strengthening support for businesses.
Binh Duong will also complete its infrastructure system such as transport, water supply, electricity and waste treatment system, while creating land for projects, developing human resources, added Liem.
Currently, Binh Duong has 29 industrial parks with a total area of 12,790 hectares, of which, 26 have been operating. Under its master plan, by 2020, the province will have 34 industrial parks with a combined area of over 15,000 hectares.
In 2017, the province lured over 2.5 billion USD of FDI, exceeding the yearly target by 79 percent, up 125 percent over 2016. Of which, 80 percent were disbursed, higher than the average figure of the previous years at 78 percent.
Ho Chi Minh City to host Mekong Beauty Show in June
Organic cosmetic products which are environmentally friendly will be introduced to consumers in sub-Mekong region at the Mekong Beauty Show scheduled to open at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre in Ho Chi Minh City on June 14.
The three-day event is expected to lure more than 200 international and local cosmetics exhibitors, including those from the EU, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan.
According to IMF Forecast, as an emerging market for cosmetic products, the sub-Mekong region with four countries of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar has experienced a growth of 30 percent in cosmetic product consumption in recent years.
The show will serve as a venue to link businesses in the sub-Mekong region.
At a press conference held on January 16 to introduce the show, Claudia Bonfiglioli, General Manager of Informa Beauty, said that Vietnam has huge potential to develop natural and organic cosmetic products. 
However, the country still lacks programmes to connect enterprises in the sector, she noticed, adding that Informa Beauty has set up clubs for Vietnamese distributors and retailers and build connection with the Vietnam Essential Oil Association.
Meanwhile, Bui Ngoc Quynh Giao, Brand Manager of Illahui Vietnam, underlined that Illahui has developed convenience stores in the country to sell its organic beauty products.
Many local firms have paid due attention to branching out natural cosmetic products as they believe that the products will help the Vietnamese cosmetic sector to create breakthrough in the future.
Vinacomin eyes payroll cut, revenue rise in 2018     
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung asked the Viet Nam National Coal and Minerals Group (Vinacomin) to focus on labour and environmental safety as it develops a specialised management model. He spoke at the conference held in Ha Noi on Tuesday to sum up Vinacomin’s operations in 2017 and launch tasks for 2018.
“The group should continue to develop drastic solutions to ensure labour safety. It is also required to ensure environmental protection and consider it as a top requirement in production,” he said.
Dung hailed Vinacomin’s contributions to the country’s development in 2017.
He asked the group to strengthen discipline in exploitation and preventing trade fraud.
He also highlighted the group’s shortcomings in exploiting unsuitable coals, which resulted in large inventory without meeting customers’ requirements.
The application of science and technology in the exploitation and processing of the group’s main products has been undertaken slowly. Some investment projects have been delayed or ineffective, causing losses in State capital.
The deputy PM said this year would determine the country’s success in completing the five-year socio-economic development plan in the 2016-20 period, creating heavy pressure for the coal and minerals sector.
Vinacomin was also asked to enhance the mobilisation of social resources to attract investment into projects to upgrade current mines to increase coal output for the economy.
Vinacomin should focus on restructuring its investments to create highly competitive products. This would help the group improve productivity, quality and effectiveness. It should also enhance its relationship with localities and partners both inside and outside the country.
Vinacomin’s total revenue in 2017 reached VND109.2 trillion (US$4.8 billion), posting a 7.3 per cent year-on-year increase. Its profit was estimated at VND2.5 trillion, up VND1.5 trillion from 2016. It contributed VND13.4 trillion to the State budget.
Dang Thanh Hai, Vinacomin’s general director, said the profit was partly contributed by its two aluminum plants producing 1.14 million tonnes. Revenue from the two plants was VND8.6 trillion. Nhan Co Aluminum Plant alone posted an output of 501,000 tonnes or 80 per cent of its designed capital.
In 2017, Vinacomin’s coal consumption was estimated at 35.5 million tonnes. Of this, the local coal consumption was 34 million tonnes and the remaining was exported.
Hai said by the end of last year, the group had 104,500 labourers, 6,000 people fewer than the previous year.
Its labour productivity rose by 8.6 per cent from 2016 with the average salary of VND9.4 million per month.
The group’s electricity output last year reached 9.38 billion kWh, increasing 10 per cent from the previous year.
“Vinacomin will invest VND12.8 trillion in parent companies and its subsidiaries in 2018,” he said.
He added that the group also aimed to produce and consume 36 million tonnes of coal this year including 34.1 million tonnes for local consumption and 1.9 million tonnes of exports.
It targeted total revenue of VND113.8 trillion, profit of VND2 trillion and contributions of VND13.6 trillion to the State budget in 2018.
The aluminum output was scheduled at 1.23 million tonnes.
The group planned to reduce its payroll by some 4,500 people to bring its total staff to 100,000. 
Construction achieves 8.7% growth rate in 2017: ministry
Deputy Minister of Construction Lê Quang Hùng said 2017 has been a breakthrough year for the construction industry as it has met or surpassed almost all development targets.
He was addressing a conference to review 2017 and set out new goals for 2018, with the attendance of Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.
Hùng said in 2017 the industry witnessed a relatively high growth rate of 8.7 per cent.
It contributed 0.54 per cent to the nation’s overall GDP growth rate of 6.81 per cent, ranking third among all industries in terms of contributions to GDP.
The country’s urbanisation rate reached 37.5 per cent last year, increasing by 0.9 per cent year on year. The country currently has 813 urban areas, 11 more than in 2016.
A report by the ministry said that last year, the average floor area per person increased by 0.6 sq.m compared to 2016, to reach 23.4 sq.m per person.
A further 190,000 sq.m of social housing was added in urban areas, lifting the total area of social housing in urban areas to 3.49 million sq.m. About 220,000 accommodations for students were put into use.
A total of 3,077 real estate projects are being implemented with investment capital of VNĐ3.3 quadrillion (US$144.9 billion), covering nearly 78,000 ha.
Of these, about 300 projects are big projects, each of which has total investment of over VNĐ3 trillion and provide over 1,500 apartments.
On tourism property, as of July 2017, there were 77 projects providing 16,437 hotel rooms, 11,174 villas and 12,056 condotels developed or being developed.
Without revealing the number of condotels which had been sold to secondary investors, the deputy minister warned about the “hot” development of this type of property.
"The supply of condotels has been abundant and more measures are needed to control it in the future," Hùng said.
Hùng said some shortcomings had still not been solved during the past year, including rampant construction violations, which in some cases kept occurring even after punishments were handed out.
The structure of products in the real estate market was still a problem, with an abundance of high-end apartments and deficiency of low-cost housing.
He also admitted the slow pace of renewing old apartment buildings.
Currently there are about 2,500 old apartment buildings nationwide, most of which were built before 1994. Of these, 600 buildings have seriously deteriorated and pose dangers to residents.
The implementation of some social housing programmes shared the same fate due to the ending of the VNĐ30 trillion housing stimulus package, while the capital allocated to support social housing projects in the 2016-2020 mid-term public investment plan was not much.
In 2018, the ministry will implement a project to conduct assessment and forecasting work, based on which it would propose solutions and policies to ensure the healthy and stable development of the real estate market.
The ministry will also work to devise a project on economic security in the housing and real estate market to ensure social welfare and complete a database on the housing and real estate market.
Another major goal will be cooperating with related ministries and agencies to solve difficulties in State budget allocation to effectively implement major housing projects.  
Looking to the coming year, Prime Minister Phúc demanded the construction authorities decisively carry out solutions, aiming to achieve an annual growth rate of 9.2 per cent.
“The ministry should increase the proportion of private investment, especially to encourage the public private partnership (PPP) model in order to utilise sufficient resources as well as improve the constructions’ quality,” Phúc said.
More steps needed to develop low-cost housing: PM
The Ministry of Construction should take more effective steps to support the development of low-cost housing and build an information system about housing and property market to improve transparency, management and planning, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
PM Phuc made the remarks during a conference held by the Ministry of Construction in Hanoi on January 16 to review the sector’s performances last year and discuss plans for 2018.
The PM spoke highly of the sector’s development and the ministry’s management of the local property market in 2017. 
He also pointed out shortcomings of the sector last year, notably the poor quality of several construction planning schemes that had short-term vision and were not suitable to real-life situations; lack of inspections of at-risk and old buildings in urban areas; and an over-supply of luxury apartments and a shortage of low-end and mid-end housing projects.
The PM urged the ministry to make more efforts this year to achieve a 9.2-percent growth and to complete all basic infrastructure projects by 2020.
The sector must attract more private investments, particularly under the Public-Private Partner form, to improve the projects’ quality and efficiency; and at the same time, foster the use of advanced technologies to increase productivity in the context of the fourth industrial revolution.
According to reports by the Ministry of Construction, the construction sector ranks third among the largest contributors to Vietnam’s GDP growth of 6.81 percent in 2017.
The construction industry had a successful year in 2017 with most figures exceeding development targets, Deputy Minister of Construction Le Quang Hung said, noting that the industry expanded by 8.7 percent in 2017.
The rate of urbanization was estimated at 37.5 percent, 0.9 percent higher than 2016 and now the country has 813 cities, up 11 cities year on year, he noted.
The floor area per person averaged 23.4 sq.m last year, up 0.6 sq.m year on year, the Ministry of Construction reported. The country constructed a further 0.19 million sq.m of low-cost housing in urban areas, bringing the total area of urban low-cost housing to 3.49 million sq.m.
In 2017, five more housing projects for low-income earners and workers at industrial parks were put into use, providing 1,225 apartments. Sixteen other projects are underway, expected to supply 5,200 apartments.
At the event, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc awarded the Ministry of Construction and its subordinate units Labour Orders in recognition for their great performances.
Direct flight launched between Chongqing (China) and Hanoi
China-based Chongqing Airlines on January 16 launched a direct service connecting Chongqing, a major city in southwest China, and Hanoi.
The flight departs from Chongqing at 9:15 am (local time) on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and returns from Hanoi at 14:45 pm (local time) the same day.
Chongqing Airlines uses Airbus 320 aircraft for the direct route, expecting to welcome on board an average of 150 passengers each flight.
Founded in 2007, Chongqing Airlines operates domestic passenger services in mainland China. It is jointly owned by China Southern Airlines and Chongqing Municipal Development and Investment Company.
In recent years, the airline has expanded its services overseas with flights connecting Chongqing and major cities in the region, including Bangkok, Phuket (Thailand) and Singapore.
Japanese Mitsui encouraged to invest in Vietnam’s infrastructure
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has suggested the Mitsui Company invest in infrastructure construction in Vietnam while meeting with a visiting executive of the Japanese group in Hanoi on January 16.
During his visit to Vietnam, Mitsui Chief Executive Officer and President Tasuo Yasunaga, had working sessions with the company’s Vietnamese partners, including the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), on the Block B gas projects and cooperation in liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The Deputy PM highlighted the growing extensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and Japan, reflected by the political trust between senior leaders, and fruitful cooperation between businesses in economics, trade and investment.
Over the past time, Japanese investment in Vietnam has generated positive benefits for both sides, Dung said.
He hailed the cooperation between the Japanese firm and its partners in developing the Block B gas projects, affirming that the projects play an important part in ensuring national energy security.
For his part, the Mitsui executive reiterated that the Block B gas projects are among the company’s key cooperation agenda, pledging that the firm will work closely with PetroVietnam to accelerate the projects.
He also highlighted the huge support the Government, ministries and sectors of Vietnam have provided for Japanese firms on the basis of the extensive strategic partnership between the two countries.
Mitsui has great interest in transport infrastructure development, energy and health care in Vietnam, he added.
Positive signs for Vietnam's rice exports
Vietnam’s rice export industry has a bright future with good contracts after having a successful year. 
Vietnam has exported rice to 132 markets in the world and China remains Vietnam's biggest buyers.
Vietnam exported over 570,000 tonnes of rice last December, a 38.6% increase compared to the same period in 2016. Local firms signed contracts to export 6.4 million tonnes of rice, of which 5.8 million was exported in 2017. The exports in the first eleven months of 2017 reached 5.52 million tonnes worth USD2.49bn, up 24.1% and 24.9%, respectively, compared to same period the previous year. It also exceeded the 5 million tonnes target set in early 2017.
Some 764,000 tonnes of rice remains in the inventory. 209,000 tonnes of which belong to Vietnam Southern Food Corporation, Vietnam Northern Food Corporation has 107,000 tonnes and the rest belong to other companies in the Vietnam Food Association.
The Indonesian Bureau of Logistics announced on January 15 that it will start a bidding to import 500,000 tonnes of rice to Indonesia conducted under a government to public deal for both local and foreign firms. The rice must be harvested in less than six months and must be delivered by Feburary28.
According to the Jakarta Post, Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita said Indonesia would import rice from Vietnam and Thailand to ease local high prices.
According to experts, rice supplies in many countries such as Malaysia, Philippines and South Korea fell because of climate change. Rice exports will continue to grow thanks to the expansion to other markets including Bangladesh and Iraq in 2017. Dang Thi Lien, director of Long An Food Stuff Company, said there were many contracts from China and Philippines and the rice prices also increased to USD20 or USD50 per tonne.
Nguyen Thanh Long, director of Gao Viet Company, also think that rice exports will get better in the first quarter of 2018 if they have enough supply. The harvest time in several countries like Pakistan and Myanmar already passed while Thailand may harvest late by a month.
However, local firms still need to improve to meet food hygiene and safety requirements and better strategies to compete with India or Pakistan in African markets.
TPBank receives PCI DSS 3.2 certification     
Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) in Ha Noi received the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) certification on Tuesday.
PCI DSS, the latest version 3.2 from the US ControlCase, is a comprehensive set of requirements for enhancing cardholder data security around the storage and handling of a customer’s credit card information.
TPBank met with 12 strict requirements relating to information safety policies, IT infrastructure and data processing to ensure safety for card information. With the high security, the bank’s customers can be protected when using card services.
Nguyen Hung, TPBank’s general director, said information security has been the most important factor for banks in the digital area. “This showed the bank’s interest and serious investment in ensuring system security,” Hung said.
Suresh Dadlani, ControlCase’s managing director, said he valued the implementation of PCI DSS at TPBank. He forecast that the bank would continue to see rapid growth in digital banking services based on the security system.
Earlier, TPBank also co-operated with different card organisations, such as Visa to develop contactless TPBank Visa Paywave cards, and with Napas to issue domestic chip cards. It was the first bank in Viet Nam to introduce cards with two latest technologies in the market.
Thank to the IT foundation, TPBank has been one of the banks with a strong growth in new cardholders.
Last year, it issued hundreds of thousands of new cards nationwide.
PCI DSS standard was established by the Standards Council of Security for payment cards, including the founders: Visa, MasterCard, American Express (AMEX), Discover Financial Services and JCB International. PCI DSS standard was developed to help organisations protect card payment data against fraud and illegal data usage. 
VN effectively uses ODA from South Korea: KOICA     
Viet Nam is one of the countries that has effectively used the official development assistance (ODA) provided by South Korea over the past few years.
This was revealed by Chairwoman of the Korea International Co-operation Agency (KOICA) Lee Mi-kyung, at a meeting with head of the Central Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh on Tuesday.
Binh emphasised that Korea is one of the most important economic partners of Viet Nam, the largest foreign investor with more than US$50 billion and the fourth largest trading partner.
The Viet Nam–Korea Free Trade Agreement, which came into force on December 20, 2015, has created a new impetus for the achievement of the goal of increasing bilateral trade between the two countries to $100 billion by 2020.
Appreciating the effective co-operation of the government of Korea and KOICA in contributing to the overall development of relations between the two countries, Binh asked the Korean government, including KOICA, to continue to expand its co-operation with Viet Nam in all areas, especially vocational training and management capacity projects, in order to support the country in sustainable development and to implement the five-year socio-economic development plan in the 2016-20 period.
Binh also asked South Korea to share its experiences with Viet Nam over financial and capital market development, industrial development, and tax and fiscal policies. Meanwhile, Mi-kyung affirmed that the agency would continue to support Viet Nam in the future to contribute to its socio-economic development and promote further co-operation between the two countries. 
Vietnam growing as export destination for Republic of Korea
Exports of the Republic of Korea (RoK) to Vietnam increased impressively in 2017, making its trade surplus with the Southeast Asian country surpassing that with the United States.
Statistics of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) showed that last year, the RoK exported 47.7 billion USD worth of products to Vietnam, accounting for 8.3 percent of the country’s total outbound shipments.
The increase is impressive compared with three years ago when Vietnam-bound shipments accounted for only 3.9 percent of the RoK’s exports.
Vietnam entered the group of the RoK's top 10 export countries for the first time in 2009 with a total export turnover of 7.1 billion USD. In 2015, it ranked third after surpassing Japan
The trade surplus with Vietnam has subsequently increased. After exceeding 10 billion USD in 2012, the surplus expanded to 20 billion USD in 2016 and to 31.6 billion USD last year, the data showed. Meanwhile, the figure for 2017 is more than the 17.9 billion USD with the US, KITA data showed.
Trade analysts attributed the growth to a bilateral free trade agreement which came into effect from December 2015. Big name companies like Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have been setting up their production bases in Vietnam, also boosting the trade volume between the two countries.
Ministry urged to design special mechanisms for north-south highway
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung asked the Transport Ministry to soon submit special mechanisms for the north-south highway project during a meeting to launch the sector’s activities for 2018. 
Dung lauded the ministry for completing the task on building legal documents and goals regarding transport, traffic safety, transport infrastructure and administrative reform in 2017. 
He required the ministry to continue working to reduce traffic accidents which still claim over 8,000 lives per year. 
Another issue of concern is the development gap among different transportation modes, with the slow development of railways and highways putting pressure on national routes and reducing economic competitiveness, the Deputy PM said. 
He also underlined the shortcomings of BOT projects which caused public disorder recently and assigned the ministry to review legal regulations in the field. 
At the same time, the ministry should review service costs in airports and tighten the control of overload vehicles. 
Transport Minister Nguyen Van The said the sector will tighten discipline in personnel work and raise the sense of responsibility of officials to fulfil its tasks.
Phu Tho province looks to boost exports
The northern province of Phu Tho has outlined plans to bolster exports in 2018 by focusing on trade promotion and building trademarks for local staples, said Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Manh Hung.
The department will mobilise local enterprises to renovate their production lines to improve competitive capacity, he said.
Significant efforts will be channeled into reform of administrative procedures and the implementation of guidelines of ministries, sectors and the province to remove bottlenecks for business and production.
The province targets to earn 1.3 billion USD in export revenue in 2018.
Last year, Phu Tho’s export value rose 36.8 percent year on year to 1.3 billion USD. This was the second time that the province’s export revenue surpassing 1 billion USD. Of the total amount, 1.1 billion USD was contributed by foreign-invested companies.
Strong growth was seen in the shipments of garment and textiles, sport shoes, plastic and processed tea. 
The US, the EU, ASEAN, Japan and the Republic of Korea remained Phu Tho’s key export markets.
Local enterprises worked to seek trade partners, popularise products whie expanding production and improve product quality.
TH Group begins construction of hi-tech milch cow farm in Phu Yen
Vietnam’s TH Group, famous for its TH True Milk brand, held a ground-breaking ceremony in the south central province of Phu Yen on January 18 for a high-tech milch cow and milk processing complex. 
Lying in Son Dinh commune, the mountainous district of Son Hoa, the project will raise 5,000 milch cows, build materials zones and produce around 72 tonnes of fresh milk per day in the first stage with a total investment of 1.151 trillion VND (51.15 million USD). 
During the second stage, the cow herd will increase to 20,000 heads at a combined cost of 4.570 trillion VND. 
Apart from more than 78 ha of land used for farms, the group will partner with local residents to build feed materials zone on a site of roughly 377ha, mostly corn and grass for cows.
The milk processing plant is due to be built in An My commune, Tuy An district. 
Thai Huong, TH Group founder, said the complex uses milch cow management technology of Israel, epidemics control system of New Zealand and water and waste treatment technology of Japan and the Netherlands
Once operational in early 2019, the project will raise income for thousands of workers in the locality.
VNN
Deadly synthetic drugs create many new addicts

Waking up after five days in a coma at Hanoi’s Bach Mai Hospital, a 16 year-old girl does not recognise anyone, not even her father.

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A 41-year-old patient suffering from severe methamphetamine shock is treated at Bach Mai Hospital’s Poison Control Centre. - VNA/VNS Photo

No matter what anyone asks, she has the same answer: “I don’t know. I don’t remember anything.”
She is one of two patients currently being treated for methamphetamine shock at the hospital’s Poison Control Centre.
Nguyen Trung Nguyen, who is in charge of the centre, said that the girl was completely unconscious when she was moved here from a provincial hospital. Her nerves and heart have been affected.
“The girl has come out of the coma but she is not able to recognise everything properly,” the doctor said.
Her father, Tran Thanh Minh, traveled more than 2,000km from his hometown in southern Kien Giang Province to take care of his daughter.
He said that his daughter was working as a cosmetics seller in northern Hoa Binh Province. Each month, she sent VND2.5 million to her family. On hearing of her coma, the whole family was shocked to learn that the girl was addicted to synthetic drugs.
“I feel really sad. My daughter no longer remembers me,” he told the Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper.
The centre is treating another serious case of methamphetamine shock. The 41-year-old male patient experienced brain, kidney and heart damage as a result of the drug.
Dr. Nguyen said that poisonous elements included in the drug directly attack the heart and cause heart pain and kidney failure.
“Addicted people experiencing delusions will cause risks to themselves and community members. They may kill others if they have weapons. Doctors have been attacked by addicted people in emergency cases,” he said.
Nguyen said that methamphetamine use pose tremendous risks both when patients are directly under its influence and when they are addicted and use it chronically.
“Acute addiction will cause after-effects. Those exposed to chronic addiction stand a high risk of heart failure and have a little chance of being saved,” he said.
Recently, the centre has received patients suffering from shock with synthetic drugs such as amphetamines, khat leaves and lysergic acid diethylamide. Those admitted to hospital are mostly students and adolescents.
The symptoms end with not only neurosis and illusions but also more severe reactions including coma and heart beat and blood pressure disorder, threatening patients’ lives.
Two people treated at the centre recently died of complications to their hearts and nerves after taking methamphetamine.
According to the Ministry of Health’s 2017 report submitted to the Prime Minister, there is an increasing trend of using Amphetamine-Type Stimulants. Methadone treatment is not effective with those taking synthetic drugs.
In many localities, such as Dong Nai Province and Da Nang City, nearly 90 per cent of newly-addicted people take Amphetamine-Type Stimulants.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, 210,751 people were addicted to drugs as of 2016. Of the total, 20,778 people were addicted to synthetic drugs.
Doctor Nguyen said that there are new types of drugs hidden in medicine and games that are not easily recognised.
Parents should watch their children closely for abnormal signs.
“Young people should stay away from drugs and drug abuse because drugs not only affect their health, career and future, but drug takers may also lose their lives at any time if they suffer from acute poison. The poisons may spoil the nervous system, the heart and organs,” he said. 
VNS