Thứ Ba, 30 tháng 9, 2014

Former transport minister withdraws from DCIC

Former Minister of Transport Ho Nghia Dung is no longer a board member of Deo Ca Investment Joint Stock Company (DCIC), the firm has announced.

 Former Minister of Transport Ho Nghia Dung, DCIC, Ca Pass tunnel project
An artist’s impression of Ca Pass tunnel - Photo: Courtesy of DCIC
DCIC said in a statement that after some newspapers reported the former minister’s participation in its board of directors was against the Government’s Decree 102/2007/ND-CP, leaders of the company discussed and agreed to let Dung stop his position as an independent board member at the enterprise.
“Leaders of DCIC had not carefully considered all relevant legal documents before inviting Dung to join the board and this has caused negative public comments on our implementation of the Ca Pass tunnel project. We hereby acknowledge the mistake and apologize for that,” the statement said.
The Ministry of Transport approved the drawing up of a feasibility study for the tunnel project in March 2001. However, the project was not turned into reality due to the large scale, complicated techniques and huge investments of the project.
After the withdrawal of previous investors, the consortium of new investors at DCIC proposed carrying out the project and got approval from Dung in Decision 2860/QD-BGTVT dated October 5, 2010 when he was Minister of Transport.
Based on the documents prepared by French consultant Egis Bceom International in October 2011, current Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang signed Decision 47/QD-BGTVT on January 6, 2012 agreeing on the deployment of the tunnel project under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) and build-transfer (BT) formats.
According to DCIC, many difficulties arose during the implementation of the project as a French lender required the Government’s loan guarantee and France’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project. This resulted in higher investment capital for the project.
Therefore, Thang demanded a stop to the EPC contract and that the project would be carried out by Vietnamese capable firms, and all documents related to finance and implementation were prepared again. This meant former Minister of Transport Dung did not involve in these documents.
DCIC said Dung joined the project as an independent board member and an advisor, and did not make capital contribution.
The Ca Pass tunnel lies on the National Highway 1A section between the central provinces of Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa. Invested by DCIC, the VND15.603-trillion project got off the ground in late 2012 and is scheduled for completion in 2017.
Social News 1/10

Hanoi authorities seize 20 iPhone 6
The Market Management Unit No 1 under Ha Noi's Market Management Department yesterday seized 20 iPhone 6 smartphones from a man living in Dai Kim commune of Hoang Mai district.
The man, named Hoang Ba Thuc, did not have any papers to prove legal possession of the 20 smartphones, which are worth a total of VND 500 million.
Thuc admitted that he had bought the phones from HCM City via express service in order to sell them illegally.
Captain of the Market Management Unit No 1 Nguyen Dang Khoa said that his unit was making further investigations in the case.
More trees to be cut down in HCMC
Many trees along Ton Duc Thang Street in HCMC’s District 1 will be felled or moved to other places to make room for construction of Thu Thiem 2 Bridge.
Nguyen Khac Dung, head of the Greenery and Public Park Office under the Department of Transport, told the Daily that the city will chop down 84 big trees and relocate 37 others but will keep 151 out of a total 272 trees in the construction site.
Most of the trees that need to be cut down would lie along the bridge and near the piers, each measuring over 80 centimeters in diameter. Therefore, the relocation of those trees is quite unlikely due to the huge costs, Dung said.
However, more trees will be re-planted along Thu Thiem 2 Bridge when its construction is complete, Dung added.
In addition, Urban Traffic Management Unit No. 2 under the transport department proposed chopping down as many as 215 trees to expand Nguyen Van Huong Street in District 2.
Furthermore, 57 trees in September 23 Park will be also uprooted to facilitate the construction of Ben Thanh underground central station as part of Metro Line No.1 connecting Ben Thanh Market in District 1 and Suoi Tien Theme Park in District 9.
Earlier in July, 41 trees in front of the City Opera House were felled to make room for the metro line.
The Transport Department has mulled a number of measures and solutions in an effort to minimize the number of trees being cut down or relocated, Dung noted.
The department is now preparing a plan for developing the city’s greenery and parks by 2020 with a vision toward 2025. The zoning plan is expected to be ready at the end of this year.
Vietnam Air to sell tickets for Tet flights next month
Vietnam Airlines will start selling air tickets for its services during the Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet, from early October.
The national flag carrier said in a statement that it would offer tickets for Tet flights five months ahead of the holiday to enable passengers to plan their travels and bookings beforehand.
Tet tickets will be available for booking at its website on, and ticketing offices and authorized agents of the airline nationwide.
The carrier calls for passengers to make bookings as soon as possible to find an appropriate flight as tickets could hardly be found in the lead up to the biggest and longest public holiday. As usual, demand for air travels always runs high before and during the holiday.
In the middle of this month, no-frills carrier VietJetAir began selling 360,000 tickets for Tet flights. The carrier sells air tickets for Tet flights on, via its call center at 19001886, and at its ticketing offices and authorized agents nationwide.
Another low-cost carrier, Jetstar Pacific, has launched the sale of tickets for its flights during Tet, which will fall early next year.
Over 12,500 kids face HIV risk in Son La
Around 12,500 children in the northwestern mountainous province of Son La are at risk of contracting HIV, according to the provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.
Most of the children come from families with one or both parents or other relatives having HIV or using drug.
The province authorities currently monitor and provide free treatment for 156 children infected with HIV. However, many children of high risk are living in remote mountain areas and experience great difficulties in accessing health care services.
Dam Van Huong, Director of Son La Prevention HIV/AIDS Centre, said around 400 new HIV-infected cases are reported in the province each year, posing serious challenges for the provincial medical management and health care services.
According to the centre, in December 2013, the province had 8,782 HIV carriers, of whom 3,000 had developed full-blown AIDS. It ranks second in the country in terms of HIV infection rate, just after Ho Chi Minh City.
Son La also has over 15,000 heroin addicts, who are at high risk of contracting HIV.
Flood-proof housing plan benefits 50,000 families
Dong Thap Province still has 13,000 families living in flood-prone areas that need to be relocated as part of a state-run programme that has been carried out since 2001, according to the province's Department of Construction.
More than 50,000 families in the province have already been relocated into flood-proof residential clusters over the last 13 years.
With their new houses, residents have been protected during the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta's flood season, which usually lasts about four months.
This year, the flood season began in July, one month earlier than normal.
Dang Van Tuan, who lives in a flood-proof residential area in Tan Hong District, said in the past he had to stay up many nights to check rising water levels to move his family out in time.
Tuan and his family, who once lived in a makeshift house in Tan Hong's Binh Phu Commune, moved to the cluster in 2012.
"Now it is fine. My house is solid and the roads are good. I can now focus on work to provide for my family," he said.
Tuan said he had finished harvesting his rice and was now catching fish and shrimp brought by rising water levels in his rice fields.
Located upstream and in a low-lying area in the Mekong Delta, Dong Thap has the largest number of flood-proof residential clusters of any site in the country.
The state-run programme completed its first phase in 2007 and is now in its second phase.
Dinh Xuan Hoang, deputy director of the province's Department of Construction, said the province had built 53 flood-proof residential clusters in the second phase.
Fifty of those have been completed and the remaining three are expected to be completed this month.
The province has approved new flood-proof housing for 12,444 families, or 87 per cent of families targeted under the second phase. Of those families, more than 7,800 families have already moved to the residential clusters.
In the provinces' Thap Muoi District, local authorities have relocated more than 96 per cent of families into flood-proof residential clusters.
Dinh Minh Dung, deputy chairman of the Thap Muoi People's Committee, said the district had built flood-proof residential clusters in areas near markets and urban areas with suitable locations.
Le Minh Hoan, secretary of the province's Party Committee, said the housing situation had been solved but jobs must be created in the areas where residents have relocated.
Over the past years, Dong Thap's districts have begun several programmes to create jobs in and near flood-proof residential clusters. These included agricultural cooperatives and classes in handicraft-making.
Families in flood-proof residential clusters have also been provided soft loans to do business.
Illegal loggers fight forest guards
Once wary of local authorities and forest guards, loggers in the southern provinces of Lam Dong and Binh Thuan are growing increasingly defiant.
Driving in groups, they bring large trucks to the forests near Di Linh and Bac Binh communes, where they illegally chop down trees and drive away with the valuable wood. Many bring weapons in order to protect their hauls.
Nguyen Van Tap, an official at the Di Linh forest guard station, recalled an incident in which the forest guards caught illegal loggers red-handed and confiscated the wood.
"On the way out of the forest, about a hundred men, among them local thugs, caught up with us and reclaimed the wood. Some even attempted to disarm us," he said.
Tam Hiep Forestry One Member Company Limited, a company charged with taking care of parts of the forest in Di Linh commune, also experienced hostility, including blackmail and threats, while dealing with illegal loggers.
Director Tran Anh Tuan said the police couldn't be of much help due to the lack of evidence. Some loggers were charged with minor offenses, but this failed to deter them from future provocations.
Forest guards find it particularly difficult to monitor illegal loggers' movements in the overlapping area between the two provinces. The Lam Dong Forest Guard carried out a dozen campaigns in 2014 and confiscated equipment, vehicles and illegal wood, but loggers simply moved from one province to the other.
The area is under-populated, which further complicates the fight against loggers, as their operations usually go unnoticed. Using terrain to their advantage, loggers exploit tricky mountain paths to enter protected forest areas. Once discovered, they quickly move to alternative paths.
Local authorities have seen some results by setting up checkpoints, forcing loggers to relocate their rendezvous points. Two more checkpoints are to be set up along key routes by the two provinces' authorities.
One dead, one injured in barbershop fire
One person died and another was injured after a barbershop caught fire in Binh Duong province's Thuan An town yesterday.
Tran Van Co was found dead upstairs whilst the female owner, Tran Thi Hai, was found unconscious and injured near the door.
Officials and residens heard calls from inside but could not break into the house because of heavy smoke and fire.
The local authority is investigating the situation.
Tay Ninh firm fined for pollution
Tay Ninh's People's Committee yesterday issued a fine of VND300 million (US$14,000) to Tay Ninh Industrial Park Infrastructure Development Joint Company (JSC PTHT Tay Ninh Industrial Zones) for a problem in the wastewater treatment system of Trang Bang Industrial Park.
The wastewater sample collected from the Industrial Park showed an amount of suspended solids and true color units that was 4.6 times higher than the standard.
JSC PTHT Tay Ninh explained that wastewater produced by Tran Hiep Thanh Textile Company was the major reason for the incident.
The company overloaded the system by producing around 1,000 cubic metres of wastewater per day, leading to the discharge of untreated wastewater.
JSC PTHT Tay Ninh Industrial Zones has fixed the problem and the wastewater now meets standards.
Vietnamese labor quality not improved much
Dr. Nguyen Thi Lan Huong from the Institute of Labor Science and Social Affairs said, at the ongoing 2013 Autumn Economic Forum in the northern province of Ninh Binh on September 27, that Vietnamese labor quality has not been improved drastically.
According to her study, more than 22,000 unskilled laborers without degree or qualification nationwide are assuming jobs which require training and skills. On the opposite side, around one million university degree and post-graduate diploma candidates are assuming non-skilled jobs.
Accordingly, there has been a drastic disparity in Vietnamese laborers’ monthly average salary. By statistics, in the second quarter of 2014, month average income of workers in agriculture-forestry and fisheries sector is lowest with VND3 million (US$ 141.509); of workers in industry and construction is VND4.3 million (US$ 202.830) and those working in service sector is VND5.2 million (US$ 245.283).
Lotte Center Hanoi’s lift sliding terrifies seven
A lift slided down last week from the 63rd floor in the newly-opened Lotte Center Hanoi before coming to a stop at the 29th floor, terrifying seven passengers inside.
At 65 storeys, the Lotte Center Hanoi is the capital city’s second tallest building after Keangnam Landmark 72.
A group of people entered the elevator on the 65th floor, the highest floor of the building, and after moving down to the 63rd floor, the lift suddenly halted for a short moment and then began to freely slided down at a high speed.
The lift stopped at the 29th floor and would not open its door to let the occupants out.
Some of them phoned the building’s management staffs and other concerned agencies for help. It was not until 40 minutes later that the passengers were able to get out of the lift with the assistance of the building’s staff.
The investor, Lotte Coralis Vietnam, accepted the incident in a release, claiming that as the censor recognised an abnormal fluctuation of the elevator, its safety device MOSIS was turned on to slow down the elevator before stopping at 29th floor.
The owner expressed regret for the problem and apologised the passengers.
New section of major road opened to traffic
A 1.4-km section near Hoa Ca Crocodile Farm of Pham Van Dong Street in HCMC’s Thu Duc District was opened to traffic on September 28 by the HCMC Department of Transport, helping ease congestion on nearby Kha Van Can Street.
Traffic congestion had been severe over the past years at this section, forcing local people to arrange small wooden or iron bridges over the median strip to help motorcyclists get out of jams at a fee of VND2,000.
As this road section has come into use, Kha Van Can Street is closed for an upgrade project.
At present, six kilometers of Pham Van Dong Street is now in use, reducing traffic congestion on Kha Van Can Street and National Road No. 13.
Another five-kilometer section from Linh Dong Street to Linh Xuan intersection in Thu Duc District is also scheduled for opening by the city Department of Transport before the traditional Lunar New Year 2015.
Meanwhile, a 500-meter road section near Go Dua Bridge in the same district will be opened to traffic before National Day next year (April 30), which enables travelers to move on Pham Van Dong Street from the Nguyen Kiem-Nguyen Thai Son intersection to National Highway No. 1A smoothly.
Pham Van Dong Street, formerly known as Tan Son Nhat-Binh Loi-Outer Beltway road, has six to 12 lanes and 13.7 kilometers in length.
This road starts from Truong Son Street near the Tan Son Nhat International Airport to Nguyen Thai Son Roundabout and ends at Linh Xuan intersection in Thu Duc District before connecting to National Highway 1A.
Soc Trang: Work starts on breakwater and roads for rescue work
Construction commenced on a breakwater and roads serving rescue work and national security in Tran De district, in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang on September 27.
The 20.5km project, including 10 bridges, is invested by the provincial Transport Department at a total of over VND979 billion (US$46 million). It is expected to be put into operation by 2018.
According to Tran Anh Viet, head of the Soc Trang provincial Transport Department, the project, running through Soc Trang city, Long Phu district, and Tran De was of importance to local socio-economic development. It was also connected with arterial roads such as Southern Hau River National Highway, National Highway No. 1A, No. 60 and provincial-level roads No.933, 933C, and 934.
Once completed, the project not only served to prevent salinity, protect production and enhance national security and disaster mitigation in Tran De, but also played an important role in the transport of passengers and goods and was a driving force for maritime economic development in Soc Trang, said Nguyen Trung Hieu, Chairman of Soc Trang provincial People’s Committee.
At the ceremony, construction units granted VND90 million for construction of three charity houses in three localities within the project area.
Jetstar Pacific Airlines offers ‘zero fare’ tickets
Budget airline Jetstar Pacific announced on September 27 a special promotion, offering direct 250 ‘zero fare’ return tickets (excluding tax and other additional fees) for local peoples in Hanoi, Hai Phong, Buon Ma Thuot, Vinh and Da Nang.
Passengers will enter a raffle for promotion tickets at the airline's ticket offices in Hai Phong on September 27, Hanoi on September 28, Buon Ma Thuot on October 5, Vinh on October 12 and Da Nang on October 19.
Earlier, the same programme was also organised in Ho Chi Minh City, Hue and Thanh Hoa province.
The promotion gives priority to passengers who are disadvantaged people.
Additionally, the airline will launch a promotion programme from 12a.m on September 26 to 12:59pm on September 28, with a one-way ticket selling for VND199,000 on international routes and VND 230,000 on domestic routes.
The tickets (excluding tax and other additional fees) are available on the airline’s website at or, as well as through hotline 1900 1550 and the airline's ticket offices.
Hanoi seminar tackles climate change impact
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) co-hosted a seminar in Hanoi on September 29, discussing measures to reduce greenhouse gases in agriculture.
Speaking at the seminar, MARD Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh underscored the point that agriculture, and in particular rice production, not only contributes to global warming, but is detrimentally affected by it.
“Agriculture accounts for 43.1% of total national greenhouse gas emissions, of which rice production makes up 57.3%,” Doanh said.
Doan also announced that a project to enhance Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) will be implemented in Vietnam at a cost of US$770,000. To finance the cost, US$700,000 will come from the UN One Plan and the remainder from the governmental corresponding capital
John Habe, FAO representative, in turn said success in reducing greenhouse gas emission requires close coordination and joint efforts of ministries and leaders at all levels and they must be reduced if the country is to achieve sustainable agriculture.
A NAMA working group on agriculture has been established and tasked with identifying priorities to food production and integrated energy, social and environmental sustainability, and potential for greenhouse gas emission reduction.
Internet project connects Long An’s remote localities
The project “Bringing the Internet to villages” by the Vietnam Internet Fund (VNIF) was launched in Moc Hoa district, the Mekong Delta province of Long An on September 29.
Accordingly, 40 computers, worth nearly VND400 million (US$18,900), were handed over to Tan Thanh Primary School in the district, the district People’s Committee and 12 border guard posts in the province.
Moc Hoa is a remote, disadvantaged district located in the Plain of Reed, bordering Cambodia.
The Moc Hoa project is the fourth of its kind undertaken by VNIF, which is managed by VNG Joint Stock Company. It will allow easier Internet access and greater networking benefit for underprivileged people, particularly children living in remote areas.
The programme has previously launched in Huu Lung district in the northern mountainous province of Lang Son, Dak Song district in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong and Yen Thanh district in the northern central province of Nghe An, with a total investment of VND800 million (over US$37,700).
Life-long learning week launched nationwide
A life-long learning week was launched in localities across the country on September 29 launched to raise public awareness of building a learning society.
A wide range of activities such as seminars, workshops and book-reading festivals are being held in response to the event.
Many young learners are keen on upholding book-reading culture
The Departments of Education and Training have opened vocational training courses for rural workers and helped learners sharpen their social skills and get updated on modern technology, in a joint effort to reduce poverty.
All sectors have also worked hard to promote life-long learning activities at libraries, museums and cultural houses.
In 2005, the Government adopted the life-long learning society strategy until 2010, which aims to create equal opportunities for people from all walks of life to pursue studying.
Joint media programme supports HIV/AIDS prevention
The National Committee for HIV/AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution Prevention and Control (NCHDPPC) and major national media agencies on September 29 signed an agreement to carry out a national public-service campaign aimed at stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The joint communication programme, which lasts through to 2020, will be joined by the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), Radio the Voice of Vietnam and Vietnam Television (VTV).
Under the agreement, the press agencies will serve as a conduit for scores of HIV/AIDS prevention messages and actively popularise key concepts pertaining to HIV/AIDS and prevention methods.
They will, in addition, regularly disseminate the NCHDPPC’s activities and publicise to the general populace the importance of society in assisting HIV/AIDS patients, drug users and prostitutes in reintegrating into the community.
Japan grants 30 management scholarships to officials
Japan will provide non-refundable aid for Vietnam to implement the Japan Human Resource Development Scholarships (JDS) project in 2015-2016.
Thirty candidates will be selected in 2015 for master’s degree courses in English in Japan.
Subjects vary from market economy management (public economy, public administration), urban and rural development, and environmental protection (climate change and disaster prevention), to legislation and public administration capacity enhancement.
For further information, candidates can access the website
JDS office has introduced the scholarship programme in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho, Danang, and Hue.
Vietnam vows multi-sectoral efforts in outbreak fighting
Vietnam will launch multi-sectoral efforts in combating epidemic diseases and join with countries worldwide in this endeavour, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien told the Global Health Security Conference in Washington DC, the US, on September 26.
She said Vietnam vows to fight epidemics in humans transmitted by animals and adopt the model of Emergency Operations Centre for epidemics control and public health care.
US President Barack Obama and Director General of the World Health Organisation Margaret Chan, in their speeches, underscored the challenges of global epidemic outbreaks, including Ebola in western African countries.
Attendees urged more accelerated efforts towards the goal of effective prevention, early detection and rapid response.
Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan and the Republic of Korea promised financial and technical assistance in laboratory tests and drug-resistance prevention.
The conference will become an annual event with the next to be held in the Republic of Korea in 2015.
During their stay in the US , the Vietnamese delegation held working sessions with Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell, former Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear who is now Defence Secretary Assistant, and Coordinator of the US Global AIDS Office Deborah Brix.
The hosts and other international organisations pledged help to Vietnam in the US’s Global Health Security Program in terms of technical transfer and financing in the next five years.
Vietnam is one of the first two countries chosen to pilot the programme following the working visit in 2013 by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The US committed over US$400,000 to Vietnam in October, and the sum may be higher in the next coming years.
Tighter control over foreign language education
The Ministry of Education and Training has just issued instructions to tighten control over the training and issuing of certificates to foreign language learners.
The tighter control would be applied to the printing, issuance and use of foreign language certificates throughout the education system.
As a result, the ministry is asking for collaboration with a prestigious foreign accreditation organisation to apply advanced solutions in testing and competence assessment for both learners and teachers.
The design of management systems, inspections and independent supervision over operations of educational organisations would be also allowed.
In recent years, foreign language education has been somewhat of a lightening rod, drawing strong but varying opinions, especially after the ministry decided to make learning a foreign language compulsory in high schools beginning 2015.
According to the regulation, students who already have standard foreign language certification would be exempt from the subject on the graduation exam.
The ministry is scrutinising the foreign language certification process nationwide.
Vietnam wins IAEA awards in plant mutation breeding
Vietnam won three out of 23 awards presented by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for its achievements in releasing mutant plant varieties and contributions to increased food security and sustainable development.
The o utstanding achievement award was granted to the Vietnam Agricultural Genetics Institute, which has worked with IAEA and domestic research institutions to create a number of flood-proof and high-yield rice varieties since the 80s.
T he Institute of Agricultural Science for Southern Vietnam and the Centre for Nuclear Techniques in Ho Chi Minh City secured an achievement award in mutation breeding.
Meanwhile, Ho Cong Cua and Tran Tan Phuong from the Soc Trang Department of Science and Technology also received the same accolade.
The one-off awards were to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Joint Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture.
They were announced d uring the 58th regular session of the IAEA General Conference, which concluded in Vienna, Austria, on September 26.
Young teacher finishes Hanoi-HCMC walk
Vo Manh Tuan, who is a young teacher with a Master’s degree at Kon Tum Vocational School, reached his final destination at the Reunification
Palace in HCMC last week after walking 2,000 kilometers from Hanoi within two months.
The people welcoming Tuan at the finish line included his family members, friends and members of Quang Tri Province’s Former Students and Students Club. They said it was amazing to see a young Quang Tri Province-born man strive to keep moving forward and complete his north-south walk despite hash weather conditions which made him tanned and thinner.
“This trans-Vietnam walk is aimed to raise funds to support poor children in coastal regions and help them go to school”, Tuan said.
Tuan said he will be back to work and continue efforts for new fund-raising projects to support community programs after the journey.
Scholarships benefit 200 poor school children in central VN
The HCMC Party Committee’s Information and Education Commission last week awarded 200 scholarships worth VND500,000 to poor yet hard-working school children in central Vietnam.
The commission last Saturday presented 100 of the 200 scholarships to school children in Dien Ban District of Quang Nam Province during a central coast tour the commission arranged for HCMC-based news organizations, particularly those with journalists winning the 2014 journalism awards.
A day earlier the commission granted another 100 scholarships plus 100 radio receivers to school children on Ly Son Island off mainland Quang Ngai Province.
Lawrence S. Ting Memorial Fund donates VND9.1 billion
Phu My Hung Corporation and The Lawrence S. Ting Memorial Fund have offered scholarships and charitable aid with a total value of over VND9.1 billion as part of their 2015 program.
The Lawrence S. Ting Memorial Fund awards 473 scholarships, worth a combined VND4.12 billion, to excellent students from 34 high and tertiary schools nationwide. Each selected high school student will get a VND4.5 million scholarship in every school academic year while college and university students will receive a VND10 million scholarship each. Moreover, the Lawrence S. Ting Memorial Fund also sponsors local charitable funds and associations with a total value of VND5.06 billion this year.
Besides, the Lawrence S. Ting Memorial Fund donates educational equipment for IT teaching and learning in Vietnam in a program entitled “Tien buoc cung cong nghe thong tin” (Moving forward with IT) as well. In the past eight years, this program has  sponsored more than 122 computer-equipped rooms worth over VND37 billion in total at 96 schools nationwide.
After nine years of operations, the Lawrence S. Ting Memorial Fund has given more than VND192 billion to social and charitable activities, especially in health and education.

VN, India step up textiles ties
Textile industry representatives from Viet Nam and India gathered in Nam Dinh City yesterday to exchange information on opportunities for co-operation, especially the potential strengths of textiles in both countries.
About 160 businesses from the two countries took part in the seminar-workshop which the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) organised in collaboration with the Indian Embassy in Viet Nam, the People's Committee of Nam Dinh, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Indian Business Association in Viet Nam.
Do Huu Huy, an official of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said diversification in the supply of textile materials and the sustainable development of the Vietnamese garments industry was not dependent on a particular market.
According to Pham Quang Thinh, VCCI deputy head of International Relations, Viet Nam's garments industry must meet the requirements of supply chains to gain at least 10 per cent of world market share.
Some textile-importing countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) require the exporter to identify the origin of their products as well as the progress in the production of fabrics made in Viet Nam or TPP member countries. By doing so, they will enjoy a zero-per cent preferential tax rate.
Meanwhile, Viet Nam meets only 50 per cent of demand of locally-produced fiber materials. In such a situation, FDI and Indian businesses have quickly invested in Viet Nam to build paint, textile and dyeing factories.
Mohit, a representative of the Indian Business Chamber in Ha Noi, said that India was the world's second largest exporter of raw cotton, fabrics, yarn, and textile materials, accounting for 13.52 per cent of world market share and 24 per cent of world spinning capacity.
He added that Viet Nam was one of the world's leading countries in garment and textile exports but was too dependent on imports. India was now only exporting two per cent of its production to Viet Nam's textile industry.
According to Mohit, India is now the world's largest producer of natural and man-made fibers, and this would be a good area for future bilateral co-operation between the textile sectors of both countries.
India is now one of the country's 10 largest trade partners, with bilateral trade turnover last year reaching US$5.2 billion, a 30-per cent year-on-year increase. Viet Nam's exports to India reached nearly $ 2.3 billion and its imports from India reached $2.9 billion.
In the first eight months, bilateral trade between the two countries reached $3.78 billion.
Major exports to India include mobile phones, computers, electronics products and components, as well as coal, rubber, ore, plastic materials, chemicals and pepper.
Major imports from India include pharmaceuticals, animal feed, machinery and equipment, as well as raw materials for production.
As of August 2014, India has 83 investment projects in Viet Nam with a total registered capital of $256 million, mainly in manufacturing and mining. The two countries aim to increase their bilateral trade to $15 billion by 2020.
Leverage for development of support industries
The Vietnamese Government has developed a range of policies to support industrial businesses in anticipation of a huge wave of foreign investment. This is considered an important boost for enterprises operating in support industries.
According to Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Van Hieu, the government is drafting a decree to encourage and develop support industries and build a favourable business environment to attract foreign investors to the field.
It is necessary to acknowledge that the support industries play a central role in the entire industrial sector, Truong Thanh Hoai, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Heavy Industry Department, said.
Attempts to develop support industries must target key sectors and those that attract foreign direct investment (FDI), including garment, mechanics, electronics and assembling, he stressed.
Meanwhile, Shim Wonhwan, General Director of the Samsung Complex, said that if Vietnam failed to develop its support industries, the country will come to rely on external suppliers, thus weakening its competitiveness and hindering its sustainable and long-term economic development.
Therefore, industrial businesses need to try their best to gain a competitive edge, he noted.
Since investment in technology requires a large amount of capital, the Ministry of Finance and the State Bank of Vietnam should develop a mechanism that enables businesses to access long-term loans at preferential interest rates, Prof. Dr Nguyen Mai, Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Foreign Investment Enterprises (VAFIE), said.
Deputy Minister Hieu admitted that ineffective Government mechanisms and policies, combined with businesses’ limited technology, capital, production capacities, management experience and human resources, made FDI enterprises hesitant to join Vietnam ’s production chains.
Mai added that the support industries are not developing at a pace in line with the country’s full economic potential and that their products have low added value. Locally-made spare parts only account for 27.8 percent of those needed, while Thailand and China produce 60 percent and 50 percent, respectively, of their spare parts locally.
Statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment showed that Vietnam attracted close to 17,000 FDI projects so far, with a total registered capital of over 243 billion USD, from 101 countries and territories.
In recent years, FDI in the electronics industry increased remarkably, especially from the Republic of Korea (RoK), Japan and Taiwan .
Foreign-invested businesses have made Vietnam one of the top 10 electronics producers in the world within just over a decade, with a production value of 40 billion USD last year.
Can Tho city devises plans for aquaculture sector
The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho is making aquaculture the driving force for its agricultural sector, aiming to increase the value of aquatic exports to 2 billion USD by 2020, according to the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
To this end, Can Tho plans to implement 12 aquaculture projects in two main farming areas, Director of the department Pham Van Quynh said.
About 16,000ha in Thot Not district, Vinh Thanh district, and islets on the Hau River, is designated as farming area for giant river prawns, tra and basa fish, and a few other freshwater fish species. Meanwhile, the second farming area, covering 10,000ha in Vinh Thanh, Co Do, Phong Dien and neighbouring districts, will raise pangasius and freshwater fish.
The city aims to increase its aquatic output to 270,000 tonnes by 2020, up by 90,000 tonnes compared to 2013, Quynh added.
He said in order to meet the local demand for juvenile fish for breeding, Can Tho will build a large-scale juvenile fish farm in Vinh Thanh and 100 smaller farms by 2016, increasing the number of farms for juvenile fish to 130 by 2020.
Additionally, the city will develop and apply advanced technology and expand the application of VietGAP, GlobalGAP, and SQF 1000CM standards in aquaculture.
An additional 16 processing factories that meet ISO and HACCP standards are also going to be built in an effort to increase the city’s aquatic exports to 120,000 tonnes by the end of 2015 and 180,000 tonnes by 2020, the official said.
Quynh noted that the city will cooperate closely with other Mekong Delta localities to source seafood products for export.
So far this year, Can Tho has generated 320 million USD from aquatic exports,fullfing 65 percent of its yearly target.-
Ninh Binh forum discusses economic restructuring
The biannual Autumn Economic Forum that opened in the northern province of Ninh Binh on September 27 is seeking how to speed up economic restructuring.
Former Minister of Commerce Truong Dinh Tuyen commented that the restructuring process is slow due to a lack of capital regulations, cumbersome formalities and unfavorable business climate.
He warned that foreign investors are dominating the distribution sector, citing that 67.3 percent of exports are sourced from these players who also record a massive 70 percent industrial production value.
Vo Tri Thanh, deputy head of the Central Institute for Economic Management, said state-owned enterprises should properly address the issues of transparency, supervision, governance and equitisation if they wish a change.
Tran Du Lich, deputy head of Ho Chi Minh City’s National Assembly deputy delegation, proposed a better legal framework for the settlement of non-performing loans.
In his opinion, the Vietnam Asset Management Company should be made more financially capable, suggesting an inflow outside the banking sector to deal with this issue.
Attendees also called for more changes to the Law on amendments and supplements to some articles of the Laws on Housing, Civil Affairs, Real Estate Business and Corporate Law.
The two-day forum is co-hosted by the National Assembly Economic Committee, the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI ).
VietnamSingapore trade thrives
Singapore-Vietnam two-way trade totaled 13.538 billion SGD (equivalent to 10.83 billion USD) for the first eight months of 2014, a 22.2- percent year-on-year increase, according to the Singapore Department of Statistics.
During the period, Vietnam’s exports to Singapore maintained strong growth, hitting over 2.57 billion SGD (2.05 billion USD), rising by 22.4 percent compared to the figure of the same period last year.
The country’s leading export products were cellphones, electronic devices and components (839 million SGD); machinery and spare parts (over 256 million SGD); and crude oil (over 246 million SGD).
However, the trading value of items made from iron and steel, paper and paper products as well as beverages saw a decline.
Meanwhile, Singapore exported over 10.96 billion SGD (8.77 billion USD) worth of locally-made and re-exported commodities to the Vietnamese market, going up 22.2 percent year on year.
A number of those exports, including food and processed products; cigarettes and tobacco; oil and petrol; and optical and measurement devices and equipment, grew rapidly.-
Farm export profits rise 11.4 percent
Vietnam has earned 22.66 billion USD in profits from the export of farming, forestry and seafood products in the first nine months of 2014.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the profits represented an 11.4-percent year-on-year increase, with farming products bringing in 12.7 billion USD or a 9.8 percent increase; forestry products, 4.41 billion USD or 13.2 percent; and seafood products, 5.65 billion USD or 21.6 percent.
The ministry said the farming, forestry and seafood sector achieved a 6-billion USD trade surplus for the first three quarters of the year even as the sector spent 16.11 billion USD on imports, an 18-percent year-on-year increase.
It added that in the first nine months, coffee exports experienced a 31.9-percent year-on-year surge in volume to 1.35 million tonnes and a 27.9-percent year-on-year surge in value to 2.81 billion USD.
The coffee crop for the calendar year 2013 to 2014 is expected to post a 15-percent year-on-year increase in volume to 1.6 million tonnes and a nine-percent year-on-year increase in value to 3.27 billion USD.
Pepper exports achieved a 24.5-percent year-on-year surge in volume to 140,000 tonnes and a 41.9-percent year-on-year surge in value to 1.06 billion USD. The price of pepper exports posted a 12.3-percent year-on-year increase to 7,459 USD per tonne.
Cashew exports posted a 19.6-percent year-on-year surge in volume to 225,000 tonnes and a 21.8-percent year-on-year surge in value to 1.46 billion USD.
The price of rice exports posted a 3.3-percent year-on-year surge to 453.7 USD per tonne, but posted a 5.2-percent year-on-year decline in volume to 5.02 million tonnes and a 1.6-percent year-on-year decline in value to 2.29 billion USD.
Since mid-September, the domestic rice industry entered into new export contracts with the Philippines and Indonesia, leading to an increase in the export production volume and domestic price of the staple.
According to the Plantation Department, Vietnam has enough rice for export, including commercial varieties from the autumn-winter crop and the existing inventory.
Rubber exports likewise posted a 2.4-percent year-on-year decline in volume to 705,000 tonnes and a 21.9-percent year-on-year decline in value to 1.25 billion USD, as well as a 24-percent year-on-year decline in price to 1,800 USD per tonne.
China and Malaysia remained the two largest export markets for rubber, but the ministry said it was expecting a reduction in rubber exports to both markets.
Wood and wooden products exports posted a13.5-percent year-on-year increase in value to 4.41 billion USD. The value of forestry products exports to the United States posted a 14.41-percent year-on-year increase while those to Japan posted a 23.71-percent year-on-year increase, but those to China posted a 1.96-percent year-on-year decrease.
The key export markets of the US, Japan and China accounted for 62.33 percent of total national export value. Meanwhile, fisheries products exports posted a 21.6-percent year-on-year increase in value to 5.65 billion USD. The US remained the largest export market for Vietnamese seafood, accounting for 22.8 percent of total export value, followed by Japan with 14.58 percent.
Asus Expo 2014 set to kick off in Hanoi
Asus Expo 2014 gets underway in Hanoi on September 27 offering technology buffs a great opportunity to experience the latest in high-tech products from ZenWatch, Transformer Book V, ZenFone, and FonePad.
Spanning 3,000 square metres, the three-day exposition is attracting 400 pavilions showcasing a wide range of modern computers and components, tablets, and smart phones.
Asus is also introducing a new series of tablets to Vietnamese consumers including the – ASUS FonePad FE375CG and FE380CG – the best selling tablet cum phone last summer in Vietnam.
Additionally, two fashion-forward designs the MeMO Pad 7 ME572CL and MeMO Pad 8 ME581CL are set to display, bringing more options for Vietnamese users in the peak shopping season.
Within the framework of the exhibition, the final rounds of two major technological talent search contests with total cash prizes of VND200 million are planned.
ASUS, a technology-oriented company with a global staff of more than 10,000 and blessed with one of the world’s top R&D teams, is renowned for its high-quality products and cutting-edge innovation.
Mekong Delta region to adapt new Tra fish farming plan
Based on consumption data, the Mekong Delta region plans to gradually reduce the scale of its Tra fish production and apply a series of measures to enhance fish quality in 2015–2016, according to the Vietnam Tra Fish Association (VTFA).
The plan foresees a reduction of the Tra fish farming area by 500ha each year from the current 6,400ha.
A new environmentally friendly breeding technique will be implemented, helping increase the average productivity of Tra fish farming in the region to 180–200 tons per ha, compared to 160 tons per ha today.
Estimates reckon that in 2016, Tra fish output will total 1.2 million tonnes and the value of exports will reach at least 2 billion USD.
The region plans to change the production lines in all its Tra fish processing factories to cut production costs, improve quality and add value. Some 320 breeding facilities in nine provinces will be upgraded to produce high-quality breeding fish for farmers.
Vo Hung Dung, VTFA Vice Chairman, said attempts to boost Tra fish sales in international markets requires appropriate commercial protective measures and more promotional efforts in potential new markets, such as Russia, China and India.
During the first nine months of 2014, the region’s total volume of Tra fish production was 776,000 tonnes, of which 490,000 tonnes were exported, generating 1.27 billion USD. This year Tra fish export is expected to hit 1.8 billion USD.
Vietnam now provides more than 90 percent of the world’s Tra fish, with the US, the EU and Japan as its major markets.
Can Tho plans new air routes to boost tourism
The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho will begin direct air services to Lam Dong and Khanh Hoa provinces next year to promote tourism, according to its Investment, Trade and Tourism Promotion Centre.
The city hopes that the new routes will bring more foreign as well as domestic visitors from these places.
Also next year the city plans to develop tourism services and products and organise events to attract foreign tourists.
This year the city hopes to welcome 1.3 million visitors, an increase of four percent over last year.
Vietnam in the crosshairs of $1b Toshiba growth plan
Vietnam is anticipated to gain from Japanese leading electronic and electrical manufacturer Toshiba’s recently announced $1 billion investment fund in Southeast Asia over the next five years.
Hisao Tanaka, Toshiba’s president and CEO last week announced the group’s comprehensive strategy for expanding its business in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, and doubling its current sales to $7 billion by 2019.
“Southeast Asia currently enjoys positive benefits Japan does not have, including high economic growth and a young, highly capable workforce, and friendship which adds to the importance of our partnership,” Tanaka said. “Southeast Asia is dynamic and forward looking, and so is Toshiba. More than anything else, I want Toshiba to engage deeply in Southeast Asia, to understand and respond to the unique qualities of each country.”
Southeast Asia has long been a strategic manufacturing hub for Toshiba’s major businesses, including semiconductors, hard disk drives and SSD in the storage business, transmission and distribution equipment and industrial motors, and TVs and home appliances.
For Vietnam, Toshiba announced the group would continue to reinforce its thermal power plant business, support measures to secure stable power supply in the country. In addition, the group is committed to contributing to Vietnam’s continued economic growth by providing and installing advanced road transportation systems. In July this year, Toshiba received an order to supply two 600 megawatt supercritical steam turbines and generators for the  Vinh Tan 4 thermal power plant in Binh Thuan. Toshiba will start delivery in 2015. Earlier, Toshiba and two other Japanese companies won the contract to supply the Vietnam Expressway Corporation with an intelligent transport systems package including electronic toll collection, traffic control and equipment monitoring systems.
MoU signed between Kinh Bac and LG for latter’s Haiphong expansion
Vietnam’s leading industrial park developer Kinh Bac City Development Company signed a memorandum of understanding with LG Electronics for the investment expansion of the South Korean electronics giant in the northern port city of Haiphong.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed last week during an investment promotion conference held by the Haiphong Municipal People’s Committee in South Korea. Under the MoU, LG Electronics will lease an additional 50 hectares of land in Kinh Bac’s Trang Due Industrial Park.
LG Electronics previously leased 40 hectares of land in the Trang Due Industrial Park to build a $1.5 billion electronics manufacturing complex. The manufacturing facility will be operational next month, producing home appliances, smartphones and electronics components for the car and electronics industries. The South Korean electronics giant will invest $510 million to develop the first phase of this complex during 2013-2017. The second phase, worth $990 million, will be built over six years, from 2017 to 2023. The complex will serve both domestic and international markets, according to the investment certificate.
The investment promotion conference last week also attracted 50 South Korean companies, which are looking for opportunities to act as suppliers for LG Electronics in Haiphong.
Koreans drive industrialisation
Increasing investment from South Korean companies in the areas of energy, electronics and manufacturing are helping facilitate Vietnam’s industrialisation journey.
South Korean giants including Samsung Electronics, Doosan Heavy Industries, Kumho Asiana, Lotte and Posco have all heavily invested into Vietnam and are planning to increase their investments in the country in the near future.
Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest electronics firm, has already committed $8 billion to Vietnam for its facilities in Bac Ninh, Thai Nguyen and Ho Chi Minh City. Other subsidiaries of Samsung Group are researching investment opportunities in the country in the shipbuilding, property and power sectors.
Since Samsung Electronics built its first mobile phone factory in Bac Ninh in 2007, the company has helped Vietnam become a hub for global electronics exports. Last year Samsung Electronics’ total revenue from its Vietnam operations totalled $22 billion, a fifth of the nation’s total export value.
Export revenue from electronics products is expected to further increase next year, when Samsung puts its manufacturing complex in Thai Nguyen province into full operation and LG Electronics starts production on its $1.5 billion complex in Haiphong.
The focus of Korean transnational companies on Vietnam reflects that the country has moved from a destination for light industry (footwear, garments and textiles) to one for heavy industry.
Vietnam’s Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) reported total investment commitments from South Korea this year to September 20 came to $3.55 billion, accounting for a third of total foreign direct investment commitments during the same period. South Korea is the biggest investor into Vietnam this year.
“In the past we could only attract Korean investment into light industries, but there is a growing trend towards more advanced industries,” said Do Nhat Hoang, director of the FIA.
South Korea is one of Vietnam’s most important direct investors and I think this will continue and more investment will be seen in hi-tech industries,” he added.
Hong Sun, general secretary of the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Vietnam was the second most important investment destination for South Korean investors, after China. Therefore, he said many major firms were likely to increase their investments in the country.
Posco Group, for example, has said it considers Vietnam a key market in the Southeast Asia region. The group is going to inaugurate a steel factory in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province.
Kumho Asiana, which built a $100 million tyre factory in southern Binh Duong province in 2008, is planning to expand its investment in Vietnam to $300 million. The expansion would increase total capacity to 5.6 million units. Kumho Asiana Group chairman Sam-Koo Park also announced that the group planned to further expand the plant to reach an output of 13 million units.
Another Korean firm, Doosan, is preparing to expand the second phase of its production base in Vietnam, focused on manufacturing nuclear power equipment, a move aimed at better positioning the company as a potential contractor for domestic nuclear power plants.
Lotte Consortium – a joint venture between Korea’s Lotte and Japanese investors – was recently granted in-principle approval to develop the company’s proposed Smart Complex. The $2 billion facility is planned for the 2A area in the Thu Thiem New Urban Area in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 2. Lotte said it envisioned the complex as a landmark of the city and greater Southeast Asia.
Early this month, Lotte opened the Lotte Centre Hanoi - a major apartment, office, shopping and entertainment tower.
US$130-million integrated business park to go up in city
Asia’s leading business space solutions provider, Ascendas Pte Ltd has entered into a joint venture with Saigon Bund Capital Partners to develop OneHub Saigon, an integrated business park with a total development cost of some US$130 million, in Saigon Hi-Tech Park in HCMC.
The joint venture was revealed on September 25 when HCMC Chairman Le Hoang Quan presented the investment certificate to William Tay, CEO for Ascendas Southeast Asia, and Vo Sy Nhan, Managing Director of Saigon Bund Capital Partners under the witness of Goh Chok Tong, Emeritus Senior Minister and former Prime Minister of Singapore at the City Hall.
Ascendas said in a statement that the issuance of the investment certificate is the approval by the authorities of Vietnam for the joint venture to commence planning and development of the project.
The 60:40 joint venture will develop a 12-hectare land plot at the main entrance of Saigon Hi-Tech Park in District 9. The OneHub Saigon development costs S$163 million (some US$130 million) and will be directly connected to a future station of Metro Line No.1 under construction at the moment.
Ascendas executives said OneHub Saigon will be implemented in different phases in over seven years depending on market requirements. The first phase will commence with quality business spaces for companies in hi-tech manufacturing industries, information technology, media and outsourcing industries.
Components of Phase 1 will also consist of a mixed-use development with retail components to cater to existing demand in the vicinity. The business spaces and amenities within the park will be developed to meet international green standards to promote environmental and community sustainability.
Tay of Ascendas said the company has already established a presence in Vietnam through its 500-hectare Ascendas-Protrade Singapore Tech Park in Binh Duong province. “This partnership will tap onto the extensive development experience and vast network of Saigon Bund Capital Partners in Vietnam, and leverage on Ascendas’ experience in integrated business park developments in Asia to contribute to Vietnam’s growth as it moves up the value chain in industry development.”
Nhan of Saigon Bund Capital Partners believed that the joint venture will build a successful integrated development that will set “a new benchmark for a dynamic and creative working environment in Saigon Hi-Tech Park.”
OneHub Saigon will be another project in the OneHub series of developments by Ascendas in Asia to provide a seamless and vibrant work-live-play-learn environment for its tenants and the surrounding community. Synonymous with the OneHub Gurgaon in India and OneHub GKC in China, OneHub Saigon is an integrated business park comprising high quality business space, lifestyle amenities, educational facilities and home offices.
Located 15 kilometers away from HCMC’s downtown area, Saigon Hi-Tech Park is one of important economic projects aimed to drive the city’s development till 2025. As of last month, the park had attracted a total investment capital of US$2.5 billion from over 60 multinational companies, including Intel, Nidec, Sanofi Aventis and Air Liquide as well as major Vietnamese technology companies such as FPT.
Singapore-based Ascendas has built a strong regional presence and serves a global clientele of more than 2,700 customers in 26 cities across 10 countries and territories, including Singapore, China, India, South Korea and Vietnam.
Saigon Bund Capital Partners is an investment company with offices in Hong Kong and HCMC. It is a joint venture between NP Capital Partners and the Hong Kong-based Gaw Capital Partners, a private equity real estate firm with over US$3.5 billion of equity capital and close to US$8 billion in assets under management.
Formosa incident impacts budget revenue of Ha Tinh
Ha Tinh Province is concerned that it will not be able to realize its budget revenue target for this year due to the consequence of worker riots at Formosa steel complex at Vung Ang Economic Zone in May.
The central province had posted budget revenue of VND2.645 trillion as of September 19, equivalent to 68% of the year’s target assigned by the Ministry of Finance and 43% of the target approved by the provincial People’s Council.
If the taxes and fees paid by Formosa are excluded, the budget revenue reached only 57% of the target of the provincial People’s Council and rose by 37% year-on-year.
The shrinking budget revenue of Ha Tinh was attributable to contracting tax and fee collections from foreign contractors and enterprises after new regulations on value-added, corporate and personal income taxes took effect on January 1 this year and the incident at Vung Ang Economic Zone on May 14.
Formosa paid VND1.083 trillion in tax and environmental protection fee in the January-August period last year but only VND462 billion in the same period this year.
As reported by agencies, Formosa suffered damage due to worker protests against China’s illegal deployment of a giant oil rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in mid-May.
An executive of Formosa told the Daily earlier this year that the company had disbursed over US$4.2 billion for the steel project in Vietnam as of the end of June but had not earned any revenue from the project.
Formosa has plans to put into operation the first blast furnace in May 2015 and the second in June 2016. However, the executive said the incident in May impacted the implementation process and the plans.
Formosa pledges to disburse an additional US$2.1 billion towards the year-end. The executive said the project will create more jobs and pay more to the budget when it comes online.
Government bonds to be transacted online
The Internet site for online transactions of Government bonds will be put into use soon, marking a big change on the Vietnamese bond market.
Nguyen Thi Hoang Lan, vice chairperson and deputy CEO of the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX), said the northern bourse will operate the site with many products and information for investors. This online transaction channel is being test-run.
More products and new transaction tools on both primary and secondary markets will be developed and offered in the coming time, she said, adding HNX will also launch the Bond Index this month.
Together with the yield curve, the bond index is a market indicator assisting investors in calculating bond prices and forecasting investment trends, which is expected to help boost participation of members and investors in Government bond transactions.
Derivatives like zero-coupon bond, when-issued, sell/buy repo, borrowing/lending repo and cross-currency repo have been studied, which have attracted much attention from members and investors.
The Government bond transaction system on HNX will be connected with the information system of Bloomberg, making it easier for investors to search for information and make transactions on only one screen, and facilitating access of foreign investors to the Vietnamese bond market.
Compared to bond markets in the region, Vietnam’s government bond market is of small scale and not attractive. Products are not diverse and the market structure has not been completed.
Vietnam has yet to have either a derivative bond market or a connection between the Government bond market and open-market operations and the inter-bank market.
To make Vietnam’s Government bond market as developed as other markets in the region in the next 5-10 years, Lan said measures to stimulate the bond market such as diversifying types of bonds, offering bonds with longer terms and announcing bond issuance plans will be enhanced.
In addition, favorable conditions for insurance and financial companies and pension funds to join the market will be created. HNX encourages the participation of foreign investors by adjusting tax policies and bond transaction fees as well as offering hedging mechanisms for those investors.
Much higher tax sums collected from Chinese goods
The tax sum imposed on each container of Chinese goods has been revised up by four to five times as relevant agencies bolstered their fight against smuggling, the General Department of Customs said in an anti-smuggling report just issued.
Accordingly, each container is taxed at VND125 million on average, or VND100 million higher than before, the report said.
Smuggled goods from China which are mostly flowed to certain seaports in HCMC, Haiphong City and Quang Ninh Province have adversely affected domestic production and cause revenue losses to the State budget, the general department said.
The report did not mention how many containers of Chinese goods have been taxed by HCMC Customs Department. However, the general department will continue to warn customs departments nationwide against the illicit trade of Chinese consumer goods.
According to Vietnam News Agency, the HCMC Customs Department has uncovered various illegal, counterfeit and substandard products packaged in containers shipped from China.
Customs authorities in Tay Ninh Province also arrested two Chinese nationals who had unlawfully taken VND18.2 billion across the border to Cambodia at the end of last month.
There have been as many as 13,700 smuggling cases worth an estimated VND240 billion reported in the country in the January-September period, dropping 36% in the number of cases but rising 15% in value year-on-year.
Vietnam wins IAEA/FAO awards for radiation use in agriculture
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recently honoured a number of countries, including Vietnam for their achievements in using radiation in agricultural production.
Mutation breeding, which uses radiation to mimic natural plant mutation events, is a well-established method that enables plant breeders to work with farmers to develop variations of rice, barley, sesame and other crops that are higher-yielding and more resistant to diseases.
The awards were initiated by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture to celebrate successes achieved so far, promote the development of further sustainable crop varieties, and ensure national food security.
"Through the use of plant mutation breeding, nuclear techniques help to create new strains of plants with characteristics that allow them to resist disease and thrive under harsh conditions, such as high altitudes and saline soils," IAEA Director General Amano said at the awards ceremony on September 24.
The Agriculture Genetics Institute under the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) won three out of 23 awards, including an Achievement Award.
Since the IAEA provided support since the 1980s, Vietnamese agricultural research institutes have obtained many outstanding achievements in breeding better crop varieties which are higher-yielding and more resistant to diseases.
The awards presentation was held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Joint Food and Agriculture Organisa­tion (FAO)/Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agri­culture (IAEA).
SeABank recognised by Global Banking & Finance Review
Southeast Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SeABank) has been honoured by Global Banking and Finance Review (GBAF) for its innovative investment and financial solutions in three categories of its banking awards.
GBAF named SeABank as ‘Best Bank for Project Financing 2014’, ‘Best Co-Branded Credit Card 2014’ and ‘Best Young Banking Leader Vietnam 2014’.
Ms. Le Thu Thuy, Standing Deputy Chairman of the SeABank Board of Directors, was also selected as the best young banking leader in 2014 for her extraordinary contributions to the development of SeABank.
Ms Thuy said the awards prove the strong innovativeness of SeABank, particularly in the fields of financing and developing card services. In the future, SeABank will strive to make even greater efforts to provide the best quality products and services to customers.
GBAF is the UK’s prestigious online financial forum for the global financial community.
Eximbank cited ‘Best Bank in Vietnam
Vietnam Export Import Joint Stock Commercial Bank (Eximbank) last week was named the “Best Bank in Vietnam 2014” by the world’s leading financial magazine Euromoney.
This is the second consecutive year in a row Euromoney has chosen Eximbank for the prestigious award.
Key selection criteria included total revenues, total assets and pretax profits.
At present, Eximbank’s market capitalization is estimated at US$747 million and it is one of the few joint-stock commercial banks in Vietnam reaching over VND14,700 billion in owner equity.
Euromoney, a London-based financial communications company, is one of the world’s leading publications for the global banking and capital markets.
Hanoi keen to develop supporting industries
Supporting industries are playing an important role in the long-term sustainable economic growth and foreign investment attraction, said the Vietnam Economic News on September 29.
According to Dang Van Chi, Deputy General Director of N&G Investment and Development JSC, an investor in the Hanoi Southern Supporting Industrial Park (Hanssip), despite successfully attracting large corporations such as Samsung, Nokia, Toshiba, Honda, Panasonic, and Canon, Vietnam has to spend billions of dollars on importing components or raw materials for these corporations.
Many firms admit that their production depends too much on import of inputs, he said.
Supporting industries also help improving competitiveness of industrial products, promoting new technologies, and developing domestic small and medium enterprises develop, added Chi.
Hanoi has about 2,000 companies operating in supporting industries, with total sales accounting for approximately 25 percent of the city’s whole industrial sales.
According to Director of Hanoi’s Department of Industry and Trade Le Hong Thang, along with specific solutions for capital and infrastructure, the government and local authorities need to issue policies to further promote the development of supporting industries. For example, Hanoi has issued a number of specific policies to back local supporting industries including soft loan policy for enterprises operating in the city’s industrial parks such as Hanssip.
According to Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong, global economic integration requires close links between national and international companies.
“The most important issue is how to find outlets for support industrial products to promote sales. Once you have a market, you will need financial sources for sustainable business development,” Chairman of Hanoi Supporting Industries Business Association Nguyen Hoang was cited as saying.-
Rice output forecast at 45 million tonnes for 2014
Vietnam is forecast to produce 45 million tonnes of paddy rice this year, up almost 800,000 tonnes over 2013, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
By mid-September, farmers in southern and Mekong Delta’s provinces harvested summer-autumn rice on 1.81 million hectares, with average yields up 120 kg per hectare compared to the previous crop.
The Mekong Delta also has harvested about half of the 625,000 ha planted with summer-autumn rice.
At the same time, farmers across the country have planted rice on more than 1,659 million ha for the winter crop, almost the same as the cultivation area in comparison with 2013.
The winter rice is growing well thanks to favourable weather and good irrigation, according to MARD.-
Fisheries development policy implemented in central region
A meeting was recently held in Quang Ngai province to realise a Government decree on fisheries development in the central region.
The event was attended by representatives from the central provinces of Quang Ngai, Quang Nam, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa and Da Nang city, fishing businesses, local fishermen, and a number of commercial banks, including BIDV, Agribank, Viettinbank, Vietcombank and MHB.
Speaking at the conference, Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam Nguyen Van Binh stressed that Vietnam ’s fisheries sector has made great achievements over the past time, with its growing export value.
He said that Decree 67/2014/ND-CP provides a full, systematic and synchronous set of basic policies to boost fisheries development, including supporting fishermen in building high-capacity, iron-covered ships designed for offshore fishing, a practice that could earn fishermen higher incomes.
It is considered a leverage for localities to improve fishing efficiency, thus contributing to protecting the national sovereignty over seas and islands, he added.
Participants suggested the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development promptly approve and publicise a list of preferred ship models so that individuals and businesses could take out loans for the construction of new ships. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance should guide and organise the implementation of insurance policies.
The provincial People’s Committees were asked to select ship-owners based on their previous business experience and support them in applying for loans from banks.
According to the decree, commercial banks are responsible for guiding fishermen to complete loan procedures.
For those who borrow money to build ships, especially iron-covered ones, the decree regulates a preferential interest rate of 1-3 percent per year, the lowest level at present, for 11-year loans. Loan limit also stands high, about 70-95 percent of the newly-built ship value.
Thua Thien-Hue greenlights more FDI projects
The central province of Thua Thien Hue has granted investment licences to eight foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth over 50 million USD since the beginning of this year.
The newly registered projects include a 25 million USD shrimp breeding facility and a 5 million USD project to build infrastructure for Tu Ha industrial park.
Authorities plan to pour over 22 billion VND (1.03 million USD) to build infrastructure at local industrial parks and support construction firms in ground clearance, mine removal, and building waste treatment plants.
As of September, local FDI businesses grossed 495 million USD in revenue, contributing 1.3 trillion VND (around 68 million USD) to the State budget, up 7.5 percent over the previous year.
Thua Thien-Hue is now home to 79 FDI projects with a total registered capital of 2.2 billion USD.
Austrian enterpries eye growing Vietnam market
Vietnam, with a young population and increasingly wealthy and growing middle class, was a potential market of 90-million customers, said Thomas Loidl, Austrian Ambassador to Vietnam during a Austria-Vietnam business meeting in Hanoi on September 29.
Thirteen Austrian energy and environmental companies attended the meeting to learn more about the market and seek potential partners.
Economic and trade co-operation between the two countries have grown considerably in recent years. Two-way trade rose from US$175 million in 2007 to US$1.3 billion in 2012 - and US$$2.1 billion in 2013.
However, the results were considered low compared with the potential, said Doan Duy Khuong, vice-chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).
He said Vietnam would be a gateway for Austrian companies to access the wider ASEAN market, particularly when the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) comes into being next year.
Therefore, the market could grow from Vietnam's 90 million to a total of about 600 million in ASEAN, Khuong added.
He said the Vietnam Government was trying to complete the country's legal regulatory framework and develop better market mechanisms to create favorable condition for companies to come to Vietnam, including Austria.
The business meeting is held by the VCCI, the Austrian Embassy and Advantage Austria in Hanoi and HCM city every year to create good conditions for Vietnamese and Austrian companies to develop trade.
Khuong said that the VCCI was willing to co-operate with trade promotion agencies in other countries to organise similar events.