Vietnam websites using “.vn” domain estimated at 260,000

The number of web addresses in Vietnam registered with the top level domain ‘.vn’ was estimated at 260,000 as of October 2013, according to a report by VNNIC, Vietnam’s internet governing body.

The Vietnam Internet Resources Report 2013 shows that ‘.vn’ top level domains rose at an annual rate of 172% over the past three years, the highest in Southeast Asia.

The report provides comprehensive information on key events in the development of the internet in Vietnam, including the launch on May 6 of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), a new standard for internet addresses which replaces the depleting IPv4 system.

As of November 11, 34 organisations in Vietnam have been allocated IPv6 addresses.

This year marked an important milestone when Vietnam officially became the 143th member of the Country Code Names Supporting Organisations (ccNSO), a body within the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Businesses can turn challenges into opportunities

Vietnamese businesses will face increasingly intense competition from foreign rivals in 2014.

Delegates were told at a CEO seminar in Hanoi on December 6 which identified the risks and emerging challenges for Vietnamese businesses looming in the new year.

The World Bank (WB) is cautiously optimistic about economic recovery in 2014 while dangers abound. Vietnam’s economy will slow, adding to already existing domestic pressures.

International economists say the government can help relieve some of this pressure by renovating its growth model to stabilise the economy, prioritise sustainable development, and continue economic restructuring.

Enterprises recognise the importance of reforming administration and improving human resource quality in securing long-term success.

Economic expert Pham Chi Lan said new Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) impose commitments that will steadily add to the ranks of Vietnam’s international competitors as early as 2015, particularly from FDI enterprises and ASEAN nation exports.

Business leaders stressed sound strategies, market surveys, and capital resource use plans will all be essential to overcoming these future challenges.

Vietnam to join Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

Nguyen Quang Vinh, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s Sustainable Development Business Office Director, believes the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) would only benefit Vietnam’s natural resources management and promising mineral, gas, and oil industries.

Vinh presented the case for the EITI at a December 6 Hanoi dialogue on the initiative hosted by the VCCI and Mineral Resources Alliance.

The industrial sector employs more than 400,000 people, and contributes 11% of Vietnam’s gross domestic product and 25% of its state budget.

Consultancy and Development Institute Deputy Director Pham Quang Tu cited the US’s Revenue Watch Institute when highlighting Vietnam lags in 43rd out of 58 surveyed nations on the Natural Resource Management Index (NRMI).

Vietnam’s low NRMI is attributed to oversight failures and shortcomings in inspection and supervision.

 EITI International Board Chair Clare Short said the extractive  industry is widely regarded as a powerful driver of socioeconomic development. Transparency is thus essential. She recommended Vietnam involve itself in the EITI as soon as possible.

International and local experts attending the dialogue also affirmed the importance of the EITI. The initiative calls for greater openness in mining company revenues and government taxes levied on mining companies.

As of August 2013, just 39 nations had committed to implementing the EITI (23 as official members and 16 as candidates).

Japanese investors pour over US$34.5 million into Vietnam

The Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Agency reports Japanese businesses have engaged in 2,103 Vietnam-based projects so far this year, totalling US$34.526 million.

The Foreign Investment Agency expects cumulative Vietnam-Japan trade turnover to reach US$29 billion by the end of 2013.

More than 65.9% of Japanese businesses in Vietnam have confirmed intentions to expand their Vietnamese operations within the next two years.

The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) said around 4,000 Japanese businesses are operating in the Asia-Pacific region, more than 250 of which are located in Vietnam. The majority work in the processing and manufacturing industries.

At a recent Japanese investment promotion seminar, economists said Japan’s formidable foreign direct investment flow has opened up new business opportunities in Vietnam. They were careful to note these opportunities must be met with a renewed focus on ensuring Vietnam’s business environment fulfills Japanese investor expectations.

Ministry to manage OTT services

Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Bac Son has requested the Department of Telecommunications to develop policies for over-the-top (OTT) service, which offers users free phone calls and text messages.

The department will suggest mechanisms, policies and solutions to be implemented in 2014 that lower the impact on the efficiency of telecom businesses, while ensuring the rights of service users and companies.

Earlier, on October 31, the ministry issued Instruction No 75 on international telecommunications service management and development enhancements, including instructing telecom companies to perform research and .

Meanwhile, Pham Hong Hai, head of the department, said the number of mobile phone subscribers using the system in November 2013 was 120 million, including those not making outgoing calls. With a total population of 90 million people, each Vietnamese person owns 1.3 SIM cards, on average, he said.

Hai added that it was time to restructure the market to ensure sustainable development of telecom firms because small companies, such as S-Fone and Gtel, were facing many difficulties.

Singaporean firm to buy stake in local food processor

Food processor Hung Vuong (HVG) announced yesterday that it would sell up to 30 million shares to a foreign shareholder next year.

According to the company's chairman, Duong Ngoc Minh, the shares will be sold to a Singapore supermarket operator.

"We aim to expand business into the Singapore market, we are not short of money," Minh said.

Hung Vuong plans to divide the issuance into two phases. The first is expected to be deployed prior to June 30 next year, with a maximum volume of 20 million shares, while the second phase, with up to 10 million shares, will be transferred before December 31, 2014.

The price of the share sale will be negotiated, but will not be less than VND28,000 (US$1.3) per share.

In addition, company officials will soon travel to the US to sign a memorandum to sell products in 16 markets in the country. Reportedly, annual sales of these 16 markets are expected to reach some $700 million, with Vietnamese commodities accounting for 30-40 per cent of sales.

Hung Vuong hopes to invest between 30-51 per cent ownership in these markets, and find business in up to 50 more.

The US market accounts for 25 per cent of Hung Vuong's export value. Meanwhile, the company is also seeking opportunities in the Indonesian market.

With this plan, Hung Vuong aims to achieve a VND20 trillion ($943.3 million) turnover in 2015.

For this year, Minh said his company had earned nearly VND10 trillion ($471.65 million) in revenue, up 50 per cent over the same period last year and potentially completing the year's target of VND12 trillion ($566 million).

However, the profit target of VND800 billion ($37.7 million) will not be reached, he said.

Also, Minh promised to pay dividends before the Lunar Tet holiday.

Indian firms seek business partnerships

A multi-sector delegation of businesses from India met yesterday with executives of Vietnamese companies in HCM City to explore business opportunities.

Trade turnover between Viet Nam and India had increased but the potential had not been tapped because of a lack of information about each other's markets, payment methods and geographic location, Nguyen Tuan, deputy director of the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City, said.

Speaking at the Viet Nam-India Business Matching event, Tuan said Vietnamese businesses should map out a long-term development strategy in Indian market, which has a population of 1.2 billion.

Manoj Kumar, consul and head of chancery of the Consulate General of India in HCM City, said a direct flight between India and HCM City is expected to open next year, which would help to further trade relations.

He called on Vietnamese businesses to visit India to study the market and explore business opportunities.

The consulate pledged to offer support to Vietnamese companies so they could invest in the Indian market, he said.

The Indian companies represented during the meeting specialised in various sectors, including animal feed, plastics, machinery, cosmetics, apparel, fashion accessories, handicrafts, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Trade turnover between HCM City and India had reached more than US$522 million in the first nine months of the year, Tuan said.

Indian firms have invested in 24 projects in HCM City.

The event was organised by the ITPC, the Consulate General of India and the Federation of Indian Export Organisation.

ISPs lay ground for e-commerce growth

Enterprises are making the shift to online marketing and advertising, according to chairman of the Viet Nam Internet Association (VIA), Vu Hoang Lien.

Speaking on the occasion of this year's Internet Day held on Wednesday in Ha Noi, Lien said that online marketing was having an increasingly significant impact on internet users, adding that advertising on traditional media remained dominant at this time.

"Each Vietnamese customer spends around US$120 per year on average for online shopping. Compared with other Asian countries, the number is still small but there is tremendous potential to develop e-commerce," he said.

"In Viet Nam, 48 per cent of e-commerce websites have payment tools but the weak payment tools limit transactions. Domestic e-commerce does not yet have a reputation to attract foreign users."

According to VIA, 36 per cent of the population are using the internet. Users can access the internet in various ways, including through fixed broadband, Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Lines (ADSL), fibre optics and TV cables.

Currently, Viet Nam ranks 15th among countries with high-speed internet with the VIA expecting Viet Nam to have 35 million users by 2017.

"In recent times, we have seen internet use increase with the transformation of technology. Enhancing internet services means creating business opportunities for local enterprises in Viet Nam and abroad," Lien said.

Attending the conference, Le Thi Ngoc Mo, deputy director of the Ministry of Information and Communication's Telecommunications Department, said total revenues of internet service providers (ISP) in Viet Nam reached VND15 trillion (more than $714 million) last year, with VND5 trillion ($238 million) coming from 3G network services.

Despite dramatic growth occurring in the sector, the number of ISP licences declined by 30 with only 55 licences being granted. Among them, 47 firms said that they would carry out the service while 16 are still reporting to the department.

"Decree No 72 from the Vietnamese Government, which came into effect on July 15, has emphasised two goals: developing content services and creating a level playing field for domestic and international companies," she said.

"The ministry will try their best to complete the circulars regulating the rights and responsibilities of internet service providers, content providers and users to bring about equality and security."

Trinh Quang Chung, business solutions manager at Google Asia Pacific, said that eight out of ten users had found product information before deciding to buy them and 41 per cent believed that the search results were useful.

Showing two images of people watching TV in the past and in current times, Chung said that TV was still popular but that people's behaviours had changed.

"When people see an advertisement on TV, they will search for it on their mobile phone and buy it on their laptop. Product approach and information searches are a process relating to different courses of action," he said.

"Companies and organisations who want to approach customers need a business strategy. At Google, we call it multi-screen strategy when firms use various channels to attract consumers."

Chung said that some small-sized and medium enterprises only built their own websites yet did not create their mobile versions. "It is regretful that they can not approach customers on mobile phones and do not take care of a strategy of turning website visitors into loyal customers," he said.

Le Hong Minh, chief executive officer of VNG Corporation, said his company, which conducts operations across all internet service areas, had noticed businesses in a wide range of fields moving online.

"Between 2009 and 2013, the number of internet users increased by 1.7 times but broadband capacities have climbed 7.5 times compared with the previous period (2005-09). It shows that the growth of service revenue has been on the rise because users have utilised different devices to access the internet," he said.

Minh expects that the number of internet users will reach 60 million and total revenues of internet services and content will be VND100 trillion ($4.7 billion) by 2018.

Dong Nai's FDI attraction increases sharply in 2013

The southern province of Dong Nai attracted US$1.35 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) so far this year, up 35 percent compared to its yearly target and 20 percent year-on-year.

According to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, the province licensed 67 new projects with total registered capital of $651.3 million, while 68 existing projects were allowed to add a combined $700 million.

The FDI disbursement in 2013 reached $970 million, 7.8 per cent more than the yearly target, raising the province's cumulative disbursement to over $13 billion or 67.6 per cent of the total registered capital. Stepped-up investment promotion activities in Japan made the country the leading investor in the province, with newly registered and added investment of $465.7 million.

By December, the province had 1,059 valid projects worth $19.5 billion, according to the Department of Planning and Investment..

Rural Vietnamese goods fairs a big success

Vietnam, Bolivia prioritise economic, trade ties

The Vietnamese Government has always paid attention to promoting its friendship and multi-faceted cooperation with Latin American countries, including Bolivia, in the common interests of its people and peace, stability and development of the two regions.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh made the statement at a reception for Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca in La Paz on December 5 as part of his official visit to the Latin American nation from December 5-7.

This is the highest–level visit to Bolivia by a Vietnamese leader since the two countries established their diplomatic ties.

The visit aims to enhance the friendship, cooperation and mutual support between the two countries, creating momentum for the relationship to develop strongly, both bilaterally and multilaterally.

The Deputy PM noted with pleasure the active progress in the growing political and diplomatic ties.

Despite moderate results in economic and trade ties, Vietnam and Bolivia still hold a lot of potential for cooperation in this field, he said, suggesting the early establishment of a legal framework for the bilateral economic relationship.

In reply, Choquehuanca spoke highly of the achievements Vietnam has attained in national development. He also highlighted cooperative potential the two sides should extract for the interests of each country’s people.

Following the meeting, Ninh witnessed the signing of a framework agreement in trade and investment by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and his Bolivian counterpart Clarems Endara.

The agreement is expected to create a foundation for the formation of an inter-governmental committee for trade and investment that facilitates cooperation in this field.

The same day, he held a working session with representatives of Bolivian businesses organised by the Bolivian Confederation of Private Enterprises (CEPB).

The Deputy PM said his visit proves the Vietnamese Government’s resolve, together with the Bolivian Government, to tighten the comprehensive cooperation with priorities given to economics and trade.

At the meeting, Deputy Minister Anh made a brief presentation on Vietnam’s investment environment and opportunities in Vietnam, saying the freshly-inked framework agreement and the upcoming establishment of the intergovernmental committee will contribute to boosting the two countries’ relations.

Vietnam welcomes and pledges favourable conditions for Bolivian businesses to operate in the country and access the market in Asia-Pacific, he said.

CEPB President Daniel Sanchez Soliz encouraged Bolivian enterprises to visit the Southeast Asian country to learn development model and explore business opportunities.

Since Vietnam and Bolivia set up diplomatic ties on January 10, 1987, the two countries have seen progress in their relations.

During the visit to Vietnam in September last year by Bolivian Deputy President Alvaro Garcia Linera, the two sides reached an agreement on visa exemption for diplomatic and official passport holders.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the establishment of a political consultation mechanism was also reached by the two foreign ministries on this occasion.

Earlier, the two countries signed another MoU on cooperation in gas exploitation in Bolivia, which boasts the second largest gas reserves in Latin America, only after Venezuela.

According to the Bolivian National Institute of Statistics, two-way trade between Vietnam and Bolivia reached 11 million USD in 2012, representing a year-on-year rise of 55 percent.

Of the sum, Vietnam shipped 7.42 million USD worth of goods to Bolivia, mainly footwear, rubber, motorbike spare parts, and imported 3.587 million USD worth of commodities from the country, including machinery and wood products.-

Retailers move to modern distribution channels

Vietnam is witnessing a gradual shift from traditional to modern retailing with some 700 supermarkets scattering in 60 out of 63 cities and provinces nationwide, moving emphasis away from local markets and outlets.

This trend was revealed at a forum in Hanoi on December 6, where home retailers sought ways to stay ahead of the competition as their foreign rivals are making inroads in the market.

Chairwoman of the Association of Vietnam Retailers Dinh Thi My Loan urged them to fix shortcomings, informing that the Ministry of Industry and Trade will facilitate joint work with top global partners to acquire their experience, especially in managerial know-how and technological advances.

According to the ministry, total retail sales in 11-month period surged 12.56 percent on an annual basis, lower than previous years’ growth. Distributors, however, still pin high hopes on the big market at home. They have even teamed up with more domestic peers to dominate the market.

Retail volumes via supermarkets and trading centres are forecast to account for 45 percent of total social sales by 2020.

Many voiced that firms must work harder by adopting new selling methods while improving their services to stay competitive as challengers increase.

Thua Thien-Hue builds Thanh Tra grapefruit brand

The central province of Thua Thien-Hue is working hard to implement four strategies to develop and preserve the brand of its native Thanh Tra grapefruit by 2020.

The fruit received a cuisine certificate from the Asian Record organisation, enabling grapefruit farming areas to be increased, raising local people’s income.

Thuy Bieu ward in the city of Hue is leading the drive to promote the fruit as its local People’s Committee has organised an annual grapefruit festival since 2010 to show-off the product to consumers nationwide and register it for a sole trademark in the domestic market.

To realise its goal, the province plans to apply the Vietnamese Good Agriculture Practices (VietGap) standard for grapefruit cultivation in Thuy Bieu ward.

Thua Thien Hue has formed an area of over 1,200 ha for grapefruit alongside the Huong, Bo and O Lau rivers.-

SCIC holds on investment in key businesses

The State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) will retain its shares in FPT Telecom, Vinamilk (VNM), Hau Giang Pharmaceutical (DHG) and Vietnam National Reinsurance Corp (VNR) as part of its long-term investment strategy.

This was stated in a restructuring plan approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on December 2 with the aim of distributing State capital into key industries more reasonably and enhancing financial efficiency in enterprises until 2015.

Several local news websites calculated that with VNM, DHG and VNR share prices increasing sharply this year, SCIC had earned over 22 trillion VND (1.05 billion USD) in profits.

They estimated that VNM had made the company 1.4 trillion VND (66.67 million USD) in dividends in 2013, up 40 percent over 2012.

FPT Telecom, of which SCIC owns more than half the equity, has helped to earn the state corporation 200-250 billion VND (9.5-11.9 million USD) per year since its initial investment.

SCIC will continue to hold controlling stakes in 26 companies dealing in roads, waterways, tourism, minerals, trade, investment and services; and withdraw capital from 376 firms, including Vietnam Construction and Import-Export Corp (Vinaconex), FPT Group, Bao Viet Holdings, Binh Minh Plastic and Tien Phong Plastic.

It is expected to raise equity to 50 trillion VND (2.38 billion USD) by 2015, according to the plan.-

Traders asked to keep lid on fuel and gas prices

Fuel wholesalers were told to keep fuel retail prices steady whilst urging them to dip into the nation's price stabilisation fund for petrol to offset losses.

The joint decision of the ministries of Finance and Industry and Trade took effect on December 5, coming after increases in global fuel prices during the last month.

According to a Ministry of Finance report, while the base price of RON 92 gasoline was currently 24,097 VND per litre, the retail price was only 23,630 VND.

Similarly, each litter of diesel oil 0.05S, kerosene and fuel oil is being sold for 22,310 VND, 22,020 VND and 18,510 VND, compared with their base prices of 22,936 VND, 22,988 VND and 18,496 VND, respectively.

In a bid to stabilise the economy and curb inflation, the ministries have decided to keep fuel prices and import tariffs constant.

Looking to offset losses from the price-freeze, wholesalers were encouraged to increase withdrawals from the price stabilisation fund from 200 VND to 300 VND per litre for gasoline, and from 300 VND to 500 VND per litre for diesel.

According to the latest report, the price stabilisation fund was sitting at 58.6 billion VND (2.7 million USD), after swelling to over 3 billion VND (141,911 USD).

Of the 12 petrol dealers who contributed to the fund, six reported positive fund balances.

Petrolimex's September balance stayed over 205 billion VND (9.7 million USD), while the Military Petroleum Corporation with over 180 billion VND (8.6 million USD).

As of September 30, PVOil reported a negative fund balance of more than 209 billion VND (9.88 million USD), while Petec Trading & Investment Corporation saw a loss of over 145 billion VND (6.86 million USD).

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has rejected a proposal to reduce the gas tariff to zero percent in the hope of lowering retail prices.

Since December 1, consumers have paid an additional 80,000 VND (4 USD) per 12-kg gas canister.

To help lower the price, the Vietnam Gas Association sent a request to ministry to reduce the current 5 percent tariff to zero percent so retail prices will fall by 17,000 VND (80 cents) a canister.

While the Ministry of Industry and Trade also supported the association's request, the finance ministry did not think it was the correct time for a tariff adjustment.

Nguyen Anh Tuan, head of the ministry's price management, told the press that the Vietnamese price is based on world prices, which explains a recent rise in gas prices in Vietnam.

Tuan said that as local gas enterprises must pay another 267.5 USD for a tonne of gas, it was reasonable for them to raise the price by about 80,000 VND per 12 kg.

Regarding local rumours that poor management was causing gas prices to rise, Tuan said finance ministry inspectors have conducted regular inspections of gas prices and gas enterprises since 2010 and found no violations.

He concluded that after the ministry considered all factors, including market supply and demand, production and business conditions, as well as the consumer price index, officials chose to continue charging the current 5 percent tariff for gas, while closely monitoring gas prices in the local and world markets.

If gas prices continue to keep rising, ministry officials will suggest that the Government take suitable measures to stabilise the market, Tuan said.

Dong Thap sets up first clean rice cooperative

A cooperative producing standard rice has been established in Lang Bien commune, Thap Muoi district, the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.

As the first of its kind in the province, the Thanh Liem rice cooperative sees the participations of 10 members, with a total contributed capital of over 2.1 billion VND.

It produces high-quality rice and serves consumption and agricultural services, meeting demand for stable production in the locality.

Vo Tong Xuan, a representative from the cooperative, said the model will open new prospects for sustainable and long-term rice production for both local farmers and those from other parts of the country.

He suggested the cooperative focus on building linkages and creating trust among members to increase the productivity.

Dong Thap will update the cooperative’s activities to learn from its experience and expand the model in the locality in order to perfect its agricultural restructuring scheme.-

Vietnam, India seek to promote economic ties

Representatives from more than 30 Indian businesses operating in medicine, industrial machinery and equipment, handicrafts and food and farm products, attended a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on December 6.

Organised by the city’s Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC) in conjunction with the Indian Consulate General in HCM City and the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), the event to boost cooperation between the two countries’ enterprises.

According to Consul of the Indian Consulate General in HCM Manoj Kumar, the policies to promote relations between Vietnam and India are expected to bring many opportunities to the two sides’ businesses communities.

The workshop provided a good chance for the enterprises to seek partners and business opportunities in each other’s markets, he said, adding that the two nations are now attractive destinations for foreign investors and businessmen.

He affirmed that his agency will always use its role as a bridge connecting the two sides’ business communities and create favourable conditions for Vietnamese enterprises to expand their investment and business in India.

In recent years, Vietnam and India have developed comprehensively in the fields of economics, politics, sci-technology, culture and education. Both countries are considered as potential markets in the world with their annual great economic growth.

Participants said that cooperation between the two countries will see increasingly positive results in the future when the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement is signed and a direct air route from India to Ho Chi Minh City is implemented next year.

The two countries set a target of reaching a bilateral trade turnover of 7 billion USD by 2015 and 15 billion USD by 2020.

Nguyen Tuan, ITPC Deputy Director, said along with fostering trade liberalisation and integrating into the international economy, the Indian and Vietnamese business communities had many opportunities to invest in each other’s market.

HCM City plays an important role in pushing up economic and trade partnership between the two sides, Tuan noted, stressing that the city also strives to be an attractive market for foreign investors, including those from India.

In the first nine months of 2013, the city’s total export turnover to India reached 522 million USD. India has 24 investment projects in the city with a total registered capital of 5.16 million USD.

India is now one of the key economic partners of Vietnam, with two-way trade recorded at over 3.9 billion USD in the first three quarters of this year.

Vietnam mainly imports corn, animal feed, medicine and fabric from India, while exporting computer and mobile phone, machinery, coffee and rubber to the market.-

Dong Thap sets up first clean rice cooperative

A cooperative producing standard rice has been established in Lang Bien commune, Thap Muoi district, the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.

As the first of its kind in the province, the Thanh Liem rice cooperative sees the participations of 10 members, with a total contributed capital of over 2.1 billion VND.

It produces high-quality rice and serves consumption and agricultural services, meeting demand for stable production in the locality.

Vo Tong Xuan, a representative from the cooperative, said the model will open new prospects for sustainable and long-term rice production for both local farmers and those from other parts of the country.

He suggested the cooperative focus on building linkages and creating trust among members to increase the productivity.

Dong Thap will update the cooperative’s activities to learn from its experience and expand the model in the locality in order to perfect its agricultural restructuring scheme.-

Vietnam attends third AFC in South Africa

A Vietnamese delegation led by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh attended the third Conference on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security and Climate Change (AFC) in Johannesburg city, South Africa.

The event, from December 3-5, was organised by the Governments of South Africa and the Netherlands in collaboration with other partners, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the World Bank.

In his opening remarks, South African Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Tina Joemat Pettersson described the conference as a forum for global leaders, scientists, non-governmental organisations, and stakeholders to share successes and discuss climate change-sparked challenges to food security.

Delegates sought ways to raise farm productivity and reduce carbon-dioxide emissions based on the application of state-of-the-art cultivating technologies in order to cope with climate change.

They also proposed programmes of actions and measures for poverty and inequality reduction.

The conference called for the establishment of a global alliance in a bid to build a smart agriculture based on sustainable increase of farm productivity, climate change adaptation and greenhouse gas emission reduction.

In his message delivered to the conference, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said the connection between climate change, land, food, economies, and livelihoods are complex.

“Agriculture is a major contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, farmers worldwide are increasingly feeling the effects of a warming climate,” he added.

According to the UN Secretary General, the answer to these interconnected problems lies in climate-smart agriculture.

The first AFC was held in Hague, the Netherlands, in October 2010 and the second in Hanoi in September 2012.-

Da Nang looks to create ideal investment climate

A joint effort by foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises, local businesses, and the authorities of central Da Nang city is working towards an ideal investment climate in the locality.

On December 5, the municipal authorities met with local entrepreneurs to jointly seek ways for bettering investment climate and FDI attraction.

Over the past years, FDI enterprises have significantly helped change the city’s appearance and business environment, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Van Huu Chien said at the event.

He added that these enterprises have also joined in accelerating the city’s economic shifting, market and service development.

By November this year, the city had 279 FDI projects capitalising at over 3.31 billion USD. Most of them have been operating stably, creating jobs for more than 38,000 local people.

The municipal authorities have constantly gathered businesses’ feedback on investment climate to make necessary improvements while paying due attention to developing a complete infrastructure for them.

A club of FDI enterprises, established in the city in 2012, has joined hands with the authorities in these efforts.

Da Nang is making every effort to become a harmonious, friendly and peaceful metropolis by 2020.

The city is striving for a civilised society, rich cultural life and a knowledge-based economy, and an economic hub of the central region.-

Lotte Mart inaugurated in Binh Thuan province

The Lotte retail group from the Republic of Korea on December 5 put into operation its Lotte Mart in the central province of Binh Thuan , bringing the total number of its stores in Vietnam to six.

The shopping centre, the largest of its kind in the central region, is a seven-storey building worth 45 million USD with total floor space of over 7,000 square metres, located in Phan Thiet city.

It serves as a modern complex selling high-grade products including jewellery, fashion and food products. Of the 35,000 items for sale, more than 90 percent are Vietnamese high quality products.

Lotte Mart will also house an entertainment area, cinema, supermarkets and restaurants.

It is expected to greatly change the retail market in Binh Thuan province and neighbouring areas, as well as become a new tourism spot for visitors.

The General Director of Lotte Mart Vietnam, Hong Won-sik said the Phan Thiet store is the group’s biggest retail centre in the Central region, generating jobs for around 600 local residents.

Lotte Mart is the first foreign retailer to open a commercial centre in Binh Thuan. The project is part of the retailer’s strategy to expand nationwide.

Similar projects have been put into service in Ho Chi Minh City, the central Da Nang city, and southern Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces.-

Vietnamese, Indian businesses tighten links

Thirty Indian businesses met their Vietnamese counterpart in HCM City on December 6 to examine the possibility of establishing partnerships and expanding cooperation.

The Indian businesses operate primarily in the fields of garments and textiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery and industrial equipment, handicrafts, food, and farm produce.

Manoj Kumar, from Indian Consulate General in HCM City, said recent high-level reciprocal Vietnam-India visits and their results have created favourable conditions for both countries’ business communities to cooperate and explore opportunities for investment.

He pledged to bring into full play Vietnam-India business links and facilitate Vietnamese businesses’ investment in the Indian market.

Seminar participants discussed ways of making markets more accessible to Vietnamese and Indian businesses and taking advantage of international investors’ increasing interest in both countries.

Vietnam and India have enjoyed a recent history of effective cooperation spanning economics, politics, science and technology, culture, and education. The two countries, with their consistent rise in annual economic growth, possess a wealth of potential.

The delegates also voiced faith in the future development of bilateral ties as India and ASEAN complete free trade agreement negotiations and both countries are preparing for the 2014 launch of a new direct air route linking India and HCM City.

Vietnam and India are expected to increase annual two-way trade turnover to US$7 billion in 2015, and US$15 billion in 2020.

Nguyen Tuan, Deputy Director of the HCM City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC), said Vietnamese and Indian businesses are always looking to promote exchange, establish trade, and increase investment in both local and overseas markets.

He highlighted HCM City’s role in boosting trade ties with India, noting its ambitions to transform itself into a centre for foreign investment.

In the first nine months of 2013, HCM City earned more than US$522 million from exports to India. Indian investors are presently engaged in 24 HCM City-based projects with registered investment totalling US$5.16 million.

Businesses should beware of TPP agreement

Businesses should be guided towards capitalizing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and removing barriers, heard a seminar in Hanoi on December 6.

Tran Huu Huynh, head of the Legal Affairs Department under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), recalled the opportunities and challenges Vietnam faced after joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Local businesses seem wary of innovation, worn out by the fierce competition of an open, globalised market, he said.

Huynh suggested domestic businesses learn from their WTO experiences to make the most of the TPP agreement’s required integration, international-standard efficiency, and carefully considered planning.

Vietnam Economics Institute Head Dr Tran Dinh Thien said Vietnam needs to remove a ‘bottleneck’ in economic growth to keep pace with other economies which are showing signs of recovery.

He was optimistic, however, about Vietnam’s 2013 economic growth and national competitiveness index improvements.

The country climbed five notches in the Global Competitiveness Index. Export revenue stood at US$121 billion after the past 11 months, 16.2% higher than the same period in 2012.

The foreign direct investment sector’s exports (excluding crude oil) were valued at US$74.6 billion, a year-on-year increase of 28.5%. Vietnam’s GDP growth rate reached 5.54% in the third quarter of 2013.

Dr. Thien is still concerned about the sluggish development that could cause problems for Vietnamese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) during the TPP’s implementation, especially if they fail to create the necessary support structures and strategies for their future operations.

The difficulties he highlighted included intellectual property rights, public procurement, transparency, and an environment of expanded competition.

Vietnam supports Samsung expansion plan

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc pledged to create favourable conditions for Samsung Electronics to implement its investment projects in Vietnam.

While receiving Samsung Electronics Vietnam General Director Shim Won Hwan in Hanoi on December 6, Phuc welcomed the group’s decision to select Vietnam as the world’s largest production base and expand operations in the country.

Samsung has so far poured US$5.7 billion into Vietnam-based projects, making it one of the biggest foreign investors in the country. Last year it raked in more than US$24 billion from exports and generated approximately 100,000 jobs for local people.

Phuc said Samsung-invested projects testify to the growing trade ties between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea.

He asked the group to accelerate its mobile handset plant project in Thai Nguyen province, due to churn out its first products in the first quarter of 2014, so as to generate more jobs for local people and develop support industries.

Shim Won Hwan proposed the Vietnamese government continue creating conditions for Samsung and other RoK companies to do long-term, efficient business in the country.

Samsung decided to invest US$2 billion in a mobile handset and accessories plant in Thai Nguyen province.  The plant is designed to manufacture 100 million products a year and expected to recruit 2,000 employees in the first phase.

When the facility operates at full steam, it will raise its annual output to 250 million products and become the groups’ largest mobile handset manufacturer globally.