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 Viet Kieu set for tax hikes; Vietnam promotes semiconductor industry; Exports to Africa, South and West Asia reach US$6.5 billion; Foreign investment flow into real-estate projects

Viet Kieu set for tax hikes

The Ministry of Finance is likely to raise special consumption taxes on vehicles imported by repatriating Vietnamese citizens (Viet Kieu).

In a submission to the government, the ministry proposed raising the special consumption tax on Viet Kieu vehicles to similar rates applied to cars imported for domestic purchase.

According to current regulations, Viet Kieu vehicles are taxed at a rate of 50% of the purchase price, while cars imported for domestic purchase attract a VAT, import tax and special consumption tax equivalent to over 100%.

Under the current system, an imported car worth US$80,000 will cost a domestic consumer up to US$200,000 after the three taxes have been applied, while the same vehicle imported by a Viet Kieu will cost around US$120,000 after tax. The ministry's proposal will see the cost amount to US$160,000.

The move is expected to prevent exploitation of the Government's preferential tax policies for illegal profits.

Last year, there was a sharp rise in the number of high-end vehicles brought in by Vietnamese citizens. It's reported that more than 1,000 luxury cars had been imported as assets of Viet Kieu in 2012, including top brands such as Lexus, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Land Rover, Rolls Royce, Bentley and Ferrari.

Government agencies have found a number of Vietnamese people living in foreign countries had brought vehicles to Vietnam as ‘assets', after migrating for short periods; often between one or two years.

The ministry expects the higher tax will limit the number of vehicles imported by Viet Kieu, but acknowledges the continuing disparity in the taxes may still entice people wanting to profit illegally.

Vietnam promotes semiconductor industry

A Vietnam Semiconductor Strategy Summit held in HCM City on September 9-11 is expected to give fresh impetus to the country’s semiconductor industry.

The summit, the first of its kind in HCM City, brings together more than 50 representatives from local and international microelectronics companies to discuss key strategies, challenges and opportunities in investing and developing the semiconductor industry.

The three-day event offers an opportunity for the fledgling semiconductor industry to chart a course for its future development, especially for the Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) - a model designed to attract investment and develop the city’s micro-semiconductor sector.

According to the SHTP’s Management Board, the semiconductor industry has received great support from the Government and it is included in the national prioritised programme on renovating technologies and developing national products till 2020.

Following Intel’s US$1 billion micro-chip plant in SHTP in 2006, HCM City established its Semiconductor Industry Association (HSIA) in March 2013 and developed a plan to build Vietnam’s first micro-chip factory in this hi-tech park.

The current summit is considered a golden opportunity for HCM City to realize its semiconductor industry development strategy, aiming to turn the hi-tech park into an ideal destination for investment, research and training in Vietnam and the region.

Vietnam, RoK boost cooperation through dialogue

A high-level dialogue was held in Hanoi on September 8 between the government agencies and business communities of Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) to discuss economic cooperation.

Addressing the dialogue, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said this was an opportunity  for them to co-ordinate in strengthening economic, investment and trade ties between Vietnam and the RoK.

The Deputy PM said that Vietnam-RoK cooperation have grown impressively in all fields, especially since leaders of both nations decided to raise it to a level of strategic partnership in 2009.

At present, the RoK is one of Vietnam’s largest foreign investors with their total registered capital of nearly US$26 billion, contributing to boosting economic growth and restructuring in the country, he said.  

There is high hope that the RoK business community will invest more in hi-tech, energy, transport infrastructure, environment, healthcare, processing and support industries in line with Vietnam’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model and other forms of cooperation.

Park Yongman, President of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) affirmed that RoK businesses will strongly increase investment in such areas as information technology, shipbuilding and automobile manufacturing in the near future.

Yoon Sang-jick, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy reaffirmed that Vietnam and the RoK have huge potential for closer cooperation as in the last two decades, two-way trade turnover has increased by 42 times from US$0.5 billion (1992) to US$21.1 billion (2012).

Exports to Africa, South and West Asia reach US$6.5 billion

Vietnam’s trade turnover with African, West and South Asia markets hit around US$10.05 billion in seven months, of which US$6.5 billion came from exports (up 49.6%) and US$3.5 billion from imports (up 25.6 %) compared to last year’s figures, according to the Vietnam Customs statistics.

Exports to West Asia in particular jumped by 71.8% to US$3.6 billion with separate earnings from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, and Saudi Arabia estimated at US$2.2 billion, US$615.5 million and US$366.4 million, respectively.

Exports to South Asia increased by 47.1% in value while those to India, Bangladesh and Pakistan were US$1.3 billion, US$287.8 million and US$99.5 million, respectively.

Major export items enjoying significant growth included mobile phones, rubber, fabric, coffee, seafood and computers.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s imports from Africa were up 59.4% to US$262.4 million, from South Asia up 23.6% to US$1.7 billion and from West Asia up 23.5% to US$1.5 billion.  Key import items were petroleum, cattle feed, cotton and fabric.

Foreign investment flow into real-estate projects

While the domestic property market continues to stagnate, statistics show that foreign direct investment (FDI) in real-estate projects is on the rise.

Japan currently tops the list of 47 countries and territories investing in Vietnam's real estate.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), Vietnam attracted a total of US$12.63 billion in FDI in the first eight months of this year, a rise of 19.5 % over the same period last year.

Among the 18 sectors that drew foreign investments, real estate ranked second with a total of US$588.11 million, making up 4.7% of the country's total FDI, followed by mananufacturing and processing industries.

By August, about 400 FDI property deals were concluded, worth a total of US$48.23 billion.

According to Savills Vietnam, the increasing FDI in the property market is due to recovery signs in the economy in the first half of the year, together with Government efforts to support the market with tax incentives and preferential loans, according to the Dau Tu Chung Khoan newspaper.

Savills said that Japanese investors are showing greater interests in Vietnamese property, expecting that it will become a medium- and long-term destination for their money.

Real estate company CBRE Vietnam forecast that many huge foreign investors will seek business opportunities in the property market by the end of the year.

However, there is growing concern about the massive increase of FDI into the country's property market.

Reports say many foreign investors register for real estate projects, but left them fallow for years due to failure to mobilise capital from domestic sources.

Ministries and authorities have also been asked to complete regulations on land, housing, site clearance and compensation to ensure transparency in land management and encourage both foreign and domestic investors.

Thai group to expand investment in Vietnam

Siam Cement Group (SCG) from Thailand considers Vietnam a key market in its strategy to expand investment in the Southeast Asian region.

SCG President and CEO Kan Trakulhoon said that Vietnam has always been an important market in the group’s business strategy in the ASEAN region since the group entered the country in 1992.

“We will continue our investment in this potential market, focusing on cement, building materials, paper and chemicals,” he stressed.

SCG currently has 19 affiliates in Vietnam which have total assets worth US$615 million. The group posted VND6.7 trillion (US$320 million) in sales revenue in the Vietnamese market last year, an 11 % increase from a year earlier.

In the first half of this year, the figure saw a year-on-year increase of 43 % to hit VND4.9 trillion (US$230 million).

Last December, the Thai group paid VND5.12 trillion (US$240 million) for 85 % of Prime Group, a leading building material producer in Vietnam, a strategic step to consolidate its competitiveness in ASEAN. Kan Trakulhoon noted significant changes in Vietnam’s investment and business environment.

“Vietnam is an emerging economy with a large and dynamic population and good business environment. Remarkably, we have seen its efforts in building an ASEAN Economic Community. In this context, Vietnam has many favourable factors for our future plans,” he added.

Tuy Hoa Airport’s civil aviation zone inaugurated

(VOV) - An inauguration ceremony was held on September 9 in central Phu Yen province to put the civil aviation zone at Tuy Hoa Airport into operation.

The VND400 billion project includes building a runway, a passenger terminal, parking  and as well as upgrades to roads and other facilities.

The terminal has a total area of 4,000sq.m and can handle around 550,000 passengers per year.

Addressing the ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted the contributions made by investors and executing agencies, and asked Phu Yen and the Airport Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) to exploit the project effectively with the aim of  enhancing the provincial development.

Phuc emphasised the importance of building and upgrading infrastructure in the region,particulary transport projects. The upgraded airport will provide flight connections to and from major economic centres. The projects aim is to establish Phu Yen as an important gateway to the east of the central highland provinces as well as a major tourism and service centre for the country.

The passenger terminal is part of projects under the ACV’s strategy to modernise airports.

The 18 month project has significantly contributed to implementing the socio-economic development strategy in the province and the south-central coastal region.

Vietnam Public Bank to be established

The Vietnam Public Commercial Joint Stock Bank (PVcom Bank) will be established on the merger of the PetroVietnam Finance Joint Stock Corporation and the Western Commercial Joint Stock Bank.

A shareholders’ meeting to approve the merger and the new bank’s establishment was held in Hanoi on September 8.

PVcom Bank now has 102 branches and a total asset of over US$4.76 billion.

Its charter capital is set to stand at US$428.6 million in 2013 and 2014 and to reach US$571.4 million by 2015.

The establishment of the new bank comes within the Government and the State Bank of Vietnam’s policy to restructure the banking system from 2011 to 2015 for a stable and sustainable development.

Shrimp exports recover

Vietnam earned nearly US$280 million from shrimp exports in August, up 38 percent on last year’s same period, bringing the total shrimp export value to US$1.67 billion in the first eight months.

Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) General Secretary Truong Dinh Hoe says that the price of shrimp will continue to increase while its export turnover is expected to grow considerably in the remaining months of the year.

The positive outlook is attributed to the strong growth of white-leg shrimps increasing150 percent in August and up more than 65 percent over the past eight months.

At present, white-leg shrimps are equivalent in proportion to tiger prawns, making up over 46 percent of total shrimp exports. However, white-leg shrimps will continue to grow in the coming months as there is a lack of supply source in tiger prawns.

With an average export turnover of about US$250 million per month, Vietnam is likely to rake in US$2.5-2.6 billion from shrimp exports this year, up 12 to 16 percent over the last year.

Hoe attributes the sharp increase in shrimp export value fto a rise in the shrimp export price. The supply source of shrimps to the US decreased remarkably after the US Department of Commerce’s final decision on anti-subsidy duties on frozen shrimp imported from the world’s largest shrimp producers including Vietnam.

There is also a marked decline in the export of tra fish (down 14 percent), tuna (down 25 percent) and octopus (down 10.7 percent).

Tra exports in the first eight months reached only US$1.13 billion, down 2.5 percent against the same period last year, while tuna exports were US$376 million, down 5 percent. It is forecast that tra and tuna exports find it difficult to increase due to unstable source of materials and the decrease in demands.

VASEP said that seafood export value in August is estimated to reach US$590 million, up 4.5 to 5 percent, bringing the total export value to nearly US$4.1 billion in eight months, up 2.5 percent.

Vietnam’s rice export reaches over 4.6 mln tonnes

Vietnam exported almost 4.7 million tonnes of rice in the first eight months of this year, according to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA).

Over the period, China, the Philippines, Cuba, Malaysia, Hong Kong (China) and the African markets have been major importers of Vietnamese rice.

Though Vietnam’s rice export to Asia in the period dropped by 20.8 percent over the same period last year, it saw strong increases in markets in Africa, the America s and Europe of 12.4, 37.7 and 139.3 percent respectively.

The country is expected to ship 650,000 tonnes of rice in September, raising the total volume for the first nine months to over 5.3 million tonnes.

The VFA forecast that rice exports this year can reach 7.6 million tonnes.

Last year, the country shipped a record 7.72 million tonnes of rice, earning US$3.45 billion.

According to data released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, by this time, localities in the Mekong Delta harvested about 8.61 million tonnes of rice in this year’s summer-autumn crop.

Vietnam, Rome strengthen economic cooperation

Newly appointed Roman Mayor Ignazio Marino has used a working session with Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Nguyen Hoang Long to reiterate Italy’s desire to expand its economic cooperation with Vietnam.

Mayor  Marino highlighted the especially strong relationship between the two countries’ capitals of Rome and Hanoi.

Ambassador Long expressed his willingness to serve as a bridge promoting Hanoian-Roman collaboration and unity in all fields.

He urged both sides to work together on hosting forums, meetings, talks, and exchanges capable of connecting businesses and relevant economic agencies across borders. Ambassador Long asked Roman municipal authorities to facilitate Vietnamese delegation visits in the interests of deepening mutual understandings and creating partnership opportunities.Vietnam is eager to learn from Rome’s expertise in archaeology, historical preservation, and the management of ancient cultural heritage, reinforcing the country’s broader cooperation with international organisations to recognise and protect its heritage sites and natural riches.

The Vietnamese Embassy in Italy has successfully hosted “Vietnam Cultural Weeks”  in many Italian regions to mark the 40th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations.

The Embassy hopes Roman officials will welcome the city serving as the points of departure and conclusion for “Vietnam’s Year in Italy”.

Mayor Marino committed his support to the second “Vietnam Cultural Week in Rome” planned for December this year.

Mekong delta looks to green economy

Green economy will be the major theme of a Mekong Delta economic cooperation forum to be held in Vinh Long province on November 21-24.

The forum aims to raise awareness of sustainable economic development, environmental protection, bio-diversity conservation, and effective use and exploitation of natural resources.

The South-western Steering Committee, the organiser of the event, wants to use the forum to promote domestic and foreign investments, increase economic cooperation, and develop cooperation programmes within the Mekong Delta and between the delta and other regions.

They also hope to mobilise capital sources to build public works and houses for the disadvantaged people, and grant scholarships to poor students.

A number of workshops on investment promotion, social welfare, and organic farming models will be held during the forum.

Although the Mekong Delta is Vietnam’s largest rice and aquatic producer, many local people still live under the poverty line.

The annual forum is initiated to gather recommendations from experts and scientists for submission to the PM to bring into full play the delta’s potential.

Tra fish processors oppose DOC’s new tax rates

Vietnamese Tra (pangasius) fish processors have voiced their strong opposition to the US Department of Commerce’s recent decision to impose high anti-dumping taxes on frozen Tra fish fillets imported from Vietnam.

The DOC on September 3 chose Indonesia as the benchmark country to calculate anti-dumping taxes on the Vietnamese products, reasoning Vietnam is a non-market economy.  

In a communiqué released on September 6, the Vietnam association of Tra fish processors described the DOC decision as unreasonable, citing the fact that Indonesia’s GDP per capita income is higher than Vietnam’s and its fish farming technique is different from Vietnam.

The DOC decision has resulted in high tax rates imposed on Vietnamese products, affecting Vietnam’s fishery industry.

The association said the US has imposed annual high anti-dumping duties on Vietnamese tra fillet imports over the years, impacting the sales of the products on the US market and running counter to comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.

The association proposed that the DOC, Congress and relevant US agencies reconsider calculations and use Bangladesh as the benchmark country to replace Indonesia.

Kansai businesses hail Ha Nam’s investment climate

Japan’s Kansai business delegation leader Toyokazu Machihara has passed on his colleagues’ high estimations of Ha Nam’s investment policies during his September 6 working session with provincial authorities.

Machihara was particularly impressed with provincial leaders’ enthusiasm, openness, and concern for investor well-being, highlighting the ten commitments Ha Nam pledges to every interested foreign business.

These commitments span sufficient electricity supplies, able human resources, clean land, streamlined administrative procedures, the absence of strikes, and entertainment centres and sanatoriums tailored to Japanese tastes.

The visiting delegation of 10 Kansai businesses are equipment and machinery manufacturers.

After the working session with provincial leaders, the delegation toured Dong Van II industrial zone and met with a number of Japanese businesses already operating there.

Ha Nam has also recently welcomed Japanese business delegations from Osaka and Hiroshima.

25 countries register for Pharmed & Healthcare Vietnam

Twenty-five countries and territories will attend the 8th international medical exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City from September 18–21.

Pharmed & Healthcare Vietnam is the umbrella exhibition for five related industries. Pharmex is dedicated to pharmaceuticals and their related equipment and technology; Medex to medical equipment and devices; Analytex to laboratory products and equipment; Hospex to hospital equipment and medical water and waste management; and Beautycare to cosmetic, massage, and spa products.

Renowned brand names such as Armepharco, Savipharm, Pymepharco, Traphaco, OPV, and An Viet-Samsung Medison will showcase their latest product ranges.

The inaugural Hospex seminar on high quality healthcare services is scheduled for September 20, updating Vietnamese medical professionals on recent developments at international hospitals and medical centres.

The exhibition includes a series of seminars and conferences on medical equipment imports and Vietnam’s medical waste management.

Pharmed & Healthcare Vietnam is expecting around 10,000 visitors over the four days.

Vietnam growth outlook remains stable

Vietnam could see lower growth rates due to tighter US monetary policy and a slowdown in China's growth, but currency devaluation, robust consumption and government spending will help protect growth rates.

This was stated in the latest report from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

The report provided its 140,000 members with a current snapshot of the region's economic performance and a quarterly review of Southeast Asian economies.

ICAEW economic advisor Charles Davis said both companies and individuals in Vietnam and the region have benefited from low interest rates, which have fuelled consumption and borrowing against future income.

“We are likely to see this gradually change as the US economy recovers and the Fed looks for an exit strategy from its very loose monetary policy stance. Consumers, businesses and governments will all now have to adjust to a period where loan availability drops and where the cost of borrowing money increases. However, we believe that this will pick up again in 2015 as investor capital returns to seek advantage of opportunities for growth,” said Davis.

According to the report, annual growth in loans throughout the region is expected to fall from 2012 to 2015.

Cheap money from the US Federal Reserve's exceptionally loose monetary policies has previously helped companies and governments to borrow easily, funding infrastructure and business projects, the report noted. This has also led to high inflation rates, property prices and impressive – though unsustainable – gains in local stock markets.

The slowdown in capital inflow is acting as a serious pressure on regional markets. However, a return to the Asian financial crisis conditions, in which investors believe that ASEAN currencies will continue to depreciate more than previously anticipated, is not expected.

Export-wise, China's slowdown will continue to affect the region, both because it is ASEAN's largest trading partner and because of the impact it has on commodity prices. Domestic as well as intra-ASEAN consumption remains an important driver for the region's economies.

Mark Billington, regional director for ICAEW South East Asia, added his comments on the region's outlook. “Growth will stumble in 2013 but ASEAN economies will stay on their feet. In Vietnam, a firmer handle on inflation and a close watch on price growth should increase confidence within the economy.

"The overall impact on lowering demand for exports should be mitigated by recent devaluation of the dong, while robust consumption and significant increases in government spending will help insulate growth rates from falling,” he said.

“According to the Economic Insight report, GDP in Vietnam is expected to rise by 5% in 2013 and 2014, and as global demand improves further, greater demand for exports will push GDP growth up to 5.5% in 2015,” Billington added.

The report also analyzed the impact on ASEAN from China's slowdown. ASEAN economies are closely integrated with China in the global value chain and the giant's slowdown will affect an already weak economy.

It forecasts that the world's second-largest economy will grow by only 7.2% in 2013, and this will dampen the demand for ASEAN's commodities and other exports that are traditional drivers for growth in the region.

Banks join hands to assist Japanese investors

The Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade (Vietcombank) has reached a cooperation agreement with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) on providing assistance to Japanese businesses in seeking opportunities in Vietnam.

Under the deal, Vietcombank will set up a Japan Desk to provide a range of exclusive services, consultancy and products for Japanese small-and medium-sized enterprises (JSMEs) that are doing or looking to do business in Vietnam with reference from and in cooperation with JBIC and Japanese regional banks (JRBs).

This Japan Desk will function in close collaboration with JBIC and JRBs to guarantee the best concerted support to JSMEs.

Established in 1963, Vietcombank is now among the biggest commercial banks in Vietnam, with an extensive network of nearly 400 branches, transaction offices, subsidiaries and representative offices in and outside Vietnam, and more than 1,700 correspondent banks in 120 other countries and territories in the world.

Vietcombank is also the first and so far the only Vietnamese bank that made its way into the first 500 group, being the 445th, in the latest “Top 1.000 World Banks 2013” ranking announced by The Banker in July 2013.

JBIC, headquartered in Tokyo, is a policy-based financial institution wholly owned by the Japanese government. Its role is to foster Japan’s efforts in international economic development, support Japanese enterprises operating in overseas markets, and help maintain the stability of the global financial environment, while complementing Japanese financial institutions.

Since 2010, JBIC has been initiating the cooperative relations between JRBs and a number of prestigious financial institutions in Asian countries to support JSMEs in expanding overseas operations.

Deputy PM attends FPT Group anniversary celebration

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan has asked Vietnam’s FPT Group to harness all of its strengths and redouble its contributions to the country’s socio-economic development.

In a September 7 ceremony FPT Group hosted to mark the 25th anniversary of its founding, Deputy PM Nhan presented the company with a Certificate of Merit on behalf of the Government.

He praised the group’s significant role in Vietnam’s to the information communications and technology (ICT) and economic advances over the past 25 years.

Nhan stressed the ever increasing importance of Information and technology development to Vietnam’s successful industrialisation and modernisation.

FPT’s 25-year history has seen it grow into the nation’s Vietnam’s leading ICT enterprise, involved in systems integration, software exports, communications, digital technology, education, and product distribution and retail.

From 1988 to 2012, the group averaged annual average increases of 53 percent in revenue and 52.6 percent in profit, contributing nearly VND23.5 billion to the State budget and generating 15,000 jobs.

FPT has established itself in 50 of the nation’s provinces and cities and 14 countries around the world.

Vietnam, Bulgaria boost tourism cooperation

Vietnam and Bulgaria should promote tourism investment and cooperation towards signing a new cooperation plan to replace their 2006 cooperation agreement in the field.

This was agreed at the first round-table conference in Sofia on August 5 to discuss ways to expand tourism cooperation which was jointly held by the Vietnamese Embassy in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Embassy in Vietnam.

At the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Bulgaria Le Duc Luu said the two countries have seen a traditional friendship and cooperation during the past 63 years, especially in the field of politics, which serves as a sound momentum to boost their bilateral cooperation in various areas.

However, the tourism and business cooperation between Vietnam and Bulgaria still fails to reflect their potential and political ties, added Ambassador Luu.

He also noted that Bulgaria is of great potential and strength in tourism, welcoming 10 million tourists a year, which paves the way for the two countries to intensify cooperation in the field.

In strengthening tourism cooperation, the two sides should further implement specific measures in line with each other’s law and international regulations, said participants at the workshop.

Specifically, both sides should enhance delegation exchanges and cooperation to step up investment and management for the development in this sector.

Delegates also agreed that the two countries’ tourism associations should establish a working group to foster bilateral cooperation in the field, promoting research on each country’s tourism market and exchanges of relevant data and legal documents.

The conference also raised suggestions to bolster tourism promotion and create favourable conditions for Vietnamese and Bulgarian travel agents to increase investment and business cooperation.

Seminar promotes safer agri-food chain

Thirteen out of 14 pilot models for vegetable production nationwide have received VietGap certificates as part of the Food and Agricultural Products Quality Development and Control Project (FAPQDCP).

In addition, 11 pig farms and nine out of 14 pilot poultry farms were granted VietGAHP (Vietnamese Good Animal Husbandry Practices) certificates, said Nguyen Van Doang, the project coordinator.

The project, which runs from 2008 to 2014, is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and implemented by the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department, local stakeholders and Montreal University.

It aims to improve quality, food safety and marketability of agricultural produce by strengthening application of good production and processing practices and supervision, and expand Good Agricultural Practices to more areas.

Begun in 2008, the project focuses on vegetables, fruits, pork and poultry, Doang told a workshop in HCM City Wednesday.

Apart from providing technical support, the project has helped producers and distributors with packaging, building brands, and marketing to ensure outlets for the vegetables.

Project officer Dinh Kim Dung said that in past years many activities were organised to raise consumption of VietGap products and link producers and distributors through traditional and modern trade channels, contributing to building a sustainable and effective supply chain.

Pham My Linh of the Fruit and Vegetable Research Institute said application of VietGap standards in fruit and vegetable production had brought higher profits for farmers compared to normal production methods.

Similarly, farmers also enjoyed higher profits when they applied Vietnamese Good Animal Husbandry Practices standards in pig and poultry breeding, she added.

In HCM City, the Phuoc An Co-operative and Tan Trung Joint Group have been chosen to apply VietGap and Good Manufacturing Practices in their vegetable value chain.

All vegetables grown under the pilot project have met GAP requirements.

No crop protection residues have been found in vegetable samples, according to the city Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Profits have been increased significantly since participants have joined the project, it said.

Delegates also discussed measures to maintain and expand the application of VietGap standards in production.

Jim Lee, a Canadian technical specialist, suggested that small farmers form large-size farming to facilitate the application of Vietgap.

The city's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development also said that training on VietGap standards and Good Manufacturing Practices for farmers should be continued.

Activities promoting consumption of Gap-certified products should also be enhanced, it said.

A tale of two markets on week of mixed fortunes

The VN-Index on the HCM City Stock Exchange yielded mixed results last week, rallying 1.55 per cent to 480.03 points; while the HNX-Index in Ha Noi slid 1.2 per cent to 60.45 points.

In HCM City, average trading value after five sessions reached approximately VND1 trillion (US$47.1 million) with an average volume of 45.6 million shares - a 25 per cent drop from the previous week.

While in HaNoi, trade measured VND116.6 billion ($5.5 million) over 16 million shares, showing a massive drop of 50 per cent.

An overwhelming number of sectors witnessed declines with as many as 14 out of 24 taking a hit. Information technology and communications dropped 3.3 per cent, followed by the seafood sector with a 2.94 per cent decrease.

Heightened investor caution pulled the market down in the first half of the week, although blue chips persisted as the market's top performers. Trade on speculative stocks was also sluggish.

Meanwhile, the downturn in the market was bolstered by a high level of trade, helping to narrow slumps and improve investor confidence.

A revival of market trade was driven by heavyweights Vinamilk (VNM), Vietcombank (VCB), PetroVietnam Gas (GAS), food processor Masan (MSN) and insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH).

The most notable recovery, however, belonged to VNM, which made significant gains across the week's sessions.

Speculative money responded positively to blue chip trades, prompting capital flows into property developers Tan Tao (ITA) and Kinh Bac City Development (KBC), Licogi 16 (LCG) and Cotecland (CLG), financial conglomerate Ocean Group (OGC), PetroVietnam Transportation (PVT) and hotel giant Thuan Thao (GTT).

The greatest hit to the market came from foreign sell-offs in the first days of September. From August 28, the two largest exchange-traded funds in Viet Nam, Market Vector Viet Nam ETF and FTSE Viet Nam UCIT, were hit by an exodus of foreign money; recording net losses of $5.17 million and $10 million, respectively.

However, previous weeks of continuous sell offs were overturned last week as foreign investors became net buyers. Net value climbed up to VND153.9 billion ($7.2 million) with VNM receiving the most attention from foreign investors.

Analysts from PetroVietnam Securities Co predict foreign investors will soon resume the sell-off.

Russia's UVZ looks to enter Viet Nam market

Russian's Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) has proposed a joint venture company in Viet Nam to manufacture 2,000 train carriages annually.

The proposal came after Viet Nam approved a plan for rail transport development, which has drawn the attention of Russian experts, particularly from UVZ, according to the Russian Ministry of Economic Development.

The ministry has pledged UVZ will invest significant funds into the project. The firm began making railroad cars in 1936.

Audio equipment exhibition opens in HCM City

The world's latest audio equipment are on display at a three-day exhibition that opened in HCM City yesterday.

Audio Visual Equipment Show features top hi-fi and other audio brands like Adam Tensor Beta, Gryphon Mojo, Sonus Faber Amati Futura, Zensati Angel, Thiel CS 3.7, Living Voice OBX-RW, Avalon Compas, and Gryphon Diablo.

Visitors can listen to music and watch set-up demonstrations by experts.

The event is expected to be an opportunity for foreign manufacturers to explore and find partners in Viet Nam.

The exhibition, held in HCM City and Ha Noi annually, is on at the Continental Sai Gon Hotel in District 1.

Osaka businesses seek co-operation with Viet Nam

The head of Osaka's Industrial Development Agency has described co-operation between Japanese firms and Vietnamese businesses as ‘indispensible'.

Kyoko Hirose made the statement during a working session with northern Ha Nam Province's People's Committee on Tuesday, emphasising the links between small to medium enterprises in the Japanese prefecture and local companies.

Hirose said she was being accompanied by a business delegation with all members eager to explore investment opportunities in Viet Nam.

She praised the policies implemented by provincial leaders which has seen a steady increase in Japanese investment and up to 40 enterprises basing operations in the province.

After visiting Japanese businesses in Ha Nam's Dong Van 1 and Dong Van 2 industrial zones, Kyoko announced her company, Hirose MFG, will base a facility in the province in addition to existing operations in HCM City.

The province has a strong history of providing incentives to attract foreign investment, particularly from Japan. It also intends to develop an exclusive Japanese industrial zone.

Banks join hands to assist Japanese investors

Vietcombank and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) have signed an agreement to support small and medium-sized Japanese enterprises doing business or wanting to invest in Viet Nam.

Vietcombank deputy general director Pham Quang Dung said the bank would establish a specialised unit, Japan Desk, to provide services to those businesses, in collaboration with JBIC and Japanese regional banks.

Japan Desk would offer consultancy about the Vietnamese business and investment environment, potential partners, industry experts, banking products and other financial packages.

Work on industrial park to begin

The construction of the fifth Viet Nam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) will commence in the central province of Quang Ngai next week.

The project, the fifth of its kind in Viet Nam, is a joint venture between the province and Sembcorp Industries, a leading corporation in Singapore.

The first VSIP was established in the southern province of Binh Duong in 1996.

VSIP I and VSIP II are in Binh Duong, another two are located in the northern provinces of Bac Ninh and Hai Phong..

The US$6 billion VSIPs have attracted nearly 490 investors from 25 nations and territories, and generated jobs for more than 140,000 locals.

Quang Ninh starts social housing

Hoang Ha Joint Stock Company yesterday inaugurated a social housing project in north-eastern Quang Ninh Province's Dong Trieu District.

Covering an area of 92,000sq.m, the VND338 billion (US$16 million) project will provide 371 townhouses, 122 apartments accompanied with roads, trees, and water system.

The apartments' spaces will ranger from 36 to 68 square metres with prices from VND8 million ($380) per sq.m.

The project will provide accommodations for low-income workers at the district's Kim Son Industrial Zone.

It is expected to become operational in 2018.-

HCM City apartments remain vacant

The municipal People's Committee said the city had a stockpile of 12,447 apartments with total value of VND22.2 trillion (US$1.05 billion).

Of the total, more than 3,900 apartments were completed while 8,500 others are under construction.

The city has 1,375 housing projects with area of around 9,300 ha.-

Viglacera to build budget housing

The capital has approved a housing project for low-income people by the Glass and Construction Ceramics Corporation (Viglacera).

The housing will be built in Dai Mo, Tay Mo and Tu Liem Districts.

The project includes two apartment buildings with an area of nearly 3,000sq.m.

The city has told the company that it would withdraw the project's land use right if the project would not be started within a year.

Vinh Phuc projects to lift tourism

The People's Committee of northern Vinh Phuc Province has suggested the Government build ringroad 5, including a tunnel through Tam Dao Mountain connecting Ha Noi-Vinh Phuc-Thai Nguyen.

It also asked the Government to allow the province to attract investments from universities being relocated outside the capital.

It wants the Government to allow international companies to invest in the university urban areas.

In addition, it wants to build a casino in Tam Dao and horse-racing bet in Vinh Yen Town.

The province said several investors from the US and South Korea have paid attention to pour money in the projects, making it become international standard tourism areas.

Sewage plant to serve the south

Gamuda Land Vietnam LLC and Ha Noi's Department of Natural Resources and Environment completed a handover ceremony for the Yen So Sewage Treatment last Friday.

The handover included a transfer of buildings, land, equipment, legal documents and related items.

Cheong Ho Kuan, General Director of Gamuda Land Vietnam said: "Yen So Sewage Treatment project is the largest sewage treatment plant in Viet Nam today. It has been designed and built to give the whole southern part of Ha Noi a new lease of life. It will also address pressing issues on environment and water treatment facing the area."

Yen So Sewage Treatment Plant spans 91,959sq.m and has a daily capacity of 200,000cu.m, equivalent to half of Ha Noi's total sewage.

The plant aims to address urgent environmental and sewage treatment issues in Hoang Mai District and Ha Noi City.

Plant operators also believe the facility will play an important role in attracting investment to develop southern areas of Ha Noi.



Vietnamese Prime Minister starts official visit to Singapore

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, his spouse, and a high-ranking Vietnamese delegation arrived in Changi Airport on February 8 afternoon, starting a three-day official visit to Singapore.

Businesses discuss ways to overcome challenges in 2023

Warned that uncertainties will still exist in 2023, businesses need to prepare well to weather the storm.

Vietnam's bond market remains quiet this year

The scale of debt in the corporate bond market is less than 15 per cent of GDP.

Organ trafficking in Vietnam driven by high demand, low rate of donation: experts

A conference on organ donation registration and the prevention of human organ and tissue trafficking was held on Monday.

VCCI proposes allowing businesses to set fuel retail prices

The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has written to the Government suggesting fuel retail prices be decided by businesses based on supply and demand to prevent fuel shortages.


Vietnam puts children at centre of development policies, strategies: Ambassador

Gov’t issues action plan to realize Hanoi’s development vision until 2045

The Government has issued an action plan to realize Politburo’s resolution on the objectives for Hanoi’s development until 2030, with a vision to 2045.

Commercial sidewalk use may be charged by HCMC authorities

HCMC is planning to allow the paid use of sidewalks for commercial purposes such as vending goods or parking if these business activities leave a space of at least 1.5 meters wide for pedestrians.

CAAV advises caution when buying air tickets

The Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam (CAAV) has received feedback on the fact that passengers have to buy air tickets higher than the specified prices on domestic routes, especially during the peak of the Lunar New Year (Tet).

Prime Minister leaves Hanoi for official visits to Singapore, Brunei

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, his spouse and a high-ranking delegation of Vietnam left Hanoi at noon on February 8 for official visits to Singapore and Brunei from February 8-11.

US war veteran wishing to return wartime diary to Vietnamese family

Pater Mathews, a US war veteran, has emailed relevant agencies of Ha Tinh province, central Vietnam, expressing his desire to fly to Vietnam and return a Vietnamese martyr’s diary he came across decades ago to the martyr’s family.


January payment transactions via national public service portal valued at 11.8 mln USD

Vietnam needs new products, services to reach tourism targets

To realise the targets of attracting 110 million tourists and earning some 650 trillion VND (27.5 billion USD) in revenue this year, Vietnam is recommended to develop more products and services to offer new experiences to visitors.

PM Chinh’s Singapore visit expected to advance bilateral trade ties

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s Singapore visit from February 8-10 aims to affirm the determination to elevate the bilateral economic ties to a new height in the context of many free trade agreement (FTAs) coming into force.

VN to force retailers to generate e-invoices from cash registers

When the technical infrastructure and capacity were upgraded to meet the demand, the regulations about issuing e-invoices from cash registers must then be made compulsory together with the introduction of punishments for violations.