Conference looks to strengthen cyber security for public, financial-banking sectors

Domestic and foreign experts are gathering at the international conference and expo “Security World 2019”, which opened in Hanoi on May 29, to discuss measures to strengthen data protection and cyber security for the public and the financial-banking sectors.

Speaking at the event, the 13th of its kind in Vietnam, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Public Security’s Department of Cyber Security and High-tech Crime Prevention Do Anh Tuan said that cyber attacks in Vietnam have become more complicated and unpredictable in recent time, particularly in state management agencies.

Statistics from the national cyber security monitoring centre under the Ministry of Information and Communications show that Vietnam’s IT system was hit by 10,220 cyber attacks in 2018, including 5,932 Phishing attacks, 3,198 web defacements and 1,090 malwares.

The banking sector alone suffered various attacks, causing critical consequences to local businesses and organisations. Hackers said they hijacked personal data of 5.4 million customers at Thegioididong mobile phone distribution chain, and 275,000 customers at Co-opbank.

Deputy Head of the Government Cryptography Committee Nguyen Dang Dao said that cyber attacks target e-commerce and the finance-banking sector to steal personal information of users, as well as state-owned agencies to burgle national data. Besides, hackers also use artificial intelligence (AI) to launch malicious attacks.

The Security World 2019 is organised to help state-owned agencies, banks and financial institutions to get an insight into cyber attack risks to have timely response to the rapid development of security threats.

The conference highlighted Vietnam’s current cyber security situation, security measures for financial and banking sector in Vietnam and the latest threats to information security in 2019 in ASEAN and Singapore’s experiences in InforSec assurance.

More than 20 renowned IT firms like Viettel, VNPT, McAfee, Cybertrap, Rostelecom-Solar, Parasoft, Fujitsu, and DTASIA, among others, bring to the Security World 2019 expo their latest security solutions and products.

The expo runs through May 30 at JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi.

Oil and gas sector helps balance State budget


The oil and gas sector has made considerable contributions to the State budget, experts have said.

According to a Government report on State budget balance in 2017, State budget collection in 2017 exceeded 1.293 quadrillion VND (55.59 billion USD), up 6.7 percent from estimates, mostly due to increases in land use fee, import tax and crude oil sales.

The report said crude oil fetched 49.58 trillion VND (2.13 billion USD), 29.5 percent more than the estimate.

In 2018, the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam)’s domestic crude oil production exceeded the target set by the Government by 675,000 tonnes, contributing to the country’s GDP growth of 7.08 percent.

The firm’s total revenue in 2018 was 626.8 trillion VND, surpassing the yearly target by 18 percent and a year on year rise of 26 percent. It paid 121.3 trillion VND to the State budget, exceeding the yearly goal by 64.3 percent.

Bui Si Loi, deputy head of the National Assembly (NA) Committee for Social Affairs, said that along with State budget payment, the oil and gas sector has laid a foundation for economic growth in central Thanh Hoa and Nghe An provinces.

It has also helped ensure power security and sovereignty, while creating jobs, he said.

Nguyen Duc Kien, deputy head of the NA Economic Committee, said the Government should adjust policies to promote the effective operation of oil and gas firms.

Although the world oil and gas market saw a lot of fluctuations in the first three months of 2019, most of PetroVietnam’s production indexes surpassed the plan by 2-8 percent.

Total earnings of the firm in the first quarter of this year reached 162.7 trillion VND, exceeding the plan by 6.3 percent. It paid 23.5 trillion VND to the State budget, 9.2 percent higher than the first quarter’s plan and fulfilling 27 percent of the yearly target.

Statistics from the Ministry of Finance show that in the first four year of 2019, State budget collection was nearly 134 trillion VND, including 111.6 trillion VND of domestic collection.

Notably, collection from crude oil was estimated at 4.7 trillion VND in April and 18.29 trillion VND in four months, equivalent to 41 percent of the yearly projection.

Business community asked to pay attention to environmental protection

A forum on connectivity between the business community and environmental protection and sustainable development was held in Ho Chi Minh City on May 29.

Speaking at the event, Editor-in-Chief of the Natural Resources and Environment Magazine Chu Thai Thanh said that to achieve sustainable development, enterprises should pay more attention to environmental protection.

This is a development plan that increases their prestige and competitiveness in the region and the world, he stated, advising them to assess shortcomings in their environmental protection efforts.

Director of the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen The Chinh suggested enterprises innovate technology, production processes and management methods to develop environmentally-friendly products.

It is also important to improve awareness of employers and employees on the importance of environmental protection, he stressed.

He proposed the Government perfect policies and laws involved in environmental protection and climate change response in conformity with the market economy’s regulations.

Chinh also emphasised the need to promote the role of the Consumer Protection Association in raising its voice to protect consumers against production and products that harm public health.

13 million elderly consumers: fastest growing purchasing power segment

Global market research company Euromonitor International will share insights on how companies can tap into the Vietnamese market at its first conference in Ho Chi Minh City at Sheraton on June 11.

According to Euromonitor, 13 million of the Vietnamese population will be aged 65+ in 2030 and their purchasing power is set to grow the fastest among all age groups, by 5 per cent per year on average between 2018 and 2030.

“Older consumers feel, behave, and want to be treated as they were younger. They want branding to focus more on needs, interests, and values that include consumer experience, convenience, authenticity, and novelty,” says An Hodgson, income and expenditure research manager at Euromonitor. “Businesses that adopt more universal strategies rather than being age labels can effectively win ageing consumers while also appealing to younger consumers,” she added.

In 2030, Vietnam will be the fifth largest economy in Southeast Asia where 50 per cent of the households will have an annual disposable income between $5,000 $15,000. Representing an increase of 34 per cent from 2018, Vietnamese middle class consumers are aspirational, brand aware, and price conscious. Although the population is price sensitive, the willingness to pay premium for branded products deemed to be healthier or better-quality sits among the consumers.

Furthermore, internet retail is set to double its market size and to reach $5 billion by 2023. While online shopping is not yet prevalent in Vietnam, brands and retailers should stay ahead of e-commerce.

Nam Kim Group sells branch after suffering losses

Constantly suffering losses and a trillion Vietnamese dongs worth of assets disappearing like smoke were the main reasons behind local steel giant Nam Kim Group's (code: NKG) selling of Nam Kim Corea Ltd.

NKG’s Board of Directors has just approved the decision to transfer all of the company's shares in Nam Kim Corea to China-based Chinasia Textile Ltd. The move took place as the parent company suffered VND173 billion ($7.52 million) and VND101 billion ($4.4 million) in losses in 2018’s fourth quarter and 2019’s first quarter. In addition, these losses also caused the firm to lose more than VND1 trillion ($43.48 million) of its total assets.

To resolve its ailing performance, NKG plans restructuring its manufacturing and investment activities.

Specifically, the steel company decided to transfer the right of land use of Nam Kim-Korea projectlocated at the VISIP Binh Duong industrial park with the surplus value of VND23 billion ($1 million). The firm also did the same with Nam Kim 1 factory in Binh Duong province, making a profit of VND180 billion ($7.83 million), and its other project in My Xuan B IP in Ba Ria-Vung Tau with the surplus valueof VND250 billion ($10.87 million).

During the first quarter of this year, the firm earned VND2.943 trillion ($127.96 million) in net revenue, down 18 per cent on-year because the export revenue fell by 35 per cent.

As of March 31, 2019, NKG's total asset value shrank by VND1.053 trillion ($45.78 million) due to a 33 per cent cut down on stockpiles.

Notably, its debts accounted for nearly 60 per cent of its total assets, equaling VND4.199 trillion ($182.57 million), including VND2.040 trillion ($88.7 million) in short-term and VND1.225 trillion ($53.26 million) in long-term debts.

NKG will organise its annual shareholders' meeting on June 29, 2019.

Real estate sector advised to reduce dependence on bank credit

The real estate market has slowed in the first months of 2019, which experts attributed to limited bank credit sources for the market.

According to President of the Vietnam National Real Estate Association (VNREA) Nguyen Tran Nam, credit for the real estate sector has been tightened and is getting tighter.

Credit growth in the sector has reduced from 18 percent in 2016 to only 5 percent in 2018.

Nam said the diminishing credit flow into the real estate sector has greatly affected the operation of the market, as most capital is sourced from banks.

Le Hoang Chau, head of the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association suggested real estate firms ensure business efficiency and prepare land stock, while focusing on the quality and progress of their projects as well as transparency in management.

Businesses should find prestigious and competent foreign firms and investment funds to work with, he added.

According to Chau, less dependence on credit loans is also a chance for the sector to restructure. Businesses should reform their capital sources for sustainable and transparent development, he advised.

Nguyen Van Duc, Vice Director of Dat Lanh company, said enterprises can seek other sources of capital via merger and acquisition deals or share issuance.

State Bank to continue administrative reform

Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) Dao Minh Tu said that SBV would continue to enhance administrative reform in the near future, with a focus on improving the business environment in monetary and banking fields, and corporate support.

The SBV over past years has achieved positive reform results in six fields under a comprehensive programme on State administrative reform, including reducing 31 per cent of business requirements and 20 per cent of periodic reporting, as well as ensuring openness and transparency under ISO 9001:2008 standards, according to Tu.

Credit organisations have also removed administrative procedures to make it easier for businesses and individuals to use services.

Last year, they lowered lending rates to help firms access loans at reasonable costs, providing them with nearly 100 preferential credit products, 15 of which were for small- and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups.

To achieve such results, the SBV directed credit organisations to accelerate reform in lending procedures and banking services, and suggested that the Government work with ministries, agencies, and localities to offer e-payment solutions for public services.

At a recent conference to announce the Public Administration Reform Index 2018 (PAR INDEX), the SBV ranked first in the administrative reform index among ministries, ministry-level agencies, and the people’s committees of centrally-run cities and provinces for the fourth consecutive year, scoring 90.57 per cent.

Vietbank opens transaction office in HCM City

Viet Nam Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Vietbank) has opened a new transaction office on Do Xuan Hop Street in HCM City’s outlying District 9.

In a press release, the lender said 2018 was an extremely difficult year for banks in terms of expanding their network because the State Bank of Viet Nam had been focused on ensuring banks operated safely and efficiently rather than expanded.

But thanks to its good performance, it said it was licensed to open 18 new branches and transaction offices.

The bank expects to open all 18 by June 30.

To mark the branch opening, the bank is offering depositors the chance to win a Mazda CX-5 and other prizes in a lucky draw, besides many gifts to customers.

Techcombank expects to apply Basel II this year

Thanks to a capital adequacy ratio (CAR) at 13.8 per cent by the end of the first quarter of the year, Techcombank expects to be approved for adopting Basel II standards this year, one year before the goal set by the State Bank of Viet Nam.

The information was released at a press meeting held in Ha Noi on Tuesday.

Trinh Bang, Techcombank’s chief finance officer, said the firm was the best capitalised bank in Viet Nam and best positioned to deliver growth.

Techcombank delivered its 14th consecutive quarter of year-on-year growth in revenue. The bank reported a record first-quarter revenue and before-tax profit of VND4.2 trillion (US$179.4 million) and VND2.6 trillion. Excluding recoveries and one-time events, total revenues increased 17.6 per cent from the same period last year with growth in lending and non-lending income.

“If we have growth in one, two or three quarters, it might be lucky. But we have grown 14 consecutive quarters since the fourth quarter of 2015, showing Techcombank has a very good strategy,” Nguyen Le Quoc Anh, Techcombank’s CEO said.

Lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) continued to see strong results, growing 52.5 per cent year-on-year.

In retail banking, Le Thi Bich Phuong, head of Personal Financial Services Department said its customer centric strategy continued to deliver.

Its retail loans in the January-March period grew by 31 per cent from the same period last year.

The bank continues to reduce cash transaction in the economy. As of the end of the first quarter, Techcombank became entrenched as the market leader in total payment volume in both VISA debit and credit cards, growing 18 per cent and 6.2 per cent annually.

Viet Nam, Ivory Coast eye co-operation in agriculture

Standing Vice Chairman of the HCM City’s People Committee Le Thanh Liem on Monday discussed measures to promote bilateral co-operation, particularly economic, with minister and secretary general of the presidency of the Ivory Coast, Achi Patrick.

He believed that the visit by the West African guest would help boost economic ties and friendship between Viet Nam and the Ivory Coast.

Highlighting the thriving bilateral trade, which recently exceeded US$1 billion and made Ivory Coast Viet Nam’s top trade partner in Africa, he described the country as a promising market for Vietnamese agricultural products and an important raw materials supplier for Viet Nam.

HCM City is prioritising high-tech agriculture and bio-technology to achieve value-addition and the two sides have huge potential for collaboration, he said.

Patrick said he was impressed by the city’s dynamism, and hoped to learn from Viet Nam’s experience in national construction and development, including poverty alleviation and attraction of foreign investment.

He said the two sides should work together in agriculture, including aquaculture, for mutual benefit.

Ivory Coast has 1.4 million hectares under cashew and is the leading position in the world in term of cashew production with average productivity of 500kg per ha.

However, only 8 per cent of the output is processed for export, Patrick said.

In Viet Nam, Binh Phuoc is the main cashew growing province.

Patrick said his country wants to co-operate with businesses in the south central Binh Phuoc Province to promote cashew processing.

Huynh Anh Minh, vice chairman of the province People’s Committee, hailed the opportunity for co-operation in cashew processing with Ivory Coast.

Binh Phuoc has half the country’s total area under cashew.

Yet, it cannot meet the demand from processors, who therefore have to import raw cashew, Minh added.

Slow and steady mango export success

While getting Vietnamese mangoes approved for shipment to the US was a roaring success, local exporters aren’t resting on their laurels.

Phan Thi Thu Hien, Director of the Post-Import Plant Quarantine Centre II under the Plant Protection Department, said all batches of mangoes exported by 12 local enterprises since April have met US regulations. However, a few Hoa Loc mangoes went off quickly due to the inexperience of the businesses.

Shipping fresh food to remote markets is always a challenge due to the damage cause by transportation, preservation and sales, so there’s no need to worry about progress in this new market, according to Hien.

So far, about 130 tonnes of mangoes have been exported to the US from five provinces and cities. Of which, 80 tonnes have been exported by the Vina T&T Import Export Trading Service Co, Ltd based in HCM City, the Nguoi lao dong (The Labourer) newspaper reports.

Besides shipping by air, the company had shipped two batches by sea, Nguyen Dinh Tung, Vina T&T general director said. The first batch reached supermarkets in the US in good condition after 23 days at sea.

Ngo Tuong Vy, Deputy Director of Chanh Thu Fruit Import and Export Company Limited in Ben Tre Province, the first company to export mangoes to the US, said the firm had so far shipped about 50 tonnes.

She said the company had temporarily reduced export volume due to seasonal issues and competition with cheap Mexican mangoes.

The company had difficulties in preservation, leading to high loss rate so it needed to continue improving technology before exporting more at the end of this year, the high season for consumption, Vy said.

Moc Phat Import Export Co, Ltd based in HCM City had exported four tonnes of fresh mangoes to the US, said Vuong Dinh Khoat, Moc Phat’s Chairman of the Board of Members. The company also halted temporarily exports to this market because of the fierce competition in the market.

"Businesses do not need to export in large quantities, it is more important to be efficient," Khoat said.

Khoat, also the Chairman of Toan Phat Irradiation Co, said his company was waiting to join an irradiation programme for fresh fruits exported to the US so Moc Phat’s export mangoes must be irradiated by another company.

When in operation, Toan Phat Irradiation Co, Ltd would cut cost of irradiation service for Vietnamese fruits because now, only Son Son Company irradiated fresh fruits.

According to Le Van Thiet, Deputy Director of the Plant Protection Department, the US is an important market for Vietnamese fruits so if local companies don't meet import requirements, the risk of losing the market will be very high.

The department has encouraged enterprises to comply with regulations to keep the reputation of Vietnamese fruits. Now pomelos and fresh avocados are under negotiation to be exported to the US.

Meanwhile, Vy said Vietnamese mangoes would need a lot of promotional activities among American consumers to increase their competitiveness over mangoes from Thailand and Mexico.

Can Tho, Ivory Coast discuss agriculture cooperation

A delegation led by Minister and Secretary General of the presidency of Ivory Coast Patrick Achimet with Can Tho authorities in the Mekong Delta city on May 28 to discuss agriculture cooperation.


At the event, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Dung said Can Tho and Ivory Coast share similarities in agricultural development plans. As home to several agriculture research institutes and universities, Can Tho is well-positioned to develop rice and fruit farming, and aquaculture.

He said Can Tho could partner with Ivory Coast localities to boost aquaculture, cattle and fowl farming, rice processing and preservation.

Achi, for his part, said the delegation will learn about Vietnam’s development models to seek driving forces for Ivory Coast’s growth in the near future.

According to him,Ivory Coast is the world’s top cashew nut and cocoa producer and leads Africa in terms of rubber and palm tree growing and others. However, it is struggling to develop agriculture and to process farm produce for export. Despite having 400km of coastline, the country has to import 90 percent of frozen fish due to underdeveloped aquaculture.

He suggested both sides cooperate in rice studies to choose high-quality varieties, and boost mechanisation in agriculture.

The guest also wished to boost bilateral links in farm produce processing for export and aquaculture.

He said the government allows localities to import raw rice for processing while Can Tho is strong in rice materials and processing technology, adding that apart from ongoing government and ministry-level coordination, he wants further links between localities in the field.

Leaders of the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Mekong Delta Rice Research Institute introduced Can Tho’s strengths in production, processing and exports of rice, aquatic products and fruit.

At present, 80 percent of the province’s specialty rice is grown for export with a total annual output of nearly 1.3 million tonnes. The second major currency earner is tra fish with a yearly output of 160,000 tonnes.

Hanoi’s CPI rises 0.65 percent in May

Hanoi’s consumer price index (CPI) in May increased by 0.65 percent from the previous month, reported the city Statistics Office.

The capital’s average CPI for the first five months rose 4.1 percent against the same period last year.

Compared to April, the price of transportation posted the highest growth of 2.97 percent due to significant higher fuel and petrol prices.

The price of housing, construction materials, power and water supply followed the upward trend at 1.98 percent over gas, kerosene and electricity costs.

Upturns were also noticed in the prices of equipment and household appliances at 0.2 percent; beverages and cigarettes at 0.17 percent; culture-entertainment-tourism services at 0.16 percent; garments, headgear, footwear at 0.05 percent; and educational services at 0.03 percent.

By contrast, food and catering; medicine and healthcare; and post-telecommunication services recorded monthly decreases of 0.11, 0.63, and 0.3 percent, respectively.

At the same time, gold price was down 0.44 percent, while the price of the US dollar went up 0.43 percent over the previous month.

Jetstar Pacific receives new aircraft to meet summer demand

Low-cost carrier Jetstar Pacific are set to add five new aircraft to their fleet in order to operate 11,000 flights to meet the travel demand during the summer period from June 1 to August 31, up 10 per cent over the same period last year.

The five modern Airbus A321 are to be put into operation on domestic and international air routes to serve more than 2 million passengers during the summer season.

With three new Airbus A321s recently received, the airline’s fleet is poised to grow to 18 aircraft including 15 Airbus A320s and three Airbus A321s. Each new Airbus A321 will be able to transport 203 passengers at a time.

In order to prepare for the peak period over the summer, Jetstar Pacific has opened three new air routes connecting Da Nang to Vinh, Thanh Hoa, and Phu Quoc in the hope of meeting the increasing demand for travel and accelerating tourism development of localities nationwide.

During this period, the airline advises passengers to arrive at the airport on time as well as carefully checking regulations regarding security and aviation safety.

Jetstar Pacific has a good record when it comes to safety over the past 28 years. The airline has opened a network of air routes to major cities and tourist attractions throughout Vietnam in addition to locations in the region and connecting their flight network with that of Vietnam Airlines.

The budget airline currently operates flights to up to 85 destinations in 18 nations and territories across the world.

Last year, the airline conducted more than 40,000 safe flights and transported a total of 6.2 million passengers, an increase of 14.3 per cent. According to a recent survey, over 99 per cent of passengers are willing to fly with the airline on their next trip.

Jetstar Pacific has two major shareholders, including Vietnam Airlines and Australia-based Qantas Group, also known as Qantas Airways.

Hanoi eyes new wholesale markets to aid local farm produce

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in collaboration with Hanoi People’s Committee hosted a workshop in Hanoi on May 28 to discuss the development of the system of modern agricultural product supply centres in Vietnam during the 2018-2020 period with orientations towards 2030.

During the workshop, the MARD announced that it has formulated and approved a project to develop the system of modern centres capable of supplying domestic farm produce with the support of the Embassy of France in Hanoi and the French Development Agency in Vietnam.

The objectives of the project are to devise policies to support the development of modern farm produce supply centres that can meet domestic and international standards, whilst aiming to promote the consumption of local farm produce under the value chain.

Nguyen Van Suu, Standing Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee, said that there is a huge demand for farm produce among the people of Hanoi. He went on to add that different types of farm produce are largely distributed and consumed in Hanoi through wholesale and traditional markets, before reaching supermarket chains, and convenience stores.

The capital city of Hanoi is now home to two major wholesale markets along with a series of traditional markets such as the Yen So fish market, the Ha Vi poultry market, and the Van Quan farm produce night market.

From now till 2020, the city will focus on building eight major wholesale markets with priority given to developing modern centres specifically for farm produce supply in the future.

Vietnam advised to stimulate domestic consumption


The escalating US-China trade war has affected many other countries, including Vietnam, said Prof. Liu Ying of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies under the Renmin University of China.

Liu said that due to the world economy’s demand, the US’ increase of tax rate applied on Chinese goods will push production costs, thus countries having business and trade relations with the US, including Vietnam, will be affected.

According to Liu, both China and Vietnam should stimulate domestic consumption and foster economic and trade relations with each other as well as with ASEAN countries.

Currently, China-ASEAN trade has exceeded 500 billion USD, while the trade value between China and Vietnam has reached nearly 150 billion USD with rapid growth, Liu noted.

Liu asserted that with the sound neighbourliness, China and Vietnam have good conditions to promote bilateral trade ties.

Meanwhile, for the ASEAN, it is necessary to enhance trade and financial cooperation by increasing investment in infrastructure development, thus boosting the growth of the regional economy, she said.

The expert said that the US has launched trade wars with China, Europe and Japan, which has hindered the development of the global trade and economy. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have both lowered the global economic growth in 2019.

Liu stressed that international trade is an important motivation for the global economic growth, but the trade unilateralism and protectionism have been curbing the trans-border capital flow.

In the first half of 2018, the flow of trans-border capital reduced by 41 percent, while the Baltic Dry Index, which reflects the world trade wealth, also dropped to 66 percent. Meanwhile, the US stock market is going down.

Liu underlined the need to roll out drastic measures to end trade conflicts between the US and China – the two driving forces of the world economic growth.

66 million USD invested in Dak Lak hi-tech agricultural park complex

The Dak Lak People’s Committee and Hung Nhon Group from southern Binh Phuoc province and De Heus Group from the Netherlands signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Buon Ma Thuot city on May 28 on the construction of a hi-tech agricultural park complex in the Central Highland province.

The 66 million USD project will cover 200 ha and be carried out from the third quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2025.

It includes a 80-ha farm for 2,400 breeding pigs selected and imported from the Netherlands; a 30-ha chicken breeding area; and a 15-ha plant for pork slaughtering and organic fertiser production.

Vu Manh Hung, Chairman and General Director of the Hung Nhon Group, said once completed, the complex will become a leading centre of hi-tech application in animal husbandry, creation of chained products, animal feed, organic fertiliser, and commercial livestock products with the best quality in Vietnam, aiming for exports to the Southeast Asian region.

The project uses grid-connected solar power system and breeding process applying technology 4.0 in accordance with Global GAP standards.

It is expected to generate stable jobs for 200-300 lcoal ethnic minority workers.

The project aims to provide safe and disease-free breeding stocks for Central Highland and southern provinces.

Chairman of the Dak Lak People’s Committee Pham Ngoc Nghi said the province has a lot of potential to develop agriculture, especially farming land.

The investment in the DHN hi-tech agricultural park complex is in line with the province’s strategy to develop agricultural economy, he said.

Nghi pledged to to create all possible conditions for the Hung Nhon Group and De Hues to soon complete the project.

Swedish pharma firm plans $220 mln investment in Vietnam

Leading Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca will invest $220 million to expand its presence in the country.

The investment was announced in Stockholm Monday during Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to Sweden.

The firm, in Vietnam for 25 years, will invest in expanding and improving its services and products, creating more local jobs, including 500 in biomedical sciences and medical affairs.

It targets becoming a top pharmaceutical firm in Vietnam in reducing the ratio of people with non-communicable diseases (NCD).

NCDs like cancer and heart-related diseases, kill 318,000 people each year in Vietnam, or 72 percent of total deaths by diseases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The firm plans to use part of its investment to enhance the health of young Vietnamese. It plans to educate 46,000 students in 27 schools and universities on NCDs like diabetes and cancer.

AstraZeneca will continue to drive the development of biomedical science and innovation in Vietnam through clinical research, and data from these research programs will enable future medicines to better address the needs of Vietnamese patients, said Leif Johansson, chairman of AstraZeneca.

The firm has previously worked with the Vietnamese government on various projects. It has invested $20 million in establishing 132 research sites nationwide.

First floating solar power’s inverter station generates electricity

The Da Nhim – Ham Thuan – Da Mi Hydropower JSC sent electricity generated by Inverter B Station to the grid in the central province of Binh Thuan on May 27, raising the capacity of Da Mi solar power plant’s power supply to the grid to 38.2 MWp.

Earlier on May 13, the company also connected Inverter A Station to the grid with a capacity of 20.5 MWp.

The floating Da Mi solar power plant on Da Mi hydropower river, the first of its kind in Vietnam, has a designed capacity of 47.5 MWp. Covering a total area of 56.65ha, it was built at a total cost of over VND1.4 trillion (US$60.8 million) .

In the first year of its operation, the plant is expected to supply 69.9 million kWh of electricity for the grid.

Customs sector focuses on CPTPP implementation

Vietnam’s customs sector will help businesses carry out procedures while implementing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), said Deputy General Director of the General Department of Vietnam Customs Nguyen Duong Thai.

Speaking at a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on May 28, Thai said the customs sector would reform administrative procedures, modernise customs, improve the business environment and enhance national competitiveness.

Thai said the Ministry of Finance had recently submitted to the Government a draft decree on preferential export tariffs and special preferential import tariffs under the CPTPP agreement for 2019-2022.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs is also finalising amendments and supplements to Circular 38/2018/TT-BTC on inspection and identification of goods origin, which is expected to be completed in June and will be submitted to the Ministry of Finance for approval, he added.

Thai said there are some notable issues brought by the deal, including the fact CPTPP members committed to eliminating 97 percent to 100 percent of tariff lines for goods imported from Vietnam.

In contrast, Vietnam also pledged to eliminate tariffs on 86.5 percent of tariff lines on imported goods from member countries within three years, but still maintains tariff quotas on some items such as sugar, eggs, salt and used cars, Thai said.

He said the CPTPP inherited its advanced rules of origin and origin procedure from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, encouraging the integration of member countries and aiming to form a complete supply chain.

Meanwhile, Thai said the procedure for certification of origin would be simplified, as the deal allows the origin of goods to be certified by manufacturers, exporter or importers.

Traditionally, the certificate of origin must be issued by the competent authority of the exporting country or the manufacturing country, Thai said.

At the workshop, experts discussed tax policies and customs procedures as well as rules of origin of goods in the CPTPP.

Director of the Ministry of Finance’s International Cooperation Department Vu Nhu Thang said that when Vietnam joins the CPTPP, its exports to the member countries would enjoy import tax incentives.

This is a good condition for Vietnamese enterprises to access new markets, especially its advantageous products such as seafood, textiles, footwear and agricultural products, Thang said, adding that however, opportunities also come with challenges as businesses have to compete with goods of importing countries in Vietnam.

Tran Van Cong, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Agro Processing and Market Development Authority, said Vietnam needed to step up the building of a national standard and regulation system, trademarks and national brands.

Authorities need to have a plan for the cuts of import and export taxes of members in the CPTPP for Vietnamese goods so that enterprises could have timely response plans, Cong said.

The CPTPP agreement gathers 11 member countries, namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The deal took effect from December 30, 2018, while Vietnam ratified the agreement on January 14, 2019.

Under the trade pact, Vietnam’s GDP is expected to increase by 1.32 percent annually, while export turnover may increase 4.04 percent and import turnover by 3.8 percent.

Measures sought to help Bac Giang export more lychee

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has stressed the importance of quality management and traceability for lychee, a speciality fruit of the northern province of Bac Giang, to meet export requirements for China and other potential markets.

The leader made the statement at a forum on the production and consumption of lychee and promotion of tourism, held in Bac Giang province on May 29 as local growers started the lychee harvest season for the year.

Hue asked relevant ministries and sectors to add local fruit and other products to the national list of agricultural products exported to the Chinese market. He also requested they provide Bac Giang with market information and help the province expand domestic and foreign consumption through trade promotion programmes in foreign countries.

“We need to help Bac Giang's businesses access modern technology to preserve and process lychee and develop tourism products,” Hue said.

He said local authorities and partners in China need to strengthen trade connections to create the best conditions for Chinese traders to purchase lychee from the province and invest in agriculture and tourism services.

Administrative procedures for Chinese partners must be simplified in order to assist the export of lychee to China in the shortest time, he said.

At the forum, Commercial Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi Ho Doa Gin lauded the quality of Vietnamese lychee, saying it matches the tastes of Chinese consumers.

He said China would create favourable conditions for the import of the product.

Many large domestic distributors such as Saigon co.op and BigC also plan to purchase and sell Bac Giang lychee.

A representative of Central Group Vietnam, which owns the BigC supermarket chain, said the group was actively supporting the production and sale of Bac Giang lychee.

“This year's lychee season, we have committed to purchasing 350 tonnes nationwide. Today, Central Group Vietnam pledged to buy six containers of lychee to sell at Big C supermarkets and Lan Chi supermarkets, our strategic partner,” the representative said.

"One container will be exported to Thailand this year,” the representative said.

Deputy Chairman of the Bac Giang People's Committee Duong Van Thai said the province was entering the first days of the 2019 lychee harvest.

“We are committed to creating the most favourable conditions to assist growers, businesses and both domestic and foreign traders in the harvesting, processing and sale of lychee,” Thai said.

Bac Giang is known as the largest concentrated fruit growing area in the North of Vietnam with a total area of nearly 50,000ha. Its 28,000ha of lychee are seen as the largest hub in the country with an annual output of more than 150,000 tonnes.

The brand name of Bac Giang lychee is protected in eight countries including the Republic of Korea, China, Japan, Singapore and Australia. Last year, the fruit was certified by the Southeast Asian Records Organisation as one of the Top 10 specialities of Southeast Asia.

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