Thứ Ba, ngày 27 tháng 9 năm 2016

Bulky goods on vehicles: Death driving around Vietnam streets (photos)

A man rides a cyclo carrying steel sheets used for roofing on a Ho Chi Minh City street on September 24, 2016. Tuoi Tre
 Tuoi Tre (Yotuh) newspaper reporters have detected many cases of vehicles carrying bulky goods on the street, which potentially causes dangers to travelers.
Those kinds of oversized cargoes have recently made headlines in Vietnam after a nine-year-old boy and a woman in Hanoi died having their necks cut by steel sheets carried on the street.
The steel sheets were transported on a cyclo and a cart towed by a motorbike, respectively, in the two cases. Both of the accidents happened last week.
Arguments have erupted after the incidents, with many saying that the Vietnamese laws on the transport of such bulky items have yet to be well enforced.

Chở hàng hóa cồng kềnh, nhìn mà lo sợ
A tricycle carries king-size plastic and metal tubes on a Hanoi street. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Chở hàng hóa cồng kềnh, nhìn mà lo sợ
An accident scene on National Highway 1 shows a motorbike driver dying on the spot after hitting a truck carrying steel sheets. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Chở hàng hóa cồng kềnh, nhìn mà lo sợ
A tricycle carries eight drums tied with ropes on Hoa Binh Street, District 11, Ho Chi Minh City, on September 23, 2016. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Chở hàng hóa cồng kềnh, nhìn mà lo sợ
A motorbike carries long steel sheets on Nguyen Van Linh Street in the southern city of Can Tho on September 24, 2016. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Chở hàng hóa cồng kềnh, nhìn mà lo sợ
Two men ride a motorbike while pulling a cart with big wooden sticks on Dien Bien Phu Street, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Chở hàng hóa cồng kềnh, nhìn mà lo sợ
A man rides his motorbike with one hand, as his other hand is holding a long iron stick on 3-2 Street, Can Tho City, on September 24, 2016. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Chở hàng hóa cồng kềnh, nhìn mà lo sợ
It is definitely hard to ensure anyone’s safety with this. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Chở hàng hóa cồng kềnh, nhìn mà lo sợ
A driver in Da Nang has to stand up on his self-designed motorbike as his goods are too high for him to watch the road. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Chở hàng hóa cồng kềnh, nhìn mà lo sợ
Big water pipes are carried on a Da Nang street. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Chở hàng hóa cồng kềnh, nhìn mà lo sợ
A motorbike with two bunches of ‘weapons’ on Hanoi’s La Thanh Street. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Chở hàng hóa cồng kềnh, nhìn mà lo sợ
A cyclo rider holds steel sheets while the vehicle is traveling down the Truong Tien Bridge in the central city of Hue. Photo: Tuoi Tre 

Clothing exports stall as TPP prospects sour

Clothing and textile exports out of Vietnam jumped 4.4% on-year to US$18.7 billion in the eight months leading up to September of 2016, according to statistics of the Vietnam Cotton and Spinning Association.
clothing exports stall as tpp prospects sour hinh 0

Nguyen Hong Giang, vice chair of the Association, said the growth rate is the lowest for the eight-month period since 2010 and far below expectations due to mounting scepticism regarding ratification of the TPP. 

Foreign direct investment in the clothing and textiles segment of the economy is dwindling in comparison to prior years as prospects for passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) dim, said Mr Giang.
The TPP involves 12 countries: Vietnam, the US, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru.
The pact aims to deepen economic ties between these nations, slashing tariffs and fostering trade to boost growth. The agreement could create a new single market something like that of the EU.
In 2014 and 2015, foreign companies were rushing to Vietnam to invest in the segment to capitalize on opportunities brought about by the trade pact, which allows firms to enjoy tax breaks when exporting products to member states.
But now investors are in standby mode as it is becoming increasingly apparent that the TPP will most likely not be ratified by the US, a death knell for the accord.
Low labour productivity in Vietnam also continues to be at the forefront of holding back export growth, says Mr Giang. Though Vietnam has comparatively lower regional wages, the benefits are negated by low labour productivity.
We are seeing overseas orders from markets like the EU rapidly decline, he said, and increasingly being shifted away from Vietnam to China, India, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.
In addition, he said, companies operating in Cambodia and Myanmar enjoy lower tariffs on their exports to the EU, which results in their exports becoming even more price competitive.
If the situation continues, the segment will mostly likely not hit the annual revenue target of US$29 billion in revenue for 2016, which is even lower the original target of US$31 billion set earlier this year.
In the past two weeks, a number of textile and garment exporters have had no orders to fill, said Pham Xuan Hong, chairman of the HCMC Association of Garment-Textile-Embroidery-Knitting (AGTEK).
Given fierce competition on global markets, Hong suggests that companies regroup and invest in high-tech machinery and equipment to improve labour productivity and implement quality controls to produce a better quality product.
Besides competition, domestic clothiers are struggling with difficulties, brought about by the new minimum wage rise and regulations on inspections in Vietnam.

OCB and HPU come together
The Orient Commercial Joint Stock Bank (OCB) signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement with its 13th university partner, the Haiphong Private University (HPU), on September 23.
The agreement marks a step forward in the relationship between the two. OCB will provide a tuition fee collection system for the university and other preferential banking services such as free current account or education account opening, while HPU will work with OCB in promoting the bank’s brand and in other activities.
OCB granted scholarships to HPU students to mark the signing and committed to work with it in several programs relating to job consultancy and internships.
“OCB appreciates this relationship with HPU, which is the first university in the north we have signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement with,” said Mr. Truong Dinh Long, Deputy CEO of OCB. “The relationship will support the university and its students in financial solutions.”
With much experience from working with other universities and with major financial capacity, OCB will provide the most convenience banking and financial services to the university’s education objectives.
OCB has received a Vietnamese Excellent Brand Awards every year since 2014 and is one of the 500 fastest-growing Vietnamese enterprises.
Its strategic plan for the 2016-2020 period aims at making it one of the strongest banks in Vietnam.
Overseas Vietnamese eye local real estate

 Overseas Vietnamese eye local real estate, Two more enterprises approved for catfish exports to US, HCM City plans to issue 3 trillion VND in municipal bonds, European health vendors seek opportunities in Vietnam

According to the State Bank of Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City branch, overseas remittances transfered to the city reached US$ 3 billion in early September this year, increasing six percent in comparison with the same period last year.
This year, the amounts of overseas national currency exchange continues being transferred to Ho Chi Minh City and it is expected to hit US$ 5, 7- 5, 8 billion.
A leader of the State Bank in the city said that Vietnam has a large number of Vietnamese workers abroad. In addition, Vietnamese real estate market has poised for strong growth in recent years, those are reason why overseas Vietnamese are eyeing on local property projects as well as pouring investment capital in the sector, helping overseas remittances to the country increasing sharply.
September CPI increases 0.54 percent
The consumer price index (CPI) in September increased 0.54 percent from the previous month and 3.14 percent from last December, the General Statistics Office said at a press conference in Hanoi on September 24.
An upturn was seen in ten out of 11 major goods and service groups, with the biggest increase reported in education at 7.19 percent as 53 centrally-run cities and provinces raised school fees in accordance with the Government’s decree. 
Transport services prices followed with a 0.55 percent increase, due to several petrol price hikes. 
Decrease was spotted only in the price of telecommunications at 0.07 percent.
Do Thi Ngoc, Deputy Director of the GSO’s Price Statistics Department, said the CPI of the first nine months of this year increased 2.07 percent compared to the same period last year with an average increase of 0.34 percent a month. However, many factors could cause pressure on CPI in the remaining months of this year, including prices of health services, gas and oil, and year-end expenditure.
She said the Government and relevant ministries and sectors should continue to keep a close watch of inflation. Besides, the State should consider the timing of price adjustment for some essential goods to prevent psychological pressure on the CPI. 
According to the GSO, the September basic inflation (excluding food and fresh foodstuff, energy and State-controlled commodities such as healthcare and education services) climbed 0.07 percent from the previous month and 1.85 percent from one year ago. Basic inflation of the first nine months 2016 rose 1.81 percent against the same period last year.
The basic inflation from January to September 2016 fluctuated within a narrow amplitude from 1.64 percent to 1.88 percent, reflecting a healthy monetary policy that helps to stablise macroeconomy.
October’s CPI is forecast to increase due to hikes in health services fees and gas and oil prices in line with hikes in the world’s gasoline and oil prices 
The GSO said the Government’s goal of keeping CPI growth at five percent this year is feasible.
Vietjet Air offers 1.5 million cheap tickets for Lunar New Year
Low-cost airline Vietjet Air is offering 1.5 million tickets at discounted fares for flights from January 10 to February 12 on all domestic and international routes to serve surging demand on the 2017 Lunar New Year festival. 
It said on September 23 that the discounted tickets are sold at between 390,000 VND and 900,000 VND. The sooner passengers book tickets, the less money they will have to spend. 
The carrier has launched a number of new routes while increasing flights during traditional festivals and holidays in recent years. 
Vietjet Air now owns more than 40 A320 and A321 planes which make some 350 flights every day. Its flight network has covered almost all destinations in Vietnam and many others in Singapore, the Republic of Korea, China, Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia. 
It has provided services for around 30 million passengers so far.
China’s Taiwan to boost investment in Vietnam
Investment from China’s Taiwan in Vietnam is expected to surge in the coming time with the territoriy’s “Look South” policy, a business executive has said. 
Speaking at a workshop held in Ho Chi Minh City on September 23, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vo Tan Thanh said two-way trade has developed strongly to surpass 13 billion USD in 2015, of which over 2.1 billion USD was Vietnam’s export value. 
Two-way trade this year stood at 7.1 billion USD as of July. 
China’s Taiwan is one of the leading investment partners of Vietnam with 2,500 projects worth more than 32 billion USD. 
In 2015, Vietnam welcomed over 438,000 Taiwanese tourists and 300,000 in the first seven months of this year. 
Taiwan is also one of the most popular destinations for Vietnamese travellers with over 150,000 visitors over the past time. 
Director-General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in HCM City Liang Guang Chung said Taiwan is focusing on developing MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) tourism services. 
He added that there is great potential for cooperation in the field between Taiwan and Vietnam. 
At the workshop, participants studied Taiwan’s incentives for MICE and medical care tours, procedures to get visa to Taiwan and preferential health care cost at Taiwanese hospitals.
HCM City plans to issue 3 trillion VND in municipal bonds
The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City has submitted to the Ministry of Finance a plan of issuing 3 trillion VND (134.4 billion USD) in municipal bonds in the domestic market in 2016. 
Under the plan, the committee will entrust the HCM City State Financial Investment Company (HFIC) to carry out the bond issue. 
The bonds will have five, ten and 15-year terms with a face value of 100,000 VND (4.48 USD). 
The first bonds are scheduled to be issued in early October.-
Ripple effects of Hanjin collapse hit Vietnamese exporters
The bankruptcy of the Republic of Korea container carrier has thrown many Vietnamese companies into a state of utter confusion, if not despair.
When the now infamous Hanjin filed for bankruptcy at the end of August, it also left freight worth $14 billion marooned at sea ports and offshore waters across the world.
Vietnamese seafood exporters said some of their cargo has been caught in the middle of this massive fallout.
The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers estimated that about 150 containers of frozen seafood due to reach the U.S. by the end of this month are affected.
Now that Hanjin ships have been refused to offload or take abroad merchandise at many sea ports around the globe, there's no guarantee that those containers of Vietnamese seafood could be delivered to importers and retailers on time, the association said. 
Tran Kim Yen, director of the freight forwarding company NYD Logistics, said as many as 20 Hanjin consignments which have arrived in Malaysia, Singapore or the Republic of Korea are not likely to reach their final destination.
Yen said any solution to this problem will add extra costs.
“We are paying up to $80 a day for a container sitting in Singapore,” she explained. "It will cost an estimated $4,000 for a container to be shipped back to Vietnam, or $7,000 for a container to continue its journey to Europe."
For companies exporting relatively low-value products, the price of completing the journey would be too much.
Dang Phan Phuong Chi, executive manager of An Huy BT, a shipping company, said Vietnamese exporters are on the horns of a dilemma, facing a tough choice between finishing the route and heading back to Vietnam.
She said, for instance, more than 140 containers of livestock feed trapped in Hanjin ships are waiting at a port in Busan, the Republic of Korea. It could cost around $5,000 per container, exactly the value of the goods inside, for a return trip to Vietnam.
In the meantime, a Hanjin vessel -- the Hanjin Chennai -- has been stranded for days off the coast in southern Vietnam as it was refused permission to enter a port in Vung Tau. There are concerns about whether the failed shipping line could pay docking and other fees.
After having filed for bankruptcy in August, the world’s seventh-largest container carrier lacked cash to pay cargo handlers, tug operators or ports, leaving ships adrift and containers stuck in a limbo state.
As many as 733 containers of merchandise handled by the Hanjin Chennai were scheduled to dock in Ho Chi Minh City on September 2. They of course have not arrived.
There were also reports that some Hanjin ships had been seized in China on behalf of creditors.
Customs statistics show that the South Korean shipping line has run up a debt of about $2.5 million to Ho Chi Minh City-based Saigon Newport Corporation, and more than $200,000 to other ports in the north.
Some said Saigon Newport should ask for help from relevant authorities to order the Hanjin Chennai to dock in southern Ho Chi Minh City so that retailers and companies can offload their cargo while creditors can seize some assets.
However, Bui Thi Lien Thuy, director of HabaSped Logistics, said that is not a good solution.
“The Hanjin Chennai will continue to remain at sea as long as we refuse to protect the ship and its cargo from being seized by creditors, or to promise that the ship is free to leave afterward,” said Thuy.
She added that the longer the wait, the longer local importers and retailers will suffer.
A Ho Chi Minh City-based importer of fresh food said following Hanjin’s filing, its imports are now three weeks behind the delivery deadline and still nowhere to be found.
“Food products with a short shelf life can easily go off... We feel like we're on the edge of a cliff,” said a representative.
Ha Xao Chau, who runs a porcelain business, said her company had to compensate customers for late deliveries, but there's also damage to its reputation.
“We have no choice but accept the financial losses. What we are concerned the most is exactly when our goods will be here," said Chau. "The delay so far has seriously affected the business of our local partners.”
According to the Vietnam Maritime Administration, Hanjin accounts for over 5 percent of Vietnam’s container shipping industry.
The operator, with nearly 100 container ships, said it has faced an acute credit crunch following the 2008 global financial crisis.
The economic downturn has taken its heavy toll on the shipping industry, which is suffering from a record low freight demand amid chronic overcapacity.
The Republic of Korea government said the Korea Development bank will offer a credit line of 50 billion won, or $45 million, to help the shipper offload cargo.
Korean Air, the shipping line’s largest shareholder, has also agreed to lend 60 billion won to pay for the unloading of cargo of dozens of ships still stranded at sea.
The bankruptcy of Hanjin has badly hurt many Vietnamese companies across industries, especially those exporting seafood, garment and textile, footwear and furniture to the East Asian markets and the U.S.
European health vendors seek opportunities in Vietnam
Six European companies have just returned from the healthcare trade mission to Vietnam organised by the EU-Vietnam Business Network (EVBN).
From September 20 to 23, the companies, which came from the Republic of Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK, visited Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on a fact-finding and networking tour.
On the first day, they learned about the potential of the Vietnamese healthcare product market and attended a presentation by Miriam Garcia-Ferrer, first counsellor and head of the Economic & Trade section of the EU Delegation to Vietnam, on the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, and one by Le Thanh Cong, deputy head of the Department of Planning and Finance of the Ministry of Health, on the Vietnamese government’s healthcare financing policies.
The companies later visited a few public and private hospitals in Hanoi as well as some workshops producing healthcare equipment in Ho Chi Minh City. They also met with potential business partners in both cities.
Vietnam’s medical devices market has been observing a stable growth since 2014. The market is expected to grow from €668.7 million ($750.7 million) in 2014 to €977.8 million ($1.1 billion) in 2019. Vietnam imports most medical equipment, mainly from Singapore, Japan, China, the US, and Germany.
EVBN’s upcoming trade missions include the Green Technologies European Pavilion from November 9 to 11. EVBN is going to select 15 companies operating in the sectors of energy efficiency, renewable energy, as well as water and waste management to bring to Ho Chi Minh City for an info session, B2B meetings, and a three-day exhibition at the European Pavilion.
EVBN is a project co-funded by the European Union and established at the end of 2013. Its core objective is to help European companies, in particular small and medium enterprises, access the Vietnamese market.
LG projects help make RoK biggest foreign investor in Vietnam
Singapore and Japan were behind in the January-September period, by a large margins.
A total of US$11.02 billion in foreign direct investment has been disbursed across the country in the first nine months, up 12.4% from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
New FDI pledges during the period rose 1.1% year-on-year to US$11.17 billion, while additional funds for ongoing projects dropped 14% to US$5.27 billion.
Processing and manufacturing projects continued to draw the most interest, accounting for 74% of the total registered funding, followed by the real estate sector at 6% and science and technology with 4%.
The Republic of Korea remained the biggest investor by committing nearly US$5.6 billion, or 34% of the total, including US$1.5 billion for LG Display's screen plant and US$550 million for LG Innotek's camera modules plant in the northern city of Hai Phong.
Singapore was second with pledges of US$1.84 billion, followed by Japan with US$1.7 billion.
Vietnam's government expects FDI disbursements this year to hit US$15 billion, up from US$14.5 billion last year.
Foreign investment capital reaches US$16.43 billion in nine months
As of September 20, new and additional pledges of foreign direct investment (FDI) has reached US$16.43 billion, accounting for 95.8% against the same period in 2015, the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) announced on September 23.
FDI disbursement has reached more than US$11 billion, up 12.4% from a year ago.
In the past nine months, 1,820 new projects have been granted investment certificates with a total registered capital of US$11.2 billion. During this time, there have been 851 projects registered to adjust capital, with a total additional registered capital of US$5.3 billion.
According to the FIA, FDI sector exports (including crude oil) in the first nine months of 2016 reached US$91.2 billion, an increase of 7.4% over the same period in 2015 and accounting for over 71% of export turnover.
Exports excluding crude oil during this period reached US$89.5 billion, up 9.3% year on year and accounting for 69.7% of export turnover.
The sector enjoyed a trade surplus of US$17.146 billion including crude oil and US$15.5 billion excluding crude oil.
Foreign investors have invested in nineteen industry sectors, with manufacturing remaining the most attractive one. 
The sector attracted 767 newly registered investment projects and 608 additional capital projects with total investment pledges of US$12.15 billion, accounting for 73.9% of total registered investment capital in nine months.
The Republic of Korea remained the largest investor in Vietnam, with more than US$5.6 billion in both new and additional pledges, accounting for 34% of total investment. Singapore was second with US$1.84 billion, followed by Japan with US$ 1.7 billion.
The northern port city of Haiphong became the largest recipient of FDI capital with total new and additional pledges of US$2.74 billion, followed by Dong Nai and Binh Duong Provinces with US$1.89 billion and US$1.5 billion, respectively.
FWD appoints new chairman of FWD Vietnam
FWD Group, the insurance arm of Asia-based Pacific Century Group and recent entrant to the Vietnamese market with the acquisition of Great Eastern Life, today announced the appointment of David Wong as chairman of FWD Vietnam.
Wong, who is currently CEO for Hong Kong and Macau and executive vice president in greater China, joined FWD in 2013.  He has over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry and has worked extensively across Asia, including as CEO of Manulife Vietnam.
He is also an expert on pension reform across Asia and has advised a number of ASEAN regulators on rural financial inclusion and micro-insurance development as part of his role in the United Nations Development Program.
Huynh Thanh Phong, CEO of FWD Group said, “David has been instrumental in the development of FWD since its formation, so we are delighted to have him chair our newest country operation in Vietnam. David’s extensive management experience and knowledge of the local market will be invaluable as we expand the business and achieve our objective of becoming a leading insurer in Vietnam.”
As chairman of FWD Vietnam, Wong will oversee FWD's business in Vietnam as well as provide insight and counsel on the regulatory environment, internal risk management and business opportunities in Vietnam.
“This is an exciting growth period for Vietnam’s insurance industry. We already have an established business in Vietnam following our acquisition of Great Eastern Life Vietnam and recent partnership with AB BANK. Looking forward, we will focus our efforts on growing the business to become the leading insurer in Vietnam,” Wong said.
Uniben factory begins operation in Hung Yen Province
Uniben Food Company has put into operation its new VND1 trillion (US$44.5 million) fish sauce, seasoning and instant food factory in Pho Noi A Industrial Park, Hung Yen Province.
"With the new factory in Hung Yen Province and the use of modern production processes and advanced quality management systems that follow international standards, we believe that Uniben's Reeva and 3 Mien products will continue to be the first choice of customers in Viet Nam and international markets," Uniben General Director Vu Tien Dung said.
Designed by DWP, as well as construction consultants Royal Haskoning DHV (Holland), the factory was built on six hectares, with a modern production line that is nearly fully automatic, having been imported from Germany and Japan.
The factory can manufacture more than 1.2 billion unit of products per year, to meet the increasing demand of local and international markets.
Established in 1992, Uniben has two essential brands, including Reeva and 3 Mien, offering a variety of products, including instant noodles, rice porridge, noodle soup, fish sauce, and seasoning to serve local and export demands.
According to the latest report of the world's top market research firm, Kantar Worldpanel, "3 Mien" brand of Uniben Company is the best value and favorite brand in rural areas, as seen during the past year.
MoC proposes equitization plan for Song Da
The Ministry of Construction (MoC) has proposed an equitization plan for the Song Da Corporation, with the State to retain a 51 per cent of stake after equitizing and 36 per cent by 2020, via a statement submitted to the Prime Minster.
The ministry has proposed divesting the State’s holdings after Song Da was identified as one of MoC’s ineffective enterprises in recent times.
Song Da will issue 450 million shares with an initial price of VND10,000 ($0.45). It expects to earn VND2.89 trillion ($129.7 million) in revenue and VND160 billion ($7.2 million) in pre-tax profit in 2016 after the sale.
Staff will hold 0.18 per cent, 30 per cent will be sold to strategic investors, and 18.82 per cent will be publicly offered.
The criteria for strategic investors is to register to purchase at least 5 per cent of the 30 per cent set aside, or VND225 billion ($10.08 million), and be able to meet requirements in financial capacity and have prestige and branding in the market.  
Candidates must have total assets of at least VND1 trillion ($44.9 million) as at 2015 and equity of VND300 billion ($13.5 million), and must be profitable and not saddled with bad debts.
Song Da’s equitization will take place at a time of massive losses. According to its financial report, debts of VND10.2 trillion ($457.6 million) far outweighed equity of VND2.6 trillion ($116.7 million) as at the end of 2015.
Its valuation is VND18.5 trillion ($829.54 million), of which the State holding is VND4.43 trillion ($198.64 million).
Song Da accounts for 85 per cent of Vietnam’s hydroelectricity plant construction market. Not only is it the biggest contractor, it also leads in human resources, technical specialization, and machinery in the market.
“The State needs to retain its holding in and control of the enterprise”, the statement said.
It was set to launch an IPO in July but was forced to delay due to unforeseen circumstances.
According to MoC there were a range of difficulties in valuating Song Da due to its large size and projects, factories and assets in Vietnam and overseas.
Established in 1961, Song Da Corporation specializes in developing thermal power plants, traffic infrastructure, industrial factories, and real estate projects as well as manufacturing construction materials.
It is the major contractor of most thermal power plants in Vietnam, including Son La, Hoa Binh, and Lai Chau. It has expanded its operations to Laos through developing the Xekaman 1 and 3 thermal power plants.
Two more enterprises approved for catfish exports to US
According to the National Agro-Forestry and Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) of the US Department Agriculture (USDA) has added two more Vietnamese enterprises to the list of Siluriformes catfish exporters to the country.
The two are the Hua Heong Food Industries Vietnam Co., Ltd (Code: 175) and the Cuu Long Fish Import-Export Corporation (Code: 714).
To avoid obstacles in shipping pangasius catfish to the US, NAFIQAD has also asked the two enterprises to check consignments to ensure their products meet all FSIS requirements.
It also requires enterprises to register with NAFIQUAD's  Branch 4 for inspecting and granting certificates for consignments to the US.
The FSIS and USDA recently gave approval to 12 more Vietnamese enterprises to export Siluriformes catfish to the US. As at June there were 57 Vietnamese enterprises approved.
FSIS recently sent a document to NAFIQAD on regulations relating to Siluriformes catfish exports to the US.
Specifically, during the transition time, FSIS will only accept the addition of Vietnamese enterprises to the list of Siluriformes fish processing companies allowed to export to the US if they have previously exported Siluriformes to the country.
For traders who have never exported to the US, the FSIS will only consider their addition to the list upon completion of assessments under Vietnam’s food safety control system for Siluriformes catfish.
Therefore, NAFIQAD has asked traders who have never exported Siluriformes fish to the US to suspend registration efforts.
NAFIQAD also sent a request to FSIS for the non-application of the abovementioned regulations.
Only final processing companies must have their names on FSIS’s list. Initial processing companies will be examined by NAFIQAD for food safety certificates. While waiting for an official reply from the FSIS, NAFIQAD requests Siluriformes fish processing and exporting companies to only buy semi-products of Siluriformes fish from the companies on the FSIS list and published on its website.
With regard to labeling Siluriformes fish products exported to the US, codes of final processing companies, before exporting, must be noted in the letter of guarantee and on packaging.
Steel production keeps expanding despite excessive output
The steel industry has seen an oversupply of construction steel but a severe shortage of many types of steel products including those that are frequently used in support industry, causing Vietnam spend billions of US dollar on import annually.
Although the country has applied safeguard tax measures, 12.6 million tons of steel was imported into the country during the first eight months this year, a year on year increase of 27.3 percent in volume and 2.1 percent in turnover.
Notably, Chinese steel accounted for over 60 percent of the import output and 56 percent of turnover. The rates were 38 and 39 percent from South Korea, Taiwan and Russia.
Some steel products saw a sudden increase in import volume compared to the same period last year, for instance steel billet increased 22 percent to approximate 100,000 tons, shape steel up 33 percent to 97,400 tons, metallic and color coated steel sheet surged 35 percent to 1.18 million tons. These commodities have been produced domestically with supply double demand.
According to businesses, although Vietnam has applied safeguard tariff measures the price of import steel especially from China is about 10 percent lower than local steel price.
This has sent many commercial companies to increase import. In addition, the ongoing development trend in Vietnam has asked for high construction demand, therefore local and foreign steel investors have aimed at broadening production in the country.
Japanese Kyoei Steel Group has set a target to hike production output to 1.2 million tons of construction steel in Vietnam by 2020, up 50 percent from last year.
The group has so far spent US$170 million on installing electric ovens and equipment at a plant in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and contributed capital to an international seaport project in the province.
Once being built in March, 2018, the port will facilitate the group’s import of scrap steel and other commodities to serve the plant. At that time, the steel production and transport capacity of the group will increase to 900,000 tons a year.
The group also plans to increase the steel output at its plant in Ninh Binh from 230,000 tons last year to 300,000 tons.
The construction steel market of Vietnam is forecast to increase by 30 percent in the next five years hitting 12 million tons by 2020. Hence not only Kyoei Steel but also local steel giants such as Hoa Phat and Ton Hoa Sen are said to broaden investment, said Dr. Tran Van Ngoc from the HCMC University of Industry.
Reports by the Heavy Industry Department show that Vietnam has just produced construction steel, not products used in support industry and manufacturing, which are all imported now approximating 13 million tons a year.
That is the main reason for the trade deficit of $7 billion a year in the steel industry.
The Vietnam Steel Association has kept reporting steel redundancy. Chairman Ho Nghia Dung said that the association now does not support businesses to invest in steel billet and long steel products because the difference between supply and demand is too big. However it encourages investors to produce hot and cold rolled steel and special alloy steel which are short and be imported.
According to Decision 2146 on industry and trade restructuring by 2020 by the Prime Minister in 2014, the government will establish large steel plants with the capacity of over 3 million tons. These plants will focus on some products that are short in domestic market such as steel sheets and products for the support industry.
The project aims to take advantage of the country’s iron ore amounting to billions of tons.
Answering the press about Ca Na-Ninh Thuan steel project proposed by Hoa Sen Group, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has recently affirmed that it is necessary to re-estimate steel supply and demand in Vietnam.
Investment will be limited to products which supply have met market demand and encouraged to products that domestic businesses have yet to produce.
Projects making steel products that are abundant in local market will be eradicated, he stressed.
Vietnam listed top 23 good smell cocoa producers in the world
International Cocoa Council (ICC) recognized Vietnam as one of the top 23 good smell cocoa producers among 60 cocoa cultivated countries in the world.
Accordingly, Vietnamese cocoa reached 40 percent of fermented productions, being equivalent with Dominican Republic, Honduras, Panama, and Guatemala. 
Excepting Vietnam, Indonesia is also the second country in the Asian region being listed in the group; however, its fermented cocoa only accounted for 1 percent.
National camp seeks to improve quality of sales and marketing
The Vietnam Sales and Marketing Camp (VSMCamp 2016), themed ‘Building sales and marketing strategy for the national brand’, was held at Him Lam Convention Centre in Long Bien District, Hanoi on September 24 and 25.
The camp featured five major presentations, eight seminars, a training course for sales skills and competitions on building communication strategy and brand name.
This year’s event attracted the participation of more than 40 domestic and international prestigious speakers and experts as well as thousands of representatives from enterprises around the country.
Notably, the participants voiced their concern about measures for Vietnamese enterprises to overcome cultural barriers, understand customers’ psychological behaviour and reasonable marketing strategies to conquer the world's market and confirm the strength of Vietnamese brands.
The opening seminars of the camp included ‘Digital creation in modern marketing and advertising strategies’ and ‘Sales solution and distribution network in the digital world’.
The VSMCamp was a special event, contributing to supporting Vietnamese enterprises to develop on the international arena while dealing with differences posed by diverse culture and competition from international brands.
The event was co-orgnaised by Vietnam Chief Sales & Marketing Officers Club (CSMO Vietnam), Vietnam Marketing and Communications Club and Le Bros Company.
Strict measures to control inflation should remain in place
According to the General Statistics Office, the consumer price index (CPI) in September rose 0.54% against the previous month, 3.34% from a year ago and 3.14% compared with December last year.
The CPI during the first nine months of 2016 also rose 2.07% over the same period of last year. There were many reasons for the CPI increase, one of which is a 29.09% surge in healthcare costs as upward adjustments to healthcare services began to take effect from March. Increased tuition fees also pushed up inflation. 
In addition, a number of long holidays such as Lunar New Year, Hung Kings Commemoration and Reunification Day boosted demand for food and entertainment services. Other factors included higher fuel costs and higher food prices as a result of extreme weather, drought and saltwater intrusion.
Despite facing plenty of inflationary pressure, the CPI over the last nine months still remained at a fairly stable level thanks to the government’s efforts to curb inflation with various measures. 
For example, in anticipation of increased education and fuel costs in September, the government ordered a slowdown of the healthcare cost adjustment plan to avoid an abrupt increase in CPI. As such with a CPI increase of 3.14% in the first nine months of 2016, there is still plenty of room to achieve the target inflation of less than 5% for the whole year.
Nevertheless the CPI in the remainder of the year is still weighed down by many factors such as continued adjustments to healthcare costs, rallying oil prices and higher demand for essential goods at the end of the year. 
The government and parliament’s determination to maintain a growth target of 6.7% for the entire year is also a big challenge, requiring greater efforts from all sectors.
The government should continue to ask ministries and agencies to follow market developments closely and only increase the prices of essential goods at appropriate times in order to prevent further pressure on the CPI. 
The Ministry of Industry and Trade should request enterprises to stock goods and stand ready to stabilise the market and prevent sudden price increases at the end of the year. 
The Ministry of Finance must also step up market control measures and collaborate closely with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to regulate petrol prices properly in order to attain the goal of macroeconomic stability.
Binh Duong attracts 1.5 billion USD in FDI in nine months
Some 1.5 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) has been poured into southern Binh Duong province over the last nine months, mainly in the processing and manufacturing industries.
According to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, local authorities licensed 188 new FDI projects worth 999.8 million USD, while 531.9 million USD was added to 93 operational projects during the period
As much as 86.2 percent of the FDI was invested into local industrial parks (IPs) in the period.
The processing and manufacturing industries drew the most FDI in the period, absorbing about 1.4 billion USD, 92.8 percent of total investment.
The service sector attracted more than 108 million USD, 7 percent of the total, while only 1.5 million USD or 0.1 percent of the total FDI was invested in agriculture.
Singapore was the largest investor with 360.6 million USD, accounting for 23.6 percent of the FDI total, followed by the Republic of Korea and Japan with 201.4 million USD and 116.3 million USD, respectively.
Binh Duong has attracted 2,775 foreign-invested projects with total capital of over 25 billion USD, including over 16.6 billion USD in IPs. It is one of five localities nationwide with FDI above 25 billion USD.
According to Nguyen Thanh Truc, Director of the department, the locality has worked hard to improve its investment climate.
The province has constructed 28 IPs covering over 9,000 hectares. In the next five years, the number of IPs is expected to increase to 34 on 14,790 hectares.
Binh Duong, one of the major industrial hubs in the south, is prioritising high technology FDI projects located in IPs to ensure environmental protection.-VNA
Deputy PM talks trade during Germany visit
The Vietnamese Government has taken a variety of measures to facilitate the work of foreign investors, including those from Germany, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung affirmed during his September 22-26 visit to the European country.
At meetings with leaders of the Ministry for the Environment, National Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety ( BMUB) and the Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ) of Germany, Dung suggested the two countries encourage German businesses and investors to make the best use of opportunities presented by the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement and other free trade agreements of which Viet Nam is a signatory.
The move aims to raise two-way trade between Viet Nam and its largest EU trading partner from US$8.91 billion in 2015 to $15-20 billion by 2020, and German investments in Viet Nam to $5 billion, he noted.
He called on German enterprises to invest in such areas as infrastructure, manufacturing, processing, green and renewable energy and environmental technology.
Dung proposed that Germany assist his country in developing institutions and policies, and formulating technical standards for environmental protection and climate change response.
He also called for the European country's support in finance and technological transfer, especially clean and environmentally friendly technologies, and human resource development.
Rita Schwarzeluhr Sutter, BMUB Parliamentary State Secretary, said Germany stands ready to help Viet Nam and share its experience in climate change response.
The two sides agreed to enhance their collaboration in waste treatment and the management of land and construction works. 
Anpha Holdings to sell 3 Singaporean apartment projects in VN
Anpha Holdings has become the Vietnamese distributor of three apartment projects in Singapore, becoming the first developer in Việt Nam to sell Singapore properties.
Late last week in HCM City, the company together with Singapore-based GuocoLand Limited and PropNex International launched three projects: Wallich Residence, Leedon Residence and Sims Urban Oasis.
Michael Đặng, chairman of Anpha Holdings, said Vietnamese investors are now seeking to invest in properties outside the country.
His company chose Singapore because of the convenient transportation -- 15 flights a day to the island-nation – and the fact that it is a destination for many big companies, he said.
He said the three projects are in the centre of Singapore and can fetch high profits as well as rentals.
They are developed by GuocoLand, which has developed many projects in Singapore, China, Malaysia, and Việt Nam. In Singapore alone it has developed 34 projects with over 9,000 condos and houses.
An event will be organised in Hà Nội on October 1 to introduce the three projects. 
Ministry to spur agriculture growth
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will step up investment in a number of core areas including livestock, aquaculture, fruits and vegetables to fuel growth of the agricultural sector in the final months of this year.
The sector posted a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of minus 0.18% in the January-June period, the first decline in years.
Cultivation was hardest hit by natural disasters and unfavorable weather, leading to negative growth. Rice production reached 19.37 million tons in the winter-spring crop, down nearly 1.33 million tons (6.4%) year-on-year, with the Mekong Delta region recording a 10.2% drop.
As 70% of Vietnam’s population still lives in rural areas and 46% of the national workforce is in the agricultural sector, the fall of agriculture has affected the economy and numerous farming households.
Although the sector’s growth rate has recently showed signs of recovery, the 2016 target of 3% set late last year remains a big challenge.
Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, told a teleconference last week that restructuring is one of the solutions to regain growth momentum in the sector. Initially, efforts would focus on livestock, aquaculture (especially shrimp), vegetables and fruits, and industrial plants.
For livestock, the ministry will develop poultry and cattle farming. Total production output of animal feed nationwide is forecast to reach 16 million tons this year with raw input material prices lower than last year. Besides, pork, beef and chicken prices are at good levels.
Demand for food will increase all over the country towards the year-end, supporting domestic consumption and exports. The livestock sector is forecast to obtain a 4-5% growth rate this year.
Fruits and vegetables have recorded average monthly growth of 37% since June as the main harvest seasons of major export products and winter-crop vegetables have come. Fruit and vegetable exports are projected to reach US$2.5-2.6 billion this year, exceeding outbound sales of rice for the first time.
Statistics from the ministry showed shipments of coffee, pepper and cashew grew 12-20% in value year-on-year in the first eight months of the year.
In addition, the total shrimp farming area and output are expected to reach about 660,000 hectares and 680,000 tons this year, respectively. Shrimp exports may surpass US$3 billion in the final months of this year, bringing total seafood export revenue to over US$7 billion.
Southeastern Vietnam needs more connectivity
Experts have said the lack of major links between southeastern provinces is making it hard for this region to maintain growth.
The southeastern region comprises HCMC, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, Tay Ninh, Long An and Tien Giang.
Speaking at the Southeast Economic Forum in 2016 last week, Dau Anh Tuan, head of the Legal Department at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said the southeast ranked fourth among six regions of the country in terms of competitiveness last year with the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) score of 58.74 points, below the Red River Delta, the central coast and the Mekong Delta.
Vo Trong Hieu, director of the investment promotion center of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, told reporters on the sidelines of the forum that he expected the Government would establish a steering committee for the southeastern key economic zone just like those of the southwest and Central Highlands to accelerate regional connectivity.
He said Ba Ria-Vung Tau’s ports were where large vessels can sail directly to Europe and America. Therefore, traffic infrastructure should be developed in a way that connects the southeastern provinces, he noted. “The regional provinces should join hands, instead of competing with one another.”
Export revenues of the southeastern region account for nearly 60% of the nation’s total. The region’s economic openness index reached nearly 110% compared to the country’s 70%, its ratio of investment to GDP is 50%, 1.5 times higher than the national average and its economic growth rate is 1.4-1.6 times higher than the country’s average.
As of August, the southeastern region attracted 11,537 FDI projects worth US$140.2 billion, accounting for 57.4% and 48.4% of the country’s total, respectively. Total FDI approvals in the region are expected to reach US$60 billion in 2016-2020, 45-55% of the nation’s total.
Vietnam seen as destination for Indian tourists
Vietnam is poised to become a destination for Indian travelers as it is home to many attractive tourist destinations, a representative of an Indian travel company said.
B.Venkatesh Waran, director of branch development at TravelMall Co, a large Indian travel company in India, told the Daily on September 20 that a lot of destinations here in Vietnam can lure Indian tourists like HCMC, Mui Ne of Binh Thuan Province, Dalat of Lam Dong Province, Nha Trang of Khanh Hoa Province, Hoi An of Quang Nam Province, Danang, Hue, Hanoi, and Sapa in Lao Cai Province.
In particular, Hanoi will be an appealing destination for Indians as it is not far from World Heritage site of Halong Bay in Quang Ninh Province.
Tour operators can also connect these sites in Vietnam to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh in Cambodia to attract more international guests, Waran said after he and other 15 representatives of travel firms in southern India completed a six-day field trip in Vietnam organized by HCMC-based travel firm Viet Circle.
Phan Dinh Hue, director of Viet Circle, said the company has worked with a partner in New Delhi to help promote its tours. The firm will focus more on the Indian market owing to its great potential despite the current number of Indian visitors to Vietnam remains modest.
He said Indian travelers prefer visits to big cities combined with seaside tours.
Waran said Vietnam’s sea tourism and honeymoon tour packages can be promoted in India. A lack of direct flights between India and Vietnam makes many Indians hesitant to visit Vietnam but visa procedures in this ASEAN country have been much streamlined.
India is a target market for many travel companies in HCMC. Earlier this month, Ben Thanh Tourist Co organized a trip for a group of Indian travel firms to explore Vietnam’s tourism. The HCMC Tourism Department is preparing to organize a roadshow to promote tourism products and services at this market early next year.
Management agency of State capital at enterprises in the offing
The Government is mulling establishing an agency responsible for managing State capital at State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and other firms.
When the agency is in place, capital ownership rights held by ministries and local governments would be abolished to allow them to focus on State management affairs only, according to the Government website
The Government told the Ministry of Planning and Investment to consider restructuring State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) or establish a few corporations like SCIC to to act as representatives of State stakes in businesses as suggested by some agencies and economic experts.
At present, State holdings in SOEs and companies are managed by different ministries and local governments, leading to inefficient and non-transparent management of State assets. Therefore, the proposed agency is expected to improve the efficiency and transparency of capital management at SOEs.
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue at a meeting in Hanoi on September 20 urged the Ministry of Planning and Investment to clarify the position and role of SOEs as well as the reality of their innovations and restructuring to prepare a scheme for establishment of the agency.
The ministry also needs to draw on international experiences and models of managing State capital at businesses, he said.
The establishment of this agency must not increase the payroll in the central Government apparatus, Hue said.
The scheme will be finalized by the ministry for submission to the Government for further comment.
Vietcombank to finance VND15 trillion for businesses in Hai Phong
The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Viet Nam (Vietcombank) has committed to providing VND15 trillion and best and competitive policies for businesses investing and operating in the northern city of Hai Phong.
Vietcombank Chairman Nghiem Xuan Thanh proposed measures to attract investment and promote Hai Phong City’s socio-economic development to make the city a spotlight in the nation and the region in the future.
 Vietcombank signed a credit contract worth US$203 million with Hai Phong International Container Terminal Co. to build the component B of Hai Phong International Container Terminal project.
Vietcombank also committed to financing VND10 billion for social security activities in the city.
After more than 50 years operating in the market, Vietcombank, one of the biggest commercial banks in Viet Nam, currently has more than 14,000 employees, more than 460 branches/ transaction offices/ representative offices/ affiliates both in Viet Nam and abroad.
In addition, Vietcombank has also developed an Autobank system with over 2,300 ATMs and more than 69,000 Points of Sale nationwide. Bank’s operations are supported by a network of more than 1,856 correspondent banks in 176 countries and territories around the world.