Thứ Năm, 22 tháng 3, 2018

Logistics centres to be taken shape in HCM City

The southern metropolis Ho Chi Minh City will form logistics centres in concentrated production areas or those near seaports to provide various services and operate as ports, container depots and container freight stations. 

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It was part of a project on logistics development in HCM City built by the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, aiming to minimise logistic costs. 
On March 20, the Vietnam Logistics Association (VLA) and the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, organised a seminar discussing promoting the development of logistics services in the city, drawing representatives from nearly 100 firms in the field. 
In 2017, the logistics sector of the city reached 91.541 trillion VND (4.03 billion USD), accounting for 8.6 percent of the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) and 14.8 percent of the service sector, according to statistics.
Logistics is the second most important industry in the nine key services of the city with growth of 10.84 percent in 2017 from the year before.  
In 2016, Vietnam ranked 64th out of 160 countries in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index and fourth in ASEAN after Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.  
However, Vietnamese firms mainly provide domestic logistics services such as transport service, airport, seaport and warehouse services and cargo loading and unloading services. 
Only a small number of firms provide international logistics services through acting as agents for foreign enterprises.

Korean firms to sign cooperation deals at Vietnam-Korea ICT 2018

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Big Korean companies are expected to sign to cooperate with local firms at the Vietnam-Korea ICT 2018 on March 22 in Hanoi.

The event, held by the Vietnam Internet Association (VIA) in collaboration with the Korea National Information Technology Promotion Agency (NIPA), will attract dozens of well-known firms from Korea and open many strategic cooperation opportunities for IT enterprises of the two countries, with some businesses signing Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on business cooperation.

For example, local Access Motion Company will sign with Korea Tripath Company on advertising based on users’ location, Korean DSP1 Company and Viettel Group will sign to provide an anti-theft solution based on M2M connection, Korea Supernet and Newtatco will sign a cooperation agreement in wireline and wireless consolidation services, Korea JC1 will sign an agreement on digital conversion solutions with FSI Vietnam, and Korea ESE Company will sign an agreement to provide integrated smart solutions to FPT Corporation.

Besides, the event will feature topics such as 5G conditions, Korea's digital policy, and Vietnam’s roadmap for IT development. According to the organiser, VIA, the B2B Linkage Programme for Vietnamese-Korean companies is particularly important as Vietnamese IT businesses can introduce their strengths and visions to call for investment and support from potential Korean partners.

South Korea, which was among the first countries to set up relations with Vietnam through the provision of digital telecommunications equipment in the early 1990s, is now the top investor in the country with big names like Samsung, SKT, and KT. According to VIA, nearly 40 Vietnamese and Korean firms joined the event last September.

PPP investment workshop to be held in April

The Ministry of Transport (MoT) and the World Bank will likely jointly organise a workshop on the public-private partnership (PPP) investment model in April.
ppp investment workshop to be held in april

At a meeting with Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The late last week to seek support, Ousmane Dione, the World Bank’s country director for Vietnam, said that the event aims to share the experience of countries in the field.

The minister supported the idea, saying that MoT will cooperate with WB to successfully hold the event.

"Vietnam will open an international bidding for eight sections of the eastern spur of the North-South Expressway project in 2019. Thus, the April workshop is essential for Vietnam," The said.

The eastern spur of the North-South Expressway project, which is estimated to cost VND230 trillion ($10.5 billion)—with 1,370 kilometres to be built by 2020—is considered an economically- and politically-important project. It will run through 20 cities and provinces, affecting 45 per cent of the country’s population, 65 per cent of its ports, and 67 per cent of its economic zones.

The project has been attracting the attention of many foreign investors, including South Korea-based Posco E&C, Lotte E&C, and many other international groups from Japan and the US.

However, a lack of guaranteed policies remains a key barrier to investor participation in PPP transport projects in Vietnam.

According to Ousmane Dione, WB is willing to provide technical support for MoT in developing expressway projects under the PPP format.

The bank is also interested in the development of inland waterway transport in Vietnam to tap into the country's river system, while easing environmental pollution caused by road transport. It is studying the investment of inland waterway transport development in Vietnam as well as the modes of calling for investment.

Eurowindow to develop $120-million factories in Myanmar

European Plastics Window Company Ltd. (Eurowindow), Vietnam’s leading supplier of doors and facades, plans to invest up to $120 million in two factories in Myanmar to cater for both local and regional demand, according to newswire Dealstreetasia.

Eurowindow’s decision to expand comes at a time when Myanmar’s construction industry is growing at an average of 30 per cent per year. Besides, after studying the construction material market of Myanmar, Eurowindow sees that the market share of aluminium doors, uPVC doors for housing, medical facilities, shopping centres, and transport infrastructure has great potential to exploit.

Speaking on the sidelines of the opening ceremony opening its representative office in Myanmar, Eurowindow general director Nguyen Canh Hong told Dealstreetasia that the company will be investing $15-20 million in the first factory, the construction of which is expected to start in 2019.

The locations of the factories have yet to be decided. The first factory is expected to produce doors and windows, while the second factory will manufacture other construction materials, such as interior equipment. The firm’s flagship products include aluminium doors, uPVC doors, and wooden doors.

Eurowindow signed its first contract in Myanmar on March 16 with HTE Integrated (Myanmar) Ltd. to supply wooden and aluminium doors and glass walls for the Super Hotel project in Thilawa Special Economic Zone.

Hong said Eurowindow plans to expand into real estate development in Myanmar later on, similar to what it does in Vietnam. The firm is among the 138 Vietnamese enterprises doing business in Myanmar. Vietnam's outbound investment in Myanmar reached $1.38 billion in 2017.

Eurowindow first started catering to the market in Myanmar in 2014.

Established in 2002, Eurowidow has five factories and one glass processing centre based in Hanoi, Danang, and Binh Duong. Eurowindow’s factories are equipped with modern automated production lines imported from leading suppliers from Germany, Italy, Finland, and Spain.

Besides, it owns a nationwide distribution network, including three branches, nearly 40 showrooms, as well as hundreds of agents and distributors.

Eurowindow generated a revenue of $142 million in 2017 and targets to become a leading supplier of doors, windows, and construction products in Southeast Asia.

Gemadept is going regional with CJ

Vietnam’s leading port and logistics firm Gemadept Corporation recently elaborated on its partnership with CJ Logistics and revealed its plans to go regional.

Gemadept Corporation, the country’s largest port and logistics owner and operator, recently announced its plans for 2018 and subsequent years. The corporation, which is listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, stressed that it has an equal partnership with South Korea’s CJ Logistics, which bought 49 and 51 per cent each in two subsidiaries – Gemadept Shipping and Gemadept Logistics Holdings, respectively – last October. Total value of the transaction is less than 15 per cent of the corporation’s total asset.

CEO Do Van Minh emphasised that in the CJ-Gemadept joint venture, Gemadept would still call the shots regarding management and operations. “All decisions in this new entity have to be agreed upon by us and our South Korean partner. This is the most important part of the agreement. Thanks to Gemadept’s deep understanding of the local market and close relationship with foreign partners, both parties mutually agreed that Gemadept will keep controlling daily operation. To customers and partners, all contacts for business will remain unchanged” said Minh.

Following the agreement, Gemadept and CJ Logistics have set ambitious goals for their joint business. Specifically, CJ Gemadept is expected to double its profit within the next three years, strengthen its number-one position in Indochina and become a leading player in Southeast Asia. According to Minh, the JV will benefit from CJ’s global network and Gemadept’s extensive supply chain in Vietnam.

“We want to go international fast in logistics sector. Thus, we decided to co-operate with a strategic foreign partner. CJ Logistics shares the same vision as us and has a well-established network in all continents, making them the ideal partner,” said Minh.

Another notification is that port operation and other Gemadept’s logistics affiliates remain 100 per cent under Gemadept’s ownership and management.

In the next few years, Gemadept has set out a list of ambitious goals for its expansion in both Vietnam and overseas. Areas of focus include development of the Nam Dinh Vu port in the northern province of Haiphong for full phases. The first phase covering 20 hectares was completed this January, with an investment capital of $75 million for a berth length of 440 metres and the capacity of 600,000 TEUs. On Februay 4th, 2018, Nam Dinh Vu Port received the first vessel call. The second phase for the port will start in this June. In the south, Binh Duong port will also be further expanded this year.

Another landmark project of Gemadept remains the massive Gemalink deep-sea container terminal in the Cai Mep–Thi Vai port area in the southern province of Ba Ria Vung Tau. The first phase of this terminal, covering 33ha, requires $325 million in capital, 25 per cent of which is funded by French carrier CMA CGM S.A.

Phase one of the project is expected to kick off by end of 2019 with the capacity of 1.5 million TEUs, and when completed, Gemalink will be the only deep sea container port in Cai Mep–Thi Vai to accommodate vessels of up to 200,000 DWT.

Further ahead, Gemadept will continue expanding its ports, logistics, warehouse, transportation, and air cargo services to create full-packaged 3PL logistics and port system. “We want to build, and relentlessly expand, our integrated logistics and port system all across Vietnam to maintain our top position in these sectors,” said CEO Do Van Minh.

For business performance target, profit from core businesses of Gemadept, the first year after the co-operation with CJ is planned to achieve good growth compared to the same period. The target is to double EBT towards 2020.

Founded in 1990, Gemadept was one of the first firms to be equitised and listed on the public market. The firm has released its financial results for the entire year 2017 (before audit) with VND3.9 trillion ($177.27 million) in revenue and VND650 billion ($29.54 million) in pre-tax profit, outperforming its planned target.

Billionaire Warren Buffet was quoted as saying, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ We do believe that with the recent cooperation between Gemadept and CJ in the logistics sector as well as Gemadept’s own goal for port development, the corporation will continue to have strong and sustainable movement in the coming time.

Taekwang looks for strategic stake in PV Power

Taekwang Power Holdings, a unit of South Korean textile and shoemaker Taekwang Co., has ambitions to become the strategic investor of PetroVietnam Power Corporation (PV Power)—the second-largest electricity producer in Vietnam.

Some days ago, representatives of Taekwang Power joined a working session with the leaders of PV Power to discuss options of buying nearly 29 per cent stake to become the strategic investor of PV Power.

The South Korean party has plans to spend VND12 trillion ($527.2 million) on the deal.

So far, PV Power met with 195 foreign investors, 35 of whom expressed intentions to make a bid. However, ultimately, only four firms submitted applications.

Two of these investors come from South Korea, one from Thailand, and one from Germany. The German firm registered to buy shares for a maximum of $100 million, while the three remaining investors registered to buy the entire 28.88 per cent stake offered to the strategic investor. However, the names of these firms have yet to be disclosed.

PV Power was established in 2007 and is fully-owned by PetroVietnam. As the second-largest electricity producer in Vietnam, the company operates one coal-fired thermal power plant, three gas-fired power plants, and three hydropower plants.

Notably, in July 2017, the consortium including Saudi Arabian ACWA Power and Taekwang Power officially received an investment certificate for the project.

Nam Dinh 1 is the seventh foreign-invested power project licensed in Vietnam since the country opened its doors to foreign direct investment three decades ago.

The 1,200MW plant is an independent greenfield power project to be developed on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. It is part of the 2,400MW Nam Dinh thermal power complex.

The project is scheduled to commence construction in early 2018. The first unit will enter commercial operations within 51 months, while the power facility will take 57 months.

The investment consortium will operate for 25 years. The project will be financed by Export-Import Bank of Korea and Korean Trade Insurance Corporation.

South Korean Posco E&C has been selected as a preferred bidder for the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract of the project.

The plant’s annual production will be 7,800GWh, which will be a considerable contribution to power generation in northern Vietnam and will facilitate the development strategy presented in the nation's power development strategy.

Startup Luxstay gets $2.5 million funding

Vietnam’s Airbnb-like startup Luxstay has announced an additional $2.5 million mobilised through its Pre-Series A Round from investors including Genesis Ventures, Founders Capital, Y1 Ventures, and two other investors.

Previously, Luxstay received funding from Japanese Genesis Ventures and Singapre-based ESP Capital in the middle of 2017. Without detailing the funds for the startup in the first time last year, Genesis Ventures, which also invested in VNG, Foody, Tiki, Vatgia, decided to inject money into the startup after a 30-minute meeting.

Working somewhat like short-term apartment rental site Airbnb, Luxstay focuses on luxury accommodation like villas, apartments, and high-end homestays owned by local people across Southeast Asia.

The startup was founded by Vietnamese entrepreneur Steven Nguyen and incorporated in Singapore but is currently mostly operating in Vietnam and Thailand. Luxstay targets to become the largest short-term rental platform in Southeast Asia.

HCMC plans trading floor for pork
HCM City plans to form a pork trading floor which will have advanced technology and careful control of pork origin to ensure quality.

The city’s Department of Industry and Trade is working on forming the trading floor, which will allow direct purchases, without intermediaries, from pig farmers.

Large, growing pork markets such as China and Japan have not bought pork from Viet Nam through large scale exporting, but instead through small border trade as international trade requires higher food safety standards.

The city has begun a programme to keep better track of pork origin to ensure higher-quality products.

By the end of 2017, 2,644 pig farms and 38 slaughterhouses had joined the programme, according to the city’s Department of Industry and Trade. The department has also held around 85 training sessions for farmers.

As part of the programme, traders and consumers can look up information about the pork they have bought and their origin by scanning the QR code on each pork package which has quality stamps.

In HCM City, 7,500 to 8,000 pigs are supplied with a clear source of origin each day.

The city plans to replace all manual slaughtering activities with machinery by the end of 2018, and make sure every slaughterhouse is equipped with freezers to store pork.

According to the department, the city consumes US$500 million worth of pork every year.

TP Bank’s profit doubles year-on-year
Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) earned VND275.8 billion (US$12.1 million) in profit in the first two months of this year, a two-fold increase year-on-year.

The non-performing loan (NPL) ratio was kept at 0.97 per cent, still within permitted the level.

The bank is in the process of completing procedures to list shares on the HCM Stock Exchange (HoSE).

TPBank shares are expected to be listed on the exchange in April. The bank’s shareholders also expect to receive dividends for the first time after six years of successful restructuring.

TPBank posted impressive growth in 2017. Its profit rose by 70 per cent from 2016 to more than VND1.2 trillion. Its total assets were VND124 trillion, up 17.2 per cent.

The bank’s total credit was VND71.29 trillion, representing a 22 per cent year-on-year rise. It was listed among the top banks with the best credit quality in the market and low bad debt rate of just 0.87 per cent.

TPBank’s total capital mobilisation was VND115 trillion, increasing 17.5 per cent from the previous year.

OCB is VN’s first omni-channel bank
Orient Commercial Joint Stock Bank on March 19 became the first bank in the country to move to an omni-channel digital platform that allows customers to switch between devices during a single transaction.

With all of the bank’s online and offline channels integrated, customers can start making a transaction on its website and finish the process at an OCB branch or on its mobile app.

“This [digitisation] trend is inevitable and financial institutions are reaching out to it, and OCB has become the first bank to bring the omni-channel concept to Việt Nam,” Nguyen Dinh Tung, general director of the lender, said at the launch ceremony.

“Today’s event marks a big step for OCB in becoming a modern bank and a leader in the retail and SME sectors.”

The launch of omni-channel banking provides OCB with a strong foundation for becoming a digital-only bank, he said.

On the occasion, OCB also offered some new products such as financial management, opening online savings accounts, scheduling future payments and widgets which give customers freedom to arrange their most frequently used services, among others.

OCB said more new products would be offered from now through 2020.

Keppel Land consolidates ownership of $500-million Saigon Sports City

Keppel Land Limited (Keppel Land), through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Oil (Asia) Pte. Limited, has acquired the remaining 10 per cent stake in Jencity Limited from Jenclub Limited for a consideration of approximately $11.4 million.

Following the acquisition, Keppel Land will hold 100 per cent interest in Saigon Sports City, thus consolidating its full ownership of the township.

Saigon Sports City is a 64-hectare township that Keppel Land is developing in the prime location of District 2 in Ho Chi Minh City, in collaboration with Keppel Urban Solutions.

It is envisaged to be a bustling hub combining modern and sustainable urban living with vibrant and healthy lifestyles, which can be a model for other urban developments in Asia.

The total development cost for Saigon Sports City is projected to be more than $500 million.

The integrated township will comprise of about 4,300 premium homes and include iconic features like a waterfront boulevard, an open public plaza, and Vietnam's first one-stop lifestyle hub with comprehensive facilities for sports, entertainment, shopping, and dining.

In addition, biophilic design principles will be incorporated into the development, such as natural lighting and ventilation, a linear park, vertical greenery, and picturesque water features with natural filtration, to create a green and beautiful environment.

The first phase of Saigon Sports City will feature some 90,000 square metres of gross floor area of commercial space and about 1,220 homes, 620 units of which are slated for launch in the second half of this year.

The above transaction is not expected to have a material impact on the earnings per share and net tangible assets per share of Keppel Corporation Limited in the current financial year.

Keppel Land is one of the largest foreign real estate developers in Vietnam with a diverse portfolio of properties in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, and Vung Tau, including Grade A offices, residential properties, retail centres, integrated townships, and award-winning serviced apartments.

With 20 licensed projects across Vietnam and a pipeline of more than 20,000 homes, Keppel Land is establishing itself as the choice developer distinguished by quality and innovative lifestyle concepts.

Minh Phu Corp reveals ambitious plans upon return to stock exchange

Leading seafood firm Minh Phu Corporation has plotted out grand strategies to defend the “King of Shrimp” title, following its comeback to the public market this month.

Minh Phu revealed that it will use technology to gain the upper hand in the shrimp market. The firm recently met with top experts in artificial intelligence in Singapore, as it looks to raise the level of automation to 70 per cent of the manufacturing process.

According to CEO Le Van Quang, with the help of automation, Minh Phu’s annual capacity can reach 150 tonnes per hectare, compared to the current 10 tonnes. The seafood firm has spent the last two years preparing the necessary database and infrastructure for this step.

The corporation is also planning to invest in a 10,000-hectare shrimp farm in Kien Giang province, which will make use of state-of-the-art technology. With expectations of higher output levels, Minh Phu looks to ramp up its export turnover to $1 billion a year.

In 2017, Minh Phu accounted for 20 per cent of Vietnam’s total volume of shrimp exports, equalling $700 million. This is the highest figure for any seafood company in Vietnam.

Minh Phu’s major markets for exports include the US, Japan, and Australia. In the US, the firm is not subject to anti-dumping regulations, which is a huge advantage over its competitors.

For 2018, Minh Phu looks to increase its export turnover to $1 billion, reaping pre-tax profits of VND1.3 trillion ($56.8 million). The anticipated export volume is 70,000 tonnes of finished products.

Minh Phu's founder and CEO Le Van Quang is known in Vietnam as the "King of Shrimp" thanks to his long-term success in the business. With these new projects in mind, the CEO looks poised to defend his title, the same time as the firm makes its return to the stock exchange.

However, the big question remains: where can Minh Phu get the funding for all of these ambitious projects? Short-term loans at the firm already stand at VND3.4 trillion ($148.5 million)—four times the charter capital.

Minh Phu also had to borrow another VND700 billion ($30.8 million) to expand its Minh Phu Ca Mau factory, where construction is slated to start in the third quarter of 2018.

CEO Le Van Quang said he is looking forward to a government loan programme for high-tech shrimp farming, which can provide up to VND10 trillion ($437 million) for seafood companies.

The loan package aims to help seafood firms like Minh Phu gain control of shrimp farms in the Mekong Delta.

Another source of money for Minh Phu is raising its charter capital upon returning to the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange.

The firm will also pay no dividends this year. Not stopping there, Minh Phu will also issue 60 million shares in a private placement this June, aiming to collect VND600 billion ($26.2 million) for the business.

The seafood firm expects its charter capital after these issuances to reach VND2 trillion ($88 million), thus providing sufficient funding for its expansion projects.

“A lot of foreign investors have expressed interest in becoming our strategic partners. This is testament to their belief in our growth potential,” said Quang.

Tien Giang moves to manage quality of star apple exports

The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang is taking measures to ensure the quality of star apples for export to the US, said Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Van Man.

Local authorities have detailed farming techniques and instructed farmers to manage agricultural product quality, he noted, elaborating that farmers have received training in disease prevention and the use of plant protection substances. They were warned not to use substances that the US bans and replace those chemicals with biological products.

Tien Giang has provided codes for new farming areas while expanding the areas which already had codes. It has also requested star apple exporters to coordinate with specialised agencies to receive timely technical support.

Man said the province is pushing star apple cultivation towards VietGAP (Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practice) standards to ensure food safety and origin traceability.

The agriculture department also asked the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to continue reviewing the granting codes for star apple exporters and strictly examine the origin, package and quality of export batches so as not to affect the prestige of Vietnamese star apples.

The Plant Protection Department has also been asked to update localities with plant quarantine information to deal with violations in a timely manner, the official said.

He added his province is making efforts to form long-term cultivation areas to ensure stable production and supply of quality star apples. Notably, it is implementing a pilot project on recovering Lo Ren star apple trees, a Tien Giang variety.

It is also re-organising the production and consumption chain, improving star apple cooperatives, and stepping up trade promotion to boost exports to the US and other markets, Man noted.

In the Mekong Delta, Tien Giang is one of the provinces with the biggest star apple farming areas. In late December 2017, the agriculture ministry and the provincial People’s Committee announced that the first batch of Vietnamese star apples had been shipped to the US after 10 years of negotiations.

Since the announcement, Tien Giang has exported 73 tonnes of star apples to the US, according to Vo Van Men, deputy head of the plant protection division of the provincial agriculture department.

Methodical approach to exporting aquatic products to US suggested

Commercial Counsellor and head of the Vietnam Trade Office in the US Bui Huy Son has said Vietnamese firms should take a methodical approach to exporting aquatic products to the US.

He made the statement during an interview with Vietnam News Agency following the US Department of Commerce’s 13th administrative review on countervailing duties on frozen tra fillets imported from Vietnam from August 1, 2015 – July 31, 2016 ended with record high taxation, triple that of the 12th review.

Son said the Ministry of Industry and Trade has clearly expressed its stance on the taxation in its announcement, that it is unfair and reflects inappropriate protectionism.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors also issued an announcement affirming that the DOC’s calculation method is improper and biased and asked the DOC to reconsider the tax on frozen tra fillets imported from Vietnam.

Asked about what Vietnam could do to change the DOC’s decision, Son said after the ninth administrative review when the DOC refused to reconsider its decision in 2013, Vietnam later filed a complaint to the US Court of International Trade. Even if the court’s ruling, which often takes 3-4 years, is inappropriate, Vietnam could file a complaint to the US Court of Federal Claims.

According to him, the US will continue enforcing new regulations, including the Food Safety Modernisation Act, which requires exporters to provide information regarding fishing locations and vehicles, preservation, transportation, processing and distribution.

Therefore, the State, local agencies and associations need to store and digitalise such information to make it readily available when necessary, he said. 

Together with efforts of aquatic exporters, relevant associations, the ministries of Industry and Trade, and Agriculture and Rural Development, the media also plays a significant role in raising public awareness of fishing and aquatic processing which ensures safety and meet importers’ requirements, Son added.

Quảng Bình to launch world-class golf course

Trường Thịnh Group and the United States’ The Great White Shark on Monday signed a design contract for the Bảo Ninh Trường Thịnh golf course in the central province of Quảng Bình.

Located in the coastal area of ​​Bảo Ninh Commune, the Bảo Ninh Trường Thịnh golf course project​ has a planned area of 175.76ha and is expected to provide 36 holes, based on international standards.

The golf course is being built to serve the sporting needs of people in and around the province, especially businessmen, experts and international visitors who work in and visit Quảng Bình Province.

At present, the provincial People’s Committee has approved Trường Thịnh Group to study and invest in the Bảo Ninh Trường Thịnh golf course project, with total investment capital of nearly VNĐ1 trillion (US$44 million).

The project will be completed within 36 months, and part of the project (up to 18 holes) will be put into operation 12 months after the completion of investment procedures.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Trần Tiến Dũng, vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said this was not only a chance to promote the golf sport but also to promote the image of Quảng Bình tourism. The province will create favourable conditions to ensure the project operates well, Dũng added.

Vietnam needs flexible reaction to rubber market

Vietnam needs to be flexible in its measures to deal with the instability of the rubber industry due to violent fluctuations in the import-export prices for rubber and the dependence on imported rubber materials.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam exported an estimated 184,000 tonnes of rubber in the first two months of 2018 at a total value of US$217 million, an increase of 0.4% in terms of volume but a decrease of 27% in terms of value compared to the same period in 2017.

Thanks to a higher demand for rubber from foreign importers, the price of rubber has risen to VND40 million (US$1,600) per tonne, from VND32 million (US$1,280) per tonne since the Lunar New Year. However, experts warned that it will be difficult to maintain the positive trend for long and price fluctuations may be a recurring scenario for the rubber sector in 2017.

In the first two months of 2017, the price of rubber stood at roughly US$2,630 per tonne but after March, rubber prices faced irregular fluctuations and dropped to around US$1,600 per tonne.

The rubber crop in 2017 was a warning about the instability and risks that both rubber growers and traders may encounter in 2018.

Experts fear that the demand for rubber will rise until the end of this year but will be slower than the increase in the supply, which will result in a decrease in prices, with the average price hovering around VND36-37 million (US$1,584-US$1,628) per tonne.

Meanwhile, Vietnam imported 96,000 tonnes of rubber in the first two months of this year with a total value of US$166 million, up 20.8% in terms of volume and 1.9% in terms of value compared to 2017.

The fact shows that Vietnam mainly exports raw rubber with a low value while importing a large amount of rubber products for deep processing as the production of current types of Vietnamese rubber is yet to meet the demands of domestic manufacturers.

To resolve the trade balance problem in rubber imports and exports and to create an abundant supply of rubber materials for domestic production, the rubber industry should restructure its current rubber products toward deep processing in order to create higher added values.

The rubber sector also needs to improve the quality and value of its products through the application of advanced technology in production while expanding export markets and boosting trade promotion.

PM approves development strategy for Viet Nam’s mechanical engineering industry

The Prime Minister has approved a development strategy for Viet Nam’s mechanical engineering industry until 2025, with a vision to 2035.

Accordingly, by 2035, Viet Nam’s mechanical engineering industry will be developed with a majority of technologically advanced professions and products of international standards, while further participating in the global value chain and making economical and efficient use of energy. The sector will develop a professional, disciplined and high-qualified workforce, and be proactive in researching, designing and manufacturing mechanical products to basically meet the demand of the domestic market.

In terms of exports, the strategy targets the mechanical engineering industry’s export volume meeting 35% of its total output by 2020, and the proportion is expected to increase by 40% by 2030 and 45% by 2035.

Until 2025, the industry will focus on developing a number of sub-sectors of automobile mechanics, tractors, agricultural machinery, construction equipment, industrial equipment and electrical equipment, which are capable of basically meeting the requirements of the economy and a part of the export demand.

After 2025, some groups of advisory and manufacturing contractors, which are capable of mastering the designing works and manufacturing auxiliary equipment groups, will be formed, while efforts will be focused on supporting some domestic firms that have the potential to become strong regional corporations in the manufacturing sector such as automobiles, agricultural machinery and electrical equipment.

The strategy stipulates the continuous revision and supplementation of policies promoting the mechanical engineering industry, including tax incentives, the support measures for investment and business activities; and the continuous review, amendment, supplementation and completion of the support mechanisms and polices for the mechanical engineering industry in accordance with the laws on investment and Viet Nam’s commitments on international economic integration. The strategy will also work to accelerate the development of the supporting industries for the mechanical engineering sector, to increase the proportion of domestic production value, to build a chain of production and assembly of mechanical products in the country, and to facilitate Viet Nam’s participation in the global mechanical production chain.

Loans not allowed to go to innovation investment funds

The Government recently issued Decree No. 38/2008/ND-CP detailing investments for innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The decree guides the investment in innovative SMEs; the establishment, management and operation of innovation investment funds; and the mechanism on using the local budget to invest in innovative SMEs.

The decree clearly states that an innovation investment fund does not have a legal entity and is established by a maximum of 30 capital contributors on the basis of the fund’s charter. An innovation investment fund is not allowed to contribute capital to another fund of the same type.

The assets contributed may be in Vietnamese dong, gold, the value of land use rights, and other assets that can be valued in Vietnamese dong. Investors are not allowed to use loans to contribute capital to establishing an innovation investment fund.

An innovation investment fund is managed in one of the following models: a congress between investors and the company that implements management of the fund; a congress between investors, the representative board or the director of the fund, and the company that implements the management of the fund; and a congress between investors, the representative board and the director of the fund, and the company that implements the management of the fund.

The management of the innovation investment fund, as stipulated in this decree, will be implemented in line with the charter of the fund and the contracts signed with the fund (if any), and will not be governed by the law on securities.

The decree also provide regulations on using the local budget to invest in innovative SMEs. Specifically, depending on the local budget capability, the provincial-level People’s Committee recommends to the provincial-level People’s Council on assigning the locality’s state financial organization to make investments in innovative SMEs.

Annually, the locality’s state financial organization evaluates, adjusts and announces the list of the selected innovation investment funds on its web portal and on the website of the provincial-level People’s Committee.

Gov’t continues to restructure SOEs

Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue, who is Head of the Steering Committee for Business Renovation and Development (SCBRD), has recently inked Decision 112/QD-BDMDN on a working program of the Steering Committee.

Accordingly, in 2018, the Steering Committee will consult the Government and the PM to perfect the mechanisms and the legal framework on the management and operation of State-owned enterprises (SOEs); SOEs arrangement, equitization, and capital withdrawal in line with Resolution 05-NQ/TW, dated November 1, 2016 on a number of guidelines and policies in order to continue to innovate the model of growth and enhance the quality of growth and labor productivity and the competitiveness of the economy.

The Steering Committee will direct, investigate, and urge ministries, agencies, localities, economic groups and corporations to accomplish State capital withdrawal on schedule.

Ministries, agencies, localities, SOEs were asked to make reports on responsibilities of heads, relevant organizations and individuals before January 10, 2019.

SOEs will be restructured comprehensively, covering organization, personnel, strategy, administration, finance, technology, production, and professions.

Weak SOEs will be reviewed and handled.

Administrative procedures, business conditions, and the legal environment will be reformed so that by 2020 Viet Nam will have at least 1 million businesses./.

Nearly 11,000 businesses to mark PCI 2017

The Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) received feedback from 10,245 private enterprises in 63 provinces and cities and 1,765 FDI from 47 foreign countries and territories in 21 provinces and cities.

The Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will publish the PCI 2017 on March 22 in Ha Noi.
The Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) in Viet Nam is designed to assess and rank the performance, capacity and willingness of provincial governments to develop business-friendly regulatory environments for private sector development

This is the 13th consecutive year the VCCI publishes the index. 

Director General of the Legal Department of VCCI  Dau Anh Tuan reported that this year, the survey received responses from 10,245 private enterprises in 63 provinces and cities (including 2,003 enterprises which were established in 2016 and 2017) and 1,765 FDI from 47 foreign countries and territories in 21 provinces and cities.

Besides the PCI ranking, the 2017 version will assess Viet Nam’s business environment under the eyes of foreign investors. They will assess administrative reform, business advantages and disadvantages, and labor issues. 

Mr. Tuan revealed that the PCI report will put aside a chapter on business management quality.

Earlier, in 2016, the central city of Da Nang dominates the Provincial Competitive Index (PCI) among 63 provinces and cities nationwide for the seventh time, gaining the top score of 70.00, according to PCI 2016 report.

The PCI 2016 sent out questionnaires to 11,600 enterprises, of which around 14 % were foreign invested enterprises in Viet Nam.

Last year, the Government issued Resolution 19-2017/NQ-CP, dated February 6, 2017 on continuing to implement main duties and solutions for improving the business environment and enhancing national competitiveness in 2017 and orientation towards 2020./.

Thứ Tư, 21 tháng 3, 2018

Vietnam to cut red tape in construction-related administrative procedures

A construction permit currently takes 82 days on average to be issued in Vietnam
 ​Vietnam to cut red tape in construction-related administrative procedures
A Ho Chi Minh City resident (L) requests assistance from an official in how to apply for a construction permit at the municipal Department of Construction, March 20, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has requested that efforts be made to streamline the country’s administrative procedures in construction-related fields.
The aim, he stressed, is to reach the average time it takes for such procedures to be done in ASEAN-4, which indicates the four most developed economies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Currently, ASEAN-4 includes Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines.
According to the premier’s directive, which was issued last week, the combined time to go through all construction-related procedures for a single application is to be shortened from 166 days as per current regulations to 120 days.
This includes the time it takes to review construction drawings and fire prevention plans, issue construction permits, approve the building’s access to utilities, and grant certificates of property ownership.
Relevant authorities are tasked with implementing information technology and administrative reforms to achieve this target.
Ministries are also asked to study and propose a revision of current laws concerning such procedures, according to the directive.
 ​Vietnam to cut red tape in construction-related administrative procedures
A chart illustrating the current and expected days it takes to carry out different procedures related to construction in Vietnam. Graphic: Tuoi Tre
Red tape
Despite recent governance improvements in Vietnam following major policy reforms, residents and investors say they still face red tape when it comes to applying for construction permits and other related papers, a process that could take months to complete.
According to a World Bank report, it takes 82 days on average for a construction permit application to be processed and approved in Vietnam.
In reality, however, realty developers say they must wait at least twice as long to get their hands on the paper due to various complications along the way.
V., director of a real estate company based in Ho Chi Minh City, said it could take two years from the date an application is filed until when the project can actually break ground.
Officials always managed to find fault with an application, he said, forcing developers to correct their ‘mistakes’ and reapply from the start, which could be repeated two or three times.
“Of course there are occasions when the applicant is at fault, but most of the times it’s just unnecessary nitpicking on the officials’ part,” V. said.
Q., a Hanoi-based real estate developer, said those in the industry always have under their belt some ‘contacts’ within related government bodies to help speed up the process.
“They are familiar with the procedures and can easily ask for ‘favors’ from their colleagues, so it would be much quicker if they can take care of your application,” Q. said.
Tuoi Tre News
VN master painter’s work auctioned in France

 A silk painting by master Nguyen Nam Son (1890-1973), one of the leading artists in modern Vietnamese fine art, will be auctioned by the Aguttes company at Drouot auction sale centre in Paris, France, on March 26.

Silk paintings, modern Vietnamese silk painting, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam 
Delicate work: Silk painting Thon Nu Bac Ky by Nam Son.

Titled Thon Nu Bac Ky (Peasants of Tonkin), the painting, ink and colour on silk, measures 65 by 52.5cm, with the painter’s signature on the upper right and lower left and its title on the lower left.
The painting is expected to be sold for 35,000-50,000 euros.
The painter, real name Nguyen Van Tho, was a co-initiator of the Indochine Fine Arts College in Hanoi with Victor Tardieu (1870-1937). Working as a painter for nearly six decades, he left behind 400 works on various materials, 20 of which are on silk.
According to Aguttes, the painting has spent the last 50 years with the family of a private collector in Hanoi.
It is said the painting was completed in 1935. It appeared once at an art fair called "Salon de la Sadeai" in Hanoi in 1936. At the same fair, Nam Son exhibited three other silk paintings.
The Thon Nu Bac Ky was also mentioned in archives held by Nam Son’s family. Besides this, his signature, seal and a sentence appear on the left corner of the work in Han Chinese, translated as "This painting was drawn by painter Nguyen Nam Son, residing by Hoan Kiem Lake”.
According to researcher Ngo Kim Khoi, the whole painting is a transition from the colour green to turquoise, featuring three female peasants carrying bananas on a pole, wearing typical costumes of women in the northern plains.
“Though he did not specialise in silk painting, the audience can see delicate lines on the painting,” said Khoi. “The colours seem to go through the texture of the silk background.”
The same technique can be seen in his silk painting, titled Ve Cho (Return from Market), drawn in 1927, which was exhibited once in Paris.
The painting Ve Cho may be the first silk painting in modern Vietnamese fine arts because Nguyen Phan Chanh, who is considered the pioneer of modern Vietnamese silk painting, did not learn the technique of drawing on silk until 1928 in Yunnan, China.
 Silk paintings, modern Vietnamese silk painting, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam
Long career: Painter Nguyen Nam Son in 1919.

At the same auction on March 26, works by other Vietnamese painters such as Le Pho (1907-2001), Vu Cao Dam (1908-2000), Le Thi Luu (1911-1988) and Mai Trung Thu (1906-1980) are displayed.
The most expensive estimate of the sale may belong to a work by French painter Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), which is expected for 500,000-600,000 euros. The runner-up will be Le Pho, with two works: Mau Tu (Maternity) ink and water colour on silk, 59.5 by 48cm, and Thieu Nu Ben Hoa Hong (Young Woman by Roses), the same material, 41 by 32.2cm. Both paintings by Le Pho are expected to be sold at the same price of 150,000-200,000 euros.
The event will take place at 2.30pm Paris time on March 26. 
Government News 21/3

Cao Bang prepares for Vietnam-China border defence exchange

 Cao Bang prepares for Vietnam-China border defence exchange, Vietnam, Malaysia eye stronger audit cooperation, President Tran Dai Quang congratulates President Vladimir Putin, Hanoi seeks tourism cooperation with Slovak region
Deputy Minister of National Defence Nguyen Chi Vinh at the working session with Cao Bang authorities

Deputy Minister of National Defence Sen. Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh has requested military units in the northern border province of Cao Bang to well prepare for the fifth Vietnam-China border defence friendship exchange programme. 
During a working session with the local authorities on March 20, Vinh also asked the military units to coordinate with Cao Bang province to complete infrastructure facilities serving the event.
He emphasised the need for the province to further promote people-to-people diplomatic activities in the border areas between the two nations. 
The border defence friendship exchange programme will take place in Cao Bang’s Phuc Hoa district and China’s Longzhou district.
It will comprise numerous activities, including a welcome ceremony for the two countries’ defence delegates, seminars, cultural and sport exchanges; a ceremony to salute demarcation markers, joint patrol on the border river; and a ceremony to launch a centre for cultural exchange and tourism promotion at the Ta Lung international border gate.
People living in the border localities of Vietnam and China will also receive free health check-ups and medicines, and take part in cultural activities before the programme.
In the meantime, Cao Bang will continue instructing relevant units to promote the communication work to help local people understand more about the significance of the event, while stepping up the construction progress of facilities and maintaining political security and social order in the locality.
Vietnam, Malaysia eye stronger audit cooperation

 Cao Bang prepares for Vietnam-China border defence exchange, Vietnam, Malaysia eye stronger audit cooperation, President Tran Dai Quang congratulates President Vladimir Putin, Hanoi seeks tourism cooperation with Slovak region
State Auditor General of Vietnam Ho Duc Phoc (R) receives Deputy Auditor General of Malaysia Khalid Khan. (Source: 

Vietnamese State Auditor General Ho Duc Phoc and Deputy Auditor General of Malaysia Khalid Khan have discussed ways to enhance cooperation and develop information technology in the audit sector. 
At a working session in Hanoi on March 20, Phoc said the State Audit of Vietnam (SAV) conducted over 200 audits relating to the management and use of public financial resources and assets each year. 
The SAV is focusing on IT development to serve the audit work, with an IT development strategy until 2030 being devised, he said, adding that the agency wants to learn from the NAD’s experience to build the IT development strategy. 
Applauding Malaysia’s National Audit Department (NAD)’s support and sharing of experience, Phoc suggested the two agencies step up cooperation in training and exchange of professional experience, especially in operation and IT audits. 
Mentioning the 14th Assembly of the Asian Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI 14) slated for September 2018 in Vietnam, Phoc informed his guest about Vietnam’s preparations for the event and called on the NAD in its capacity as ASOSAI 13 Chair to assist Vietnam in organising the meeting. 
For his part, Khalid Khan noted with pleasure the partnership between the NAD and the SAV, expressing his hope that the bilateral cooperation will be enhanced in the time ahead. 
The NAD will increase support to and cooperation with the SAV, he pledged, saying he believes that the collaboration will benefit both sides. 
The NAD will also do its utmost to help its Vietnamese counterpart to successfully host ASOSAI 14 and assume the post of the ASOSAI Chair during 2018-2021, he promised. 
The same day, Khalid Khan had a working session with Vietnamese Deputy Auditor General Doan Xuan Tien to discuss Vietnam’s preparations for ASOSAI 14. 
Looking into the meeting’s agenda, they agreed that major events will take place from September 19-22, with the opening ceremony scheduled for September 19. 
The Hanoi Declaration is expected to be part of the meeting’s programme. As the official document of ASOSAI 14, the declaration will deliver the assembly’s important messages as well as commitments and actions of ASOSAI to the region and the world in the audit sphere. 
Apart from reflecting the commitment to completing the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) and handling challenges to the global environment, the document stresses the materialisation of the ASOSAI strategic plan for 2016-2021. 
On this occasion, the NAD shared its experience in organising symposiums. 
The two sides are scheduled to deliberate technical matters and the celebration of 40 years of the ASOSAI Charter on March 21.
President Tran Dai Quang congratulates President Vladimir Putin

 Cao Bang prepares for Vietnam-China border defence exchange, Vietnam, Malaysia eye stronger audit cooperation, President Tran Dai Quang congratulates President Vladimir Putin, Hanoi seeks tourism cooperation with Slovak region
President Vladimir Putin 

President Tran Dai Quang on March 19 sent a congratulatory letter to Vladimir Putin on his re-election as President of Russia.
Earlier, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong cabled a message to congratulate the re-elected President.
Vladimir Putin is set for another six years in power after winning a record election performance with 76.66 percent of the vote held on March 18.
Hanoi seeks tourism cooperation with Slovak region

 Cao Bang prepares for Vietnam-China border defence exchange, Vietnam, Malaysia eye stronger audit cooperation, President Tran Dai Quang congratulates President Vladimir Putin, Hanoi seeks tourism cooperation with Slovak region
Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Van Suu (R) and Governor Juraj Droba of Slovakia’s Bratislava region (Source: 

Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Van Suu and Governor Juraj Droba of Slovakia’s Bratislava region on March 20 discussed cooperation potential between the two sides, especially in the field of tourism.
Suu recalled the visit of Slovak Deputy Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini to Vietnam in 2017, in which he expressed his wish for stronger cooperation with Hanoi. The visit has helped to expand cooperation between the two localities, he added.
As Hanoi is undergoing rapid urbanisation, the city wants to expand cooperation with Bratislava region in various fields, including economy, culture, social affairs, diplomacy, tourism and urban development. 
The official proposed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Hanoi and Bratislava, creating a premise for closer cooperation in the future. Vietnam and Slovakia should also promote tourism cooperation, along with trade exchanges and economic development, he stressed.
In reply, Juraj Droba said Slovakia and Bratislava region in particular are paying heed to Vietnam’s socio-economic achievements over the past years, as well as potential for bilateral cooperation in different fields. 
The visit aims to establish a framework to deepen cooperative ties between the two localities, especially in tourism, he said.
Droba also suggested the two sides arrange a student exchange programme, thus helping their citizens to enhance cultural exchanges.-
Seminar features Vietnam-Czech Republic relations

 Cao Bang prepares for Vietnam-China border defence exchange, Vietnam, Malaysia eye stronger audit cooperation, President Tran Dai Quang congratulates President Vladimir Putin, Hanoi seeks tourism cooperation with Slovak region
A seminar featuring Vietnam’s achievements and Vietnam - Czech Republic ties was held in Prague on March 19 by the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM)

A seminar featuring Vietnam’s achievements and Vietnam - Czech Republic ties was held in Prague on March 19 by the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM).
In his speech, Vietnamese Counsellor in the Czech Republic Tran Vinh Bac briefed on Vietnam’s achievements during more than 30 years of Doi moi (renovation), especially in socio-economic development and international cooperation in 2017.
He highlighted the thriving bilateral relations, saying that the two countries have maintained traditional political ties through many mutual high-ranking visits. Economic-trade and investment cooperation has been expanded, with two-way trade hitting 1 billion USD for the first time in 2017.
The diplomat voiced his hope that the two nations will foster bilateral cooperation in the future, especially in tourism, labour, education and university training.
For his part, Josek Skala, Vice President of the KSCM, said Doi moi is a valuable lesson for the party’s members. He said the two countries should address issues of mutual concern such as trade balance and visa procedure simplification, thus enhancing bilateral cooperation in the coming time.
At the seminar, participants discussed cooperation and investment opportunities for Czech businesses in Vietnam, spotlighted in a recently-published book on Vietnam’s market.
Emerging challenges and measures to foster Vietnam-Czech relations, as well as the East Sea issue were also on the agenda. Participants agreed that the East Sea disputes need to be solved peacefully in accordance with international law.
An exhibition featuring 30 photos and documents on Vietnam’s sea and island sovereignty, landscapes and people was also held on this occasion.
Vietnam, Russia seek to boost cultural collaboration

Cao Bang prepares for Vietnam-China border defence exchange, Vietnam, Malaysia eye stronger audit cooperation, President Tran Dai Quang congratulates President Vladimir Putin, Hanoi seeks tourism cooperation with Slovak region 
Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Ngo Duc Manh

The Vietnamese Embassy in Russia held a round-table seminar on Vietnam – Russia cultural cooperation in Moscow on March 20. 
In his opening speech, Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Ngo Duc Manh said the two countries are holding a series of cultural activities such as “Russian Cultural Days” and “Week of Russian Films” in Vietnam and vice versa. 
Both sides have also educated young people about bilateral ties and facilitated the exchange of delegations in culture and communications, particularly the upcoming signing of the cultural cooperation programme for 2019-2020. 
Participants agreed that Russian culture has taken root in the hearts of generations of Vietnamese people. Though less popular following the collapse of the Soviet Union, it has become more popular recently. 
Professor Grigory Lokshin, an expert on Vietnamese studies from the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Far Eastern Studies suggested the two countries’ ministries and agencies further strive to make the two peoples closer. 
Former Director of the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Hanoi Elena Zubtsova proposed stepping up communications collaboration to raise mutual understanding. 
A number of books about Vietnam and translated versions of well-known Vietnamese literary works were also introduced at the event. 
Elena Chimenheva, a Vietnamese language teacher for Russian cultural officials, said many Russian people want to learn Vietnamese language now, hoping that there will be more Vietnamese school books for foreigners so students could read many Vietnamese cultural works and enjoy painting exhibitions.
International media praise late Prime Minister Phan Van Khai
Australian media outlets have run several articles on former Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai after he passed away on March 17.
In its article on his death, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) assessed Phan Van Khai as “an architect of Vietnam's economic rise”.
Meanwhile, the The Australian newspaper stressed that the former PM was a great contributor to Vietnam’s economic growth and the country’s first prime minister to visit the United States after the end of the war.
“Khai oversaw Vietnam's fastest and most stable economic growth during his nine years in office from 1997 to 2006. He signed a bilateral trade agreement with the US in 2000 and oversaw Vietnam's entry into the World Trade Organisation in 2006,” the article wrote.
Earlier, when Khai was hospitalised, several Australian newspapers posted articles recalling his two visits to Australia. In 1999, the Sydney University  - Australia’s first university  - conferred a degree of Doctor of Science in Economics upon the former PM for his contributions to Vietnam’s economic and political democracy.
Germany’s Deutsche Welle newspaper also reported on Khai’s death and gave readers a brief biography.
“He was prime minister for nine years beginning in 1997 and ushered in an era of reform that saw Vietnam transform itself into one of Southeast Asia's fastest-growing economies,” the newspaper said.
Former Politburo member and former Prime Minister Phan Van Khai passed away at 1:30 on March 17 at Cu Chi, Ho Chi Minh City, aged 85.
Phan Van Khai was born on December 25, 1933 in Cu Chi district, Ho Chi Minh City.
As one of the high-ranking Party and State leaders in the first phase of the country's Renewal and nation-building cause, PM Khai was active and determined to build the institution under the spirit of renewal to utilize the capacities of all economic sectors, especially the private one, together with opening door to the world and integrating internationally. 
During his nearly two working terms, fundamental laws in the first phase of the Renewal and door-opening process were built.
The Government chaired by PM Khai left its working-term marks by the issuance of the Business Law, the annulment of hundreds of licences, the involvement in many tough talks to negotiate Vietnam's admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and more.
The Party and State have presented PM Khai the Golden Star Order and the 55-year Party Membership Badge (2014), in recognition of his dedications to the country's revolutionary cause.