Top Story of the Week: Better to have inflation at 8pct this year for reasonable growth: Tuyen
The risk of conflict in the South China Sea is significant. China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines have competing territorial and jurisdictional claims, particularly over rights to exploit the region's possibly extensive reserves of oil and gas. Freedom of navigation in the region is also a contentious issue, especially between the United States and China over the right of U.S. military vessels to operate in China's two-hundred-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). These tensions are shaping—and being shaped by—rising apprehensions about the growth of China's military power and its regional intentions. China has embarked on a substantial modernization of its maritime paramilitary forces as well as naval capabilities to enforce its sovereignty and jurisdiction claims by force if necessary. At the same time, it is developing capabilities that would put U.S. forces in the region at risk in a conflict, thus potentially denying access to the U.S. Navy in the western Pacific.
US businesses have voiced their support for negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement between the US and Vietnam and other partners.
Vietnam is an increasingly important trade partner for the US, and TPP will bring economic interests to businesses of the US, Vietnam, and other members, said Calman Cohen, representative of the US Business Coalition.
Vietnam is currently an market in Southeast Asia because of its potential and resources, said the newly appointed director of SAP Vietnam Darren Rushworth.
He stated this at a press briefing in Ho Chi Minh City on April 11.
Rushworth said that with its potential and its present pace of development, the SAP expects to reach the targets it set for 2012 and resolve four main issues, including technical creativity, solutions for small and medium size enterprises, and cloud computing.
A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and the EU is expected to offer many new opportunities, but also pose challenges for Vietnam’s economy.
Reduction on tax rates for most of the products under the FTA framework will give Vietnam an advantage over its rivals in the EU market.
Banks’ supportive credit packages are to help poor companies.
Military Bank just launched a VND10 trillion ($476 million) preferential credit package applicable until the end of 2012 with interest rates 1-1.2 per cent softer than regulated ones.
“Export firms sourcing capital to store materials for export will have their needs satisfied by our bank when they show us export document sets and pay us when they get payment from foreign banks or importers,” said MB’s Trade Finance Department head Nguyen Le Huyen.
High-profile experts at a forum in Danang City on Monday called for stronger measures to restructure the economy, including suggestions to wipe off privileges for the State sector.
At the two-day Spring Economic Forum 2012, experts analyzed solutions given to the Government’s restructuring schemes of State-owned enterprises, public investments and the banking system for this year and the following years.
Vietnam’s year on year consumer price index (CPI) may hit single digit in May 2012, the general statitistics office and some optimistic experts share the view.
The statistis officice and experts argued that the petroleum price hike continues its effect to the market in April, May but in the low level. Meanwhile, prices of food and foodstuffs have been stable recently will curb the CPI rise.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has again adjusted down Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast to 5.7% in 2012 from previous forecasts of 6.3% and 6.5% last year.
The information was provided at the ADB’s press conference to release its report on “Asia development outlook and Vietnam’s economic prospects in 2012” held in Hanoi this morning.
However, the country’s GDP growth will be improved and may get a rise of 6.2% in 2013, the report added.
The private sector dominates the latest ranking of Vietnam's fastest growing companies, many of whom plan to expand despite the tough economic conditions.
Private companies make up 71.6 percent of the FAST 500 list announced by the Vietnam Report Joint Stock Company Tuesday, and the state sector, 22.2 percent.
This year’s inflation should stay at 8 percent rather than 6 percent for reasonable growth, Truong Dinh Tuyen, former minister of Industry and Commerce was quoted as saying at the Vietnam economic forum 2012 on economic restructuring on 8 April.
Also, solutions to address the relation between growth and inflation for this year are what being hotly discussed. Dr Tran Dinh Thien, director of Vietnam Institute of Economics assumed the current economic picture to be alarming whereas some others presumed what are going on merely difficulties.
The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines is planning to make its initial public offering (IPO) by the end next year, under a restructuring plan submitted to the Ministry of Transport earlier this week.
Under the plan for partial equitisation, about 70 to 80 per cent of shares in the airline would continue to be held by the State.
Vietnam’s economy is in difficult spot despite recent positive data. Foreign investors are still feeling less confident about investing in this country because of this unstable economy- Hong Sun, Secretary of Korean Chamber of Business.
Vietnam’s economy may be on the rebound, but foreign investors want clearer evidence things are on the up. Inflation has slowed to 14.15 per cent year-on-year at the end of March 2012, while the nation’s trade deficit in the first quarter this year was only $251 million, or 1 per cent of the total export turnover, reported the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).
The EU and Vietnam are set to begin full negotiations for a free trade agreement after completing the scoping exercise with a common understanding on key topics to be covered by the agreement on March 31 during the 2nd ASEAN-EU Business Summit held in Phnom Penh.
The European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) said in a press release on Tuesday that the aim of this preparatory work was to ensure that both sides shared the same ambitions in the upcoming negotiations, Vietnam News Agency reported.
The foreign direct investment (FDI) capital flow into the real estate sector has been slowing down recently. However, experts believe that this is just a necessary period of rest before the foreign investors prepare for a new landing in Vietnam.
Analysts have predicted a new wave of FDI capital flow into the real estate sector which would be seen in the next few months. They say that the Vietnamese real estate sector now shows all favorable conditions for foreign investors to earn money.
Advertising titan, WPP plc’s (WPPGY) wholly-owned subsidiary Burson-Marsteller, recently announced to have entered into a joint venture with Vietnam-based Chu Thi Company Limited to form Buroson-Marsteller Vietnam.
Burson-Marsteller, WPP’s global public relations and public affairs firm, will capture a majoirty stake in the joint venture, while the other party in the venture, Chu Thi Company would be Vietnam’s leader in content industry. The formation of the venture is subject to regulatory approvals.
Vietnam’s oil and gas cooperation projects with foreign partners are well within the country’s sovereignty and jurisdiction rights.
The affirmation was made by Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Luong Thanh Nghi at a press briefing in Hanoi on April 12 in reply to media questions about Vietnam’s reaction after China asked Russia to stop its oil exploitation in the East Sea.Gazprom Expands in Vietnam After Gaining Two Offshore Blocks, Bloomberg, Apr. 5
OAO Gazprom, the world’s biggest natural-gas producer, plans to develop two blocks with Vietnam Oil & Gas Group off the coast of the Asian nation.
Gazprom will take 49 percent of the project with PetroVietnam, as the state-owned company is known, to develop the 05.2 and 05.3 blocks, the Russian gas producer said today in an e-mailed statement. The partners will work under a production-sharing agreement, Gazprom said.
Food & Agriculture
Vietnam’s rice export market is signalling better signs whereby the rice and paddy price in Mekong Delta has increased rapidly and started rising slightly, Mr Pham Van Bay-Vice President of Vietnam Food Association (VFA) said in the press meeting on April 9.
In the winter-spring crop of 2012, the country produced around 6 million tons of rice including 3.5 million tons of commercial rice (for export), and 1.5 million tons reserved by residents, he added.
While domestic feed manufacturers are struggling to access bank loans, renovate technology and business strategies, foreign enterprises have made a big leap to dominate the market.
Dang Thi Tuyet, Director of Binh An Company, said that her company spends 500-700 million dong to buy 60 tons of livestock feed for about 600 pigs. However, Tuyet said she buys the products mostly from CP Vietnam, where Hong Kong-based CP Porkphan (CPP) holds more than 70 percent of stakes.
Health & Life Sciences
RoK introduces advanced technologies in health care, VOV, Apr. 12
A forum to introduce the Republic of Korea (RoK)’s advanced medical technologies and equipment was held in Hanoi on April 12 and broadcast online in Ho Chi Minh City, Danang and Can Tho.
The forum aimed to boost cooperation and technology transfer between the RoK and Vietnam, and help Vietnamese institutes, schools, hospitals, medical centres, businesses and people get access advanced medical equipment and technologies.
ICTVietnam Drafts New Online Censorship Rules, Radio Free Asia, Apr. 11
Internet giants like Google and Facebook may have to cooperate with government censors.
Google, Facebook, and other Internet companies may be required to censor their content in Vietnam, an overseas group said Wednesday based on draft regulations that have been rele
On 16 March more than 30 key players in the field of education IT in Vietnam from more than 20 different organisations from the public and private sectors as well as development partners met in Hanoi for a meeting to propose projects on ICT integration in education.
The key players’ meeting was organised by the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance (VVOB), in association with the Vietnam National Institute for Educational Sciences (VNIES), the British Council (BC) in Vietnam and UNESCO. The objective of the meeting was to enhance dialogue on ICT integration in education in Vietnam and to facilitate key players to explore potential areas for cooperation.
State-run Vinaphone and MobiFone, which together hold the majority of subscriptions in Vietnam's mobile phone market, are to be merged as part of a restructuring process, senior industry officials were quoted as saying on Tuesday.
The merger, approved by the Ministry of Information and Communications, still requires the approval of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Deputy General Director Lam Hoang Vinh of the state-owned Vietnam Post and Telecommunications group (VNPT) was quoted as saying by the Tuoi Tre daily.
Japan will provide 527 million JPY (6.3 million USD) for Vietnam to implement a project to develop a traffic control system for expressways in Hanoi.
An exchange note to this effect was signed in Hanoi on Mar 29 between the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport, the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Vietnam.
Officials from the Transport Ministry are considering a plan to widen Highway No 1 to four lanes for automobiles and two lanes for motorbikes, with a total length of 1,100 km under a Prime Minister’s instruction.
Capital for the north-south highway will be mobilised from all sources under the BOT (build-operate-transfer) form, according to Nguyen Hong Truong, deputy minister of transport.
PoliticsWhy U.S. Should Embrace Vietnam, The Diplomat, Apr. 12
Shared wariness over China is the main reason the U.S. and Vietnam have embraced each other. But it shouldn’t be the only one. Riding on the back of a motorbike is probably the best way to see Vietnam’s capital. The hair-raising experience lets you feel the energy on the street, the incessant buzz of small businesses, the informal sidewalk kitchens, and the surprisingly large numbers of Western tourists gawking at the fading yellow French colonial architecture. Compared to other economies in Asia, Vietnam seems a sure growth bet for the next quarter century. Yet capitalizing on that potential will task the government even as it eyes closer relations with its erstwhile enemy, the United States.
On April 12, the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee held a conference to implement the Secretariat (11th tenure)’s Instruction 09 issued in December 2011 on enhancing the leadership of the Party over the movement to defend national security in the new situation.
A conference report said that the movement has significantly contributed to ensuring national security, social order and safety, and to the process of national industrialization and modernization.
Deputy Secretary - General for ASEAN Economic Community Take Oath of Office, Zambo Times, Apr.11
H.E. Dr. Lim Hong Hin took his oath of office as the new Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) for ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) for the period of 2012 to 2015 at the ASEAN Secretariat today. The oath-taking ceremony was witnessed by the Secretary-General of ASEAN Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, all Deputy Secretaries-General of ASEAN, and officers of the ASEAN Secretariat.
The Lao Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU) held a meeting on April 10 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Friendship and Cooperation Treaty and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Laos and Vietnam.
Addressing the meeting, Vice President of the LFTU, Simun Phumlasi said that this is part of activities to celebrate the Vietnam-Laos Solidarity and Friendship Year 2012.
A senior military delegation from the Vietnam People’s Army led by Senior Lieutenant Gen. Do Ba Ty, Deputy Minister of National Defence left Hanoi on April 11 for its four-day official visit to China at the invitation of Chen Bingde, Chief of General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.
The visit is part of the Vietnam Ministry of National Defence’s external activities in 2012 aimed at developing the time-honoured friendship and promoting political trust between the two armies and peoples as well as common perception on regional and international issues of common concern.
A new World Bank report says rapid urbanization in Vietnam's main cities is driving home ownership out of reach of most residents and raising the threat of transportation gridlock.
The report, titled Vietnam Urbanization Review, notes that no country has reached high-income status without first becoming urbanized. In Vietnam, it says, urban population growth is about 3.4 percent with the fastest growth in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
A new breed of diplomat for Vietnam, Asia Times, Mar. 22
When Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh speaks to international audiences, he usually does so without a translator. At 53 years old, Minh's relative youth and proficiency in English set him apart from his predecessors.
But he is not unique among his present diplomatic colleagues. Hanoi's current crop of senior diplomats, appointed following the 11th Congress of the Vietnamese Communist Party in January
2011, tend to be younger and more cosmopolitan than the dour communist officials who have historically been the face of the country.
This stylistic change reflects the coming of age of diplomats who studied in top American schools in the 1990s as Vietnam opened up. It also comes at a critical time in the country's foreign relations. As the second-largest country (after Indonesia) in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam is increasingly seen as a key player in regional issues.