Vietnam Update: Vietnam Scraps Significant Number of Business Conditions

Vietnam Update | September 29, 2017
Authors: Hai Pham, Jade Hoang
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

Oct 12-13: ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting (Singapore)
The Council is now registering executives for its 2017 business mission to the ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting. Please click here to register. For more information or questions, please contact Sunita Kapoor at skapoor@usasean.org.

Oct 23: SMBs Symposium 2017 (Vietnam)

The Council and its partners in Vietnam are organizing a symposium entitled “Elevating Vietnamese SMBs to the Fourth Industrial Revolution World” which will be held in Ho Chi Minh City. This interactive symposium will draw speakers from US-ABC members, Vietnamese associations, as well as government institutions. Members interested in sponsoring or have any questions should contact Vu Tu Thanh at tvu@usasean.org or Vinsensius Kangen at vkangen@usasean.org.

Oct 16-27: Vietnam Power Transmission Modernization Reverse Trade Mission

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency is hosting the Vietnam Power Transmission Modernization Reverse Trade Mission to familiarize delegates from the Vietnam Electricity National Power Transmission (EVNNPT) company with U.S. technologies related to transmission modernization, maintenance, and repair that can support Vietnam's power development needs. The itinerary includes stops in Washington, DC (Oct 16-18), Portland, OR (Oct 19-20), and San Francisco, CA (Oct 23-27) where delegates will meet with U.S. utilities, public sector representatives, industry associations, and U.S. technology and equipment providers. For more information, please click here or contact Pamela Peseux, Tuatara Group, at peseux@tuataragroup.com.

Oct 25-26: Health & Life Sciences Mission to the Philippines
The Council is organizing a Health & Life Sciences Mission to the Philippines to support Philippines's health agenda 2016-2022 and identify opportunities to collaborate with the Department of Health and other stakeholders on public-private partnerships. Please click here to register. For more information or questions, please contact Ying Hui Tng at yhtng@usasean.org.

Oct 23 & Nov 1: Farewell Receptions for Ambassador Ted Osius, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam
As Ambassador Ted Osius concludes his tour in Vietnam, the Council is organizing two farewell receptions in his honor in Vietnam on October 23 (Ho Chi Minh City) and November 1 (Hanoi). Participants will include senior central and provincial Vietnamese government officials, U.S. Embassy and consulate officials, U.S. corporate executives, local business leaders, heads of international organizations, and prominent intellectuals. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information or to express interest, please contact Vu Tu Thanh at tvu@usasean.org

Dec 6-8: Business Mission to Myanmar
Please save the date for the US-ASEAN Business Council's annual business mission to Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon, Myanmar on December 6-8, 2017. Official invitation with registration details to follow. Requested meetings include: President U Htin Kyaw, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Key Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament including Speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House) U Win Myint, Myanmar Investment Comissioner and the UMFCCI. Please contact Jack Myint at jmyint@usasean.org for any questions or to express interest.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Vietnam Scraps Significant Number of Business Conditions

In a move to boost the country’s economic growth and improve the domestic business environment, Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) recently removed more than half of all business and investment conditions under its responsibility for the period 2017-2018. On September 20, MOIT Minister Tran Tuan Anh signed Decision No. 2610a/QD-BCT which abolished 752 rules across 27 sectors and fields, except in the automobile industry. This act is in addition to a government initiative launched earlier this month to establish better mechanisms for inspecting goods, ensuring compliance to regulations and simplify customs clearance procedures were implemented to reduce the number of business requirements. As stated by Minister Anh, the Ministry is prioritizing the task of removing obstacles to businesses “as part of a wider state administrative reform process that seeks to re-organize the ministry and improve the business climate in Vietnam.”

The effort has been lauded by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc as “the first and boldest move in reforming the business conditions,” a statement confirmed by Chairman of the Government Office, Minister Mai Tien Dung. According to Minister Dung on September 22, MOIT is encouraged to enhance its management strategies towards projects undergoing long-term problems while further divesting capital from state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The Prime Minister delegates the MOIT as well as other ministries full power and flexibility to coordinate and address any difficulties confronted during the equitization process currently occurring nationwide.

ASEAN Representatives Address Security Issues in the Region

At the 72th Session of the UN General Assembly taking place in New York last week, ASEAN foreign ministers heeded Vietnam’s call for official negotiations over a Code of Conduct for the East Sea (South China Sea) at the ASEAN-China Summit later this November. The proposal, addressed by Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, highlighted the strategic importance of maintaining overflight and maritime security in the East Sea as a condition for regional stability. Minh asserted that “maintaining peace is always a top priority, requiring countries to work together to promote multilateralism.” He appealed to all concerned parties to resolve disputes by peaceful measures in line with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and added that ASEAN and China in particular should do more to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC). Seeking to enhance regional unity and connectivity, DPM Minh expressed his trust in the roles of ASEAN and the UN as coordinators of joint efforts to tackle issues of peace, stability, and development in the region.

Another prominent concern addressed by ASEAN representatives during the Session had to do with the complicated development of North Korea’s nuclear programs and the country’s failure to comply with relevant UN Security Council resolutions. ASEAN members urged North Korea to open negotiations for inclusive solutions to nuclear development on the Korean Peninsula, and were determined to work with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to deepen ASEAN-UN cooperation on the issue. It should be noted that on September 22, under Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang’s authorization, DPM Minh officially signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as a confirmation of Vietnam’s support for global nuclear disarmament. The Government of Vietnam seems to be elevating the importance of promoting regional and global peace as an important factor in the long term success of its own social and economic development initiatives.

Government Resolved to Develop Mekong Delta Sustainability

The Mekong Delta has played an indispensable role in Vietnam’s economy for centuries, encompassing 12 provinces with a total area of 3.94 million hectares and sustaining roughly 20 million Vietnamese. It also boasts the largest agricultural output in Southeast Asia and the largest agricultural production area in Vietnam, contributing more than one third of the country’s total food crops and almost two thirds of its farm-raised fish and shrimp. Yet the Mekong Delta is also one of the four deltas worldwide most affected by the negative effects of climate change and rising sea levels. Local reports also indicate significant levels of destruction being done to the river system by the excessive use of chemicals in farming and the discharge of solid waste from nearby craft villages and households. According to Le Anh Tuan, a researcher at Can Tho University’s Climate Change Research Institute, fluctuations to the Delta’s ecosystem will leave “a catastrophic impact” for the Vietnamese people and their livelihoods. In recent years, many households and towns are already being swallowed by riverbank erosion as the result of accelerated groundwater extraction to support urbanization. Without any measures of sustainable maintenance, Mr. Tuan cautioned, the Delta is likely to perish within the next one to two hundred years.

In response to this looming crisis, the Conference on Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Development of the Mekong Delta was held in Can Tho City on September 27 to address the Delta’s major challenges posed by both climate change and human production. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, chairing the conference, affirms the government’s commitment to “creating an optimal mechanism, mobilizing the participation of people, businesses and international organizations, in addition to materializing the actions, initiatives, tasks and solutions raised at the conference, in order to turn the challenges into opportunities and develop the region sustainably.” He emphasized the importance of collaboration with the private sector and other Mekong Sub-region countries in future preservation projects, in a manner that is comprehensive and consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Exchanging with foreign diplomats attending the conference from countries like Germany, Australia, Sweden, and Japan, Prime Minister Phuc also garnered support from these international partners with regards to programs in vocational training, environmental protection, and climate change response. It becomes increasingly evident that in signaling genuine commitment to tackling climate change, Vietnam is attaching significant importance of the Mekong Delta’s sustainability to developing long-term bilateral partnerships with these countries and enhancing mutual trust.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Helping Members to Fight “Back Tax” Claims by Local Tax Authorities

For the past 18 months, there has been a marked increase in the efforts by local tax authorities to go after Council member companies to demand them to pay “back tax”. The most common reason given in these cases is the tax regulations were misinterpreted when the companies made the their investment decisions in the past. According to new interpretation, the companies should have had tax obligations all along and therefore should now pay those back taxes. In some cases, tax officials try to apply new tax rules retroactively. The Council has been actively helping affected member companies to fight these claims. As a result, one company has been let off the hook. Another company was able to have a direct dialogue with the top-level tax decision makers to present their view. This company had been “harrassed” by two local tax departments with threats of tax assessment. The Council was able to get instructions from the Ministry of Finance to get these threats revoked. The Council continues to member companies in pending cases.

Draft Law on Amendments to 5 Tax Laws

The ministry of finance is proposing a law to revise five tax laws namely Value-Added Tax Law, Excise Tax Law, Corporate Income Tax Law, Personal Income Tax Law and Natural Resources Tax Law. The draft law contains provisions to increase tax rates and expand the tax base dramatically. Hardest hit industries include beverage, automobile, tobacco and food. The feed industry could benefit, though. The Council has collected inputs from member companies and made recommendations to change the draft law in consultation workshops in Ho Chi Minh city and Hanoi organized by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). On September 19, 2017, the Council coordinated with the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and other local partners to organize a conference on “Ensuring Consistency in Policy Adjustments to Achieve Economic Growth Objectives”. Many government agencies and economists participating in the conference agreed that the draft tax law should be delayed and revised in such a way that it shall not have negative impact on the business environment. All provisions that potentially hurt business must have impact assessment before they could be included in the final proposal. The Council will continue to engage the government and the National Assembly on this draft law in the coming months. Please contact Vu Tu Thanh at tvu@usasean.org for more details.

Draft Decree on E-Invoice

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) is proposing a government decree on e-invoice. While in theory an e-invoice system applied nationally will boost efficiency tremendously, in practice, both the regulatory and technical infrastructure are not ready. Forcing adoption of e-invoice on businesses will not only increase compliance costs but also create disruption of business. The Council is compiling inputs from members to engage with the drafting team at MOF to make changes to the proposed decree to make sure the transition to full adoption of e-invoice will be smooth and cost-effective. Please contact Vu Tu Thanh at tvu@usasean.org for more details.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
PM calls for foreign support in Mekong Delta development
Vietnam, US beef up cooperation in settling post-war consequences
Government resolved to develop Mekong Delta sustainably: PM
Hungarians want to invest in VN
Vietnamese fishermen found dead after run-in with Philippine Navy
Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia sign humanitarian cooperation agreement
VN-India ties strong: seminar
Japan helps Vietnam enhance industrial competitiveness
Deputy PM Vương Đình Huệ visits Slovakia

APEC
President meets ABAC Vietnam leaders
APEC launches MSME trading platform
SMEs must prepare for disaster: APEC
​Vietnam, US prepare for President Trump’s visit to 2017 APEC forum in Da Nang
APEC senior officials recommend disaster response measures
APEC urges high-tech to fight extreme weather

ASEAN
ASEAN reps endorse VN East Sea code proposal

Customs
Vietnam scraps significant number of business conditions

Defense & Security
Vietnam, India to co-operate on maritime matters
Vietnam, Australia hold fifth foreign affairs, defence strategic dialogue

Economics
Low-skilled Vietnamese laborers at risk of losing jobs to automation: report
Binh Duong removes difficulties for foreign investors
Difficulties in getting capital hinders startup sector
Loss-making FDI firms under scrutiny
Committee reviews marine economy
Vietnam concerned about big firms taking over retail chains
​Vietnam seeks World Bank support for mobilization of non-refundable aid

Energy
Vietnam strives to be paid for emissions reduction efforts
PV Oil to offer 20% stake in coming IPO: HSC
Groundwater use continues in HCM City
Solar panel projects raise concerns about environmental problems

Financial Services
More Vietnamese using electronic payments: Visa
Local firms dominate e-commerce in Vietnam
Finance Ministry to regulate e trading
Banks given higher credit limits
International finance conference opens in HCM City
Tax on income from bank savings proposed

Food & Agriculture
EU tops the list of Vietnam coffee importers
Vegetable, fruit exports hoped to hit record high
Vietnam Rubber Group approves equitisation plan
Aquatic exports hit US$ 5.91 billion in nine months
Developing “agriculture 4.0”
Vietnamese seafood may be excluded from European market as EU considers ‘yellow card’
Vietnamese dragon fruit on Australian shelves
What’s behind chicken exports to Japan?
Ministry seeks to promote linkages between farm production, consumption
Culinary conservation centre promotes VN food
VBA petitions against soft drinks tax
International agriculture fair opens in HCM City
US extends antidumping order on Vietnamese shrimp
​Vietnamese dragon fruit wins Aussie entry after decade-long negotiation

Health & Life Sciences
Vietnam spends billions of USD a year to import drugs
​Vietnam’s abortion rate among world’s highest as contraception fails
Da Nang’s largest international hospital comes into service
Vietnam responds to World Rabies Day
Bid to reduce drug prices might prove costly: experts
Initiative to improve professional skills of Vietnamese doctors
President calls for further support from international Red Cross societies
Respiratory diseases health conference opens in Danang
​Vietnam’s health ministry faces inspection for self-financing, construction management
How environmental pollution is ruining the Mekong Delta
Stronger action needed to combat antimicrobial resistance

ICT
Digital content firms meet legal barriers
Gov’t plans to use IT to connect trade promotion groups
Vietnam’s book market thrives in digital age
Vietnam ranks sixth in global software outsourcing
​Mobile numbers in Vietnam to become portable among carriers

Infrastructure
Vietbuild 2017 attracts more than 900 exhibitors
Vietnam leads Southeast Asia in infrastructure spending
Chinese capital flows to Vietnam’s infrastructure projects

Manufacturing
​Former GM vice president appointed to lead made-in-Vietnam car dream
Vietnamese garment enterprises have opportunity to access US market
Vietnam attends international garment fair in France
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

PM calls for foreign support in Mekong Delta development Nhan Dan 27th Sep 2017
At a reception for German Ambassador Christian Berger, the leader said that the diplomat’s attendance at the event demonstrates the German Government’s attention to the sustainable development of the Mekong Delta. The Vietnamese Government thanked the German Government for its effective cooperation and support, he said, adding that such German-assisted programmes have significantly contributed to Vietnam’s socio-economic development, particularly in terms of vocational training, energy, environmental protection and climate change response. The PM noted his hope that the German Government would continue its support to the Mekong Delta in development planning.

Vietnam, US beef up cooperation in settling post-war consequences VOV 27th Sep 2017
US Ambassador Ted Osius told Vietnamese Deputy Defence Minister Sen. Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh that he will make every effort to promote cooperation between Vietnam and the US in addressing post-war consequences. During their meeting in Hanoi on September 26, the ambassador lauded the two countries’ collaboration in UN peacekeeping operations, especially in training. He agreed to step up bilateral ties in the defence industry, expressing his hope that it will expand towards a trio-partnership. The two sides also discussed regional and international issues of shared concern.

Government resolved to develop Mekong Delta sustainably: PM Nhan Dan 27th Sep 2017
While chairing a plenary session of the Conference on Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Development of the Mekong Delta, in Can Tho city, on September 27, PM Phuc said that the Government is committed to creating an optimal mechanism, mobilising the participation of people, businesses and international organisations, in addition to materialising the actions, initiatives, tasks and solutions raised at the conference, in order to turn the challenges into opportunities and develop the region sustainably. He underlined the need to devise new policies on regional development, along with identifying the delta’s major challenges posed by both climate change and other factors. Apart from transforming the development model, the delta needs to roll out solutions as well as priority programmes and projects in the future, the PM said.

Hungarians want to invest in VN Vietnamnews 26th Sep 2017
Energy, high-tech agriculture and information technology are the new investment fields discussed yesterday at the Việt Nam-Hungary Business Forum held within the framework of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s visit to Việt Nam. Hungarian business representatives expressed interest in varied investments in Việt Nam, ranging from bio-fungicides for agriculture to transmission lines protection. Jamniczky Zsolt, representative of Hungary’s E.ON company, said his company looks forward to exploring the Vietnamese market for investment and cooperation opportunities in energy production and equipment, especially of solar power.

Vietnamese fishermen found dead after run-in with Philippine Navy VnExpress International 25th Sep 2017
Vietnam is seeking clarification following reports that two of its fishermen died following an altercation with the Philippine Navy on Friday night. Five other fishermen were reportedly arrested for intruding into Filipino waters during the incident. Vietnam's foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday that it has ordered the embassy in Manila to contact local authorities for further updates and take necessary measures to protect the remaining fishermen. It said the ministry received news of the shooting on Saturday. The Filipino government said a fishing boat from Phu Yen Province in central Vietnam had been fishing off the town of Bolinao on the Philippines’ west coast on Friday night when it rammed into a Filipino naval vessel during a chase, prompting its officers to fire warning shots. Filipino Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano informed his Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Binh Minh, of the encounter during a meeting at the United Nations in New York on Sunday, assuring him of a “fair and thorough investigation,” the Associated Press reported.

Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia sign humanitarian cooperation agreement VOV 22nd Sep 2017
The Red Cross of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia signed a humanitarian cooperation agreement for the 2017-2022 period in Hanoi on September 22, aiming to reduce the vulnerability for people and develop the Red Cross and Red Crescent movements. Under the document, the three societies agreed to increase information exchanges of domestic, regional and international humanitarian policies, and organise activities to learn experience in the field. The trio will send national disaster response teams, including experienced officials, to support relief operations and promptly provide material and spiritual assistance.

VN-India ties strong: seminar Vietnamnews 22nd Sep 2017
The traditional ties between Việt Nam and India are developing in a range of areas, from co-operation in defence-security to trade and investment to people-to-people exchanges, Indian Ambassador to Việt Nam Parvathaneni Harish said at a seminar on the prospects of bilateral ties in Hà Nội yesterday. He noted the two countries elevated bilateral relations to comprehensive strategic partnership status during the official visit to Việt Nam by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2016. India considers ASEAN the centre of its Act East policy. Việt Nam is an important pillar within this policy, the diplomat said.

Japan helps Vietnam enhance industrial competitiveness VOV 21st Sep 2017
The trade ministers of Japan and Vietnam earlier this month reaffirmed their commitment to work collaboratively to help the emerging Southeast Asian country elevate its industrial competitiveness at the international level. Japan Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko and Vietnam Industry and Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh told reporters following their meeting in Hanoi that they had agreed to several specific measures aimed at strengthening bilateral economic relations.

Deputy PM Vương Đình Huệ visits Slovakia Vietnamnews 21st Sep 2017
Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ has called on the Slovakian government to continue creating ideal conditions for Vietnamese businesses in Slovakia and to ensure equality for Vietnamese workers there. At a meeting with Slovakian Deputy PM and Minister of Interior Robert Kalinak in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Wednesday, Deputy PM Huệ said Slovakia and Việt Nam have great potential for co-operation. Slovakia is Việt Nam’s largest trade partner in Central and Eastern Europe, while Việt Nam is Slovakia’s 14th largest trade partner, said Huệ.

APEC

President meets ABAC Vietnam leaders Nhan Dan 27th Sep 2017
At a working session with the ABAC Vietnam leaders in Hanoi, on September 27, the President called for joint efforts in attracting the participation of the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and representatives of international organisations, leading economic groups, businesses and localities nationwide in the CEO Summit 2017 and the APEC Business Summit that will take place during the week. Hosting APEC Year 2017 is the focus of Vietnam’s external activities, he stated, stressing the need to intensify the communication work in order to raise public awareness of the event, contributing to promoting the land and people of Vietnam to our international friends.

APEC launches MSME trading platform Nhan Dan 26th Sep 2017
The APEC Micro, Small and Medium Size Enterprise Marketplace showcases small firms from APEC member economies and helps to connect them with production and supply chain partners. It also details the tariffs and trade regulations and provides a portal to help small businesses in the region to conduct transactions. The Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said that the marketplace will make it easier for APEC small businesses to trade and thereby boost their competitiveness. The platform caters to small firms that account for nearly all of the businesses and the majority of employment in the APEC region, most of which have substantial room for export growth, he said, adding that they range from handicraft suppliers in Luzon and auto and machinery parts producers in Ohio, Nagoya and Ho Chi Minh City, to coffee growers and processors in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

SMEs must prepare for disaster: APEC Vietnamnews 23rd Sep 2017
Governments have been asked to encourage the private sector, particularly small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs), to get involved in the fight against natural disasters, given their vulnerability to extreme weather. At the eleventh Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation meeting in Vinh City, Nghệ An Province, participants discussed how to ensure business continuity after disasters struck. According to the officials, SMEs were particularly susceptible to disasters due to a lack of investment in risk management. SMEs account for more than 97 per cent of all enterprises in the Asia-Pacific, the most disaster-prone region in the world. An average of 40 per cent of the world’s natural disasters occur every decade, the Asia-Pacific Disaster Report said in 2015.

​Vietnam, US prepare for President Trump’s visit to 2017 APEC forum in Da Nang Tuoi Tre News 22nd Sep 2017
Vietnam and the United States are exerting their full efforts to prepare for U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Da Nang this November for the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Careful preparations are being completed for the trip, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang declared during a regular press conference on Thursday evening. “During a meeting between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and President Trump, as part of the former’s official U.S. visit in May, President Trump stated he would attend the 2017 APEC,” Hang said.

APEC senior officials recommend disaster response measures VOV 22nd Sep 2017
The 11th APEC Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum (SDMOF 11) concluded on September 22 in central Nghe An province. Participants agreed to submit major recommendations to APEC leaders on boosting inter-regional cooperation and technological innovation for more effective response to natural disasters and recovery. Tran Quang Hoai, Director of the Vietnam Disaster Management Authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said, “Information and communication has been accessible to remote and mountainous areas. We are applying technologies to mitigate disaster risks. The Authority is considering the use of social media like facebook to keep the people and the disaster management agencies informed of happenings in disaster-hit areas for timely assistance and rescue missions.”

APEC urges high-tech to fight extreme weather Vietnamnews 22nd Sep 2017
APEC disaster officials yesterday worked on a recommendation to leaders of member economies to use more advanced technology in disaster prevention given the "new normal" status of extreme weather in the region has been facing. Senior officials in disaster management of Pacific Rim economies gathered yesterday morning to begin the 11th Senior Disaster Management Officials’ Forum (SDMOF) of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) in Vinh City, Nghệ An Province, an area that was hit by the historically-strong typhoon Doksuri a few days ago.

ASEAN

ASEAN reps endorse VN East Sea code proposal Vietnamnews 27th Sep 2017
ASEAN foreign ministers have endoresed a proposal by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh for the ASEAN-China Summit in November to issue an official statement on the start of negotiations over a Code of Conduct for the East Sea. Addressing his counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at a meeting on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Saturday, Minh stressed the significance of maintaining stability, overflight and maritime security in the East Sea (South China Sea) for regional peace.

Customs

Vietnam scraps significant number of business conditions Nhan Dan 22nd Sep 2017
The decision was made by Minister Tran Tuan Anh, on September 20, with 752 rules to be abolished, higher than the initial target of 612. Previously in October 2016, the MOIT also conducted a round of streamlining business requirements by slashing 15 administrative procedures and simplifying another 108, amongst a total of 443 procedures on review.

Defense & Security

Vietnam, India to co-operate on maritime matters VietnamNet 27th Sep 2017
India’s shipbuilding enterprises said they would comply with the needs of the Vietnamese shipyard industry at the Maritime Industry Business Meeting in Hai Phong City on September 25. The meeting, co-organised by the Indian Embassy in Viet Nam and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s branch in Hai Phong City, was a part of the ongoing celebrations to commemorate the 45th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Viet Nam, the 10th anniversary of establishment of Strategic Partnership and 25th anniversary of India-ASEAN relations. At the meeting, Indian shipbuilders, including Goa Shipyard Limited, Bharat Electronics Limited and Larsen & Toubro Limited confirmed that they belonged to India’s Ministry of National Defence, and were capable of producing equipment for military vessels, including fire control systems, communication equipment, and able of designing and building big ships, and were ready to co-operate with Vietnamese shipyard plants.

Vietnam, Australia hold fifth foreign affairs, defence strategic dialogue Nhan Dan 27th Sep 2017
The event was chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Dang Dinh Quy and Australia’s Deputy Secretary Defence People Rebecca Skinner, alongside Deputy Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Gary Quinlan. During the dialogue, the two sides agreed to continue boosting Vietnam-Australia relations in the fields of politics, economics, trade, defence, security, agriculture, education and training, tourism and people-to-people diplomacy. They exchanged their views on regional and international issues of mutual concern, while pledging to maintain their close coordination at multilateral forums, including the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the forums led by ASEAN, such as the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum, in order to promote dialogue and cooperation, whilst maintaining peace, stability and order in the region.

Economics

Low-skilled Vietnamese laborers at risk of losing jobs to automation: report VnExpress International 27th Sep 2017
Vietnam has been named the sixth most attractive outsourcing haven in the world by the latest Global Service Location Index, but the future of its low-skilled labor force remains in doubt in the face of automation. The index, compiled by consulting firm A.T. Kearney, ranked 55 economies for outsourcing based on metrics in three categories: financial attractiveness, people skills and availability, and business environment. Vietnam has jumped five spots from the previous year and is back in the top 10 for the first time since 2013, marking the best result the country has ever achieved.

Binh Duong removes difficulties for foreign investors Nhan Dan 27th Sep 2017
Binh Duong is one of the localities attracting the highest amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) and has a total of nearly 1.3 million local workers, as well as more than 50,000 foreign workers. Due to a large number of FDI projects and workers, many problems have arisen related to policies towards workers, including social insurance payments, health examinations and treatment for foreign workers, and the deductions of personal income tax, among others. Some foreign enterprises said that they have to pay health insurance fees for foreign workers working in Binh Duong but most of the foreign workers do not seek medical care at public hospitals due to the language problems and they often visit international hospitals.

Difficulties in getting capital hinders startup sector VietnamNet 22nd Sep 2017
Nguyen Manh Dung, director of CyberAgent in Vietnam and Thailand, said that 80 percent of the global investments went to Indonesia and Singapore. Some Vietnamese startups have successfully called for tens of millions of dollars, but no company has called for hundreds of millions of dollars. In principle, the capital flows from big to small markets, from the US to Japan, China, India and then to SE Asia. Indonesia is the largest market in SE Asia with GDP 4.5 times higher than Vietnam’s, followed by Thailand. Dung commented that other regional countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have better capital mobilization policies than Vietnam. 

Loss-making FDI firms under scrutiny VietnamNet 22nd Sep 2017
The General Department of Taxation has asked localities to increase inspections at FDI firms that suddenly incur losses after the periods they have received incentives expire. Businesses that have affiliated and associated transactions with high tax risks will also be inspected. For example, firms that are listed as incurring multiple losses but still expand businesses, firms that suddenly incur losses after incentive periods, or have huge or frequent transactions with affiliates in countries with low taxes. The General Department of Taxation also ordered to inspect firms that issue suspicious loss declarations and focus on electronic components assembling, textile and garment, footwear, manufacturing and metal manufacturing industries. The local departments of taxation were asked to update information about the companies in their areas and build a database for management.

Committee reviews marine economy Vietnamnews 22nd Sep 2017
The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee yesterday reviewed the development of the marine economy along with national defence and security in 2011-16. The committee lauded Government and local authorities’ efforts in supporting fisherman and aquaculture businesses in achieving both goals. According to the NA’s monitoring mission, in 2011-2016, marine fishery output growth averaged 5 per cent year-on-year. By the end of 2016, the total number of fishing vessels nationwide hit 110,000. To date, Việt Nam has rebuilt and expanded 83 fish ports, and is building 65 storm shelters.

Vietnam concerned about big firms taking over retail chains VietnamNet 21st Sep 2017
On September 15, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh chaired a meeting with key officials from departments to discover why there had been a sharp deficit increase in trade with Thailand. Analysts commented that the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) held an urgent meeting to ring the alarm over the trade deficit with Thailand. According to MOIT, in the first eight months of 2017, the total import/export turnover of the two countries was $9.64 billion, of which Vietnam exported $3.07 billion worth of products to Thailand and imported $6.57 billion from the country.  This means a trade deficit of $3.5 billion, an increase of 15.6 percent over the same period last year.

​Vietnam seeks World Bank support for mobilization of non-refundable aid Tuoi Tre News 21st Sep 2017
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is seeking the World Bank’s support in mobilizing non-refundable development assistance from international donors. The Vietnamese head of state welcomed WB Country Director for Vietnam Ousmane Dione at his office in Hanoi on Wednesday evening.   During the meeting, PM Phuc praised the WB’s past assistance to Vietnam and suggested that the organization seek further support, particularly non-refundable aid, for the Southeast Asian country, given the nation’s graduation from the International Development Association (IDA) on July 1.

Energy

Vietnam strives to be paid for emissions reduction efforts Nhan Dan 27th Sep 2017
The ER-PD in the northern central region is the first regional-level project implemented by the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programme in Vietnam, with the hope of reducing gas emissions and intensifying the absorption of around 33.06 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. The FCPF, through the World Bank, is committed to pay for emissions reduction efforts with US$ 60 million for 10.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from 2018 to 2024. Nguyen Van Ha, deputy head of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, hailed the significance of the ER-PD in the northern central region as it helps people to understand more concerning the importance of forests.

PV Oil to offer 20% stake in coming IPO: HSC Vietnamnews 22nd Sep 2017
PetroVietnam Oil Corporation (PV Oil) may double the amount of shares offered as part of its initial public offering (IPO), which is scheduled in the fourth quarter of this year. A PV Oil representative told HCM City Securities Corporation (HSC) at a meeting on Wednesday that the company will offer 20 per cent of its total shares for sale at the IPO, or 210 million shares. That number is twice the initial planned rate of 10 per cent, or 105 million shares. The company also plans to sell 44.7 per cent of its stake to several strategic investors.

Groundwater use continues in HCM City Vietnamnews 22nd Sep 2017
With warnings about the ill effects of groundwater on users’ health and possible land subsidence due to overexploitation of water, 10 years ago HCM City authorities had adopted policies to reduce the use of groundwater. But wells and other sources of groundwater are still in use in suburban areas, according to authorities. In 2007 the People’s Committee announced rules to reduce the exploitation of groundwater and penalties for depleting it. But in many places businesses continue to exploit and use groundwater.

Solar panel projects raise concerns about environmental problems VietnamNet 21st Sep 2017
Solar power is considered a type of clean energy, but scientists are still arguing about how clean it is. The return to Vietnam by US-based First Solar and the arrival of investors from China is expected to help develop the solar panel industry in Vietnam. Chinese enterprises now provide more than two-thirds of the solar cells to the global market. The popularity of Chinese-made solar panels was one of the major reasons that  the price of the products dropped sharply by 80 percent in 2008-2013. Analysts, noting that many Chinese solar panel manufacturers are making investments in Vietnam, said the investors want to take full advantage of preferential tariffs when exporting products to the US and Europe.  However, the US has recently informed WTO (World Trade Organzation) that it may impose tariffs on solar panels imported from other countries because it believes that Chinese companies are setting up production bases in third countries from which they export products to the US.

Financial Services

More Vietnamese using electronic payments: Visa Vietnamnews 27th Sep 2017
Vietnamese consumers are continuing to embrace electronic payments making 38 per cent more transactions in the year ended June 2017, Visa said in a release on Wednesday. Following its latest study, the company said the numbers of its credit and debit card transactions were up 49 per cent and 34 per cent and payment value, 35 per cent. More Vietnamese are also shopping online and its e-commerce transactions and payment volume were up 82 per cent and 45 per cent, it said.

Local firms dominate e-commerce in Vietnam VietnamNet 27th Sep 2017
Local firms are demonstrating their strength in winning hearts of Vietnamese consumers in e-commerce, an interactive E-commerce study conducted by iPrice has revealed. Eight of the 10 biggest e-commerce merchants in terms of traffic are Vietnamese firms.  The study, conducted from April to June this year, compared 50 e-commerce websites in Viet Nam in various parameters including traffic (based on Similarweb), application downloads and social media followers. The survey found that eight of the 10 biggest e-commerce merchants in terms of traffic are local firms who are already familiar with Vietnamese customers such as The Gioi Di Dong (Mobile World), Sendo, Tiki, Vat Gia, FPT Shop, Dien May Xanh, A Day Roi and Nguyen Kim.

Finance Ministry to regulate e trading Customs News 25th Sep 2017
The Ministry of Finance has developed a draft circular that provides a general legal framework on the electronic trading activities at the stock market. The draft circular has been sent to the market members to collect their ideas and opinions. It is expected to ensure that the electronic trading activities at the stock market will be transparent, fair, secure and correspond to the Law of Electronic Trading, the Law of Cyber Security and other regulations. Under the draft circular, the electronic trading software programmes that are currently being used by the market members must be inspected and scanned for security loopholes, and they must also be examined once a year.

Banks given higher credit limits Vietnamnews 22nd Sep 2017
The State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) has approved the extension of credit growth limits for many commercial banks to support the country’s economic growth. Vietcombank chairman Nghiêm Xuân Thành said his bank was now able to increase credit limits for the whole of 2017 from 16 to 18 per cent. Vietinbank general director Lê Đức Thọ said his bank’s credit growth quota set for this year was recently adjusted to up to 18 per cent. The extension was also reported for many other joint stock commercial banks.

International finance conference opens in HCM City VOV 22nd Sep 2017
The two-day 4th International Conference on Finance and Economics which opened on September 21 in Ho Chi Minh City is focusing on innovation and sustainable entrepreneurship. The event, hosted by Ton Duc Thang University, seeks to create a link between scholarly research and the reality of the business world. It is being attended by hundreds of experts, academics and students from Vietnam and other countries and territories like Germany, Italy, Australia, US, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and India.

Tax on income from bank savings proposed Viet Nam News 21st Sep 2017
The latest proposal to tax an individual’s income from the interest accrued from the savings deposited in banks has become a bone of contention between the parties concerned. At a meeting held last week to discuss tax laws, lawyer Trương Thanh Đức from Basico Law Firm noted that all the savings in banks earn an income of more than VNĐ200 million (US$8,800 ) per year through the interest rate should be taxed.

Food & Agriculture

EU tops the list of Vietnam coffee importers VOV 27th Sep 2017
Vietnam exported more than 1.03 million tons of coffee to earn over US$2.34 billion in the first eight months of this year, down 19.5% in volume but up 3.5% in value, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs. In August lone, 95,033 tons of coffee with the value of US$222.2 million was shipped abroad, down 5.73% in volume and 5.86% in value. The average price was US$2,338 a ton. EU countries were biggest consumers of Vietnam coffee with 446,822 tons valuing at US$986.9 million, accounting for 43% of the country’s total coffee export volume and 42% of its value. In the EU, Germany was the largest importer of Vietnam coffee with 157,601 tons worth US$344.31 million.

Vegetable, fruit exports hoped to hit record high VOV 27th Sep 2017
Vegetable and fruit export revenue is hoped to hit a new record of US$3.6 billion in 2017, with bumper crops forecast for the rest of the year. As of September 15, exports of the products hit US$2.49 billion, up 46.7% from the same period last year, faster growth than the country’s overall export growth. Last year, vegetable and fruits ranked 14th out of 24 products with export revenue of over US$1 billion, above crude oil, rice, plastics and steel. Currently, Vietnam has about 820,000 hectares of fruit farms, including 92,000 hectares of rambutan, 86,000 hectares of citrus fruit trees, 84,000 hectares of mango, 73,000 hectares of longan and 1,000 hectares of grape farms.

Vietnam Rubber Group approves equitisation plan VietnamNet 27th Sep 2017
Viet Nam Rubber Group (VRG) has decided the amount and price of shares offering in its initial public sale schedule next year. A worker taps rubber latex. Viet Nam Rubber Group will sell 475 million shares at the price of VND13,000 a share in an IPO scheduled next year.  The rubber group will auction 475 million shares, equivalent to 11.88 per cent of its total charter capital of VND40 trillion (US$1.76 billion) to the public. Another 475 million shares will be offered to strategic investors while the remaining amount will be sold to the group’s employees and trade union.

Aquatic exports hit US$ 5.91 billion in nine months Nhan Dan 27th Sep 2017
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the leading markets for Vietnamese aquatic products include the US, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea, with the four markets consuming 55.5% of the total products. Strong growth was seen in China with 63.3%, the Netherlands with 35.1%, and the UK with 29.5%. Meanwhile, the country imported US$ 124 million worth of aquatic products in September and US$ 1.04 billion in the January-September period, the ministry reported. Due to poor supply and high demand, both tra fish and shrimp prices in the Mekong Delta region surged sharply domestically.

Developing “agriculture 4.0” Nhan Dan 26th Sep 2017
With enormous progress, Vietnam has emerged as one of the world’s leading exporters of agricultural commodities and is among the top five for aquatic products, rice, coffee, tea, cashews, black pepper, rubber and cassava. But it is facing major demographic, economic and environmental challenges that require changes in order to generate more economic value whilst using fewer natural, human and other resources, as well as the need to restructure the patterns of production and the organisation of the supply chain. Agricultural growth has mostly relied on increasing cultivation areas and a more intensive use of inputs, such as fertilisers and natural resources, such as water. The sector is experiencing a low quality of growth, as shown by low profits for farmers, underemployment among agricultural workers, unreliable product quality, alongside poor food safety and limited technological innovation.

Vietnamese seafood may be excluded from European market as EU considers ‘yellow card’ Tuoi Tre News 26th Sep 2017
Vietnam is on the verge of joining several other Southeast Asian countries on the list of seafood-exporting markets booked with a ‘yellow card’ by the EU, a warning against illegal and unregulated fishing activity. Vietnamese seafood exporters have to come together and cooperate with the EU in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, industry insiders said at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday. The EU-initiated IUU regulation became effective in 2010, a key instrument in ensuring that only fisheries certified as legal can access the EU market. Under the IUU, a ‘yellow card’ is effectively the strongest warning a country can receive without formal penalty.

Vietnamese dragon fruit on Australian shelves VOV - 25th Sep 2017
The first batch of Vietnamese dragon fruit was exported to Australia by Hoang Phat one-member Ltd Co in the southern province of Long An. According to Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy, head of the Vietnamese trade office in Australia, this is a good opportunity for Vietnamese businesses as quality dragon fruit will be sold at high prices. Australian consumers currently purchase off-season dragon fruit at AUD30 per kilogrammes (US$23.89). Export enterprises need to pay attention to food safety and hygiene and quarantines to earn a foothold in Australia’s fastidious market, she added.

What’s behind chicken exports to Japan? VietnamNet 24th Sep 2017
Vietnam has exported its first consignment of 300 tons of chicken to Japan, described as a ‘historic milestone’ for the livestock industry. Local newspapers all reported about the export, commenting that the acceptance by Japan, one of the choosiest markets, shows the competitiveness of Vietnam’s livestock products in the world market. The newspapers quoted high-ranking officials as saying that the exports will pave the way for Vietnam’s other livestock products to enter Japan and other choosy markets. 

Ministry seeks to promote linkages between farm production, consumption Vietnamnews 22nd Sep 2017
Developing linkages between production and consumption of agricultural products would be the top priority for the sector for developing sustainably, a meeting heard in HCM City on Friday. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development held the meeting to seek feedback for a draft decree on encouraging co-operation and linkages between producers and consumers. It was attended by officials from agriculture departments, schools and businesses from many provinces and cities in the south like HCM City, Cần Thơ, Đồng Nai, Bình Dương, Tây Ninh, Vĩnh Long, Bến Tre, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu and Đồng Tháp.

Culinary conservation centre promotes VN food Vietnamnews 22nd Sep 2017
A new culinary conservation centre was opened in HCM City as part of the Việt Nam Tourism Association’s efforts to promote sustainable tourism. “Việt Nam’s cuisine has a unique cultural heritage with thousands of years of development and is known around the world for its delicious dishes. This is a tourism product with national character that can attract more foreign and local tourists,” said Vũ Thế Bình, the association’s deputy chairman. Bình spoke at a launch ceremony for the Vietnam Culinary Conservation, Research and Development Centre on Thursday in HCM City.

VBA petitions against soft drinks tax VietnamNet 22nd Sep 2017
The Vietnam Beer Alcohol Beverage Association (VBA) has requested the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to withdraw its proposal to apply a special consumption tax (SCT) of 10 or 20 per cent on soft drinks due to a lack of practical considerations and negative impacts on soft drinks manufactures as well as the state budget. The debate over the proposed hefty special consumption tax on soft drinks continues According to VBA, MoF’s reason for applying the SCT on soft drinks is to combat obesity.  It is a conclusion with lack of practical considerations because in reality the major factors causing obesity and diabetes are fast food and food containing a large volume of sugar. 

International agriculture fair opens in HCM City Vietnamnews 22nd Sep 2017
More than 200 local and foreign companies are displaying their products at the 17th International Agriculture Trade Fair, which opened in HCM City yesterday. The products include regional agricultural specialties, safe foods and the latest equipment and technologies used in food preservation and processing and agricultural production. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Đào Văn Hồ, director of the Việt Nam Trade Promotion Centre for Agriculture, said AgroViet 2017 seeks to enable organisations and individuals to market their agro-forestry, fisheries and handicraft products and introduce new agricultural technologies.

US extends antidumping order on Vietnamese shrimp VOV 22nd Sep 2017
The US International Trade Commission voted unanimously in early September to support the domestic shrimp industry by extending the antidumping orders on frozen warm water shrimp from Vietnam, China, India and Thailand for an additional five years. The antidumping orders were first enacted more than 10 years ago to offset cheating by foreign shrimp producers, said the Commission.

​Vietnamese dragon fruit wins Aussie entry after decade-long negotiation Tuoi Tre News 21st Sep 2017
The first batch of fresh Vietnamese dragon fruits was loaded on an Australia-bound flight on Tuesday, marking a new milestone in Vietnam’s quest to conquer new markets around the world for the tropical delicacy. A ceremony was held the same day at the plant of the exporter, Hoang Phat Co. Ltd. in the southern province of Long An, attended by a Vietnamese deputy minister of agriculture and Karen Lanyon, Australian Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City. Hoang Phat’s shipment was the first-ever batch of dragon fruits to be shipped to Australia after Canberra officially approved importation of the fruit in January this year.

Health & Life Sciences

Vietnam spends billions of USD a year to import drugs VietnamNet 27th Sep 2017
With limited manufacturing capability, Vietnam has to import 55 percent of drugs it needs every year. VIRAC, a consultancy firm, said that Vietnam’s drug imports have been increasing sharply in recent years. In 2016, the import turnover reached $2.5 billion, an increase of 10 percent compared with the year before. With higher income per capita, Vietnamese are spending more money on healthcare services and medicine. The spending level by Vietnamese is $30-40 per head per annum, lower than the average level of $96 in developing countries and $186 globally.

​Vietnam’s abortion rate among world’s highest as contraception fails Tuoi Tre News 27th Sep 2017
Nearly 40 percent of unintended pregnancies in Vietnam are due to failed contraception, as people’s lack of knowledge about birth control continues to diminish the country’s efforts to reduce abortion. The figure was announced at a seminar on the benefits of contraception, held by the Ministry of Health in Hanoi on Tuesday. Between 250,000 and 300,000 abortions are completed across Vietnam every year on average, according to official reports, with the actual number of abortions, including those conducted illegally at private facilities, estimated to be much higher. Vietnam ranks first in Asia for abortion, and remains among the countries with the highest abortion rates in the world, the ministry said, citing data from the World Health Organization.

Da Nang’s largest international hospital comes into service Nhan Dan 27th Sep 2017
Built on an area of over 37,000sqm in Hai Chau district, the VND1.2 trillion facility has nine floors and a basement, with a capacity of 222 beds and is full of specialised equipment. The newly-built facility is equipped with the world's leading modern medical equipment, such as a CT scanner 640, the latest version of endoscope HQ 190, and a hybrid operating room equipped with HD audio and video transmission systems, capable of connecting directly with leading experts around the world in order to coordinate in diagnostics as needed. With a team of highly qualified personnel, combined with the world's leading modern facilities and equipment, Vinmec Da Nang is one of only four local medical facilities to be selected for serving the APEC Economic Leaders' Week, scheduled for November in Da Nang. The hospital is well-prepared to carry out any emergency work and medical examinations and treatment for the important event.

Vietnam responds to World Rabies Day VOV 27th Sep 2017
Representatives from ministries, departments and international organizations, together with a large number of local people, attended a meeting to mark the World Rabies Day on Wednesday, September 27th in northern Bac Giang Province. Delivering a keynote speech at the ceremony, Dam Xuan Thanh, deputy head of the Animal Health Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said there are more than 7.7 million dogs across the country, however, only 2.9 million dogs have been vaccinated against rabies. The number of fatalities caused by rabies seems to be increasing in Vietnam. Last year, rabies spread by dogs claimed the lives of 91 people, up 17% compared to 2015 and 38% compared to 2014. During the first nine months of this year, 57 people died of rabies.

Bid to reduce drug prices might prove costly: experts Vietnamnews 27th Sep 2017
The Ministry of Health (MoH) and Việt Nam Social Security are working on a bidding mechanism that they expect will reduce money spent on medicines procured under the national health insurance scheme by 10-15 per cent. However, several experts have expressed misgivings about what they see as an excessive focus on cost-cutting that could compromise the quality of healthcare provided to insurance card holders. The Government has asked that the new mechanism is put in place by 2018.

Initiative to improve professional skills of Vietnamese doctors Vietnamnews 27th Sep 2017
The Ministry of Health’s Medical Services Administration (MSA) and the British Medical Journal (BMJ) launched a new initiative to support and training doctors specialised in infectious diseases at a ceremony today in Hà Nội. Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Viết Tiến said improvement of medical services and overcrowding at hospitals was one of the major priorities of the health sector in the coming years. “The MSA and BMJ co-operation initiative would help improve professional skills of Vietnamese doctors towards detection, diagnosis and management of emerging infectious diseases in Việt Nam through BMJs’ Clinical Decision Support,” Tiến said.

President calls for further support from international Red Cross societies VOV 22nd Sep 2017
President Tran Dai Quang has asked the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (IRIC) to provide continued support for member organisations in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam. He made the request at a reception in Hanoi on September 22 for delegates attending the 14th annual Southeast Asia Red Cross-Red Crescent Leadership Meeting held in Hanoi from September 21-22. The State leader emphasized the support is essential in the fields of community-based disaster management, response to emergency cases and climate change and Red Cross network development.

Respiratory diseases health conference opens in Danang VOV 22nd Sep 2017
An estimated 1,000 healthcare professionals gathered Friday, September 22, in Danang for a respiratory disease conference on the latest diagnosis and treatment to improve their competency in treating patients. More than 90 reports by leading experts will be presented at the two-day annual update conference, focusing on novel and advanced care strategies for bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, asthma, tuberculosis, and other respiratory diseases.

​Vietnam’s health ministry faces inspection for self-financing, construction management Tuoi Tre News 22nd Sep 2017
Vietnam’s state inspectorate announced on Thursday that it plans to open an investigation into allegations of the self-financing and mismanagement of several construction projects undertaken by the Ministry of Health. The inspection will last in 70 days and attempt to uncover any misdeeds by the ministry during 2013-16 period, according to the Government Inspectorate of Vietnam. Self-financing is a scheme in which Vietnamese state entities fund operations by generating their own income, rather than acquiring capital from the state.

How environmental pollution is ruining the Mekong Delta VOV 22nd Sep 2017
The Mekong Delta is a land carpeted in endless shades of greens, a magical water world that is being destroyed by climate change and environmental pollution, says the Vietnam Environment Administration. Some 20 million people call the Mekong Delta home, and 60 million are dependent on the natural environment of river system for their livelihoods, says the Environment Administration. The Mekong Delta, as local folklore suggests, is a lifelong partner of the Vietnamese that provides the people wisdom and guidance. However, the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers in farming and the discharge of solid waste from craft villages and households combined with the effect of climate change is destroying the Delta.

Stronger action needed to combat antimicrobial resistance Vietnamnews 21st Sep 2017
The health sector has called for efforts to be stepped up in combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR). These comments were made at a workshop on Thursday to review the first-phase implementation of the National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance in Việt Nam. Speaking at the event, Minister of Health Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến said AMR has been an alarming problem in Việt Nam, especially the issue of antibiotic resistance in the food chain and ecological environment due to the increase of antibiotic use and weakness in antibiotic management in healthcare and animal husbandry.

ICT

Digital content firms meet legal barriers VietnamNet 22nd Sep 2017
The digital content industry is witnessing a shift in devices from computers to smartphones.  But state management policies have not changed, making is difficult for digital content firms to do business as they have to both comply with the laws and satisfy requirements set by platform providers. Nguyen Thanh Hung, director of VTC Intecom, said the development of the digital content industry is hindered by strict regulations. Hung’s firm previously developed news websites and as soon as the content was posted, state management agencies called and ask for explanations. Later, the firm decided to post the content on Facebook, and the firm did not receive any inspection officials. Nhan The Luan from Nhaccuatui commented that the common problem of all Vietnamese digital content firms is that they have to compete with big foreign companies while their wings are ‘tied’ with unreasonable regulations.

Gov’t plans to use IT to connect trade promotion groups VietnamNet 22nd Sep 2017
The application of information technology (IT) is a crucial tool to enhance trade promotion activities nationwide by strengthening information exchange between trade organisations, officials said during a seminar held in Hanoi on September 20. IT application is a crucial tool to enhance trade promotion activities, officials said at a seminar held in Hanoi on September 20 The seminar gathered comments on a draft plan by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to apply IT to connect the national trade promotion information network.

Vietnam’s book market thrives in digital age Tuoi Tre News 21st Sep 2017
The opening of the 100th location of a Vietnamese bookstore franchise is bringing new optimism about the future of books in the country. FAHASA, a popular book distributor in Vietnam for the last 40 years, has announced that its 100th store will open on Thursday at the AEON Long Bien shopping mall in Hanoi. The event is a historic milestone for both the company and Vietnam’s book industry, which has been invaded by digital publications over the past decade. It is worth noting that just over ten years ago, in 2006, FAHASA owned a modest 18 stores in Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong Province and Dong Nai Province.

Vietnam ranks sixth in global software outsourcing VietnamNet 21st Sep 2017
Vietnam has jumped five places to sixth in the 2017 Global Services Location Index (GSLI) which management consulting firm A.T. Kearney released on September 19. The GSLI ranks the top 55 countries for outsourcing based on three criteria – financial attractiveness, people’s skills and availability, and business environment. This is the highest ever spot Vietnam has achieved in the index, which is now in its eighth edition. It also marks Vietnam’s return to the top ten list for the first time since 2013. According to A.T. Kearney, Vietnam’s position in this year’s index reflects its growing popularity for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). The BPO industry earned US$2 billion in 2015 and has annually grown by 20-25% in the past decade.

​Mobile numbers in Vietnam to become portable among carriers Tuoi Tre News 21st Sep 2017
A new plan enabling cellphone users in Vietnam to switch between mobile carriers while retaining their phone numbers is set to take effect on December 31. Military-run telecom group Viettel has put the new technology to test on Thursday, when it begins running technical checks for the transfer of numbers between networks operated by itself and those by Vinaphone and Mobifone. The three major mobile network providers have confirmed preparations to launch mobile number portability by the end of this year, as scheduled by the Ministry of Information and Communications. According to the ministry, 90 percent of the cellphone users in Vietnam who subscribe to networks operated by these three telecom giants will benefit from the new service.

Infrastructure

Vietbuild 2017 attracts more than 900 exhibitors VOV 27th Sep 2017
More than 900 real estate, architecture and interior and exterior decoration companies showcased their latest products at the Vietbuild International Exhibition that opened today (September 27) at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre in Ho Chi Minh City. As many 2,500 pavilions displayed property projects, electrical equipment, doors and accessories, interior and exterior decorations, building materials, solar energy systems and many others. Bui Pham Khanh, Deputy Minister of Construction, said at the opening ceremony that the Vietnam real estate market has grown steadily itself during the first nine months of this year.

Vietnam leads Southeast Asia in infrastructure spending Nhan Dan 22nd Sep 2017
The report noted that the demand for infrastructure in Vietnam has intensified, given the large-scale urbanisation and positive economic outlook. Urban growth in Vietnam increased from 27% in 2005 to 34% in 2015. Vast investments in infrastructure developments have helped to bolster the property market. In major cities, such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, planned metro lines have been set up to foster the development of satellite economic areas.

Chinese capital flows to Vietnam’s infrastructure projects VietnamNet 22nd Sep 2017
Vietnam considers the upgrading of infrastructure as one of its top priorities. An ADB report shows that investment in infrastructure in Vietnam has been 5.7 percent of GDP in recent years, the highest level in SE Asia and second highest in Asia. Most recently, a group of Chinese investors, including Sunshine Kaidi, have expressed interest in investing in Long Thanh Airport through a joint venture with a Vietnamese conglomerate – Geleximco  — which would develop the project under the PPP mode. Long Thanh Airport, covering an area of 5,000 hectares, will require investment capital of up to $15.8 billion. 

Manufacturing

​Former GM vice president appointed to lead made-in-Vietnam car dream Tuoi Tre News 27th Sep 2017
Vingroup has appointed an ex-leader of General Motors as the general manager of its Vinfast automobile plant, in an apparent bid to leverage his experience in realizing their ambition of manufacturing made-in-Vietnam cars. James B. DeLuca, whose last position with the U.S. automaker was executive vice president - global manufacturing, manufacturing engineering, and labor relations between February 2014 to July 2016, got the new job on Monday. DeLuca has 37 years of experience in providing leadership and strategic direction across manufacturing, manufacturing engineering and labor relations in the automotive industry.

Vietnamese garment enterprises have opportunity to access US market Nhan Dan 26th Sep 2017
Vu Duc Giang, Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), said that Vietnam's textile and garment export turnover, in 2017, is estimated at US$30.5 billion, of which the US market accounts for approximately 51% of total turnover. In the first eight months of 2017, textiles and garments exports grew steadily, with export value increasing by 9.9%, over the same period last year, to US$19.8 billion. Currently, textile and garment exports to the US account for the largest share of the industry, making up around 51% of the export market share. However, Vietnam is also importing cotton from the US for its spinning industry, accounting for up to 60% of its total demand. In recent years, the cotton cultivation areas in Vietnam have narrowed down to just 0.04% of the total demand. Meanwhile, American cotton is considered the best for Vietnamese spinning, due to it containing less impurities and being put through a tightly controlled production process.

Vietnam attends international garment fair in France VOV 22nd Sep 2017
Ten companies from the Vietnam Textile and Garment Association (VITAS) attended the Apparel Sourcing Paris, a leading European sourcing trade fair, in Paris from September 18-21, to seek trade partners. The fair, held in February and September each year, displayed finished products like knitwear, casual wear, sportswear, outerwear and corporate wear. Information on the latest clothing trends was on display at booths and forums. Cooperation and investment opportunities in the Vietnamese garment sector were introduced at a conference held by French non-profit Evalliance association, which was established in 2014 to connect the EU and Indochina in the industry.