Vietnam Update: Draft Law on Special Administrative-Economic Zones

Vietnam Update | October 6, 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 17: Investment Promotion Seminar to Quang Tri Province (Vietnam)

The Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam and the People’s Committee of Quang Tri Province are jointly organizing a seminar in Hanoi, Vietnam to promote the strength of Quang Tri Province as a starting point of the East West Economic Corridor. The seminar will discuss provisions of investment policies and opportunities in the integration process of Vietnam as well as introduction of investment potential and preferential policies of Quang Tri. It will be co-chaired by Vietnam’s Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dzung, Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang, and Chairman of Quang Tri People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chinh. Please contact Hai Pham at hpham@usasean.org for any questions.

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.

Nov 16-17: 10th Lower Mekong Initiative Regional Working Group Meeting (Laos)

The LMI Regional Working Group is hosting a director-level meeting in Vientiane, Laos to discuss the Lower Mekong Initiative’s priorities for future policy engagement and programs implemented in the region. The focus will be on increasing private sector engagement, restructuring the current pillar structure for better engagement and streamlined activities, and mapping the next steps of the Mekong Water Data Initiative announced by Secretary Tillerson at the LMI Ministerial meeting in August. The meeting will gather official delegations across different Ministries from each of the five Lower Mekong countries and a US delegation consisting of policy officers and technical program implementers. For details on the draft meeting agenda, interested members should contact Jonathan Thompson at ThompsonJ4@state.gov or Jocelyn Roberts at RobertsJD2@state.gov.

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
 
 

Draft Law on Special Administrative-Economic Zones

The Department for Economic Zones Management of Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment is introducing a draft law on Special Administrative-Economic Zones (SAEZs), now available on the Government Portal for public review and commentary (a summary of the draft can be found here). According to the Director General of the Department Tran Huy Dong, the law presents “an important legal framework for the establishment, development, management and operation of three special administrative units” including Van Don (Quang Ninh Province - Northeastern Vietnam), North Van Phong (Khanh Hoa Province - Southern Vietnam), and Phu Quoc Island (Kien Giang Province - Southern Vietnam). The proposed policies will enforce greater market opening in these special zones with enhanced investment regulations to improve business conditions and attract foreign investment for targeted industries.

SAEZ investment projects in industries with development priorities will receive preferential treatment in the following areas:

  • Business registration for investment
  • Special treatment for those qualified as ‘strategic investors’
  • Special treatment in land-use rights
  • Waiver of requirement for a construction permit
  • Preferential tax treatment
  • National treatment in goods trading: no Economic Needs Test
  • Immigration preferential treatment and increased duty-free sales value
  • Special access to casino

The draft law includes structural administrative changes whereby the heads of the SAEZs will macro manage the implementation of all administrative and socio-economic activities in their respective units. An empowered district-level special court will be appointed to take charge of judicial administration in each zone, and application of foreign laws for foreign businesses might be taken into consideration when relevant issues arise. To meet investors’ needs, the Ministry of Planning and Investment stresses the importance of experimenting and adjusting policies in a continuous and flexible manner, following direction from the Prime Minister and the Politburo—the top decision-making body in Vietnam. In the meantime, each of the SAEZs is also advised to upgrade its infrastructural capacity and transportation network to facilitate market access and business exchange activities.

The draft law will be submitted for comments at the fourth session of the 14th National Assembly this October and is hoped to be approved by the fifth session in October 2018. In engagement with the Council and its members, the Minister of Planning of Investment is seeking input from companies in the technology and innovation sectors on what they would like to see in a Special Administrative-Economic Zone in relation to the key variables they examine in their investment decision making process. Depending on the level of interest and level of representation from members, the Council may request a meeting with members of the Politburo who oversee the draft SAEZ law. For more information or to express interest, please contact Vu Tu Thanh at tvu@usasean.org.

Online Tax Payment 24/7

On September 26, the General Department of Vietnam Customs officially launched an electronic tax payment system available 24/7 on its website (accessible here). This will become a principal platform for the government to receive registrations and update relevant information for taxpayers once their information is entered into the system. Registration requires taxpayers to submit their emails, phone numbers, authorized debit accounts, and digital signatures used for declaring Customs procedures for paying taxes. They can afterwards complete Customs declaration through the electronic clearance system which will determine the amount of payment for each tax type, account, code and name of Customs office, and the name of the treasury where the declaration is made.

The Online Tax Payment 24/7 provides an alternative channel, in addition to the current system, for taxpayers to review tax payment lists directly on the e-customs gateway and make online payments whenever convenient. Seen as a significant administrative improvement from the current regime, it is meant to facilitate accurate and timely liquidation of tax payments by minimizing cash use. The online system also greatly shortens the processes of cargo clearance and import-export goods customs to a level comparable with the average of the ASEAN-4 group (including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar).

The Department has requested provincial customs agencies to inform enterprises and individuals about the new system and the registration process. Taxpayers are instructed to obtain proof of debit authorization from relevant banks and update their information online before they can make use of this tax payment platform.

Continuing Progress on Reducing Business Conditions

As part of the government’s wider institutional reform to cut down red tape and improve business climate, the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the Communist Party of Vietnam is meeting on October 4-9 to discuss possible mergers of several agencies at the central and provincial levels. Following the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s lead at drastically reducing administrative burden placed on businesses, the Vietnamese government is increasing pressure on other agencies to do the same. To date, Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien has promised to slash 80% of existing business conditions and actively coordinate with the MoIT and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on simplifying goods inspection processes and food safety regulations. Once in effect, the new laws are expected to reduce the duration of customs clearance by three to four days and save an estimated VND 2 million ($100) per batch of goods.

 
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 taxes”. 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 have tried 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 will continues to provide support for member companies in any pending cases.

Draft Law on Amendments to 5 Tax Laws

The ministry of finance is proposing a new 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 yet 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
 
 
Multilateral Trade Agreements
TPP 11: What will Vietnam do?

Regional Affairs
Vietnamese becomes chairman of World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly
VN willing to support Laos in training human resources
Vietnam attends APA Executive Council meeting in Cambodia
Vietnam, Cuba hold Inter-Governmental Committee’s 35th meeting
Cooperation between Vietnamese and Lao Ministries of Home Affairs praised
President: Vietnam ready to bridge Bulgaria-ASEAN relations
VNA, PRD agree to boost news exchange co-operation

National Affairs
​Vietnam’s Party Central Committee commences sixth plenum

APEC
Private sector invests in APEC infrastructure
Donald Trump to visit Vietnam for APEC Summit

Customs
Until the end of the third quarter of 2017, revenues from import export duty of Customs reached 75% of the estimate
Starting register online tax payment 24/7
Progress on special zones law to ease investment
The HCMC Customs removes many obstacles for Dutch companies
Lang Son Customs Department focuses on trade facilitation

Defense & Security
Việt Nam, Australia hold foreign affairs, defence strategic dialogue

Economics
Fair competition key to economic progress: forum
Experts doubt MOIT’s new rules will free up businesses
Law to watch: Draft law on Special Administrative-Economic Zones
Nearly 94,000 new firms set up in nine months
PM stresses key role of private sector in economy
Samsung backs Vietnamese firms joining global supply chain
Startup businesses still thirsty for capital
GSO: Vietnam’s GDP expands 6.41% in nine months
Tens of trillions of dong of state capital nearly lost in equitization

Energy
​Experts fear as coal ash, slag mounting in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta
International water, energy expo to open in HCM City
Tisco reaches agreement with Chinese contractor to resume multimillion-dollar project
Government to ease gas trading
PM requires alternatives for Thach Khe iron ore mining
Updates on Vietnam's proposed increase of feed-in-tariff for wind power projects

Financial Services
‘Wave-to-pay’ technology now more commoN

Food & Agriculture
​Ho Chi Minh City introduces high-tech method of tracing poultry, egg origins
Rubber exports to EU encounter difficulties
Vietnam, Malaysia discuss ways to increase farm produce value
VASEP: No year-end surge in tra fish, shrimp exports to US
Vietnam, Germany share experience to develop agricultural value chains
Vietnam remains world’s No 1 exporter of cashews
Chinese potatoes still sold as Da Lat produce
Aboitiz buys 70% of feeds company in Vietnam
Animal feed, corn imports from Argentina account for large share
$1.87 billion projected for offshore fishing development
Violations detected while converting
VN sugar industry losing against imported products
VN businesses encounter difficulties seeking entry to Korean market
Finance Ministry turns down cassava industry requests
​Vietnam finance ministry unit pushes for change in brewers' privatisation

Health & Life Sciences
Expert: Health literacy investment needed
Water used for kidney dialysis fails int’l standards: expert
Vietnam to have dengue fever vaccine from next year
VN needs to spend more on AIDS
Almost one-third of hospitalised children found drug resistant

ICT
Vietnam attracts foreign investment, but technology transfer remains low
Vietnam’s international internet capacity fully restored
India to continue supporting Hanoi in IT training

Infrastructure
PM calls for cautious renovation of Hà Nội railway station

Manufacturing
Vietnam ranks 8th among world furniture manufacturers
Local protest against steel plant
Digital factories to be widespread in labor-intensive industries
Are Vietnamese manufacturers afraid of Thai products?
Vietnam desires long-term and strategic cooperation with Boeing
Vietnamese fast fashion market a gold mine
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Multilateral Trade Agreements

TPP 11: What will Vietnam do? VietnamNet 2nd Oct 2017
Vietnam still has great opportunities if it joins TPP, but instead of focusing too heavily on trade agreements like the TPP, Vietnam needs to strengthen internal resources, experts say. After the US withdrew from TPP in January, other countries moved ahead with new negotiation rounds for a TPP 11. Bui Ngoc Son from the World Politics Research Institute said the move showed that the 11 countries still want to maintain TPP and try to escape the US influence to expand relationships.

Regional Affairs

Vietnamese becomes chairman of World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly Tuoi Tre News 3rd Oct 2017
Vietnamese Ambassador Duong Chi Dung has been voted in as chairman of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) General Assembly for the 2018-19 tenure. Dung, who is head of Vietnam’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and other international organizations in Geneva, was elected by representatives of 191 member nations during the WIPO General Assembly’s 49th session in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday. The Vietnamese diplomat was the candidate from the Asia-Pacific region, which has not had a representative serving as chairperson of the WIPO General Assembly for 12 years. Speaking at the gathering, Ambassador Dung said his election with the support of all 191 member countries proved the body’s trust in Vietnam.

VN willing to support Laos in training human resources VietnamNet 2nd Oct 2017
VN willing to support Laos in training human resources PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc hailed effective cooperation between the Vietnamese and Lao Ministries of Home Affairs, which has made positive contributions to the two nations’ friendly relations. PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) welcomes Lao Minister of Home Affairs Khammanh Sounvileuth at the Government Office on September 29, 2017. The PM made that statement on September 29 at his reception for Lao Minister of Home Affairs Khammanh Sounvileuth who is on a working visit to Viet Nam.

Vietnam attends APA Executive Council meeting in Cambodia VOV 2nd Oct 2017
A Vietnamese delegation led by Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Ethnic Affairs Ha Ngoc Chien participated in the first meeting of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) Executive Council opened on October 2 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In his opening speech, President of the Cambodian National Assembly Samdech Heng Samrin, who is also APA President highlighted the meeting as a good opportunity for the member nations to share viewpoints and experience as a contribution to the adoption of measures for the APA’s upcoming plenary meetings. He praised APA achievements and its contributions to regional and global development and peace, adding that the meeting will help deepen mutual understanding among Asian people, reflecting the common aspiration of the member nations to live in peace, stability, prosperity and harmony.

Vietnam, Cuba hold Inter-Governmental Committee’s 35th meeting VO 2nd Oct 2017
The Vietnam-Cuba Inter-Governmental Committee convened its 35th meeting in Hanoi on October 2, under the chair of Vietnamese Minister of Construction Pham Hong Ha and Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz. During the two-day meeting, the committee is expected to review the implementation of the 34th meeting’s minutes and put forward specific measures to increase the efficiency of the committee’s operations and the two countries’ cooperation in the time ahead. In opening the meeting, Minister Ha, who is also co-Chair of the Vietnam-Cuba Inter-Governmental Committee, said the bilateral relations are currently at the best development period and have been expanded in all fields, from politics, diplomacy to economy, science and technology.

Cooperation between Vietnamese and Lao Ministries of Home Affairs praised VOV 29th Sep 2017
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has applauded the effective cooperation between the Vietnamese and Lao Ministries of Home Affairs, which he said, has contributed to strengthening the friendship between the two nations. At a reception for Lao Minister of Home Affairs Khammanh Sounvileuth in Hanoi on September 29, the cabinet leader said that given the state apparatus’s crucial role, both sides need learn from each other’s experience to reduce the number of people paid by State budget, while improving the quality of State employees. He expressed his hope that the two ministries will continue their practical cooperation and experience sharing.

President: Vietnam ready to bridge Bulgaria-ASEAN relations Vietnamnews 29th Sep 2017
Việt Nam is willing to serve as a bridge supporting Bulgaria and the EU in enhancing relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its member states. President Trần Đại Quang made the statement at a reception for outgoing Bulgarian Ambassador to Việt Nam Ebgueni Stefanov Stoytchev in Hà Nội on September 28. He recognised the ambassador’s active and effective contributions to promoting bilateral co-operation in various fields such as politics, external affairs, economy, trade, security, defence and local collaboration along with the two countries’ close coordination at multilateral forums and international organisations.

VNA, PRD agree to boost news exchange co-operation Vietnamnews 29th Sep 2017
The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) and Thailand’s Public Relations Department (PRD) have agreed to intensify reporting on the two countries and increasing co-operation in various fields to develop the relations between the two government-level information agencies. The agreement was reached at the 14th Joint Technical Committee (JTC) meeting held in Bangkok on Wednesday under the co-chair of VNA Deputy Director General Đinh Đăng Quang and his PRD counterpart Charoon Chaisorn. The two sides recognised their effective cooperation in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed at the previous JTC meeting in Hà Nội in 2016.

National Affairs

​Vietnam’s Party Central Committee commences sixth plenum Tuoi Tre News 4th Oct 2017
The 12th Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam begins its sixth plenary meeting on Wednesday, during which important policies will be discussed and punishments for violations by high-ranking officials be determined. The plenum is scheduled to take place from October 4 to 10 in Hanoi. During the gathering, delegates will review adjustments to the Party leadership, the building of a streamlined political system, and effective Party operations. Making adjustments to the current management and financial mechanisms and the reform of public service institutions will also put forward for discussion.

APEC

Private sector invests in APEC infrastructure Vietnamnews 4th Oct 2017
Several private companies have invested in building infrastructure for the 2017 APEC forum. The Ariyana Đà Nẵng Convention and Exhibition Centre has got investment of VNĐ35 billion (US$1.5 million), mobilised from the socialised fund. The three-story building has a main convention hall which can accomodate more than 2000 people. It is just one of the many event venues to hold events under the framework of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week. Matthias Wiesmann, director-general of Furama Resort Đà Nẵng which is the main investor of this project, said construction would be completed prior to the start of the 2017 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week.

Donald Trump to visit Vietnam for APEC Summit VietnamNet 1st Oct 2017
US President Donald Trump will visit Vietnam in November to attend the APEC Summit as part of a regional tour, the White House has confirmed, amid growing uncertainty over Washington’s commitment to Southeast Asia. PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) and President Donald Trump at a meeting in White House on May 31, 2017.  This will be the first time Mr. Trump has traveled to Asia since taking office. He will also attend the ASEAN meeting in the Philippines and stop in Japan, South Korea, and China during the November 3 to 14 trip.

Customs

Until the end of the third quarter of 2017, revenues from import export duty of Customs reached 75% of the estimate Customs News 2nd Oct 2017
According to statistics from Vietnam Customs, until the end of September 2017, the State revenues of the Customs is estimated at 214,000 billion VND, reaching 75% of the estimate an increase of 10.16% compared to the same period in 2016. Only in September 2017, total import and export value is estimated at US$ 37.6 billion, a slight decrease of 0.9% compared to the previous month. The total export value is estimated at US$ 19 billion, a decrease of 3.9%. The total import value is estimated at US$ 18.6 billion, an increase of 2.3%. Thereby, tax revenue of the Customs in September 2017 is estimated at 22.000 billion VND. The import value of some major commodities in September, 2017 decreased compared to the previous month such as machinery, equipment, tools and accessories estimated at US $ 2.9 billion, a decrease 0.7%, Iron and steel at US$ 782 million, a decrease of 1.6%, Chemical at US$ 330 million, a decrease of 3.5%.

Starting register online tax payment 24/7 Customs News 2nd Oct 2017
From 26/9/2017, the General Department of Vietnam Customs will receive the registration, updating relevant information for taxpayers when registering to participate in electronic tax payment 24/7 at the website of the General Department of Vietnam Customs (address: https://epayment.customs.gov.vn/epaymentportal/login) To participate in this new tax payment process, taxpayers have to register by using digital signatures that used for declaring Customs procedures for paying taxes and updating information on authorized debit bank account when using 24/7 tax payment and clearance; register email, phone number of the taxpayer. Taxpayers declare customs procedures on the electronic customs clearance system of the Customs authority. After completely declaring, the system will automatically determine the amount of payment for each tax types, account, code and name of Customs office, code, and the name of the treasury where the declaration is made.

Progress on special zones law to ease investment Customs News 1st Oct 2017
The Department for Economic Zones Management of the Ministry of Planning and Investment is in the process of completing the draft Law on Special Administrative-Economic Units, with adjustments being made in terms of local operations, organisation, administration and foreign investment incentives. Tran Huy Dong, Director General of the DEZM, said the draft law is an important legal framework for the establishment, development, management and operation of three special administrative units: Van Don in Quang Ninh province, Northern Van Phong in Khanh Hoa province and Phu Quoc in Kien Giang province. Its policies will focus on building a particularly favourable business environment by greater opening of the market in the special zones and regulating investment conditions in attractive industries, especially for foreign investors.

The HCMC Customs removes many obstacles for Dutch companies Customs News 29th Sep 2017
On September 27, 2017, at the Dialogue conference with Dutch companies, the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department has guided and removed many obstacles related to Customs procedures and tax policies. Speaking at the conference, Mr. Carel Richter from Netherlands consulate-general in Ho Chi Minh City said that through this conference, Dutch companies grasped full information related to Customs policies and procedures aimed at increasing import-export activities in Vietnam "The Netherlands has selected Vietnam as a priority country for business investment, there are many Dutch companies doing business successfully in Vietnam. We would like to have conferences like this to connect between competent agencies and companies. At the same time, companies can exchange and share unknown information and problems with the Customs “added by Mr. Carel Richter.

Lang Son Customs Department focuses on trade facilitation Customs News 29th Sep 2017
Until the end of the third quarter 2017, Lang Son Customs Department received and processed 2,329 dossiers of administrative procedures for people and businesses via online public service system. These results have shown the effect of promoting the remove difficulties for businesses of the entire Department. Implementing the Government’s Resolution 19/2017/NQ-CP dated February 6, 2017 on key tasks and measures for improving business environment and enhancing national competitiveness in 2017 and orientation towards 20120, Lang Son Customs Department reported and registered to General Department of Vietnam Customs, Provincial Party Committee and People's Council- People's Committee on 10 key tasks and measures to perform work in 2017. Focusing on reforming administrative procedure and facilitating import and export operation of businesses; Focusing on solutions to improve the business environment and enhance competitiveness and remove difficulties in a timely fashion for businesses.

Defense & Security

Việt Nam, Australia hold foreign affairs, defence strategic dialogue Viet Nam News 2nd Oct 2017
The fifth foreign affairs and defence strategic dialogue at the deputy ministerial level between Việt Nam and Australia was organised in Canberra on Wednesday. The event was chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Đặng Đình Quý and Australia’s Deputy Secretary, Defence People Rebecca Skinner and Deputy Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Gary Quinlan. During the dialogue, the two sides agreed to continue boosting the Việt Nam-Australia relations in the fields of politics, economics, trade, defence, security, agriculture, education and training, tourism and people-to-people diplomacy.

Economics

Fair competition key to economic progress: forum Vietnamnews 4th Oct 2017
Vietnamese policymakers and businesses should foster fair competition to drive social development and ensure a socialist-oriented market economy, an expert said in Ha Noi yesterday. Nguyễn Đình Cung, director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), said at a forum on national competition policy that there could be no market economy without competition. He said the economy would benefit from a domino effect generated by competition, because productivity would improve, at enterprises and among workers.

Experts doubt MOIT’s new rules will free up businesses VietnamNet 4th Oct 2017
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) decision on removing 675 business conditions and licenses has been described as a ‘historic decision’. However, experts think it doesn’t have much significance. MOIT, which is drafting a decree on amending Decree 19 on gas trading, has decided, for example, to remove the requirements which many traders have complained about. Gas distributors will not have to own gas tanks, gas supply stations and other kinds of facilities.  MOIT is also considering removing business conditions related to the operation of goods exchanges and franchise. The requirements which deeply intervene in business operations related to tobacco and petrol products will also be removed.

Law to watch: Draft law on Special Administrative-Economic Zones Baker McKenzie 3rd Oct 2017
A draft of the new Law on Special Administrative - Economic Zones was recently posted on the Government Portal for public review and commentary. This draft law lays the foundation for specialized regimes applicable to special administrative - economic zones (hereinafter "SAEZ") located in Van Don (Quang Ninh Province), North Van Phong (Khanh Hoa Province) and Phu Quoc Island (Kien Giang Province).

Nearly 94,000 new firms set up in nine months VOV 2nd Oct 2017
As many as 93,967 new enterprises were set up in the first nine months of this year with total capital of over VND902.6 trillion (US$39.7 billion), a year-on-year rise of 15.4% and 43.5%, respectively. According to the Enterprise Development Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, average registered capital of each firm was 9.6 billion VND (US$4.22 million), a rise of 24.4% over the same period last year. At the same time, over VND1.24 quadrillion (US$54.5 billion) was injected into 27,579 operating businesses, raising total capital pumped into the economy to VND2.14 quadrillion (US$94.16 billion), the agency added.

PM stresses key role of private sector in economy Vietnamnews 2nd Oct 2017
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc praised the significant success of the private economic sector, saying it represented 96.7 per cent of the country’s 500,000 enterprises. PM Phúc spoke in Hà Nội at a Saturday policy dialogue with 14 chairmen and general directors of leading private enterprises. Attending the event were also leaders of the Government Office, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the members of the PM’s Economic Advisory Group, which was established in July. Phúc applauded the production and business achievements of the firms, describing them as important contributions to the economy.

Samsung backs Vietnamese firms joining global supply chain VOV 2nd Oct 2017
A team of experts from Samsung will support three Vietnamese firms in improving their competitiveness and capability to join the supply chains of Samsung and the globe. Accordingly, Minh Man Printing Trading Production, Nhat Minh Design Manufacture, and Vinavit will be provided with necessary training documents and free consulting services from the Republic of Korea’s group. Vietnamese companies often lack capability to forecast the market, leading to low sales and slow-moving inventory, so that there should be improvements in inventory management, said Chairman of Samsung Electronics Vietnam Kim Dohyung. At the same time, these firms need to improve their quality control management and productivity, he added.

Startup businesses still thirsty for capital VOV 30th Sep 2017
The favourable business environment of Vietnam along with numerous incentive polices have offered optimal conditions for more and more enterprises to launch startups with their feasible ideals for new products. However, the fact shows that many are still managing themselves to look for capital inflow, which is seen as a key factor behind their smooth operations. Nguyen Sac Phong, Project Director of the Green Farm Import Export Joint Stock Company in HCM City, says his company began operations in the field of organic agriculture in 2016 and since then its key products and services have been sold well in the domestic market.

GSO: Vietnam’s GDP expands 6.41% in nine months VietnamNet 29th Sep 2017
Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the first nine months of 2017 grew about 6.41 percent as compared to the same period last year, reported the General Statistics Office (GSO).  GSO General Director Nguyen Bich Lam said at a press conference in Hanoi on September 29 that the country’s GDP growth rate in the third quarter posted a record high of 7.46 percent, while the figures in the second and first quarters were 6.28 percent and 5.15 percent, respectively.  Lam said breakthroughs have been made in the processing and manufacturing sector and export activities. Besides, structural transformation in rural areas, forestry and fisheries sectors has proven effective, he added.

Tens of trillions of dong of state capital nearly lost in equitization VietnamNet 29th Sep 2017
More than 96 percent of SOEs slated for equitization have been equitized, but only 8 percent of the state’s capital has been transferred to the private sector.  According to Tran Dinh Thien, the number of SOEs has decreased significantly over the last 15 years of restructuring, from 6,000 in 2001 to 700 in 2016. The equitization has led to a significant decrease in the number of business fields in which the State invests. In 2001, SOEs were operating in 60 business fields, but the figure has dropped to 19. This has given more ‘space’ and opportunities to the private sector to make investments.

Energy

​Experts fear as coal ash, slag mounting in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta Tuoi Tre News 4th Oct 2017
Huge mountains of coal ash are looming large in southern Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, experts said at a conference on Tuesday. Most coal-fired electric power plants produce coal ash in the form of fly and bottom ash, left after coal is combusted. During the coal-burning process, fine powdery fly ash is carried up the smoke stack, while the coarser bottom ash, also known as slag, falls to the bottom. While there is presently only one active coal-fired power plant in the Mekong Delta, the collected coal ash already totals 1.8 million metric tons per year, Truong Quang Hoai Nam, deputy chairman of the administration of Can Tho, said at the conference held by the construction ministry.

International water, energy expo to open in HCM City VOV 2nd Oct 2017
Two exhibitions on Vietnam’s water sector and renewable energy will open at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre in Ho Chi Minh City from November 8 to 10. The Vietwater 2017 provides an opportunity for visitors to access modern technologies and solutions in water supply, sanitation, water resources and purification, as well as services and products of wastewater treatment. Meanwhile, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Vietnam - RE & EE Vietnam 2017 will introduce various industrial technologies, innovations, solutions and new products in renewable energy industry such as solar, hydro, geothermal, wind and biomass energy.

Tisco reaches agreement with Chinese contractor to resume multimillion-dollar project VietnamNet 29th Sep 2017
The long-delayed Thai Nguyen iron and steel plant-phase 2 will be revised after the investor Tisco and the Chinese contractor reached a compromise in resuming the unfinished construction. MCC has agreed to finish the construction of Thai Nguyen iron and steel plant-phase 2  After numerous failures to lure the Chinese contractor China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) back to the negotiation table, the parties have managed to resolve their differences. Accordingly, MCC agreed to complete the construction of the unfinished stages of the project, according to the signed engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, with the best quality and price.

Government to ease gas trading Vietnamnews 29th Sep 2017
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) will submit a draft decree to ease the entry of businesses into the gas trading market. The ministry on Wednesday said it has completed its assessment of the draft after collecting opinions from ministries and relevant agencies and would submit it to the Government in the next few days. This move follows the ministry’s largest single reduction of business procedures in history – it abolished 675 business and investment procedures, equivalent to 55.5 per cent of the total conditions.

PM requires alternatives for Thach Khe iron ore mining VietnamNet 29th Sep 2017
Government agencies and the Ha Tinh People’s Committee were assigned by the prime minister to hand in recommendations the Thach Khe iron ore mining project before October 5. Various ministries and the Ha Tinh People's Committee are to submit recommendations by October 5 On September 21, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chaired a working session with the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), and the Ha Tinh People’s Committee, requesting a brief proposal of possible options to handle the Thach Khe iron ore mining project.

Updates on Vietnam's proposed increase of feed-in-tariff for wind power projects Lexology 28th Sep 2017
The Ministry of Industry and Trade ("MOIT") recently proposed to the Prime Minister a new draft Decision amending Decision No. 37 on the support mechanisms for development of wind power projects in Vietnam ("Draft Decision"). This comes following a couple of earlier drafts proposed last year and earlier this year. The Draft Decision proposes an increase of the Feed-in-Tariff ("FiT") from 7.8 UScents per kWh to UScents 8.77 per kWh (for onshore wind power projects) and to UScents 9.97 per kWh (for offshore wind power projects). In addition, it includes some clarifications and updates in terms of the development of wind power projects.

Financial Services

‘Wave-to-pay’ technology now more commoN VietnamNet 4th Oct 2017
Non-touch electronic payment methods in Vietnam, including contactless cards or payment by phone scanning, are being applied widely in large cities. More than 5,000 ATM (auto telling machine) card holders of six commercial banks, VietinBank, Vietcombank, BIDV (the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam), Sacombank, Shinhan Vietnam Bank and AB Bank have begun trying Samsung Pay, a new payment solution.  When paying for goods, customers put their phones next to POS without touching it and the transactions will be completed.

Food & Agriculture

​Ho Chi Minh City introduces high-tech method of tracing poultry, egg origins Tuoi Tre News 4th Oct 2017
As of Tuesday, smartphones can be used as a tool for Ho Chi Minh City consumers to check a products place of origin when shopping for eggs and poultry in District 1’s Ben Thanh Market. Customers can use their phones to scan the QR code on the label and quickly obtain information on the product including its origin and the production, vaccination and packaging processes it underwent prior to arriving at the point of sale. In addition to Ben Thanh Market, customers at Co.op Mart Nhieu Loc in District 3 can take advantage of the new technology as well.

Rubber exports to EU encounter difficulties VOV 4th Oct 2017
Vietnam’s rubber exports to the European Union market are set to encounter difficulties as the EU adds natural rubber to the Critical Raw Material List. Vietnam exported 174,000 tons of rubber in September, earning US$279 million, an increase of 1.7% in volume and 6.4% in value, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). The average export price surged 4.6% to over US$1,603 per ton over the previous month. The first nine months of the year saw the country grossing US$1.66 billion from exporting 979,000 tons of rubber. This is up a considerable 13.3% in volume and an impressive 52.7% in value. The average export price increased 34.7% to US$1,695 per ton against the same period last year.

Vietnam, Malaysia discuss ways to increase farm produce value VOV 4th Oct 2017
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong and Malaysia’s Minister of Plantation, Industries and Commodities Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong discussed how to tap the bilateral cooperation potential in promoting farm produce at their meeting on October in Hanoi. Minister Cuong hailed the important role of agriculture in both countries’ economy and job generation for farmers and asked the two sides to work together to increase the value of products. Currently, agriculture contributes 11% to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Malaysia, and creates jobs for 16% of the workforce. Meanwhile, the sector accounts for 18% of Vietnam’s GDP and 70% of Vietnamese population are living in rural areas.

VASEP: No year-end surge in tra fish, shrimp exports to US VOV 4th Oct 2017
Vietnam will not see high year-end growth in exports of tra fish and shrimp to US by this year because trade barriers have reduced their value, according to the national seafood association. Meanwhile, exports of these seafood products to Japan, China, Brazil and the ASEAN bloc have increased significantly in the first eight months of the year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP). In the first eight months of this year, the value of Vietnam’s shrimp exports to the US was nearly US$416 million, down 4.4% over the same period in 2016. The US has dropped from being the largest export market for Vietnamese shrimp in 2006 to fourth place now.

Vietnam, Germany share experience to develop agricultural value chains VOV 4th Oct 2017
The Vietnam Farmers’ Union (VFU) and German Farmers’ Association (DBV) held a workshop in Hanoi on October 4 to share experience in developing value chains in agricultural production. Vice Chairman of the VFU Leu Vu Dieu said Vietnam is modernising agriculture and rural areas while actively promoting integration in the global economy, and the formation of value chains in agriculture will be the key for success in this task. The country has implemented the “New Vision for Agriculture” initiative from 2010 with a view to developing comprehensive and sustainable agricultural value chains in line with global value chains and climate change response, he added.

Vietnam remains world’s No 1 exporter of cashews VietnamNet 4th Oct 2017
Though it is the world’s top cashew exporter, Vietnam imports 1 million tons of cashew nuts out of 1.4 million tons of raw materials every year for processing.  The country has been relying heavily on the world’s material market. If the material prices fluctuate, Vietnamese enterprises may fail to fulfill export contracts or deliver products on schedule, and their products may not meet requirements on food hygiene. In 2016, Vietnam exported 347,000 tons of cashew nuts worth $2.84 billion, increasing by 5.6 percent in quantity and 18.4 percent in value compared with 2015. In that year, the world’s total cashew nut output was 3 million tons, while Vietnam imported 1.1 million tons.

Chinese potatoes still sold as Da Lat produce Tuoi Tre News 2nd Oct 2017
The rainy season, when Da Lat potato prices surge as supply falls behind demand, is also the peak time for dishonest wholesalers to re-brand Chinese potatoes into Da Lat-grown delicacies. Fresh potatoes are one of the specialties that earn Da Lat, the capital of Lam Dong Province, its moniker of Vietnam’s vegetable kingdom. However, not all Da Lat potatoes are actually grown in the Central Highlands hub. The Da Lat wholesale market has become a mecca for the llegal practice of ‘washing’ away the origin of potatoes imported from China.

Aboitiz buys 70% of feeds company in Vietnam Inquirer 2nd Oct 2017
Pilmico International Pte. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc., has acquired a 70-percent stake in feeds company Eurofeed for $3.2 million, further expanding the Aboitiz group’s presence in Vietnam’s growing livestock industry. Pilmico president and chief executive officer Sabin Aboitiz said in a statement that despite foreseen market challenges in Vietnam, it remained a strategic country for the group given its “strong economy, promising livestock industry and access to potential export markets.” The group also said in the statement that it sees its latest acquisition as a strategic entry point to the animal feed milling industry in Vietnam.

Animal feed, corn imports from Argentina account for large share VOV 29th Sep 2017
Argentina is the largest exporter of animal feed and corn for Vietnam from South America with a value of US$1.6 billion in the first eight months of this year, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs. In the period, animal feed and corn accounted for 86% of total import value. Vietnam imported more than US$1 billion of animal feed and materials from Argentina (up 4.92%) and 2.7 million tons of corn valued at US$525.7 million (up 54.66% in volume and 59.83% in value against the same period last year).

$1.87 billion projected for offshore fishing development Vietnamnews 29th Sep 2017
The total investment for the offshore fishing industry for the 2018-30 period has been projected to reach VNĐ42.2 trillion (US$1.87 billion). The Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development released this information at a meeting held by the directorate on September 28 to discuss the master planning for offshore fishing development, nationwide, by 2020, with orientation to 2030. Of the total capital, VNĐ19.5 trillion or 46.2 per cent will be used during the 2018-20 period, and the rest is reserved for the 2021-30 period. The funds will be mobilised from the State budget, local budgets, all domestic economic sectors and foreign supports.

Violations detected while converting Vietnamnews 29th Sep 2017
The Government Inspectorate of Việt Nam has detected violations related to the project to convert 50,000ha of substandard forest area into rubber farms in the Central Highland province of Gia Lai. From 2008 to 2012, chairman of the province People’s Committee Phạm Thế Dũng approved the project to convert 50,000ha of substandard forest area into rubber farms. As many as 16 companies were allocated forest land to grow rubber on a total area of 35,000ha. During the period 2010-2011, the province People’s Committee rented nearly 5,000ha for companies to grow rubber, which did not follow land use plans toward 2012 that were prepared earlier.

VN sugar industry losing against imported products VietnamNet 29th Sep 2017
Huge amounts of locally-produced sugar are stockpiled, while the land given to sugarcane growing plummets as imported and smuggled sugar proves more competitive. Huge amounts of locally-produced sugar are stockpiled. According to Vietnam Sugar and Sugarcane Association, sugarcane cultivation decreased to 219 hectares during the 2016-2017 season, the lowest since 2010. Sugarcane fields are affected by saltwater intrusion and other impacts of climate changes in the Mekong Delta.

VN businesses encounter difficulties seeking entry to Korean market VietnamNet 29th Sep 2017
A Free Trade Agreement between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) took effect in December 2015. However, Vietnamese businesses are finding it more and more difficult to penetrate the market as the RoK tightens up on rules and regulations. These technical barriers raise concerns for local small, and large businesses.  Under the terms of the trade pact, Vietnamese businesses have been very hopeful of boosting exports to the ROK as the tariffs are substantially reduced. The ROK pledged to reduce tariff margins of 95.4% while Vietnam also pledged to lower tariff of 89.9%.

Finance Ministry turns down cassava industry requests VietnamNet 29th Sep 2017
The Ministry of Finance has turned down proposals by the Vietnam Cassava Association (VCA) for preferential policies similar to those for rice and sugar to ensure its sustainable development. For example, the association proposed halving the 10 per cent value added tax imposed on cassava, arguing that 80 per cent of the products are exported and contribute to the country’s export revenue. In addition, the association asked for high tariffs to be imposed on fresh cassave root exports to prevent them from being sold through the border gates to China, in order to ensure the supply of raw material for local processing factories. The association sought the reduction of import tax on fresh cassava roots from Laos and Cambodia to Viet Nam to satisfy the country’s processing demand.

​Vietnam finance ministry unit pushes for change in brewers' privatisation Tuoi Tre News 28th Sep 2017
A department of Vietnam’s finance ministry on Wednesday suggested transferring responsibility for the privatisation of brewers Sabeco and Habeco if the trade ministry does not publish sale prospectuses by the end of the month. Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp (Sabeco) and Hanoi Beer Alcohol and Beverage Joint Stock Corp (Habeco) hold 60 percent of Southeast Asia’s biggest beer market by litres consumed. They have drawn interest from foreign peers such as the Netherlands’ Heineken NV and Japan’s Kirin Holdings Co Ltd , Sabeco’s former chief previously told Reuters. The pair were earmarked for privatisation almost a decade ago as part of a nationwide program to trim stakes in state-owned enterprises, many of which have low profitability. But progress has been slow given the small stakes on offer, sizable state control and concerns about vested interests.

Health & Life Sciences

Expert: Health literacy investment needed VOV 2nd Oct 2017
Investment in health literacy would be a useful initiative in Vietnam and other ASEAN countries to help reach health goals, according to Asian Health Literacy Association. “Enhancing health literacy will be particularly essential to provide outstanding healthcare services, to fill in the gap between the patients and healthcare providers,” Prof. Dr. Peter Wu Shou Chang, the association’s general secretary said at Thu Duc District Hospital’s annual science and technology conference held at the weekend. The development of adequate and satisfactory health literacy becomes more critically needed in modern societies, especially in societies at which people wanted to last their lives long without significant burdens of diseases, Chang said.

Water used for kidney dialysis fails int’l standards: expert Viet Nam News 2nd Oct 2017
More than 70 hospitals nationwide that conduct kidney dialysis fail to follow proper procedures for liquid quality management and testing regulations, according to the Health Ministry.

Vietnam to have dengue fever vaccine from next year VietNamNet Bridge 2nd Oct 2017
According to the Ministry of Health’s General Department of Preventive Medicine, by late November this year, the research on the dengue fever jointly conducted by HCM City Pasteur Institute and Sanofi Pasteur Inc. is scheduled for completion. The first-ever vaccine for the mosquito-borne disease dengue fever is expected to be released in Vietnam next year.

VN needs to spend more on AIDS Vietnamnews 29th Sep 2017
Việt Nam needs to sustain its strong political commitment and increase spending on HIV prevention and treatment to maintain its hard-gained achievements and to fast track its HIV response towards ending AIDS by 2030, according to UNAIDS country director Marie-Odile Emond. Almost half of all HIV patients in Việt Nam get treatment allowing them to enjoy a longer and productive life and take care of their families, she told a conference on policies for HIV/AIDS prevention held in HCM City yesterday.

Almost one-third of hospitalised children found drug resistant Viet Nam News 29th Sep 2017
Some 30 per cent of patients at the National Children’s Hospital (NCH) suffer from drug-resistant bacteria stemming from improper use of antibiotics.

ICT

Vietnam attracts foreign investment, but technology transfer remains low VietnamNet 4th Oct 2017
One of the major purposes of Vietnam attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the last 30 years is to receive technology to be transferred by foreign investors.  However, according to the 2016 World Economic Forum, the efficiency of technology transfer from foreign invested enterprises (FIEs) in Vietnam is surprisingly low. Vietnam ranked 57th in the world in 2009, while it ranked 103rd in 2014, falling by 46 grades after five years, much lower than other regional countries, including Malaysia (13th) Thailand (36th), Indonesia (39th) and Cambodia (44th). The analysis of other criteria also gives unsatisfactory results.

Vietnam’s international internet capacity fully restored VietnamNet 4th Oct 2017
Vietnam’s international internet connections have been restored to full capacity after repairs on the Asia-America Gateway (AAG) and TGN Intra-Asia (IA) cable systems were completed on September 30. Both of the submarine cable systems were severed on August 27, affecting internet traffic between Vietnam and Hong Kong, thereby slowing the internet connections between Vietnam and international sites. According to the cable operators, three faults were found on the AAG system, including two on the Vietnam-Hong Kong segment and one on the Hong Kong-Philippines segment, while the break on the IA system was found at a point approximately 54 kilometres from Hong Kong.

India to continue supporting Hanoi in IT training VietnamNet 29th Sep 2017
Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung hosted a reception in Hanoi on September 28 for Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Parvathaneni Harish who said India will continue supporting Hanoi in human resources training. Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung (R) receives Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Parvathaneni Harish The Indian diplomat revealed that the Indian Government has approved the sponsorship of the second phase of the Vietnam-India Advanced Resource Centre in Information and Communications Technology (ARC-ICT) in Hanoi.

Infrastructure

PM calls for cautious renovation of Hà Nội railway station Vietnamnews 29th Sep 2017
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has asked the People’s Committee of Hà Nội to exert caution while planning the renovation of the Hà Nội railway station. He said the construction must ensure sustainable development. The Hà Nội People’s Committee has approved a project to upgrade the capital’s old railway station and surrounding areas into a Japanese-style, modern urban depot surrounded by buildings of up to 70 stories. The project would be carried out in stages, to be completed by 2035.

Manufacturing

Vietnam ranks 8th among world furniture manufacturers VOV 4th Oct 2017
Vietnam currently ranks eighth among furniture producers in the world, accounting for 2% of global production, according to a survey conducted by Italian Centre for Industrial Studies (CSIL). China is the world’s largest producer of furniture, followed by the US, Germany, Italy, India, Poland and Japan. The country is also the biggest exporter. However, its exports dropped last year while Vietnam obtained the highest export growth in the world.

Local protest against steel plant VietnamNet 4th Oct 2017
Local people in Quang Nam Province have gathered again and demanded to relocate the Vietnam-France Steel Plant due to pollution. The locals in Dien Nam Dong Ward, Dien Ban Town have put up tents and blocked the entrance to the plant for the past three months. Old people stay out during the day and young people sleep in the tents at night. They are determined to shut down the plant in the area. According to the locals, since the factory went into operation five years ago, it has caused air and noise pollution. The local authorities promised to work out a solution but nothing has been done and the plant is still in operation.

Digital factories to be widespread in labor-intensive industries VietnamNet 4th Oct 2017
The 4.0 industrial revolution is expected to help increase productivity significantly, but the product cycle will be shorter with the appearance of intelligent factories. The current textile and garment factories may disappear in 10 years, and 86 percent of workers will become redundant, experts have predicted.  The labor-intensive textile and garment industry will use new technologies such as AI, robots and IoT for work now being done by humans. Nguyen Thi Thanh Huyen, general director of Garment 10, said the 4.0 revolution will bring great opportunities to developing countries like Vietnam, but a high proportion of workers in the textile & garment industry will become redundant because of the appearance of robots and modern machines.

Are Vietnamese manufacturers afraid of Thai products? VietnamNet 2nd Oct 2017
The first warning about the ‘Thai goods threat’ was given two years ago when Thai groups took over a number of retail chains in Vietnam.  Watchdog agencies said they are alarmed about the increase in the trade deficit with Thailand. Vietnamese manufacturers in the past remained unruffled about the warnings. They believed there was no need to worry about the presence of Thai products in the domestic market because Vietnamese products were good enough. But Thai products have been threading their way to every corner of the domestic market, step by step replacing Chinese products, which once flooded the market. 

Vietnam desires long-term and strategic cooperation with Boeing VOV 2nd Oct 2017
Vietnam regards cooperation with Boeing as being on a long-term and strategic basis and the Government is willing to provide the best possible conditions for the US aircraft manufacturer to increase investments in the country. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc made the statement at a reception for President and Chief Executive Officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) Kevin McAllister on October 2 in Hanoi. PM Phuc asked Boeing to continue assisting Vietnamese partners in selecting suitable planes and operating efficient flights, hoping that the US biggest aircraft manufacturer and Vietnamese airlines will reach numerous cooperation agreements in the time ahead.

Vietnamese fast fashion market a gold mine VietnamNet 29th Sep 2017
The opening of a number of foreign fast fashion brands in Vietnam have lowered the already small market share held by Vietnamese brands. Three foreign fashion brands opened shops in early September – Stradivarius and Massimo Dutti from Spain, and H&M from Sweden. Vietnamese queued up at H&M shop on the opening day. What Zara and H&M accomplished with their first shops in Vietnam, according to analysts, showed the attractiveness of the fast fashion market. Uniqlo will also open in Vietnam soon.