Vietnam Update: Vietnam Establishes Cyber Command to Protect National Cyberspace

Vietnam Update | January 11, 2018
Authors: Hai Pham, Ella Duangkaew, Meghana Srikrishna
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

Vietnam Business Mission - March 27-29, 2018

Please save the date for the 2018 Vietnam Business Mission on Tuesday – Thursday, March 27-29 in Hanoi. More details including registration information will be sent our to members soon. In addition, the Council’s Health & Life Sciences Industry Mission to Vietnam will immediately follow the general mission, taking place on March 30. Both missions will be focused on continuing strong engagements with the Government of Vietnam from 2017. For questions or to express interest, please contact Hai Pham at hpham@usasean.org.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Vietnam Establishes Cyber Command to Protect National Cyberspace

On January 8, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc announced the establishment of the Cyber Command, a new unit in the Ministry of Defense, to implement the State management function of safeguarding national sovereignty in cyberspace. The unit has been asked to build projects for enhancing cyberspace combat, and will be submitted directly to the Prime Minister for approval and implementation.

The Prime Minister has requested that the force coordinate with relevant government agencies, such as the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), to protect the nation’s important data, particularly military and defense systems. In addition, the Prime Minister has urged the force to study and apply advanced technological weapons and military, science and technology tactics in cyber combat. The unit will also train many personnel, as the Prime Minister stated that it is essential to promote human intelligence in controlling cyber weapons and increase international cooperation.

The establishment of Cyber Command follows a regional trend in establishing new cybersecurity agencies, such as Indonesia’s National Cyber and Encryption Agency (BSSN). Cybersecurity is one of ASEAN’s top priorities, and has been stated as a priority for Singapore’s 2018 ASEAN Chairmanship. It will be important for the private sector to offer support and knowledge sharing to the new agencies, particularly regarding the advanced tactics and technology they seek to address cyber threats, and allow for closer private-public collaboration on this priority issue going forward.

Vietnam Aims to Maintain Economic Stability, Decrease Corruption in 2018

2017 saw an economic recovery for Vietnam, including a 6.81% GDP year-on-year growth compared to 6.21% in 2016. In addition, Vietnam saw $33 billion in foreign direct investment in 2017. Before the New Year, President Tran Dai Quang praised Vietnam's diplomacy efforts alongside its economic milestones, with highlights to include Vietnam's successful APEC host year as well as the first official state visit of U.S. President Donald Trump in November.

The Government of Vietnam (GOV) aims to continue its economic success of 2017 in the new year with a target GDP growth of 6.7%. In an effort to reach this goal, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has assigned specific economic targets to his Ministries for the new year. In addition to tasking the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) with a target GDP growth of 6.7%, PM Phuc has also authorized MPI to assign development targets to ministries and government agencies in the ICT and education sectors, and business targets to SOEs and corporations.

Further, PM Phuc has asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) to increase exports by 8-10%, the Ministry of Health (MOH) to provide for 88.5% of the population with the health insurance scheme, and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to maintain a 4% unemployment rate while increasing the rate of the skilled workforce to 58-60%.

Vietnam Agriculture Ministry Administrative Reforms

Following the vision of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has been making administrative reforms to improve the ease of doing business in the country throughout 2017. In August 2017, MARD established a one-stop agency using public online systems dedicated to streamlining administrative processes, helping to remove cumbersome procedures that would reduce cost and boost productivity. This department would become the single agency to accept, classify and forward businesses’ submitted documents to the appropriate departments within the Ministry, all of which would be available on a national database online portal on the Ministry’s public service system.

To date, MARD has developed 18 online public services and 11 one-stop administrative procedures and has been reviewing a simplification proposal of 18 of 40 specialized inspection procedures, opting for unified food safety and quarantine testing and combining two procedures of quarantine registration and declaration for efficiency. With this system, MARD is also simplifying pre-test procedures, reducing the number of sampling and testing, and accepting test results from exporting countries.

The addition of these online public systems, the “one-stop administrative process,” has reduced 60 to 70 percent of goods inspection and clearance time, and in turn saving time and money for businesses. Moving forward, the Ministry will continue to make more changes to further reduce red tape and accelerate reform, to create favorable business conditions.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Draft Decree to Revise Decree 140 on Logistics

The Council has been monitoring the draft decree to revise Decree 140/2007/ND-CP ("Decree 140") regarding regulations on logistics services. Most notably, this draft decree would allow for 100 percent foreign investment in three logistics service areas - trade forwarding, warehousing, and fast delivery services. This change is in line with Vietnam's WTO commitments. The draft decree is currently pending. If you are interested in engaging the GOV on this draft decree, please contact Vu Tu Thanh at tvu@usasean.org

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 

Regional Affairs
Vietnam NA shows dynamism through APPF-26
Việt Nam opens consulate office in China’s Macau
PM to attend Mekong-Lancang meet
Vietnamese, Lao people’s courts work to step up co-operation

National Affairs
Vietnam keen to deepen comprehensive partnership with US: top legislator
Sustainable growth foundations were laid in 2017: President
Parliamentarians prepare for meeting
Trial for corruption at State-owned oil group commences
Vietnam peacekeeping department debuts

ASEAN
Vovinam to be part of ASEAN University Games
Vietnam-Indonesia relationship contributes to ASEAN development

Customs
Special preferential import tax policies taking effect from 2018
Foreign logistics firms now allowed in VN
Thousands of VN goods to enjoy zero percent tariff in 2018
Sink-or-swim time for ASEAN latecomers as tariffs come down

Defense & Security
Defence cooperation contributes to Vietnam-Japan relations
Uber, Grab under tighter supervision
Party chief asks for stronger army

Economics
2025 maritime industry and trade development plan approved
Gov’t targets 6.7% 2018 GDP growth
Business community voices suggestions to improve business climate
Vietnam’s administrative reform achievements in 2017
Budget deficit target set at 3.7% of GDP
PM assigns socio-economic development targets to ministries

Energy
$650 million of State-owned coal and mining corp not properly handled
Petrol prices stable, oil prices increase slightly

Financial Services
VN shares up on bank earnings
Banks report high profit in 2017
VN needs cryptocurrency laws
Restructuring improves Sacombank health

Food & Agriculture
Opposition to tax on sweet drinks
Việt Nam achieves record cashew exports
Work begins on agricultural plant in Sơn La
Việt Nam shrimp exports remain buoyant
Agriculture sector prevails despite disasters, can do more: officials
Food safety should be priority for local, export markets
Tra fish prices at highest level in last 20 years
Vinafood 2 to offer 25% stake to strategic investors
HCM City plans more safe farm produce markets
NCDs increase due to excess salt intake
Vietnam active in Zero Hunger Action Programme
HCM City sets up groups to inspect food safety
Phú Mỹ Fertiliser Plant restarts operation
Agricultural reform needed in Plain of Reeds region: experts
Fruit, vegetables become big foreign currency earner
Asia Rice: India Prices Climb on Bangladesh Demand; Thailand-Vietnam Markets Muted
Vietnam imposes heavier penalties on filthy food producers, traders 

Health & Life Sciences
Vietnam’s nuclear medicine makes big leaps within short time 
Drug bidding saves $10 million
Ten diseases qualify for free vaccination
Heath insurance coverage hits 86.5% of population
Production of Vietnam’s first foot-and-mouth vaccines to start in Q2

ICT
Vietnam cuts domestic server requirement for foreign firms from cyber-security bill
VNPT to help Hà Giang become smart city
Cyber Command asked to safeguard national sovereignty in cyberspace
Learn from EU to manage Uber, Grab: Minister

Infrastructure
Overloaded ports weigh down Vietnam
Flyover bridge to reduce traffic jams
Smart parking debuts in Đà Nẵng
PM cracks down on land management violations

Manufacturing
VN steel export up last year

 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Vietnam NA shows dynamism through APPF-26 VOV - VOV Online Newspaper 8th Jan 2018
The APPF meeting will take place in Hanoi from January 18-21 under the theme of “Parliamentary partnership for peace, innovation and sustainable development.” This is the second time Vietnam has hosted the APPF’s annual meeting. It first organized the 13th version in Ha Long city, northern coastal Quang Ninh province, in January 2005. At this meeting, Vietnam proposed an initiative on cooperation to overcome consequences of earthquakes and tsunamis, winning approval from participating countries. At the hand-over ceremony of the APPF Chair for the 2017-2018 tenure from Fiji to Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City in May 2017, Permanent Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnam NA Tong Thi Phong made clear that the Vietnamese legislature highly values activities and agenda of the APPF.

Việt Nam opens consulate office in China’s Macau vietnamnews.vn 6th Jan 2018
The Vietnamese Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau held a ceremony on Friday to launch a consulate office in the Macau Special Administrative Region of China. Addressing the ceremony, Vietnamese Consul General in Hong Kong and Macau, Trần Thanh Huân, said the office aims to better ensure the rights of Vietnamese citizens and tourists in the region. It will also give locals and international friends easier access to information about Việt Nam, thus boosting the friendship and co-operation between Việt Nam and Macau. Huân expressed his hope that the office will receive active and effective support of local organisations and enterprises, as well as of the Việt Nam Fellow Countrymen Friendship Association in Macau.

PM to attend Mekong-Lancang meet vietnamnews.vn 6th Jan 2018
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc will lead the Vietnamese delegation to the second Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) Summit held on January 10 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Vietnamese, Lao people’s courts work to step up co-operation vietnamnews.vn 5th Jan 2018
Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court of Việt Nam, Nguyễn Hòa Bình, held talks with his Lao counterpart, Khamphanxit Thidampha, in Hà Nội yesterday, during which he said the two nations’ courts, especially provincial courts, should continue exchanging delegations and organising seminars to share trial experiences. Bình highlighted the traditional co-operation between the courts of Việt Nam and Laos, including the exchange of working delegations, sharing of trial experiences and training of judges.

National Affairs

Vietnam keen to deepen comprehensive partnership with US: top legislator VietNamNet 9th Jan 2018
Vietnam wishes to further deepen its comprehensive partnership with the US in a pragmatic and effective manner in order to contribute to the maintenance of peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity in the region and beyond. National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (R) welcomes new US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan made the statement while receiving new US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink in Hanoi on January 9. She said Vietnam, in its foreign policy, always treasures relations with the US. 

Sustainable growth foundations were laid in 2017: President vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2018
The nation’s achievements in 2017 are important prerequisites for Việt Nam to continue implementing successfully the tasks set by the 12th Party Congress, says President Trần Đại Quang. Speaking to the media on the threshold of the New Year 2018, he said 2017 was the first time in many years that Việt Nam had met and surpassed all 13 socio-economic development goals set by the National Assembly.

Parliamentarians prepare for meeting vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2018
National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân chaired a meeting yesterday to review the preparation of the 26th Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF-26). Reports from sub-committees for reception, logistics, information, and medical care showed that preparation work had been basically completed in line with required standards.

Trial for corruption at State-owned oil group commences vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2018
The much-awaited trial for economic mismanagement and embezzlement at PetroVietnam (PVN), the largest State-owned company, commenced Monday morning in the capital city. The first-instance trial is scheduled to last for two weeks (January 8-21), looking into one of the most notorious cases of corruption involving the disgraced former Politburo member, Đinh La Thăng, and Trịnh Xuân Thanh, former chairman of PVN’s subsidiary PetroVietnam Construction JSC (PVC).

Vietnam peacekeeping department debuts vietnamnews.vn 6th Jan 2018
The Vietnam Peacekeeping Department, which was upgraded from the Việt Nam Peacekeeping Centre of the Ministry of National Defence, made its debut at a ceremony held in Hà Nội yesterday. Speaking at the event, Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh congratulated the agency on its new status, saying it reflects the Party’s and Government’s acknowledgement of the agency’s contributions to realising the country’s extensive global integration in the defence field. He expected that it will provide a new cooperative channel with the UN and other important partners.

ASEAN

Vovinam to be part of ASEAN University Games vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2018
Việt Nam traditional martial arts (Vovinam) will be an official sport at the upcoming ASEAN University Games. Southeast Asian Vovinam Federation Vice President Nguyễn Bình Định said that the University Games’ organisers agreed to add Vovinam as an event at the festival on Sunday. "We lobbied for Vovinam during a meeting with the organisers and representatives of different relevant bodies in Myanmar, the hosts of the Games. And it is a great news that they agreed with us," Định was quoted as saying on the Thanh Niên.

Vietnam-Indonesia relationship contributes to ASEAN development VOV - VOV Online Newspaper 6th Jan 2018
Tuan met with high-ranking Indonesian officials in Jakarta on the occasion of the end of his term as the Vietnamese Ambassador to Indonesia and the assumption of his new position as Deputy Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). He told Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla that the visits by high-ranking leaders of the two countries over the past time, including the visit to Indonesia by Secretary General of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong in August 2017 and Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s attendance in the 25th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Vietnam’s central city of Da Nang in November, contributed to tightening the bilateral solidarity.

Banking

Vietnamese bankers stand trial in $264mn fraud case Tuoi Tre News 8th Jan 2018
An ex-chairman of a Vietnamese joint stock commercial bank and a former executive of local lender Sacombank, along with 44 other defendants, appeared in court on Monday for their roles in causing losses of more than US$264 million for the commerical bank. The trial in Ho Chi Minh City is expected to last for a month, with more than 70 lawyers representing 46 defendants, and over 200 individuals summoned to court. The hearing is the second phase of a high-profile court case centered around Pham Cong Danh, the former chairman of the erstwhile Vietnam Construction Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VNCB), who is now standing his second trial after being convicted last year.

Customs

Special preferential import tax policies taking effect from 2018 VietNamNet 9th Jan 2018
There are some outstanding features in the 2018 special preferential import tax. The decrees outline the special preferential import tax rates Vietnam will provide its different partners and include detailed tables naming the eligible goods categories. Accordingly, listed goods imported and directly transported from partner countries and meeting the origin of goods requirements (holding a certificate of origin issued by the partner country and Vietnam will be applied reduced import tax (or even exemption) as specified in the relevant trade agreement and decrees.

Foreign logistics firms now allowed in VN vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2018
Foreign investors will be allowed to establish companies providing logistics services following Decree 163, which will take effect on February 20. The Government has promulgated the decree stipulating conditions for trading logistics services. Logistics services under the decree are divided into 16 main types, including container loading and unloading (excluding at airports), warehouses for supporting transport, transport and customs agencies and shipping.

Thousands of VN goods to enjoy zero percent tariff in 2018 Port Calls Asia 8th Jan 2018
Vietnam is set to lower to zero percent the import tariff for thousands of goods in 2018 as part of its commitments on special preferential import duty rates within the framework of 10 free trade agreements (FTA). The free trade deals are the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), ASEAN-China, ASEAN-Republic of Korea, ASEAN-Japan, ASEAN-India, ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand, Vietnam-Japan, Vietnam-RoK, Vietnam-Chile, and Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), said a report from state-run VNA. Deputy head of the International Relations Department under the Ministry of Finance Pham Tuan Anh revealed the information at a press conference in Hanoi on January 5, as he introduced the 10 decrees stipulating preferential import tariffs for the 2018-2023 period.

Sink-or-swim time for ASEAN latecomers as tariffs come down Nikkei Asian Review 1st Jan 2018
Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam are no longer getting the kid-gloves treatment in the ASEAN Economic Community. As late entrants to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the four countries were initially exempted from abolishing some tariffs when the bloc established the AEC at the end of 2015. As of Monday, however, they are fully integrated members of the community -- with all that entails. Now, the AEC is expected to pursue deeper economic integration by lowering nontariff barriers and relaxing investment rules.

Defense & Security

Defence cooperation contributes to Vietnam-Japan relations VietNamNet 9th Jan 2018
Sen. Lieut. Gen. Phan Van Giang, Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA), made the statement at a reception in Hanoi on January 8 for Chief of Staff of the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force Gen. Koji Yamazaki. Gen. Koji Yamazaki said that he is delighted at visiting and learning about Vietnamese land and people and the VPA. Earlier, he held talks with Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the VPA Lieut. Gen. Pham Hong Huong, during which they discussed cooperation orientations between the two forces, especially in the participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions, humanitarian relief, disaster settlement and military medicine collaboration.

Uber, Grab under tighter supervision vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2018
The Ministry of Transport has submitted the draft of a new circular that includes regulations for passenger transport (by car) through software such as Uber and Grab. “Adjustments in the new circular would like to balance the management of passenger transport with electronic contracts through software such as Uber and Grab and traditional taxis as well as to be appropriate with the demands of practical management,” Minister Nguyễn Văn Thể told the Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper. The new circular will request transport companies to meet 10 conditions, including: having a business licence or business registered certification to do electronic business and having certification from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) confirming that applicants have completed registration (both Uber and Grab haven’t met this requirement yet).

Party chief asks for stronger army VietNamNet 1st Jan 2018
Attending a political-military conference for the entire army in Hanoi on December 26, Trong, who is also Secretary of the Central Military Commission, stressed the need to strengthen the nation’s defence potential. The military should coordinate closely with ministries, sectors and localities in building defensive zones and defence planning in combination with socio-economic development nationwide, he instructed. The Party leader also requested the military to intensify collaboration with the police and other forces in the fight against crime, smuggling and trade fraud along the borderline and at sea to ensure social security and order, and to stay ready to take part in search and rescue missions.

Economics

2025 maritime industry and trade development plan approved vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2018
Minister of Industry and Trade Trần Tuấn Anh has approved a plan to develop Việt Nam’s maritime industry and trade until 2025, with a vision until 2035. Accordingly, industry and trade will be important economic sectors with high and stable growth, contributing to shifting the maritime economic structure towards industrialisation, modernisation and high-quality service and commerce.

Gov’t targets 6.7% 2018 GDP growth vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2018
Following impressive GDP growth of 6.81 per cent in 2017, the government has released a set of measures and priorities to achieve socio-economic development targets in 2018. With the motto “Discipline, integrity, action, creativity, efficiency,” the Vietnamese government aims to ensure macroeconomic stability, reform growth models in all economic sectors towards improved productivity, efficiency and competitiveness and encourage start-ups and creativity. Corruption and wastefulness will also be tackled with increased efforts in the new year. Climate change issues and the prevention and mitigation of natural disasters are also high on the government’s agenda.

Vietnam approves 2025 maritime industry and trade development plan Nhan Dan Online 8th Jan 2018
Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh has approved a plan to develop Vietnam’s maritime industry and trade to 2025, with a vision to 2035. Accordingly, the industry will be an important economic sector of the country with high and stable growth, contributing to shifting the maritime economic structure towards industrialisation, modernisation and high-quality service and commerce. The total average growth of industrial production value in coastal areas is aimed to reach 9.0-9.5% per year in 2016-2020, and between 10.5-11% per year in the period of 2021-2025.

Business community voices suggestions to improve business climate vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2018
The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) reported that it had passed 1,152 petitions from the business community to relevant State agencies as of the end of November 2017. Of these, 954 had received replies. The information was released in VCCI’s latest document on last year’s outcome of the implementation of the government’s Resolution 35/NQ-CP on business assistance and development by 2020.

Vietnam’s administrative reform achievements in 2017 VietNamNet 8th Jan 2018
Vietnam’s determination to build an enabling and action-oriented government to serve people and enterprises was reflected in its 2017 administrative reforms. This has helped the government earn the trust of its people, businesses, and investors. Vietnam recorded many encouraging results in administrative reform this year, with thousands of procedures eliminated or simplified to accord with international regulations.

Budget deficit target set at 3.7% of GDP vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2018
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) expects to keep this year’s State Budget deficit at 3.7 per cent of the GDP, below the 3.9 per cent mandated by the National Assembly. The deficit is expected to reach VNĐ204 trillion ($9.08 billion). A decision released on Thursday estimates State Budget revenues for the year at VNĐ1.31 quadrillion (US$58.3 billion), including VNĐ1.09 quadrillion from domestic sources, VNĐ179 trillion in trade surplus, VNĐ35.9 trillion from crude oil sales, as well as VNĐ5 trillion in international aid.

PM assigns socio-economic development targets to ministries VietNamNet 5th Jan 2018
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has recently assigned socio-economic development targets to the ministries of Planning and Investment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Industry and Trade, Public Health, and Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs. 

Energy

$650 million of State-owned coal and mining corp not properly handled vietnamnews.vn 6th Jan 2018
Potential wrongdoings involving VNĐ15 trillion (US$658.5 million) and 6.7 million sq.m of real estate were found with the State-owned coal and mining giant, Vinacomin. Other problems in financial management, investment and land management were also disclosed in a recently released report by the Government Inspectorate (GI) regarding law and policy compliance of Vinacomin (Việt Nam National Coal – Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited) and its subsidiaries in the 2010-2015 June period.

Petrol prices stable, oil prices increase slightly vietnamnews.vn 5th Jan 2018
The price of bio-fuel E5 was kept unchanged while diesel 0.05S and kerosene increased slightly by VNĐ360 and VNĐ495 per litre, respectively, in the latest regular adjustment of petrol and oil prices as of 3pm on Thursday. The ministries of industry and trade and finance announced that the price of E5 is not higher than VNĐ18,243 per litre and diesel 0.05S and kerosene should not be higher than VNĐ15,529 per litre and VNĐ14,112 per litre, respectively.

Financial Services

VN shares up on bank earnings vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2018
Vietnamese shares ended the first trading session of the week on a positive note as financial-banking, energy and rubber sectors led the market upturn on expectations for good earnings reports. The benchmark VN-Index on the HCM Stock Exchange rose 1.01 per cent to close at 1,022.90 points after having posted total growth of 2.9 per cent last week.

Banks report high profit in 2017 vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2018
Many banks have reportedly gained high profit last year, helped by strong credit growth and initial gains in the settlement of bad debt. BIDV was the latest to release a huge pre-tax profit of VNĐ8.8 trillion (US$387.6 million) in 2017, the bank’s highest so far, which has exceeded its plan. The bank also met all the targets set for 2017, with the total assets, mobilised capital and outstanding loans hitting over VNĐ1.1 quadrillion each.

VN needs cryptocurrency laws vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2018
Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ has asked the Ministry of Justice and the State Bank of Việt Nam to hasten and complete the legal framework for managing virtual currencies in Việt Nam. The report on the progress must be submitted to the Government for consideration before the end of January. Virtual currencies, especially bitcoin, have sparked a fever worldwide.

Restructuring improves Sacombank health vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2018
A year after it began to restructure under a Government-approved scheme, Sacombank appears to have turned the corner with decent results for 2017. Its total assets increased as of December 31 by 10.7 per cent to VNĐ364 trillion. Deposits were up 11.4 per cent to VNĐ323 trillion (US$14.2 billion), and outstanding loans by 12.6 per cent to VNĐ219 trillion. Income surged 33 per cent to VNĐ8.2 trillion, strongly supporting bad debt resolution efforts.

Food & Agriculture

Opposition to tax on sweet drinks vietnamnews.vn 10th Jan 2018
The Ministry of Finance is proposing to levy a special consumption tax of 10 per cent on sweet drinks to combat child - and adult - obesity rates, a problem worrying Government and health experts. However, many business people disagree with the proposal. The special consumption tax proposal for sweet drinks is a part of a ministry proposal to revise five tax laws, including a value-added tax (VAT), special consumption tax, corporate income tax, personal income tax, and natural resources protection tax.

Việt Nam achieves record cashew exports vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2018
Việt Nam achieved its highest ever cashew exports in a year in 2017 with shipments worth US$3.52 billion. It exported 353,000 tonnes, representing a year-on- year increase of 23.8 per cent in value and 1.9 per cent in volume, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The US, the Netherlands and China remained the biggest buyers, accounting for 35 per cent, 15.6 per cent and 12.9 per cent of the shipments.

Work begins on agricultural plant in Sơn La vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2018
The construction of an agricultural product processing plant using Korea-designed modern technology, commenced in the northern mountainous province of Sơn La on Saturday. Covering an area of over 4ha in Vân Hồ District, the US$7.5 million factory is jointly invested in by IC Food Corporation of the Republic of Korea, Stevia Corp of the United States and SC Agro Food of Vietnam. The first phase of the factory is scheduled to begin operation in August 2018, with a capacity of 1,700 tonnes of products a year, while the second phase, with a capacity of 3,400 tonnes a year, will be completed five months later.

Việt Nam shrimp exports remain buoyant vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2018
Shrimp exports increased sharply last year and the trend will continue this year, according to the Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP). The exports were worth an estimated US$3.8 billion last year, $700 million up from 2016 and $400 million higher than the association’s target. There was big demand for shrimp in key markets such as the EU, China, Japan, and South Korea especially during the year-end festive season, VASEP said. In the first 11 months of last year, the EU was the largest importer of Vietnamese shrimp, with shipments to the market going up by 42.4 per cent to $780 million and accounting for 22.2 per cent of Việt Nam’s exports.

Agriculture sector prevails despite disasters, can do more: officials vietnamnews.vn 5th Jan 2018
The agriculture sector managed to top the annual growth target despite 2017 being a year of successive extreme weather events, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Nguyễn Xuân Cường said at a review conference yesterday. He said the sector expanded 2.9 per cent, as against the target of 2.84 per cent, thanks to favourable market conditions and product restructuring efforts. He said 2017 was a landmark year for the sector with several new records being set as the country gradually moved away from rice as the main export product to other higher, value-added products.

Food safety should be priority for local, export markets vietnamnews.vn 5th Jan 2018
Unsafe food is still widespread in the domestic market, causing concern among consumers, according to experts. “Vietnamese producers do this very well for exports, but in the domestic market consumers still face risks from unsafe food,” Phạm Khánh Phong Lan, head of the Food Safety Management Board of HCM City, said.

Tra fish prices at highest level in last 20 years vietnamnews.vn 5th Jan 2018
The price of tra fish in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta has risen to its highest price over the last 20 years, leading to high profits for local farmers. With the price at VNĐ27,000 - 29,000 (US$1.2 – 1.3) a kilo last month, farmers earned a profit of VNĐ4,000 – 6,000 a kilo, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Directorate of Fisheries. In previous years, tra fish farmers faced low prices and sales. However, last year, farmers made a good profit because of the high price and many sales, according to a representative of the Châu Thành District Tra Fish Breeding Co-operative in Đồng Tháp Province. The price of tra fish often falls in December because exporters normally complete their export contracts during that month.

Vinafood 2 to offer 25% stake to strategic investors vietnamnews.vn 4th Jan 2018
Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ has approved the equitisation plan of Việt Nam Southern Food Corporation (Vinafood 2). Vinafood 2’s charter capital is VNĐ5 trillion (US$220 million), of which, the State will hold 255 million shares, representing 51 per cent of charter capital after the equitisation. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will be the representative of State ownership in the company following the equitisation. The number of shares offered in the initial public offering (IPO) is over 114.8 million shares, representing 22.97 per cent of the charter capital. The starting price of the IPO is VNĐ10,100 per share.

HCM City plans more safe farm produce markets vietnamnews.vn 3rd Jan 2018
The HCM City Department of Agriculture and Rural Development plans to set up 10 safe farm produce markets that will open every weekend to bring together producers and buyers of clean agricultural products. The first market opened in August 2016 at the Đông Hồ Restaurant in District 10. Initially it opened every other week, but now it opens on Saturdays. Similar markets now operate every Sunday at Lê Văn Tám park in District 1 and Lê Thị Riêng park in District 10. Each market features around 20 producers and traders selling rice, vegetables, fruits, poultry, pork, and seafood.

NCDs increase due to excess salt intake vietnamnews.vn 3rd Jan 2018
The Vietnamese are eating a lot of salty food. However, many people refuse to accept that excess salt in one’s daily diet is not healthy and may cause several non communicable diseases (NCDs)) such as high blood pressure or heart diseases, participants heard at a workshop on Monday. Speaking at the event, National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) vice director Prof. Trương Tuyết Mai said fatalities caused by NCDs are increasing in Việt Nam.

Vietnam active in Zero Hunger Action Programme VOV Vietnam 3rd Jan 2018
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has asked for strict implementation of the Zero Hunger Action Programme of Vietnam by 2025 after it is approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

HCM City sets up groups to inspect food safety VOV - VOV Online Newspaper 3rd Jan 2018
The Food Safety Management Board of Ho Chi Minh City has established 12 groups to inspect food safety during the Lunar New Year and Spring Festival 2018 across the city. Head of the board Pham Khanh Phong Lan said the inspections will run from now to March 2018, focusing on examining highly-consumed food on Tet holiday such as confectionary, beverages and aquatic products.

Phú Mỹ Fertiliser Plant restarts operation vietnamnews.vn 3rd Jan 2018
Phú Mỹ Fertiliser Plant, a member of the Petrovietnam Fertiliser and Chemicals Corporation (PVFCCo), began operation after more than one month of overall maintenance. This was the largest and most complex maintenance, with a total of 5,252 work items. The maintenance period started on November 22, 2017, focusing on the combination between the existing plant and the NPK chemical technology plant to increase production capacity.

Agricultural reform needed in Plain of Reeds region: experts vietnamnews.vn 2nd Jan 2018
The Đồng Tháp Mười (Plain of Reeds) area in the Mekong Delta, known for its agricultural prowess, is in need of major agricultural reform to reach its true potential, experts have said. Authorities in the Plain of Reeds region, which spans Long An, Tiền Giang and Đồng Tháp provinces, have been dealing with the effects of climate change and rising sea levels, including drought, floods and saltwater intrusion.

Fruit, vegetables become big foreign currency earner VOV - VOV Online Newspaper 2nd Jan 2018
Fruit and vegetables have surpassed traditional farm produce such as rice, rubber, tea, and cashew nuts to become a major foreign currency earner in the agricultural sector.

Asia Rice: India Prices Climb on Bangladesh Demand; Thailand-Vietnam Markets Muted Jakarta Globe 2nd Jan 2018
Meanwhile, demand in Thailand and Vietnam remained weak as Christmas and New Year holidays in some importing countries kept buyers away from the market, but exporters were optimistic about the fresh deals. "As it is approaching the end of the year, buyers are not active at the moment," said a Bangkok-based trader. Thailand's benchmark 5 percent broken rice eased to $390-$400, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok, from $401-$405 a tonne last week. Traders remain hopeful as the European Union's Foreign Affairs Council is to resume gradual political engagement with Thailand, and there are possibilities for resuming talks on an EU-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (FTA). "If the EU-Thailand FTA materializes, this should help boost Thai rice exports to the EU a bit. However, the EU isn't currently a big buyer of Thai rice," said the Bangkok-based trader. In Vietnam, benchmark 5-percent broken rice was quoted at $390-$400, compared with $395 a week earlier.

Vietnam imposes heavier penalties on filthy food producers, traders - Xinhua | English.news.cn Xinhua 2nd Jan 2018
Those who produce or trade dirty food in Vietnam can be sentenced up to 20 years in prison, local media reported on Tuesday. According to Vietnam's amended Penal Code which took effect on Jan. 1, the slightest penalty for filthy food producers or traders is a fine of 50-200 million Vietnamese dong (2,200-8,800 U.S. dollars) or a jail term of 1-5 years, and the heaviest one is a jail term of 12-20 years, daily newspaper Tien Phong (Pioneer) reported.

Health & Life Sciences

Vietnam’s nuclear medicine makes big leaps within short time - News VietNamNet VietNamNet 3rd Jan 2018
Vietnam has been quick to grasp trends and effectively use radiation and radioisotopes in the healthcare sector, according to Tran Duc Thiep, a member of the National Council for the Development and Application of Atomic Energy.

Drug bidding saves $10 million Vietnam News 6th Jan 2018
The national centralised bidding for 20 types of drugs covered by health insurance has helped save VNĐ251.13 billion (US$10.9 million) on drugs, said Dương Tuấn Đức, director of the Centre for Health Insurance Appraisal and Multi-level Payments in the North under Việt Nam Social Security. The total price of 20 bid-winning drugs was VNĐ935.99 billion ($40.7 million), down 21.12 per cent compared to the average drug bidding price of last year.

Ten diseases qualify for free vaccination VOV Vietnam 3rd Jan 2018
Ten infectious diseases are entitled to compulsory vaccination under an expanded national vaccination programme (NEVP) that started on January 1.

Heath insurance coverage hits 86.5% of population VOV - VOV Online Newspaper 2nd Jan 2018
The number of social insurance holders was 13.57 million. Around 11.49 million people participated in unemployment insurance. Up to 80.83 million of people had health insurance. Total premium of social, health, and unemployment insurance was VND261.5 trillion, meeting 91.2% of the assigned task, up VND38 trillion against the same period last year. The social insurance sector handed over 9.3 million social insurance books to laborers; granted health insurance cards to 16.6 million people.

Production of Vietnam’s first foot-and-mouth vaccines to start in Q2 VOV - VOV Online Newspaper 1st Jan 2018
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development expects the mass production of the first made-in-Vietnam vaccines against foot-and-mouth disease will start in the second quarter of 2018.

ICT

Vietnam cuts domestic server requirement for foreign firms from cyber-security bill VN Express 11th Jan 2018
Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security has scrapped an article requiring foreign tech giants such as Google and Facebook to install servers in Vietnam from its draft cyber-security law. The adjustment, which was presented for discussion on Wednesday at a session of Vietnam's legislative National Assembly was made after the previous version of the bill was opposed by both lawmakers and experts.

VNPT to help Hà Giang become smart city vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2018
Việt Nam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) signed a memorandum of understanding with Hà Giang Province People’s Committee to support the northernmost mountainous province to develop into a smart city. This was one of the highlights of the conference held on Monday to review the three-year implementation of the strategic cooperation agreement in telecommunications and information technology between the two sides during 2014-20.

Cyber Command asked to safeguard national sovereignty in cyberspace Viet Nam News 9th Jan 2018
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has asked the freshly-established Cyber Command to become a loyal, disciplined, intelligent, and clear-headed force which is strong enough to protect national sovereignty in cyberspace. With the rapid development of science technology and the Internet, alongside the growth of the fourth Industrial Revolution, cyberspace is becoming a new “territory” holding an important role in each country’s socio-economic development, defence, security and external relations, Phúc said at a ceremony in Hà Nội yesterday to announce the establishment of the command.

Learn from EU to manage Uber, Grab: Minister vietnamnews.vn 3rd Jan 2018
Minister of Transport Nguyễn Văn Thể said Việt Nam should learn from the European Union (EU) to manage the operation of companies such as Uber and Grab to ensure fair competition with traditional taxi firms. At a conference of the General Directorate for Road of Việt Nam on Tuesday, Thể said the management of Uber and Grab remained controversial worldwide. However, in December, the EU’s top court ruled that Uber should be classified as a transport service and regulated like other taxi operators despite Uber’s argument that it was simply a digital app acting as an intermediary between drivers and passengers.

Infrastructure

Overloaded ports weigh down Vietnam vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2018
Vietnam’s over-burdened shipping infrastructure is taking a big toll on freight operations, with the peak port authority estimating the industry loses US$2.4 billion a year because it can’t reach the country’s best docks. Cai Mep International Terminal (CMIT), 50 kilometers southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, the nation’s commercial hub, provides deep-water access for larger vessels with capacity of 18,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs). But shippers prefer to use the far smaller Cat Lai Port, which is closer to the manufacturing districts of Binh Duong, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Dong Nai and Ho Chi Minh City itself. Containers must be offloaded onto more compact vessels at sea or transshipped through larger Hong Kong and Singapore ports so they can access Cat Lai, which creates delivery delays and hikes costs. Shipping through Hong Kong can add 30% to the cost of a container.

Flyover bridge to reduce traffic jams vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2018
Work on the 5.3km-long Mai Dịch-Thăng Long Bridge Flyover has started and is expected to be finished by 2020, according to the Thăng Long Project Management Board under the Ministry of Construction. The flyover will have four lanes and total investment of more than VNĐ5.3 trillion (US$232.8 million). It will be built with official development assistance (ODA) from the Japanese Government and funds from the Vietnamese Government. It will enable vehicles to move at a maximum of 100kph.

Smart parking debuts in Đà Nẵng vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2018
The central city has set aside two downtown streets – Trần Phú and Bạch Đằng – for a pilot smart-parking project. The city’s transport department said the project was part of Đà Nẵng’s urban traffic corridor improvement project, funding by Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF). It will allow commuters to pay parking fees through their smart phones or (SMS).

PM cracks down on land management violations vietnamnews.vn 5th Jan 2018
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has called for strict punishments for organisations and individuals who commit violations in land-use and management. The PM ordered that those who commited violations in handing over, leasing land or switching land-use purposes, land registration, granting land certificate must be punished strictly.

Laos

VN, Laos share law-making experience vietnamnews.vn 10th Jan 2018
Vice Chairman of the National Assembly (NA) Phùng Quốc Hiển hosted a reception for head of the Economic, Technology and Environment Committee of the Lao National Assembly Bounpone Sisoulath in Hà Nội. Hien highlighted Việt Nam’s consistent policies of treasuring and giving top priority to the preservation and promotion of special ties with Laos, affirming that Việt Nam always strongly supports Laos’ national reform, defence and construction. He also lauded the fruitful cooperation between the Economic, Technology and Environment Committee of the Lao NA and the Economic Committee of the Việt Nam NA, stressing that the Vietnamese legislature will work closely with the Lao side to effectively implement their cooperation agreement.

Manufacturing

VN steel export up last year vietnamnews.vn 10th Jan 2018
Việt Nam has transformed from a steel-importing country to a producing nation, with the export of 300,000 tonnes of steel billets last year. This was revealed on Tuesday in a report of the Việt Nam Steel Association on the status of Việt Nam’s steel manufacture in 2017. According to the report, Vietnamese steel billets are mainly exported to markets in the Philippines and Indonesia, with the average prices ranging from US$480 to $500 per tonne, depending on the period.