Vietnam Update: September 24, 2018

Vietnam Update | September 24, 2018
Authors: Riley Smith, Hai Pham and Monica Chritton
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

September 28, 2018: Vietnam - U.S. Trade and Investment Conference: Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) is organizing a visit for a Trade and Investment Promotion Delegation to the United States. The Vietnamese delegation will be in Washington, D.C. to hold a Vietnam-U.S. Trade and Investment Conference. This event is generously hosted by 3M. The delegation includes MOIT officials, provincial leaders, and Vietnamese businesses from several key sectors such as food and agriculture, biochemical technology, textiles, footwear and electronics. Council members are invited to join this conference and engage the delegation on opportunities for trade and investment and discuss ways to improve the business environment in Vietnam. Please contact Bui Huy Son (sonbh@vietnam-ustrade.org) with any questions. RSVP here by COB September 25.

October 11-12: Business Mission to the 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF): During the week of October 8, the Council will organize its Business Mission to the 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Council has been invited to conduct a 20-30-minute presentation addressed to the Senior Officials and Agriculture Ministers. The Council is also planning to conduct individual bilateral meetings with Ministers from ASEAN countries such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as explore inaugural engagements with dialogue partners China, Japan, and South Korea. Other potential activities on the agenda include a networking session with international multilateral institutions and attendance at AMAF's official opening ceremony, gala dinner and field trips. For more information, please contact Sunita Kapoor (skapoor@usasean.org) and Hai Pham (hpham@usasean.org).

October 30-31, 2018: Mission to the 36th ASEAN Ministers of Energy Meeting (AMEM):  Register here for the US-ASEAN Business Council’s Business Mission to the 36th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) in Singapore. The mission will take place Tuesday, October 30, to Wednesday, October 31, and will consist of bilateral meetings with ASEAN Energy Ministers and relevant AMEM Dialogue Partners. The deadline for receipt of registration and mission materials is Tuesday, October 16. For more information, please contact Riley Smith (rsmith@usasean.org). 

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

President Tran Dai Quang Passes on September 21, to be Honored in Two-day State Funeral
President Tran Dai Quang has passed at age 61 years old, serving Vietnam as its President since 2016. Vietnam announced it will hold a two-day state funeral on September 26 and 27 to honor President Quang. Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh has been named acting president until a new president is elected. No official date for this election has been announced, but it is expected that the National Assembly will convene next month to elect a new president.

A four-star general, President Quang’s career was devoted to ensuring the security of his country. President Quang started his career at age 16, when he first enrolled in the People’s Policy Academy. Rising through the ranks of the Ministry of Public Security, President Quang eventually became Minister of Public Security in 2011 prior to his election as President. As he was fighting his illness, President Quang still tried to fulfill his overwhelming undertaking in judicial reforms and foreign policy, contributing to Prime Minister Phuc’s effort to grow the Vietnamese economy at a remarkable pace, all while strengthening trade and political ties with regional and global powers.

President Quang’s contribution to the U.S.-Vietnam relationship was epitomized in the country's hosting of both President Obama’s and President Trump’s first State visits to Vietnam, both of which the Council was honored to be a part of. As Chair of the 25th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in 2017, during Vietnam’s successful APEC host year, President Quang played a pivotal role in bringing his country to the forefront of the international community and the world. President Quang had planned to carry this momentum to the UN General Assembly Meetings in New York this week to discuss ways to strengthen the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership.

The US-ASEAN Business Council offered its sincere condolences to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, the Vietnamese Government, and the people of Vietnam on the passing of President Tran Dai Quang.

Vietnam Hosts WEF on ASEAN 2018 With Technology and Trade Issues at Forefront
From September 11-13, the World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN took place in Hanoi with the theme “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. While the agenda focused on technological disruption, the digital economy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, trade issues and regional disputes loomed large over the event. Ahead of WEF on ASEAN, there was speculation that Vietnam might use the event as a platform to pitch itself to U.S. businesses as an alternative to China in terms of manufacturing and supply chain. However, during the event, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that Vietnam has long treasured the substantial benefits of free trade but made no specific comments about the country’s positioning relative to current Sino-U.S. trade relations.

Remarks on trade issues focused on an underlying theme of regional cooperation, with several leaders making indirect references to the trade dispute between the United States and China that has led both sides to raise stiff tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars-worth of goods. At the event, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that when considering the state of the world’s economy it is a misguided belief that “in order to succeed others must surrender.” Comments by Vice Premier Hu Chunhua of the People’s Republic of China, focused on trade cooperation, saying, “We need to uphold openness and mutual benefits. Self-isolation will lead nowhere…We must categorically reject protectionism and unilateralism.” Support for regional trade agreements came from Foreign Minister Taro Kono of Japan and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha of South Korea. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore spoke of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and said that a conclusion to RCEP by the end of the year was hopeful, but not yet assured.

WEF on ASEAN 2018 also highlighted Vietnam’s importance in ASEAN and as a country with promising economic growth potential. Since 2010, Vietnam’s economy has grown at least 5% per year. While the growth rate is not ASEAN’s highest, WEF’s 2018 Inclusive Development Index Report recognized Vietnam as a country doing particularly well in terms of sustainable and inclusive growth processes. The World Bank estimates that Vietnam's future growth will be robust, predicting a 6.6% growth rate in 2019 and 6.5% percent growth rate in 2020.

Import-Export Regulations Streamlined; Government to Adopt Customs Bond System by 2020
Speaking at a conference on trade facilitation in Hanoi on September 10, Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung said that Vietnam has made progress in improving the general business environment by cutting unnecessary and redundant business regulations. Minister Dung noted that the Government has focused on improving the efficiency and transparency of import-export processes to reduce associated costs and make it less burdensome for businesses. Special focus was paid to making it easier for SMEs to navigate the import-export process by implementing reforms across various ministries resulting in a reduction from 9,929 to 1,700 the number of special inspections regulations.

In the same set of remarks, Minister Dung also announced that the Government of Vietnam planned to develop a customs bond model by 2020. Vietnam’s adoption of the customs bond model, being developed with support from the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF), is expected to start trials in 2020, which would enable Vietnam to be the first developing country to adopt such a model for commercial exports and imports. At a trade facilitation conference on September 6, GATF Senior Advisor, Nestor Scherbey said that reducing customs clearance time by a day can increase annual exports by 1% annually, which is around $2.13 billion for Vietnam. Scherbey cited that the obsolete trade regulations were amounting to an “invisible tariff” of 164.24%. Barriers to trade such as the “invisible tariff” can particularly hurt SMEs. SMEs are subjected to the same regulations as large corporations in Vietnam, but lack the same resources available to navigating administrative customs procedures. Vietnam recognizes this barrier to business and has made previous efforts to reduce unnecessary or redundant administrative procedures. The USAID Vietnam Trade Facilitation Program will also be supporting the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC) and border agencies’ efforts to streamline, harmonize and apply risk-based approaches to specialized inspections. The World Bank reports that Vietnam has made "great progress in reducing tariffs" but "there remains significant potential to reduce trade cost" through more efficient customs and border management. 

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Draft Decree to Amend Decree 06/2016 (OTT Services)
The Council has submitted industry comments (see here) on Vietnam's Draft Decree to Amend Decree 06/2016, regulating Over the Top (OTT) services, to Vietnam’s Authority for Broadcasting and Electronic Information (ABEI). The comments advocate for greater clarity on the applicability of the decree to OTT services, and recommend the use of self-regulatory solutions, and increased transparency and collaboration with industry in the development of the regulation. Please contact Vu Tu Thanh (tvu@usasean.org) or Ella Duangkaew (eduangkaew@usasean.org) for any questions regarding the submission or on any follow-up opportunities. 

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 

Regional Affairs
Vietnam pursues open trade, investment environment: official
US vows to deepen ties with Vietnam
Vietnam invited to G7 ministerial meeting on climate change in Canada
Japan, Vietnam urge U.S. to rejoin Pacific trade deal
Chief justice attends international judicial conference in Thailand
Vietnam could be a 'winner' from the US-China trade war
World Economic Forum Helps Vietnam Bill Itself as a Business Alternative to China
WEF on ASEAN: Trade, regional disputes supersede agenda
Prime Minister writes about 2018 WEF-ASEAN
Over 1,000 world leaders, executives register for WEF ASEAN 2018
Vietnam implements biggest mining project in Laos
Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue holds talks with Chinese Vice Premier
WEF ASEAN 2018 opens in Hà Nội
WEF ASEAN among Vietnam’s largest diplomatic events in 2018: Deputy FM

National Affairs
Vietnam jails two Vietnamese-Americans for 14 years for attempting to overthrow the state
Localities gear up for super typhoon Mangkhut
Vietnam bars second rights campaigner from World Economic Forum

Customs
Canada initiates anti-dumping probe into Vietnam steel
Updated import regulations to increase trade

Defense & Security
Vietnam, France sign joint vision statement on defence cooperation
Vietnam army’s delegation visits Laos, Cambodia
Vietnam places orders for Russian weapons worth over $1 billion - TASS
Vietnam, Russia issue joint statement

Economics
Vietnam`s SOEs equitization process falls far behind schedule
Vietnam's super committee set to be operational in September
Vietnam’s Premier Seeks ‘New Ways’ to Survive U.S.-China Trade War
Vietnam shines despite Southeast Asia's struggles with trade and emerging market pressures

Energy
Việt Nam’s clean energy in need of a just transition
Vietnam Electricity revises up 2017 pre-tax profit to US$350 million
Laos’ hydropower policy puts Vietnam in a dilemma
Vietnam extends provincial FiT scheme – with caveats
Renewable energy integration faces challenges
New tariffs could recharge Vietnam’s wind power projects
Vietnam to offer pricing stimulus for wind energy projects
Vietnam's increased wind power Feed-in-Tariff officially approved
Vietnam's Solar Feed-in-Tariff for Ninh Thuan Province Officially Extended for a Total Capacity of 2,000 MW

Financial Services
Vietnam securities watchdog urges trading groups to stay clear of cryptocurrencies
New Competition Law covers foreign manipulative behaviours affecting Vietnam
Banks step up auctions to resolve bad debts


Food & Agriculture
ThaiBev takes the reins of Sabeco after M&A
Asia Coffee: Vietnam prices edge higher on scarce supplies, further...
WEF ASEAN: Grow Asia Forum talks innovation in agriculture
US lowers duty on Việt Nam’s shrimp exports

Health & Life Sciences
Vietnamese Fighting Back on Plastic Pollution
Bioaerosol sampling to detect AI in Vietnam
Vietnam: Growing Demand for Healthcare Services
Vietnam's Capital Asks Residents to Stop Eating Dog Meat
Doing it for themselves: Communities pioneer new HIV testing approach in Vietnam
New vaccine to be rolled out soon
Grassroots-level healthcare network needs better performance

ICT
Hanoi to play iconic role in Vietnam smart city development
Vietnam’s top IT firms top $16 billion in turnover
Minister wants to develop made-in-Vietnam social media
SIM card market heats up as conversion nears
Vietnamese MIC raises a flat ASEAN initiative at WEF
Vietnam minister calls for Asean to ditch roaming charges
Hà Nội City makes the case for a smart transformation
PM urges increased support for innovative start-ups

Infrastructure
Textile, garment firms lose competiveness

Manufacturing
Việt Nam fulfills Montreal Protocol
Vietnam switches to unbaked building materials
Vietnam's moves put local manufacturers on edge

Travel & Tourism
Vietnam wins prestigious award as Asia’s leading tourist destination
HCM City develops smart tourism in Industry 4.0

 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Vietnam pursues open trade, investment environment: official Nhan Dan Online 19th Sep 2018
Vietnam is determined to build an open trade and investment environment and welcomes all European investors and entrepreneurs to do business in the country, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh has said. The official made the statement in Brussels on September 18 at a high-level conference on the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which was attended by nearly 100 delegates who are experts, entrepreneurs and representatives of organisations from the EU and Vietnam.

US vows to deepen ties with Vietnam Nhan Dan Online 19th Sep 2018
Speaking at a ceremony in Washington DC held by the Vietnamese Embassy in the US to mark the Southeast Asian nation’s 73rd National Day (September 2), Sullivan congratulated Vietnam on its achievements during the renewal and international integration process. He appreciated the development of the US-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership in bilateral aspects and in regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Vietnam invited to G7 ministerial meeting on climate change in Canada Nhan Dan Online 18th Sep 2018
Vietnam is one of the nine countries invited by Canada to attend the G7 Ministerial Meeting on Working Together on Climate Change, Oceans and Clean Energy. Themed “Working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy”, the event will take place from September 19-21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Japan, Vietnam urge U.S. to rejoin Pacific trade deal Rappler 13th Sep 2018
Japan and Vietnam on Thursday, September 13, urged the United States to rejoin a sprawling Pacific trade deal, almost two years after President Donald Trump's withdrawal dealt a major blow to what would have been the world's largest free trade pact. Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal in one of his first post-election moves as part of his "America First" clarion call, declaring the 12-nation trade pact a "job killer".

Chief justice attends international judicial conference in Thailand Nhan Dan Online 13th Sep 2018
The conference is being held by the Supreme Court of Thailand with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bangkok, from September 13-14, to exchange experience and enhance the cooperation between countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS). Joining Binh are the chief justices of the GMS nations, namely Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, alongside those from the US, Australia, and Singapore, who came to the event to present their judicial policies and strategies on delivering court excellence.

Vietnam could be a 'winner' from the US-China trade war CNBC 12th Sep 2018
Vietnam could potentially benefit from the escalating China-U.S. trade war even as Washington continues to threaten Beijing with more tariffs, according to one investor. The Southeast Asian nation could be a "winner" if a lot of foreign direct investment shifts into Vietnam due to rising cost pressures from the U.S.-China tariffs, Bill Stoops, the chief investment officer of Dragon Capital, told CNBC on Tuesday.

World Economic Forum Helps Vietnam Bill Itself as a Business Alternative to China VOA 12th Sep 2018
Vietnam has a chance this week as World Economic Forum host to show curious foreign investors they can ship exports from the fast-growing country to China or the United States without the hazards of a widening Sino-U.S. trade dispute. The annual event from Tuesday through Thursday in Hanoi this week gives Vietnam access to multinational companies, some of whom have not visited for more than a decade, said Frederick Burke, partner with the law firm Baker McKenzie in Ho Chi Minh City. About 1,000 delegates were due to attend the event with a program focused on Vietnam's broader location, Southeast Asia.

WEF on ASEAN: Trade, regional disputes supersede agenda Al Jazeera News 12th Sep 2018
Asian leaders meeting at the World Economic Forum in Vietnam have made veiled criticisms of the United States, which is involved in a worsening trade dispute with China. The criticism was led by China’s vice premier who said protectionism must be rejected.

Prime Minister writes about 2018 WEF-ASEAN Vietnam Plus 12th Sep 2018
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has written an article on the occasion of the 2018 World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF-ASEAN 2018) which is taking place in Hanoi from September 11-13. The full text of the article runs as follows:

Over 1,000 world leaders, executives register for WEF ASEAN 2018 VietNamNet 11th Sep 2018
The World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN) will receive more than 1,000 delegates, including high-ranking government representatives and executives of regional and world-leading corporations. The information was released at a WEF ASEAN press conference held in Hanoi on September 6. In addition to the delegates, about 300 reporters from global and regional media outlets are expected to come covering the event. Speaking at the press conference, Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, who is also head of the organising board of the forum, said that it is scheduled to take place in Hanoi from September 11 to 13 under the theme of “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

Vietnam implements biggest mining project in Laos Vietnam Plus 11th Sep 2018
The Lao Government and Viet Phuong Group (VPG) of Vietnam on September 11 signed a contract for exploiting and processing bauxite ore and building an alumina factory in Sekong province of Laos. With total investment of about 650 million USD, this will be Vietnam’s biggest investment project in the mining industry of Laos. The project is located in Dakcheung district of Sekong and will cover nearly 100 sq.km of land. It is part of the roadmap for implementing the agreement on economic, cultural and scientific-technical cooperation between the Vietnamese and Lao Governments.

Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue holds talks with Chinese Vice Premier Vietnam Plus 11th Sep 2018
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue and Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng agreed on the need to enhance political trust between the two countries during talks in Nanning city, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China, on September 11. The talks were held on the occasion of Hue’s attendance at the 15th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS) and the 15th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO).

WEF ASEAN 2018 opens in Hà Nội Viet Nam News 11th Sep 2018
Six prime ministers and presidents are in Hà Nội this week along with some of the regions top business entrepreneurs to attend the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN) themed “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, which kicked off in Hà Nội on Tuesday. With nearly 60 discussions, the forum is considered a festival for ASEAN to promote a positive image of its member states, convey their messages about a common house of the ASEAN Community with diverse cultures, diverse people, strong solidarity, a shared vision and a shared identity.

WEF ASEAN among Vietnam’s largest diplomatic events in 2018: Deputy FM Voice of Vietnam 6th Sep 2018
The WEF ASEAN, scheduled to take place in Hanoi from September 11 to 13, is expected to receive high-ranking government representatives, nearly 1,000 executives of regional- and world-leading corporations and hundreds of reporters from global and regional media outlets to cover the event. Son, head of the organising board of the event, said that the WEF ASEAN is taking place as the construction of the ASEAN Community has been accelerated, with the world witnessing rapid and complicated developments, along with the fourth industrial revolution impacting the global economy. He said the theme of the forum “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship in the fourth industrial revolution” proposed by Vietnam, has gained support of political and business circles and partners, especially ASEAN members, as it is relevant to the ASEAN theme of “resilient and innovative ASEAN”.

National Affairs

Vietnam jails two Vietnamese-Americans for 14 years for attempting to overthrow the state Channel NewsAsia 19th Sep 2018
James Nguyen and Angel Phan were convicted, along with 10 accomplices who received shorter jail terms, after a two-day trial. The defendants all faced the same charge. Phan and Nguyen were accused of running a network of underground operatives in Vietnam, some of whom were given titles in a shadow government such as "governor of Saigon", or "commander of national defence guards," the Ministry of Public Security's official news website reported on Wednesday.

Localities gear up for super typhoon Mangkhut VietNamNet 17th Sep 2018
Chairman of the People’s Committee of the northern port city of Hai Phong has asked the city’s Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, Search and Rescue to inform all vessels not to operate at sea and cancel all waterway transport and entertainment activities at sea tourism sites. Transport through Tan Vu-Lach Huyen bridge and some other river crossing bridges has been banned.

Vietnam bars second rights campaigner from World Economic Forum Reuters 10th Sep 2018
Vietnam has refused to let a campaigner from Amnesty International attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) set to be held in the southeast Asian nation this week, the rights group said on Monday, the second such refusal in as many days. Hanoi will host the World Economic Forum on the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) from Tuesday to Thursday, an event touted as the country’s biggest diplomatic gathering this year.


Customs

Canada initiates anti-dumping probe into Vietnam steel Hanoi Times 19th Sep 2018
Canada would look into steel products from four countries including Vietnam with the doubt that those imports harm Canadian producers. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has launched an investigation under the suspicion of carbon steel welded pipes from Vietnam, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Turkey being sold at unfair prices in the North American country.

Updated import regulations to increase trade Viet Nam News 11th Sep 2018
The application of a customs bond model would benefit the country, contributing to an increase of one per cent of the total import-export turnover according to comments by Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tiến Dũng. Customs bond systems are designed to streamline the process for bringing goods into the country, thereby reducing the financial burden on businesses while ensuring the government receives all legally required taxes.

Defense & Security

Vietnam, France sign joint vision statement on defence cooperation Nhan Dan Online 19th Sep 2018
Vietnamese Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich and his French counterpart Florence Parly signed a joint vision statement on defence cooperation for 2018-2028 at their talks in Paris on September 17 as part of the former’s ongoing visit to France. During the talks, Minister Parly affirmed that her country highly values the role of Vietnam in the region and the world, and attaches great importance to developing bilateral ties with the Southeast Asian country.

Vietnam army’s delegation visits Laos, Cambodia VietNamNet 18th Sep 2018
A high-raking delegation from the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) led by Sen. Lieut. Gen Luong Cuong, Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee and Director of the VPA’s General Department of Politics is paying official visits to Laos and Cambodia from September 18-22.

Vietnam places orders for Russian weapons worth over $1 billion - TASS Reuters 8th Sep 2018
Vietnam has placed orders for Russian weapons and military services worth more than $1 billion, Russia’s TASS news agency has reported, as the Southeast Asian country bolsters its defence capability. “We have a portfolio of orders worth more than $1 billion,” TASS cited Dmitry Shugayev, head of Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, as saying on Thursday.

Vietnam, Russia issue joint statement Vietnam Plus 7th Sep 2018
Vietnam and Russia issued a 40-point joint statement on the official visit to Russia by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV)’s Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong from September 5-8, made at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The joint statement highlighted Vietnam-Russia relations, regional and international issues, and the discussion points between the two countries’ leaders. During his trip, the Vietnamese Party leader held talks with President Putin and met Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Chairman of the State Duma of Russia Vyacheslav Volodin, and Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council of Russia Andrey Turchak.

Economics

Vietnam`s SOEs equitization process falls far behind schedule Hanoi Times 19th Sep 2018
The lack of efforts from ministries and provinces is to blame for the delay, according to the Ministry of Finance (MoF). In the first six months of 2018, equitization schemes of eight state owned enterprises (SOEs) were approved with a total value of VND29.37 trillion (US$1.29 billion), making the target of equitizing at least 85 SOEs by the end of this year a real challenge, according to the MoF.  Of the mentioned figure, state capital in those eight SOEs amounted to VND15.16 trillion (US$667.04 million).

Vietnam's super committee set to be operational in September VietNamNet 11th Sep 2018
The combined state capital of 19 state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to be put under the committee`s management reached VND991 trillion (US$42.47 billion) and state assets worth VND2,300 trillion (US$98.57 billion) as of December 31, 2017. After months of preparation, Vietnam's Committee for State Capital Management, dubbed as the super committee is scheduled to be operational in September, Nhan Dan newspaper, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of Vietnam, reported.

Vietnam’s Premier Seeks ‘New Ways’ to Survive U.S.-China Trade War Bloomberg 10th Sep 2018
Vietnam’s government will use a combination of trade deals and domestic reforms to survive the fallout from a U.S.-China trade war, according to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. “This trade war between the U.S. and China will surely affect Vietnam,” the premier said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin at the Government Office in Hanoi on Monday, ahead of the World Economic Forum on Asean, which Vietnam is hosting. “We are seeking new ways to grow,” he added. “We want to maintain good relations with both the U.S. and China.”

Vietnam shines despite Southeast Asia's struggles with trade and emerging market pressures CNBC 10th Sep 2018
Vietnam — with its economy growing at its fastest pace in eight years in the first half of 2018 — is defying the stress in emerging markets as its Southeast Asian rivals face an uncertain outlook driven by trade war risks and a stronger dollar. The threat of an escalating global trade conflict is weighing on prospects for export-dependent economies like Singapore and Malaysia, while Indonesia and the Philippines face challenges funding their high levels of external debt as their currencies come under pressure from a rising U.S. dollar.

Energy

Việt Nam’s clean energy in need of a just transition Viet Nam News 19th Sep 2018
In two years time, Việt Nam could stop building new coal plants, while maintaining a safe, affordable and secure energy system. This is a result of a draft report themed “Ensuring justice in the energy transition in Việt Nam” composed by the Việt Nam Sustainable Energy Alliance (VSEA). The report was published on Tuesday in cooperation with Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID) under the framework of the International Conference: Fostering Cooperation to Ensure a Just Energy Transition hosted by GreenID and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Vietnam (FES Vietnam) and Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA).

Vietnam Electricity revises up 2017 pre-tax profit to US$350 million Hanoi Times 19th Sep 2018
Electricity demand in Vietnam is forecast to continue increasing at an average rate of 9% per annum, driven by rising industrialization, urbanization and affluence, according to Fitch Ratings. Vietnam Electricity (EVN), the sole distributor of electricity in the country, posted a revised pre-tax profit of VND8.14 trillion (US$349.8 million) for 2017, VND1.5 trillion (US$64.48 million) higher than the previously announced figure and up 58% year-on-year, the power company said on its website. 

Laos’ hydropower policy puts Vietnam in a dilemma VietNamNet 18th Sep 2018
The proposal to buy electricity from Lao hydropower plants has been facing opposition from many researchers, who say that benefits are small compared with the costs. After the collapse of Xe Pian Xe Nam Noy dam collapse, PanNature posted a statement by Save the Mekong Alliance which said it was not a natural calamity, but caused by the mistakes of hydropower project contractors.

Vietnam extends provincial FiT scheme – with caveats pv magazine International 13th Sep 2018
The government has extended the payment system in Ninh Thuan by 12 months. But with a 2 GW cap and 1.9 GW in place already, new entrants may have to move fast. At first glance, news the FiT scheme in Vietnam‘s Ninh Thuan province is being extended by a year appears positive, with legal firm Baker McKenzie reporting: “Resolution No.115 [extending the scheme] is good news for solar power projects” in the region.

Renewable energy integration faces challenges Viet Nam News 13th Sep 2018
Power drawn from renewable energy is expected to soar in the future, although the country’s capacity to integrate this source of energy into the national power grid is still limited, possibly causing throttling on the network, heard attendants at a seminar held in Hà Nội last week. The seminar, entitled ‘Renewable Energy Integration: Challenges and Technology,’ co-organised by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) and ABB Vietnam, aimed to explore the challenges in achieving Việt Nam’s ambition to increase the generation and consumption of renewable energy, and how technology can help resolve them.

New tariffs could recharge Vietnam’s wind power projects VnExpress International 12th Sep 2018
Higher tariffs for Vietnam’s wind power projects will make investments more commercially viable, experts say. However, even with the latest feed-in-tariff (FIT) increase approved by the Prime Minister, the rates are lower than in other ASEAN countries, they add. The Prime Minister approved the amendment and revision of the wind tariffs as per Decision No. 37/2011/QD-TTg issued on September 10 on support mechanisms for the development of wind power projects in Vietnam.

Vietnam to offer pricing stimulus for wind energy projects VnExpress International 10th Sep 2018
It has been confirmed that the Prime Minister has initialled the contents of a draft decision proposed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) with an increase in feed-in-tariff (FIT) to 8.5 US cents/kWh (onshore) and 9.8 US cents/kWh (offshore). An official decision to this effect will be announced soon. The MOIT’s proposed amendment to Decision 37/2011 would have increased the FIT for wind energy projects from the current 7.8 US cents/kWh (onshore) to 8.77 US cents/kWh (onshore) and 9.97 US cents/kWh (offshore).

Vietnam's increased wind power Feed-in-Tariff officially approved Lexology 13th Sep 2018
On 10 September 2018, the Prime Minister officially signed and issued Decision No. 39 approving the increase of the previous Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) of UScents 7.8 per kWh to: UScents 8.5 per kWh (for onshore wind power projects) and UScents 9.8 per kWh (for offshore wind power projects) in Vietnam. Decision No. 39 will come into effect as of 1 November 2018.1 Decision No. 39 has amended certain provisions of Decision No. 37 which was issued in 2011, on the support mechanisms for the development of wind power projects in Vietnam.2 This has been a long-awaited development following a number of rounds of revisions under earlier drafts proposed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) to the Government.

Vietnam's Solar Feed-in-Tariff for Ninh Thuan Province Officially Extended for a Total Capacity of 2,000 MW Lexology 12th Sep 2018
On 31 August 2018, the Government of Vietnam issued Resolution No. 115/NQ-CP on special policies and mechanisms supporting socioeconomic development in Ninh Thuan Province from 2018-2023 ("Resolution No. 115"). Resolution No. 115 officially approves an extension of the FiT scheme under Decision No. 111 in Ninh Thuan Province until the end of 2020. Specifically, under Article 1.1(e) of Resolution No. 115, the Government has "permitted Ninh Thuan Province to be entitled for the tariff policy under Decision No. 11/2017/QD-TTg until the end of 2020 for solar power projects and interconnection infrastructure / facilities with the designed capacity of 2,000 MW which have been approved by the Prime Minister for implementation." Under the current regulations, i.e. Decision No. 11 and Circular No. 16,2 the FiT of 2,086 VND per kWh (exclusive of VAT, equivalent to US cents 9.35 per kWh) applies to parts or the whole of solar power projects that reach their Commercial Operation Date (COD) before 30 June 2019 and shall apply for a PPA term of 20 years from the COD. However, Decision No. 11 has recently created concerns for many private developers over the limited time available to reach COD by the June 2019 deadline. Resolution No. 115 follows the conclusions in the Government's ordinary meeting in July 2018, from which the Government issued Resolution No. 104/NQ-CP dated 8 August 2018, assigning the Ministry of Planning and Investment to incorporate the FiT extension as a special policy for Ninh Thuan Province.

Financial Services

Vietnam securities watchdog urges trading groups to stay clear of cryptocurrencies Hanoi Times 19th Sep 2018
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in early April urged greater vigilance against cryptocurrency transaction and investment, while using cryptocurrencies as means of payment is prohibited in Vietnam. The State Securities Commission of Vietnam (SSC), the country's stock market watchdog, requested securities trading organizations to refrain from offering services in consulting, brokering, issuing or transacting cryptocurrencies, the commission said on its website on July 23.

New Competition Law covers foreign manipulative behaviours affecting Vietnam Nhan Dan Online 13th Sep 2018
Foreign enterprises manipulating the Vietnamese market from abroad and causing negative impacts to the country are now under the jurisdiction of the new Competition Law. The information was heard at a workshop on the dissemination of the new Competition Law 2018, co-organised by the Vietnam Competition Authority (under the Ministry of Industry and Trade), in Hanoi, on September 13.

Banks step up auctions to resolve bad debts Viet Nam News 10th Sep 2018
Banks are putting non-performing loans (NPLs) and collateral of default borrowers on auction in a move to speed up the resolution of bad debts. Most NPLs are attached to assets borrowers bought or created thanks to these loans, including real estate, factories, enterprises, industrial clusters and projects.

Food & Agriculture

ThaiBev takes the reins of Sabeco after M&A Hanoi Times 19th Sep 2018
Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp (Sabeco)`s shareholders approved a new board including seven members, of which four were nominated by ThaiBev - controlled by tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi through its local unit Vietnam Beverage. The board of Sabeco has elected Neo Gim Siong Bennett as its new CEO for the 2018 - 2023 period at its general annual meeting on July 21, marking the control of ThaiBev over Vietnam's largest brewer. The decision, which took effect on August 1, means that Bennet will replace Nguyen Thanh Nam, who is Sabeco's current CEO and represents the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) at Vietnam's largest domestic brewer, according to an announcement on Sabeco's website.

Asia Coffee: Vietnam prices edge higher on scarce supplies, further... Reuters 13th Sep 2018
Coffee prices in Vietnam edged up this week on scarce supplies, but traders said they would not climb further ahead of the new harvest next month. Farmers in the Central Highlands, the country’s largest coffee growing area, offered coffee in a range of 33,000 dong -33,500 dong ($1.42-$1.44) per kg, compared with 32,500 dong-33,300 dong a week earlier. “Prices have risen slightly because inventory has run almost empty, while several exporters still need beans to fulfil their signed contracts,” a trader based in the province of Dak Lak said.

WEF ASEAN: Grow Asia Forum talks innovation in agriculture Vietnam Plus 11th Sep 2018
The Grow Asia Forum was held in Hanoi on September 11 within the framework of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN 2018 which lasts from September 11-13. The forum brought together leaders of agriculture ministries from member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), multinational and global corporations, and companies operating in agriculture in the ASEAN region in general and Vietnam in particular. With 18 sessions, the event focused on agricultural finance, digital innovation in agricultural production, agriculture and the fourth Industrial Revolution, precision technology in agriculture and low-emission agriculture, among others.

US lowers duty on Việt Nam’s shrimp exports vietnamnews.vn 11th Sep 2018
The US government lowered the anti-dumping duty on frozen warm water shrimp from Việt Nam. The decision was published on the Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) website on September 11. According to the September 10 announcement from the US Department of Commerce (DoC), the final rate is 4.58 per cent. This new rate will impact the Sao Ta Seafood Joint Stock Company (Fimex VN) and 30 other companies.

Health & Life Sciences

Vietnamese Fighting Back on Plastic Pollution VOA 19th Sep 2018
More Vietnamese than ever are looking for alternatives to plastic, from metal bottles to cloth tote bags, just as many communities around the world are starting to believe they have relied for too long on cheap and versatile -- but ecologically disastrous -- plastic. Rwanda was remarkably efficient at banning plastic bags, while Durham, North Carolina has a volunteer program to distribute reusable takeout containers, and an Amsterdam grocer introduced an aisle of products with no plastic.

Bioaerosol sampling to detect AI in Vietnam PoultryWorld 14th Sep 2018
Newly emergent and virulent strains of the H7N9 avian influenza (AI) virus are rapidly spreading in China and threatening Vietnam. The threat prompted researchers, led by professor Gregory C Gray, professor of infectious diseases at the Global Health Institute, to introduce aerosol sampling for avian influenza viruses in Vietnam. During October 2017, Professor Gray and colleagues assembled three National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health two-stage aerosol samplers on tripods and ran them for 4 weeks during the first 3 weeks of October 2017 at Ha VI, the largest live wholesale poultry market in Hanoi.

Vietnam: Growing Demand for Healthcare Services Vietnam Briefing News 14th Sep 2018
Demographic changes, rise in disposable income, and a steady economic growth has led to a growing demand for healthcare services in Vietnam. In 2017, healthcare expenditure accounted for 7.5 percent of the GDP and between 2017 and 2021 it is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 12.5 percent. Overcrowding, shortage of medical staff, and obsolete equipment for surgery and intensive care units are the major challenges in the healthcare sector in Vietnam. These issues have forced Vietnamese people to travel abroad for medical treatment, with overseas annual spending rising to US$ 2 billion. This further highlights the opportunities in the industry in areas such as healthcare services, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices.

Vietnam's Capital Asks Residents to Stop Eating Dog Meat Time 13th Sep 2018
Vietnamese authorities are urging residents of its capital city Hanoi to stop eating dog meat, in an effort to protect its image as a “civilized and modern capital” and halt the spread of diseases such as rabies. More than 1,000 shops in the city offer dog and cat meat, but officials worry the practice could tarnish its reputation among foreigners and tourists, Channel News Asia reports.

Doing it for themselves: Communities pioneer new HIV testing approach in Vietnam AVERT 11th Sep 2018
The Vietnam Authority for HIV/AIDS Control partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016/17 to pilot community-based HIV testing in two provinces. This makes Vietnam one of the first countries to adopt WHO recommendations targeting those not testing in traditional facilities. In the pilot, people from the men who have sex with me, female sex workers and people who inject drug communities were trained to use HIV test kits and to counsel their peers to take a test. Last year, 2520 people at risk of HIV in Thai Nguyen and Can Tho provinces were supported by a peer to get tested. Among those, 140 people were found to be HIV-positive and 94% (131/140) started antiretroviral therapy. The community-led approach has enabled more people with HIV to be diagnosed and start lifesaving treatment. This is important both for their health and for preventing others from becoming infected, as treatment reduces the amount of virus in a person’s body, dramatically cutting the risk that they will pass it on.

New vaccine to be rolled out soon Viet Nam News 11th Sep 2018
The ComBeFIVE vaccine is undergoing quality checks and will be delivered to injection sites next week, the Drug Administration of Việt Nam announced on Monday. ComBeFIVE will replace the 5-in-1 Quinvaxem vaccine to prevent five common, potentially fatal diseases – diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and haemophilus influenza type B – in infants.

Grassroots-level healthcare network needs better performance Vietnam Plus 10th Sep 2018
The quality of grassroots-level healthcare facilities nationwide has yet to meet expectation and patients’ demand, said Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien. It is not necessary for most patients to go to central hospitals when their illnesses can be treated at lower-level health facilities, she said at a meeting last weekend on improving ward-level clinics.

ICT

Hanoi to play iconic role in Vietnam smart city development DIGITIMES 19th Sep 2018
Vietnam is a young country with more and more people ready to swarm into urban areas, and Hanoi will become an iconic place for promoting the country's overall smart city projects highlighting energy resources, water resources and transportation, Nguyen Duc Chung, chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee, said when opening the ASOCIO Smart City Forum 2018 on September 18 for a three-day run in the capital city.

Vietnam’s top IT firms top $16 billion in turnover VnExpress International 18th Sep 2018
The association (VINASA) released the figures on Monday along with the ranking of top 50 IT firms this year and top 10 companies with 4.0 technology capabilities. There are 53 honorees in these two groups and their total turnover reached more than $16 billion, accounting for 35.5 percent of the country's total software, digital content and IT services revenues last year.

Minister wants to develop made-in-Vietnam social media VietNamNet 18th Sep 2018
Vietnam needs a digital ecosystem with focus on made-in-Vietnam social media instead of foreign owned players such as Facebook and Google. The breakthrough targets in the 4.0 era were highlighted in a speech made by Minister of Information and Communication Nguyen Manh Hung at a working session with PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc on September 8.

SIM card market heats up as conversion nears VietNamNet 18th Sep 2018
The prices of 11-digit SIM cards are surging as buyers seek to obtain phone numbers that will contain lucky numbers when tens of millions of 11-digit subscribers are switched to a 10-digit format, starting from today. The Ministry of Information and Communications and Vietnamese mobile operators have created a mobile phone prefix division. Specifically, the 11-digit mobile phone numbers of VinaPhone will be converted to a 10-digit mobile number with the prefix “08,” while the 11-digit numbers of MobiFone and Viettel will use the prefix “03” and “07,” respectively.

Vietnamese MIC raises a flat ASEAN initiative at WEF Viet Nam News 13th Sep 2018
Vietnamese Acting Minister of Information and Communications Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng said today that Việt Nam as an emerging economy would be able to take advantage of the fourth industrial revolution, even though the country missed the first three. “The future does not depend on the past in this new era. Developing countries have fewer facilities from the previous revolutions, but they have fewer burdens and can move faster,” he said while attending a co-chairs meeting organised within the framework of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN, taking place in Hà Nội from September 11-13.

Vietnam minister calls for Asean to ditch roaming charges The Nation 12th Sep 2018
The acting minister said he came to the event to share his initiatives about the future for Vietnam and the region. "I want to share the idea of developing one Asean, meaning a flat Asean – no roaming charges or roaming charges as low as domestic charges so that everybody can travel but feel like they're at home," Hùng said. He also suggested establishing an Asean university of information and communication technology (ICT), saying ICT is the key sector in the fourth industrial revolution.

Hà Nội City makes the case for a smart transformation Viet Nam News 11th Sep 2018
The capital’s initial smart endeavours, namely the deepening of ICT integration in the municipal administration’s works, reached a whopping VNĐ3 trillion (US$128.8 million) just for the 2016-20 period alone with the city leaders arguing that this amount is just trivial figure compared to the benefits it brings. The city has also made an international commitment by joining the ASEAN Smart Cities Network, a freshly launched key initiative championed by Singapore that is scheduled to be adopted by ASEAN leaders at the bloc’s summit later in the year.

PM urges increased support for innovative start-ups Viet Nam News 7th Sep 2018
Innovative start-ups will enjoy financial support from the National Technology Innovation Foundation (NATIF) fund, according to a directive issued by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc. Phúc asked the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) to draft a charter on the operation of NATIF to include innovative enterprises as recipients of the fund by the end of the year. Under the directive, innovative start-ups will enjoy preferential loans and guarantees to incubate new ideas and business models. Star-ups will need to ensure they comply with the Law on Support for Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises as well as the criteria set out by the fund.

Infrastructure

Textile, garment firms lose competiveness Viet Nam News 10th Sep 2018
Vietnamese garment and textile enterprises are losing their competiveness due to high costs of logistics services for exports, experts have said. According to statistics from the Việt Nam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), textile and garment export value last year reached US$31 billion, an increase of 19.2 per cent compared to 2016.

Manufacturing

Việt Nam fulfills Montreal Protocol Viet Nam News 14th Sep 2018
Việt Nam has totally eliminated the use of chloroflourocarbons (CFC) and fulfilled its international obligations under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer over the past 24 years. Lê Công Thành, deputy minister of Natural Resources and Environment, made the statement at a conference held today to mark the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer on September 16.

Vietnam switches to unbaked building materials Vietnam Plus 6th Sep 2018
Unbaked construction materials are targeted to account for 30-40 percent of all materials used for building by 2020, according to a circular that has been approved by the Government. The move is part of the nation’s attempts to erase traditional fired brick production facilities across the country towards boosting the production and consumption of more environmentally friendly building materials. Since 2008, the Government and the Ministry of Construction have continued to issue legal documents on researching, producing, and using unburned construction materials. Any projects producing non-fired materials were eligible for support between 2009 and 2015.

Vietnam's moves put local manufacturers on edge Bangkok Post 14th Sep 2018
Thai steelmakers are concerned that Vietnam is dumping steel wire rod on the Thai market, and they expect overall prices in Southeast Asia to fall as a result. Vietnam is a major exporter of steel wire rod in the region, while Thailand is the main buyer.

Travel & Tourism

Vietnam wins prestigious award as Asia’s leading tourist destination VnExpress International 17th Sep 2018
Vietnam won the award for “Asia’s Leading Destination” at the 2018 World Travel Awards in Hong Kong this month. It is the first time the country has achieved this honor and the only win for Vietnam despite being nominated in nine categories this year. World Travel Awards (WTA) is an annual award for those in tourism industry, from carriers, travel agencies to hotels, resorts and destinations. It is considered the Oscars of tourism industry by The Wall Street Journal and many other publications.

HCM City develops smart tourism in Industry 4.0 Vietnam Plus 10th Sep 2018
Ho Chi Minh City has strived to tap into its tourism development potential, with the support of digital technology, as the city is Vietnam’s leading tourism hub and an attractive destination for international friends. The advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) has bolstered development in all fields – including smart tourism based on digital technology application which offers many opportunities to bring more foreign tourists to Vietnam and HCM City in particular. Nguyen Quoc Ky, Chairman and General Director of Vietravel, said that easy digital technology access and development will create favourable conditions for HCM City’s tourism sector in terms of the dissemination of information, research, and statistics.