Vietnam Update: October 17, 2018

Vietnam Update | October 17, 2018
Authors: Riley Smith, Hai Pham and Tra Nguyen
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

October 24-26: Door-Knock Mission to Vietnam & Consultative Workshop
Following the release of several internal drafts of the implementing decree for Vietnam's Law on Cybersecurity, the Council will be organizing an urgent door-knock mission to Hanoi to engage with the Government of Vietnam and preempt the Ministry of Public Security from officially issuing the restrictive draft (latest draft Oct. 11). Meeting targets include: Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Standing Secretary of the Communist Party Tran Quoc Vuong, Chairman of the Office of the Government Mai Tien Dung, Minister of Public Security To Lam, and several other Ministers. During this mission, the Council will also organize a Consultative Workshop on the draft decree in partnership with the Vietnam Digital Communication Association (VDCA). 
Please contact Vu Tu Thanh (tvu@usasean.org) and Ella Duangkaew (eduangkaew@usasean.org) with any questions or to express interest.

October 30-31: 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 on Tuesday, October 30 - Wednesday, October 31, and will consist of bilateral meetings with ASEAN Energy Ministers and relevant AMEM Dialogue Partners. Though the early bird deadline for registration passed on October 16, the Council is still accepting registrations. For more information, please contact Riley Smith (rsmith@usasean.org).

November 21: SME Workshop in Hai Phong, Vietnam
The Council is calling for members’ interest to participate in a full-day SME Workshop in Hai Phong, northern Vietnam’s biggest commercial and industrial hub and third most-populous city of the country. The workshop will focus on SMEs’ utilization of digital tools, integration to the global value chain, and exposure to regional markets. Information on members’ participation will follow. Please contact Vinsensius Kangen (vkangen@usasean.org) with any questions.

December 4-6: 2018 Business Mission to the 18th ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers Meeting
We are now registering senior level executives for our Business Mission to the 18th ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers Meeting (TELMIN) taking place on Tuesday, December 4 - Thursday, December 6 in Ubud, Indonesia. For more information, please contact Mario Masaya (mmasaya@usasean.org).

December 11-13: 2018 Business Mission to Myanmar
Please save the date for the Council's 2018 Business Mission to Myanmar, which will take place in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw from December 11-13. Official invitation and registration details will follow soon. If you have any questions, please contact Jack Myint at jmyint@usasean.org

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

CPV General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong Nominated to Assume Role of President of Vietnam
On October 3, 2018, the Communist Party of Vietnam's Central Committee unanimously agreed to nominate Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong as the sole candidate to be the next President of Vietnam. This decision follows the sudden passing of President Tran Dai Quang in September and the appointment of Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh to serve as the acting President. General Secretary Trong is currently holding the most powerful position in the country and if approved, he will become the country's first leader to be both head of state and the Communist Party since founding president Ho Chi Minh, who passed away while in power in 1969. The National Assembly of Vietnam is expected to vote on General Secretary Trong's nomination early next week during its session. While Trong has been nominated to take on the role of President in addition to his current role as Party General Secretary, it is not clear, if moving forward, the two roles will officially merge.

Although the presidential post is viewed as largely ceremonial, this proposed move would reduce the number of power centers in Vietnam and strengthen Trong's position over the country after he emerged victorious in a 2016 political power clash against former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. The move is unlikely to change the country's course or signal significant changes to the economic policies currently in place. However, some cautioned that there should be a mechanism to supervise power to avoid abuse.

Trong, who was born in Hanoi in 1944, studied Literature at Vietnam National University and spent many years working for the Communist Review, the political agency of Vietnam's Communist Party. In 1999, he became a standing member of the Politburo, the Party's decision-making body. In 2011, he became the General Secretary of the Party's Central Committee and was reelected for another five-year term in 2016.

During Trong's terms as General Secretary, the country witnessed an increased crackdown on corruption leading to numerous top government officials and business executives facing investigations and charges for financial mismanagement and embezzlement. Some of the most notable casualties of Trong's campaign include the disciplinary decision of former Minister of Trade Vu Huy Hoang and the conviction of Dinh La Thang, a widely prominent political figure in Vietnam. Minister Thang was a member of the Politburo and served as Minister of Transport and Communist Party Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City prior to his conviction. He is now serving 30 years in prison for violations when he was chairman of the state oil giant PetroVietnam.

Vietnam to Shift FDI Focus to High-Tech Projects
In the last decade, Vietnam's annual FDI inflows increased by nearly tenfold to outperform most regional rivals. However, in light of recent developments such as US-China Trade War, the rise of Industry 4.0 and increasing global integration, Vietnam is reviewing its FDI policies to prioritize high-tech and environmental friendly projects.

Despite maintaining a desirable market to foreign investors, Vietnam has lagged behind other countries in the region in terms of foreign investors' technology transfer to their domestic counterparts. In this field, Vietnam ranks 103rd, far behind Malaysia (13th), Thailand (36th), Indonesia (39th) and Cambodia (44th). Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung announced, among other things, that Vietnam will focus on boosting technology transfer in FDI attraction by selecting projects with advanced and environmentally friendly technologies. The Ministry's Director of Foreign Investment Agency Do Nhat Hoang further commented that Vietnam will concentrate on projects using modern technology, consuming less energy, optimizing natural resources and not causing pollution. The country will review its legal framework, especially regulations on the high-tech sector, and develop policies to assist domestic firms in upgrading their technology.

On October 4, the Vietnamese government organized a conference commemorating 30 years of FDI attraction in Vietnam, attracting thousands of participants. The conference successfully generated 24 foreign-invested projects worth of $10 billion. Renewable energy remains the focus of attention, accounting for over 50 percent of the total investment sum and 20 percent of the number of the projects. High-tech sector, supporting industry, and high-tech agriculture are also of high interest to many investors. The new projects offer clear evidence of foreign investors’ long-term commitments to Vietnam at the dawn of the Industry 4.0.

Up until now, Vietnam’s FDI attraction policies have focused on providing low labor costs and generous tax breaks for FDI firms. This led to the boom of series of industrial zones with FDI firms controlling knowledge and technology and Vietnam rendering low-skilled labor. However, investors have started to see the adversarial effect of the lack of a sufficient quantity of higher-skilled workers which limits their opportunities continuing leveraging assets in Vietnam by moving up the value chain in an era dominated by innovation and technology. Long term foreign investors are encouraged to recognize the important role of technology transfer and skill upgrading and the Government of Vietnam needs to update its policy and regulatory frameworks to incentivize the utilization of newer technologies in domestic business activities.

Vietnam to Discuss Ratification of CPTPP this Month
On October 17, the National Assembly (NA) of Vietnam, the country’s legislative body, will decide whether to discuss the ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) at its next biannual meeting which starts on October 22 and runs through November 20. The NA will make its decision after listening to presentations from Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and Chairman of the NA's Committee for External Relations Nguyen Van Giau. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had said that Vietnam will likely ratify the CPTPP this year.

With Australia's CPTPP ratification on October 17, Vietnam’s expected ratification by year end would be the fifth of six ratifications needed for the trade deal to go into effect. In addition to Australia, the CPTPP has also been ratified by Mexico, Japan and Singapore, while Canada's House of Commons voted to ratify the CPTPP on October 16, moving the vote to the Senate to finalize the process. If materialized, the trade agreement will reduce tariffs in countries that together make up more than 13 percent of the world economy and generate an additional $147 billion for the member countries.

In light of the U.S.–China trade war, countries are more encouraged to join the CPTPP as many companies are considering turning away from China and exploring for alternate options in the region. “Businesses are thinking where they are going to put their factories for the next decade or two,” said Asian Trade Center executive director Deborah Elms, and they will likely prefer a CPTPP member country due to the tariff benefits offered to members. The trade deal will open new opportunities and, more importantly, new markets. Prime Minister Phuc said that Vietnam welcomes countries which have announced interest in joining the CPTPP, such as Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand and the U.K.

The CPTPP is a renegotiated trade deal borne out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) after the U.S. withdrew from the TPP in January 2017. The 11 remaining countries renegotiated parts of the TPP, removed some of the U.S.’s demands and signed the revised CPTPP in March 2018. The trade deal would become effective 60 days after being ratified by at least half of its members (6 out of 11 countries), but its expansion must be approved later by all members.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Vietnam Law on Cybersecurity (LOCS) - Draft Implementation Decree
Following the Oct. 15 Call to Discuss Strategy for the Vietnam Law on Cybersecurity Draft Decrees, the Council plans to move forward with its proposed advocacy strategy, which is outlined below.

The Council has also learned that the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) issued another draft decree, dated Oct. 11. This is still an internal document and official release for public comments is likely to be next week (week of Oct. 22). There are no meaningful changes from the Oct. 3 draft regarding the most problematic chapters, specifically Chapters 1 & 5. Council staff has met with the Chairman of the Office of the Government and Minister of Planning and Investment, who were unaware of the draft decree, but willing to receive industry input. An English version of the draft decree will likely be distributed to members by the end of the week.

The Council’s proposed advocacy strategy seeks member sponsorship to commission a full analysis of the Sept. 5 and Oct. 11 draft implementation decrees. The deadline for the completion of this analysis is Oct. 22. The advocacy strategy also includes a consultative workshop and a door-knock mission to Hanoi. At the time of this update's release, both engagements are scheduled to take place from Oct. 24-26, with the workshop taking place on Oct. 25 morning in partnership with the Vietnam Digital Communications Association (VDCA).

Please contact Vu Tu Thanh (tvu@usasean.org) and Ella Duangkaew (eduangkaew@usasean.org) with any questions, or if you are interested in any of the engagement opportunities.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
US defense chief to pay second visit to Vietnam this year
Breakthroughs made in marine resource management
FDI might divert from Vietnam to Myanmar, Indonesia

National Affairs
Infected meat poisoned school kids in north Vietnam
Vietnam holds state funeral for former Party Chief Do Muoi
China, US, others pay tribute to Vietnam former Party chief Do Muoi
Vietnam nominates Communist Party chief to become president
Vietnam announces 2-day state mourning for former Party chief Do Muoi
Party chief nominated to assume President position
Vietnam nominates party chief as new president
Vietnam’s Party chief Trong presented as presidential candidate
Vietnam's ex-party chief Do Muoi, brains behind hardline economic reforms, dies aged 101
Vietnam performs int’l humanitarian mission through UN peacekeeping operations
Vietnam's former Communist Party Chief Do Muoi dies at 101
New entity set up to manage Vietnam government stakes in companies
PM successfully wraps up working trip for UNGA’s 73rd session

Market Development
As domestic market becomes saturated, dairy producers seek foreign markets
Online lending booms in Vietnam, but lack of regulations a worry
A ghost train to return to life in central Vietnam
Vinfast, set to be Vietnam's first domestic carmaker, gains $950 million credit line
Shrimp by-products called ‘gold mine’ for processing industry
FDI lays foundation for acceleration of oil and gas sector
Vietnamese dairy giant seeks new markets to offset local slump
More instant coffee brands join Vietnam’s market
Vietnam’s credit card market heats up with big players
Payment fintechs hunted by big tycoons
First made-in-Vietnam cars rolled out in record time
US, Japan keen to invest in Vietnam infrastructure
US looks to up innards export to Vietnam

Economics
Vietnam to discuss ratification of major free trade pact
Bottleneck stymies Vietnam from getting foreign tech transfer
FDI policy shift aims to support domestic firms
FDI inflow helps Vietnam modernize technology

Energy
Vietnam to open electricity wholesale market next year
Vietnam vows to heighten localization ratio of thermal power equipment
Foreign investors see more chance to step in Vietnam’s oil refinery
Challenges in coal supply for thermal power production
Dung Quat Bio-Ethanol to resume operations in mid-October
Multi-billion dollar oil refineries: SOEs quit, foreign investors jump in
Nearly $860mil. invested in solar power projects in Tay Ninh
Construction of Petrolimex oil refinery likely to end
Vietnam may hike power prices in 2019
Vietnam’s Solar Power Market
Solar and wind power get a boost in Vietnam
Construction launched on 39-MW solar project in Vietnam

Financial Services
Vietnam: Over-rapid bancassurance ops jeopardise insurers
Vietnam deals with its problem banks
Foreign investors eye Vietnam’s e-wallet market

Food & Agriculture
More favorable conditions created for tra fish exports
Agricultural by-products improve farmers’ income, benefit environment
EC scraps warning against VN seafood

Health & Life Sciences
Nobel-winning immunotherapy sees limited use in Vietnam
Investors set ambition in Vietnam’s drug distribution system
Electronic medical records prove their benefits in pilot project
Aging population presents challenges
Hà Nội health insurance fund running a deficit
Hanoi rapid alert system to tackle food safety violations
Disease season peaks in south
Hanoi readies healthcare for aging population
Increase on special consumption tax vital to reduce smoking
90 percent of Vietnamese want tobacco tax raised: survey
Vietnam ready for production of two influenza vaccines

ICT
Exclusive: Vietnam cyber law set for tough enforcement despite Google, Facebook pleas
Vietnam’s SMEs make technolgy their top priority, survey finds
Vietnam to open up telecom market for foreign investors
Vietnamese firm wins at Global Smart Cities Contest
Hà Nội promotes IT in citizen management
HCM City to study foreign policies on smart cities
Da Nang’s plan to get 'smart'

Market Regulation
Vietnam government to remove foreign ownership cap for public companies
Tax agency to inspect underperforming foreign firms
Vietnam to introduce criteria evaluating health of enterprises
E-commerce websites no longer required to register with Trade Ministry

Travel & Tourism
Vietnam’s tourism improvements see positive results
Vietnam to host first bike race through three countries
Vietnam-US direct flight plan delayed until 2020
Spike in Chinese tourists presents new challenges for Vietnam
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

US defense chief to pay second visit to Vietnam this year Vietnam Net Bridge 12th Oct 2018
The visit comes as the US is pushing a new strategy to ensure a “free and open Indo-Pacific” region with partners such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Breakthroughs made in marine resource management Vietnam Net Bridge 2nd Oct 2018
Vietnam has built a system of policies and laws on seas and islands during the 10-year implementation of the Maritime Strategy.

FDI might divert from Vietnam to Myanmar, Indonesia Vietnam Net 25th Sep 2018
The leader of the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) voiced concerns at a teleconference on September 24 that FDI inflows to Vietnam would not rise in the coming period with the recent emergence of Myanmar and Indonesia as competitors.

National Affairs

Infected meat poisoned school kids in north Vietnam VnExpress International 7th Oct 2018
An infection causing bacteria has been found in a school lunch that sickened 352 children in northern Vietnam last Friday.

Vietnam holds state funeral for former Party Chief Do Muoi VnExpress International 6th Oct 2018
The state funeral for Vietnam's former Party General Secretary received top officials, veterans and residents in Hanoi Saturday.

China, US, others pay tribute to Vietnam former Party chief Do Muoi VnExpress International 5th Oct 2018
Condolences have poured in for the passing of former General Secretary of Vietnam's Communist Party, Do Muoi.

Vietnam nominates Communist Party chief to become president Washington Post 4th Oct 2018
Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party has nominated its general secretary for the additional post of president, succeeding President Tran Dai Quang, who died last month, and ending a decades-long policy of separating top leadership positions.

Vietnam announces 2-day state mourning for former Party chief Do Muoi VnExpress International 4th Oct 2018
Vietnam has declared two days of official mourning on October 6 and 7 for former Pary General Secretary Do Muoi.

Party chief nominated to assume President position Vietnam News 3rd Oct 2018
All members of the 12th Communist Party of Việt Nam (CPV) Central Committee have agreed to nominate General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng as a candidate for the post of President, to be elected in the 14th National Assembly’s sixth session to be held later this month.

Vietnam nominates party chief as new president Reuters 3rd Oct 2018
Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party has agreed to nominate its General Secretary, Nguyen Phu Trong, as president of the Southeast Asian country, Vietnam’s government said on Wednesday.

Vietnam’s Party chief Trong presented as presidential candidate VnExpress International 3rd Oct 2018
The Party's Central Committee has nominated General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to be the country's next president.

Vietnam's ex-party chief Do Muoi, brains behind hardline economic reforms, dies aged 101 Straits Times 2nd Oct 2018
Vietnam's former Communist Party leader Do Muoi, a revolutionary who broke out of a French prison and later led the controversial push to dismantle private businesses after the Vietnam War, has died at age 101, officials said.

Vietnam performs int’l humanitarian mission through UN peacekeeping operations Vietnam Net 1st Oct 2018
Vietnam's participation in UN peacekeeping operations holds great international humanitarian significance and helps promote its image as a responsible member of the international community.

Vietnam's former Communist Party Chief Do Muoi dies at 101 Daily Herald 1st Oct 2018
Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Do Muoi, who worked against the French colonial government and became a committed communist, has died at age 101.

New entity set up to manage Vietnam government stakes in companies VnExpress International 1st Oct 2018
A committee has been set up to manage the government’s stakes of more than $43 billion in companies.

PM successfully wraps up working trip for UNGA’s 73rd session Vietnam Net Bridge 29th Sep 2018
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc arrived in Hanoi in the morning of September 29, successfully wrapping up his working visit to attend the High-Level General Debate of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Market Development

As domestic market becomes saturated, dairy producers seek foreign markets Vietnam Net Bridge 14th Oct 2018
Vinamilk and Nutifood have decided to enter foreign markets.

Online lending booms in Vietnam, but lack of regulations a worry VnExpress International 12th Oct 2018
P2P lending, or online lending, is growing rapidly in Vietnam, leaving experts worried over the lack of a legal framework for its regulation.

A ghost train to return to life in central Vietnam VnExpress International 10th Oct 2018
Vietnam has recently stepped up efforts to shore up the flagging railway sector, which has been mostly neglected by policy makers who preferred to focus on the car and aviation industries.

Vinfast, set to be Vietnam's first domestic carmaker, gains $950 million credit line VnExpress International 10th Oct 2018
VinFast said it has secured a 12-year credit facility for as much as $950 million to help buy machinery and equipment from German suppliers.

Shrimp by-products called ‘gold mine’ for processing industry Vietnam Net Bridge 4th Oct 2018
An international conference was held in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on October 3 to discuss ways to improve the value of shrimp by-products in Vietnam.

FDI lays foundation for acceleration of oil and gas sector Vietnam Net Bridge 4th Oct 2018
Since the Vietnamese Government and Italian contractor AGIP signed the first production sharing contract in 1978, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the oil and gas sector has not only brought large revenue to the country but also laid important foundations for the sector to develop strongly.

Vietnamese dairy giant seeks new markets to offset local slump Vietnam Net Bridge 3rd Oct 2018
Viet Nam’s biggest dairy firm Vinamilk is eyeing foreign markets in the hopes of offseting the declining growth in the local market.

More instant coffee brands join Vietnam’s market Vietnam Net Bridge 3rd Oct 2018
The instant coffee market, including capsules and pods, is heating up, but analysts believe there are still opportunities for newcomers.

Vietnam’s credit card market heats up with big players Vietnam Net Bridge 2nd Oct 2018
Competition in the country’s credit card market has become stiffer as more big players join large domestic banks and finance companies in the race to gain shares in the potential market.

Payment fintechs hunted by big tycoons Vietnam Net 2nd Oct 2018
Many M&A deals have been reported recently which target fintechs operating in the field of payment services. Big investors are behind the deals.

First made-in-Vietnam cars rolled out in record time VnExpress International 2nd Oct 2018
Vietnam’s first car maker VinFast Tuesday impressed industry insiders by rolling out its very first products in record time.

US, Japan keen to invest in Vietnam infrastructure VnExpress International 27th Sep 2018
Vietnam’s plans for building and expanding airports and seaports have attracted the interest of companies in the U.S. and Japan.

US looks to up innards export to Vietnam VnExpress International 27th Sep 2018
A U.S. agency wants the Vietnamese government to allow it to sell more pig organs not consumed at home.

Economics

Vietnam to discuss ratification of major free trade pact VnExpress International 15th Oct 2018
Vietnam is set to discuss ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership this month.

Bottleneck stymies Vietnam from getting foreign tech transfer Vietnam Net Bridge 11th Oct 2018
A lack of skilled professionals is considered a main cause hindering Vietnam to get technology transfer from foreign direct investment (FDI) firms, experts said.

FDI policy shift aims to support domestic firms Vietnam Net Bridge 4th Oct 2018
Viet Nam will institute new policies designed to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) by boosting the development of local companies and setting up value chains driven by advanced technologies.

FDI inflow helps Vietnam modernize technology Vietnam Net Bridge 3rd Oct 2018
The inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) has helped Vietnam access advanced technology in the world, said Director of the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment Do Nhat Hoang.

Energy

Vietnam to open electricity wholesale market next year Vietnam Net Bridge 15th Oct 2018
The competitive electricity wholesale market will be fully operational starting in 2019 following a successful year-long pilot period.

Vietnam vows to heighten localization ratio of thermal power equipment Vietnam Net Bridge 14th Oct 2018
Mechanical engineering is considered the backbone of the national economy. However, after many years of development, the industry can only satisfy 32 percent of domestic demand.

Foreign investors see more chance to step in Vietnam’s oil refinery Vietnam Net Bridge 9th Oct 2018
The recent withdrawal of Vietnamese groups from billion-dollar oil refinery projects is paving the way for potential foreign investors, especially those from Thailand and China, to jump in the industry.

Challenges in coal supply for thermal power production Vietnam Net Bridge 9th Oct 2018
As thermal power accounts for the largest proportion of Vietnam’s energy production, the country is facing challenges to ensure sufficient supply of coal for thermal power plants in the coming years.

Dung Quat Bio-Ethanol to resume operations in mid-October Vietnam Net Bridge 8th Oct 2018
Dung Quat Bio-Ethanol Fuel factory invested by PetroVietnam Central Biofuels JSC (BSR-BF) will resume operations in mid-October, contributing to increasing E5 fuel supply and decreasing retail prices.

Multi-billion dollar oil refineries: SOEs quit, foreign investors jump in Vietnam Net Bridge 8th Oct 2018
Because of limited financial capability, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have decided to quit multi-billion dollar oil refinery projects.

Nearly $860mil. invested in solar power projects in Tay Ninh Vietnam Net Bridge 3rd Oct 2018
The southern province of Tay Ninh lured nearly 20 trillion VND (858 million USD) from eight investors to implement 10 solar power projects with a combined capacity of 808 MW by the end of September.

Construction of Petrolimex oil refinery likely to end Vietnam Net Bridge 3rd Oct 2018
Concerns over potential oversupply has driven Petrolimex to halt construction, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

Vietnam may hike power prices in 2019 Vietnam Net Bridge 2nd Oct 2018
The move is necessary for Vietnam Electricity to cover an incurred cost of VND20.73 trillion (US$892.18 million) in the 2018 - 2019 period, stated the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) on its website.

Vietnam’s Solar Power Market Vietnam Briefing News 28th Sep 2018
Vietnam’s energy demand is predicted to increase by over 10 percent by 2020, while energy consumption is projected to increase four-fold by 2030 compared to 2014. To meet the growing demand which cannot be fulfilled by sources like coal and hydro, the government is promoting other renewable sources such as biomass, solar and wind to reduce the gap between demand and supply.

Solar and wind power get a boost in Vietnam Asian Power 26th Sep 2018
Investment in the country's utilities is rising, marked by B.Grimm Power's $34m investment in a 420MW project. When B.Grimm Power agreed to pay $34m to buy a stake in a 420MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project in southwest Vietnam in July 2018, it became one of the new solar power projects marking the surge of investment in the country.

Construction launched on 39-MW solar project in Vietnam Renewables Now 25th Sep 2018
The construction of a 39-MW solar park was initiated last week in the Vietnamese province of Binh Thuan, with commissioning scheduled for April next year.

Financial Services

Vietnam: Over-rapid bancassurance ops jeopardise insurers Asia Insurance Review 4th Oct 2018
Rapid growth of bancassurance activities could cause insurers to have to pay compensation to customers due to mistakes made by bank employees, who serve as insurance consultants. Data of insurance companies show that by July 2018, the new premium revenue through bancassurance reached over VND2.86trn ($122m), an increase of 12% compared to the corresponding period in 2017 and accounting for about 20% of the market’s total new premium revenue, according to a Vietnam News report.

Vietnam deals with its problem banks Euromoney 1st Oct 2018
Dozens of bankers and company officials in Vietnam have been jailed or sentenced to death for financial crimes including fraud and mismanagement recently. The sweep is part of a government crackdown on corruption and poor lending practices that led to a surge in non-performing loans.

Foreign investors eye Vietnam’s e-wallet market Vietnam Net 25th Sep 2018
Foreign investors have poured into Viet Nam’s e-wallet sector as they see huge growth potential in the market in the wake of the Government’s plan to reduce cash payments to below 10 per cent of the total payment transaction by 2020.

Food & Agriculture

More favorable conditions created for tra fish exports Vietnam Net Bridge 9th Oct 2018
Tra fish prices in the Mekong Delta region have been on the rise since late September, as local traders have stepped up purchasing and processing tra fish for export to the United States and China following the lowering of trade barriers imposed on Vietnamese tra fish in these key markets, the local media reported.

Agricultural by-products improve farmers’ income, benefit environment Vietnam News 29th Sep 2018
The use of agricultural by-products for feeding livestock and as substrate for other crops has helped farmers around the country earn extra incomes while also protecting the environment.

EC scraps warning against VN seafood Vietnam News 26th Sep 2018
Việt Nam’s seafood industry hopes to get a “green card” from the European Commission soon after succeeding in its efforts to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, but fishermen’s attitudes need to be addressed, a conference heard in HCM City yesterday.

Health & Life Sciences

Nobel-winning immunotherapy sees limited use in Vietnam Vietnam Net Bridge 10th Oct 2018
A Nobel prize-winning therapy offers a beacon of hope for the mounting number of cancer patients in Vietnam, however, doctors caution that expectations should be tempered.

Investors set ambition in Vietnam’s drug distribution system Vietnam Net Bridge 3rd Oct 2018
More investors have planned to take part in the country’s medicine retail system through merger and acquisition (M&A), expecting to gain higher value from owning completed chains from production to distribution.

Electronic medical records prove their benefits in pilot project Vietnam News 3rd Oct 2018
Keeping medical records in an electronic database brings benefits to citizens and healthcare facilities, experts have concluded thanks to a pilot project launched in June.

Aging population presents challenges Vietnam News 2nd Oct 2018
Responding to population aging should be a priority issue and require timely measures to prepare for more older people in the coming years. Read more at http://vietnamnews.vn/society/467015/aging-population-presents-challenge...

Hà Nội health insurance fund running a deficit Vietnam News 26th Sep 2018
Hà Nội’s health insurance fund suffered a deficit of more than VNĐ500 billion (US$21.4 million) in the first half of this year, according to Nguyễn Đức Hòa, director of Hà Nội Social Insurance.

Hanoi rapid alert system to tackle food safety violations Vietnam Net 1st Oct 2018
The People’s Committee of Hà Nội has approved a plan to deploy a rapid alert system on food safety for the 2018-20 period.

Disease season peaks in south Vietnam Net 28th Sep 2018
Hospitals in the southern region have admitted many patients diagnosed with hand-foot-mouth disease, measles or upper respiratory infections as the peak season (September and October) for contagious diseases has arrived.

Hanoi readies healthcare for aging population Vietnam Net 28th Sep 2018
It is believed that Vietnamese people in their old age should live with their children under one roof to receive their offspring’s care. Taking care of parents is also a sign of piety. Today, however, as grown-up children lead busy lives and pursue ambitious careers in cities far from their hometowns, many old people are left lonely.

Increase on special consumption tax vital to reduce smoking Vietnam Net 27th Sep 2018
The new cigarette tax rate of 5,000 VND (0.2 USD) per pack will help reduce the rate of tobacco consumption and increase the State budget, health experts have said.

90 percent of Vietnamese want tobacco tax raised: survey VnExpress International 27th Sep 2018
Most Vietnamese want the tax on tobacco raised as a means to reduce smoking, a survey has found.

Vietnam ready for production of two influenza vaccines Vietnam Net 25th Sep 2018
The Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) has completed the clinical trials of two types of seasonal influenza vaccine, which are expected to receive approval for commercial use in 2019, said Dr Le Van Be, head of the institute.

ICT

Exclusive: Vietnam cyber law set for tough enforcement despite Google, Facebook pleas Reuters 10th Oct 2018
Vietnam is preparing to strictly enforce a new cybersecurity law requiring global technology companies to set up local offices and store data locally despite pleas from Facebook, Google and other firms, a government document showed.

Vietnam’s SMEs make technolgy their top priority, survey finds The Nation 9th Oct 2018
Technology is the top investment priority of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Vietnam as they aim to ensure continued growth, according to the Asean SME Transformation Study. The study, by Singapore’s United Overseas Bank (UOB), EY and Dun & Bradstreet, found that close to three in five Vietnamese SMEs favour investments in technology over traditional areas such as factories or machinery as they seek growth opportunities in the digital economy.

Vietnam to open up telecom market for foreign investors Hanoi Times 7th Oct 2018
Vietnam’s commitments to increase foreign equity caps in the telecommunications sectors under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will ease European investors to enter the country’s industry. Under the EVFTA, which is expected to take effect next year, in the telecom sector, Vietnam will raise the foreign equity cap in non-facilities based virtual private network services from the current 70 percent to 75 percent.

Vietnamese firm wins at Global Smart Cities Contest Vietnam News 2nd Oct 2018
The Advanced International JSC (AIC Group) of Việt Nam has won the “World’s Best Smart National Concept and Model” award at the Global Smart Cities Contest 2018.

Hà Nội promotes IT in citizen management Vietnam News 1st Oct 2018
Each citizen will be issued with a new identity card and a 12-digit NI number, which incorporates all basic personal information, some of which is currently recorded in household registration books.

HCM City to study foreign policies on smart cities Vietnam News 29th Sep 2018
Nearly 200 delegates, including those from the US, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, discussed ways to help HCM City build a smart city.

Da Nang’s plan to get 'smart' Vietnam Net 26th Sep 2018
Nguyen Quang Thanh, director of the Da Nang Department of Information and Communication, talks to Nhân dân (People) newspaper on Da Nang’s plan to transform into a smart city.

Market Regulation

Vietnam government to remove foreign ownership cap for public companies Vietnam Net Bridge 8th Oct 2018
Vietnam seeks to ease foreign investors in pouring into its public companies, considering lifting the foreign stake holding limit at the companies from the current 49 percent to 100 percent.

Tax agency to inspect underperforming foreign firms Vietnam Net Bridge 8th Oct 2018
The General Department of Taxation has been reviewing press information about foreign firms continuously reporting loss to have inspection plan in the upcoming time.

Vietnam to introduce criteria evaluating health of enterprises Vietnam Net Bridge 3rd Oct 2018
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has recently approved a project to build a set of criteria to evaluate the corporate development of the country and of each province and city separately.

E-commerce websites no longer required to register with Trade Ministry Vietnam Net Bridge 3rd Oct 2018
Organisations and individuals using e-commerce websites will not be required to notify or register with the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) from October 18.

Travel & Tourism

Vietnam’s tourism improvements see positive results Vietnam Net Bridge 9th Oct 2018
According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), 1.3 million foreign travelers came to Vietnam in August, up by 11.3 percent over July, while 10.5 million were here in the first eight months of the year, an increase of 22.8 percent over the same period last year.

Vietnam to host first bike race through three countries VnExpress International 3rd Oct 2018
The annual Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Bike Race will go international for the first time by including Laos and Cambodia on its routes. The race will last 12 days, from December 10 to 22.

Vietnam-US direct flight plan delayed until 2020 Vietnam Net Bridge 2nd Oct 2018
The Ministry of Transportation is collecting comments on the draft of a plan to enhance aviation connectivity with tourist markets.

Spike in Chinese tourists presents new challenges for Vietnam VnExpress International 27th Sep 2018
Vietnam has to handle issues like new payment methods and 'zero dong tours' to actually reap the benefits of the great inflow of Chinese tourists.