Vietnam Update: January 11, 2019

Vietnam Update | January 11, 2019
Authors: Hai Pham, Ella Duangkaew and David Mineo
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

January 15-18: Business Mission to the ASEAN Tourism Ministers’ Meeting
The Council will lead a delegation of senior-level executives on its Business Mission to the 22nd Meeting of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers (M-ATM) in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam on January 16-18. This will be the Council's second travel and tourism mission following its inaugural mission to Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2018. The mission will consist of a plenary consultation session and bilateral meetings with ASEAN Tourism Ministers. For more information, please contact Lilibeth P. Almonte-Arbez (lalmonte@usasean.org) and Steven Gunawan (sgunawan@usasean.org).

March 12-14: 2019 Vietnam Business Mission
Please save the date for the 2019 Vietnam Business Mission on Tuesday – Thursday, March 12-14 in Hanoi. More details including registration information will be sent our to members soon. For questions or to express interest, please contact Hai Pham at hpham@usasean.org and Vu Tu Thanh at tvu@usasean.org

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

CPTPP to Take Effect in Vietnam on January 14
On January 14, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will go into effect in Vietnam. It is expected to bring major benefits for the country’s economy, as well as considerable changes for both its domestic market and legal framework. According to the country’s Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), the CPTPP will boost Vietnam’s GDP by 1.3-2.0%, exports by 4% and imports by 3.8% by 2035. This growth would be largely due to Vietnam’s improved access, under the CPTPP, to markets with lower tariffs, as well as countries with which Vietnam does not have an FTA, namely Canada, Mexico and Peru. Sectors projected to benefit the most include the garment and textile sector and other labor-intensive industries.

In 2019, the CPTPP will be an important driving force to accelerate the process of economic restructuring in Vietnam, helping to push the business and investment environment of the country to become more open and transparent. As the country works to realize its commitments under the agreement, the Vietnamese Government will have to adjust and amend many laws, decrees and other legal documents to bring the country’s legal framework closer to international standards. The Vietnamese Government will have to pay close attention to amending legal provisions related to trade, customs, intellectual property, data flow and labor. Of particular concern is Vietnam's new Law on Cybersecurity, which includes an implementation decree with articles on data localization requirements that would directly violate certain provisions under the CPTPP. Although Vietnam has entered into side agreements with some countries to postpone the implementation of the above provisions under CTTPP for five years, a government decree, which is expected to be valid for years, should be consistent with Vietnam’s commitments under international agreements. 

Moving forward, Vietnamese domestic companies will also need to make adjustments as they face strong competition from foreign firms, especially in reducing costs and improving quality. As one of the markets with the most to gain from the CPTPP, Vietnam has a lot to do in 2019 before it can fully gain from the benefits of the 11-country agreement, which is one of the most comprehensive trade deals ever concluded. On January 18, the Government of Vietnam will hold its first official seminar (hosted by the Ministry of Industry & Trade, VN Express, and the Private Sector Development Research Committee) in Hanoi to provide an overview of the CPTPP opportunities and challenges for Vietnam, offering different angles from different stakeholders. 

Vietnam to Develop Code of Conduct for Social Networks
On December 11, 2018, Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) convened a conference to discuss the development of a code of conduct that will be used to regulate the behavior of users on social media platforms. Specifically, the code of conduct will revolve around four principles outlined in the meeting: respect, responsibility, effectiveness, and safety. The conference in Hanoi was followed three days later with a similarly-themed conference in Ho Chi Minh City.

According to Deputy Minister Hoang Vinh Bao, while MIC recognizes the value of social media, there is a need to develop standards by which the behavior of its users could be properly managed and the perceived negative side effects of social media mitigated. Chairman of the Vietnam Internet Association Vu Hoang Lien also asserted that the code will guard against “unethical behavior.” This may be a possible reference to activities such as online hate speech, but without a clear definition could extend to cover other types of speech, as well.

In the past, social media rights groups have characterized the language of Vietnam’s cybersecurity regulations as vague and have highlighted the risk of their indiscriminate application. However, the code of conduct contains rules and guidelines with which users and service provides are either required or urged to comply, though these have yet to be enumerated in detail. Mr. Do Quy Vu, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Information and Communications Strategy (an administrative unit under MIC), has also announced that a separate code or set of codes will govern the behavior of State employees.

Mr. Do has sought to allay previous concerns that the code of conduct may interfere with civil liberties and business operations, and further insisted that the code would not discriminate between domestic and foreign users or service providers. Additionally, Mr. Do has indicated that violators of the code will not be sanctioned.

The code also underscores that user data—including ID cards, passports, and bank accounts—will be recognized as Vietnam’s digital resources and will be protected under its cybersecurity regulations. Mr. Do contends the code is to be compliant with international standards.

The stipulations in the code of conduct appear to reiterate the mandates in Vietnam’s Law on Cybersecurity, which recently went into effect on January 1, 2019. The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) has suggested the law will be used to bolster cybersecurity; however, global companies from all sectors have expressed concern that the cybersecurity law may impede innovation and have cited the law’s provisions on data localization and content restriction as particular causes for concern. While MIC is traditionally less restrictive and more focused on enabling innovation and investment compared to MPS, it may be concerning if this code of conduct supports and extends the provisions of the Law on Cybersecurity, particularly in a way that is targeted to social media companies. While full details of the content of the code of conduct have yet to be publicized, the core principles and affirmation that user data is “protected” under the country’s cybersecurity regulations suggest alignment between the code and the law. While it appears the code will not be as strictly enforced as the law, particularly because “violators will not be sanctioned,” it does indicate that MIC is supportive of the law on cybersecurity, and may further its activities to tightly control internet content and data, particularly on social media platforms.

 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Multilateral Trade Agreements
CPTPP to drive institutional reforms in Vietnam

Regional Affairs
Deputy PM shows elation at flourishing Vietnam-US ties
CPTPP to cause dramatic changes in domestic market in 2019
Vietnamese, Lao PMs co-chair meeting of inter-government committee

National Affairs
NA Standing committee to convene 30th session on Jan 10
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc lays out six major tasks for 2019
Party, State leader warns of complacency
Party Central Committee’s 9th plenary session closes
PM assigns tasks for ASEAN 2020 goal
NA Chairwoman urges for better role of young entrepreneurs association

Customs
Inshore shipping routes prove competitive edge
One-stop shop mechanisms decree to ease customs procedures
70 percent of firms ask for simplified customs procedures: survey
Firms more satisfied with customs: survey
Logistics industry faces labour shortage
Over 32,000 tonnes of colour-coated iron exempted from safeguard measures
Businesses pleased with customs procedures but say more reforms needed
New FTAs ignite Vietnam’s motivation for reforms
European Parliament delegation prepares to ratify forestry agreement with Việt Nam
Vietnam awaits EVFTA and launch of new era
Afraid of potential EU tariffs, exporters and millers buy less rice

Defense & Security
Resolution issued on building army’s Party committee in 2019
Vietnam plans to set up weapons manufacturer
Peacekeeping force affirms Vietnam’s position

Economics
Vietnam's economy to grow by 6.7-6.9 percent in 2019
CPTPP to raise national GDP
Việt Nam Economic Forum to discuss solutions for rapid but sustainable growth
Enhance accountability for SOEs: PM
Exporters advised to follow origin regulations
VN to keep outperforming region: Fitch Solutions
Building on 2018 successes, 2019 will be a year of ’breakthroughs’: PM Phúc
GDP growth rate highest in 11 years

Energy
Power shortages predicted for Southern region in 2021
MoIT proposes to resolve Thái Bình 2 power plant’s difficulties
PM underlines tasks for environment sector in 2019
New FiT mechanisms to bolster renewables
Solar plants face a consumption crisis
Closed-loop waste processing could solve Việt Nam’s waste problems: experts
IAEA helps Vietnam plan for new reactor
Solar rooftop panels ease thirst for power
Vietnam Mining group looks to higher revenue in 2019

Financial Services
VN central bank resumes dollar purchases to build up foreign reserve
Vietcombank to sell shares to fund capital hike
SBV sets 2019 credit growth target at 14 per cent
Central bank issues roadmap for ATM card upgrades
New circular on securities-related service prices
Life insurance to grow at 25 per cent: forecast
Government intensifies support for non-cash payment methods

Food & Agriculture
Provinces take action against disease outbreaks among cattle, poultry
Cash promised for rural start-ups
Mekong Delta aims for high-quality agriculture in 2019
Farmer finds success with agricultural programme
Rubber exports rise in volume but decrease in value
VN could face tra fish oversupply
Ten outstanding achievements in agriculture, rural development in 2018
Further steps needed to control food safety: Deputy PM
Việt Nam faces challenges in ensuring water security
VN should become one of the world’s top 15 most developed agriculture nations

Health & Life Sciences
Health insurance fund to cover several Hepatitis C drugs
Pharma sector expects solid growth
Pharmaceutical firms capitalizing on Park Hang-seo fever in Vietnam

ICT
More than 50 per cent of IT companies need to recruit heavily in 2019
Trends in VN’s network safety, security
HCM City partners with UK in building smart city
Việt Nam to test 5G mobile network this year
Việt Nam to introduce code of conduct on social networks

Infrastructure
Road tests target container trucks
Quảng Trị gets PM approval for $614 million port project
Construction ministry to focus on social housing

Legislation
Justice Ministry should be “goalkeeper” of Government in legal issues: PM
NA Office urged to conduct more reforms
Red tape to be cut nationwide in 2019
Vietnam’s new laws become effective since January 1, 2019

Manufacturing
Chinese aluminum a big threat to Vietnam’s manufacturing
Auto manufacturers reduce production, increase imports
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Multilateral Trade Agreements

CPTPP to drive institutional reforms in Vietnam Fibre 2 Fashion 7th Jan 2019
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), effective since December 30, may push Vietnam to reform its economic institutions and improve the business climate to optimise opportunities. CPTPP will offer Vietnam better access to the nine large Asia-Pacific markets, thus helping diversification of markets, experts feel. As more than 90 per cent of import tariffs in CPTPP member markets have been lifted immediately after the deal took effect, it has opened up opportunities for Vietnamese goods to enter new markets, according to a Vietnamese newspaper report.

Regional Affairs

Deputy PM shows elation at flourishing Vietnam-US ties VOV 8th Jan 2019
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh expressed his delight at the substantial progress in Vietnam-US relations in 2018 while receiving US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink in Hanoi on January 8.

CPTPP to cause dramatic changes in domestic market in 2019 VOV 8th Jan 2019
The domestic market is expected to see considerable changes in 2019 as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) becomes effective from January 14, according to market watchers.

Vietnamese, Lao PMs co-chair meeting of inter-government committee vietnamnews.vn 7th Jan 2019
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith co-chaired the 41st session of the Việt Nam-Laos Inter-Governmental Committee in Hà Nội on Sunday. PM Phúc expressed his delight at the positive development of traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive co-operation between Việt Nam and Laos in diverse areas over the recent past.

National Affairs

NA Standing committee to convene 30th session on Jan 10 VOV 8th Jan 2019
NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and NA Vice Chairpersons will preside over discussions at the one-day session. Within the framework of the agenda, members of the committee will give ideas on a number of issues ofthe draft revised Law on Execution of Criminal Judgments, consider and decide the list of members of the national council for judge selection and supervision.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc lays out six major tasks for 2019 Vietnam Net 2nd Jan 2019
In an article issued on the first day of 2019, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc laid out six major tasks that ministries, agencies, sectors and localities must focus on throughout the year.

Party, State leader warns of complacency vietnamnews.vn 29th Dec 2018
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam and President Nguyễn Phú Trọng acknowledged Viet Nam’s 2018 socio-economic development achievements but warned against self-satisfaction at the Government’s meeting with localities yesterday. Trọng noted the country still faced many difficulties and challenges due to unpredictable regional and global developments and latent risks in the world economy, especially in finance, monetary and exports due to impacts of trade wars, along with problems in the economy and social affairs.

Party Central Committee’s 9th plenary session closes vietnamnews.vn 27th Dec 2018
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee, President Nguyễn Phú Trọng on Wednesday urged the members of the CPV Central Committee, soldiers and people nationwide to build on past achievements, and create a new driving force to accomplish tasks for 2019 and those set by the 12th National Party Congress. He made the call in his speech at the closing of a two-day meeting of the central committee in Hà Nội, saying that 2019 will play an important role in realising the resolution adopted by the 12th National Party Congress, the 2016-20 socio-economic development plan and preparing for the 13th National Party Congress.

PM assigns tasks for ASEAN 2020 goal vietnamnews.vn 25th Dec 2018
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc expressed his hope the National ASEAN 2020 Committee would help Việt Nam successfully take up the role as chair of ASEAN in the next two years. To achieve this, the PM outlined goals needed to achieve the position, which are ensuring safety, security and protocol; and the successful promotion of the nation’s cultural identity.

NA Chairwoman urges for better role of young entrepreneurs association vietnamnews.vn 24th Dec 2018
National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân has urged the Việt Nam Association of Young Entrepreneurs to gather and unite members to help them develop. Speaking to outstanding representatives of the association in Hà Nội on Sunday on their 25th anniversary, Ngân asked them to suggest and recommend to the Party and the State the right guidelines and policies to create a more favourable business environment for companies, encouraging the maximum dedication of young entrepreneurs to the country.

Customs

Inshore shipping routes prove competitive edge Vietnam Net 9th Jan 2019
In 2014, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) opened two inshore shipping routes linking the northernmost coastal province of Quang Ninh with central Quang Binh province, and Quang Binh with the southern coastal province of Kien Giang. The move aimed to capitalise on the nationwide river and canal network to use river-sea cargo vessels (VR-SB) to carry goods from rivers and canals in the mainland and then along the coast to reach destinations nationwide, a revolution in the country’s water transport industry. Director of the Vietnam Inland Waterways Administration (VIWA) Hoang Hong Giang said there are 124 river mouths nationwide with about 30 eligible for river-sea transport. This type of transport was not developed in the past due to regulatory barriers.

One-stop shop mechanisms decree to ease customs procedures VOV 9th Jan 2019
A pending decree on the implementation of the national and ASEAN one-stop shop customs mechanisms would certainly ease bureaucracy and cut red tape regarding the realization of import and export procedures, according to a customs official.

70 percent of firms ask for simplified customs procedures: survey Vietnam Net 9th Jan 2019
The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in collaboration with the General Department of Vietnam Customs, and the US Agency for International Development conducted the survey to make a 2018 report on business satisfaction concerning administrative procedures for import and export activities. According to the report, 56 percent and 53 percent of the surveyed firms faced difficulties in looking for information about the procedures and in checking the codes of their submitted documents, respectively. Some 53 percent of them suggested relevant agencies increase their application of IT technologies, while 43 percent asked for boosted customs openness and transparency as well as better performances of public personnel. Approximately 30 percent recommended the customs sector improve its infrastructure system.

Firms more satisfied with customs: survey vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2019
Businesses have been increasingly satisfied when dealing with administrative procedures in export-import activities. However, more reforms are needed to further facilitate firms’ operation, heard attendants at a conference in Hà Nội on Tuesday. The Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in collaboration with the General Department of Việt Nam Customs, and the US Agency for International Development conducted the survey as part of a 2018 report on business satisfaction concerning administrative procedures for import and export activities.

Logistics industry faces labour shortage Vietnam Net 7th Jan 2019
There are about 300,000 enterprises involved the logistics sector, with a workforce of around 1.5 million, according to the Vietnam Supply Chain Association. However, this labour force only meets about 40 percent of the demand of the industry. At a recent international seminar in Hanoi on training and developing logistics human resources in Vietnam, experts expressed concerns that logistics personnel is still in short supply, not to mention their low qualifications and a lack of professionalism.

Over 32,000 tonnes of colour-coated iron exempted from safeguard measures vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2019
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has decided to lift safeguard measures from imports of colour-coated iron for 11 enterprises, totalling more than 32,000 tonnes, in 2019. On May 31, 2017, the MoIT issued Decision No 1931/QĐ-BCT applying safeguards on colour-coated iron sheets imported from various countries and territories.

Businesses pleased with customs procedures but say more reforms needed Nhân Dân Online 8th Jan 2019
The survey was conducted on more than 3,000 enterprises from domestic private companies, foreign-invested firms and state-owned enterprises, covering such aspects as access to information, the service of customs officers and goods inspections. The satisfactory levels of the business community towards the customs sector have improved in most aspects, said VCCI’s head of legal affairs Dau Anh Tuan. He elaborated that 91% of the surveyed enterprises considered that the information provided by customs agencies was consistent and 90% reported that the available customs information was easy to find. The respective figures for 2015 were 77% and 81%. Nevertheless, enterprises said that there were still many obstacles in implementing export-import procedures, with 56% reporting finding it difficult to learn about customs procedures. VCCI President Vu Tien Loc stated that the relevant state agencies need to further simplify administrative reform, step up IT application and increase transparency to facilitate enterprises, thereby boosting export and import activities in 2019 and the subsequent years.

New FTAs ignite Vietnam’s motivation for reforms Vietnam Net 7th Jan 2019
Experts believed new FTAs will be an important driving force to help Vietnam accelerate its domestic institutional reforms, thus promoting the operation of the market economy in a comprehensive way and creating a more open and transparent business and investment environment. “The commitments in the CPTPP related to services and investment will have a positive effect in improving the investment environment, contributing to maintaining the growth momentum of domestic and foreign investment,” Khanh said.

European Parliament delegation prepares to ratify forestry agreement with Việt Nam Vietnam News 7th Jan 2019
A European Parliament (EP) delegation is in Hà Nội to prepare for the ratification of a bilateral agreement on forestry that would promote trade in verified legal timber products from Việt Nam to the EU and other markets. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường chaired the meeting with the EP Vice President Heidi Hautala yesterday, saying that the signing of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade between Việt Nam and the EU offers a chance for the Southeast Asian nation to restructure the sector towards a transparent production chain, from materials to processing and trading, Cường stressed.

Vietnam awaits EVFTA and launch of new era Vietnam Net 5th Jan 2019
Bruno Angelet, Ambassador and head of the European Union Delegation to ­Vietnam, told VIR that the European Council is now considering the signing of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which will then be submitted to the European Parliament for adoption. In October 2018 the ­European Commission (EC) adopted the EVFTA and the EU-Vietnam Investment ­Protection Agreement (IPA). The two texts were then submitted to the ­European Council the ­following month for official signature. “Now in Brussels, member states in the council are reviewing the agreement and we hope that by February or March 2019, they can ­endorse the deal. I am sure the deal will be signed,” ­Angelet confirmed. “If everything goes smoothly, EU Trade ­Commissioner Cecilia ­Malmström will come to Vietnam for the signing.”

Afraid of potential EU tariffs, exporters and millers buy less rice Khmer Times 25th Dec 2018
Local rice exporter and millers will buy significantly less paddy rice this year as they await the European Union’s final decision on whether or not to impose tariffs on Cambodian rice, industry insiders say. In March, the European Commission launched an investigation to see if imports of semi-milled and milled Indica rice from Cambodia and Myanmar resulted in serious difficulties to EU producers of similar or competing products. On December 4, a vote on whether to impose tariffs on Cambodian and Burmese rice was held, with EU members failing to come to a consensus. As a result, the European Commission was task with issuing a final decision on the subject by early next month. The EU is looking at imposing tariffs over the next three years: 175 euros ($199.5) per ton during the first year, 150 euros ($171) in the second year, and 125 euros ($142.5) in the last.

Defense & Security

Resolution issued on building army’s Party committee in 2019 vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2019
The Central Military Commission held a conference in Hà Nội yesterday to issue a resolution directing the fulfillment of national defence and military tasks, along with building the army’s Party committee. General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam’s Central Committee and President Nguyễn Phú Trọng, who is also Secretary of the Central Military Commission, praised the efforts of the Việt Nam People’s Army in 2018 which, he said, have greatly contributed to socio-economic development, political stability, and national defence-security.

Vietnam plans to set up weapons manufacturer Vietnam Net 5th Jan 2019
Vietnam has outlined a series of plans for strengthening the military in the 2018-2025 period with the establishment of an armament manufacturing and repair corporation, heard at a press conference held by the Ministry of Defense in Hanoi earlier this week.

Peacekeeping force affirms Vietnam’s position Vietnam Net 2nd Jan 2019
The Vietnam Peacekeeping Centre under the Defence Ministry was established in December 2013 and upgraded to become the Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations in January 2018. It has facilitated the training of human resources for the mission. Vietnam began joining in UN peacekeeping operations in 2014. In its initial years, the country sent staff and liaison officers and observers to several African nations, including South Sudan and the Central African Republic. In October 2018, Vietnam’s first level-2 field hospital, the first-ever independent unit of Vietnam to join the UN peacekeeping mission, deployed two groups of 63 personnel to South Sudan. On October 1, the first group with 32 members set off for the African country. The second group with 31 doctors left Ho Chi Minh City for the mission on October 15.

Economics

Vietnam's economy to grow by 6.7-6.9 percent in 2019 Vietnam Net 9th Jan 2019
Associate Professor Nguyen Duc Trung, who was in charge of compiling the report, said the 11-year record growth of 7.08 percent last year was made possible by macro-economic stability, inflation kept below 4 percent for the third three consecutive year, and an improving business climate. According to a survey by the General Statistics Office, 85.1 percent of enterprises lauded the improved business environment in the first quarter of 2019, compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. The Purchasing Managers’ Index reached 56.6 point in November 2018, the highest among ASEAN member states, while the sustainable development index went up 11 places in 2018, placing Vietnam 57th out of 176 countries worldwide.

CPTPP to raise national GDP vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2019
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is expected to help raise Việt Nam’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 1.3 per cent, according to an official from the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI). The number may amount to 2.1 per cent if there are more open policies for services, Trần Toàn Thắng, director of the National Centre for Socio-Economic Information and Forecast (NICF)’s World Economy Department, said in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency.

Việt Nam Economic Forum to discuss solutions for rapid but sustainable growth vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2019
The Vietnamese Government Office will co-operate with the Central Economic Commission to host the Việt Nam Economic Forum 2019 (VEF 2019) on January 16-17 in Hà Nội. With the theme “Strengthening the fundamental drivers for rapid and sustainable economic development,” VEF 2019 will discuss financing and governance of infrastructure development, climate change adaptation and energy security for sustainable development. It will also address opportunities and challenges for Việt Nam’s digital economy in the context of Industry 4.0.

Enhance accountability for SOEs: PM vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2019
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc asked accountability to be enhanced in the restructuring and divestment of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) to improve the efficiency of the process. Under Directive 01/CT-TTg dated Saturday, Phúc asked ministries, ministerial-level agencies, local authorities and SOEs to complete the approval or submission the restructuring plans for approval before January 15, in which, the restructuring roadmap and accountability must be clarified.

Exporters advised to follow origin regulations vietnamnews.vn 7th Jan 2019
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has advised Vietnamese exporters to strictly abide by regulations related to products’ origin. This comes as many members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have strengthened trade safeguard tools to protect their domestic industries. According to the Trade Remedies Authorities of Việt Nam under the MoIT, in nearly six months from May to October of 2018, the world’s 20 largest advanced and emerging economies (G20) launched 85 trade defence cases, including 63 anti-dumping cases, 19 anti-subsidy cases and three self-defence cases.

VN to keep outperforming region: Fitch Solutions vietnamnews.vn 4th Jan 2019
Việt Nam’s economy expanded by 7.1 per cent in 2018, but its increasing openness and reliance on foreign investment suggest it is unlikely to be spared from the global growth slowdown arising from rising trade protectionism and tighter financial conditions. This conclusion was included in the economic analysis released by Fitch Solutions Macro Research on Wednesday. According to Fitch, Việt Nam’s real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.3 per cent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2018, up from 6.8 per cent in the third quarter. This brought full-year growth for 2018 to 7.1 per cent, marking the fastest pace of expansion in 11 years.

Building on 2018 successes, 2019 will be a year of ’breakthroughs’: PM Phúc vietnamnews.vn 2nd Jan 2019
This will be a year of ‘breakthroughs’ in all sectors and see all striving towards “the highest achievements,” Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc wrote in an article issued on the first day of 2019 that summarised socio-economic development in 2018 and laid down orientations for 2019. Despite an array of challenges from the global economy and internal weaknesses, 2018 was a year with many resounding successes for the Vietnamese economy, wrote PM Phúc.

GDP growth rate highest in 11 years vietnamnews.vn 28th Dec 2018
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc chaired the Government’s regular meeting on Thursday, during which he shared that Việt Nam’s GDP growth rate rose 7.08 per cent in 2018 – the highest rate for the past 11 years. The country enjoyed a trade surplus of over US$7 billion, he said, adding this is also the first time its economic growth rate has doubled that of inflation.

Energy

Power shortages predicted for Southern region in 2021 vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2019
Power shortages could occur in the southern region from 2021 to 2025, according to a report from Việt Nam Electricity (EVN). From now to 2030, the demand for electricity will continue to grow at a high level, the report said. The electricity sector will need to ensure 265 to 278 billion KWh by 2020 and 572 to 632 billion KWh by 2030.

MoIT proposes to resolve Thái Bình 2 power plant’s difficulties vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2019
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has sent a document to Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc following PetroVietnam’s proposal to use VNĐ2.5 trillion (US$107.7 million) from its provision cost to complete the much-delayed Thái Bình 2 plant. Earlier, the Việt Nam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) – the investor of the VNĐ41 trillion ($1.827 billion) Thái Bình 2 project – submitted a proposal to the ministry to use the project’s provision cost and some of PetroVietnam’s profits to resolve the difficulties. The costs would be independently audited.

PM underlines tasks for environment sector in 2019 VOV 8th Jan 2019
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on January 8 pointed out several shortcomings of the environment sector when attending the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s conference to carry out the National Assembly and Government’s resolutions on socio-economic development in 2019.

New FiT mechanisms to bolster renewables Vietnam Net 6th Jan 2019
Vietnam is set to reform its policies to attract more renewable energy investment in the time to come. Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong talked with VIR’s Nguyen Dat about the new mechanisms, with solutions to reach this goal and ensure outlets for power generated by renewable energy projects.

Solar plants face a consumption crisis vietnamnews.vn 3rd Jan 2019
Việt Nam’s solar power plants are facing a crisis in consumption of their electricity because there has not been synchronous development of power transmission infrastructure or a suitable operation mechanism. The National Load Dispatch Centre under the Electricity of Việt Nam (EVN) has just announced it is considering reducing the volume of electricity transmitted from all solar plants into the national grid to deal with overloaded transmission lines. The move would force all solar power plants to reduce their production below capacity, causing significant damage to investors, said Nguyễn Đức Cường, director of the centre

Closed-loop waste processing could solve Việt Nam’s waste problems: experts vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2019
Closed-loop organic waste processing technology and de-centralised waste processing are possible solutions for Việt Nam’s organic waste problems, experts said at a discussion panel on Monday. Huỳnh Kim Tước, director of the Saigon Innovation Hub (SIHUB), said that de-centralised waste processing, in which waste would be processed on a smaller scale spread out over the city, would be less polluting than centralised facilities, which exist in fewer areas with larger volumes of waste. Ichiro Hatayama, chairman of the MILAI Group, a Japanese technology research and development company, said the city currently has two waste burial sites where waste is transported, and the vehicles used to transport the waste produce a large amount of carbon dioxide (CO2). SIHUB is working with MILAI Group to transfer the group’s 6R-MOT, an organic waste processing technology, to Vietnamese partners. The technology can turn waste to energy more efficiently than traditional power generation from burning waste (which is high in moisture and requires oil for burning). With 6R-MOT technology, electric vehicles would be used to transport waste. The waste would then be dried, carbonised and gasified to be used by gas engines to generate power, Hatayama said.

IAEA helps Vietnam plan for new reactor Vietnam.net 4th Jan 2019
Three sites proposed for the reactor’s location include one in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong and two in the southern province of Dong Nai. The project follows an agreement signed in June 2017 between Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and the Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute (VINATOM) under the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology. According to the IAEA, operations of a research reactor requires a national infrastructure including a legal and regulatory framework to ensure that national and international obligations are met during planning, design, construction, operation, and decommissioning. Accordingly, IAEA and related agencies have discussed about guidance on the preparation of a research reactor project which includes 19 issues ranging from nuclear safety and security to the fuel cycle, waste management, and funding and financing regulated in the IAEA’s Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review for Research Reactors (INIR-RR). The discussions were held in Hanoi on December 3-7. The Vietnamese delegation provided a number of documents to facilitate the assessment of the national nuclear infrastructure developed in preparations for the new research reactor project. The new facility is to serve diverse needs, such as in education, training, radioisotope production and materials science. Vietnam has outlined an ambitious plan to develop nuclear energy by building two nuclear power plants with total capacity of 4,000 MW in the central province of Ninh Thuan under Russia’s support. The two projects, which were estimated to cost VND200 trillion (US$8.7 billion) and put into operations by 2028, were rejected by the National Assembly in 2016, attributing economic reasons to the reject.

Solar rooftop panels ease thirst for power VietNamNet 2nd Jan 2019
Vietnam will likely face a power shortage during 2020-2030 if electricity generation is not increased and there is not enough fuel (coal and gas) for generation. It is forecast that the demand for electricity will continue to grow at a high level until 2030. The power sector will need to ensure 265-278 billion kWh of output by 2020 and around 572-632 billion kWh by 2030. The growth rate in the 2016-2020 period will be 10.3-11.3 per cent per year and about 8-8.5 per cent between 2021 and 2030. Insufficient power supply could lead to a heavier reliance on imported fuel, especially in power generation, while the higher demand would also place greater pressure on power infrastructure, which might not be improved quickly enough due to lack of funding. With the country’s energy demand projected to increase by more than 10 per cent annually in the next five years, the government is moving forward to develop renewable energy sources to ensure energy security and address the growing power demand. Although the power market is witnessing a boom in solar power projects as local and foreign investors are racing to reap the benefits of the 9.35 US cent feed-in-tariff, which ends in June 2019, the power grid and transmission remain a concern.

Vietnam Mining group looks to higher revenue in 2019 SteelGuru India 31st Dec 2018
VNA reported that the Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group has set the goal of earning a total revenue of VND 128 trillion in 2019, nearly VND 69 trillion of which will be from coal production. During a conference held in the northern province of Quang Ninh on December 26, the group said it will focus on mining projects and strive to produce about 40 million tonnes of coal, import around 4.6 million tonnes, and market roughly 42 million tonnes. The inventory is estimated at nearly 4 million tonnes by the end of next year. In order to achieve such goals, Vinacomin will continue improving coal consumption, specialising coal transportation and trade. It will also build plans to sell coal mined in Hon Gai and prepared at Lang Khanh port for Quang Ninh and Thang Long thermal power and Thang Long cement plants. At the same time, it will strengthen the management of natural resources, product quality, environment safety and protection, and protect coal in mines to prevent trade fraud.

Financial Services

VN central bank resumes dollar purchases to build up foreign reserve Vietnam Net 9th Jan 2019
On Monday, SBV’s Operations Centre net bought some US$200 million from commercial banks on the inter-bank market in a move to build up the country’s foreign reserve. The purchase followed a recent move by the SBV centre to adjust up its buying rate of the dollar against the dong by VND500 to VND23,200 per dollar, making its rate VND40-65 per dollar higher than that of commercial banks. On Tuesday, commercial banks kept their dollar prices stable. Vietcombank and BIDV posted VND23,155 and VND23,245 per dollar buying and selling rates, unchanged from the previous day.

Vietcombank to sell shares to fund capital hike vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2019
Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) will sell shares worth US$270 million to foreign strategic investors to increase its charter capital. After getting approval from the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) last month, Vietcombank also got the nod from the State Securities Commission last week to sell some 3 per cent of its charter capital to the Singaporean government’s investment fund GIC Private Limited (GIC) and Japan’s Mizuho Bank.

SBV sets 2019 credit growth target at 14 per cent vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2019
The State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) had set a credit growth target for 2019 equivalent at 14 per cent, said SBV Deputy Governor Nguyễn Thị Hồng. “Credit would focus on priority fields ensuring risk control and supporting economic growth,” she said at a press conference in Hà Nội on Monday. In 2018, the SBV implemented monetary policies to stabilise the currency and foreign exchange markets and contributing to controlling inflation at 3.54 per cent (the fifth consecutive year when inflation was curbed below 4 per cent) and supporting economic growth at 7.08 per cent – the highest level in the past 11 years.

Central bank issues roadmap for ATM card upgrades vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2019
Under a new regulation, commercial banks will have to switch 30 per cent of their current magnetic strip ATM cards – more than 25 million in total – to chip cards by the end of this year to enhance safety and service quality. Under Circular 41/2018/TT-NHNN, which will replace Circular 19/2016 as the regulation on bank card operations starting on February 18 this year, commercial banks must increase the ratio of chip cards to at least 60 per cent by 2020. This means at least 51 million cards will use chip technology. The regulation will ensure the country has completely switched to chip cards by the end of 2021.

New circular on securities-related service prices vietnamnews.vn 5th Jan 2019
The Ministry of Finance has issued new securities-related service regulations for trading organisations and commercial banks doing business in Việt Nam’s securities market. The new circular, No 128/2018/TT-BTC, replaced Circular No 242 dated November 11, 2016 setting price frameworks. Overall, the maximum service prices remain unchanged. However, the new regulation adds charges in the derivatives market.

Life insurance to grow at 25 per cent: forecast vietnamnews.vn 4th Jan 2019
The life insurance industry will grow at over 25 per cent this year, according to the Insurance Association of Việt Nam. Its acting chairman, Trần Vĩnh Đức, said, “The Vietnamese economy is expected to grow at a rate of between 6.8 per cent and 7 per cent in 2019.

Government intensifies support for non-cash payment methods vietnamnews.vn 3rd Jan 2019
The Government has issued measures to boost non-cash payment methods in the country this year. Under Resolution 02/NQ-CP released early this week, the Government required the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) to report on a project exploring depositing cash into electronic wallets without bank payment accounts. All commercial banks and payment intermediary providers must also apply QR code standards before the third quarter of this year.

Food & Agriculture

Provinces take action against disease outbreaks among cattle, poultry vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2019
Provinces across the country are taking action to prevent the spread of disease that has affected cattle and poultry breeding facilities and farms in recent weeks. An outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza occurred in late December in Cần Đước District in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Long An, according to Đinh Thị Phương Khanh, deputy director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Cash promised for rural start-ups vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2019
About VNĐ15 trillion (US$646 million) will be mobilised for One Commune One Product (OCOP) programme, said Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ. The programme funds individual communes to focus on producing a single special product. Speaking at a ceremony held on Tuesday to launch the programme to students, Huệ said he expected the value of local products would be promoted to regional and national level.

Mekong Delta aims for high-quality agriculture in 2019 vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2019
Localities in the Mekong Delta have set ambitious targets this year with a focus on high-quality agriculture combined with eco-tourism, services and industry. Last year, though the Delta faced unseasonable weather, flooding and a decline in agricultural product prices, the localities achieved positive socio-economic targets. Located in a key economic region, with advantages in tourism, aquaculture and rice production, Kiên Giang Province, for instance, achieved an economic growth rate of 7.5 per cent last year.

Farmer finds success with agricultural programme vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2019
Using out-of-date bread and sandwiches from supermarkets in HCM City, farmer Vũ Thị Hậu has found a clean source of food for her fish, and earns profits of more than VNĐ500 million (US$21,700) per year. She said that the bread and sandwiches she finds are only passed their sell-by date by a few days, so they were still fine to use as fish food.

Rubber exports rise in volume but decrease in value vietnamnews.vn 7th Jan 2019
Natural rubber export prices have been falling since the second half of 2017, which has led to revised business plans for 2019. Last year, the country exported 1.58 million tonnes of rubber, worth US$2.1 billion, an increase of 14.5 per cent in quantity but a drop of 6.6 per cent in value compared with the same period in 2017.

VN could face tra fish oversupply vietnamnews.vn 7th Jan 2019
The tra fish export sector was probably the most improved industry this year, but rampant production could lead to excess supplies and price drops, according to Việt Dragon Securities Company (VDSC). Many farmers have rushed to breed tra fish after prices increased steadily from the beginning of 2017 due to fingerling and raw materials shortages.

Ten outstanding achievements in agriculture, rural development in 2018 Vietnam Net 7th Jan 2019
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has announced the 10 most outstanding achievements of the sector in 2018.

Further steps needed to control food safety: Deputy PM vietnamnews.vn 5th Jan 2019
Last year saw remarkable progress in food safety monitoring, particularly in the dissemination of safety information, the promotion of clean food production and distribution and the verification of product origins. Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam praised the progress in a meeting of the Central Inter-ministerial Committee on Food Safety held in Hà Nội yesterday to review food inspection work.

Việt Nam faces challenges in ensuring water security vietnamnews.vn 4th Jan 2019
With a growing population, increasing demand for water and the negative impacts of climate change, Việt Nam faces major challenges in ensuring water security. Now is the time for the country to speed up studies on water security and environmental security to develop a legal framework and solutions to tackle the challenges, said director of the National Centre for Water Resources Planning and Investigation Triệu Đức Huy.

VN should become one of the world’s top 15 most developed agriculture nations vietnamnews.vn 4th Jan 2019
Việt Nam should become one of world’s top 15 most developed agricultural nations in the next ten years, said Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc. He made the statement at a meeting on reviewing works in 2018 and launching tasks for 2019 for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) held on Thursday in Hà Nội. At the event, the PM highlighted the outstanding achievements made by the ministry in the past 12 months.

Health & Life Sciences

Health insurance fund to cover several Hepatitis C drugs vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2019
Several new-generation drugs for hepatitis C treatment will be covered by the health insurance fund as part of a recently-released circular by the Ministry of Health. "After consulting with experts and leading hospitals, the health and insurance sector agreed to bring new drugs for hepatitis C treatment into the list of medicine covered by health insurance fund,” said Director of the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases, Prof. Nguyễn Văn Kính.

Pharma sector expects solid growth VietnamNews 27th Dec 2018
Vietnamese pharmaceutical companies are optimistic about the business prospects of the sector, with nearly 80 per cent of firms anticipating an annual industry growth rate of more than 10 per cent.

Pharmaceutical firms capitalizing on Park Hang-seo fever in Vietnam The Korea Times 27th Dec 2018
Korean pharmaceutical companies are moving to expand in the Vietnamese market and increase their exports on the immense popularity of Park Hang-seo, the Korean coach of Vietnam's national football squad. The companies want to make good use of the opportunity as Vietnam has become an emerging pharmaceutical market among ASEAN nations, after Indonesia. CJ Healthcare signed a contract with Vietnam's leading pharmaceutical firm Vimedimex Medi Pharma on Dec. 20 for the export of technology involving the Korean firm's new gastroesophageal reflux disease drug K-Cap.Under the contract, CJ Healthcare will receive royalties from Vimedimex and offer exclusive rights to sell the product in the Vietnamese market.The Korean firm said K-Cap is expected to be released in Vietnam in 2021

ICT

More than 50 per cent of IT companies need to recruit heavily in 2019 vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2019
Up to 53.6 per cent of information technology (IT) companies said they hope to increase their workforce by 10-30 per cent this year. This number was included in the results of a recent survey by ITviec.com, a leading IT recruitment site in Việt Nam. In the survey, about 26 per cent of IT companies said they needed to recruit 30-50 per cent more workers. In addition, 8.7 per cent of companies wanted to recruit more than 50 per cent this year.

Trends in VN’s network safety, security vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2019
The Authority of Information Security, under Việt Nam’s Ministry of Information and Communications, has forecast five major trends in network safety and security to watch in 2019. These five trends include network attacks, especially malicious code attacks using artificial intelligence (AI); attacking e-commerce and financial-banking systems with the aim of stealing personal information and data from users; attacks on infrastructure, internet of things (IoT) equipment, smart urban areas, and taking advantage of these devices to carry out network attacks; intentional network attacks on state agencies and organisations in order to steal information and data; and the tendency to smear, defame and spread malicious information against agencies, organisations and individuals.

HCM City partners with UK in building smart city vietnamnews.vn 7th Jan 2019
The HCM City People’s Committee and the Consulate General of the UK in the city on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on co-operation in implementing the future global city programme. Its aim is to turn the city into a smart city, in the 2019-22 period. The signing ceremony, held in HCM City, was attended by Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Trần Vĩnh Tuyến and UK Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field.

Việt Nam to test 5G mobile network this year vietnamnews.vn 5th Jan 2019
Việt Nam will enhance its telecommunications infrastructure, expand its broadband network and develop 5G mobile connectivity this year. The latter is a key component of the Government’s Resolution 01, in which the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) will grant test 5G frequencies to operators this year and expand them in 2020.

Việt Nam to introduce code of conduct on social networks vietnamnews.vn 24th Dec 2018
The Ministry of Information and Communications is building a Code of Conduct on social media, Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper reports. The details were released at a conference on Tuesday in Hà Nội. “The drawbacks of social networks cannot be eliminated, only limited by the behaviours of users and service providers,” said Deputy Minister Hoàng Vĩnh Bảo at the event.

Infrastructure

Road tests target container trucks vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2019
The Việt Nam Register (VR) has asked its branches nationwide to increase technical safety examinations of vehicles, particularly container trucks, coaches and tractor trailers, as part of measures to improve traffic safety. The move was made following a series of serious recent traffic accidents that involved these kinds of vehicles and caused great public concern about traffic safety. Inspections will focus on fire prevention and weight requirements.

Quảng Trị gets PM approval for $614 million port project vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2019
The central province of Quảng Trị is going to build a seaport at a cost of VNĐ14 trillion (US$614 million) at local Mỹ Thủy Beach in an attempt to boost development of the province’s key economic zone. According to the local People’s Committee, a decision issued by the Prime Minister late last week gave the province permission to go ahead with construction of the proposed Mỹ Thủy Sea Port in Hải Lăng District.

Construction ministry to focus on social housing vietnamnews.vn 5th Jan 2019
Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng asked the Ministry of Construction to pay attention to the development of social housing projects and homes for low-income earners while enhancing urban management and creating favourable conditions for construction businesses. Dũng was speaking at a conference on Friday to review results achieved by the ministry in 2018 and raise orientations for 2019.

Legislation

Justice Ministry should be “goalkeeper” of Government in legal issues: PM vietnamnews.vn 9th Jan 2019
The Ministry of Justice should be the “goalkeeper” for the Government in international legal issues to ensure national rights and interests, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said at a conference in Hà Nội yesterday. Phúc added that the ministry needed to pay special attention to training legal specialists who were qualified to handle international disputes.

NA Office urged to conduct more reforms VOV 9th Jan 2019
Addressing the office’s conference to review its work in 2018 and set forth tasks for 2019 in Hanoi on January 9, the top legislator urged the agency to step up IT application in its operations. The 2019 law and ordinance building programme includes law projects regarding the organisation and apparatus, along with other important and complex organisations, she said, stressing that the office should devote more time to research work in order to ensure the quality and progress of projects.

Red tape to be cut nationwide in 2019 vietnamnews.vn 4th Jan 2019
2019 will be a busy year for ministries looking to cut business prerequisites, and firms should contribute to making the process more efficient, said Nguyễn Đình Cung, Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management. With regard to Tuesday’s Government resolution on improving the business environment and national competitiveness for 2019 through 2021, Cung said the involved ministries would have a huge workload.

Vietnam’s new laws become effective since January 1, 2019 Vietnam Net 1st Jan 2019
The laws on regional minimum wage, cyber security, denunciation are among Vietnam’s ten laws which will take effect since January 1, 2019.

Manufacturing

Chinese aluminum a big threat to Vietnam’s manufacturing Vietnam Net 9th Jan 2019
Pointing to the idle plot of land next to a factory in Tu Liem IZ in Hanoi, Nguyen Hong Linh, the owner of an aluminum enterprise, complained that his production expansion plan had to be postponed. The gloomy market and the flood of cheap Chinese products have made it impossible to implement the plan, though he has arranged enough capital.

Auto manufacturers reduce production, increase imports Vietnam Net 9th Jan 2019
Though continuing investment in their production bases, foreign-invested automobile manufacturers in Vietnam are placing high expectations on car imports.