Vietnam Update: February 14, 2019

Vietnam Update | February 14, 2019
Authors: Riley Smith, Hai Pham, Lucius Lee and David Mineo
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

March 12: Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Workshop
For more information, please contact Vu Tu Thanh at tvu@usasean.org

March 12-14: 2019 Vietnam Business Mission
For more information, please contact Hai Pham at hpham@usasean.org.

March 14-15: 2019 Health & Life Sciences Industry Mission to Vietnam
For more information, please contact Lucius Lee at llee@usasean.org.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Vietnam in International Spotlight as Hanoi Hosts Next Trump-Kim Summit February 27-28
During his State of the Union address on February 5, U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed that the second summit between the United States and North Korea will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27-28. Discussions in Pyongyang between U.S. envoy Stephen Biegun and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Hyok-chol, preceded President Trump’s announcement, and the two envoys plan to meet again to make preparations ahead of the summit.  

Vietnam has shown strong support for a second meeting between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un. The Government of Vietnam previously announced its eagerness to host the meeting, hoping to facilitate dialogue and cooperation between the two nations to help foster greater peace, security and stability on the Korean Peninsula and more broadly in Northeast Asia. On February 12, Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh traveled to Pyongyang as part of a three-day official mission following an invitation from North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho. No further details about Deputy Prime Minister Minh’s visit have been released, though speculation is that it will focus on preparations for the Hanoi summit.   

This upcoming meeting between President Trump and Chairman Kim is a follow-up to the unprecedented meeting held last June in Singapore. As host, Vietnam will have the opportunity to take center-stage and showcase the economic progress that it has made. Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has stated that this venue will provide a platform for Vietnam to demonstrate its ability to assume a leadership role in international affairs. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that he hopes that Vietnam can provide a model for economic and political reform to which North Korea may aspire. The summit will also allow Vietnam to build off its momentum as host of APEC 2017 and demonstrate its diplomatic maturity and international mettle going forward, as it prepares to take the mantle of ASEAN Chair in 2020.

Vietnam Revises Decrees on Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices to Ease Entry of Foreign Companies, Increase Competition
On December 31, 2018, the Vietnamese Government issued two new decrees – Decree No.155 and Decree No.169. These new decrees will revise regulations under Decree No.54 and Decree No.36, respectively. The new decrees aim to help simplify and expedite labeling, certification and licensing processes for drug imports and medical equipment for foreign businesses. With these new decrees in place, the Vietnamese government expects that foreign companies will be more incentivized to enter the its market, which has grown 10% year-on-year and is expected to continue its double-digit growth over the next 5 years. Analysts, however, predict that Decree 169 will exponentially increase compliance costs and restrain companies’ ability to import and sell medical equipment.

For the licensing of drug imports without registration papers, Decree 155 requires label models and drug descriptions in the country of manufacturing or country of export unless they have a certificate of pharmaceutical product (CPP). Previously, foreign companies must provide drug descriptions in the country of manufacturing or country of export must be provided along with label models if they do not have a CPP.

Importers are also exempted from the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certificate if the manufacturing facilities of the product’s origins are recognized as meeting the standards of the GMP or the CPP. Previously, importers were required to produce multiple GMP certificates if the imported drugs were manufactured by multiple units. In addition, importers will now be exempted from clinical records once their products are subjected to the new regulatory process in Decree 155. This is upheld if no changes are made to information on the indications, dosage and usage instructions of the drug.

Degree 169 aims to establish a legal framework for the management of medical equipment that will meet international norms amidst increasing international integration. Under the decree, all medical equipment will now require approval from local authorities in Vietnam and follow a separate local classification system.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 
Vietnam Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Decrees
This year, the annual Vietnam business mission will commence with a half-day workshop on cybersecurity and data privacy on the morning of Tuesday, March 12. This workshop will give members the opportunity to engage with key government officials on the progress of the draft cybersecurity decree, which has been delayed to incorporate industry recommendations due to re-examination of several key aspects of the decree (data localization, critical information systems). The Vietnamese government is actively seeking comments and technical assistance on both the draft cybersecurity decree and a new draft data privacy decree. The aim of the workshop is to provide industry with the avenue to provide that input. Participants will include MPS, MIC, Office of the Government, National Assembly and other key government agencies. For more information, please contact Vu Tu Thanh at tvu@usasean.org.
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 

Regional Affairs
Việt Nam, DPRK seek to strengthen ties
Vietnam says being chosen to host second Trump-Kim summit is a positive sign
Deputy PM, FM to visit DPRK
Vietnam foreign minister to visit North Korea from Feb 12 to 14 ahead of Trump-Kim summit
Vietnam ready for a new period of integration
Trump says 2nd US-N.K. summit to be held in Hà Nội
Việt Nam welcomes second Trump-Kim summit
Prime Minister hosts Chilean, Canadian ambassadors
Vietnam Expo 2019 returns to Hà Nội

National Affairs
Party, State leader launches Tết tree planting festival in Yên Bái
Leader sends greetings, wishes for achievements in 2019
Forum on climate-resilient development in Mekong Delta planned

Customs
VN entitled to steep 86% tariff cuts from Japan
Vietnam targets $40 billion in exports from textile and garment industry
Vietnam’s export-import likely to hit record 500 bln USD in 2019
Gov’t boosts handling of customs for scrap
Prime Minister approves plan to implement CPTPP
Car importers getting hang of new rules
New circular on certificates of origin issued

Economics
Development trends that will shape property market in 2019
Vietnam to create favourable conditions for private firms
January sees number of newly-established firms drop, capital surge
Deputy PM gives positive forecast for economic growth in 2019
Consolidating macro-economic stability the leading task this year: PM
Việt Nam PMI posts moderate growth in January
Export challenges may widen trade deficit
PM meets with outstanding intellectuals, scientists
VN lures $1.9 billion in FDI in January
HN’s CPI increases 0.22 per cent
Đồng Nai post $300m trade surplus

Energy
Việt Nam takes action to reduce plastic waste
EVNNPT to launch 33 power transmission projects
Clean energy attracts investors

Financial Services
Stock market a launch pad for firms: PM
South eyes increased FDI in manufacturing
VN looks to achieve emerging market status
VN stocks jump on 2019 earnings outlook
MoIT to support domestic automobile industry projects
Cần Thơ’s IZs lure $112m investment in 2018
Domestic retailers urged to team up to compete with foreign rivals
HCM City takes measures to protect the environment
Phu Quoc to boost investment in socio-economic development
VN’s supporting industries strive to be best in ASEAN
Food delivery services poised for boom in Vietnam
Việt Nam targets $40 billion in exports from textile and garment industry
PM's directive on effective management and use of foreign loans
Online businesses bustle as Tết coming
Credit growth of 14% a feasible target for 2019
Central bank to ease lending rates
Vietnam’s c.bank adds $4bn to forex reserves in January: PM
Banks see bad debt ratio drop
Over 37.6 million shares to be offered on HNX in February
Việt Nam has high growth in forestry exports during Jan
Petrol prices remain unchanged ahead of Tết holidays
PV Oil’s foreign ownership cap temporary: executive
SBV set to rank local banks, credit institutions
SBV to end cross-ownership in Vietnamese banks
Central bank net injected $2b to meet high capital demand at year-end
Vietcombank’s charter capital reaches US$1.6 billion

Food & Agriculture
PM urges New Year festival inspections
PM calls for application of technology in agricultural production
Agri-tourism attracts more visitors to Mekong Delta
Local dairy industry will have to compete with foreign brands under CPTPP
Việt Nam to see $2.4b in tra fish exports this year
CPTPP brings opportunities, challenges to Vietnam’s agriculture
Fruit, vegetable sector targets 4.2 billion USD in export turnover in 2019
Export spike stimulates firms to invest in tra fish
Vietnamese rice makes name in world market
Vietnam’s farm produce find inroads to demanding markets
HCM City’s wholesale markets prepare for Tết
A number of cattle slaughterhouses to be launched

Health & Life Sciences
Doctor warns against deadly seasonal flu
Vietnam opens up pharma import market for foreign businesses
Hà Nội works to limit gender imbalance among newborns
VFA warns of baby products infected with Salmonella
Vietnam changes rules in medical devices business

ICT
In 4.0 era, reform is a must for logistics industry
Reinforcing defenses for Industry 4.0
Vietnamese operators speed up with 5G
Central city launches new IT Park
VN to build product origin portal

Infrastructure
HCM City flood-prevention project to resume after Tết holiday
Undersea tunnel planned in Hạ Long City
New hope as construction of Ho Chi Minh City metro resumes after Tet
More funding needed for Southern Key Economic Region
Mekong Delta prepares for dry season, seeks to keep out saltwater
Vietnam to host green transport event
Work on HCM City’s 1st metro route to be hastened
PM advises Hưng Yên to develop industrial, urban zones

Travel & Tourism
Ministry of Transport to accelerate North-South Expressway project
US to approve direct flights from Việt Nam
Thừa Thiên-Huế okays marine ecological tourist complex
First tourists visit Đà Nẵng in the Lunar New Year
Huế-Đà Nẵng steam trains restored for tourists
Key Hanoi transport projects close to completion
Da Nang to prioritise tourism industry
Funding for key expressway suspended to replace dubious investor
Vietnam considers $432-million restoration of Da Lat railway
Upgrade of National Highway 5 ordered after deadly accident

 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Việt Nam, DPRK seek to strengthen ties Vietnam News 13th Feb 2019
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh has said Việt Nam will work with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to promote bilateral co-operation in areas that match the interests of each side, as well as on national and international regulations, for peace and development in the region and the world. Minh made the remarks during talks with DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and Ri Su Yong, Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party and head of its International Department, as part of his official visit to the DRPK at the invitation of Ri Yong Ho from February 12-14. Việt Nam stands ready to share its experience in national construction, socio-economic development and international integration with the DPRK at its requests, he said.

Vietnam says being chosen to host second Trump-Kim summit is a positive sign Reuters 12th Feb 2019
The choice of Vietnam as host of this month’s summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shows the Southeast Asian nation is headed in the right direction, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on Tuesday. Last week, Trump said he would hold his second meeting with Kim in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi on Feb. 27 and 28. That follows an unprecedented June 11 summit of the two leaders in the wealthy city state of Singapore. “This important event has shown that Vietnam’s investment environment is good, that Vietnam’s development model is going in a right direction and especially that the security and safety in Vietnam is wonderful,” Phuc told government officials at the Hanoi Stock Exchange. “Vietnam will demonstrate its international role and do its best to let the word ‘Vietnam’ ring out.”

Deputy PM, FM to visit DPRK Voice of Vietnam 12th Feb 2019
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh will pay an official visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) over February 12-14 at the invitation of Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho. The DPRK visit by Deputy PM and FM Pham Binh Minh takes place in the context of US President Donald Trump's last week confirmation of his meeting with DPRK leader Kim Jong-un at the upcoming summit slated for February 27- 28 in Vietnam.

Vietnam foreign minister to visit North Korea from Feb 12 to 14 ahead of Trump-Kim summit The Straits Times 11th Feb 2019
Vietnam's foreign minister Pham Binh Minh will visit North Korea ahead of this month's planned summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, a spokesman said on Monday (Feb 11). Trump said last week he would hold his second meeting with Kim in the Vietnamese capital on Feb 27 and 28. The Vietnamese foreign minister plans to visit North Korea from Feb 12 to 14, the spokesman said in a statement posted to social network Twitter, without giving further details. Ahead of the summit, Vietnam's reform model has been widely touted as the economic path for impoverished and isolated North Korea to follow. The summit follows an unprecedented first meeting between the leaders in Singapore last June.

Vietnamese foreign minister to visit North Korea Vietnam News 11th Feb 2019
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh will visit the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the invitation of DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho from February 12 to 14. The visit comes ahead of the summit between US President Donald Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un planned to take place in Hà Nội on February 27 and 28, a spokeswoman from the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on Twitter on Monday. Last week Trump announced he would hold his second meeting with Kim in the Vietnamese capital. In reply to a question for Việt Nam’s comment on Trump’s remarks in his latest State of the Union address on the upcoming summit, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng said Việt Nam welcomed the second US-DPRK summit and strongly supported dialogue to maintain peace, security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Vietnam ready for a new period of integration Voice of Vietnam 11th Feb 2019
2019 will be the first year Vietnam implements the Party Secretariat’s Directive on strengthening multilateral diplomacy. After its diplomatic achievements in 2018, Vietnam is ready to enter a new period of integration to boost its international status. Vietnam participates more in international organizations This year Vietnam is applying for non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure. Vietnam held this important position in the 2008-2009 tenure. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said, “The large number of votes Vietnam received revealed the degree of trust other countries have in Vietnam. I believe that 10 years later Vietnam, with its achievements during that tenure and its even greater status, will be elected again. This will be an opportunity and also a challenge for us. We have broad support from Asian countries for this position.” Since 2018 Vietnam has been preparing to assume the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020. The country is planning theme and activities that emphasize harmonizing the interests of ASEAN members and partner countries.

Trump says 2nd US-N.K. summit to be held in Hà Nội Vietnam News 9th Feb 2019
US President Donald Trump said Saturday (Hà Nội time) that his second meeting with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un will take place in Hà Nội on February 27-28. Trump confirmed this in a Twitter message. His message came after Stephen Biegun, the US Special Representative for North Korea, held pre-summit talks with his North Korean counterpart Kim Hyok-chol in Pyongyang from Wednesday to Friday. "My representatives have just left North Korea after a very productive meeting and an agreed upon time and date for the second Summit with Kim Jong Un," Trump wrote on Twitter. "It will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27 & 28. I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim & advancing the cause of peace!"

Việt Nam welcomes second Trump-Kim summit Vietnam News 6th Feb 2019
Việt Nam welcomes the second US-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea summit and strongly supports dialogue to maintain peace, security and stability on the Korean Peninsula. So said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng on Wednesday on the summit planned for February 27 and 28 in Việt Nam. She was replying to a question for Việt Nam’s comment on US President Donald Trump’s remarks in his latest State of the Union address on the upcoming summit. Việt Nam stands ready to actively contribute to and cooperate with relevant sides to ensure the success of the second US-DPRK summit, thus helping achieve the above-mentioned goal, the official concluded.

Prime Minister hosts Chilean, Canadian ambassadors Vietnam News 30th Jan 2019
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc held separate meetings with the ambassadors of Chile and Canada in Hà Nội on Tuesday. Meeting with Chilean Ambassador Jaime Chomali Garib, the Government leader urged Việt Nam and Chile to promote trade ties as they had substantial potential for collaboration in this field. Ministries, agencies and businesses from the two countries should study each other’s markets, he suggested. Talking about Chile’s hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-Operation (APEC) forum in 2019, PM Phúc pledged that Việt Nam would actively support the country in organising the event and asked Chile to arrange bilateral meetings on the occasion of the forum.

Vietnam Expo 2019 returns to Hà Nội Vietnam News 29th Jan 2019
The Việt Nam International Trade Fair (Vietnam Expo 2019) will return to Hà Nội in April, drawing about 550 exhibitors from 20 countries and territories. The forthcoming fair will gather top exporters of plastic, rubber, and construction materials, as well as businesses in support industries, said Nguyễn Khắc Luận, general director of the Việt Nam National Trade Fair & Advertising JSC, the event’s organiser. He said that many foreign businesses – including those from Algeria, India, Cambodia, Canada, Armenia, Russia, Cuba, Taiwan, the Republic of Korea (RoK), Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Japan, and mainland China – have confirmed their participation.

National Affairs

Party, State leader launches Tết tree planting festival in Yên Bái Vietnam News 11th Feb 2019
Party General Secretary, President Nguyễn Phú Trọng launched the New Year Tree Planting Festival in Việt Cường Commune on Sunday on the sixth day of Lunar New Year 2019. Almost 60 years ago, President Hồ Chí Minh wrote an article which was published in Nhân dân (People) newspaper, stressing the significance of tree planting to each person, each family and the entire nation. It has since become an annual Vietnamese custom each Lunar New Year. Addressing at the ceremony in Trấn Yên District, in the northern mountainous province of Yên Bái, the leader underlined the important role tree planting plays in society.

Leader sends greetings, wishes for achievements in 2019 Vietnam News 5th Feb 2019
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee and State President Nguyen Phu Trong has sent New Year greetings to all Vietnamese in and outside the country on the occasion of the Lunar New Year 2019. He took the occasion to wish people around the world a new year of peace, friendship, happiness, and prosperity. The leader said he and others were very happy that the unity, joint efforts, and unanimity made by the entire Party, people and army allowed the country to weather a lot of difficulties to achieve many important and comprehensive attainments in almost all fields last year.

Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un to meet in Vietnam late February News AM 29th Jan 2019
Washington and Pyongyang have agreed to hold the second US-Korean summit at the end of February in Vietnamese Da Nang, Kommersant reported referring to sources familiar with the preparations for the event. According to the source, the meeting is scheduled to take place late February. The first meeting of the US and North Korean leaders was held in early June 2018 in Singapore.

Forum on climate-resilient development in Mekong Delta planned Vietnam News 29th Jan 2019
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has agreed in principle to the organisation of a forum on sustainable and climate-resilient development of the Mekong Delta in October 2019. He has asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to coordinate with the ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Planning and Investment, Finance, Construction, Transport, Home Affairs, and Information and Communications, and relevant agencies to decide on the forum’s theme and prepare the agenda. The work must be reported to the PM in February 2019. The Mekong Delta makes up 12 per cent of the country’s natural land and 19 per cent of national population. As the country’s largest agricultural production centre, the region contributes half of Việt Nam’s rice output, 65 per cent of aquatic products and 70 per cent of fruits. The region accounts for 95 per cent of the country’s rice exports and 60 per cent of total overseas shipments of fish.

Customs

VN entitled to steep 86% tariff cuts from Japan Vietnam News 29th Jan 2019
According to commitments in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Japan will eliminate 86 per cent of tariff lines for Việt Nam as soon as the trade pact becomes effective. The pact became valid in Việt Nam on January 14, 2019. This is the first time Japan has exempted most of Việt Nam’s agricultural and seafood imports from duties. Japan also pledged to abolish taxes once the agreement takes effect for 78 per cent of Việt Nam’s agricultural exports; apply tariff quotas or partial cuts or commitments with trade defence measures for beef, pork, milk, dairy products, wheat, rice and their products.

Vietnam targets $40 billion in exports from textile and garment industry Vietnam Net 6th Feb 2019
The industry’s trade surplus is expected to reach $20 billion this year. Employment will be ensured and income for 2.85 million workers would be increased, said VITAS. These targets were based on a successful year in 2018, when export turnover of garments and textiles products reached more than $36 billion, marking a year-on-year increase of 16 per cent. This level of growth would make the nation one of the top three largest exporters of textiles and garments in the world. In addition, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which came into effect last month, was expected to help the economy grow by 1.3 per cent. It should boost export turnover by 4 per cent. The textile and garment industry is seen a key sector with many opportunities to expand the market. Chairman of VITAS Vu Duc Giang said the signs for order statuses for 2019 were also very positive. Many businesses already had orders for the first six months of this year and even the whole year. “The sector has gradually completed the supply chain thanks to increasing flow of capital invested in the textile and dyeing industry, making its products more competitive,” said Giang.

Vietnam’s export-import likely to hit record 500 bln USD in 2019 vietnamplus.vn 31st Jan 2019
Vietnam’s export-import turnover is likely to hit a record 500 billion USD in the fourth quarter of 2019, up 5 percent from 2018, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs. The 2018 figure reached 480.17 billion USD, over 52 billion USD higher than that in 2017. The country’s export-import hit 100 billion USD in 2007, 200 billion USD in 2011, 300 billion USD in 2015 and 400 billion USD in 2017. The local economy openness index was estimated at 196 percent last year. Exports and imports increased by 13.2 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively. The year 2018 marked the third consecutive year that Vietnam posted a trade surplus. Statistics by the department showed that as of January 10, 2019, the country’s trade surplus hit an all-time high of nearly 6.8 billion USD, compared to 2.11 billion USD in 2017 and 1.78 billion USD in 2016.-VNA

Gov’t boosts handling of customs for scrap vietnamnews.vn 30th Jan 2019
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s working group visited Hải Phòng Port on Tuesday to inspect some of the huge number of containers of scrap materials and waste which are building up at major seaports in Việt Nam. It is estimated that as of January 25, more than 24,000 containers had been piled up at Việt Nam’s seaports for more than 90 days. The problem has been partly blamed on the lack of co-operation between governmental agencies when tightening rules on imports of environmentally harmful scrap and waste, which has caused problems for even honest businesses.

Prime Minister approves plan to implement CPTPP vietnamnews.vn 30th Jan 2019
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has approved a plan to implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). He required ministries, ministerial-level and governmental agencies, and People’s Committees of centrally-run cities and provinces increase the dissemination of information about the CPTPP and participating countries among the public, particularly groups likely to be affected by the deal such as farmers, fishing communities, cooperatives, and businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The PM asked for focus to be placed on training officials from State management agencies in fields related to commitments under the CPTPP – such as investment, services, customs, government procurement, trade protection, intellectual property, agriculture, forestry and fishery, labour, and the environment – so that they clearly and precisely understand the specific content in order to implement the deal fully and effectively.

Car importers getting hang of new rules vietnamnews.vn 28th Jan 2019
Despite initial hiccups, most of Viet Nam’s car firms are now complying with import rules that were tightened early last year, according to Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng. The official made the comment at a conference to review the implementation of the Government’s Decree 116 held in Hà Nội last week. Under the decree, which came into effect on January 1, 2018, auto importers were required to obtain vehicle type approval (VTA) certification from authorities in the exporting country. This certification aims to ensure the origin, quality and value of the vehicle and often does not come from a state body but an authorised agency or association. Dũng said that after the decree came into effect, the businesses faced difficulties as they struggled to understand its regulations. Their difficulties were eased after the Government directed the ministries of Transport and Industry and Trade to help explain, support and solve difficulties for automobile importers.

New circular on certificates of origin issued vietnamnews.vn 28th Jan 2019
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has issued Circular No 03/2019/TT-BCT stipulating the certificates of origin (C/O) rules in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). According to the ministry’s Import-Export Department, the CPTPP has some differences compared to other Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) which Việt Nam has signed including the rule of origin of goods and rules of origin of refurbished and recycled goods. The C/O form issued to Việt Nam’s exported goods including the minimum information required by the CPTPP was also issued alongside the circular.

Economics

Development trends that will shape property market in 2019 Vietnam News 9th Feb 2019
The real estate market remains strong in 2019 since the economy continues to grow robustly and there is a lot of investment flowing into infrastructure, thus attracting both domestic and foreign investors. According to real estate and investment management services firm Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL), in 2019 the mid-priced and affordable segment will dominate the market. In HCM City, the supply of finished apartments in all segments has reached 160,000 units, corresponding to a rate of 17 apartments/1,000 people. "If this rate is high, we should invest in high-end apartments, but if this is low, we should focus on the mass housing market; this is the segment with real demand for apartments," Stephen Wyatt, general director of JLL Việt Nam, said.

Vietnam to create favourable conditions for private firms Vietnam News 7th Feb 2019
Việt Nam will continue to hasten efforts to improve the business climate in terms of quality to create favourable conditions for the private sector to play its role as a driver in promoting rapid and sustainable economic growth. The country targeted to have one million firms by 2020, of which, there would be a lot of large private corporations who were arising strongly in both domestic and international markets in key sectors like manufacturing, aviation, finance and banking, agriculture and telecommunications. According to Nguyễn Xuân Thắng, Hồ Chí Minh National Academy of Politics, the private sector was still facing difficulties in accessing resources, market opportunities and advanced technologies. President and CEO of Vietjet Nguyễn Thị Phương Thảo said at the Việt Nam Economic Forum 2019 that Việt Nam in recent years had sent a strong message about building a constructive government with open mechanisms for the private sector.

January sees number of newly-established firms drop, capital surge Voice of Vietnam 5th Feb 2019
The first month of 2019 saw a 7% fall in the number of newly-established enterprises to 10,079 firms, but pledged capital surged strongly, according to a report from the Business Registration Management Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment. The report shows that 12 of the total 17 sectors saw a drop in the number of newly-established enterprises last month. Particularly, the numbers of the new establishments in logistics, mining and hospitability sectors plummeted by 99%, 38% and 18% respectively. However, each new firm reportedly registered an average of VND15 billion in capital in January, a year-on-year increase of 64.8%. Accordingly, the total registered capital of the new firms was recorded at over VND151 trillion in January, soaring by 53.8% year-on-year.

Deputy PM gives positive forecast for economic growth in 2019 Voice of Vietnam 5th Feb 2019
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has highlighted remarkable results of Vietnam's economic development in 2018 and made positive forecasts for the national economic growth in 2019 in an interview recently granted to the Vietnam News Agency. Accordingly, the country’s GDP recorded the highest growth ever of 7.08 percent in 2018, making the economic scale increase quickly too, hitting 240.5 billion USD, 1.3 times higher than that of 2015. Per capita income approximated 2,600 USD, up nearly 200 USD compared to 2017, Hue said. The Deputy PM highlighted efforts from all sectors to fulfill and surpass the GDP growth target set for 2018, saying that available resources have been fully tapped to ensure sustainable and comprehensive growth.

Consolidating macro-economic stability the leading task this year: PM Vietnam News 1st Feb 2019
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has told ministries, sectors and localities that consolidating macro-economic stability and promoting growth is their most important task for 2019. He made the request at the Government’s monthly meeting in Hà Nội on Thursday. Assessing the socio-economic situation in January, he said a positive trend from last year has been sustained. Notably, the index of industrial production rose almost 8 per cent, total goods retail sales and service revenue have grown fast and goods supply has been ensured.

Việt Nam PMI posts moderate growth in January Vietnam News 1st Feb 2019
The start of 2019 saw moderate growth in the Vietnamese manufacturing sector, according to a Nikkei report released on Friday. According to the report, Việt Nam’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – a composite single-figure indicator of manufacturing performance – posted 51.9 in January, thereby signalling a modest strengthening of business conditions in the sector. The reading was down from 53.8 in December to the lowest since last September, but growth has now been registered in 38 successive months. The report showed rates of expansion in output, new orders and employment continued to ease from the recent highs seen in November last year. That said, operating conditions in the sector continued to improve as firms were again able to attract customers and business confidence remained strong.

Export challenges may widen trade deficit Vietnam News 31st Jan 2019
The trade deficit will be a big challenge for the economy this year due to tax incentives the lower the price of imported goods on the Vietnamese market. According to preliminary statistics of the General Department of Customs published recently, the nation’s export turnover reached US$20 billion in the first month of this year, down 1.3 per cent year-on-year, while imports reached nearly $20.8 billion, an increase of 3.1 per cent. The trade deficit occurred because, at the same time as export turnover was down the from same period last year, demand for imported goods increased in both quantity and value ahead of the Lunar New Year. These figures agree with the forecast released a few days ago by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), which said the trade surplus will not be maintained this year due to many visible difficulties. Instead of continuing the record-breaking trade surplus seen in 2017 and 2018, the country’s exports may reverse.

PM meets with outstanding intellectuals, scientists Vietnam News 30th Jan 2019
The Party and State value Vietnamese intellectuals and scientists, as well as their contributions to the nation’s development, said Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc. During a meeting with 300 outstanding intellectuals and scientists from all over the country yesterday in Hà Nội – just ahead of the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday – PM Phúc conveyed his gratitude to scientists for their contributions while stressing the importance of science and technology to the country’s development. He said he appreciated the opinions shared by participants at the meeting, saying he would dedicate more time to holding dialogues with scientists on issues related to institutions and policy making.

VN lures $1.9 billion in FDI in January Vietnam News 29th Jan 2019
Foreign direct investment (FDI) pledged in Việt Nam witnessed a significant yearly increase of 52 per cent to US$1.9 billion in the first month of this year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment. January’s FDI disbursement also rose 9.3 per cent year-on-year to $1.55 billion, thoibaonganhang.vn reported, citing the ministry’s data. Meanwhile, the capital pledged for stake acquisitions reached $761.8 million, up 114 per cent compared to the same month last year, the data noted.

HN’s CPI increases 0.22 per cent Vietnam News 28th Jan 2019
Hà Nội’s consumer price index (CPI) in January grew 0.22 per cent from the previous month and 3.92 per cent year-on-year, according to the city’s Statistics Office. Almost all goods categories recorded price increases, except for transport and postal-telecom services. Notably, after declines for several months, prices of food, and eating and drinking services have rebounded to rise 0.92 per cent from December 2018, making them the group with the strongest price hike, data showed.

Đồng Nai post $300m trade surplus Vietnam News 28th Jan 2019
Đồng Nai Province has maintained its positive trade growth with estimated surplus of US$300 million in January, the province’s Department of Industry and Trade reported. The southern province has exported $1.73 billion in the first month of 2019, representing an increase of 6.74 per cent against the same period of last year. Its import value is expected at $1.43 billion. The key export products included footwear, textiles, furniture, machinery, electronic devices and agricultural products, of which wooden products recorded the highest growth of 35.8 per cent, followed by transport vehicles and spare parts, machinery and footwear with growth of between 15 and 18 per cent.

Energy

Việt Nam takes action to reduce plastic waste Vietnam News 12th Feb 2019
Việt Nam is one of Asia’s five worst polluters of ocean plastic waste, according to international organisations. With 13 million tonnes of waste released to the ocean every year, the country ranks 17th in the world for ocean plastic waste pollution. Although there are no official statistics on the amount and varieties of plastic in the Vietnamese sea and islands, plastic waste is easy to see in Vietnamese waters, with the country’s 112 estuaries the main gateways of plastic to the ocean. Numbers from Việt Nam’s Association of Plastic illustrate the scale of the problem. In 1990, each Vietnamese consumed 3.8kg of plastic per year, but 25 years later, the figure hit 41kg. As many as 1,000 plastic bags are used each minute but only 27 per cent of them are treated and recycled.

EVNNPT to launch 33 power transmission projects Voice of Vietnam 5th Feb 2019
The National Power Transmission Corporation (EVNNPT) said it plans to launch 33 power transmission projects and put into operation 47 projects, with a total capital of 19.5 trillion VND in 2019. The 33 projects to be launched include three 500-kV power transmission project and 30 220-kV power transmission projects, while the 47 projects to be completed comprise 14 500-kV power projects, 30 220-kV power projects and three 110-kV power projects. EVNNPT, a subsidiary of the state-owned Vietnam Electricity (EVN) group, transmitted 184.5 billion kWh of electricity in 2018, up 11.03 percent from the previous year. It has set the target of 203.2 billion kWh of electricity transmitted in 2019, up 10.15 percent from 2018.

Financial Services

Stock market a launch pad for firms: PM Vietnam News 13th Feb 2019
Việt Nam’s stock market had become a launch pad for the business community, supporting the equitisation of State-owned enterprises and helping create a more balanced and efficient structure in Việt Nam’s financial market, said Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc. PM Phúc made the statement at a gong ceremony held at the Hà Nội Stock Exchange on Tuesday to open the first trading session after the Lunar New Year. At the ceremony, Phúc expressed his delight at the vigorous expansion of the stock market over the past 20 years, noting that market capitalisation had increased by almost 17-fold in 12 years to the equivalent of 72 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) last year, compared to only 22.7 per cent in 2006.

South eyes increased FDI in manufacturing Vietnam News 13th Feb 2019
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in manufacturing in the Southern Key Economic Zone last year exceeded the target, and authorities in the provinces and cities comprising the zone are hoping the trend will continue. “In 2018 Bình Dương Province focused on attracting FDI in processing and manufacturing, trade, services and technology,” Nguyễn Thanh Trúc, director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, told Đầu Tư (Việt Nam Investment Review) newspaper. Bình Dương was the fourth biggest recipient of FDI in the country with US$2.2 billion. “There were a number of large projects getting licences,” Trúc said. They included two logistics and industrial real estate projects by the US-based Warburg Pincus in joint venture with Becamex IDC Corporation at Bàu Bàng and Mỹ Phước 3 Industrial Parks with total capital of $135 million.

VN looks to achieve emerging market status Vietnam News 12th Feb 2019
Viet Nam’s securities market has plenty of opportunities to be promoted from a frontier market to an emerging market this year. In June last year, Việt Nam’s equity market failed to be added to Morgan Stanley Capital International’s (MSCI) watch list – the US independent provider of research-driven insights and tools for institutional investors, for classification review for a possible lift from a frontier market to an emerging one. However, according to the latest report released by the State Securities Commission (SSC), Việt Nam almost meets MSCI’s quantitative requirements to be added onto its watch list for a possible future upwards reclassification. The country has seven stocks that have satisfied MSCI’s quantitative requirements in terms of market size and liquidity.

VN stocks jump on 2019 earnings outlook Vietnam News 12th Feb 2019
Vietnamese shares rose strongly on Tuesday to extend gains for a second session as investor sentiment remained positive on 2019’s corporate performances. The benchmark VN-Index on the Hồ Chí Minh Stock Exchange gained 1.24 per cent to close at 937.54 points. The southern market index has increased by total 3.18 per cent in the last two trading days, setting its two-month high since December 14. More than 188.4 million shares were traded on the southern exchange, worth VNĐ4.2 trillion (US$180.2 million). Trading figures were increases of 51.2 per cent in volume and 43.6 per cent in value from Monday’s numbers.

MoIT to support domestic automobile industry projects Vietnam News 12th Feb 2019
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) will implement solutions to support and promote the automobile industry projects of companies such as Trường Hải Automobile Company (Thaco), Thành Công Group, VinFast and others. The support is seen as a good signal for increasing domestic automobile production and assembly in the future. The ministry will build a pilot part supply chain for automobile manufacturers and assemblers at home and abroad, and study mechanisms and policies to attract investment from multinational corporations investing in large-scale projects in Việt Nam, especially those focused on the brands and models not existing in ASEAN, in order to create conditions for local enterprises to participate deeply in multinational automobile production chains.

Cần Thơ’s IZs lure $112m investment in 2018 Vietnam News 11th Feb 2019
Industrial zones in the Mekong Delta city of Cần Thơ attracted a total registered investment capital of US$112 million last year, 12 per cent higher than the annual target, according to the municipal Industrial Zones and Processing Zones Management Board. Nearly $110 million came from 12 newly-licensed projects with the remainder from nine existing ones which raised their capital levels. Last year, businesses operating in these zones reported more than $1.52 billion in revenue, a hike of 8 per cent, including $686 million from exports, up 23 per cent year-on-year. They also contributed VNĐ1.94 trillion to the local budget, marking a modest increase of 4 per cent compared to 2017. As of last year, the zones had 243 valid projects with a combined investment capital of $1.72 billion and more than $1 billion of the total was disbursed, the board said.

Clean energy attracts investors Vietnam News 8th Feb 2019
With the development potential of renewable energy, coupled with the Government’s preferential policies, Việt Nam has drawn the attention of both domestic and foreign investors in the clean energy field, which is expected to grow quickly in the coming years. According to the national electricity development master plan for 2011-20, Việt Nam will speed up the production of electricity from renewable sources and reduce the proportion of hydropower projects as part of an effort to ensure the security of the nation’s energy supplies and reduce negative environmental impacts. The country has targeted producing 1,700MW of electricity from wind and solar by 2020. In 2015, the then Prime Minister approved a renewable energy development strategy which targeted an increase in the ratio of power generated from renewable energy to 32 per cent by 2030 and 43 per cent by 2050.

Domestic retailers urged to team up to compete with foreign rivals Vietnam News 6th Feb 2019
Competition between domestic and foreign retailers was likely to remain fierce this year, requiring Vietnamese businesses to co-operate in order to maintain their market shares, said an official from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT). The warning was given by deputy head of the MoIT’s Multilateral Trade Policy Department Ngô Chung Khanh in the wake of news that while many Vietnamese products are exported overseas, those same products are also imported from other countries for domestic consumption. Khanh pointed out that price of Japanese mango and Taiwanese dragon fruit could reach up to a million đồng per kilo and still sold out in the Vietnamese market. “There are also many examples such as imported beef, chicken and pork which not only meet international standards but are also much cheaper than domestic products,” Khanh said.

HCM City takes measures to protect the environment Vietnam News 6th Feb 2019
HCM City targets reducing the volume of plastic bags used at supermarkets and business centres by 65 per cent, and at traditional markets by 50 per cent compared with 2010. The city also will require all industrial parks and complexes, export processing zones and hi-tech parks to have wastewater treatment and waste water monitoring systems. They will all be supervised and inspected by state agencies. The goals are part of the city’s People’s Committee environment plan for the 2018–20 period with 10 goals. Waste water discharged from hospitals and industrial facilities must be treated to reach certain environmental criteria, and 80 per cent of household waste water discharged from urban areas will be treated to meet environmental standards.

Phu Quoc to boost investment in socio-economic development Voice of Vietnam 6th Feb 2019
Phu Quoc island district continues to deploy synchronous solutions, creating favourable conditions, supporting investors and enterprises to implement projects as planned, speeding up construction and contributing to local socio-economic development. This was revealed by the Phu Quoc Economic Zone management board in the southern province of Kien Giang. In particular, the island is concentrating on investment capital to speed up the construction schedule to complete key infrastructure projects; overcome limitations and weaknesses in planning management, land, construction, compensation and site clearance; drastically handle disputes, compensation, clearance, resettlement and support for people to have "clean land" for investors to implement the projects.

VN’s supporting industries strive to improve Vietnam News 5th Feb 2019
Vietnamese enterprises have the potential to participate in regional and global production value chains on par with the leading countries in ASEAN, because Việt Nam has been a top priority choice of multinational corporations. However, in order to realise this goal, in addition to their own efforts, businesses also need the support of the State. In the draft plan for sustainable development of Vietnamese private enterprises, the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) aims to raise the rate of enterprises participating in regional and global production networks and value chains, equal to the leading countries in ASEAN 4 by 2030. In fact, it is not easy to achieve this target. Statistics from the MPI show that Việt Nam has only 21 per cent of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) participating in global value chains, while this figure in Thailand is over 30 per cent and Malaysia is 46 per cent. Therefore, in order to improve rankings in ASEAN, it is certain that Vietnamese enterprises must "go faster".

VN’s supporting industries strive to be best in ASEAN Vietnam News 5th Feb 2019
Vietnamese enterprises have the potential to participate in regional and global production value chains on par with the leading countries in ASEAN, because Việt Nam has been a top priority choice of multinational corporations. However, in order to realise this goal, in addition to their own efforts, businesses also need the support of the State. In the draft plan for sustainable development of Vietnamese private enterprises, the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) aims to raise the rate of enterprises participating in regional and global production networks and value chains, equal to the leading countries in ASEAN 4 by 2030. In fact, it is not easy to achieve this target. Statistics from the MPI show that Việt Nam has only 21 per cent of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) participating in global value chains, while this figure in Thailand is over 30 per cent and Malaysia is 46 per cent. Therefore, in order to improve rankings in ASEAN, it is certain that Vietnamese enterprises must "go faster".

Food delivery services poised for boom in Vietnam Vietnam News 4th Feb 2019
Online-to-offline (O2O) food delivery services are expected to grow rapidly, making them red hot in the market and attract investment from many Vietnamese and foreign investors, companies said. They have been growing strongly in Việt Nam in the last year or so with many mobile apps and websites offering these services, allowing consumers to place orders. The big players now are Now, Lala, Vietnamm, Lixi, Loship, GO-VIET’s GO-FOOD, and Grab’s GrabFood. Explaining how the service works, a provider said: “All kinds of local delights are delivered from large restaurant chains to small mom-and-pop stalls.”

Việt Nam targets $40 billion in exports from textile and garment industry Vietnam News 4th Feb 2019
Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) set the industry development target this year for export turnover at US$40 billion, which would mark a 10.8 per cent year-on-year increase. The industry’s trade surplus is expected to reach $20 billion this year. Employment will be ensured and income for 2.85 million workers would be increased, said VITAS. These targets were based on a successful year in 2018, when export turnover of garments and textiles products reached more than $36 billion, marking a year-on-year increase of 16 per cent. This level of growth would make the nation one of the top three largest exporters of textiles and garments in the world. In addition, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which came into effect last month, was expected to help the economy grow by 1.3 per cent. It should boost export turnover by 4 per cent. The textile and garment industry is seen a key sector with many opportunities to expand the market.

PM's directive on effective management and use of foreign loans Voice of Vietnam 4th Feb 2019
The Prime Minister has recently issued Directive No. 03/CT-TTg on the implementation of the National Assembly Standing Committee’s Resolution No. 582/NQ-UBTVQH14 on a number of tasks and solutions to continue accelerating the implementation of policies and laws on management and use of foreign loans. Based on the evaluation of the results of the implementation of policies and laws on the management and use of foreign loans, tasks and solutions set out in the Resolution, the Government leader instructs the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) to continue completing the Law on Public Investment and report it to the PM and the Government, before it is submitted to the 14th National Assembly for approval at the upcoming 7th session. In addition, the MPI is asked to develop the five-year and annual public investment plans for official development assistance (ODA) capital and preferential loans from foreign donors, report the plans to the authorised levels for approval, organise the implementation in line with the progress stipulated in the Law on Public Investment, and examine the disbursement progress and efficiency of projects using foreign loans in accordance with provisions of the law.

Online businesses bustle as Tết coming Vietnam News 2nd Feb 2019
Vietnamese e-commerce floors have been bustle with many items serving buyers and sellers as the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday is coming. Now, the Tết holiday was no longer encapsulated in a certain traditional market or a certain locality but became a borderless market. Not only buying and selling, consumers also have the opportunities to receive promotional gifts from online businesses. Shopping for Tết has never been as simple as today.

Credit growth of 14% a feasible target for 2019 Vietnam News 2nd Feb 2019
The country’s credit growth target of 14 per cent set for this year, the same rate as last year, was reasonable and achievable, economists said. Nguyễn Đức Thành, Director of the Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research under the Vietnam National University - Hanoi’s University of Economics and Business, said credit expansion is expected to remain stable this year at around 14 per cent. According to Thành, there is no reason for a higher credit growth this year when the economy is still gaining a good growth rate without needing capital. Thành explained that previously, Việt Nam’s economic growth often relied heavily on increased credit, however, things have changed. Now, the economy can grow without strong lending, particularly when the supporting industry as well as the services and agricultural sectors are becoming more attractive to foreign investors.

Central bank to ease lending rates Vietnam News 2nd Feb 2019
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) buying net US$4 billion in January may be the way to lower Vietnamese đồng lending rates. The data was announced at the Government’s monthly meeting on Thursday. To achieve such a result, the central bank in late November 2018 sold greenback futures that would be delivered in late January 2019 to raise the market supply of dollars, vneconomy.vn reported on Friday. Then on the first working day of 2019 (January 2), the central bank for the first time in a year raised its purchasing rate by VNĐ500 to VNĐ23,200 for a dollar from the last-day rate of 2018.

Vietnam’s c.bank adds $4bn to forex reserves in January: PM Tuoi Tre News 1st Feb 2019
The State Bank of Vietnam, which is the country's central bank, purchased over US$4 billion in January to add to the country’s foreign exchange reserves, which helped keep forex rates stable, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at a monthly government meeting in Hanoi on Thursday. The meeting was aimed at evaluating the country’s socio-economic performance in January and reviewing preparations for Tet, the government portal reports. Speaking at the meeting, the PM lauded Vietnam’s positive economic development in the first month of 2019, which saw the consumer price index pick up by only 0.1 percent while forex rates remained stable.

Banks see bad debt ratio drop Vietnam News 1st Feb 2019
The number of non-performing loans (NPLs) at many banks has decreased dramatically in the past few months, with some even posting a decline of more than half. According to banks’ financial reports, by the end of 2018, total NPLs of 15 banks, including VPBank, Vietcombank, Sacombank, MBBank, Techcombank, VIB, LienVietPostBank, ACB, ABBank, TPBank, PGBank, BacABank, VietBank, Saigonbank and Kienlongbank, dropped by 17.7 per cent against the end of the third quarter of 2018 to more than VNĐ34.81 trillion (US$1.48 billion). The decline was unexpected as NPLs reportedly increased significantly in the first three quarters of last year.

Over 37.6 million shares to be offered on HNX in February Vietnam News 1st Feb 2019
The Hà Nội Stock Exchange (HNX) will hold eight auctions in February to sell over 37.6 million shares of companies this month. The companies include Thái Hòa Water Supply JSC, Diễn Châu Water Supply JSC, Cửa Lò Water Supply SJC, Quỳnh Lưu Water Supply JSC, Hà Tĩnh Urban and Environment JSC, Ninh Bình Water Supply and Sewerage SJC, Lilama 69 - 3 JSC and Lilama 10 JSC. In January, Hải Dương Province People’s Committee divested from Hải Dương Cable Television Joint Stock Company on the HNX.

Việt Nam has high growth in forestry exports during Jan Vietnam News 1st Feb 2019
Việt Nam gained high growth of 11 per cent year-on-year in the forestry export value in January to US$903 million, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Việt Nam Administration of Forestry. Of which, the export value reached $852 million for timber and wood products, up 10 per cent year on year, and $51 million for non-timber forest products, up 20 per cent. The major export market for local forest products included the US, Japan, EU, China and South Korea, accounting for about 87 per cent of the industry’s total export value.

Petrol prices remain unchanged ahead of Tết holidays Vietnam News 31st Jan 2019
The retail prices of oil and petrol will be kept unchanged for the next 15 days, the ministries of Finance and Industry and Trade announced on Thursday. The two ministries review fuel prices every 15 days to keep domestic prices in line with swings in the global market. Accordingly, the retail price of bio-fuel E5 RON 92 will not be higher than VNĐ16,272 (US$0.7) per litre, and that of RON 95 not more than VNĐ17,603. The ceiling prices of diesel and kerosene will be maintained at VNĐ14,909 and VNĐ14,185 per litre, respectively. Meanwhile, the cost of ethanol E100, which is used to produce E5 petrol, stood at VNĐ15,458 per litre before tax.

PV Oil’s foreign ownership cap temporary: executive Vietnam News 31st Jan 2019
PV Oil’s locking of the foreign ownership ratio at 6.6 per cent is a temporary measure before the Government endorses its new capital divestment plan, according to the company’s general director Cao Hoài Dương. “PV Oil is waiting for the State to approve its new divestment plan,” Dương was quoted as saying on petrotimes.vn, adding that the foreign ownership limit would be scaled up to 49 per cent again after the approval. He said in the new plan, the company proposed to keep the foreign ratio at 49 per cent, the maximum rate allowed in the petroleum sector in Việt Nam. The State still holds 80 per cent of PV Oil’s capital after the sale of 20 per cent stake in the initial public offering in January 2018. The planned offering of 45 per cent capital for strategic investors was not carried out due to the short time (three months) between the two share sales regulated by the Government.

SBV set to rank local banks, credit institutions Vietnam News 31st Jan 2019
The State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) will rank credit institutions and foreign bank branches operating in the country in a move to ensure the safety of the banking system and protect legitimate rights of depositors. Under Circular No. 52/2018/TT-NHNN, which will take effect from April 1 this year, commercial banks, financial companies, financial leasing firms, co-operative banks and branches of foreign banks will be rated. As for commercial banks, the SBV will classify them into two groups: large-sized commercial banks with total assets of more than VNĐ100 trillion (US$4.27 billion) and small-sized banks with total assets of below VNĐ100 trillion. The credit institutions and foreign bank branches will be classified in five groups – A, B, C, D and E – with A representing the best performing and E the worst.

SBV to end cross-ownership in Vietnamese banks Vietnam News 29th Jan 2019
The State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) has set a target to stop cross-ownership among credit institutions (CIs) by the end of 2020. Under Circular No 46/2018/TT-NHNN, which will take effect from March 1 this year, major shareholders of a CI and their relatives will not be allowed to hold more than 5 per cent of charter capital in another credit institution from December 31, 2020. Major shareholders and their relatives are also prohibited from increasing their stake holdings in any CI in any form, except for special cases regulated by the central bank. In addition, CIs are not permitted to lend to major shareholders and their relatives after 90 days from the effective date of the new circular until shareholders meet regulations on holding less than 5 per cent of another CI’s charter capital.

Central bank net injected $2b to meet high capital demand at year-end Vietnam News 29th Jan 2019
The State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) net injected more than VNĐ47.5 trillion (US$2 billion) into the open market operation (OMO) last week to support the liquidity of the banking system amid rising capital demands at the end of the year. According to the latest report from the Saigon Securities Company, the injection was foreseeable as the SBV also pumped a large amount of money to support the liquidity of commercial banks at the end of 2016 and 2017, when the demand for cash increased sharply in the weeks ahead of Tết (Lunar New Year) - the country’s biggest holiday. The SBV’s decision to continuously buy a large amount of US dollars in the past week also supported the supply of Vietnamese đồng. The good liquidity helped overnight interest rate of đồng loans in the inter-bank market last week inch down to 4 per cent from 4.2 per cent in the previous week. One-week and two-week interest rates also dropped by 15 basis points to 4.3 per cent and 4.5 per cent, respectively.

Vietcombank’s charter capital reaches US$1.6 billion Vietnam News 28th Jan 2019
The charter capital of Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Việt Nam (Vietcombank) has increased by 3 per cent to VNĐ37.1 trillion (US$1.6 billion) after it sold selling shares to strategic investors Singaporean investment fund GIC Private Limited (GIC) and Japan’s Mizuho Bank. Vietcombank on Monday said Mizuho had completed the transfer to buy more than 16 million shares to increase its holding to 15 per cent. Earlier, GIC bought 94 million shares to maintain its holding at 2.55 per cent. The bank completed the first share sale to foreign investors after receiving approval from the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) on December 27, 2018.

Food & Agriculture

PM urges New Year festival inspections Vietnam News 12th Feb 2019
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc yesterday urged localities and the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports to step up inspections of upcoming New Year festival celebrations to ensure the events are held in a solemn and safe manner. The ministry must conduct inspections and impose punishments for negative behaviours such as service fee hikes at festivals, he said. In a dispatch sent to ministries, sectors and localities on the first working day of the Lunar New Year, the PM ordered cadres, civil servants and public employees to follow administrative and labour disciplinary practices, especially no delays due to the Tết holiday and those related to production, manufacturing and investment. Employees of ministries, sectors and localities are not allowed to go to festivals during working hours or use State-owned cars to visit festivals, except when performing their duties. Leaders of agencies and localities are not allowed to attend festivals if they are not assigned to do so by authorities.

PM calls for application of technology in agricultural production Voice of Vietnam 12th Feb 2019
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc called for the strong application of technology in agricultural production while visiting the Dong Giao Foodstuff Export Joint Stock Company (DOVECO) in northern Ninh Binh province on February 11. Meeting with the company’s officials and workers, the Prime Minister highly valued their efforts in applying advanced science and technology in production and business, as well as boosting links with farmers in Ninh Binh and other localities. He said agriculture can serve as a steppingstone to make Vietnam an upper-middle-income country before 2035. He asked the sector as well as Dong Giao company to apply advanced technologies like sensor technology, automation, drone technology, big data, cloud computing, 3D printing and internet of things in order to develop Vietnam’s modern agriculture.

Agri-tourism attracts more visitors to Mekong Delta Vietnam News 12th Feb 2019
Farmers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta have developed agri-tourism models that have not only increased their incomes but also contributed to sustainable agriculture and rural development in the area. The Mekong Delta, which is the country’s largest agricultural production area, has great potential to develop ecotourism. It has been listed among the best destinations to visit in 2019 by the US travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler. The delta attracts millions of visitors each year thanks to its cultural diversity, natural beauty and a large range of tourism products. According to HCM City’s Department of Tourism, tourist demand to seek hands-on experiences has increased from 20-30 per cent compared to recent years.

Local dairy industry will have to compete with foreign brands under CPTPP Vietnam News 11th Feb 2019
The domestic dairy industry will face competitive pressure this year due to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), according to a report of the Rồng Việt Securities Company (VDSC). The VDSC believes that Việt Nam’s dairy brands will face fierce competition from foreign brands because when the CPTPP came into effect in Việt Nam on January 14, import tariffs on dairy products from New Zealand, Singapore and Japan were cut to zero, making these product lines more competitive. In addition, local consumers are more concerned about their own health and have improved awareness of nutritional products so they have become more demanding. They now prefer high-quality, organic milk products as well as those from walnuts and macadamia nuts. Meanwhile, demand for reconstituted milk has decreased, according to the report.

Việt Nam to see $2.4b in tra fish exports this year Vietnam News 11th Feb 2019
The Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has predicted the export value of tra fish will reach US$2.4 billion this year, up from $2.3 billion last year. According to economic experts, this number is feasible because the US-China trade is impacting many economies, including Việt Nam, but has had a positive impact on some export products. The tra fish industry is poised to benefit from increasing Chinese demand for seafood products. When the Việt Nam-European Union (EU) free trade agreement (EVFTA) comes into effect, tariffs on both raw and processed tra fish entering the EU will be eliminated. They currently stand at 5.5 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively.

CPTPP brings opportunities, challenges to Vietnam’s agriculture SGGP English Edition 7th Feb 2019
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has recently taken effect in Vietnam, which will bring about both opportunities and challenges for many fields, including agriculture.

Fruit, vegetable sector targets 4.2 billion USD in export turnover in 2019 Voice of Vietnam 6th Feb 2019
The fruit and vegetable sector aims to gross nearly 4.2 billion USD in export turnover this year, according to the Department of Crop Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. To realise the goal, the sector will expand the fruit area to one million hectare and develop five main fruits in southern localities namely dragon fruit, mango, durian, rambutan, and longan. The department recommended localities minimise the expansion of area under citrus fruit trees and shift to grow other high yield ones in areas where soil conditions are not suitable for those types of trees. In order to ensure food safety and origin tracking of products for domestic sales and exports, the cultivation sector has continued guiding farmers to apply advanced standards in production such as Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practice (VietGAP) and Global Good Agricultural Practice (GlobalGAP).

Export spike stimulates firms to invest in tra fish Voice of Vietnam 5th Feb 2019
Vietnam has seen the tra fish export growing strongly in the past two years, which has encouraged enterprises to boost their investment in the sector. Vo Hung Dung, general secretary of the Vietnam Pangasius Association (VINAPA), said that the tra fish yield is likely to continue its uptrend this year, expected to rise by 20% against the output of 1.4 million tons last year. Dung explained that many new projects related to the tra fish sector are being invested by firms as exports have grown staggeringly, by over 25% last year in particular. In particular, Nam Viet Company on January 8 began work on the Nam Viet Binh Phu hi-tech seafood farming project covering 600 hectares in Binh Phu Commune, Chau Phu District, in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang. The project with total capital of VND4 trillion is considered Vietnam’s largest tra fish raising project to apply advanced technology.

Vietnamese rice makes name in world market Voice of Vietnam 5th Feb 2019
In 2018, Vietnam’s total rice exports reached 6.15 million tonnes, with export turnover of 3.15 billion USD. The industry saw a 5.7 percent increase in volume and a 19.6 percent increase in value compared to 2017. Loc Troi 28 is a short term rice variety and the final product between the hybrid of Loc Troi 1 and Basmati rice variety of India. High-yielding, fragrant and nutritious compared to other varieties, Loc Troi 28 was well received at an international rice convention held in China. Huynh Van Thon, Chairman and General Director of Loc Troi corp., said Loc Troi 28 rice variety has surpassed Homali rice variety of Thailand and, SKO of Cambodia to win the top quality.

Vietnam’s farm produce find inroads to demanding markets Voice of Vietnam 3rd Feb 2019
Over recent years, Vietnam’s farm produce and vegetables have overcome severe barriers on quality standards to enter fastidious markets like those of Europe or Japan. Vietnam’s agricultural exports rank 15th in the world, but their competitiveness in the market is not yet significant. Huy Long An is one of the first Vietnamese companies directly exporting agricultural products to Japan. Each year, it earns millions of USD from exporting bananas to Japan and the Republic of Korea, with last year’s revenue amounting to 3.3 million dollars. To be able to export to demanding countries, Huy Long An has to grow 200 ha of banana pursuant to VietGap standard on cultivation and preservation, meet 200 criteria of Japanese businesses, and 170 criteria of the South Korean market in regard to land, water, fertilizer, pesticide, and daily cultivation practices.

HCM City’s wholesale markets prepare for Tết Vietnam News 2nd Feb 2019
With the Tết (Lunar New Year) approaching, the managements of HCM City’s wholesale markets have been instructed to monitor the market and prices and keep traders informed, the city Department of Industry and Trade has said. Phạm Thành Kiên, its director, said prices should be kept steady instead of having them plummet before Tết, which would cause customers to wait for that and leave their goods unsold. Forecasts of demand have been provided to traders, he said. The managements should monitor the market for pricing and supply anomalies and preclude any surplus or shortage of goods, he said.

A number of cattle slaughterhouses to be launched Vietnam News 31st Jan 2019
HCM City plans to construct several modern livestock and poultry slaughterhouses this year, in addition to facilities being opened by private firms. From now to September 2019, the city will open six modern industrial-scale cattle slaughterhousees, which will have a total capacity of 13,000 animals per day. Hóc Môn District will have two slaughterhouses, including the Xuân Thới Thượng and Tân Hiệp Food Processing Plants, with capacity of 2,000 and 3,000 animals per day, respectively. Củ Chi District will have four facilities in Tân Thạnh commune with capacity of 2,000 animals per day, Tân Phú Trung commune with capacity of 3,000 animals per day, one on Võ Văn Bích street with capacity of 2,000 animals per day and another in Phước Thạnh commune with capacity of 1,000 animals per day.

Health & Life Sciences

Doctor warns against deadly seasonal flu Vietnam News 13th Feb 2019
The number of flu patients hospitalised has increased sharply for the last month, said Đào Xuân Cơ, head of Bạch Mai Hospital’s Department of Intensive Care on Tuesday in Hà Nội. Up to seven patients are in critical condition. Two patients with influenza A/H1N1 are being mechanically ventilated and have a bad prognosis. Two others suspected of having A/H1N1 are waiting for test results. Two weeks ago at the department, a 31-year-old woman in her 24th week of pregnancy with twins died of influenza A/H1N1. The unborn children also passed away. At present, there are two male patients infected with influenza A/H1N1 and some others are suspected. They are all in severe conditions and isolated.

Vietnam opens up pharma import market for foreign businesses Voice of Vietnam 3rd Feb 2019
It is now easier for foreign companies to join the Vietnamese pharmaceutical market, buoyed by recently-loosened business conditions regarding drug registration and imports. The Ministry of Health (MoH) has recently issued two new decrees – Decree No.155/2018/ND-CP and Decree No.169/2018/ND-CP, which revise a number of regulations under Decree No.54/2017/ND-CP and Decree No.36/2016/ND-CP, respectively. Previously, with regulations stated in Decree 54 and Decree 36, drug registration and drug imports to Vietnam were among the top concerns for international pharmaceutical firms from the EU and ASEAN for years. Many complained that regulations in the decrees jammed their operations and proposed changes to these to facilitate their business.

Hà Nội works to limit gender imbalance among newborns vietnamnews.vn 3rd Feb 2019
Hà Nội has set a goal this year to limit the imbalance in the sex ratio of births at the current rate of 113 girls per 100 boys. According to the municipal Department of Health, local family planning work is difficult due to the city’s large population and area.

VFA warns of baby products infected with Salmonella vietnamnews.vn 30th Jan 2019
The Vietnam Food Administration (VFA) under the Ministry of Health has issued a warning about batches of Modilac baby formula products suspected of Salmonella infection imported to Việt Nam. As many as 12 products of 22 batches which are suspected of being infected with Salmonella were been imported to Việt Nam in 2017 and 2018, according to the VFA. Earlier on Monday, the VFA received information from the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) on food safety incidents involving some children infected with Salmonella in France. An investigation was conducted in France and detected a link between the infections and the use of some baby formula products. The VFA has contacted the company which imported these products in Việt Nam to recall all batches of suspicious products. The administration has also asked customs authorities and State inspection agencies to stop imports of suspicious products at the border and requested food safety divisions nationwide to supervise suspect products and recall them as soon as they are discovered.

Vietnam changes rules in medical devices business Vietnam Net 28th Jan 2019
The Ministry of Health (MoH) recently held a meeting to announce Decree No.169/2018/ND-CP, governing the management of medical equipment, which amends some regulations in Decree No.36/2016/ND-CP. Because of its wide impact, the event attracted the participation of hundreds of medical equipment producers and suppliers. “Decree 169 is to create a legal framework for the management of medical equipment in the new development period amidst increasing international integration, while meeting international norms,” said Nguyen Minh Tuan, head of the MoH’s Department of Medical Equipment and Works. Under Decree 169, there are some changes. They include the amendment and supplementation of the concept of ‘medical equipment,’ regulations related to medical equipment containing narcotic and precursor substances, and classification of medical equipment, as well as the supplementation of cases allowed to adjust information in announcement dossiers, and of cases rapidly getting circulation registration numbers.

ICT

In 4.0 era, reform is a must for logistics industry Voice of Vietnam 6th Feb 2019
The increasing number of online transactions has led to high demand for logistics services. Giao Hang Nhanh, a delivery firm, estimates that the number of orders in Vietnam will increase by 45 percent in 2015-2020 and may reach 530 million by 2020, equal to $472 million worth of delivery services. Experts have begun talking about a ‘next-generation logistics’. “The shopping context has changed, which means that the firms in logistics industry also have to change or they will be eliminated,” said Bui Anh Tuan, CEO of the Singapore-based ManpleTree.

Reinforcing defenses for Industry 4.0 Voice of Vietnam 3rd Feb 2019
As Industry 4.0 is setting in, there is a pressing need to set up e-government, but there remains huge challenges in enhancing information security. According to Bkav Corporation’s latest summary on ­cybersecurity in Vietnam, in 2018 the country suffered VND14.9 trillion ($647 million) in damages from computer virus attacks, equal to 0.26 per cent of GDP and 21 per cent more than in 2017. In addition, the survey also showed that 60 per cent of local agencies and businesses were struck by ransomware. Specifically, malware seized control of an average of six out of every 10 enterprises and agencies. The figures show that even with the Law on Cybersecurity coming into effect, improving information security remains a major problem for the local government.

Vietnamese operators speed up with 5G Vietnam News 2nd Feb 2019
Viettel will trial 5G mobile technology around the country over the next 12 months. Minister of Information & Communications Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng signed a decision to licence the implementation of 5G for the military-run telecommunications company. This licence was granted to test and evaluate technical features and the ability to deploy telecommunications infrastructure using the fifth generation technology. Hà Nội and HCM City will be the first two cities to test Viettel’s 5G.

Central city launches new IT Park Vietnam News 2nd Feb 2019
The central city has launched the first stage of the Đà Nẵng Information Technology Park (DITP) in Hòa Vang district after one year of construction on 131ha with total investment of US$82 million. The DITP, which was invested and built by the Trung Nam Group, now offers infrastructure for hosting the first investors from the second quarter of 2019. It’s also the biggest IT Park in Đà Nẵng with the aim of creating more opportunities for IT investors flocking to the city by 2023. The park, which covers 341ha with total registered investment of $278 million, aims to become central Việt Nam’s ‘Silicon Valley’. It expects to create revenue of $3 billion each year with 25,000 jobs and a satellite city of 100,000 people.

VN to build product origin portal Vietnam News 29th Jan 2019
The Prime Minister approved the ‘Scheme of deploying, applying and managing the traceability system’ with the goal to build and operate a portal on national product and goods traceability by 2020. The project aims to improve the system of legal regulations, documents and guidelines on traceability; promote social engagement in traceability activities to serve international integration and improve the efficiency of State management; ensuring the quality and safety of products and goods. At the same time, the project will focus on raising awareness among the public, agencies, organisations and enterprises on traceability through dissemination of information and training for related parties; ensuring publicity and transparency of information on traceability of products and goods on the market; providing essential information and knowledge about traceability.

Infrastructure

HCM City flood-prevention project to resume after Tết holiday Vietnam News 13th Feb 2019
The planned multi-trillion đồng flood-prevention project in HCM City is expected to resume soon after being delayed since late April last year, said the investor. Nguyễn Tâm Tiến, CEO of city-based Trung Nam Group, said if the HCM City People’s Committee handed over the land early, the project would be completed this year. “I am trying to complete necessary preparation for the project to restart immediately after the Lunar New Year holiday,” he said. The land plots in districts 7, 8, Bình Chánh and Nhà Bè have not been handed over, delaying the project.

Undersea tunnel planned in Hạ Long City Vietnam News 13th Feb 2019
The People’s Committee in northern province of Quảng Ninh wants to build an undersea tunnel at Cửa Lục Bay. They have submitted a report to Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc for approval. The tunnel will connect the Vườn Đào T-junction of Bãi Cháy Ward and the coastal roads of the Vinhomes urban area at Hạ Long City’s Hòn Gai Ward. It is expected to have six lanes for vehicles and with a maximum speed of 60 kilometres per hour. It will cost more than VNĐ9.7 trillion (US$417.6 million) to build. The project has a total length of 2,750 metres and can resist level seven earthquakes.

New hope as construction of Ho Chi Minh City metro resumes after Tet Tuoi Tre News 12th Feb 2019
As the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday already came to an end, workers have returned to work on the massive construction site of the first-ever metro line in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday, with the project management hoping to overcome funding difficulties to speed up completion of the late-running megaproject. All construction works on the city’s metro line No. 1, which connects Ben Thanh Market in District 1 and Suoi Tien Theme Park in District 9, was resumed on Tuesday, with workers actively doing their job in the hope of having luck in the new lunar year. One of the most significant parts of the metro line is the 17.1km metro bridge, or the elevated railway of the project that runs along Hanoi Highway, snaking through District 1, Binh Thanh District, District 2, District 9 and Thu Duc District to connect the Ba Son Shipyard and Suoi Tien terminals. At one section of the metro bridge, dozens of engineers and workers were installing the two lanes of rail during their first working day after Tet.

More funding needed for Southern Key Economic Region Vietnam News 9th Feb 2019
The Southern Key Economic Zone needs special policies to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and improve linkages between localities to ensure sustainable development, experts have said. The Southern Key Economic Region includes HCM City and the provinces of Bình Phước, Tây Ninh, Bình Dương, Đồng Nai, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Long An and Tiền Giang. The region accounts for only 8 per cent of the country’s area but plays a leading role in its economic development as it makes up 60 per cent of the Government’s revenues. The region ranks highly in FDI attraction, accounting for 50 per cent of the capital and 60 per cent of projects of the entire country.

Mekong Delta prepares for dry season, seeks to keep out saltwater Vietnam News 4th Feb 2019
Authorities in the Mekong Delta are bracing for the dry season and the resultant saltwater intrusion from the sea in rivers. They have taken a number of measures including dredging of canals, building temporary dams to keep out saltwater and storing water in reservoirs. They have urged farmers to grow rice and other crops in accordance with the schedules suggested to avoid the impacts of water shortage and saltwater intrusion. They have encouraged people living in saltwater-affected areas to store freshwater for household use.

Vietnam to host green transport event vietnamplus.vn 31st Jan 2019
Vietnam will host the 12th Intergovernmental Regional Environmentally Sustainable Transport Forum in Asia (EST 12) this year, said the Ministry of Transport. The event will be co-held by Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Hanoi People’s Committee, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), and United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD).

Work on HCM City’s 1st metro route to be hastened Vietnam News 29th Jan 2019
The HCM City Urban Railway Management Board (MAUR) will work with contractors, consulting firms and others to speed up the city’s first metro route between Bến Thành and Suối Tiên, a meeting heard last weekend. “We will try to complete the project in 2020,” Bùi Xuân Cường, head of MAUR, said. A cost overrun, audits and delayed payments to contractors caused the delays, he said. “Certain aspects are beyond the ambit of our authority and require intervention by city leaders to resolve.” The project, which began in 2012, was expected to be finished in 2017 and become operational this year.

PM advises Hưng Yên to develop industrial, urban zones Vietnam News 28th Jan 2019
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc asked the northern province of Hưng Yên to continue creating a better investment environment and developing industrial, service and urban zones during his Tết (Lunar New Year) visit to the province on Saturday. Secretary of the Hưng Yên provincial Party Committee Đỗ Tiến Sỹ reported to the PM the locality’s prominent achievements over the years, including the establishment of 10,000 businesses and the attraction of over 1,800 investment projects. The province has set up big industrial zones, like Hòa Phát and Thăng Long II. Phúc said he hoped the province would continue to make full use of its potential, develop agriculture and services, provide the best environment to attract investment, bring into full play the role of businesses, and rally all available resources for its long-term, stable, and sustainable growth.

Travel & Tourism

Ministry of Transport to accelerate North-South Expressway project Vietnam News 12th Feb 2019
The Ministry of Transport plans to rush the implementation of the North-South expressway project in 2019, said Minister of Transport Nguyễn Văn Thể. He said the ministry had approved a feasibility study of 11 sub-projects of the North-South expressway project since October last year and was in the process of selecting consultation firms. “The ministry will manage to disburse half of VNĐ14 trillion ($602 million) raised from bond issuance this year for land clearance work and finish acquisition of all required lands by next year,” Thể told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper. The Ministry of Transport (MoT) had opened bidding for the Cao Bồ-Mai Sơn and Cam Lộ-Sơn La stretches. The contractors would be chosen in the second quarter of this year. Work on the two sections would begin soon so the projects would be completed in 2021.

US to approve direct flights from Việt Nam Vietnam News 11th Feb 2019
The United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is expected to grant a Category 1 rating to Việt Nam soon, allowing its airlines to fly to the US and codeshare with US carriers, according to the Straits Times. National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, budget airline Vietjet Air and newcomer Bamboo Airways have expressed a desire to fly to the US. There are currently no non-stop flights between the two countries, despite a large market catering to tourism and visits by friends and relatives. Travellers looking to visit the country need to connect in other Asian nations such as China and Japan. Data of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam showed the country’s rapidly growing aviation market saw traffic increase 16 per cent on average each year from 2010 to 2017.

Thừa Thiên-Huế okays marine ecological tourist complex Vietnam News 8th Feb 2019
The central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế has given nod to the construction of a marine ecological tourist complex in Hải Dương Commune, Hương Trà Township. Lying on a site of nearly 134ha, the complex will be built at a total cost of over VNĐ2.1 trillion (US$91.3 million) by the Hải Dương Huế Investment JSC. The complex comprises of three sections, with the S1 section designed for mid-end tourist services on about 56.5ha, which houses a four-star hotel and condotel, bungalows and villas, completed with a swimming pool, bar, spa, club house. The S2 area offers high-end services, featuring a five-star hotel and condotel, bungalows and villas, a swimming pool, restaurants and an international convention hall. The 30ha S3 section is reserved for ecological tourist purposes, also featuring bungalows and villas, a spa and swimming pool, restaurants, and a club house.

First tourists visit Đà Nẵng in the Lunar New Year Vietnam News 5th Feb 2019
More than 180 foreign tourists on a direct flight from Incheon to Đà Nẵng were the first visitors to the central city on the first day of the Lunar New Year on February 5, promoting a promising year of tourism in coastal Đà Nẵng and central Việt Nam. The first visitors received lucky money and gifts from the city’s tourism department and representatives of VietJetAir during a warm welcome ceremony at Đà Nẵng International Airport. Korean tourists were the second largest foreign visitors to Đà Nẵng last year, with more than 1.4 million booking tours to the city. VietJet was also the first airline to launch a daily direct flight connecting Đà Nẵng and Incheon, Korea in 2017.

Huế-Đà Nẵng steam trains restored for tourists Vietnam News 5th Feb 2019
The Indochina Rail Tourist Service Company plans to restore the operation of steam trains travelling between the central city of Đà Nẵng and Huế to serve tourists. The company said the restoration of the defunct steam train line has been prepared with an investment of VNĐ81 billion (US$3.6 million). As planned, three steam locomotives and 10 carriages have been repaired and decorated, while logistics services, stations, bridges and coal and water supplying systems will be restored at the stations of Kim Liên in Đà Nẵng and Lăng Cô in Thừa Thiên-Huế Province.

Key Hanoi transport projects close to completion VN Express 5th Feb 2019
The road from Dam Hong in Thanh Xuan District to Giap Bat in Hoang Mai District in the southwest of Hanoi was to have been completed in 2016, but was pushed back to 2019 due to a delay in acquiring lands. The road will be two kilometers long and 40 meters wide and cost VND1.3 trillion ($56.03 million). The stretch of road between Dam Hong and Dinh Cong Residence is completed and ready for use and only another 600 meters are left. The road in Ha Dong (southwest of Hanoi) from the intersection of Phuc La and Van Phu Road to National Highway 1A. It will be 41 kilometers long and 40 meters wide. Construction began in 2008 at a cost of VND5 trillion ($215.52 million), and was scheduled to be finished in 2014. However, it was delayed and will be finished by the end of this year. The 20-kilometer first stage has been finished.

Da Nang to prioritise tourism industry Voice of Vietnam 5th Feb 2019
The central city of Da Nang will prioritise the development of tourism and services associated with commercial real estate for resorts. This was one of the five key areas given in the Politburo’s newly issued Resolution 43 on the city’s construction and development by 2030. According to the resolution, Da Nang needs to have a policy focusing on developing five key sectors, including travel and high quality services associated with resort real estate; seaports and airports; high-tech industry associated with creative urban construction and start-ups; information technology, electronics and telecommunications associated with the digital economy; and high-tech agriculture and fisheries. In particular, there will be policies to develop Da Nang into a marine economic centre, forming a logistics service supply chain in the central region with the city as a central hub.

Funding for key expressway suspended to replace dubious investor VN Express 1st Feb 2019
Trung Luong - My Thuan BOT JSC, the joint venture company in charge of constructing the 51km expressway, has petitioned the Prime Minister and Ministry of Transport to replace one of the project’s current investors whose presence is delaying the project. When completed, Trung Luong - My Thuan Expressway will connect with HCMC - Trung Luong Expressway, linking HCMC with southern Tien Giang Province. The financing bank has refused to disburse funds for the project because Yen Khanh Ltd, an investor contributing 30 percent of joint venture capital, has been implicated in several criminal cases recently. Last December, the company’s CEO and five other executives were arrested for tax evasion and criminal misuse of land.

Vietnam considers $432-million restoration of Da Lat railway VN Express 1st Feb 2019
The work, estimated to cost over VND10 trillion ($432.83 million), is expected to boost tourism between Lam Dong Province in the Central Highlands, home to Da Lat, and Ninh Thuan Province in the plains below, where Phan Rang is located. Pham S, Deputy Chairman of Lam Dong, said it would need to be approved by the National Assembly and government. The province has urged the investing company to complete the feasibility report for the work, he added without identifying it. The Da Lat – Phan Rang rail route is one of only two in the world to use rack rails.

Upgrade of National Highway 5 ordered after deadly accident Vietnam News 29th Jan 2019
The Directorate for Roads of Vietnam (DRVN) had asked the Vietnam Infrastructure Development and Finance Investment Joint Stock Company (VIDIFI) to conduct repairs to prevent traffic accidents on National Highway 5 ahead of the busy Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday, Vietnam Plus reported. The VIDIFI was instructed to upgrade road markings to delineate lanes and traffic signals before Tết, which falls on February 5 this year. The DRVN also asked the Department of Transport Safety, the Road Administration Department I and the VIDIFI to co-ordinate with transport departments and local authorities in reviewing all pedestrian bridges and report to the Ministry of Transport in February.