Vietnam Update: March 21, 2019

Vietnam Update | March 21, 2019
Authors: Riley Smith, Hai Pham and David Mineo
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

April 10-11: Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Vietnam
For more information or to express interest, please contact Sunita Kapoor at skapoor@usasean.org and Hai Pham at hpham@usasean.org.

April 11: Dinner in Honor of Minister Mai Tien Dung, Chairman of the Office of the Government of Vietnam
For more information or to express interest, please contact Hai Pham at hpham@usasean.org and Vu Tu Thanh at tvu@usasean.org.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Vietnam Committed to Finding Middle Ground in Regulation of Sharing Economy, Aims to Support Innovation and Growth
In a recent statement, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue declared that Vietnam is committed to finding a middle ground in regulating the sharing economy that can accommodate innovation and growth while maintaining a rules-based environment. According to Viet Nam News, Vietnam’s sharing economy is currently experiencing major growth in the transportation, room sharing, e-commerce, employment, financial services, and online advertising sectors. The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Bui The Duy expect additional sectors to adopt the sharing economy platform in years to come under Vietnam’s Industry 4.0 and associated digital transformation. Under Resolution No. 13/NQ-CP issued by the Government of Vietnam in February, MPI has been authorized to develop Vietnam’s sharing economy.

While MPI recognizes the benefits to Vietnam’s economy under the sharing model—including increased revenue, enhanced efficiency, and greater range of consumer choice—there are challenges that still need to be addressed through laws and regulation. In particular, MPI and the Director of the State Bank of Vietnam’s Payment Department, Pham Tien Dung, cited the need to develop a solution for tax collection on sharing economy services. As there are no internationally endorsed set of regulations to govern shared economies, MPI and Deputy Prime Minister Hue believe sector-specific regulations would work best to manage a constantly evolving business environment. In addition, Deputy Prime Minister Hue has called on Vietnam’s ministries to update their legal frameworks to account for the addition of new business models in the sharing economy that fall under their purview.

In the absence of an international framework governing the management and regulation of the sharing economy, countries like Vietnam will face increasing pressure to develop their own set of standards. The unilateral development of regulatory standards has the potential to Balkanize the sharing economy, rendering compliance increasingly difficult and running the risk of stunting growth. It is a welcome sign that Deputy Prime Minister Hue and MPI are aware of the challenges that come with regulation as they are cautious not to impinge upon the growth and innovation of the sharing economy. As the various ministries update their legal mechanisms to adjust to Vietnam’s digital transformation and burgeoning sharing economy, it will be important for members to be aware of new laws as they are introduced. The Council will also look for opportunities to share member companies’ recommendations and concerns on regulating the shared economy.

Ministry of Industry and Trade Releases Decision on Plans for CPTPP Implementation
Several months after the National Assembly’s ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) last November, and it’s entering into force on December 30, 2018, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) has released a decision on plans for the agreement’s implementation. The plan will delegate tasks and establish deadlines for relevant MOIT agencies, which will also be responsible for ensuring the competitiveness of Vietnam’s domestic businesses. MOIT also plans to disseminate information relevant to CPTPP over various media channels to inform businesses of its details. According to Viet Nam News, plans will involve the drafting of legal documents covering export-import management and trace of origin and competitiveness procedures. These will be implemented over two phases: the first phase will be launched in 2019 and the second will be initiated from 2020-2025. In addition, MOIT will help coordinate and participate in activities of the CPTPP Commission and sub-committees, as well as other tasks within the framework of the trade agreement.

Ministry of Health Improves Consistency of Inspections and Standards, Identifies Priorities and Challenges for 2019
Vietnam’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has been working diligently to revamp Vietnam’s healthcare sector. The Minister of Health, Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, notes that MOH made great strides in monitoring prices, expiration dates, and the quality and origin of medication in 2018. The Ministry was also able to negotiate the price for drugs at tenders for the first time. It also engaged in more thorough inspections of purveyors and punished violators to ensure that the proliferation of low-quality drugs continue to decrease. However, the overhaul and modernization of Vietnam’s health sector will require considerable time and investment, particularly as MOH has identified improving grassroots health services—at the commune and district levels—as one of its top priorities.

Despite the progress that has been made, Minister Tien notes that Vietnam is still working to improve certain aspects of Vietnam’s health sector. In particular, as demand for treatment and medication grows, prices have remained high. In 2019, MOH plans to focus on ensuring patients have access to affordable and high-quality medical services and medication. The Ministry will work to ensure that hospitals are properly staffed to handle patient volume, and it also has plans to further introduce the concept of green hospitals to Vietnam. Minister Tien also identifies controlling the price of medicine and regulating its quality and supply as a second priority for MOH in 2019, indicating that the Ministry will issue about six circulars and one decree this year to guide the implementation of the Law on Pharmacy 2016. MOH will also address work to improve standards among clinics and small community hospitals by developing improved infrastructure and increasing staff’s capacity.

MOH is also taking steps to upgrade its healthcare sector through innovative solutions that are intended to provide better treatment for patients and reverse the trend in which many Vietnamese seek medical treatment outside the country. Minister Tien cites the advancements Vietnam made in 2018 in traditional medicine, laparoscopic surgery, and organ transplants. Health experts have advocated that MOH embrace digitalization as a solution to some of the high-cost challenges it is facing. By monitoring their health through mobile apps, patients may boost preventative care and obviate some of the expenses incurred through primary care.

MOH’s demonstrated ambition and resolve in the progress that it has made in regularizing inspections and ensuring consistent standards marks an important first step in overhauling Vietnam’s health sector. As MOH continues this process, it will likely look to foreign companies and investors to provide best practice, share technologies, and invest in the modernization of its healthcare sector.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 
2019 Vietnam Business Mission
On March 12-14, the Council brought a delegation of more than 50 leading American companies to Hanoi to engage with the highest levels of the Vietnamese government on trade and investment opportunities. Coming on the heels of the U.S.-DPRK Summit in Hanoi, this business delegation is the Council’s largest to any ASEAN nation in its 35-year history, which reaffirms U.S. President Donald Trump's praise of Vietnam as "thriving like few places on Earth." On March 14, the Council concluded its Vietnam Business Mission with a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. During the meeting, Prime Minister Phuc and the delegation explored business opportunities and discussed a wide range of issues in key sectors, including the digital economy, agriculture, health, energy and manufacturing. The mission resulted in many key opportunities for closer cooperation, and the Council will be working with our members to follow up on the discussed advocacy issues in the weeks to come.
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
Việt Nam’s marine development strategy introduced in Malaysia
ASEAN urged to uphold communal identity
Vietnamese telecom group helps Laos with e-Office
Vietnam-Myanmar relations increasingly substantive: officials
Cambodia, Laos, VN work to remove obstacles to cross-border trade
Việt Nam optimises ASEM cooperation to raise its position: official
Việt Nam, Philippines discuss cooperation
PM says hosting DPRK-US summit was big success for Việt Nam

National Affairs
PM Phúc puts focus on institutions
Việt Nam, US look to bolster investment, trade ties
Việt Nam attends UN’s session on ICCPR implementation

Customs
February car imports surge
Customs to stop accepting cash
State budget collection rises 18.2% in two months
Industry 4.0 to boost GDP: experts

Defense & Security
Building defence zones can protect the country: PM
Regional meeting on maritime security convenes in Đà Nẵng
PM attends ceremony to mark Border Guard’s traditional day

Economics
NA Chairwoman reviews Bình Thuận’s socio-economic development
Industrial realty firms boosted by FDI increase
February CPI up almost 1 per cent

Energy
Int’l exhibition to showcase electrical technologies, green power
Ministry to look into cutting industrial energy use
Two solar power projects approved
Việt Nam-Russia joint venture welcomes first oil flow from Cá Tầm field
Solar power complex launched in Đắk Lắk
Renewable energy project to go operational in April
Quảng Trị welcomes wave of investments in energy sector
PVN’s business results exceed plan
Petrol prices up nearly VNĐ1,000 per litre
Vietnam's graft hunters zero in on Venezuela oil project

Financial Services
Việt Nam's central bank seeks to weaken currency
VN among the world’s top ten emerging markets by logistics
E-portal about CPTPP launched
Logistics sector expects e-commerce to drive rapid growth
Việt Nam to build plan for trade promotion in development triangle area
Ministry issues plans for CPTPP implementation
Bình Dương tightens real estate
PM passes securities market plan
E-commerce may be booming but fake goods still aplenty
Start-up incubation programme launched in Hà Nội

Food & Agriculture
Cần Thơ licenses $14m seafood processing plant
Agricultural sector posts trade surplus of $1b in two months
Solutions to curb African swine fever discussed
Localities working hard to cull infected pigs
More investment in processing key to boost fruit and vegetable exports
Vietnam affirms commitment to contributing to IFAD activities
Logistics in Mekong Delta yet to meet expectations
Central Highlands province opens coffee festival, calls for investment
Farming products face difficulties in export this year
HCM City to ensure pork supply

Health & Life Sciences
Satellite-based forecasting system launched to fight dengue fever
AI-driven support system assists cancer treatment
Experts share international experience on organ transplant
Health ministry instructs city to strengthen measles immunisation
Future bright for Vietnamese pharmaceutical market
Raising quality of healthcare
The power of digitalising healthcare in Vietnam

ICT
Internet users warned of ransomware attacks
Online education comes to the fore in Industry 4.0
Vietnam, Cambodia boost postal, telecoms, ICT cooperation
National e-Document Exchange Platform launched
Cần Thơ aims to be smart city by 2025
City to host int’l telecom, IT and communications products and services expo
Cybersecurity solutions needed
Digital economy needs supporting policies: experts
Technology reshaping VN retail sector
Gov’t chief asks to speed up national innovation center

Infrastructure
Chân Mây-Lăng Cô EZ lures $3.26b in investment
ADB provides $188m loan to improve connectivity in northwest
Property developers eye emerging markets
Đà Nẵng licenses $419m in new projects; $2.6b proposed

Manufacturing
Domestic automobile industry set for good growth

Travel & Tourism
Quảng Bình Police conduct drastic measures to reduce traffic accidents
Vietnam's Danang basks in Southeast Asian hotel boom
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Việt Nam’s marine development strategy introduced in Malaysia Vietnam News 20th Mar 2019
The Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia introduced the country’s strategy for the sustainable development of its sea-based economy at the Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA) on Tuesday. The event attracted representatives from Malaysian ministries of foreign affairs, defence, transport, universities, and research institutes, as well as diplomatic corps from the US and Australia. Vietnamese Ambassador Vũ Hải Đăng presented his home country’s marine potential and the process of building its sea strategy. He briefed key points of Resolution No 36-NQ/TW on the sustainable marine economy growth strategy by 2030, with a vision toward 2045. Participants raised questions revolving around investment opportunities for Malaysia in Việt Nam’s sea tourism and coastal infrastructure development projects.

ASEAN urged to uphold communal identity Vietnam News 20th Mar 2019
Whichever country holds the ASEAN chairmanship must take the lead in consolidating the bloc’s identity and enhancing its adaptability in a changing world, said Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Văn Thảo yesterday. “Taking the role of ASEAN 2020 Chairman demonstrates Việt Nam’s responsibility and is an opportunity for the country to make contributions to the ASEAN Community,” Thảo said at workshop on the ASEAN community, which Việt Nam is set to chair next year. “Việt Nam attaches great importance to making careful preparation for the chairmanship.” The workshop, held by the Diplomatic Academy of Việt Nam and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), drew the participation of more than 100 experts and diplomats from Việt Nam and ASEAN member states to discuss the ASEAN Community’s identity and role in the changing world. Thảo said that over the more than 50 years since its creation, ASEAN had demonstrated its important role for each member state, Southeast Asia as a whole and the Indo-Asia Pacific region.

Vietnamese telecom group helps Laos with e-Office Vietnam News 17th Mar 2019
The Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Group (VNPT) and the Laos’ Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MPT) on Friday launched the e-Office – an electronic document management system jointly developed by the two sides. The event marked a new milestone in the partnership between VNPT and the Lao Ministry since they signed their memorandum of understanding on co-operation in e-government development in April 2017. Addressing the launch ceremony, MPT Minister Thansamay Kommasith said that modernisation was a priority task of the Party and State of Laos, which was included in the resolution of the 10th National Congress of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party. Therefore, the MPT, which is in charge of macro-management over modernisation and digitalisation of the Lao Government, had built a co-operation plan with VNPT since 2015 in developing e-Office, he said.

Vietnam-Myanmar relations increasingly substantive: officials Voice of Vietnam 13th Mar 2019
The Vietnam-Myanmar Joint Committee for Bilateral Cooperation held its ninth meeting in Hanoi on March 12, during which its members shared the view that the countries’ comprehensive cooperative partnership is becoming increasingly substantive. The event was chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Myanmar Minister of International Cooperation U Kyaw Tin. Reviewing cooperation in different fields since the eighth meeting in May 2015, the two sides applauded efforts by their countries’ ministries, sectors, localities, and businesses to boost relations in a result-oriented manner. They noted the growing political trust and cohesion through frequent mutual visits and meetings at high levels. Most recently, Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong paid a state visit to Myanmar in August 2017, and Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi made an official trip to Vietnam in April 2018. At the meeting, the officials agreed to enhance connections via all channels, including between the two countries’ parties, governments, states, parliaments, and localities. Vietnam and Myanmar will actively carry out cooperation mechanisms, build an action plan for implementing the comprehensive cooperative partnership for 2013-2023, promote the realisation of agreements reached during high-ranking visits, and increase people-to-people diplomatic activities.

Cambodia, Laos, VN work to remove obstacles to cross-border trade Voice of Vietnam 10th Mar 2019
A forum to promote investment, trade and tourism between Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam was held in Kratie province, Cambodia on March 9 as part of the 12th meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee on the CLV Development Triangle Area (JCC CLV DTA 12). The event was attended by senior officials of the three nations, representatives of enterprises operating in the CLV Development Triangle Area, and those from Vietnam’s Dak Nong, Dak Lak, Gia Lai, Kon Tum and Binh Phuoc provinces. It focused discussion on measures to remove barriers in promoting investment and trade in the 13 border provinces of the three countries. In the CLV Development Triangle Area, Vietnam currently has 116 projects with a total registered capital of nearly 4 billion USD, accounting for 23.1 percent of Vietnam's total investment projects in Laos and Cambodia. Border trade between Vietnam with Laos and Cambodia has recorded remarkable development in recent years. However, there are still some shortcomings related to the "one-stop-shop” model at the border gates, changes in export-import policy, and infrastructure for payment and banking.

Việt Nam optimises ASEM cooperation to raise its position: official Vietnam News 10th Mar 2019
Việt Nam will make the best use of open opportunities for result-oriented cooperation generated by the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) to serve its socio-economic development and improve its position in the international arena, head of the Vietnamese ASEM Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Nguyễn Minh Hằng has said. In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), Hằng said Việt Nam would continue to join other ASEM members in enhancing the Asia-Europe partnership and promoting ASEM’s role. "ASEM cooperation is crucial to the country’s reform, development and integration," she said, adding that close cooperation with other ASEM members and participation in the forum had benefitted the country, its businesses and people. According to the official, among Việt Nam’s 28 strategic and comprehensive partners, 22 are ASEM members, and all ASEM members are the country’s leading economic and trading partners, accounting for 70 per cent of the country’s total foreign direct investment (FDI) and international trade value, and 80 per cent of international tourists.

Việt Nam, Philippines discuss cooperation Vietnam News 7th Mar 2019
Việt Nam and the Philippines have agreed to work together to fight terrorism, cross-border crimes, especially those related to drugs and in search and rescue operations at sea. The agreement was reached on Wednesday as Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh and Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Lopez Locsin co-chaired the ninth meeting of the Vietnam-Philippines Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation in Manila. Both Minh and Locsin highlighted the intensive and trustworthy political and diplomatic ties between the two countries, which were reflected by the content and outcomes of visits and meetings at all levels and people-to-people exchanges. They expressed their delight at the enhanced and more practical co-operation in national defence and security as well as the sharing of information and experience between the armed forces of the two countries, along with regular defence policy talk and naval consultations.

PM says hosting DPRK-US summit was big success for Việt Nam Vietnam News 1st Mar 2019
The recent summit between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the US was a big success for Việt Nam, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said while chairing a regular government meeting in Hà Nội on Friday. The position of Việt Nam as well as the country’s careful organisation of the event were recognised and appreciated by the two leaders and the international community, Phúc said. Despite a short period of time to prepare, Việt Nam did its best to organise the summit and ensured absolute security and safety, he said. Việt Nam promoted its image as a peace-loving country with various accomplishments in reform and international integration, he said. The country also used the occasion to show international friends local food and its friendly and hospitable people, he added. Some 2,600 foreign reporters from the world’s leading news agencies were present in Hà Nội and their reports helped promote the image of Hà Nội and Việt Nam, he said.

National Affairs

PM Phúc puts focus on institutions Vietnam News 9th Mar 2019
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has asked ministries and agencies to focus and spend more time to strengthen their institutional building activities with direct involvement of the ministers in this work. Chairing a government meeting which focused on building laws in Hà Nội yesterday, Phúc said the government had prioritised institutional building, but the work still saw shortcomings that require more attention from ministers and better human resources. While highlighting the Ministry of Justice’s responsibility in verifying draft laws and legal documents, the Prime Minister noted that the ministry must point out shortcomings and irrationalities in these documents before they are submitted. Concerning compensation for land clearance, Phúc requested taking into consideration the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee’s conclusion that suggested not separating the compensation and resettlement support into independent projects. He agreed with the NA Standing Committee’s recommendations on capital criteria to classify national projects, noting that projects worth VNĐ20 trillion (US$860 million) and above would be submitted to the NA for approval, while those under the amount can be decided by the government itself.

Việt Nam, US look to bolster investment, trade ties Vietnam News 9th Mar 2019
Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ had a working session in Hà Nội on Friday with Charles Freeman, Senior Vice President for Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce (USCC). The two sides agreed that meetings between Vietnamese leaders and US President Donald Trump in late February in Hà Nội contributed to promoting the bilateral partnership between the two countries, especially in investment and trade. Freeman said that he was looking forwards to welcoming Party General Secretary, President Nguyễn Phú Trọng at the USCC in the future when the Vietnamese leader visits the US at the invitation of President Trump. The American Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam (AmCham Vietnam) had co-ordinated closely with Vietnamese ministries, sectors and the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry to introduce the White Book on Việt Nam-US trade partnership, and organise the US-Việt Nam Business Summit in May this year, he said.

Việt Nam attends UN’s session on ICCPR implementation Vietnam News 7th Mar 2019
Việt Nam’s efforts and achievements in protecting and promoting civil and political rights will be shared at the 125th session of the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, next week. At this session, held on March 11-12, the Human Rights Committee will review Việt Nam’s third national report on the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Deputy Minister of Justice Nguyễn Khánh Ngọc will attend the event. Việt Nam submitted its third national report on the ICCPR enforcement and a report in reply to a list of issues of interest of the UN Human Rights Committee. They all showed Việt Nam’s efforts in improving policies and regulations on human rights as well as the country’s comprehensive development in protecting and promoting civil and political rights after the second report was presented in 2002.

Customs

February car imports surge Vietnam News 11th Mar 2019
Việt Nam’s import of cars reached 14,134 units in February, worth over US$300 million, according to a report from the General Department of Customs. In comparison with the year-on-year import figures, when auto importers faced barriers from the Government’s Decree 116 on the conditions for production, assembly, import and business of automobile warranty and maintenance services last year, the February figure increased by 5,667 per cent in volume and 1,696 per cent in value. February saw strong performance because the importers have met the requirements of Decree 116, especially the Vehicle Type Approval Certificate, and stabilised their imports. Cars imported from Thailand gained the highest volume of nearly 9,400 units, accounting for 66.4 per cent of the total imports in the month. It was followed by Indonesia with over 3,820 units.

Customs to stop accepting cash vietnamnews.vn 8th Mar 2019
Payments of import-export taxes and fees to customs authorities must all be conducted via cashless payment methods or through credit institutions from the beginning of April, according to a requirement recently issued by the General Department of Việt Nam Customs. The move is an effort by the customs authorities to promote cashless payment to aid in Việt Nam’s shift towards e-Government and a non-cash economy.

State budget collection rises 18.2% in two months Nhan Dan Online 6th Mar 2019
According to the Ministry of Finance, domestic revenue was estimated at VND204.8 trillion (US$8.8 billion), growing 19% from the same period last year. The figure was equal to 17.4% of the estimate. Earnings from crude oil fell 1.7% to approximately VND8.7 trillion (US$374 million), accounting for 19.5% of the estimate. In the period, state budget spending was at VND195.4 trillion (US$8.4 billion), or 12% of the estimate and up 9.6% year-on-year. The ministry said that it will work to ensure sufficient capital for the implementation of socio-economic targets. It has also asked the General Department of Taxation and the General Department of Vietnam Customs to carry out efficient state budget collection measures, step up inspections on tax collection and post custom clearance, as well as enhance the management of tax debts.

Industry 4.0 to boost GDP: experts vietnamnews.vn 3rd Mar 2019
The Fourth Industrial Revolution could increase Việt Nam’s GDP by between US$28.5 billion and $62.1 billion – equivalent to a rise of 7 to 16 per cent – by 2030, Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) Nguyễn Đình Cung said at a seminar in Hà Nội on Friday.

Defense & Security

Building defence zones can protect the country: PM Vietnam News 20th Mar 2019
Developing municipal and provincial defence zones is a proactive measure to protect the country and ensure solid security even when threats are not yet visible. The policy is in line with the spirit “to safeguard the country from afar and from the earliest moments,” Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said yesterday during a teleconference held in Hà Nội by the Central Military Commission to review the decade of progress in implementing Politburo’s Resolution 28 on turning centrally governed cities and provinces into “firm defence zones”. These defence zones, defined by each city or province’s geographical borders, are part of corresponding military zones. The country is divided into eight military zones, including a separate Hà Nội Capital City Special High Command to defend the Greater Hà Nội urban area. Col Gen Phan Văn Giang, Deputy Minister of Defence, Chief of the Việt Nam People’s Army General Staff and member of the Central Military Commission’s standing committee, presented a summary of progress on building defence zones from 2008 to 2018.

Regional meeting on maritime security convenes in Đà Nẵng Vietnam News 15th Mar 2019
Some 80 experts from across ASEAN gathered in the central city of Đà Nẵng on Thursday to discuss regional co-operation in the field of maritime security. They were speaking at the 11th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) inter-sessional meeting on maritime security, organised by Việt Nam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the European Union. At the meeting, experts reviewed the region’s maritime security situation and co-operative mechanisms, the results that have been achieved and the challenges that remain. They also shared information on policies applied at the national level, and various matters related to maritime safety, the environment and sustainable development. Co-operation activities that took place since the beginning of the year were also part of the discussion. They included a meeting on the application of the 1982 United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in the coastal city of Nha Trang on February 26-27, and a workshop on Enhancing Regional Maritime Law Enforcement Co-operation in Đà Nẵng in March 12-13.

PM attends ceremony to mark Border Guard’s traditional day Vietnam News 4th Mar 2019
The Vietnamese Party and State always considers safeguarding the border a regular and vital mission to ensure the stable and sustainable development of the nation, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said on March 2. Speaking at a ceremony to mark the 60th traditional day of the Border Guard and the 30th anniversary of the Day of All-People Border Defence (March 3), Phúc lauded efforts made by the Border Guard Force over the past six decades. Higher demand in renewal, integration, cooperation and development requires extra efforts to manage and protect the border, he said. He asked the Border Guard to actively coordinate with ministries, sectors and localities to implement national border management and protection missions drastically and effectively, and intensify dissemination to create a high consensus among the Party, army and people and the entire political system. The Government leader also emphasised that building, managing and protecting the national border is the responsibility of the Party, army and people and the entire political system.

Economics

NA Chairwoman reviews Bình Thuận’s socio-economic development Vietnam News 18th Mar 2019
National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân held a working session with authorities of south central Bình Thuận Province on the weekend to discuss its socio-economic situation, Party building and key tasks for the near future. As a trade gateway to the southeast and the Central Highlands, Bình Thuận posted annual growth of 8.08 percent in gross regional domestic product last year. Its agro-forestry-fisheries accounted for 30.8 percent, industry-construction moved up slightly to 31 percent and services 38.1 percent. NA asked Bình Thuận to fully tap its 192km coastline and beautiful beaches in service of socio-economic development. She also lauded the provincial authorities and people for their achievements in Party building and serious implementation of the Party Central Committee’s directions and resolutions in the past.

Industrial realty firms boosted by FDI increase Vietnam News 9th Mar 2019
The increase of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first two months of the year has contributed to a better performance of listed industrial park developers. According to the General Statistics Department, FDI flowing into projects in Việt Nam picked up 9.8 per cent year on year to a three-year high of US$2.58 billion in January and February. In the same period, foreign investors poured $8.47 billion into Việt Nam in various channels, including FDI projects. Foreign investment reached $35.46 billion in 2018, 2 per cent lower than 2017 figure. That included $19.1 billion worth of FDI projects. Impressive numbers from the government statistics agency indicated how attractive Việt Nam is to foreign investors. According to Vietinbank Securities JSC, as the US central bank Federal Reserve’s signal slower interest rate increases this year, and better trade talks between the US and China have made foreign investors look to emerging markets, including Việt Nam. In 2019, FDI companies will be the major driving force of the Vietnamese economy as the Government has good relations with other countries with Việt Nam seen as an attractive option for overseas firms.

February CPI up almost 1 per cent Vietnam News 2nd Mar 2019
The national consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.8 per cent in February, the General Statistics Office announced on Thursday, marking the biggest February increase since 2014. The average CPI in the first two months of this year was 2.6 per cent higher than in the same period last year. February CPI increased by 0.9 per cent from December 2018 and 2.64 per cent year on year. The CPI of nine out of 11 groups of goods and services increased against those in January, mainly due to increased consumer demand during the Lunar New Year (Tết) festival, the office said. The food and catering services group showed a large jump of 1.73 per cent. Processed food prices were up by 0.53 per cent and meat prices rose by between 1 and 5 per cent. Housing and construction materials had a growth rate of 0.69 per cent month on month.

Energy

Int’l exhibition to showcase electrical technologies, green power Vietnam News 20th Mar 2019
About 600 booths representing enterprises from Việt Nam and 10 other countries and territories will participate in the 12th International Exhibition of Electrical Technology and Equipment (Vietnam ETE) and the 9th International Exhibition of Products, Technologies for Energy Saving and Green Power (Enertec Expo). The event will take place from July 17 to 20 in HCM City, featuring smart electronic devices and technology designed to save energy. On an area of 9,000sq.m, the event gathers various brands from Việt Nam, Germany, France, the US, Japan, China and South Korea. Notably, Korea Electrical Manufacturers Association (Koema) will introduce smart electricity products. Apart from the exhibitions, other specialised activities will take place such as seminars, fact-finding tours and performances.

Ministry to look into cutting industrial energy use Vietnam News 20th Mar 2019
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) plans to focus its investigations on businesses that use high volumes of energy as part of its mission to save energy. Trịnh Quốc Vũ, deputy director of MoIT’s Department of Energy Saving and Sustainable Development, said the industrial sector accounted for more than 47 per cent of the country’s total energy consumption. “There are many technical solutions to save energy in the industrial sector in Việt Nam,” Vũ said. “Energy use can be cut by 20 to 30 per cent, event 40 per cent in some areas.” Statistics from the ministry showed the country now has 2,497 businesses with the highest level of energy consumption. He said the firms were put in the high-use category if they consume 1,000 tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE), or 6 million kWh, per year. The companies must have staff specialising in saving energy and have an energy audit every three years. They will report on their energy consumption and plans to save energy to authorities in their localities.

Two solar power projects approved Vietnam News 18th Mar 2019
Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu People’s Committee has granted in principle approval for two domestic enterprises to develop two solar power plants, with combined investment of more than VNĐ1.5 trillion (US$64.4 million) in the province. The HCM City-based energy development company will pump VNĐ796 billion into the development of a 42ha solar power plant in Tầm Bó reservoir. Meanwhile, the DTD natural energy investment company in HCM City will build a 35 MWp solar power plant on 40ha of water surface in Gia Hoét 1 reservoir at a cost of VNĐ766 billion. Both plants are located in Quảng Thành Commune, Châu Đức District. The southern coastal province of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu has favourable conditions for renewable energy. On average, it has from 2,000 to 2,600 sunny hours per year, with radiant intensity of about 5.47kWh per square metre per day.

Việt Nam-Russia joint venture welcomes first oil flow from Cá Tầm field Vietnam News 10th Mar 2019
The Việt Nam-Russia oil and gas joint venture Vietsovpetro held a ceremony in the southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu to welcome the first flow of oil pumped from the Cá Tầm oil field. Built in March 2018, the CTC1-WHP oilrig is the most important component of Cá Tầm’s development project under a shared production contract signed by the Việt Nam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), the PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation (PVEP) and Bitexco Group. On February 10, Vietsovpetro put its first well into operation. It plans to open an additional six wells this year, raising the total annual capacity to 766,000 tonnes. In the near future, it will step up oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the Cửu Long field, contributing to safeguarding Việt Nam’s sovereignty and economic interests on its continental shelf and territorial waters.

Solar power complex launched in Đắk Lắk Vietnam News 10th Mar 2019
Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình opened the Srepok 1 and Quang Minh Solar Power Plant Complex in Buôn Đôn District in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk on March 9. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Bình said that Đắk Lắk had an important strategic position in terms of economic development and security and defence in the region. "Renewable energy has become a global trend and Việt Nam in general and Đắk Lắk in particular have a lot of potential for solar energy development," he said. The inauguration of the complex and the ongoing implementation of other solar power plant projects would make important contributions to the province’s socio-economic development while ensuring national energy security, Bình added.

Renewable energy project to go operational in April Vietnam News 9th Mar 2019
The country’s biggest renewable energy project – including solar and wind power plants with total design capacity of 350 Megawatts (MW) – will be put into operation in the coastal province of Ninh Thuận on April 30. General Director of Trung Nam Group Nguyễn Tâm Tiến said the 246-hectare solar and wind power complex would supply 401 million kWh each year for the provincial and national energy grid, and earn annual revenue of US$71 million from power sales. Tiến said the plants would employ 2,000 local workers starting from the end of April. He said the Trung Nam Solar Power Company, a member of the Trung Nam Group, had invested nearly VNĐ5 trillion ($222.2 million) in the first large-scale solar and wind energy hybrid project in coastal Thuận Bắc District. The project, on which construction began last year, has installed 705,000 solar panels and 45 large wind turbines, each 76m tall.

Quảng Trị welcomes wave of investments in energy sector Vietnam News 5th Mar 2019
The central province of Quảng Trị has approved in principle investments into six energy projects including four wind power and two solar plants with total capital of more than VNĐ7.4 trillion (US$318.4 million) in the first two months of the year. The provincial People’s Committee has given the go-ahead for Gio Thành Energy Joint Stock Company to build the Gio Thành 1 solar power plant with total capacity of 50MW. The project has a total investment of over VNĐ1.1 trillion and covers an area of 65ha in Gio Linh District. It has also given the green light to SECO Joint Stock Company to implement the VNĐ1.1 trillion Gio Thành 2 solar power plant with total capacity of 50MW and covering an area of 60ha. The People’s Committee approved the investment of Hướng Phùng Solar Wind Company Limited for the Hướng Phùng 3 wind power plant with total capacity of 30MW. The VNĐ1.58 trillion plant will cover an area of 9ha in Hướng Hóa District.

PVN’s business results exceed plan Vietnam News 4th Mar 2019
Việt Nam Oil and Gas Group (PVN) estimated to gain total revenue of VNĐ111.8 trillion (US$4.79 billion) in the first two months of this year, 8 per cent higher than its plan. PVN said in the first two months, total exploited oil and gas output was estimated at 3.85 million tonnes, an increase of 7 per cent against the plan. During the first two months, the group produced 3.27 billion kWh of electricity, exceeding the plan by 4.2 per cent, and 280,000 tonnes of nitrogen fertiliser, 6.7 per cent higher than the plan. Petroleum production was estimated at 2.17 million tonnes, exceeding the plan by 7.2 per cent, including 1.03 million tonnes from Dung Quất Oil Refinery, 1.06 million tonnes from Nghi Sơn Petrochemical Refinery and 73,600 tonnes from PVOIL. To complete the business plan for the first quarter and the next quarters, PVN continues to closely follow world oil prices to have the most effective production and business management solutions.

Petrol prices up nearly VNĐ1,000 per litre Vietnam News 4th Mar 2019
The prices of oil and petrol have climbed nearly VNĐ1,000 (US$0.043) per litre folowing the latest adjustment by Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Trade on Saturday. The ministries review fuel prices every 15 days to adjust prices in accordance with fluctuations on the world market. Accordingly, the price of bio-fuel E5 RON 92 has increased by VNĐ939 per litre from VNĐ16,272 per litre, while that of RON 95-III is up VNĐ946 per litre from VNĐ17,603 per litre. The prices of diesel oil and kerosene rose VNĐ959 and VNĐ700 per litre, respectively. The retail price of bio-fuel E5 RON 92 will not be higher than VNĐ17,211 per litre, and that of RON 95 no more than VNĐ18,549. The ceiling prices of diesel oil and kerosene are now VNĐ15,868 and VNĐ14,885 per litre, respectively. The price of mazut is capped at VNĐ14,083 per kilo.

Vietnam's graft hunters zero in on Venezuela oil project Nikkei Asian Review 18th Mar 2019
Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security is investigating a loss-making oil and gas project in Venezuela, as Hanoi probes corruption involving state enterprises and the South American country falls deeper into chaos. The Vietnamese authorities have asked state-run Vietnam Oil and Gas Group, better known as PVN, to "provide all documents relating to the implementation of the project" to tap and upgrade the Junin-2 oil field in Venezuela's Orinoco Belt, an area thought to contain the world's largest oil reserves. PVN terminated the contract in December 2013, determining that little progress had been made. But the ministry is looking into suspected legal violations before the termination.

Vietnam’s solar policy risks becoming victim of its own success Financial Times 4th Mar 2019
Vietnam’s push to develop solar power has been too successful. Lured in by generous feed-in-tariffs, projects are lined up for approvals to generate gigawatts of power that the current network simply cannot handle.  Without a more aggressive plan to upgrade the country’s transmission and distribution network, the government risks investors drifting away, threatening its goal of bringing more power to feed Vietnam’s booming economy.  Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc effectively kick-started solar development in April 2017, offering an attractive 9.35 US cents per kWh feed-in-tariff, applicable for 20 years, for projects which begin operating before the end of this June.  In the ensuing investor stampede — they are racing against the clock — Vietnam’s solar power capacity went from nearly nothing to surpassing the government’s target for the next decade.  But the boom has resulted in more solar capacity than current transmission infrastructure can handle. That may dissuade new investors, who risk generating power without being paid by Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), the monopoly state electricity company. 

Financial Services

Việt Nam's central bank seeks to weaken currency Vietnam News 18th Mar 2019
Since the beginning of the year the State Bank of Việt Nam has been increasing the reference rate of the đồng against the US dollar, and the Vietnamese currency has appreciated 0.43 per cent as a result. The buying and selling prices of the dollar are now at VNĐ23,200. The central bank has bought nearly US$5 billion worth of the greenback in the first two months of the year, increasing its foreign reserves significantly. The supply of dollars has also increased thanks to the fact that foreign portfolio investors have been on a buying spree on the stock market. The inflow this year has been worth $150 million. Foreign direct investment has risen 2.5 times from the same period last year to $8.47 billion. Overseas remittances also saw a sharp increase. The central bank is allowing the đồng to strengthen though there is no pressure on the currency and foreign exchange reserves are plentiful.

VN among the world’s top ten emerging markets by logistics Vietnam News 11th Mar 2019
Việt Nam was featured among the world’s top ten emerging markets by logistics industry performance, according to a recent ranking by global logistics company Agility. Việt Nam surpassed Thailand to rank tenth by Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index 2019 with an overall score of 5.48. The Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index 2019 examined domestic logistics opportunities, international logistics opportunities and business fundamentals to measure logistics market development of 50 emerging markets. According to Agility, Việt Nam’s international logistics market was the standout driver of its overall performance in the 2019 index. “On the international side, Việt Nam has developed real strength. It rates as the fifth largest market for logistics intensive goods trade by value,” Agility’s report wrote. “This advantage is expected to strengthen further as strong growth in both imports and exports is expected over the next five year.”

E-portal about CPTPP launched Vietnam News 11th Mar 2019
The Ministry of Industry and Trade recently debuted a new website available at http://cptpp.moit.gov.vn/ where citizen and enterprises can learn more about the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The website provides general information about the trade deal as well as Việt Nam’s commitments in major sectors like goods and services trading, investment, Government procurement, intellectual property, labour and State-owned enterprises. Detailed explanations for commitments were also provided for readers to better understand the trade agreement. The website also includes helpful information for export companies, such as the commitments of member countries and those regarding the opening of services markets and investment for Vietnamese providers. The portal also posted the full CPTPP text in both English and Vietnamese and relevant documents, including the Government’s plans for implementing the deal and legal amendments. The ministry said that the website would be updated regularly to provide the latest information and regulations related to the CPTPP for citizens and enterprises to understand and grasp opportunities arising from the trade deal.

Logistics sector expects e-commerce to drive rapid growth Vietnam News 11th Mar 2019
On February 11 Logivan (LOGIVAN Technologies Pte), a Vietnamese platform that connects truckers with shipping companies, secured US$5.5 million from venture capital firm Alpha JWC and two angel investors, including David Su, the founding managing partner at Matrix Partners China. Indonesia-based Alpha JWC has strengths in fintech and consumption, and is well-known in the US and China. It targets companies with strong growth and potential to expand to new markets in future. A Logivan spokesman said the newly raised funds would be used to invest in data analysis and integration to improve the effectiveness of its supply chain and bring the best experience to customers. The company will apply artificial intelligence in clarifying documents, meeting user demand and providing more accurate forecasts of orders. It will also continue to develop technologies to connect trucks and calculate transport costs. Earlier this year Gemadept Joint Stock Company invested VNĐ100 billion ($4.41 million) into one of its subsidiaries, Phục Long Port Limited Company, to increase its charter capital to VNĐ300 billion ($13.04 million) to expand its business scope.

Việt Nam to build plan for trade promotion in development triangle area Vietnam News 11th Mar 2019
Representatives of Cambodia, Laos and Việt Nam have agreed to assign Việt Nam to devise an action plan for effectively implementing the Agreement on Trade Promotion and Facilitation in the CLV Development Triangle Area, signed in 2016 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. This is one of the important contents stated in the minutes of the 12th meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee on the Cambodia-Laos-Việt Nam Development Triangle Area (JCC CLV DTA 12), just inked by the ministers of the three countries. The event, which took place from March 7-10 in Kratie Province, Cambodia, was jointly chaired by Cambodian Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak, Lao Minister of Planning and Investment Suphan Keomixay and Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyễn Chí Dũng. The Vietnamese side is also assigned to develop specific plans and projects to perform the Action Plan for CLV Economic Connectivity up to 2030. The ministers recognised the need to strengthen current efforts of the three countries in ensuring border security and satisfactorily solving security issues, especially illegal border crossings, drug and human trafficking; and improving the effectiveness of "hotlines", particularly at the local level.

Ministry issues plans for CPTPP implementation Vietnam News 8th Mar 2019
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has issued a decision on plans for the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The decision details main targets and tasks assigned to each agency in the MoIT, along with requirements on deadlines and the outcomes of the tasks. The main tasks, including the prompt building of legal documents on the CPTPP implementation, particularly in export-import management, trace of origin and competitiveness, will be carried out in two phases. The first phase will begin this year, while the second will be launched in 2020-25 period. In addition, the ministry will step up communication work on the CPTPP in various media channels to ensure businesses’ understanding of the multilateral trade agreement.

Bình Dương tightens real estate Vietnam News 8th Mar 2019
The hot development of the real estate market in the southern province of Bình Dương has led to hundreds of projects that now provide thousands of apartments for residents and migrant workers, but many violations by investors in the projects have occurred. As many as 358 housing projects covering over a total area of 4,500 hectares have received licenses, but only 270 of them have kicked off, according to the provincial Construction Department. In addition, many real estate companies from HCM City and Đồng Nai have moved to do business in the province and have caused the price to increase in a very short period of time, sometimes even doubling. The hot development, with the participation of hundreds of real estate companies, has led to many violations. In 2018, the province established 19 task forces to investigate nearly 1,500 construction project and handed out fines of VNĐ2.4 billion (over US$100,000).

PM passes securities market plan Vietnam News 8th Mar 2019
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has approved a new plan that focuses on restructuring the securities market until 2025. Under the new plan, numbered 242/QĐ-TTg, the Government wants to ensure comprehensive restructuring of the securities market so that it becomes the medium- and long-term capital-raising instrument for the Vietnamese economy and businesses. The Government also wants to make the securities market a tool to help it restructure State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and divest from those companies, re-shape the country’s economic growth model, and help Việt Nam become more interactive to regional and global markets. Several milestones have been set in the document such as the value of the stock market is projected to reach 100 per cent and 120 per cent of Việt Nam’s total gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 and 2025, and the number of listed companies in 2020 rising 20 per cent from 2017. The Government also plans to launch new securities products such as covered warrants, government bond futures and new index-underlying futures.

E-commerce may be booming but fake goods still aplenty Vietnam News 6th Mar 2019
E-commerce is a potential goldmine for businesses over the next two years with a potential reach of US$10 billion. But it also offers opportunities for counterfeit and smuggled goods, a conference in the north-eastern province of Quảng Ninh was warned on Monday. With the development of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and digital age, e-commerce has created a new playground for businesses to develop. In addition more and more domestic firms are providing e-commerce services. Statista Market Research Company says e-commerce revenue in Việt Nam reached $2.26 billion last year, 30 per cent up from 2017. Việt Nam ranked 6th among the top 10 biggest e-commerce countries in the world after China, the US, UK, Japan and Germany.

Start-up incubation programme launched in Hà Nội Vietnam News 5th Mar 2019
A start-up incubation programme, entitled “Start & Up – Behind the Scene”, was launched in Hà Nội on Monday. Co-hosted by the National Economics University (NEU)’s Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Republic of Korea’s Nextrans venture fund, and V-Startup, the programme aims to seek start-ups with potential and provide them with capital, training and market access. The online training curriculum will feature interviews with CEOs and founders, as well as success and failure stories collected by founders of successful start-ups and corporate executives of major tech firms. A maximum of 100 start-ups with be entered into the programme, each with the chance of receiving US$20,000 for their ideas. On completion of achieving their original goals, they could receive an additional $200,000 and enter the second round of funding from Nextrans’ global investors.

Derivatives market trading liquidity signals stabilisation Vietnam News 4th Mar 2019
The liquidity on the derivatives market has shown signs of improvement and stabilising in the past two weeks, beating previous projection that the new trading fees may discourage them from derivative trading. On February 15, investors were charged three new fees when making derivative trades, which are the derivative trading fee (paid to the stock exchange) and derivative position management and collateral management fees (paid to the Vietnam Securities Depository). All three fees are collected by brokerage firms. Among them, the position management fee must be paid to the Vietnam Securities Depository (VSD) when investors trade overnight open interest (OI). The collateral management fee is paid when investors deposit their margin-lending money at VSD. The fees range from VNĐ400,000 (US$17) to VNĐ2 million per month. In the first five trading days after the new fees were applied on February 15, liquidity on the derivatives market slightly declined. According to securities firms, investors were discouraged from the market trading as the fees seemed unjustified and unnecessary.

Foreign investment in banking sector to surge Vietnam News 4th Mar 2019
The improved business performance of Vietnamese banks and a Government regulation to require local banks to meet stricter capital regulations as part of Basel II standards is spelling the start of a wave of foreign investment into the country’s finance and banking sector in 2019, experts said. From the beginning of this year, the market has seen positive signals on rising foreign investment in the sector. NongHuyp Financial Group is the latest foreign investor to show an appetite for Vietnamese banks after the acquisition of more than 111.1 million shares of Vietcombank by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Private Limited and one of Japan’s largest financial services providers Mizuho Bank Ltd at a cost of some VND6.2 trillion (US$265 million) on January 9. During last week’s meeting with chairman of the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) Trịnh Ngọc Khánh, Kim Gwang Soo, chairman of NongHuyp Group, proposed to support the restructuring process of the largest Vietnamese bank by assets. Detailed proposals on the restructuring were not mentioned at the meeting but analysts said the move would pave the way for the South Korean’s fourth largest financial institution with seven subsidiaries in banking, investment and insurance including NongHuypbank, to become a strategic shareholder of Agribank, which is due to have an initial public offering at the end of this year.

Shares recover after summit failure Vietnam News 4th Mar 2019
Shares advanced yesterday on the two national stock exchanges after a drop from the disappointing conclusion of the DPRK-US summit last week as investors poured money into heavyweight stocks. Việt Nam’s benchmark VN-Index increased 1.47 per cent to close Monday at 993.99 points on the Hồ Chí Minh Stock Exchange. The southern market index fell a total 9.4 per cent last week with most of the losses caused by the negative effects of the no-deal summit. On the Hà Nội Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index gained 1.18 per cent to end the session at 108.53 points. The northern market index was close to flat last week. A total of 290 million shares worth a combined VNĐ5.73 trillion (US$246 million) changed hands on the two bourses. “The market recovered after the shock from the DPRK-US summit. Cash flow continued to pour strongly from blue chips to small- and mid-cap stocks,” said Khải Trần, a stock analyst at Viet Dragon Securities Co, in a daily report.

Huge investment to touch down in Đà Nẵng Vietnam News 2nd Mar 2019
The central city aims to accelerate economic growth from 7.68 per cent to 12 per cent, while more drastic measures and administrative reforms are needed to turn the city into an as a destination to investment and tourism. The city’s Party Secretary, Trương Quang Nghĩa, spoke at the Spring Dialogue 2019 on Friday, stating that this year will be a benchmark for the socio-economic Master Plan in 2030. Despite the existence of 27,000 businesses with total investment of VNĐ193 trillion (US$8.5 billion), Đà Nẵng contributed just 1.55 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). “The city will focus on five key industries, including tourism and service and real estate; sea port and logistics; hi-tech industries and innovation; information technology and digital economy and hi-tech agriculture,” Nghĩa said at the dialogue. “Đà Nẵng will dismantle barriers in administrative procedures to support local residents and the business community as well as foreign investors in operating businesses in 2019,” he said.

Food & Agriculture

Cần Thơ licenses $14m seafood processing plant Vietnam News 20th Mar 2019
A Việt Nam and Japan joint-venture is planning to develop a seafood processing plant worth US$14 million in the southern city of Cần Thơ’s Trà Nóc 1 Industrial Zone. The joint-venture between the city-based Viet Foods Co and the Marine Foods Corporation of Japan received an investment licence from the municipal People’s Committee Chairman Võ Thành Thống last week during his trip to Japan to adveritise the city’s investment opportunities. The plant is slated for completion in May 2020 and its products will be shipped to the Japanese market, online newspaper baodautu.vn reported. Nguyễn Thị Kiều Duyên, deputy head of the Cần Thơ Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority, said she hoped more Japanese investors would come and invest in the city. As of last year, the city had 82 valid foreign-invested projects with total registered capital of more than $693 million, according to the Cần Thơ Investment, Trade and Tourism Promotion Centre.

Agricultural sector posts trade surplus of $1b in two months Vietnam News 18th Mar 2019
The agricultural sector gained a trade surplus of US$1 billion in the first two months of this year despite a year-on-year decrease of 1.6 per cent in export value. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the sector earned $5.5 billion from the export of farm produce and forestry and aquatic products. Meanwhile, $4.5 billion worth of agro-forestry-fishery products were imported in the reviewed period, up 3 per cent from the same period last year. In the two months, the reduction in total export revenue was partly due to a fall of 10.1 per cent in export value of farm produce to $2.71 billion while that of animal husbandry hit $77 million, down 7 per cent. Nguyễn Trung Kiên, head of the Department of Market Research and Commodities under the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, said bright spots of the agriculture sector were still seafood and forest products with year-on-year export growth at 4.4 per cent to $1.1 billion and 12.8 per cent to $1.5 billion, respectively, in the first two months of this year.

Solutions to curb African swine fever discussed Voice of Vietnam 15th Mar 2019
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong chaired a meeting in Hanoi on March 14 to discuss solutions to curb and prevent further outbreaks of the African swine fever (ASF), which is developing and likely to spread wildly. He suggested focusing on the prevention of the disease in small-scale households, cleaning the breeding facilities, and strictly managing the transport of pigs. ASF has occurred in 17 cities and provinces in the north and so if not controlled well, it could spread to the south and become more dangerous as the region is home to key livestock localities such as Dong Nai and Ho Chi Minh City. Therefore, it is necessary to strictly control the transport of pigs on roads to the south, the minister stressed. He also suggested implementing policies to support the destruction of infected pigs while raising public awareness of the issue.

Localities working hard to cull infected pigs Vietnam News 14th Mar 2019
Pig-farming Từ Tây Ward in Yên Phú Commune, Yên Mỹ District, the northern province of Hưng Yên, is going through hard times, with farmers forced to cull hundreds of pigs infected with African swine fever every day. There are 50 households with some 10,000 pigs in the locality. On Wednesday – the second day after the epidemic was found in Yên Phú Commune – local authorities mobilised forces from the commune veterinary service and police to monitor the destruction of Dương Văn Tâm’s herd, including three sows, 18 cubs and 42 pigs that tested positive for the virus. Tâm told Thanh niên (Young people) newspaper that when the neighbouring ward of Yên Hoà found an outbreak of the diease, each household contributed VNĐ1 million (US$43) to buy lime powder, spray disinfectant and set up five 24-hour quarantine checkpoints around the ward to prevent vehicles from transporting sick pigs to the area.

More investment in processing key to boost fruit and vegetable exports Voice of Vietnam 14th Mar 2019
More investment in processing and post-harvest preservation is needed to create added value for the export of fruit and vegetable products, experts said at a forum on the fruit and vegetable industry in HCM City on March 13. General Secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association Dang Phuc Nguyen said the main problem of the sector is the slow pace of mechanisation and lack of technologies in post harvest preservation and processing, resulting in huge post-harvest losses and the degradation of product quality during the distribution process. He noted that there are just nearly 150 firms operating in fruit and vegetable processing in the country. Besides raising the added value for products, cutting production and transport costs is a solution to enhance the competitiveness of domestic fruit and vegetable. Le Van Duc, deputy director of the Department of Cultivation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, pointed to the small scale of production, which he said is the cause of uneven quality of products.

Vietnam affirms commitment to contributing to IFAD activities Voice of Vietnam 13th Mar 2019
Ambassador Nguyen Thi Bich Hue, Vietnamese Permanent Representative to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has lauded the fund’s support to Vietnam over the years and affirmed the Vietnamese Government wants to strengthen cooperation with and contribute more to the fund’s activities. At a meeting with IFAD President Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo at the fund’s headquarters in Rome, Italy on March 12, Ambassador Hue said that although Vietnam became ineligible for IFAD’s official development assistance (ODA) in 2018, it has faced many challenges. Climate change has seriously affected the production of many farmers, while their access to credit is limited, she noted. She proposed the IFAD help Vietnam by creating favourable conditions for the country to continue borrowing soft loans in the future, and expanding cooperation projects across Vietnam. For his part, the IFAD President lauded Vietnam’s collaboration over the years, holding that the affiliation has helped ensure the efficiency of IFAD-funded projects in the country and the region, including those to upgrade the representative office of the fund in Hanoi into the IFAD Mekong Hub.

Logistics in Mekong Delta yet to meet expectations Voice of Vietnam 11th Mar 2019
The Mekong Delta is a large agricultural exporter as well as goods and machinery importer, but logistics in the region has been insufficient to promote agricultural production and exports. “Import and export activities in the Mekong Delta have been increasing thanks to international integration. The region needs a modern logistics system to reduce transport fees and increase competitive ability,” Nguyen Minh Toai, director of the Can Tho City’s Industry and Trade Department recently told the Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper. Most of the delta’s exports must transit through the Southeastern region including HCM City and Ba Ria – Vung Tau province, leading to an additional US$10 increase for each tonne of goods.

Central Highlands province opens coffee festival, calls for investment Vietnam News 10th Mar 2019
Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hoà Bình has urged the Central Highlands region to build a Vietnamese coffee brand capable of competing with rivals at home and abroad. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the seventh Buôn Ma Thuột Coffee Festival on Saturday night, Bình said the region should aim to become a “world famous coffee destination”. The area is known for its basaltic land with huge rubber and coffee plantations, he noted. “The Central Highlands region has great advantages and potential for coffee plantations and exports.” Đắk Lắk Province’s coffee products, with the geographical indication “Buôn Ma Thuột Coffee”, are sold in some 65 countries and territories worldwide, making the largest contribution to Việt Nam’s coffee exports. Bình said that Đắk Lắk and other provinces with coffee growing areas should ensure sustainable production by promoting biodiversity, organic agriculture and cultural values.

Farming products face difficulties in export this year Vietnam News 6th Mar 2019
The consumption of farming products is expected to face difficulties this year, with increased competition in the global market. Minister of agriculture and rural development, Nguyễn Xuân Cường, made the statement at the Việt Nam Agricultural Production and Consumption Promotion Forum 2019 held in Hà Nội on March 5 by the ministry and the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT). Cường said the challenges include a forecast reduction in world economic growth this year, while many countries would focus on agricultural development. Therefore, Việt Nam’s exports of agricultural products might face fierce competition. Large importers such as the US, EU, China, Japan and South Korea have promoted the protection of agricultural products by setting standards on quality and food hygiene and safety, while requiring traceability, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). The trade war between the US and China, Brexit and geopolitical instability will also affect the export of Vietnamese agricultural products.

HCM City to ensure pork supply Vietnam News 6th Mar 2019
HCM City authorities have developed plans to ensure pork supply for city residents after swine fever was detected in pigs in the northern city of Hải Phòng in late February. Huỳnh Phương Trang, deputy director of the HCM City Department of Trade and Industry, said the department was working with major pork suppliers in the city to ensure supply of clean pork to city residents in case swine fever affects the southern region. Pork sales at Vissan shops have slightly increased, said Nguyễn Ngọc An, CEO of Vissan (Vietnam Joint Stock Company), one of the nationally recognised food manufacturers in processing and trading of fresh meat, processed foods and meat-related products in the country. In addition to Vissan, other pig producers and pork processors in HCM City, such as C.P. and Sagri Agriculture Incorp, have also announced plans to cope with African swine fever. Trang said live pigs were selling for VNĐ51,000 – VNĐ51,500 per kg, a drop of VN3,000 to VNĐ4,000 after Tết.

Cassava exports fall sharply in first two months Vietnam News 5th Mar 2019
Việt Nam’s cassava exports dropped sharply in terms of volume and value during the first two months of this year, mainly due to falling demand in China. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Việt Nam exported 457,000 tonnes of cassava, earning US$166 million. Those figures were down 20.1 per cent in volume and 5.4 per cent in value year on year. China was still the largest export market for Vietnamese cassava, accounting for 93.1 per cent, followed by the Philippines with 2.6 per cent and Malaysia with 1.3 per cent. However, cassava exports decreased by 31.9 per cent in volume and 18.6 per cent in value to China, and by 9.6 per cent in volume and 4.3 per cent in value to Malaysia. Exports to the Philippines increased by 7.7 per cent in volume and 23.2 per cent in value. Since last year, China has been maintaining a policy of holding low corn stock, plus it has increased imports from Thailand.

Cashew price to recover this year Vietnam News 5th Mar 2019
Cashew prices are expected to recover this year on the global market and producers should promote cooperation to remain stable. Experts spoke at an international conference on the cashew industry held in Huế from March 1-3 to promote close and long-term relationships between cashew companies and create a basis for establishing trade between parties this year. R K Dhoodes, chairman of the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPC) said annual consumption of cashew nuts has increased sharply, meaning good news for the global cashew industry. He predicted demand will continue to rise so prices will also surge. The CEPC chairman said in the future there should be a common institution for controlling trade activities to ensure parties respect contracts. Prices must be fair to ensure all parties benefit in the value chain. During the conference, the Việt Nam Cashew Association (Vinacas) and the CEPC held talks about promoting cooperation in stabilising cashew prices this year.

Lào Cai to set up agricultural speciality areas Vietnam News 5th Mar 2019
Lào Cai Province should work with enterprises to establish large agricultural speciality zones and upgrade its infrastructure to enhance product value, according to a farming expert. Thào Xuân Sùng, chairman of the Việt Nam Central Farmers’ Association, made the statement during a recent trip to the northwest. The northern mountainous province has different kinds of agricultural products including fish, cinnamon trees, bananas, pineapples and tea. Lưu Văn Quang, a farmer in Dền Sáng Commune, Bát Xát District, said that thanks to the clean water from the mountain, local farmers set up fish raising ponds and produced high quality products. On average, Quang’s family sells 50 tonnes of fish per year and makes profits of dozens of billions of đồng (VNĐ10 billion equals US$434,700). Quang’s farm is Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP) certified.

Export of marine products to reach $3.5 billion this year Vietnam News 4th Mar 2019
Despite likely hurdles, export of marine products is expected to rise by 17 per cent to US$3.5 billion this year, according to the Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (Vasep). According to Nguyễn Thị Thu Sắc, VASEP’s deputy chairwoman and chairwoman of its marine products committee, tuna exports still have room to grow thanks to imported raw fish and Việt Nam’s trade agreements with a number of countries. Tuna exports are forecast to top $1 billion this year, $350 million higher than last year, she said. Exports of other fish, squid, octopus and other seafood products are likely to be steady or increase slightly, she said. Referring to markets, she said shipments to Japan are expected to jump by 27 per cent to $900 million, with exporters focusing on marine fish, surimi and value-added products.

Banks promise loans to struggling rice exporters Vietnam News 4th Mar 2019
The State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) has urged credit institutions to ensure adequate funds to meet the capital demands of rice exporters for the winter-spring crop this year. Since the Lunar New Year (Tết) holiday, the rice export market has seen prices dropping due to oversupply. The SBV directed commercial banks to focus on timely lending to enterprises so they can buy rice from farmers. At a meeting held late last week in Đồng Tháp Province, commercial banks, including Agribank, Vietcombank and Sacombank, committed to providing loans worth trillions of Vietnamese đồng with an interest rate of 6 per cent per year to rice enterprises. Nghiêm Xuân Thành, chairman of Vietcombank, said the bank committed to provide low-interest loans worth VNĐ9 trillion (US$387.82 million) to rice enterprises that have feasible plans.

Int’l exhibition on processing food to be held Vietnam News 2nd Mar 2019
The largest specialised event on processing, packaging and preserving food and agricultural products in Việt Nam will take place on July 24-27 in HCM City. The organiser announced the upcoming International Exhibition on Processing, Packaging and Preserving Food and Agricultural Products yesterday. It will be held under the patronage of Ministry of Industry and Trade, and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Covering an area of 5,000sq.m with 300 booths from domestic and international enterprises, the exhibition is expected to receive 35,000 visitors, according to Trần Thanh Mai from CIS Vietnam Company, organiser of the event. The four-day event will include exhibitions of typical agricultural and food products; packaging, preserving and processing technology; and preservatives and materials used in the food processing industry.

Health & Life Sciences

Satellite-based forecasting system launched to fight dengue fever Vietnam News 20th Mar 2019
A dengue fever forecasting Model Satellite-based system (D-MOSS) was launched yesterday in Hà Nội following a joint effort by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and a consortium led by HR Wallington. The project, which is funded by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme, creates an early warning system for Việt Nam, first piloted in Hà Nội, Đắk Lắk, Khánh Hoà and Đồng Nai. It is also set to clarify the links between environmental stressors, the hydrological-climate system and human health, as well as present people living in high-risk areas with warning of likely epidemics several months in advance. Through the system, local communities will receive direction on where to focus their efforts to reduce mosquito-breeding sites to prevent outbreaks of dengue.

AI-driven support system assists cancer treatment Voice of Vietnam 20th Mar 2019
The Ministry of Health has chosen three hospitals to pilot the IBM Watson for Oncology, an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven clinical decision support system. The hospitals are HCM City Oncology Hospital, National K (Cancer) Hospital in Hanoi, and Phu Tho Province General Hospital. The IBM Watson for Oncology system is used at 230 hospitals in 13 countries including the US, China, India, the Republic of Korea and Thailand, according to the HCM City Department of Health. IBM Watson operates with the professional expertise of experts from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, which specialises in cancer research and treatment in the US. The system contains more than 100 million medical records, 30 billion photos, 15 million medical quotes and more than 40 million research materials. It helps doctors quickly identify key information in a patient’s medical record, surface relevant evidence, and explore treatment options. The system, which helps doctors offer protocols for optimal treatment of each patient, is used for 13 kinds of cancer.

Experts share international experience on organ transplant Vietnam News 20th Mar 2019
Việt Nam has 19 organ transplant centres, and the biggest problem they face was a shortage of organs to conduct transplants, said professor Trịnh Hồng Sơn, director of the National Coordination Centre for Organ Transplantation. Sơn made the statement at a conference on sharing international experience on organ transplants, which was held on Monday in Hà Nội. Dozens of patients suffered brain death each day, however, few of them agreed to donate their organs, he said. The sharing of information between different centres was also insufficient. Speaking about the problem, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Viết Tiến said that in other developed countries such as the US, the health sector had modern software that helped connect and search for information quickly.

Health ministry instructs city to strengthen measles immunisation Vietnam News 11th Mar 2019
The Ministry of Health has instructed ward and commune health stations in HCM City to double the number of days each month to four on which they vaccinate children to increase immunisation coverage, including against measles. Speaking at a meeting with the city Department of Health and relevant agencies, Minister of Health Assoc.Prof Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến said failure to get vaccinated is one of reasons for measles infection. “Measles spreads rapidly, but can be prevented with vaccines.” According to a report by the department, 97 per cent of patients hospitalised with measles were not vaccinated sufficiently. The city should strengthen its communication about vaccines, and “health officials and collaborators should go to each house,” Tiến said. They should know exactly how many children of vaccination age are in each residential area so that no one is missed, she warned. “Children aged nine to 11 months are given first priority in getting vaccinated as part of the expanded immunisation programme at health stations, hospitals and kindergartens.”

Future bright for Vietnamese pharmaceutical market vietnamplus.vn 8th Mar 2019
Vietnam’s medical equipment and pharmaceutical markets have seen double-digit growth in recent years and that momentum would continue, making the country increasingly attractive to foreign investors, experts have said. According to Business Monitor International, Vietnam’s health care expenditure was estimated at 16.1 billion USD in 2017, representing 7.5 percent of its GDP. The figure will grow at 12.5 percent a year to 22.7 billion USD by 2021, it said. It also predicted double-digit growth in the next few years for the medical equipment and drug markets.

Raising quality of healthcare Vietnam Net 7th Mar 2019
Vietnam’s per capita spending on medicine continues to grow at a rapid pace, reaching an estimated $53.54 in 2018. However low-quality drugs and treatment, as well as sky-rocketing prices, remain concerns among locals. Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien talked about priority tasks in 2019 to better manage the pharmaceutical market and to increase the quality of examinations and treatment.

The power of digitalising healthcare in Vietnam Vietnam Net 5th Mar 2019
The world’s healthcare sector is surging in the form of digitalisation. Fabrice Leguet, managing director of Siemens Healthineers in Southeast Asia, tells all about the power of digitalising healthcare across the global market, and how Vietnam can harness its potential in doing the same to its healthcare sector.

ICT

Internet users warned of ransomware attacks Vietnam News 18th Mar 2019
The Việt Nam Computer Emergency Response Team (VNCERT) has reported that GandCrab ransomware affiliates which had been spreading globally over the past year had updated to version 5.2 and the team was taking measures to disconnect with GandCrab server to avoid damages. According to Nguyễn Khắc Lịch, VNCERT deputy head, the latest version of the ransomware family had been attacking Việt Nam and other Southeast Asian countries since mid-March this year. VNCERT has issued a high alert for internet-connected computers because GandCrab’s ransomware contains high risks and could steal and encrypt all data saved on attacked computers. In Việt Nam, GrandCrab 5.2 ransomware is concealed as archive files ending with documents that end with .rar attached in emails disguised as being sent by the Ministry of Public Security titled “Goi/Gei trong Cong an Nhan dan Viet Nam”. The encryption attacks the computer when users decompress or open the attached files and directs to download a browser which then logs into the attacker’s digital currency payment window with the required ransom package of US$400 to $1,000.

Online education comes to the fore in Industry 4.0 Voice of Vietnam 16th Mar 2019
Opportunities along with challenges to online education in the context of the fourth industrial revolution were the main theme of the International Conference on Online Education 2019 (ICOE 2019) held in Ho Chi Minh City on March 15. Experts said online education is crucial to making education more accessible and will be key to preparing for a digital future. According to Professor Vu Huu Duc, vice principal of HCM City Open University, the conference was held to create a forum for scholars and experts to share opinions about development trends, opportunities and challenges for online education in Vietnam and the world. Professor Nita Temmerman from Australia’s University of Queenslandsaid online education provides flexibility and convenience for learners.

Vietnam, Cambodia boost postal, telecoms, ICT cooperation Voice of Vietnam 15th Mar 2019
Vietnam and Cambodia have signed three cooperation agreements on postal services and telecommunications, information security and digital signature. The two sides reached the deals after the talks between Vietnamese Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung and Cambodian Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Tram Iv Tek in Phnom Penh on March 14. During his working visit to Cambodia from March 13-16, Hung informed his the Cambodian minister about the development of Vietnam’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector. According to the Vietnamese minister, Vietnam is focusing on developing logistics to promote e-commerce and telecom infrastructure as foundations for digital economic development; testing 5G mobile network; developing e-Government and smart cities; monitoring cyberspace and ensuring cyber security for government agencies and key information infrastructure facilities; and developing a digital ecosystem. For his part, Tram Iv Tek said as part of efforts to promote Cambodia's quadrangle development strategy, the government has paid attention to promoting high-speed internet connectivity, developing e-Government from central to grassroots levels and opening postal services to communes.

National e-Document Exchange Platform launched Vietnam News 13th Mar 2019
Việt Nam is a step close to a digital government and economy. The Government Office yesterday launched the National e-Document Exchange Platform, a move towards a new-look and modern government. Last year, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc issued a decision ordering sending and receipt of e-documents among agencies. All 31 ministries and ministerial-level agencies, 63 provinces and centrally-run cities and the Party Central Committee’s Office have connected with the platform with e-documents being sent and received quickly and safely. Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tiến Dũng said the launch, in Ha Noi, exemplifies the determination to build up e-government systems. According to a preliminary estimate, the platform will help save more than VNĐ1.2 trillion (US$52.17 million) each year after subtracting costs charged by the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group. Phúc said the launch of the platform is an important breakthrough in the sending and receipt of documents from the central to local levels, better serving the people and businesses.

Cần Thơ aims to be smart city by 2025 Vietnam News 13th Mar 2019
Cần Thơ, the most populated city in the Mekong Delta region, aims to become the first smart city in the southwestern region by 2025, according to Đào Anh Dũng, vice chairman of Cần Thơ City People’s Committee. Cần Thơ has scored 66.78 out of 100 points in the City Prosperity Initiative (CPI) designed by UN-Habitat, according to Dũng. The CPI measures how cities create and distribute socio-economic benefits or prosperity. UN-Habitat uses six categories to characterise urban prosperity: productivity, infrastructure development, quality of life, equity, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. The CPI, which is a global initiative that provides an innovative approach to urban measurements, is meant to identify opportunities and potential areas of intervention for cities to become more prosperous. It collects information (data, indices and urban indicators) and transforms the information into knowledge, serving as the basis for the formulation of urban evidence-based policies, city visions, and long-term action plans. CPI aims to produce meaningful information at the city level, to define a limited number of actions on the basis of its diagnosis, and to measure how policies affect the prosperity of the city. This information helps strengthen cities’ monitoring and reporting capacities.

City to host int’l telecom, IT and communications products and services expo Vietnam News 11th Mar 2019
Vietnam ICT COMM 2019, an international exhibition on products, services of telecommunications, information technology and communications, to be held in HCM City in June, will offer local and foreign companies a chance to network and explore business opportunities. In line with market trends, Vietnam ICT COMM 2019 will continue to focus on products and technologies that support enterprises involved in sectors such as manufacturing, trading, finance, banking and construction. Vietnam BROADCAST 2019, which is part of Vietnam ICT COMM 2019, will focus on leading new advanced technology trends from many countries, offering visitors a chance to experience top-notch equipment and technology in the communications industry, from cable to internet to satellites. A wide range of technologies will be featured, including IoT, Blockchain, Big Data, AI, AR, VR, OTT, Pro-Audio, and Live production. Vietnam ELECTRONICS 2019, another division of the Vietnam ICT COMM framework, will introduce new products and technologies, and update trends and solutions in the electronics sector such as connector accessories, mobile phone accessories; sound and light equipment, and others.

Cybersecurity solutions needed Vietnam News 9th Mar 2019
Việt Nam continues to be one of the countries with the highest number of detected online infections, according to Kaspersky Security Network data. The cyberthreat landscape has become more sophisticated in the age of digital revolution. Việt Nam is significantly affected by complicated and rapid changes of cybersecurity amid the rise of Industry 4.0. According to a report from Kaspersky Lab, the country ranked first by percentage in the top 20 countries with ICS (Internet connection sharing) computers attacked in the first half of last year. Moreover, based on real-time detections, it was among the three most infected countries last year. Kaspersky, a global cybersecurity company, has underlined the need for public and private cooperation to build a resilient cybersecurity defense for the country, and has vowed to provide its expertise and holistic solutions to reinforce the government’s commendable and consistent steps to safeguard the nation against damaging online attacks.

Digital economy needs supporting policies: experts Vietnam News 8th Mar 2019
The Vietnamese Government should outline policies to promote breakthrough technologies and bolster digital economic development amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution, World Bank Country Director for Việt Nam, Osmane Dione said yesterday. At a workshop themed ‘Policy Aspects for Việt Nam Digital Economic Development’, held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the World Bank Group in Hà Nội, he described cyber security’s crucial role in protecting customers as an important factor to develop Việt Nam’s digital economy. Enhancing digital skills for citizens should be priorities in the Government’s policies to ensure equal opportunities from the digital economy are offered to all, the official said, adding that education must be improved as well. Deputy minister Cao Quốc Hưng said the Fourth Industrial Revolution has created significant changes in technology, affecting world trade, economic growth and social progress. Statistics have shown that cross-border e-commerce has created significant amounts of value in economic activities in recent years and is rising. Cross-border data transmission capability has created new business models, helping global GDP grow by 10 per cent in the past decade. Today, half of the world’s population are connected to the internet, with one-third using social networks and 53 per cent using mobile phones. The digital economy in Southeast Asia reached value of US$72 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $240 billion in 2025. Digital was also forecast to account for up to 60 per cent of the region’s GDP by 2021, he said. “Digital economy allows businesses in the region to integrate into the world and is suitable with long-term trends toward trade liberalisation and gradually removing trade barriers,” he added.

Technology reshaping VN retail sector Vietnam News 7th Mar 2019
The second Indochina Retail Technology and Innovation Summit, a conference focusing on retail technology, takes place on Thursday in HCM City. Hosted by Escom, an international business conference organiser focused on the fast-growing Asia Pacific markets, the event has attracted nearly 300 delegates including stakeholders, decision makers, technology leaders, retailers, mall developers, and store operators in the region. Delegates discuss the retail sector, which is growing rapidly in Việt Nam and other Southeast Asian countries. Key topics include “Reinventing Việt Nam’s retail industry – Retail tourism”, “Customer loyalty in a world dominated by artificial, exponential technologies”, “Farm to table and the Omni-channel Retail 4.0”, “Retail in the Age of Empowered Consumers,” and “Việt Nam retail market: Winning formula in the age of the mix (online-offline-Omni-channel).” According to the organiser, the summit will bring together retail professionals and innovators of all kinds under one roof and the interactive event is designed to offer a focused peer group of Asia retail executives the opportunity to network and discuss omni-channel best practices.

Gov’t chief asks to speed up national innovation center Vietnam News 5th Mar 2019
The Government will spare no effort to support the building of the national innovation center (NIC), said Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc. The leader hammered home his point on Friday in Hà Nội at a meeting with ministerial and sector leaders as well as domestic and international consultants. Held to discuss the establishment of the centre, the meeting highlighted the priority areas such as smart factories, digital content, network security, smart urban areas, and environmental technology. The NIC will be developed at Hòa Lạc Hi-Tech Park and create 5,000 jobs. The Government would do its best to support innovative ideas since Việt Nam won’t be able develop without science and technology, Phúc said. Last year, the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) was entrusted by the Prime Minister to outline the NIC establishment project.

Hanoi wishes to cooperate with Estonia in smart city building Voice of Vietnam 5th Mar 2019
Hanoi wants to enhance cooperation with Estonia to build infrastructure for smart city development, said Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung. Hosting a reception for Estonian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andres Rundu in Hanoi on March 4, Chung said that as one of the 17 largest capitals in the world, Hanoi took the lead in FDI attraction across the country in 2018. The city’s average growth in the past eight years stood at 7.85 percent. He noted that transport infrastructure development, high-quality human resources training and administrative reform are three breakthroughs in the city’s development strategy by 2020. In the past time, information technology has been considered a tool to boost administrative reform, he said, adding that the city has finished developing its own database containing information of 7.5 million residents.

Tik Tok Việt Nam’s global campaign brings hope for safer online environment Vietnam News 4th Mar 2019
Discussions have been held between Government agencies, companies and NGO stakeholders on how to create a safer and healthier online environment for younger users on the occasion of the Safety Internet Day. This second worshop was held in Hà Nội on Friday by TikTok Vietnam in co-operation with the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and the Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD) to promote online safety in the country. The discussion was necessary because it provided valuable information to help raise awareness of how to maximise the benefits of the internet to children and at the same time limit its potential risks and negative impacts as child safety in both real life and online was threatened to an alarming level last year, said Đặng Hoa Nam, director-general of the Children’s Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs. In a report on child protection in the network environment, Trần Thị Diệu Thúy from the Children’s Department said children could face abusive content online such as encouraging violence, cyber-bullying and sexual harassment. A report by the Hà Nội National University also found that in Việt Nam, three out of 10 students faced cyber-bullying, while the worldwide figure provided by NetChildrenGoMobile was even more worrisome, with one in four children from 12 to 17 a victim of internet violence.

Retail market growth poised to boom Vietnam News 1st Mar 2019
Future trends of the Vietnamese retail market, including the use of digital and AI, were discussed by more than 400 retail experts at a seminar organised in HCM City on Thursday by Vincom Retail Joint Stock Company. Representatives from retail companies and other experts at the seminar spoke about the retail market’s expected 12 per cent growth by 2020, thanks to stable economic development in Việt Nam. The retail growth is nearly three times that of the next ranked country in Southeast Asia, according to speakers. Đinh Thị Mỹ Loan, president of the Association of Việt Nam Retailers, told the seminar there was “big room for the modern retail sector to develop” since retail channels such as supermarkets, shopping centres and online shopping platforms accounted for less than 30 per cent of the retail market.

Southeast Asia hastens 5G shift to close development gap Nikkei Asian Review 18th Mar 2019
Southeast Asian nations are scrambling to introduce 5G networks, determined not to fall behind developed nations as the technology is critical to innovations such as autonomous driving and digital medical services. Thailand and Vietnam plan to start 5G services as early as 2020, trailing rich nations by only a year or two. In contrast, they launched 4G services five years after their Western counterparts. The steep costs of 5G infrastructure weigh on telecommunications companies, which are still struggling with heavy spending on 4G technology. This factor may figure in their decisions on whether to exclude cheaper offerings from Chinese company Huawei Technologies, as urged by the U.S. Singapore, which is a regional leader in 5G, said in July that its Singapore Telecommunications had teamed up with Ericsson to test 5G networks. Singtel is also working with Garuda Robotics on drones for security and package delivery. The government plans to use 5G, which offers seamless data transmission, to install about 100,000 smart streetlights equipped with sensors and surveillance cameras. It is also expected to harness the technology for communications involved in automated driving. In Myanmar, where 4G service was fully launched only in 2017, the government aims to shift toward 5G by assigning mobile providers portions of the new spectrum early in the next decade. Health care consultancy Golden Zaneka is exploring telemedicine for rural areas to close the gulf in service with large cities. While most Southeast Asian countries are expected to maintain that course, Vietnam is in a somewhat different position. The Viettel Military Industry and Telecoms Group plans to begin its 5G pilot network this year and aims to develop its own base stations.

Infrastructure

Chân Mây-Lăng Cô EZ lures $3.26b in investment Vietnam News 5th Mar 2019
The Chân Mây-Lăng Cô Economic Zone (EZ) in the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế has attracted nearly 50 projects with total registered investment capital of more than VNĐ76 trillion (US$3.26 billion). In the first two months of this year alone the IZ welcomed four investment projects worth over VNĐ15 trillion, local authorities said. One of the largest projects in the zone is an auto manufacturing – assembly complex developed by Kim Long Nam JSC. The 160ha complex, expected to cost VNĐ3.33 trillion in the first phase, will have a designed production capacity of 16,000 buses annually. Others include the 126ha Lăng Cô-Đầm Lập An and Bãi Cả tourism projects, worth a combined of VNĐ10.5 trillion, and the Lăng Cô market project, capitalised at VNĐ85 billion. In order to lure more investment to the zone, Thừa Thiên-Huế will continue to improve infrastructure with a focus on Chân Mây Port so it can handle six million tonnes of goods per year.

ADB provides $188m loan to improve connectivity in northwest Vietnam News 5th Mar 2019
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday signed a US$188 million loan for a project which aims to improve roads between the Nội Bài – Lào Cai Expressway and northwestern provinces. The loan will finance upgrades of 198 kilometres of roads that connect several towns and districts in the provinces of Lai Châu, Lào Cai and Yên Bái. The project is expected to enhance economic opportunities for some of the poorest people in the area. The Australian Government will provide a grant of $4.48 million to finance engineering designs and to implement road safety campaigns. “The project aims to expand the benefits of the Greater Mekong Subregion corridors to the northwestern provinces,” said Eric Sidgwick, ADB country director for Việt Nam. “The improved connectivity will not only boost border trade, private investment and job creation in the region, but also provide better access to basic social services, such as education, healthcare, job training and emergency disaster relief for the people of the northwestern provinces, especially the poor ethnic minorities.”

Property developers eye emerging markets Vietnam News 2nd Mar 2019
Distance is no longer a problem for property investors in and around HCM City thanks to improved transport infrastructure. The southern property market is seeing an increasing trend of investors looking to the southern hub’s neighbouring provinces. With land running out for property development in the city, investors are eyeing markets like Đồng Nai, Bình Dương, Vũng Tàu, Long An and Bình Phước where prices are more reasonable and have significant potential for property development. This was creating an investment wave in emerging real estate markets while traditional markets were reaching saturation point, general director of real estate services firm DKRA Việt Nam Phạm Lâm said. With the development of transport infrastructure, Lâm forecast emerging real estate markets would boom.

Đà Nẵng licenses $419m in new projects; $2.6b proposed Vietnam News 1st Mar 2019
The central city’s People’s Committee said it had granted licences to seven foreign direct investment projects worth US$419.4 million, and agreed investment research for 15 other projects worth an estimated $2.6 billion. The city said the projects included three automobile production and accessories projects from Malaysia, Russia and Taiwan, and two tourism property projects from Japan. Mabuchi Motor also planned to expand its plant in Hòa Khánh Industrial Zone with $30 million, while Tan Chong Group has agreed to pour $50 million to build a second Nissan car manufacturing factory in the zone. Property companies Katsuura Hotel Mikazuki and Sun Frontier Investment have agreed to spend more than $156.4 million on a five-star resort and riverside tower project.

Manufacturing

Domestic automobile industry set for good growth Vietnam News 1st Mar 2019
The Vietnamese automobile industry is expected to grow well, driven mainly by an increase in per capita income, demand for cars, and infrastructure improvement. Speaking at a seminar on auto industry, held during the Automechanika HCM City expo, Nguyễn Thanh Đàm, chairman of Vast Group JSC, said that production reached 215,000 autos last year, which was modest compared to other countries in the region. This accounted for just 0.2 per cent of the number of vehicles produced globally. More than 352,200 units were bought in Việt Nam last year, ranking fourth in the ASEAN region after Indonesia (1.1 million units), Thailand (950,000 units), and Malaysia (560,000). The average number of cars per 1,000 people in Việt Nam was still low (at 23 cars per 1,000 people) compared to other countries, Đàm said.

Travel & Tourism

Quảng Bình Police conduct drastic measures to reduce traffic accidents Vietnam News 11th Mar 2019
The number of traffic accidents, as well as related deaths and injuries, in the central province of Quảng Bình has decreased thanks to drastic measures undertaken by provincial police since the beginning of the year, according to local authorities. Senior lieutenant colonel Trần Đức Dương, head of the Traffic Police Division under the Quảng Bình Police, said that since the beginning of this year, the division asked the police to use technology to support their work, such as cameras, breathalysers, drug testing machines and speed guns. Officers are regularly on patrol, waiting to catch any violations. The division collaborated with concerned organisations to conduct inspection programmes. In addition to the work by traffic police, the Quảng Bình Department of Transport’s inspectors also set up plans to check and punish violations related to road, railway and waterway safety, especially during the Lunar New Year festival, which fell at the beginning of February, and the extended festival season.

Vietnam's Danang basks in Southeast Asian hotel boom Nikkei Asian Review 15th Mar 2019
French hotel group Accor seeks to solidify its dominance in Southeast Asia by doubling its regional network of 300 lodgings over the next decade, trying to fend off American rival Marriott International, which is attempting to woo wealthy customers in the region with its luxury locations. Southeast Asia's foreign tourist arrivals swelled 40% from 2012 to 2017 to well over 100 million a year. One of the region's hottest resort cities is Danang, on Vietnam's central coast, where luxury hotels with giant pools and upscale rooms line the beach. Accor was one of the first Western players to enter the city. The group debuted a location in 2011 and now runs five hotels in Danang, including the Pullman Danang Beach Resort, which opened in 2013. The many multinationals that followed prompted the group, commonly known as AccorHotels, to take a bold step and renovate the luxury Pullman after five years in business. The city boasts 15% more guest rooms than a year ago, said Fraser Ross, Pullman's general manager.