Vietnam Update: July 11, 2019

Vietnam Update | July 11, 2019
Authors: Hai Pham, Riley Smith and Rachel Forrest
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

July 26, SingaporeASEAN Presidents' Luncheon Series

August 5-9, VietnamSenior Officials Meeting for AMAF

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Vietnam Amid US-China Trade War
As the US-China trade tensions continue, the Vietnamese government in recent months has made strong efforts to position itself as a business-friendly destination for investors and attract manufacturers affected by the trade war. While the Vietnamese manufacturing sector continues to grow rapidly, its economic momentum, gained in part from an uptick of investment from the United States, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, has drawn negative attention from President Donald Trump. In an interview last month, President Trump called Vietnam “almost the single worst abuser of everybody” in regards to tariff and trade, and added that “a lot of companies are moving to Vietnam, but Vietnam takes advantage of us even worse than China.” Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed duties of more than 400% on Vietnamese steel imports. Following three preliminary circumvention rulings on Vietnamese steel, the Department of Commerce determined that certain products produced in South Korea and Taiwan have been shipped to Vietnam for minor processing before being exported to the United States. The Trump administration had previously applied tariffs to steel imported from South Korea and Taiwan 2015 and 2016. There is growing concern over the issue of transshipment through Vietnam. In this most recent case in Vietnam, products manufactured in China and other countries are being rerouted through Vietnam, rebranded as “made in Vietnam” after minimal or no processing, and then reshipped to avoid tariffs slapped on imports from the actual country of origin. In February of this year, Vietnam’s Import/Export Department published a warning on trade fraud regarding the labelling of products. However, the Vietnamese government does not currently have a basis of criteria for determining how products qualify as “made in Vietnam,” only regulations on how products should be labelled.

As the U.S. Government continues to pursue free, fair and reciprocal trade with all of its trade partners, the Vietnamese government has made it a priority to strengthen the ability of the General Customs Department to combat transshipments and reduce the trade imbalance of US$39.5 billion (in 2018) by increasing imports of American goods. For example, in Q1 2019, American exports to Vietnam increased by 17 percent year-on-year. Nevertheless, Q1 imports from Vietnam to the U.S. increased by nearly 40 percent year-on-year. In an effort to further increase U.S. imports, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam said on June 28 that it plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the U.S. Department of Energy that would include the purchase of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States.

Vietnam and EU Sign EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement
On June 30, the European Union (EU) and Vietnam officially signed the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) in Hanoi in a ceremony witnessed by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. The deals will now be submitted to the European Parliament. If approved, the agreement is expected to boost Vietnamese exports by eliminating 99 percent of tariffs, especially for agricultural products. The agreement will provide benefits in trade, services, investment, incentives and intellectual property to both Vietnam and the EU. The agreement also promotes labor rights, environmental protection and initiatives to fight climate change, as included in the Paris Agreement. The EVFTA was first initiated in June 2012, and negotiations on the deal concluded in 2015. It is expected that the EVFTA will be approved by the European Parliament at the end of 2019 or in early 2020. After approval, the EVFTA will replace all current-standing bilateral trade agreements between Vietnam and the 21 EU Member States. Implementation may commence once all Member States ratify the agreement.

The implementation of the EVFTA is expected to boost Vietnam’s exports to the EU by 20 percent by 2020, and its gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to rise 2.18-3.25 percent annually by 2023. However, some Vietnamese companies fear that they might not be able to compete with increased imports from the EU, which could lead to an overreliance on foreign direct investment (FDI) and a stunting of Vietnam’s growth potential. The EVFTA has also prompted concerns over Vietnam’s ability to comply with more regulated standards, specifically rules of origin in the textile and garment industry. For Vietnamese textile producers to reap the benefits of a free trade agreement, their products must be locally made, but few garment firms meet those requirements. In addition, concerns still remain regarding issues around Vietnam’s human rights records. However, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has congratulated the signing of the EVFTA as a commitment by both parties to the ILO’s 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. The ILO has expressed enthusiastic approval over Vietnam’s recent commitments to ratify improved labor standards.

The signing of the EVFTA is another instance of Vietnam’s recent efforts to promote trade, investment and global integration. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) came into effect in Vietnam earlier this year in January, and in March the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) released a decision on plans for the agreement’s implementation.

U.S. Government pitches Asia EDGE initiative in Vietnam and Thailand
During recent trips to Hanoi, Vietnam, and Bangkok, Thailand, last month, Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, Francis R. Fannon, pitched the U.S. Government’s Asia EDGE (Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy) initiative, stressing that one of the main objectives of his visit was to catalyze U.S. investment in both countries’ energy sectors. Asia EDGE is the energy-focused pillar of the U.S. Government's Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy and has been described by the U.S. Government as a whole-of-government effort to grow sustainable and secure energy markets throughout the Indo-Pacific. In Vietnam, Fannon met with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and PetroVietnam, and in Thailand he met with the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PTT, and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).

In describing the initiative to the Thai and Vietnamese governments, Fannon explained how its four main goals – supporting energy security across the globe; promoting open, transparent energy markets; promoting fair energy-trading ties; and promoting energy access for all – would help increase economic growth in ASEAN. Fannon went on to describe how these four goals would be applied in the region, stating that, “There will be absolutely no coercive elements to the initiative. We operate with the mindset of self-determination and offer a flexible framework for countries pursuing their specific energy policies with full transparency.” Fannon explained that Asia EDGE was introduced in part because the energy sector is playing an increasingly important role in U.S. foreign policy, as the United States aims to use its energy abundance to enhance the energy security of its allies and partners.

Still, nearly one year after its announcement, questions remain over the funding behind Asia EDGE and how this funding will be allocated, despite several announcements meant to address both issues. When initially announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last July, out of the US$113 million that would be put towards the whole FOIP around US$50 million would support Asia EDGE and infrastructure development. During the Japan-United States Strategic Energy Partnership (JUSEP) in Washington, DC, this past February, the Government of Japan pledged to align US$10 billion in public and private investment and capacity building training with Asia EDGE, though most of this amount had already been allocated prior to the announcement. During his visit to Vietnam and Thailand, Fannon noted that USAID and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a partnership agreement at the Asia Clean Energy Forum in Manila, Philippines. As part of the agreement, USAID and ADB aim to mobilize US$7 billion-worth of investment to support energy projects in Asia, boost the generation capacity of deployed energy systems in the region by 6 GW, and increase regional energy trade by 10 percent over the next five years. USAID has reportedly kicked in US$100 million to get the agreement off the ground.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Vietnam Cybersecurity Regulations Update
This week, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) shared the latest draft of the cybersecurity decree with the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi. This draft was submitted to the government in mid-May and has been circulated among members of the cabinet for comments. Some Ministries have completed their review and submitted comments while others have not. At this time, industry can comment on the draft. No official deadline for comments is set, but it is recommended that comments be submitted by early August. Please click here to review translated excerpts from the draft decree. The U.S. Embassy plans to send U.S. Government comments on this draft by the end of July. Members are encouraged to send us their comments as soon as possible, so that the Council can coordinate with the U.S. Embassy and align messaging. The Council is also planning to submit a position paper on this draft. The deadline for members to submit comments is August 12, 2019. A Call for Input will be sent to members soon regarding this position paper. If you have any questions about the decree or the submission, please contact Vu Tu Thanh at tvu@usasean.org

US-ASEAN Business Council Conducts 2019 Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Vietnam June 27-28
On June 27-28, the Council conducted its third Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Vietnam. The mission focused on establishing productive dialogues with key agricultural and Vietnamese government officials and discussing ways in which our members could support their national goals, especially if constraints on business expansion are addressed. During the mission, the Council and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that would allow the two parties to continue working together to expand U.S. business engagement with public and private sector stakeholders in Vietnam. We view the mission as the start of an engagement process and not a one-off event. To maximize the value of the mission, Council staff are available to support members in conducting follow up efforts. For questions or further information, please contact Sunita Kapoor (skapoor@usasean.org).

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Multilateral Trade Agreements
Việt Nam and UAE strive to lift bilateral trade to $10 billion
Switzerland keen to promote trade links with Vietnam
EVFTA gives Việt Nam’s industrial real estate market a lift
Armenian PM seeks to boost trade, investment ties with Vietnam
EVFTA opens new markets for Vietnam steel industry
CPTPP gives Vietnamese firms a chance to invest in Canada

Regional Affairs
China’s Jiangsu province wants to boost ties with Việt Nam
Vietcombank and JBIC sign US$200 million contract for renewable energy development
Cross-border service providers must comply with local law: Minister
Japan's Suntory joins rival Coca Cola to push Vietnam on plastic recycling

National Affairs
Hanoi to spend over $5.3 mln on poverty reduction
Two HCM City districts join battle with illegal sand miners
Ministries need to complete regulations for equitisation of SOEs
Vietnam says keeping close watch on China's missile tests
Retail revenues surge 11.5 per cent in H1
PM requests enhancing fight against cyber crime
PM tells northern region to optimise advantages for stronger development
Hòa Hội solar power plant opens in Phú Yên
Local cybercrime threats on the rise

Customs
Securities firms warn listed businesses may struggle to meet EVFTA standards
Demand for container shipments in Vietnam surges amid US-China trade war
India opens investigation into steel imports from Việt Nam
Agencies admit there is no regulation on ‘made-in-Vietnam’ products
US imposes over 450% duty on Vietnam steel
Customs to closely control imported loudspeakers
Increase the value of Vietnamese seafood to the EU
Which cases are subject to inspection of customs value for export goods?
Goods infringing intellectual property rights will be sanctioned
Director General of Vietnam Customs Nguyen Van Can had bilateral negotiations with Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Vietnamese, Japanese Prime Ministers hold talks
Vietnam Buys More U.S. Goods After Trump Calls It Trade Abuser

Defense & Security
Defense Dialogue Puts Vietnam-South Korea Military Ties into Focus

Economics
VN economy to rely on strength of private corporations
Vietnamese market share in US improves, but insignificantly
Quang Tri: over 1.7 bln USD poured into economic, industrial zones
Da Nang is in hotel oversupply crisis
Foreign ownership cap to deter foreign capital in Vietnam’s fintech
Footwear exports buoyed thanks to FTA
Global garment firms no longer bullish on Vietnam as costs rise
Vietnam's 36% export surge to US draws scrutiny and tariffs
U.S. slaps duties on Vietnam steel exports it claims are produced overseas
US levies duties on Việt Nam’s steel
Vietnamese shares drop as worries persist over global slowdown
Việt Nam’s six-month industrial production up 9.13%

Energy
Norwegian energy developer pursues ambitious Vietnam plan
Petrolimex and JXTG sign MoU on LNG research
Sunseap completes Vietnam solar farm amid steady pipeline of Asia projects
Growth demand fuels solar power boom in Vietnam

Financial Services
Vietjet plans e-commerce foray as air travel competition heats up
The time is right for fintech firms
Rural e-commerce needs new push in Vietnam
Vietnamese banks eye offshore markets to raise capital
WHA tech projects seek to foster regional investment
Vietnam-Laos trade fair helps promote bilateral economic ties
Vietnam's business environment needs strong Gov't actions
Vietnamese brands sail into global markets
Vietnam – a digital advertiser’s dream
Requiring data to stay on retail track

Food & Agriculture
Mekong, south-east regions told to take advantages of technology and favorable climate to develop mushroom production
Vietnam’s rice exports drop, causing big worries
Central region faces water shortages amid drought
June's pepper exports up 58.8 per cent
Vietnam's banana exports go up, join $17 billion glass bam market
In Vietnam, company gets ‘special permit’ to sell herbicides containing banned agents
Việt Nam’s forestry sector targets US$11 billion in export
Vietnam dairy producers prosper in CPTPP era
Seafood exports nears 4 billion USD in first half
Mekong Delta sugarcane farmers switch en masse to other crops
Agriculture exporters suffer as China rules tighten
Wood exports bring Vietnam nearly $5 billion in H1

Health & Life Sciences
Dengue fever kills five in HCM City
Việt Nam’s research-based pharmaceutical industry expects high growth
Thousands donate blood in HCM City campaign
Saigon becomes dengue fever hotspot
Dangerous weedkiller still used despite ban
New M&A boom in Vietnam's pharmaceutical sector
Dengue fever spreads across country
Study finds high rate of obesity among primary school students
Radioactive substance shortage takes toll on PET/CT scanning in Ho Chi Minh City
Gaining the trust of people is more important than vaccination records
First fixed blood donation site opens in Hà Nội’s Old Quarter
Mekong Delta region steps up efforts to combat African swine fever

ICT
Vietnam’s telco giants get green light for 5G tech tests
Enterprises urged to take action amid Industry 4.0 wave
Vihaan Networks signs pact with Vietnam to develop digital villages
Three telecom providers licensed to trial 5G
Vietnam deactivates 1.85 million illegible mobile subscribers
Vietnam reinforces human resources for information security tasks
HCM City moves closer to setting up Information Security Centre
HCM City to set up pilot 5G network
Minister urged YouTube's advertising platforms to get in order
RoK firms want to invest in Vietnam’s digital transformation
HCM City signs deal with Cuba on science-technology cooperation
ASEAN’s unicorns growing

Infrastructure
Central Vietnam greets influx of infrastructure
Vietnam could halve cost of north-south high-speed rail by reducing train speed: ministry
DRVN asked to lift a suspension on fee collection at four BOT projects
Nearly $2 billion to be invested in Hà Nội’s third metro line
Criteria for investors of North-South Expressway disclosed
Big challenges hinder Việt Nam’s largest infrastructure project
Infrastructure perfection urged to boost investment attractiveness

Manufacturing
Nintendo says to shift part of Switch console production from China to Vietnam

Travel & Tourism
Ha Long, a smoke-free tourism city
Vietnam start-up Bamboo Airways eyes first direct flight to US
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Multilateral Trade Agreements

Việt Nam and UAE strive to lift bilateral trade to $10 billion Vietnam News Agency 9th Jul 2019
The Vietnamese Government will continue reforming the business environment to facilitate firms from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) investing in Việt Nam, striving to lift the bilateral trade turnover to US$10 billion. Deputy PM Dũng noted the positive economic co-operation between the two nations in the past but said many sectors were still untapped, especially in trade, investment, energy (oil and gas, and renewable energy), infrastructure development, tourism and labor. He expected the UAE would facilitate the entry of Vietnamese goods in the Middle East and other markets as well as the stable life of Vietnamese workers there. The Middle East’s second largest economy is among Việt Nam’s leading trade and investment partners in the region, with bilateral trade rising from $5.2 billion in 2014 to $6.3 billion in 2017.

Switzerland keen to promote trade links with Vietnam Voice of Vietnam 9th Jul 2019
In Vietnam, Mr Guy Parmelin’s priorities at discussions were given to continued negotiations to the signing of a free trade agreement between Vietnam and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member countries of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein Parmelin emphasized that two-way trade over the past year surged by about 5 per cent to CHF2 billion. Vietnam is currently the fourth largest trading partner of Switzerland in the Southeast Asian region. According to statistics released by the Swiss National Bank, several Swiss companies have invested CHF690 million across multiple economic fields in the country. With regard to FTA negotiations between the EFTA and Vietnam, Parmelin highlighted how Vietnam have been making efforts to meet ‘certain international standards’ as the country has recently signed an FTA with the EU.

EVFTA gives Việt Nam’s industrial real estate market a lift Vietnam News Agency 8th Jul 2019
The EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will have a positive impact on Việt Nam's real estate market, especially the industrial real estate, experts said. According to Griffiths, bilateral trade between Việt Nam and the EU will rise as a result of the deal, bringing an increase in foreign direct investment and jobs and offering more opportunities in all real estate segments. Another report from VNDirect also showed industrial real estate could benefit from the shift of factories from other countries to Việt Nam as investors seek preferential policies from free trade agreements (FTAs) including EVFTA. Priority should be given to improving State management of the property market, especially the industrial real estate market, as well as following international standards. Localities should pay attention to planning on industrial land with a focus on clean and environmentally friendly IPs, Nguyễn Trần Nam said.

Armenian PM seeks to boost trade, investment ties with Vietnam VietNamNet 7th Jul 2019
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had a working session with some major Vietnamese businesses in Hanoi on July 6 to seek ways to facilitate bilateral trade and investment. The event was attended by representatives of theVietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and big enterprises in such industries as textile-garment, jewelry, and information technology.The PM, who is on an official visit to Vietnam,said the investment climate in his country is improving in a way that facilitates businesses’ development, and there are almost no barriers to foreign investment attraction there. Armenia is investing big in developing information and digital technology. It has also exported a number of high-tech products in the agricultural and processing sectors, which are also the fields the country wants to seek opportunities for investment cooperation, he noted. PM Pashinyan said his country is looking for chances for investment and trade partnerships in certain aspects, including textile-garment, agricultural products, food, alcoholic beverages and dried fruit export, in which both countries have advantages and potential.

EVFTA opens new markets for Vietnam steel industry VietNamNet 5th Jul 2019
The freshly-signed EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will help the Vietnamese steel sector expand export markets in Europe, industry insiders said. According to the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA),as of April 30, 2019, Vietnam exported nearly 2.8 million tonnes of steel, up13.7 percent against the same period last year. Nguyen Van Sua, an expert in the steel industry,said export products of Vietnam and the EU are supplementary without direct competition. However, Vietnam’s steel exporters have so far just focused on some traditional markets like the Association of Southeast AsianNations (ASEAN) and the US while neglecting the EU. For example, the ASEAN made up 61 percent o fVietnam’s export of steel sheets, the US 8.1 percent and Europe 7.1 percent, according to the VSA. In the context of global competition and increasing application of trade defense measures, the search for and diversification of export markets is essential, Sua said, adding that with the signed free trade agreements (FTAs), including the EVFTA, Vietnam could optimize tariff incentives to boost exports to the EU.

CPTPP gives Vietnamese firms a chance to invest in Canada Vietnam News Agency 3rd Jul 2019
Vietnamese enterprises are being encouraged to tap into business opportunities in Canada as the nation actively calls for foreign investment in the wake of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) officially coming into effect. In the workshop “Business opportunity with Canada through CPTPP” on Friday in HCM City, chairman of Canada Trade Link Bryon Wilfert said Canada wanted to take advantage of CPTPP to promote co-operation through lowering the tax base. Under the pact, Canada will cut tariffs on 95 per cent of imports from Việt Nam to zero, covering 78 per cent of Việt Nam’s total export revenue to Canada. Canada’s trade with Việt Nam has only strengthened recently with two-way trade turnover reaching US$1.46 billion in the first four months of this year, up 30 per cent year on year. Of the total, Việt Nam exported goods worth $1.18 billion to Canada, up 43.7 per cent.

Regional Affairs

China’s Jiangsu province wants to boost ties with Việt Nam Vietnam News Agency 9th Jul 2019
Secretary of China’s Jiangsu provincial Party Committee Lou Qinjian has said Jiangsu wants to work with Việt Nam in economic and industrial park development, people-to-people exchange, culture and tourism. He made the statement during a meeting with National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân in Nanjing city, the capital of Jiangsu on Monday. With a population of nearly 80 million people, Jiangsu is the second largest economy of China, growing by 6.7 per cent per year. There are nearly 600 Vietnamese students in Jiangsu, which is now home to nearly 100 tertiary education establishments, more than those in Beijing and Shanghai. The province also leads in science-technology application, he said. In Việt Nam’s external policy, China is a partner of top significance, especially in politics, diplomacy, economy, science-technology and people-to-people exchange.

Vietcombank and JBIC sign US$200 million contract for renewable energy development Vietnam News Agency 26th Jun 2019
The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Việt Nam (Vietcombank) and the Japan Bank for Co-operation (JBIC) on Tuesday signed a US$200 million credit contract to finance renewable energy projects. Accordingly, JBIC will arrange loans from four leading commercial banks in Japan including MUFG Bank Ltd, Mizuho Bank Ltd, the Joyo Bank Ltd and the Nishi-Nippon City Bank Ltd with terms of 14 years for green energy projects in Việt Nam.

Cross-border service providers must comply with local law: Minister VietNamNet 26th Jun 2019
All foreign firms, especially cross-border service providers such as Google, YouTube, Facebook and the like, must comply with Vietnamese law while operating in the country, stated Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung. At a meeting to control advertisements on cross-border platforms between the Ministry of Information and Communications and enterprises on June 25, Minister Hung said that these firms should be responsible for the prosperity of the countries in which they do business, which also helps ensure their sustainable development. The minister said that the Vietnamese Government will continue to employ solutions to force Google, Facebook and the like to comply with the local law. Vietnam will not welcome cross-border firms that do not comply with Vietnamese law.

Japan's Suntory joins rival Coca Cola to push Vietnam on plastic recycling Tuoi Tre News 26th Jun 2019
Japanese beverage giant Suntory Holdings said it would work with rival Coca-Cola as well as Nestle to push the government in Vietnam, among the biggest contributors to plastic waste in the ocean, to create a large-scale recycling system. Japanese beverage giant Suntory Holdings said it would work with rival Coca-Cola as well as Nestle to push the government in Vietnam, among the biggest contributors to plastic waste in the ocean, to create a large-scale recycling system.Suntory, the maker of Hibiki whisky as well as soft drinks, plans to switch out pure petroleum-based plastic bottles in all markets by 2030, using only recycled or plant-based materials. Niinami said his fear was that governments may take drastic restrictions against plastic bottles instead of working on recycling. The company sees no viable alternative yet to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles.

National Affairs

Hanoi to spend over $5.3 mln on poverty reduction VietNamNet 9th Jul 2019
According to Director of the municipal Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Khuat Van Thanh, authorities have devised four policies for the scheme. Accordingly, the city will provide 1.4 million VND as monthly allowances for each supportless elderly, people with severe disabilities and serious diseases living in urban areas; and 1.1 million VND (47.2 USD) for those living in rural areas. Free health insurance cards will be provided for poor and near-poor people in a maximum period of three years. Kindergarten children and students who are members of poor families will get free tuition and a monthly financial support of 100,000 VND per head for nine months per year in a maximum period of three years.

Two HCM City districts join battle with illegal sand miners Vietnam News Agency 9th Jul 2019
The Cần Giờ District and District 9 people’s committees will join forces with public security agencies, border guards and neighboring provinces to fight illegal sand mining in HCM City. The districts share borders with HCM City’s neighboring provinces, making it difficult for them to tackle illegal sand mining by themselves. A representative of its People’s Committee said the mining is usually done at night, which makes it hard for authorities to detect it or deter offenders. There have been cases of groups of illegal sand miners assaulting inspectors when they were detected. Law enforcement agencies blame the increasing incidence of mining to lax regulations and enforcement and lack of stringent penalties.

Ministries need to complete regulations for equitisation of SOEs Vietnam News Agency 9th Jul 2019
Ministries and sectors by the end of the year need to complete legal documents promptly clear obstacles that are hindering the equitisation of State-owned enterprises, Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ said at a meeting of the Steering Committee for Innovation and Development of Businesses held in Hà Nội on July 8. Deputy PM Huệ, who is also the head of the steering committee, said the Ministry of Finance (MoF) should review decrees relating to equitisation of SOEs and public assets at equitised enterprises such as Decree 126/2017/ NĐ-CP, Decree 167/2017/NĐ-CP and Decree 32/2018/NĐ-CP. The MoF will work with the Government Office to issue a decree replacing Decision 22/2015/QĐ-TTg on conversion from non-business units into joint stock companies, he said.

Vietnam says keeping close watch on China's missile tests VnExpress International 4th Jul 2019
Vietnam has requested efforts to maintain peace and security in the South China Sea following the U.S.’s criticism over China’s missile tests. U.S. officials said on Tuesday that China had tested multiple anti-ship ballistic missiles from man-made structures near the Spratly Islands of the disputed waters over the weekend. Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Dave Eastburn was quoted by NBC News as saying that the tests represented a "truly disturbing" violation of President Xi Jinping’s 2015 statement that China "does not intend to pursue militarization" in the water body. Le Thi Thu Hang, spokeswoman of Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the press on Thursday that "Vietnam is extremely interested and is closely following the incident." Vietnam demands all activities of the involved parties in the South China Sea, which Vietnam calls the East Sea, must respect the sovereignty and legal and legitimate rights of countries in accordance with international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Hang said.

Retail revenues surge 11.5 per cent in H1 Vietnam News Agency 1st Jul 2019
The nation's total revenue from retail sales and services saw a significant growth of 11.5 per cent to more than VNĐ23.9 quadrillion ( nearly US$102 billion) in the first half of this year. The increase was the highest level seen in the first half of any of the past three years, the General Statistics Office (GSO) has said in a monthly report. Excluding the price factor, the growth rate was 8.7 per cent against the first half of last year. The abundant supply met manufacturing and consumption demands, GSO director Nguyễn Bích Lâm told a press conference in Hà Nội late last week. Lâm said the local market was buoyed in the reviewed period by a broadened consumption market and diversified promotions.

PM requests enhancing fight against cyber crime Voice of Vietnam 27th Jun 2019
Cyber crime has become complicated in recent years, especially online gambling and football betting, causing an outflow of foreign currencies, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has admitted. In a document in response to National Assembly deputies’ questions, the PM said authorities launched legal proceedings in 449 criminal cases with 867 defendants in 2018 and the first quarter of this year, and imposed administrative fines in 187 cases related to the use of modern technology. To effectively fight such crimes, the PM asked ministries, departments and agencies to refine legal regulations, enforce the Law on Cyber Security, improve State management efficiency and strictly deal with cyber crimes. Authorities were also assigned to adopt technical measures to prevent the spread of law violation and fraudulent information online.

PM tells northern region to optimise advantages for stronger development Vietnam News Agency 26th Jun 2019
The northern economic region held advantages over other parts of the country to develop, especially in terms of infrastructure and human resources, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said at a conference held in the northern province of Hưng Yên on Tuesday. Nearly 80 per cent of communes in the region had been recognised as new rural areas and the lowest rate of poor households at 2 per cent, Phúc said. Most foreign direct investment (FDI) projects focused on sectors and industries subject to investment incentives using low-cost labour. The region should maintain its role as the country’s centre of politics, economics, culture and science-technology, and strive to become one of the nation’s two biggest economic hubs besides the key southern economic region, the PM said.

Hòa Hội solar power plant opens in Phú Yên Vietnam News Agency 26th Jun 2019
The Hòa Hội solar power plant officially opened in the central coastal province of Phú Yên on Tuesday. The plant, a joint venture between the Trường Thành Việt Nam Group JSC and Thailand’s B Grimm Power Pcl, has total investment of over VNĐ4.9 trillion (US$210.7 million) funded by the Phú Yên TTP JSC. Construction of the 265ha plant with a capacity of 257MWP started in November 2018. Trần Hữu Thế, vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, urged the investor to run the project effectively, abide by environmental regulations and pay attention to social welfare. Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has also designated the plant as a key project in Phú Yên’s socio-economic development master plan until 2020

Local cybercrime threats on the rise VietNamNet 26th Jun 2019
Though the quick advancement of fintech has helped cashless payments increase in Vietnam, it has also created a fertile land for cyber-criminals to exploit. In January, the government released Resolution No.01/NQ-CP indicating the State Bank of Vietnam to build a ­national comprehensive financial strategic scheme. According to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), in the first quarter of 2019, the interbank e-payment system has handled 37.33 million transactions with the value of VND20.69 quadrillion ($899.56 billion), an on-year increase of 23 per cent in quantity and 17.8 per cent in value. “The change to non-cash finance exposes many potential risks in loss of security due to increasingly sophisticated and complex attacks, causing more and more serious damage to the economy as well as to the prestige of financial institutions” Hoang Minh Tien, Information Security Department.

Market Development

Vietnamese brands sail into global markets Vietnam News Agency 9th Jul 2019
Vietnamese businesses are further participating in the global value chain and reaching out to the world market. According to experts, State-owned enterprises used to invest mainly in neighboring markets such as Laos and Cambodia, but things have changed now. Many investments now are made by private enterprises and span many fields from technology and agriculture to banking and finance, they said.Among those that have made rapid progress in this regard in the past two years is NutiFood, which has a series of tie-ups with foreign partners in the US, Japan and Europe. Prof Nguyễn Mại, chairman of the Việt Nam Association of Foreign Investment Enterprises, said the trend of overseas investment by Vietnamese enterprises would remain strong because it is an essential part of their development process.

Vietnam – a digital advertiser’s dream The Star Online 1st Jul 2019
A special report has said that by the end of second quarter this year, Vietnam reached a population of 97 million people.People’s lives are quickly becoming digitalised thanks to the rise of smartphones, highly accessible internet and cheap mobile data plans.Smartphones using Androids system account for 55.1% of the total in the country while those using iOS make up 41.6%.

Requiring data to stay on retail track VietNamNet 28th Jun 2019
Companies in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) have to manage complex supply chains, particularly on the distribution side. Production tends to be pretty efficient as products are usually rather simple to make, but the distribution has its load of challenges. The complexities come from the fact that a company has to reach tens of thousands of small outlets all over the country from only one or two manufacturing plants.

Customs

Securities firms warn listed businesses may struggle to meet EVFTA standards Vietnam News Agency 9th Jul 2019
Việt Nam’s benchmark VN-Index has risen since the ratification of the EU-Việt Nam trade agreement on the back of listed firms whose exports would be boosted by the deal. However, securities firms have warned their increased share prices may not be sustained as those companies face some internal challenges in meeting the EU’s requirements. VDSC warns Việt Nam is becoming highly dependent on foreign direct investment (FDI). Therefore, if FDI firms under perform, the logistics sector will also dive. In addition, a large number of logistics companies haven’t maximized their potential and improved their competitiveness, so they won’t be able to make the best use of the advantages brought by the EVFTA.

Demand for container shipments in Vietnam surges amid US-China trade war VietNamNet 8th Jul 2019
The number of container equivalents of goods shipped in and out of Vietnam annually may reach 23 million by 2025, up 64% in 2019. The number of containers handled in Vietnam will be on the rise along with the ongoing US-Sino trade war, Japanese trading house Sumitomo has predicted.  About 14 million container equivalents of goods are shipped in and out of Vietnam annually. With a growth rate of 7%, the number is expected to reach 23 million by 2025, Nikkei quoted a Sumitomo source as saying. Meanwhile, Vietnamese stock brokerage MBS said in a recent report that Vietnam would see more demand for logistics services thanks to an annual growth rate of 10% in exports set for the next three to five years. Vietnam has 1,600 ships with a total capacity of 7.8 million tons, the fourth biggest in Southeast Asia, VnExpress quoted MBS report.

India opens investigation into steel imports from Việt Nam Vietnam News Agency 8th Jul 2019
India’s Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has initiated an investigation on potential anti-dumping duties against imported flat rolled stainless steel products from 15 countries and territories including Việt Nam. The Trade Remedies Authority of Việt Nam under the Ministry of Industry and Trade said the investigation was initiated on July 3 by DGTR after Indian steelmakers claimed that the imports of the products had hurt their business. The investigation will look at the 12 month period from April 2018 to March 2019. The Trade Remedies Authority of Việt Nam has urged Vietnamese steelmakers to co-operate and submit relevant information to the Indian authorities within 40 days of July 3.

Agencies admit there is no regulation on ‘made-in-Vietnam’ products VietNamNet 7th Jul 2019
Vietnam has no regulations on criteria for goods to be labeled ‘made in Vietnam’, so consumers have no basis to distinguish ‘made in Vietnam’ and foreign-made products. Government agencies have started an investigation into Asanzo electronic products following allegations that the manufacturer is importing Chinese products and selling them as its own, or made-in-Vietnam, products. Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted its sources as saying that the Asanzo plant only assembled televisions using components imported from China, whereas other home appliances sold by Asanzo were finished products purchased directly from China. Asanzo chair Pham Van Tam, at the meeting with the local press, said this claim is incorrect, though he admitted he uses Chinese components for his products.

US imposes over 450% duty on Vietnam steel Asia Customs & Trade 10th Jul 2019
The United States has levied hefty tariffs of over 450% on certain steel products imported from Vietnam that are alleged to have originated in Taiwan and South Korea. The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) in a statement said it is imposing up to 456.23% in duties on exports of certain steel products from Vietnam after making three preliminary affirmative circumvention rulings. “The circumvention rulings cover certain steel products that are first produced in Korea and Taiwan, which are then shipped to Vietnam for minor processing, and finally exported to the United States as corrosion-resistant steel products (CORE) and cold-rolled steel (CRS),” said the agency in a release on July 2.

Customs to closely control imported loudspeakers Customs News 9th Jul 2019
Customs branches are strengthening screening methods to discover drugs in imported shipments declared as cabinet loudspeakers and mobile loudspeakers. It is requested by the General Department of Vietnam Customs for customs departments and branches to strengthen control over imported cabinet loudspeakers and mobile loudspeakers. According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, through drug arrests by competent forces, criminals often hide drugs in cabinet loudspeakers and mobile loudspeakers to avoid inspection and supervision of competent forces.

Increase the value of Vietnamese seafood to the EU Customs News 7th Jul 2019
The EU is the second largest seafood export market of Vietnam, after the US. The Free Trade Agreement between the European Union (EU) and Vietnam (EVFTA), signed in Ha Noi on June 30, 2019 will create opportunities for deep access between Vietnam and the EU market of 28 member countries, in which seafood products are evaluated to benefit. According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, in the EVFTA, as soon as the Agreement comes into effect, nearly 50% of tariff lines have a basic tax rate of 0-22%. Most of high tax at 6-22% will be reduced to 0% (about 840 tariff lines).

Which cases are subject to inspection of customs value for export goods? Customs News 2nd Jul 2019
Facing the situation that enterprises misrepresent customs value for export goods and insufficiently declare constituent elements of the selling price at export border gate, declare prices lower than the selling price at export border gate or declare information inconsistent with related documents for export tax evasion and frauds, the General Department of Customs has instructed its units to unify inspection of customs value for export goods to tighten management of customs value for these goods.

Goods infringing intellectual property rights will be sanctioned Customs News 1st Jul 2019
The General Department of Vietnam Customs will sanction firms involved with goods infringing intellectual property rights for problems related to handling confiscated goods according to administrative procedures by Binh Duong Customs Department for CHAMPION trademark. According to Binh Duong Customs Department, when handling confiscated goods according to administrative procedures, there is a case of H.Seven Textile Co., Ltd storing import and export goods without legal documents in Customs operation areas, violating the provisions at Point a, Clause 2, Article 12 of Decree 127/2013/ND-CP that has been amended and supplemented in Clause 9, Article 1 of Decree 45/2016/ND-CP.

Director General of Vietnam Customs Nguyen Van Can had bilateral negotiations with Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Customs News 1st Jul 2019
Outside the 133th/134th meetings of the annual conference of Customs cooperation coucil (World Customs Organisation – WCO) held from 27 to 29 June 2019 at the headquarters of the WCO in Brussels, Belgium, on June 28, Director General of Vietnam Customs Nguyen Van Can had a bilateral negotiation with Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. At the meeting, the two parties informed each other on the completion of internal procedures for the preparation of the signing of the Government-level Agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance in the customs field at the meeting of the senior leaders of the two countries in the future.

Vietnamese, Japanese Prime Ministers hold talks Customs News 1st Jul 2019
PM Phuc congratulated Japanese people on the great event of Emperor Naruhito’s ascension to the throne and the successful organisation of the 14th G20 Summit in Osaka. He affirmed that Vietnam always considers Japan an important, long-term and reliable partner. For his part, PM Abe highly valued Vietnam’s position, role and external achievements over the past time, as well as its initiatives and active contributions to the G20 Summit. He described the over 330,000-strong overseas Vietnamese community in Japan as an “invaluable mutual property” of the two countries’ relations.

Vietnam Buys More U.S. Goods After Trump Calls It Trade Abuser Bloomberg 29th Jun 2019
Vietnam is buying more U.S. goods to help it reduce a $39.5 billion surplus, after President Donald Trump called the country a trade abuser. “Vietnam has made great efforts to improve the trade balance between the two countries, increasing imports,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said in a statement late Friday. Vietnam is improving investment conditions for U.S. companies while encouraging Vietnamese businesses to invest in the U.S., Hang said. Trump, asked this week on Fox Business Network if he wanted to impose tariffs on Vietnam, said: “Well, we’re in discussions with Vietnam.” He described the Southeast Asian nation as “almost the single worst abuser of everybody.”

Defense & Security

Defense Dialogue Spotlights Vietnam-France Military Ties The Diplomat 9th Jul 2019
Earlier this month, Vietnam and France held a defense dialogue between the two of them. The interaction highlighted the ongoing efforts by both sides to advance their ties in the defense aspect of the relationship as part of their wider foreign policies.

Defense Dialogue Puts Vietnam-South Korea Military Ties into Focus The Diplomat 1st Jul 2019
Last week, Vietnam and South Korea held the latest iteration of their defense dialogue. The engagement offered some insight into both the ongoing collaboration between the two countries as well as what they have their eye on for the future as well in terms of areas for expansion.

Economics

VN economy to rely on strength of private corporations VietNamNet 9th Jul 2019
The confidence of Vietnam's economy is increasingly being placed in private corporations. Many economists believe that the key to development does not lie in GDP growth. For a $240 billion economy, a one percent GDP growth rate is just $24 billion, a modest figure compared with Indonesia and Thailand, economies with a scale five and two times larger than Vietnam, respectively. In other words, even if Vietnam’s economy runs, larger economies just need to walk to surpass Vietnam. Vietnam has dual duties. First, it has to expand the economy's scale by maintaining high GDP growth rates. Second, it needs to improve the economy by heightening the power of Vietnamese enterprises and the real income of workers. Over the last 30 years of FDI, foreign invested enterprises (FIEs) always topped the list of biggest exporters, but they haven't brought significant benefits to Vietnam in terms of technology, labor and tax. State-owned enterprises (SOEs) cannot fulfill the task of leading the economy. A series of huge projects invested by SOEs have incurred big losses.

Vietnamese market share in US improves, but insignificantly VietNamNet 9th Jul 2019
The product items of labor-intensive industries that investors hope will benefit from the production relocation movement, including textile & garments, footwear and toys, still have not seen export growth breakthroughs in the US as expected. The latest report of Bao Viet Securities showed that Vietnam’s exports to the US have increased rapidly since June 2018. According to the General Department of Customs (GDC), Vietnam exported $17.8 billion worth of products in the first four months of the year, an increase of 29.1 percent, higher than the 11.5 percent growth rate of the same period last year. While the export growth rate is high, Vietnam’s products only hold a modest market share in the US, having increased by 0.2 percentage point over the last year. During the same time, the market share of other ASEAN countries, including Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, also stayed unchanged, or increased very slightly by 0.1 percentage point. Meanwhile, the market share for imports from the EU increased from 10.5 percent to 12.5 percent, and from Japan from 4.5 to 5.5 percent. Despite the high export growth rate of 30 percent, Vietnam’s product market share in the US remains modest.

Quang Tri: over 1.7 bln USD poured into economic, industrial zones Voice of Vietnam 9th Jul 2019
Economic zones and industrial parks in the central province of Quang Tri attracted over 40 trillion VND (over 1.7 billion USD) from 150 investment projects as of July this year. Quang Tri is currently home to the southeast coastal economic zone, Lao Bao special economic zone and three IPs, namely Nam Dong Ha, Quan Ngang and Tay Bac Ho Xa. These have lured a great number of investment projects, mainly in the fields of thermal and gas-fueled power, and infrastructure development. The Lao Bao special economic zone located in the East-West Economic Corridor, has attracted 50 projects in service, garment and processing. Meanwhile, the local IPs are attractive to investors in garment for export, medium density fibreboard (MDF) production, and high-tech agriculture. More and more foreign enterprises are interested in IPs and economic zones in Quang Tri.

Da Nang is in hotel oversupply crisis VietNamNet 8th Jul 2019
The high growth of accommodations, especially 1-3 star hotels, has caused a hotel oversupply in Da Nang. Just within the first six months of 2019, Da Nang added 100 more accommodation facilities with 6,000 rooms. More 1-3 star hotels have arisen in the last three years, especially in coastal areas in the districts of Son Tra and Ngu Hanh Son. Hotels are in close proximity to one another on the streets of Vo Nguyen Giap, Ha Bong, Ho Nghinh and Nguyen Van Thoai. There are up to 50-70 hotels in a short section of road, just 500 meters long.The Da Nang Tourism Department reported that by the end of June, the city had 820 accommodation facilities with 37,432 rooms. On average, Da Nang has had 100 more accommodation facilities each year with 6,000 rooms. Meanwhile, there are only about 80 4-5 star hotels. The remaining are high-end resorts, villas, standard apartments, and guest rooms with standard rooms for lease. The oversupply explains why the room occupancy rate in the first six months of 2019 in Da Nang was low, just 50 percent.

Foreign ownership cap to deter foreign capital in Vietnam’s fintech VietNamNet 3rd Jul 2019
It is good for Vietnam to get foreign investment in its fintech sector as support in technology, experience and capital from global major foreign financial groups will help local firms further develop.A Vietnamese central bank’s proposal to limit foreign ownership in the country’s fintech sector might prevent local firms from calling for foreign investment capital, experts warned. The State Bank of Vietnam has submitted to the government a proposal on limiting the foreign holding in Vietnamese fintech firms at 30 percent with the aim to better manage the nascent financial services sector. Currently, the foreign ownership limit in many fintech companies exceeds the 30 percent rate permitted for credit institutions as there has been so far no legal regulation on the limit applied for the fintech sector yet, according to the central bank.

Footwear exports buoyed thanks to FTA VietNamNet 3rd Jul 2019
The footwear sector has optimized opportunities from free trade agreements (FTAs) that Vietnam has signed to increase exports, according to insiders. Statistics from the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (LEFASO) showed Vietnam’s footwear exports reached approximately 9 billion USD in the first half of 2019, a year-on-year increase of 14 percent. Vice Chairman of the LEFASO Diep Thanh Kiet said as one of the world’s leading centres of footwear production and export, Vietnam attracts a lot of foreign investment in this field. Secretary General of LEFASO Phan Thi Thanh Xuan said footwear started enjoying large tariff cuts right after the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) took effect earlier this year. Due to the deal, Vietnam’s footwear exports to other markets in the CPTPP are expected to increase by 10-15 percent in 2019, she said. At present, Vietnam is second after China in exporting footwear to the global market with more than one billion pairs of shoes annually.

Global garment firms no longer bullish on Vietnam as costs rise VnExpress International 3rd Jul 2019
International apparel makers are slowing or, in the case of some, completely halting expansion in Vietnam since the country’s labour costs are rising. Industrial, a leading clothing producer for GAP, Walmart, Zara, and H&M, is going slow on expansion in Vietnam. Its minimum wage grew at an average of 8.8 percent a year between 2015 and 2019, making it one of three countries with the highest minimum wage growth in Southeast Asia. Only Laos with 14.6 percent and China with 9.8 percent saw higher increases, Fitch said. Vietnam raised its minimum wages by an average of 5.3 percent last January to VND4.18 million ($180). Along with rising costs, one of Vietnam's weaknesses is the lack of skilled workers, Nihad Ahmed, senior economist for Vietnam at global economic analysts FocusEconomics, said, emphasizing it is far behind China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand in this aspect at a time when developing a highly skilled workforce is critical for attracting FDI into value-added industries.

Vietnam's 36% export surge to US draws scrutiny and tariffs Nikkei Asian Review 3rd Jul 2019
Vietnam has benefited from U.S. trade actions against other Asian countries, but this blessing is quickly turning into a curse as the nation's rising economic status draws increasing scrutiny from the tariff-hungry Trump administration. U.S. trade data released Wednesday shows American imports from Vietnam topped $25 billion in the first five months of 2019, a 36% surge on the year, compared with only a single-digit increase in that period of 2018. Vietnam ranks eighth in exports to the U.S. so far in 2019, up four places from last year's overall ranking, overtaking countries such as India. Much of the surge in Hanoi's trade with the U.S. can be attributed to companies based elsewhere in Asia rerouting goods through Vietnam to avoid American tariffs, as well as manufacturers moving production to the Southeast Asian country. Washington is catching on to both trends. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Commerce slapped tariffs of up to 456% on steel products shipped from Vietnam that are of South Korean or Taiwanese origin, after giving similar treatment to Chinese steel imports shipped from Vietnam. Washington also added Vietnam to its currency manipulation watchlist in May, citing the country's rising trade surplus with the U.S. as one of the rationales. Though Vietnam has been regarded as a "winner" in the Sino-American trade war, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report on Tuesday found that Hanoi's "net export position has deteriorated" since the economic dispute began. Vietnam's experience has been "mixed to date," analysts led by Sanjay Mookim wrote in a research note. Though exports have risen, imports from China have more than compensated for this gain, the report said, which suggests that new exports to the U.S. have generated little real value for Vietnam from a trade perspective.

U.S. slaps duties on Vietnam steel exports it claims are produced overseas VnExpress International 3rd Jul 2019
The U.S. found cold-rolled steel and corrosion-resistant steel products only superficially processed in Vietnam after being shipped from South Korea and Taiwan. Its Department of Commerce said in a statement Tuesday it had found cold-rolled steel and corrosion-resistant steel products only superficially processed in Vietnam after being shipped from South Korea and Taiwan. It had slapped duties on South Korean products in 2015 and Taiwanese products in 2016. Since those dates through April 2019, shipments of corrosion-resistant steel products and cold-rolled steel from Vietnam to the U.S. increased by 332 percent and 916 percent, the statement said.

US levies duties on Việt Nam’s steel Vietnam News Agency 3rd Jul 2019
The US Commerce Department said on Tuesday it would impose duties of up to 456 per cent on certain steel produced in South Korea or Taiwan that are then shipped to Việt Nam for minor processing and finally exported to the US, Reuters reported. The agency said in a statement that it had found corrosion-resistant steel products and cold-rolled steel produced in Việt Nam using substrate of South Korean or Taiwanese origin that had circumvented US anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties. According to Reuters, the duties on South Korean and Taiwanese products were imposed in December 2015 and February 2016. Since those dates through April 2019, shipments of corrosion-resistant steel products and cold-rolled steel from Việt Nam to the US had increased by 332 per cent and 916 per cent, respectively, compared with similar periods immediately before.

Vietnamese shares drop as worries persist over global slowdown Vietnam News Agency 3rd Jul 2019
Việt Nam’s benchmark VN-Index slid on Wednesday with modest liquidity as investors remained quiet due to lack of supportive information. The VN-Index on the Hồ Chí Minh Stock Exchange inched down 0.17 per cent to end at 960.39 points. The southern market index lost 0.38 per cent on Tuesday. Trading liquidity was moderate with nearly 136.6 million shares traded on the southern bourse, worth VNĐ3.46 trillion (US$149 million). Large-cap stocks weighed on the market development as the VN30-Index, which tracks the performance of the 30 largest stocks by market value and trading liquidity, dropped 0.38 per cent to end at 869.58 points.According to analysts, as investors try buying small- and medium-cap stocks and ignore the large-caps, it signals the market is running out of gaining momentum and beginning its declining phase. The stock market needs to accumulate at a certain level before rising again.9

Việt Nam’s six-month industrial production up 9.13% Vietnam News Agency 3rd Jul 2019
The country’s index of industrial production (IIP) recorded a year-on-year rise of 9.13 per cent in the first six months of this year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO)’s latest report. The index was lower than 10.3 per cent seen in the same period last year but higher than 7 per cent and 5.4 per cent in the corresponding periods of 2016 and 2017, respectively. The processing and manufacturing sector, which accounts for nearly 80 per cent of domestic industrial production, reported the strong IIP increase of 11.2 per cent – a highlight that led the growth of not only the sector but also the whole economy in the period, according to GSO director Nguyễn Bích Lâm. Meanwhile, the IIP growth of electricity production and distribution stood at 10.6 per cent and that of water supply and waste-sewage treatment sector and mining sector reached 7.8 per cent and 1.8 per cent, respectively.

Energy

Norwegian energy developer pursues ambitious Vietnam plan Voice of Vietnam 8th Jul 2019
Norwegian energy firm Scatec Solar has affirmed its strong commitment to becoming a top player in Vietnam’s solar power market over the next years by releasing an ambitious scheme aimed at developing the world’s largest floating solar plant and other hundred-megawatt power projects throughout the central and southern regions. Carlsen met with representatives of the Ministry of Planning and Investment and Vietnam Electricity group to brief the hosts on his firm’s business and investment plans in the country as well as update changes in the legal framework for domestic renewable energy development, especially those in relation to solar power. The CEO voiced his belief that his firm can become a valuable partner to Vietnam due to the company’s ability to quickly create significant amounts of clean and affordable solar energy. Scatec has partnered with domestic firm MT Energy in order to develop and operate several large-scale solar projects in the country. This strategic partnership covers three projects located in the central provinces of Quang Tri and Nghe An, and Binh Phuoc in the southern region.

Petrolimex and JXTG sign MoU on LNG research VnExpress International 2nd Jul 2019
An MoU signed Monday by Vietnam's Petrolimex and Japan's JXTG Group will support a plan to build an LNG terminal in Khanh Hoa. The two sides will jointly make research on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas issues in Vietnam to support Petrolimex's plan to build an LNG terminal in the central province. JXTG Group is currently an 8 percent strategic shareholder in Petrolimex, Vietnam’s biggest petroleum retailer in terms of marketshare. At a shareholders’ meeting in April, Petrolimex chairman Pham Van Thanh said the group had asked for the government’s permission to halt implementation of the Nam Van Phong oil refinery and petrochemical project in Khanh Hoa and build an LNG terminal instead. He said the reason for the move was the fact Vietnam already has Dung Quat and Nghi Son oil refineries, which are able to meet 70 – 80 percent of the country’s oil and petrol demand. Additionally, incentives for oil refinery projects are no longer as high as in the past. In mid May this year, Petrolimex signed an MoU with the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) on cooperation in developing clean energy. Accordingly, Petrolimex will supply LNG to power plants built by the EVN.

Sunseap completes Vietnam solar farm amid steady pipeline of Asia projects The Business Times 3rd Jul 2019
SINGAPORE clean-energy provider Sunseap Group's unit has completed a US$150 million Vietnam solar farm project ahead of schedule, Sunseap International said on Wednesday. It was completed and connected to the Vietnam national grid ahead of a June 30 deadline, the solar energy firm said.

Growth demand fuels solar power boom in Vietnam vietnamplus.vn 26th Jun 2019
Many solar power plants have become operational in the southern region in the first half of 2019, showing part of the solar power development wave to meet the economic growth demand in Vietnam. In mid-June, TTC Group of Vietnam and Gulf Group of Thailand opened two solar power plants in Thanh Thanh Cong Industrial Park in An Hoa commune of Trang Bang district, the southern province of Tay Ninh.

Financial Services

Vietjet plans e-commerce foray as air travel competition heats up Nikkei Asian Review 3rd Jul 2019
Vietnamese budget carrier Vietjet Aviation plans to launch an e-commerce platform selling everything from financial services to consumer goods as it follows Malaysian peer AirAsia in seeking new ways to profit from customer data. Vietjet aims to roll out the service within two years, in partnership with banks, hotels and other companies. AirAsia, on the other hand, aims to establish an online travel and fintech platform primarily through its own subsidiaries. While AirAsia says it is investing $20 million a year in its diversification effort, Vietjet declined to specify how much it is spending on its initiative.

The time is right for fintech firms VietNamNet 3rd Jul 2019
A survey conducted by Solidiance, a consultancy firm, showed that Vietnam’s fintech market value hit $4.4 billion in 2017 and the figure will rise to $7.8 billion by 2020. Two thirds of fintech startups in Vietnam provide online payment instruments, POS/mPOS digital payment solutions and money transfer. According to Ernst & Young, MoMo is leading the fintech market in Vietnam. It has received $33.75 million worth of investment from Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered.

Rural e-commerce needs new push in Vietnam The Star Online 1st Jul 2019
E-commerce is developing rapidly in Vietnam but it needs a new push to reach rural areas and help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) reach customers, experts have said. Vietnam has a lot of agricultural products and local specialities in high demand but most of them are still distributed through intermediary sellers and traditional markets. Every year in Vietnam, farmers struggle to sell their products and in some provinces, they suffer losses when the prices of their agricultural products fall due to excessive supply. E-commerce is seen as a new avenue for them to seek new customers and even expand globally.

Vietnamese banks eye offshore markets to raise capital Asia First 1st Jul 2019
Vietnamese banks are planning to raise capital in overseas bond markets amid growing pressure to increase capital to comply with the minimum capital requirements set by the State Bank of Vietnam and Basel II standards by early next year. The Viet Nam Prosperity Commercial Bank is seeking shareholders’ approval on its plan to issue up to USD1.12 billion worth of foreign currency bonds to investors outside the US and have these listed on Singapore’s stock exchange, and green bonds worth USD120 million in a private placement. Tien Phong Bank is also asking shareholders’ opinion about the issuance of USD200 million in foreign currency bonds.

WHA tech projects seek to foster regional investment Bangkok Post 28th Jun 2019
SET-listed WHA Corporation Plc is planning to develop two new projects, a science park and a high-tech industrial estate, in a bid to link trade and investment from Thailand with counterparts in other Southeast Asian nations. Jareeporn Jarukornsakul, chairman and chief executive, said WHA will reveal investment details in the next few months. "We are confident that two new plans will attract foreign and local investors," she said. "The projects are part of WHA's 2018-23 investment budget totalling 40 billion baht." Ms Jareeporn said WHA's business plans aim to connect Thailand with other Southeast Asia countries, the first group consisting of neighbouring Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Vietnam-Laos trade fair helps promote bilateral economic ties vietnamplus.vn 27th Jun 2019
The Vietnam-Laos trade fair (VIETLAO EXPO 2019) kicked off at the Lao International Trade Exhibition and Convention Centre (Lao-ITECC) in Vientiane on June 27. Addressing the event, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung highlighted the flourishing economic-trade cooperation between the two countries in recent years. Hung stressed the need to expand industry and trade linkage, saying that the two countries should focus on implementing their signed commitments and trade agreements, and promoting the development of traffic and trade infrastructure.

Vietnam's business environment needs strong Gov't actions VietNamNet 27th Jun 2019
The Vietnamese economy will grow faster if private companies thrive, but development should be sustained, transparent and secure, heard a meeting on Wednesday. The meeting, named Midterm Vietnam Business Forum 2019, was organised by the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the World Bank in Viet Nam. According to the European Chamber of Commerce in Viet Nam (EuroCham), Viet Nam is a very attractive destination for both domestic and foreign investors. Many European companies have chosen to come to Viet Nam and expanded their operation as much as they can.

Food & Agriculture

Mekong, south-east regions told to take advantages of technology and favorable climate to develop mushroom production Vietnam News Agency 9th Jul 2019
The Mekong Delta and south-eastern regions have great potential for growing mushroom year round thanks to their favorable climate and availability of vast quantities of agricultural by-products that can be used as inputs, according to the National Agricultural Extension Center. Trần Văn Khởi, acting director of the centre, told a forum on hi-tech mushroom production held in An Giang Province last week that it has developed in southern provinces, generating good incomes for farmers. They grow 16 kinds of mushrooms with an annual output of 250,000 tonnes, earning US$25-30 million from exports.

Vietnam’s rice exports drop, causing big worries VietNamNet 9th Jul 2019
Over the last 10 years, rice exports have brought $2-3 billion to Vietnam a year. However, they are facing difficulties in nearly all key markets this year. The problem is that importing countries are reducing imports and trying to become self-reliant in rice production. The US Department of Agriculture predicted the increase in rice output in nearly all countries, including Thailand (138,000 tons), India (2.87 milion tons), Cambodia (79,000 tons), Bangladesh (2.35 million tons) and Indonesia (100,000 tons). The global total rice output in the 2018/2019 crop, as estimated by the agency, may hit 499 million tons, increasing by 4.2 million tons over 2018. Meanwhile, the import demand decreases, at 46.98 million tons, down by 561,000 tons over the last year because big importers all cut imports.

Central region faces water shortages amid drought Vietnam News Agency 9th Jul 2019
Prolonged hot weather in the central region has caused low water levels in reservoirs and dams, seriously affecting agricultural production and the daily lives of local residents. Many reservoirs in the central province of Quảng Trị have recorded receding water levels at less than 35 per cent of their storage capacity, threatening crops on nearly 2,500ha of land. Trần Hồng Quang, director of Quảng Bình Irrigation One-member Limited Company, said the water level at irrigation works in Quảng Bình Province has fallen to a record low. Only three out of 17 reservoirs were at capacity and the rest were sitting at 40-50 per cent of storage capacity, meaning that nearly 1,700ha of summer-autumn rice lacked water, he said. Thừa Thiên-Huế Province faces a similar problem. More than 130ha of summer-autumn rice was seriously damaged by the drought.

June's pepper exports up 58.8 per cent Vietnam News Agency 8th Jul 2019
Việt Nam exported 35,000 tonnes of pepper in June worth US$85 million, increasing by 58.5 per cent in volume and 20 per cent in value year-on-year. The price of pepper in the Vietnamese market is increasing following the world price, up from 1.1 per cent to 4.5 per cent compared with that of the previous month. In the first half of this year, Việt Nam exported 181,000 tonnes of black pepper, recording revenue of $461 million, down by 25.7 per cent year on year. The department forecasts that in the coming months, pepper exports may face difficulties due to Brazil and Indonesia preparing for their main harvest. In the world market, the June pepper prices increased despite abundant supply. The upward trend is expected not to last long due to oversupply pressure.

Vietnam's banana exports go up, join $17 billion glass bam market VietNamNet 7th Jul 2019
Bananas have become a new key export item in Vietnam’s agricultural sector. At farms of Huy Long An Company, harvested bananas go to the processing area where they are cleaned, packed and put into boxes. From there, they will be shipped to Japan, South Korea, China and Malaysia. In 2014, Vo Quan Huy, director of Huy Long An, decided to invest $4 million to grow 200 hectares of bananas. One year later, he began exporting bananas, mostly to Asian markets. He said the banana import turnover globally is $15-17 billion per year. Japan is the biggest importer, 1.2 million tons a year, while South Korea imports 1 million and China 1 million. Previously, Huy Long An exported 2-3 containers of bananas a week, but now it exports 10 containers, of which 4 40-feet (15-20 tons) containers go to Japan.

In Vietnam, company gets ‘special permit’ to sell herbicides containing banned agents Tuoi Tre News 2nd Jul 2019
While herbicides containing two toxic compounds have been banned in Vietnam since February, a company has been found being able to continue selling weedkillers having these illegal agents as their ingredients thanks to a ‘special permit’ from the country’s plant protection watchdog. In February 2017, Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development confirmed that 2,4D and Paraquat, found in a wide variety of weedkillers popular with farmers across the Southeast Asian country, are dangerous substances that may cause severe damage to human organs, promote formation of cancers, and lead to serious environmental consequences. Enterprises were given two years to empty their stock of the herbicides before the ban took effect on February 8, 2019. However, one herbicide producer has been granted an unusual exemption from the ban, with their plant protection products containing 2,4D and Paraquat allowed to be sold on the market until the end of September 2019, according to data reviewed by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Việt Nam’s forestry sector targets US$11 billion in export Vietnam News Agency 10th Jul 2019
Việt Nam’s export of timber and wood products is expected to reach US$11 billion this year, said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường. Cường said export value reached $5.23 billion in the first half of this year, up 20 per cent compared with the same period in 2018. “The increase of exports of timber and wood products have contributed to creating jobs and reduced the pressure of the growth for husbandry and planting areas,” Cường said. Speaking at a conference in Hà Nội last week, he said 2019 had proved challenging because of the US-China trade tensions and changes in the world economy, which had had an impact on agriculture, something he said the ministry saw coming. He said the sector must build an appropriate policy framework for sustainable forest fire prevention and develop forest protection projects for each region.

Vietnam dairy producers prosper in CPTPP era VietNamNet 10th Jul 2019
Vietnam-made dairy products, which have certain advantages in the home market, continue to be prosperous. Vietnam’s dairy products are exported to 43 markets, including choosy ones such as the US, France, Canada, Poland, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, with value of $250-300 million a year in the last three years.Domestic dairy producers have been scaling up their production and business over the last two years, despite the warning that the industry would be under pressure in the context of CPTPP. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) of Vietnam and the General Administration of Customs of China last April signed a protocol, considered a legal framework for Vietnam’s dairy producers to export products to China.The representatives of the two sides are discussing procedures on code granting and veterinary quarantine form to implement the protocol.Vietnam plans to invite Chinese officials to visit and examine the operation at Vietnam’s dairy factories before exporting the first consignments of products.

Seafood exports nears 4 billion USD in first half Voice of Vietnam 10th Jul 2019
Vietnam’s seafood export turnover in June reached 794 million USD, raising the total value for the first half of the year to nearly 4 billion USD, up 0.3 percent year on year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Agro Processing and Market Development Authority (AgroTrade). China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US were the largest importers of Vietnamese seafood, accounting for 55.1 percent of the total export value. Vietnamese firms have more chances to boost seafood exports to the US as many imports from China, including high value added seafood, have been subject to a 25 percent tariff in the North American country. In the short term, experts suggested local exporters to sell more shrimp in the US as the US Department of Commerce (DoC) has already removed the anti-dumping duty on Vietnamese frozen shrimp. The preliminary duty of 4.58 percent has been scrapped for 31 local exporters following the DoC’s 13th Period of Review (POR13), which reviewed the anti-dumping tariff on shrimp imports from Vietnam.

Mekong Delta sugarcane farmers switch en masse to other crops VietNamNet 4th Jul 2019
The area under sugarcane in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta has shrunk dramatically during the 2019-20 crop after many farmers switched to other crops following losses in recent years. In Long An Province, it has fallen to 3,800ha from 12,000ha in peak years. Ben Luc District, which has the largest area under the crop in Long An, is planting 3,000ha. Nguyen Hue, who has planted sugarcane for many years in its Luong Hoa Commune, said he has reduced his sugarcane growing area to 6ha after making losses in recent years. He is growing the sugarcane this time from old roots since he does not want to spend more on new seedlings, he said. Huynh Van Thao, head of the bureau, said farmers suffered heavy losses after sugarcane prices fell for two consecutive years.

Agriculture exporters suffer as China rules tighten VNExpress 1st Jul 2019
Nguyen Van Thinh, deputy chairman of Nui Thanh District in the central province of Quang Nam, said the district has 930 tons of dried squid that it cannot export. Durian prices in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong have fallen 36-42 percent to VND35,000-45,000 ($1.49-1.92) per kilogram as traders have not been able to export a large amount of this fruit to China. Farmers in the province are selling their durian alongside the national highway or sending them to Ho Chi Minh City to sell at lower prices just to break even. The situation is even worse for jackfruits. Their prices have fallen 77-93 percent to VND5,000-18,000 ($0.22-0.78) per kilogram in the southern province of Hau Giang compared to the peak of VND70,000-80,000 ($2.99-3.42) per kilogram in the first quarter. Prices have plunged as large quantities of the fruit do not qualify for China exports. New regulations on Vietnamese fruit and seafood imports, introduced early this year, require agricultural products to have their origins (region, producer, etc.) declared to Chinese customs.

Wood exports bring Vietnam nearly $5 billion in H1 VietNamNet 1st Jul 2019
The export value of wood and wood products reached nearly 5 billion USD in the first half of 2019, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The US was the biggest importer of the country’s wood and wood products. During January-May, the export turnover to the US accounted for 45 percent of the total. In the time ahead, the timber industry will continue working to improve transparency by applying good production process to ensure sustainable development. Including non-timber forest products, total earnings from shipping forestry products abroad in the first half of this year came to around 5.3 billion USD, a year-on-year surge of nearly 20 percent. To date, Vietnam maintained its position as the leading exporter of forest products in Southeast Asia, the second largest in Asia and the fifth in the world.

Health & Life Sciences

Dengue fever kills five in HCM City Vietnam News Agency 9th Jul 2019
Five people died from dengue fever in HCM City in the first six months of the year, the municipal Preventive Medicine Centre said on Monday. A total of 4,768 dengue cases, up 176 per cent year-on-year, were recorded in the city during the period. The peak time for the disease in HCM City and the southern region usually starts in June as rains become more frequent, according to Nguyễn Trí Dũng, the centre's director. In June, the city reported nearly 2,330 dengue cases, a month-on-month surge of 40 per cent, he added.

Việt Nam’s research-based pharmaceutical industry expects high growth Vietnam News Agency 9th Jul 2019
The European Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam (Eurocham) highly values the potential of Việt Nam to become a centre for the research-based pharmaceutical industry including production, export and supplies of high quality healthcare services in the ASEAN region.Pharma Group (PG) – the Pharmaceutical Sector Committee of EuroCham, said Việt Nam has many advantages in the sector thanks to its population of 95 million, stable political climate and trained human resources. In addition, it is the gateway to ASEAN countries. Research from PG showed that Việt Nam has the ability to reach a higher position in the value chain of the science and life sector in comparison with other countries in the ASEAN region. To fully tap this potential, Eurocham suggested foreign companies operating in the sector receive support from the Government, the Ministry of Health and other relevant ministries.

Thousands donate blood in HCM City campaign VietNamNet 8th Jul 2019
More than 1,570 units of blood were collected from nearly 2,500 volunteers at HCM City as part of the national seventh blood-donation campaign Hành Trình Đỏ (Red Journey). The annual campaign came to HCM City on Saturday with blood donation festivals held at the District 10 Children’s House and Giác Ngộ Pagoda in District 10. In the last six years, about 170,000 blood units have been collected by the campaign. About 60,000 blood units are expected to be collected from volunteers this year. Montri Suwanposri, general director of C.P. Viet Nam Corporation, said the company’s employees always donated blood during the campaign. “This is a meaningful activity that helps save thousands of lives." A series of other voluntary blood donation campaigns will be held in the city throughout the year.

Saigon becomes dengue fever hotspot VnExpress International 5th Jul 2019
Saigon has reported 24,000 cases of dengue fever in the first six months, a 176 percent rise compared to the same period last year. Five people have died. Official statistics also show the number of cases has increased consistently since the first week of June, coinciding with the arrival of the rainy season in southern Vietnam. Scattered, continuous rains combined with warm weather create favorable conditions for mosquitoes to spread the fever, according to Dr Nguyen Tri Dung, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Preventive Medicine Center. Vietnam has been trying to find an effective way to tackle dengue, one of the biggest killers out of its 28 common infectious diseases. The only vaccine for it available globally is not recommended for people who have not had dengue before. The World Health Organization says vector control is the key strategy to prevent the transmission of the dengue virus.

Dangerous weedkiller still used despite ban Vietnam News Agency 4th Jul 2019
Despite its negative effects on human health and the environment and a Government ban from February, Paraquat is still being traded in Việt Nam, the Vietnam News Agency has reported. Paraquat, a chemical weedkiller, and 2,4-D, an organic compound, have been used to control weeds in Việt Nam since the 1990s. 2,4-D paraquat can be found in many commercial lawn herbicide mixtures. More than 1,500 herbicide products contain 2,4-D as an active ingredient. Breathing in Paraquat can cause lung damage and long-term exposure to Paraquat may cause pulmonary fibrosis. In February 2017, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development issued a decree prohibiting the use of plant protection products containing paraquat and 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) in Việt Nam yet still allowed the trade and use of the products for two years starting from when the ban became effective, meaning this February.

New M&A boom in Vietnam's pharmaceutical sector VietNamNet 3rd Jul 2019
After two years of delay, Vinapharm resumed its plan to sell shares to attract capable investors. The Ministry of Health (MOH) plans to divest 35 percent of shares in 2019 and another 30 percent in 2020. The divestment of Vinapharm will be a great opportunity for foreign investors to penetrate the Vietnamese pharmaceutifical sector. Michal Jacob from KPMG Vietnam commented that the divestment will catch the attention of strategic investors with powerful financial capability who are seeking opportunities to approach the Vietnamese market. Vinapharm is one of the best pharmaceutical firms holding strategic positions in the market, with large distribution networks. It is one of very few Vietnamese companies carrying out R&D and it serves as the ‘backbone’ of the industry. Vinapharm is a large corporation with 23 subsidiaries and affiliates. It had an IPO in 2017.

Dengue fever spreads across country Voice of Vietnam 10th Jul 2019
Vietnam has seen a surge in dengue fever with about 71,000 cases recorded in the first half of 2019, rising more than three-fold year on year, according to the Ministry of Health. Of the cases, nearly 50,000 were reported in 20 provinces and cities in the southern region, 139 percent higher than in the same period last year. They included six deaths. Ho Chi Minh City had the biggest number of dengue fever cases, almost 24,770, up 176 percent year on year. Binh Phuoc province also witnessed a surge of 142 percent in the patient number to more than 1,700. In An Giang, another southern province, the number increased 28 percent to over 1,960. The Central Highlands province of Dak Lak saw more than 3,200 dengue fever cases in the six months, soaring seven-fold from a year earlier. Meanwhile, dengue fever has also shown signs of spreading in Hanoi, which reported 820 cases during the reviewed period.

Study finds high rate of obesity among primary school students VietNamNet 7th Jul 2019
A lack of physical activity and inappropriate diets are to blame for the high rate of obesity among primary school students, according to a new study by the National Institute of Nutrition. The study shows that the rate of overweight and obese primary school students is 29 percent, higher than that of secondary school students (19 percent)and high school students (9.5 percent). The study was conducted between 2017 and 2018 on 5,028 students aged 7 to 17 years old at 75 schools in Hanoi, HCM City and Thai Nguyen, Nghe An and Soc Trang provinces.It revealed shortcomings in the nutritional intake and physical activity of children of different ages. According to the study, primary school students’ dietary intake exceeds the recommended dietary allowance in terms of energy and protein. However, they have a low level of physical activity, leading to a high rate of obesity,especially in urban areas.

Radioactive substance shortage takes toll on PET/CT scanning in Ho Chi Minh City Tuoi Tre News 28th Jun 2019
Cancer patients in Ho Chi Minh City are now required to travel a long way to receive PET/CT scans, as the city’s only machine capable of producing the radioactive substance needed for the scans has been out of order for over a month.There are three locations in Ho Chi Minh City that offer PET/CT scanning - Cho Ray Hospital in District 5, Nhan Dan 115 Hospital in District 10, and 175 Military Hospital in Go Vap District. Of the three hospitals, only Cho Ray has a facility capable of producing FDG. For the last month, however, that facility has been out of order. In the meantime, patients in the southern metropolis have had to travel to the central city of Da Nang or Hanoi, located 1,000km and 1,700km apart, respectively, to undergo the process, sending their medical costs soaring.

Gaining the trust of people is more important than vaccination records Vietnam News Agency 27th Jun 2019
The regulation that requires parents in Hà Nội to provide documentation stating their children’s vaccination records for preschool entry from 2019-20 school year have caused a commotion. It is supposed to be a necessary rule to establish an immune barrier to protect the health of children, particularly given the spread of the trend of not vaccinating. However, it seems it is not only health at risk, but education as well. According to Trần Đắc Phu, head of the Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health, if the vaccination rate in the community is between 90 and 95 per cent, the risk of the disease spreading becomes highly unlikely. Although the country’s vaccination rate has reached more than 95 per cent, there are still thousands of children who have not been vaccinated or fully vaccinated each year, he said. While the requirements got the approval from many parents, some still opposed the implementation of the new regulations. “It was unfair for them as the vaccination does not depend on the children but their parents,” she said. Huệ said there were several reasons some children could not meet requirements like they are too young to be vaccinated or those with certain medical conditions or weak immunity.

First fixed blood donation site opens in Hà Nội’s Old Quarter Vietnam News Agency 27th Jun 2019
The National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT) has opened its first fixed blood donation site at Hoàn Kiếm Medical Central – No 26 Lương Ngọc Quyến Street in the heart of Hà Nội’s Old Quarter last weekend. The site opens daily and is expected to make it more convenient for people to donate blood regularly, said director of the NIHBT Bạch Quốc Khánh. The site opens daily and is expected to make it more convenient for people to donate blood regularly, said director of the NIHBT Bạch Quốc Khánh. The NIHBT and Hà Nội’s Health Department plans to open other fixed blood donation sites in other districts including Đống Đa and Thanh Xuân.

Mekong Delta region steps up efforts to combat African swine fever Voice of Vietnam 27th Jun 2019
Despite taking drastic measures in the fight against African swine fever (ASF), the epidemic has spread further throughout the Mekong Delta region. Aside from Ben Tre province, other provinces in the region have reported the ASF epidemic while other localities still encountered difficulties in dealing with the outbreaks. Provinces have been forced to cull all infected pigs as well as tightening control over the trading and transportation of pigs and pork products in their area. Hau Giang province has recorded some 200 cases of ASF outbreaks in all of their districts and towns with more than 6,000 infected pigs being culled. Chau Thanh district has been the hardest hit by the epidemic with nearly 100 outbreaks while some 2,100 infected pigs in the area have been forced to be culled. According to Tong Hoang Khoi, Chairman of the Chau Thanh district People’s Committee, the locality has faced difficulties in finding appropriate locations to bury the pigs due to a shortage of land. Currently, only 12 per cent of the total pig flocks in the province have been raised under bio-safety measures, causing difficulties when enacting preventive measures.

ICT

Vietnam’s telco giants get green light for 5G tech tests VnExpress International 8th Jul 2019
Vietnam has become one of the earliest nations in the world to test the 5G network. Vietnam’s largest telecommunications company Viettel had announced its 5G trial and made Vietnam’s first 5G phone call in Hanoi in May and said it will expand the test in both the capital city and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s two biggest cities. The military-run company expects to launch commercial 5G services in 2020. While VNPT said it will deploy its trial in the same cities as Viettel, MobiFone will test out the technology in the cities of Hanoi, Hai Phong, and Da Nang. Last November, Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung had said at a conference that Vietnam should test 5G in 2019 and ensure nationwide coverage by 2020.

Enterprises urged to take action amid Industry 4.0 wave Voice of Vietnam 9th Jul 2019
Local firms must prepare strategic digital transformation blueprints in line with technological changes emerging from Industry 4.0 in order to keep up with market trends, insiders have noted. A recent survey by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) indicates that up to 75 per cent of manufacturing enterprises in Vietnam have run operations based on fully-depreciated machines.

Vihaan Networks signs pact with Vietnam to develop digital villages The Financial Express 9th Jul 2019
Telecom equipment and solutions provider Vihaan Networks Ltd (VNL) has inked a pact with Vietnam to offer solutions for advancing rural connectivity by developing digital villages in Vietnam’s underserved areas, the company said. A visiting delegation, led by Phan Xuan Dung, MP, Chairman of Committee on Science, Technology and Environmental Affairs, Vietnam, expressed interest in connecting unserved and underserved remote villages in Vietnam through solar-based cellular and broadband solution — a similar model developed by VNL in Karenda, a village in Rajasthan, situated 80 km from Delhi.

Three telecom providers licensed to trial 5G VietNamNet 6th Jul 2019
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has granted licences to telecom providers Viettel, Vinaphone and Mobifone to test 5G services, MIC Deputy Minister Nguyen Thanh Hung said on July 5. Speaking at a conference held by the ministry in Hanoi, theofficial said the businesses have been instructed to conduct trials of thenext-generation of mobile communications.

Vietnam deactivates 1.85 million illegible mobile subscribers VietNamNet 6th Jul 2019
More than 1.85 million prepaid mobile subscribers were deactivated in the first six months of the year as they were improperly registered, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC). As “waste” SIMs and pre-activated SIMs are still available in the market, theministry has penalised four network service providers, namely Viettel,Vinaphone, MobiFone and Vietnamobile for violating management of subscribers’information.

Vietnam reinforces human resources for information security tasks VietNamNet 6th Jul 2019
At Vietnam Security Summit 2019 which took place in mid-April 2019, Minister of Information and Communication Nguyen Manh Hung said Vietnam would announce a national digital transformation strategy in 2019. Hung emphasized that cybersecurity is vital to successfully implement the transformation.Curently, Vietnam has CERTs in charge of coordinating rescue activities in emergencies across the country and giving warnings about computer network safety issues.

HCM City moves closer to setting up Information Security Centre vietnamnews.vn 1st Jul 2019
The HCM City Information Security Centre will be set up at the High-tech Park in District 9, according to People’s Committee vice chairman Trần Vĩnh Tuyến. The Sài Gòn Industry Corporation has been assigned to work with High-Tech Park management to lease land for the center, he said.

HCM City to set up pilot 5G network vietnamnews.vn 1st Jul 2019
The Military Industry-Telecoms Group Viettel and MobiFone will provide a pilot 5G network in HCM City at 10 locations near Viettel's building in District 10, and at 12 MobiFone's locations in district 1 and 7. Ngô Vĩnh Quý, deputy director of Viettel, said the company would kick off the pilot in the early third quarter. The company and the city will work together to identify the number and locations of satellite stations operating in a frequency band range from 3,400 to 3,800 MHz.

Minister urged YouTube's advertising platforms to get in order vietnamnews.vn 1st Jul 2019
Minister of Information and Communications Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng urged internet platforms like YouTube to respect Vietnamese laws and block ad revenues to channels that contain “toxic” and anti-State contents. “Compliance with local law is the prerequisite of an upright business,” minister Hùng said in a Wednesday meeting with State agencies and local businesses as Vietnamese authorities ramp up efforts to require Google and YouTube to stop featuring Vietnamese companies' ads on contents deemed undesirable.

RoK firms want to invest in Vietnam’s digital transformation Voice of Vietnam 1st Jul 2019
Many leading groups and corporations of the Republic of Korea, which operate in banking, finance, electricity, retail sales, and technology, have expressed their interest in cooperation with Vietnamese partners, including FPT Corporation, in the fields of new technologies digital transformation. The Korean businesses mentioned their intention at a recent meeting between FPT Corporation and 20 leading groups of the East Asian country, during which they discussed cooperative opportunities in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

HCM City signs deal with Cuba on science-technology cooperation VietNamNet 29th Jun 2019
The People’s Committee of HCM City and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of Cuba on June 28 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in development and managing science-technology zones. Under the MoU, the two sideswill share professional knowledge and best practice in setting up, managing anddeveloping scientific-industrial parks and incubators.

ASEAN’s unicorns growing The ASEAN Post 27th Jun 2019
ASEAN’s attractive investment market, along with an expansive digital environment has led to the emergence of a vibrant start-up ecosystem across the region. According to a Bain & Company report, the rise in venture capitalists and private equity investment in the region has helped produce the region’s first set of unicorns (companies that rapidly achieve market valuations of US$1 billion or more). As of 2018, ASEAN has 10 unicorn start-ups but this number is set to grow in the next five years, with at least 10 more companies reaching unicorn status. Among these unicorns is Grab, a ride-hailing business that is now one of the region’s largest after buying out rival Uber’s regional business in 2018. Go-Jek from Indonesia is now a rival for Grab, after acquiring unicorn status in 2016. Vietnam’s first ever unicorn start-up, VNG Corporation, specialises in online gaming and e-commerce. However, despite efforts by both, the government and large firms, no Thai start-up has come close to reaching the coveted unicorn status as yet. ASEAN’s vibrant business environment offers space for new businesses and start-ups to thrive. Start-ups providing fintech, e-commerce and on-demand services are growing from strength to strength in the region. Evidently, e-commerce revenues are expected to surpass US$25 billion by 2020. The rapid development in the ASEAN region together with an ecosystem of significant investors has led many entrepreneurs to consider building their brands and businesses within the region. The same Bain & Company report stated that 90 percent of investors believe that the strongest market in 2019 after Singapore will be Indonesia and Vietnam. More than 60 percent of these investors predict that technology would be the leading investment sector in 2019.

Infrastructure

Central Vietnam greets influx of infrastructure VietNamNet 9th Jul 2019
The abundant potential for tourism and renewable energy development has turned Vietnam’s central region into an investment hotbed. One of the most notable projects is the Hoa Phat Dung Quat general container port, to be developed by Hoa Phat Dung Quat Port JSC. The project is valued at VND3.77 trillion ($164 million) in investment capital. Two more initiatives – the Van Tuong 10 Eco-Resort and the Van Tuong 11 Eco-Resort – will be developed by Dai Phat International Investment and Development JSC and Van Tuong Investment and Development JSC, among others

Vietnam could halve cost of north-south high-speed rail by reducing train speed: ministry Tuoi Tre News 9th Jul 2019
The construction of a high-speed railway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City could cost only US$26 billion, compared to the initial estimate of $59 billion, if its operational speed is reduced from 350km/h to 200km/h, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment. The construction of a high-speed railway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City could cost only US$26 billion, compared to the initial estimate of $59 billion, if its operational speed is reduced from 350km/h to 200km/h, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment. The idea of building an express railway system running between Vietnam’s two biggest cities as an alternative to the country’s 83-year-old railroad line was included in a prime minister-approved plan to develop the railway sector until 2020, with a vision for 2030. By reducing the railway system’s operational speed from 350km/h to 200km/h, its cost could be trimmed by nearly $33 billion, from $59 billion to $26 billion, the ministry said, citing analysis from German and Dutch experts.

DRVN asked to lift a suspension on fee collection at four BOT projects Vietnam News Agency 9th Jul 2019
Deputy Minister of Transport Lê Đình Thọ on Monday asked the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam (DRVN) to lift the suspension on fee collection at four BOT (build – operate – transfer) projects. On July 5, the directorate announced a halt to fee collection at toll booths from 6pm on July 10 if investors fail to sign a contract appendix to deploy the electronic toll collection (ETC) system with the Ministry of Transport (MoT). However, BOT owners have protested the order, citing the unreasonable ratio of revenues they are expected to give to VETC – the ETC service operator – as well as monitoring costs, expenditure and the requirement that they would need to hand over tollgates to VETC.

Nearly $2 billion to be invested in Hà Nội’s third metro line Vietnam News Agency 6th Jul 2019
Hà Nội is set to invest more than VNĐ40 trillion (US$1.72 billion) in a third metro line connecting Hà Nội Railway Station with the outlying district of Hoàng Mai from 2021 to 2025. Nearly VNĐ34.3 trillion ($1.47 billion) will be allocated from official development assistance (ODA) and the remaining VNĐ6.2 trillion ($266.6 million) will be from the city’s budget. The line will link May 1 Square on Trần Hưng Đạo Street with Pháp Vân Viaduct on the Belt Ring Road No.3, running through the streets of Trần Hưng Đạo, Trần Thánh Tông, Kim Ngưu and Nguyễn Tam Trinh.

Criteria for investors of North-South Expressway disclosed VietNamNet 2nd Jul 2019
The investors selected to develop the North-South Expressway will have to have successfully developed at least one similar project in an overseas market. As of now, there are 120 dossiers submitted to the Ministry of Transport proposing to develop eight subprojects as part of the big-ticket the North-South Expressway project, under the public-private partnership (PPP) format, including 26 foreign investors and 14 domestic investors from South Korea, France, UK, Hong Kong, and China. According to Nguyen Dang Truong, head of the Public Procurement Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, both foreign and domestic investors are welcome to develop these projects in case they comply with the procurement regulation and have enough financial potential and experience. Bidders will be put on the shortlist if they meet at least 60 per cent of the requirements. Financial capacity accounts for 60 per cent of the overall score, while experience and execution methods make up 30 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively. The North-South Expressway will cover 2,109 kilometres in total, stretching from the northern province of Lang Son to the southernmost province of Ca Mau.

Big challenges hinder Việt Nam’s largest infrastructure project vietnamnews.vn 27th Jun 2019
The Hà Nội-HCM City high speed rail project will benefit the country’s economy, but there are several challenges to implementation of the mega project, including financing, attracting private sector interest and a weak business case.

Infrastructure perfection urged to boost investment attractiveness vietnamplus.vn 26th Jun 2019
Vietnam needs to swiftly perfect its infrastructure to meet growing development requirements as well as foreign investors’ demand, especially when it is expected to become the most attractive investment destination in the region, heard a forum in Hanoi on June 26. The country will need over 600 billion USD to achieve infrastructure goals by 2040. While the budget is not enough to meet this development demand, destinations for long-term and stable investment worth trillions of USD around the world are still being sought.

Manufacturing

Nintendo says to shift part of Switch console production from China to Vietnam Tuoi Tre News 9th Jul 2019
Nintendo Co Ltd plans to shift part of the production of its Switch gaming console to Vietnam from China to diversify manufacturing sites, a spokeswoman at the Japanese video game maker told Reuters on Tuesday. The move would make Nintendo the latest company to relocate production out of China amid a Sino-U.S. trade war punctuated by tit-for-tat import tariffs spanning industries. Nintendo, which outsources almost all Switch console production to contract manufacturers in China, plans to make the partial shift to Vietnam this summer, the spokeswoman said.

Travel & Tourism

Ha Long, a smoke-free tourism city VietNamNet 2nd Jul 2019
In the past decade, the city has adopted a smoke-free campaign with the aim of creating healthy environment and raising awareness of the harmful effects of smoking and second hand smoke. Ha Long city hopes to establish its trademark as clean, beautiful tourism city, just as Singapore did.

Vietnam start-up Bamboo Airways eyes first direct flight to US Financial Times 27th Jun 2019
Start-up carrier Bamboo Airways intends to launch Vietnam’s first direct flights to the US by early next year on a leased Airbus A380, signalling the ambition of the newest entrant to one of Asia’s fastest-growing aviation markets.  Trinh Van Quyet, chairman and chief executive of FLC, the Hanoi-based real estate and resorts group that owns the airline, said Bamboo had applied to US aviation authorities for permission to fly to the US and was now pinning down details of the non-stop flight. “We will start in the first quarter of 2020 if we get permission by the end of this year,” Mr Quyet told the Financial Times. The US Federal Aviation Administration in February opened the door to direct flights, awarding Vietnam a “Category 1” rating confirming the country meets international safety standards. That cleared Vietnamese airlines to fly to the US and code-share with American carriers. However, individual airlines must also secure FAA and Department of Transportation approval to fly to the country.