BUSINESS IN BRIEF 29/9

HCMC looks to develop medical tourism

HCMC has shown its determination to develop medical tourism by upgrading or opening clinics that cater to foreigners.

According to the HCMC Department of Health, the number of overseas Vietnamese coming to Vietnam to visit relatives and have medical treatment has surged in recent years. Moreover, many tourists from developed countries like Australia, the U.S., Canada and Japan have visited Vietnam for lower priced medical treatments.

Tang Chi Thuong, deputy director of the department, said in addition to improving tourism service quality and offering a range of tourism events and destinations, the city is focusing on ensuring health and wellness for tourists.

The department has upgraded the emergency center of the Saigon General Hospital. Located near Ben Thanh Market, the city’s most well-known tourist destination, the hospital has served a large number of foreign visitors.

Several hospitals in the city have also opened international-standard clinics catering to foreign patients.

Particularly, the University Medical Center HCMC will today inaugurate a clinic that targets foreign health and wellness seekers, with staff proficient in English, Chinese, Korean, Khmer and other foreign languages. 

According to the hospital’s data, there are about 15,000 foreigners coming to the hospital for treatment a year.

The hospital’s deputy director Truong Quang Binh said the opening of this clinic is part of the hospital’s effort to improve service quality and treatment efficiency to attract more medical tourists to the hospital and HCMC as a whole.

According to Tran Vinh Tuyen, vice chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee, 30-40% of visitors from other cities and provinces and foreign countries come to the city for medical treatment. The city is expecting six million foreign visitors this year.

Sacombank thrives in the reign of new chairman

Sacombank’s business results for the first nine months of 2017 point to positive changes in the bank’s operations despite the post-merger restructuring. Almost all targets have been reached or exceeded, with a pre-tax profit already 87% greater than planned. Remarkably, its Q3 pre-tax profit was twice as high as the average of the preceding two quarters. In addition, bad debt settlement is now faster and more efficient. Thus, under the management of the new chairman, Duong Cong Minh, Sacombank’s operations have displayed signs of prosperity, laying the foundation for further development of business activities, gradual resolution of the remaining bottlenecks, and shortening of the post-merger restructuring.

Since the recent General Shareholders’ Meeting, Sacombank has been exposed to a lot of unfavorable information affecting its prestige and brand name. Nevertheless, with a strong foundation and admirable determination for business development, the bank’s market share has been enlarged as its total assets, fund mobilization and loan book increase. Specifically, as of September 21, the bank’s total assets had picked up 9.3% against the start of the year to nearly VND360 trillion, with significant improvement in the proportion of profitable assets (up 1.2% over the year’s beginning). Total capital mobilized had been more than VND330.7 trillion, a rise of 9.2% from early this year. The deposits of more than four million individual clients play a key role in the bank’s fund mobilization structure (10% greater than the beginning of 2017), making up nearly 89%. Notably, the bank carried out two rounds of issuance of long-term certificates of deposit in the first nine months to boost its Tier 2 capital and quickly attained its goals within a month, which indicates consumer confidence in the brand of Sacombank is increasingly sustainable.

Sacombank’s credit by September 21 had surged 13.4%, double the prior comparable period, amounting to nearly VND221 trillion. Specifically, more than 50% of the increase in its outstanding loans is attributed to the lending to the five preferred sectors. The bank’s credit structure by industry and term has been well controlled, evident in a gradually reduction in the proportion of loans for real estate and securities (down 0.3% from the year’s beginning), a much higher growth rate of short-term credit versus medium and long-term loans, and a 2.4% fall in the ratio of medium- and long-term loans against 2016. As a result, Sacombank’s net interest income has markedly improved, with a year-on-year rise of 48% achieved in the first nine months.

Furthermore, data on its service income in recent years suggest this activity at Sacombank is quite effective, occupying an increasing large share of its total income. Service revenue in the first nine months of this year was estimated at more than VND1.13 trillion, up 28% year-on-year, accounting for 22% of the bank’s total earnings, of which the gains from e-banking and card operations grew healthily, by a respective 40% and 32% over the same period last year. Sacombank has attracted nearly four million card users and 950,000 Internet banking clients, since the bank has always been a pioneer in developing advanced technologies with many e-banking and card services first deployed on the Vietnamese market. Most importantly, the tight security of Sacombank’s e-banking has been proven by periodical assessments by the international auditor Ernst & Young. With an aim to better address the diverse needs of clients, Sacombank will continue to develop towards digital banking in the future.

Remarkably, Sacombank this September signed an exclusive insurance agent contract with Dai-ichi Life Vietnam with a 20-year term, which is expected to produce a substantial stable income in the bank’s total service revenue. This would thereby build a solid and long-term financial foundation for the successful implementation of the banking restructuring scheme ratified by the central bank.

Sacombank informed its accumulated profit in the first nine months was beyond expectations. The stand-alone profit before tax was approximately VND900 billion, while the consolidated amount was put at VND1.1 trillion, or 87% higher than planned. Notably, its Q3 pre-tax profit was double the average of the preceding two quarters. ROA and ROE went up 0.3% and 4% respectively against the beginning of the year.

As for bad debt settlement, Sacombank wiped out VND6.7 trillion in the first eight months, recovered VND600 billion from the sale of impaired loans to VAMC and more than VND1.2 trillion from the liquidation of collateral. Receivables dropped by nearly VND2 trillion from early this year, demonstrating the gradual effect of the bank’s focus on debt recovery. A number of clients and partners are interested in acquiring some assets and large-scale projects, and have brought up this issue, the bank added. Sacombank is actively conducting negotiations over the price and will proceed to settlement, with the objective of radically handling VND20 trillion worth of bad debt/collateral by the year’s end, thereby recreating funds for profitable business operations.

With positive changes in its business operations and a new view of corporate governance, personnel, networks, business processes, risk management and brand development, the goal of earlier revival than planned and a cut in the time to deal with the remaining problems to 3-5 years that Sacombank strives for is perfectly plausible provided that macro-economic and banking conditions are favorable and stable.

Vietnam raises rice export target for 2017 amid rising orders

The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) has revised its rice export target for 2017 up to 5.6 million tonnes from the previous 5.2 million tonnes set in July, as export orders have grown continuously and reached a record high in August.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam’s rice export volume in the first nine months of 2017 was estimated at 4.57 million tonnes, bringing in US$2.02 billion, up 20.8% in volume and 18.6% in value.

Such a strong rise in rice shipments was boosted by the growth in both governmental and commercial orders from China, Malaysia, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Specifically, Vietnamese rice exporters have secured several contracts to provide 150,000 tonnes for Malaysia, 250,000 tonnes for Bangladesh and 175,000 tonnes for the Philippines.

Strong growth was also witnessed in new markets, such as Australia and a number of countries in Western Asia.

August was the month when Vietnamese rice traders reported the strongest growth, with a 70% increase in volume and 56.8% in value.

The month also witnessed a record high in new orders with nearly 842,000 tonnes in total, more than triple the volume in July and up 115% in comparison to a year earlier.

Vietnam’s rice exports are expected to continue growing as the Bangladesh Ministry of Food recently announced plans to purchase 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice.

Bangladesh has emerged as a new potential market for Vietnamese rice, as the two countries recently renewed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in May in which Vietnam will provide the South Asian country with up to one million tonnes of rice each year for the 2017-2022 period.

Following the MOU signing ceremony, Bangladesh stated that it wanted to buy approximately 250,000-300,000 tonnes of Vietnam’s 5% broken rice immediately.

The Philippines has also increased the quota on Vietnamese rice imports to 293,100 tonnes, while China is also expected to continue importing rice from Vietnam in order to meet its rising demand in the final months of the year.

Vietnamese, Mozambique firms seek closer partnership

More than 100 representatives of Vietnamese, Mozambican and Swazi enterprises have gathered at a recent meeting in Mozambique’s capital of Maputo to seek closer partnership, especially in import-export, mining, agro-forestry product processing, telecommunications and civil construction.

Addressing the event, Dao Manh Duc, head of the Vietnamese Trade Office in Mozambique said that Mozambique is one of the important partners of Vietnam in southern Africa, with two-way trade in 2016 reaching about 100 million USD, up 52.6 percent over the previous year.

Vietnam sells to Mozambique rice, garment and textile, telecommunication equipment, while importing cashew, cotton and wood.

Duc called for businesses of both sides to become more active in studying each other’s market through joining trade fairs and exhibitions, and updating themselves on the economic, trade, investment, tax and currency policies of each other to minimize trade risks.

Nuno Maposse, a representative from APIEX, Mozambique Government’s agency for trade and investment promotion, said that Mozambique encourages foreign investors in many areas, including agriculture, farm produce processing, energy and tourism.

He expressed hope that Vietnamese firms will increase trade and investment partnership in the Mozambique market.

Phumelele Dlamini, head of the business delegation from Swaziland, a small country close to Maputo, called for investment from Vietnamese firm, pledging that the country will give optimal conditions for foreign investors.

Within the annual meeting’s framework, Vietnamese firms also introduced many products of Vietnam, with agro-forestry products, home appliances and construction materials attracting much attention.

Hai Phong attracts over 870 million USD of FDI in nine months

The northern port city of Hai Phong attracted more than 870 million USD of foreign direct investment (FDI) during the January-September period, fulfilling just nearly 30 percent of its target set for 2017. 

The Hai Phong Economic Zone Management Board said industrial parks which are located outside economic zones are facing difficulties in investment attraction as they have received lower incentives. 

The board also pointed out limited capacity and experience of a number of investors, along with obstacles in land clearance and compensation, leading to the unexpected number. 

Given this, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Van Tung has asked agencies and localities to continue the administrative reform towards openness and transparency, build the e-authority and further improve the investment climate. 

He also underlined the need to raise the provincial competitiveness index (PCI) during 2017-2018 and absolutely tackle recommendations of enterprises at monthly business dialogues. 

Le Trung Kien, Director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment, said the city will focus its budget on key projects and continue to complete local socio-economic infrastructure, especially transport infrastructure. 

Apart from partnering with ministries and agencies to speed up the implementation of major projects, the city will also complete infrastructure in industrial parks and clusters, particularly the Dinh Vu-Cat Hai economic zone, and connect these industrial parks and clusters together. 

With these efforts, Hai Phong is expected to lure about 1.1 billion USD of FDI in 2017.

Danish garment factory opened in Nam Dinh province

Denmark’s Spectre Garment Technologies Company Limited officially launched a factory to produce outdoor sportswear in the northern province of Nam Dinh on September 28. 

The factory, covering an area of 7,000 sq.m, is located at Hoa Xa Industrial Zone, My Xa ward. It has a total investment capital of over 5 million USD.

“The bilateral trade and investment between Vietnam and Denmark is growing sturdily, breaking new records every year. This is thanks to companies like Spectre, investing in Vietnam and bringing products from here to customers all over the world, creating benefits to both Vietnam and Denmark,” Danish Ambassador to Vietnam Charlotte Laursen said at the ceremony. 

“Our company also plans to expand the factory next year with an additional investment capital of around 1 million USD,” Jesper Klausen, chairman of Spectre factory in Nam Dinh.

In 2010, Spectre came to Vietnam as a joint venture and opened its first factory in northern Thai Binh province. The company’s key products are outdoor sportswear for all types of mountain sports and for running, cycling and hunting.

Thanh Cong Group partners with Hyundai



HCMC looks to develop medical tourism, Vietnam raises rice export target for 2017 amid rising orders, Thanh Cong Group partners with Hyundai, EU, promising market of Vietnamese chicken meat




Thanh Cong Group has officially signed a new joint venture with the Republic of Korea’s Hyundai Group to manufacture and distribute commercial vehicles in Vietnam.

With the launch of the joint venture, which is named Hyundai Thanh Cong Commercial Vehicle (HTCV), Thanh Cong Group has become the only company in Vietnam to manufacture, assemble and distribute all models of Hyundai cars.

Ik Tae Kim, CEO of HTCV, said with this co-operation, Hyundai and Thanh Cong were working together to create a unified brand name" Hyundai" in Vietnam.

According to Kim, setting up the new joint venture in the field of commercial vehicles is part of Hyundai Motor’s expansion strategy in the global market. The Southeast Asia region has always been considered an important market for future growth as other regional markets show signs of saturation.

Before the new deal, the production and distribution of commercial vehicles under the Hyundai brand were carried out by different units, creating variance in the market. The HTCV joint venture was founded to create uniform quality for customers in Vietnam.

Chairman of the Thanh Cong Group Nguyen Anh Tuan, who is also Chairman of HTCV joint venture, said that the Hyundai commercial vehicle manufacturing and assembling plant would be located in a large-scale automobile manufacturing complex in the northern province of Ninh Binh.

The first phase of manufacturing in the plant will be carried out in an area of 25 hectares, with an estimated production capacity of about 12,000 passenger cars and buses and about 30,000 trucks per year.

“With available potential, experience, investment and technology transfer of the Hyundai Group, our products will not only ensure the design and global quality but also competitive price,” said Tuan.

The Hyundai Group will transfer its most modern machinery and equipment to HTCV to help it meet the demand of the global exports.

The Thanh Cong Group now has three joint ventures with the Hyundai Group, including joint ventures in the fields of elevators and passenger cars as well as commercial vehicles.

Women-owned firms, crucial growth engine of global economy: VCCI leader

Women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses are an important growth engine of not only Vietnam’s economy but also the global economy, said Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc.

Talking to the press on the fringe of the 2017 APEC Women and the Economy Forum in Hue city on September 28, he said in Vietnam, one in every four businesspersons are women. 

He said in its business development and gender equality strategies, the country wants to raise the rate of enterprises run by women to about 35 percent of the total business number in 2020 and higher in the following years. It expects to have one million businesses in 2020, which means there would be 300,000 women-owned firms.

They form a very important force of the Vietnamese economy since most of companies owned by women are of small, medium, and even micro sizes. These businesses are mainly involved in trade, services and production activities.

Women-run firms usually employ many workers, especially female workers, while being able to be better tolerant of a business climate full of vagaries. They also outdo men-run companies in terms of some business performance criteria, social welfares, environmental protection, and green growth strategy implementation, Loc noted.

Support to women-owned businesses and micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) is becoming a priority in APEC economies’ policies, the VCCI leader said, expressing his hope that with policies promoting businesswomen and women-owned firms, the global economy as well as the Vietnamese economy will have a new momentum to develop in a more sustainable manner.

This time’s APEC meetings aim to enhance inclusive, innovative and sustainable economic growth, and developing women-owned businesses are one of the critical measures to realise that target, he added.

The recently approved Law on Support for SMEs requires policies that prioritise SMEs owned by women. On the basis of the law, the Government will have programmes and solutions to meet this requirement.

“It is of utmost importance to issue programmes and solutions that can help them improve their governance capacity and competitiveness. Subsidy or traditional support measures won’t work,” he stressed.

It is also necessary to step up communications and give advice and training to women entrepreneurs while boosting their access to technology, market and partners.

Support policies targeting SMEs in general and businesswomen in particular must focus on raising their capacity and internationalising the firms, instead of implementing subsidy measures. That will ensure the sustainable development of these enterprises, VCCI Chairman Loc said.

EU, promising market of Vietnamese chicken meat

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam had a working session in Hanoi on September 28 with the Dutch company Jan Zandbergen, and some partners exporting livestock products to the EU.

The Dutch company Jan Zandbergen’s representative said that the EU’s 500 million people market has high demand for chicken meat and it currently imports the meat mainly from Brazil, Thailand and Ukraine. 

In 2017, the EU has a demand for 950,000 tonnes of chicken meat, 85 percent of which is chicken breast. Jan Zandbergen plans to import 85,000 tonnes of poultry, pork and beef worth 400 million EUR.

Jan Zandbergen’s representative advised Vietnam to export processed chicken meat to the EU, as when the Vietnam-EU free trade agreement takes effect, tax will be cut to zero percent and no EU quota will be put on Vietnamese chicken meat.

However, he stressed that Vietnamese firms should meet all requirements in quarantine, especially food safety regulations, origin and disease tracking rules.

Pham Van Dong, head of the Department of Animal Health said that Vietnam has issued the Animal Health Law and 13 legal documents in the field and the country has full capacity to satisfy all requirements of choosy markets, including Japan.

Dong proposed that Jan Zandbergen consider investing in building a processing facility of the EU standards in Vietnam.

Deputy Minister Tam said that Vietnam has shipped the first batch of chicken breast to Japan after meeting all strict requirements in food safety.

He hoped that Vietnam would export chicken meat to the EU and other tough markets soon. 

EU becomes Vietnam’s top shrimp importer

Vietnam’s shrimp exports to the EU market reached 483.6 million USD in the first eight months of this year, a rise of 30 percent over the same period last year, making the EU the top market of Vietnamese shrimp, the place which was earlier held by Japan.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), leading European importers of Vietnamese shrimp were the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium, with growth of 46.5 percent, 47.8 percent and 34.1 percent, respectively.

Currently, the major competitors of Vietnam in the EU market are India and Ecuador. While India is reducing shrimp exports to the EU, Ecuador and Vietnam are paying greater attention to the market.

Particularly, the free trade agreement between Ecuador and the EU, which took effect from January 1, 2017, has offered Ecuador the preferential tax rate of zero percent from 3.6 percent earlier, enhancing the competitiveness of the country’s shrimp.

VASEP experts held that along with making full use of the Vietnam-EU FTA that is expected to become effective in 2018 Vietnamese firms should also meet requirements of the EU in quarantine, packing, and labeling.

At the same time, domestic enterprises should also improve their capacity and product quality, while building plans to cope with challenges in the market. They are also advised to pay more attention to labeling and quarantine.

Currently, the EU currently consumes about 30 percent of shrimp in the world, with about 6-8 billion USD per year. The market’s shrimp imports increased to 6.7 billion USD in 2016 from 5.6 billion USD in 2007.

Vietnamese, Mozambique firms seek closer partnership

More than 100 representatives of Vietnamese, Mozambican and Swazi enterprises have gathered at a recent meeting in Mozambique’s capital of Maputo to seek closer partnership, especially in import-export, mining, agro-forestry product processing, telecommunications and civil construction.

Addressing the event, Dao Manh Duc, head of the Vietnamese Trade Office in Mozambique said that Mozambique is one of the important partners of Vietnam in southern Africa, with two-way trade in 2016 reaching about 100 million USD, up 52.6 percent over the previous year.

Vietnam sells to Mozambique rice, garment and textile, telecommunication equipment, while importing cashew, cotton and wood.

Duc called for businesses of both sides to become more active in studying each other’s market through joining trade fairs and exhibitions, and updating themselves on the economic, trade, investment, tax and currency policies of each other to minimize trade risks.

Nuno Maposse, a representative from APIEX, Mozambique Government’s agency for trade and investment promotion, said that Mozambique encourages foreign investors in many areas, including agriculture, farm produce processing, energy and tourism.

He expressed hope that Vietnamese firms will increase trade and investment partnership in the Mozambique market.

Phumelele Dlamini, head of the business delegation from Swaziland, a small country close to Maputo, called for investment from Vietnamese firm, pledging that the country will give optimal conditions for foreign investors.

Within the annual meeting’s framework, Vietnamese firms also introduced many products of Vietnam, with agro-forestry products, home appliances and construction materials attracting much attention.

VN-Index recovers but trading slow

Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index on the HCM Stock Exchange recovered on September 28, but slowed at the end of the session as investors increased selling to make profits.

The index inched up 0.13 percent to close at 804.82 points, narrowing its gain from the intraday high of 810.35 points. The benchmark index bounced back from a three-session loss of 0.4 percent.

More than 192.6 million shares were traded on the southern bourse, worth 3.86 trillion VND (171.7 millionUSD), up 22.4 percent in volume and 14 percent in value compared to September 27.

The improvement of the major stock market was attributed to strong gains of Sacombank (STB), brewers Sabeco (SAB) and Habeco (BHN), and energy stocks.

STB gained 2.9 percent after the HCM City-based bank announced it had signed a deal with the Vietnam Asset Management Company to offload 1 trillion VND worth of bad debts in 2017.

Sacombank shares have gained as much as 9.1 percent since the beginning of this trading week after its chairman registered to purchase 18 million shares on the stock market.

Brewers SAB and BHN also performed well. SAB jumped 4.4 percent and BHN hit its daily trading limit of 7 percent. On September 27, the Ministry of Finance’s Corporate Finance Agency proposed the State’s capital in the two beverage producers be handed over from the Ministry of Industry and Trade to the State Capital Investment Corporation by September 30.

In the energy sector, PetroVietnam Drilling and Well Services (PVD) saw its share prices edged up 0.7 percent after crude prices bounced back in the Asia trading session. Brent crude gained 0.7 percent to trade at 58.32 USD a barrel, recovering from a two-day decline of 1.9 percent.

According to Bao Viet Securities (BVSC), the VN-Index was mainly boosted by some large-cap stocks while the general trading condition remained negative with rising investor selling and weak market demand.

Investors were mostly cautious with the current trading conditions and worried about the domination of the large-cap stocks over the market’s gain, which could lead to a market slump if those blue chips fail to make further gains, BVSC said in its report. 

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index fell 0.08 percent to end at 107.43 points. More than 63.4 million shares were traded on the northern bourse, worth 803 billion VND.

Reference exchange rate kept unchanged

The State Bank of Vietnam set its reference VND/USD exchange rate at 22,470 VND/USD on September 29, unchanged from the day ago. 

With the current /- 3 percent VND/USD trading band, the ceiling exchange rate is 23,143 VND per USD and the floor rate is 21,797 VND per USD. 

Major commercial banks made slight changes to their rates.

Vietcombank set its buying rate at 22,690 VND and its selling rate at 22,760 VND, per USD, down by 5 VND from the rates offered on the morning of September 28.

BIDV offered 22,670 VND (buying) and 22,770 VND (selling), per USD, up by 5 VND from the day ago.

Techcombank set its buying rate at 22,685 VND per USD, up by 5 VND from September 28 and kept its selling rate unchanged at 22,775 VND per USD.

Women-owned firms, crucial growth engine of global economy: VCCI leader

Women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses are an important growth engine of not only Vietnam’s economy but also the global economy, said Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc.

Talking to the press on the fringe of the 2017 APEC Women and the Economy Forum in Hue city on September 28, he said in Vietnam, one in every four businesspersons are women. 

He said in its business development and gender equality strategies, the country wants to raise the rate of enterprises run by women to about 35 percent of the total business number in 2020 and higher in the following years. It expects to have one million businesses in 2020, which means there would be 300,000 women-owned firms.

They form a very important force of the Vietnamese economy since most of companies owned by women are of small, medium, and even micro sizes. These businesses are mainly involved in trade, services and production activities.

Women-run firms usually employ many workers, especially female workers, while being able to be better tolerant of a business climate full of vagaries. They also outdo men-run companies in terms of some business performance criteria, social welfares, environmental protection, and green growth strategy implementation, Loc noted.

Support to women-owned businesses and micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) is becoming a priority in APEC economies’ policies, the VCCI leader said, expressing his hope that with policies promoting businesswomen and women-owned firms, the global economy as well as the Vietnamese economy will have a new momentum to develop in a more sustainable manner.

This time’s APEC meetings aim to enhance inclusive, innovative and sustainable economic growth, and developing women-owned businesses are one of the critical measures to realise that target, he added.

The recently approved Law on Support for SMEs requires policies that prioritise SMEs owned by women. On the basis of the law, the Government will have programmes and solutions to meet this requirement.

“It is of utmost importance to issue programmes and solutions that can help them improve their governance capacity and competitiveness. Subsidy or traditional support measures won’t work,” he stressed.

It is also necessary to step up communications and give advice and training to women entrepreneurs while boosting their access to technology, market and partners.

Support policies targeting SMEs in general and businesswomen in particular must focus on raising their capacity and internationalising the firms, instead of implementing subsidy measures. That will ensure the sustainable development of these enterprises, VCCI Chairman Loc said.

$88m pledged to Hau Giang     

Nearly VND2 trillion (US$87.8 million) was pledged to five projects in Hau Giang Province at an conference held in the province’s Vi Thanh City on Thursday.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at the conference entitled “Hau Giang – Potentialities of investment and development”, to call for investment in the Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta province, that this sum was modest but investment quality was much more important.

Phuc said he expected firms to have long-term business strategies, strong determination and special attention on environmental protection to contribute to the province’s sustainable development, urging them to co-operate with local authorities to remove difficulties.

Hau Giang must hasten administrative reforms and improve the business climate to encourage investment, Phuc said, stressing that local authorities must listen to businesses on difficulties they face and strive to create a development-oriented environment. 

“Priority must be given to develop a start-up ecosystem in Hau Giang,” Phuc said. The province was still weak in developing businesses with the ratio of one firm per 400 residents, much lower than the country’s average ratio of one per 130.

Phuc urged the province, with 80 per cent of its area taken up with farming land and 75 per cent of population working in the farming sector, to speed up restructuring of the agricultural sector towards hi-tech and large-scale production and adaptation to climate change.

Despite suffering heavily from the impacts of climate changes, Hau Giang has a number of advantages, such as abundant raw materials, fruits, high-quality rice and rich labour resources.

The province should attach attention to education and training as well as promoting tourism, the Prime Minister said.

“Hau Giang needs to have a long-term development vision with its planning in line with the Mekong River Delta’s master plan to create regional linkage,” Phuc stressed.

Phuc said that the Government was determined to stabilise the macro-economic situation and create an enabling Government for citizens and businesses.

At the conference, Phuc also witnessed the signing of memorandums of understanding between Hau Giang and businesses and co-operation agreements with business associations from Laos, Australia and Soc Trang Province.

Hau Giang is calling for investment in seven key projects with an estimated total capital of $261 million at the conference.

Dong Van Thanh, deputy hairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said that the province would focus on four prioritised sectors for investment, namely industrial cluster infrastructure, wholesale market, agricultural product processing plant and hi-tech agriculture area, and tourism infrastructure.

The province was providing incentives to investors, including tax exemptions and reductions and land use fee exemptions.

Hau Giang has two industrial zones and seven industrial clusters which have an occupancy rate of more than 70 per cent and create more than 20,000 jobs.

So far, the province has attracted nearly 500 domestic projects, worth VND123 trillion and 28 FDI projects, worth $828 million in registered capital.

The province now has more than 3,300 businesses with a total registered capital of more than VND45 trillion and over 46,000 business households.

VN Government to ease gas trading

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) will submit a draft decree to ease the entry of businesses into the gas trading market.

The ministry on Wednesday said it has completed its assessment of the draft after collecting opinions from ministries and relevant agencies and would submit it to the Government in the next few days.

This move follows the ministry’s largest single reduction of business procedures in history – it abolished 675 business and investment procedures, equivalent to 55.5 per cent of the total conditions.

Accordingly, the draft proposes removing those business conditions that wholesale gas traders must satisfy as prescribed under Decree No 19, including number of gas tanks, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders and bottles under their ownership and business scale.

Also, gas importers and exporters will be relieved from certain stringent conditions, such as having a storehouse with total capacity of gas tanks of at least 3,000cu.m for LPG, 60,000cu.m for LNG and 200,000cu.m for compressed natural gas (CNG); or having LPG cylinders of total capacity of at least 3.93 million litres.

Gas importers, exporters and distributors will no longer be required to own LPG bottle-filling stations and gas-filling stations for vehicles and gas stations, the draft says.

Under Decree No 19, gas traders must set up their own distribution systems, which may create obstacles for them during operation.

The draft proposes removing this condition, allowing enterprises to decide whether to set up their own distribution systems based on size and capacity.

It added several safety requirements for gas-storing facilities, including gas tanks, gas storehouses, gas pipelines and gas filling and supply stations, as well as bottled LPG retail stores, LPG bottle manufacturing and repair establishments.

The draft, therefore, focuses on regulations to ensure safety, health and rights of consumers, and is the foundation for State management agencies for post-checks.

The ministry has prepared the draft decree to fix shortcomings in the current decree, which is believed to have caused difficulties for businesses.

The current decree was promulgated on March 22, 2016, replacing Decree No 107/2009/ND-CP on November 26, 2009, on gas trading to facilitate gas companies. 

MoIT removes regulations on steel quality management     

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has promulgated Circular 18/2-17/TT-BCT to remove some regulations on managing the quality of locally produced and imported steel.

Accordingly, domestic steel producers and steel importers will not be required to announce standards applied on their products. Procedures and process to clarify steel import demand and checks on quality will be removed.

Earlier, businesses complained that imported steels are forced to implement two checks. These comprise quality testing at an assigned testing organisation, and then submitting the results to the Department of Standardisation, Metrology and Quality to receive an announcement on meeting quality requirements.

The removal is part of the ministry’s roadmap to cut down 675 business conditions and administrative procedures following Decision No 3610a/QD-BCT. Stringent conditions have long been seen as a major hindrance to business.

This is the largest single reduction of business conditions in the history of the ministry, Minister Tran Tuan Anh said.

FedEx Trade Networks opens new office in VN     

FedEx Trade Networks (FTN), a subsidiary of the US-based FedEx Corp and a growing international freight forwarder, has opened a new office in HCM City.

This was revealed by the company to the Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper. Located in Tan Binh District, the new facility will allow businesses in Viet Nam to take advantage of FedEx freight forwarding solutions and services to optimise their supply chains.

Udo Lange, the company’s Vice President and CEO, said the opening of the new office marked an important turning point for the company to continue to expand its scale and provide forwarding services to its customers.

He said FTN had a representative office in Viet Nam since 2009, adding that FTN’s legal entity in Viet Nam was FedEx Trade Networks Transport & Brokerage (Vietnam) Company Limited, established in May and providing services, including ocean and air international freight forwarding, customs brokerage, global order logistics and distribution and surface transportation, as well as trade advisory services and advanced e-commerce and trade facilitation solutions.

Viet Nam is a key market for FTN. With the establishment of the new office in HCM City, the company looks forward to continuing to provide customers in Viet Nam with in-market expertise and customised solutions for their diverse transportation and distribution needs, simplifying the international shipping process for companies operating in Viet Nam, Lange said.

According to the Asian Development Bank, the freight forwarding industry of Viet nam is expected to be worth US$1.4 billion in 2019. The market expansion of FTN will create many opportunities for investors who plan to do business in Viet Nam, as well as in the Asia-Pacific.

FTN joined FedEx group in 2000, and now has more than 140 offices in 29 countries and territories, of which 23 offices are located in the Asia-Pacific region. 

VAMC, Sacombank sign contract to settle bad debts     

The Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank) and the Viet Nam Asset Management Company (VAMC) signed a co-operation agreement in HCM City on Thursday.

Under the agreement, Sacombank and VAMC will co-operate to settle bad debts and outstanding assets of Sacombank that were sold to VAMC in accordance with the legal regulations stated in the National Assembly’s Resolution No 42/2017/QH14, which came into effect on August 15 this year and is designed to quickly and definitely settle bad debts and mortgaged assets for bad debts.

Sacombank and VAMC will collaborate closely in the development of a roadmap for bad debt settlement for every single year, accelerating the recovery of debts, with the initial goal in 2017 being to recover debt worth VND15-20 trillion (US$660-880 million). Sacombank will propose a list of bad debts sold to VAMC by special bonds and another list of bad debts traded in line with market prices.

In 2017, the two sides will consider trading bad debts in line with market prices, with value of at least VND1 trillion.

For bad debts that VAMC bought by special bonds, the two sides will evaluate and classify the debts to propose the most appropriate and effective solutions. At the signing ceremony, Sacombank and VAMC also signed a contract to purchase three debts under market prices with total value of more than VND2.58 trillion, with guaranteed assets including real estate projects, machinery and equipment in Da Nang City and HCM City.

The signing will also facilitate Sacombank to implement its post-merger restructure plan.

The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) has selected six credit institutions -- Sacombank, ACB, BIDV and Vietcombank, as well as VietinBank and Agribank -- to pioneer the implementation of Resolution No 42, aimed at speeding up bad debt settlement. 

TTCS to sell stake in the industrial zone operator     

Thanh Thanh Cong Tay Ninh Sugar Joint Stock Company (TTCS) has announced the sale of its stake in the Thanh Thanh Cong Industrial Zone Joint Stock Company (TTCIZ).

In a statement on Wednesday, TTCS said it would offload its entire 24.5 million shares or 49 per cent stake. After the deal, TTCS will no longer be a shareholder of TTCIZ.

The company plans to sell the shares between September 2017 and June 2018 for the market price of at least VND25,000 (US$1.11) per share.

TTCIZ was founded in September 2008 as a member of TTCS. The initial price for TTCS’ investment in the industrial zone operator was VND10,000.

That put the company’s initial investment value at VND245 billion ($10.9 million). If TTCS is able to sell all of its shares, it could make at least VND367.5 billion in profit from the deal.

“The revenue from the deal will be used to provide long-term capital for the company, based on its 2020 business development strategy,” TTCS said in its statement.

TTCIZ is now administrating the Thanh Thanh Cong Tay Ninh Industrial Zone in the southern province of Tay Ninh, which covers a total area of 1,020ha, and the Expanded Tan Kim Industrial Zone in the southern province of Long An, which covers 52.48ha. 

High-level dialogue suggests policies on women’s empowerment

The 2017 APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy was held in Hue city on September 29, focusing on policy recommendations to enhance women’s inclusion and economic empowerment.

In his opening speech, Vietnam’s Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung, chair of the dialogue, said almost three decades since its foundation, APEC has established itself as the biggest economic and trade cooperation mechanism in Asia-Pacific. It has also affirmed that gender equality is the centre of economic and human resources development.

Women’s integration and empowerment have significantly influenced the region, he noted, adding that many APEC economies have reportedly succeeded in reducing income and non-income inequality via progressive socio-economic policies. Therefore, inclusive growth and sustainable development is a common trend that member economies focus on.

Amidst global integration, investment in female workers’ skills and productivity needs to be considered a policy making priority. Most unpaid labourers are women, particularly in agriculture, and their access to development resources is very limited.

The official urged APEC economies to pay more attention to investing in infrastructure and public services as this will help reduce and re-distribute unpaid housework and care work. To do that, governments and businesses have to increase budgets for this work.

Aside from more financial resources, it is also necessary to improve women and girls’ access to infrastructure, he said, citing studies in many economies as showing that if 2 percent of GDP is invested in care services, especially social and childcare services, the number of jobs will rise by 2.4 – 6.1 percent.

Dung said as Vietnam and many other APEC economies are facing slowing economic growth, it is crucial to promote economic reforms and socio-economic progress. Strategies for promoting inclusive and sustainable growth will be key to poverty elimination, inequality reduction, and environmentally friendly development.

“There remain countless difficulties on the long path ahead. It may take us much more time and efforts. But I believe that with what we have, which are the energy, creativity, steadfastness and dynamism of each person, including women and men, girls and boys,… the APEC region will surely witness a brighter future,” the minister stressed.

During the one-day dialogue, ministers and heads of delegations of APEC economies are set to provide policy recommendations to enhance women’s inclusion and economic empowerment.

A statement of the 2017 APEC Women and the Economy Forum is also scheduled to be considered for adoption.

This forum has been held in Hue city, the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, since September 26. It is part of events organised by Vietnam throughout the APEC Year 2017.

Established in 1989, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) comprises 21 economies, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam. 

They account for 39 percent of global population, 57 percent of global GDP and 47 percent of global trade, according to 2014 statistics.

High-level dialogue suggests policies on women’s empowerment

The 2017 APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy was held in Hue city on September 29, focusing on policy recommendations to enhance women’s inclusion and economic empowerment.

In his opening speech, Vietnam’s Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung, chair of the dialogue, said almost three decades since its foundation, APEC has established itself as the biggest economic and trade cooperation mechanism in Asia-Pacific. It has also affirmed that gender equality is the centre of economic and human resources development.

Women’s integration and empowerment have significantly influenced the region, he noted, adding that many APEC economies have reportedly succeeded in reducing income and non-income inequality via progressive socio-economic policies. Therefore, inclusive growth and sustainable development is a common trend that member economies focus on.

Amidst global integration, investment in female workers’ skills and productivity needs to be considered a policy making priority. Most unpaid labourers are women, particularly in agriculture, and their access to development resources is very limited.

The official urged APEC economies to pay more attention to investing in infrastructure and public services as this will help reduce and re-distribute unpaid housework and care work. To do that, governments and businesses have to increase budgets for this work.

Aside from more financial resources, it is also necessary to improve women and girls’ access to infrastructure, he said, citing studies in many economies as showing that if 2 percent of GDP is invested in care services, especially social and childcare services, the number of jobs will rise by 2.4 – 6.1 percent.

Dung said as Vietnam and many other APEC economies are facing slowing economic growth, it is crucial to promote economic reforms and socio-economic progress. Strategies for promoting inclusive and sustainable growth will be key to poverty elimination, inequality reduction, and environmentally friendly development.

“There remain countless difficulties on the long path ahead. It may take us much more time and efforts. But I believe that with what we have, which are the energy, creativity, steadfastness and dynamism of each person, including women and men, girls and boys,… the APEC region will surely witness a brighter future,” the minister stressed.

During the one-day dialogue, ministers and heads of delegations of APEC economies are set to provide policy recommendations to enhance women’s inclusion and economic empowerment.

A statement of the 2017 APEC Women and the Economy Forum is also scheduled to be considered for adoption.

This forum has been held in Hue city, the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, since September 26. It is part of events organised by Vietnam throughout the APEC Year 2017.

Established in 1989, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) comprises 21 economies, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam. 

They account for 39 percent of global population, 57 percent of global GDP and 47 percent of global trade, according to 2014 statistics.

VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNE

HCMC looks to develop medical tourism, Vietnam raises rice export target for 2017 amid rising orders, Thanh Cong Group partners with Hyundai, EU, promising market of Vietnamese chicken meat
 
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