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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 10/8

Last update: 08:20 | 10/08/2017

Tra Vinh licenses wind power project

The Economic Zone Management Authority of the southern province of Tra Vinh on August 8 licensed to Ho Chi Minh City-based Asia Energy Petroleum Corporation and Unison eTech Co, Ltd from the Republic of Korea (RoK) to develop the first phase of the Duyen Hai wind power plant.

Located in Dong Hai commune, Duyen Hai district, the 125 million USD first phase has a designed capacity of 48.3 MW with 21 turbines, each rumbling with 2.3 MW. 

Once operational in December 2019, the project is expected to generate over 135,200 MWh per year.

According to the province’s wind power development plan to 2020 with a vision to 2030, the locality aims to build six wind power plants in Duyen Hai district and Duyen Hai town, said Nguyen Quynh Thien, Deputy Director of the Economic Zone Management Authority.

Total cumulative installed capacity of local wind power plants are hoped to reach 270 MW with a power output of 634 million kWh, he added.

Previously, the Authority granted an investment licence to the RoK’s Tra Vinh 1 Power Plant Limited Company and made investment plans for Ecotech Company and Thai Hoa Company.

Vietnam’s seven-month export revenue up 18.7 pct







Vietnam’s total export earnings hit 17.5 billion USD in July, bringing the seven-month total to 115.2 billion USD, up 18.7 percent annually, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT). 

In particular, agro-forestry-fisheries remained a key currency earner. 

After a Memorandum of Understanding on rice trade was extended in late May by the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Bangladeshi Food Ministry, rice export has kept growing, ending the prolonged decline. 

Accordingly, Vietnam shipped 465,000 tonnes of rice worth 201 million USD abroad in July, pushing the total rice exports in seven months to 3.3 million tonnes valued at 1.5 billion USD, up 15.7 percent and 13.7 percent in volume and value, respectively. 

The country recently won a bid to export 175,000 tonnes of rice to the Philippines, slightly raising the domestic rice prices in the south. 

Fuel, minerals and processing industry with key items such as coal, crude oil, petroleum, apparel, leather and footwear, computers and cell phones continued moderate growth of 18.1 – 39.4 percent. 

The US remained the largest exporter with seven-month value of 23.4 billion USD, up 9.9 percent year-on-year. It was followed by the European Union, China, ASEAN, Japan and the Republic of Korea. 

During the month, Vietnam spent 17.8 billion USD on imports, down 1.6 percent. On seven-month calculation, the total imports soared 24 percent to 118.3 billion USD. Therefore, its trade deficit reached 300 million USD in July and roughly 3.08 billion USD in seven months, or 2.7 percent of the total export. 

The MoIT forecast that the total export revenue will near 200 billion USD this year, marking a 13 percent increase annually. The total trade deficit will be about 5 billion USD, or 2.5 percent of the total export and lower than 3 percent set by the National Assembly. 

Imports will scale down between now and the year’s end due to massive disbursement for imports early this year. 

The ministry will also adopt trade defence measures for imports in line with the law and international commitments.

Vietnamese products promoted at ASEAN-India exhibition

Vietnam’s top-quality goods have been brought closer to consumers in ASEAN member nations and India as twenty Vietnamese enterprises in food, porcelain and pottery, leather shoes, stationery and lighting displayed their products at the ASEAN-India Expo & Forum in Bangkok, Thailand from August 2-5.

The products were showcased at a national booth and ten stalls of businesses at the exhibition.

The ASEAN-India Expo & Forum served as a venue for policymakers, leaders of groups and businessmen to meet and study policies of India and member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

It also created opportunities for the companies to popularise brand names, seek business partners and promote ASEAN-India strategic relations in trade, investment and tourism.

On the sidelines of the forum, the Vietnamese delegation and the Thailand-Vietnam Business Council co-organised international workshop to promote trade and opportunities to enter the Thai and ASEAN markets.

A networking event was also held to connect Vietnamese businesses with tens of distributors and importers of Thailand and other foreign countries, thus helping Vietnamese products better penetrate into international markets.

Vietnam’s third biggest cinema operator ready to pull the plug: report

Ho Chi Minh City-based Galaxy Studio Joint Stock Company is putting its cinema operations up for sale, DealstreetAsia cited a source familiar with the company as saying in a August 7 report.

According to the source, Galaxy is talking to private equity firms to cut the deal at US$25 million.

Galaxy was unavailable for comment on the issue, while investor Vietnam Investment Group could not be reached, said the DealstreetAsia report.

Galaxy Cinema is the third largest cinema operator in Vietnam with 10 theaters across the country. 

South Korea’s CGV and Lotte Cinema control the market with 38 and 29 movie theaters respectively.

Galaxy Cinema is a subsidiary of Galaxy Studio, a film making and distribution firm which is a part of the Thien Ngan (Galaxy) Group.

Founded in 1994, Galaxy Studio jumped into the cinema business in 2003 as a distributor of foreign movies and the first private film producer in Vietnam.

Korea extends anti-dumping probe     

The Korea Trade Commission (KTC) has extended its anti-dumping investigation against ferroalloy imported from Viet Nam, Ukraine and India and will arrive at a final decision on October 1 this year instead of August 1 as per the previous deadline.

The information was revealed by the Viet Nam Trade Office in the Republic of Korea.

The items under investigation are imported ferro-silico-manganese products under the HS code: 7202.30.0000.

On December 7, 2016, the KTC initiated an anti-dumping investigation on ferroalloy imported from Viet Nam, Ukraine and India at the request of companies Dongbu Metal, Simpac Metal, Simpac Metalloy and Taekyung Industrial.

Earlier, an investigation into dumping and material injury issues had been scheduled from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, and from January 1, 2013, to June 30, 2016, respectively.

After four months of investigations, the KTC arrived at a preliminary conclusion that there was enough evidence of anti-dumping practices and substantial damages to the Korean industry.

The KTC said it would recommend that the finance ministry levy punitive duties of 6.08 - 32.32 per cent on ferro-silico-manganese products imported from these three countries, for underselling and causing damage to the local industry.

The tax rate for Viet Nam is expected to be 7.48 per cent.

The alloy made of iron, silicon and manganese is a key ingredient for manufacturing steel, the Korean antitrust agency said.

The Korean market for the alloy was estimated at 230,000 tonnes in 2015, worth 250 billion won (US$220 million). Products imported from Viet Nam, India and Ukraine accounted for nearly 40 per cent of the market.

This June, the KTC conducted on-site investigations of Vietnamese enterprises. 

Japanese firms eye Vietnamese market     

Japanese companies are focused on the Vietnamese market and seek wider, deeper co-operation with Vietnamese firms, Eiichi Tani from SME Support Japan said in Ha Noi on Monday.

Speaking at a meeting between a delegation of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Vinafco Joint Stock Corporation - a logistics service provider, Tani said Japanese businesses have now shifted their attention from the Chinese to the Vietnamese market.

The meeting was a part of the SME Support Japan’s support programme for small- and medium-sized Japanese enterprises looking at international markets.

“The event was to help both sides exchange information on Viet Nam’s transport market in general, and both countries’ transport situation in particular,” Tani said. “It also touched upon necessary customs procedures to bring Japanese goods into Viet Nam.” 

Tokuhiro Imamura, chairman of Imamura Joint Stock Company, which specialises in interiors, said his company is looking to expand its market. It plans to build a plant in Viet Nam in the future, Imamura said, adding that the company would export some products to Viet Nam to explore and understand the market.

Imamura JSC has some basic information from Japanese logistics firms operating in Viet Nam, but it wants to build further contacts with Vietnamese businesses as local firms have advantages in their own market.

At the meeting, a Vinafco representative shared information related to administrative procedures, time and costs for import-export customs clearance from Hai Phong Seaport to various plants. She said it is not tough to import Imamura’s products into Viet Nam, and that Vinafco is willing to support the company.

The Japanese delegation said they chose Vinafco for the meeting as there are similarities between Vinafco and Imamura. Vinafco has 30 years’ experience in the logistics sector and in multi-purpose transport in Viet Nam. 

DAP fertiliser prices rise sharply     

Although the temporary safeguard tax on imported DAP fertiliser is effective from August 19, the market price of this product has already increased sharply by a range of VND1.5 million-VND1.9 million (US$66-84) per tonne.

Rising prices of DAP have led to an increase of VND300,000-500,000 per tonne for NPK fertiliser, as DAP is the main material for producing NPK fertiliser, including Urea, DAP and Kali. NPK 20-20-15 has increased the most by VND400,000-500,000 per tonne.

In addition, DAP is also the single major fertiliser for rice, fruit trees, vegetable crops and industrial crops. In particular, for soil contaminated with alum, DAP lowers the alum content to create soil for crops, therefore, farmers prefer DAP.

Last week, DAP prices at HCM City’s Tran Xuan Soan fertiliser market fluctuated from VND8 million to VND12.5 million per tonnes. Domestic products of DAP – Dinh Vu Fertiliser Plant and DAP Fertiliser Plant Lao Cai – had the lowest prices, while the highest price was for Korean DAP product coded 18-46. 

Central bank issues bills worth $1.27b     

The State Bank of Viet Nam issued bills worth VND29 trillion (US$1.27 billion) last week, according to a report from the Saigon Securities Incorporation (SSI)’s retail research division.

The yield of the bill was low at 0.28 per cent, the report said.

Despite the issue, the banking system’s liquidity has shown no signs of pressure, SSI analysts said.

Owing to good liquidity, the overnight rate in the inter-bank market has been going down consistently, closing last week at 0.45 per cent, down 5 basis points against the previous week.

In the Government bond market, last week, seven-, 10- and 15-year bonds worth VND3 trillion were offered. Of that, all VND1 trillion worth of seven-year bonds with a yield of 5.1 per cent against 5.25 per cent in the previous session were issued successfully.

Ten- and 15-year bonds worth VND700 billion and VND800 billion, respectively, were also issued. 

Phillippines’ Aboitiz Equity Ventures acquires VN’s Eurofeed     

The Philippines’ Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc (AEV) has acquired majority stake in Việt Nam’s Europe Nutrition Joint Stock Company (Eurofeed), in a move to expand its animal feed business.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday, AEV said it has taken over 2.8 million shares, or a 70 per cent stake, of Eurofeed for US$3.7 million through its wholly-owned subsidiary Pilmico International Pte. This price puts Eurofeed’s value at $5.3 million.

The purchase price is subject to price adjustments on the basis of a closing audit review, AEV said.

Việt Nam is considered an animal feed market with good potential. In the first half of 2017, the country spent $1.8 billion on import of animal feed and materials, a year-on-year increase of 17.3 per cent. The figure for 2016 was $3.39 billion.

Last year, Pilmico International wholly acquired Pilmico Vietnam Trading Co Ltd (Pilmico Vietnam), which does business in wholesale food products, beverages, agricultural and forestry raw materials, among other things. 

HCM City, Japan’s Hokkaido step up agricultural, aquatic cooperation

Ho Chi Minh City wants to enhance cooperation with businesses in Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture in agriculture, fishing and high-tech development, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem said.

He made the statement while receiving Governor of Hokkaido prefecture Takahashi Harumi in Ho Chi Minh City on August 8.

Ho Chi Minh City will be a gateway for Hokkaido’s firms to enter other markets in Southeast Asia, he said, pledging to create favourable conditions for Japanese firms to trade in the city. The move will help enhance cultural and economic exchanges between the two localities.

Harumi said that cooperation between Vietnam and Hokkaido began in oil exploitation. 

The Japanese prefecture and Vietnam currently cooperate in agriculture, fishing, technology, education and culture through businesses from both countries.

She affirmed that Vietnam is an important partner of Hokkaido.

A conference to popularise Hokkaido in Ho Chi Minh City will be a good opportunity for businesses from the two localities to strengthen cultural exchange as well as tourism and economic collaboration, she said.

Sabeco to launch first high-end beer in August

The Saigon Beer Alcohol and Beverage Corp. (Sabeco) will launch its first ever high-end beer product in August, to tackle the heated competition with local and foreign brewers in Vietnam, Chairman Mr. Vo Manh Ha told its extra-ordinary shareholders meeting on August 8.

The new beer, Saigon Gold, is the latest solution from Sabeco officials to retain its market leading position in Vietnam by expanding into the high-end segment, which has long been dominated by Dutch brewer Heineken and its signature products of Heineken and Tiger.

With an estimated price of VND500,000 ($22) for a carton of 24, each can of Saigon Gold will cost nearly double the price of both Hanoi Beer from the Hanoi Beer Alcohol and Beverage Corp. (Habeco) and its own Saigon Special, which sell for around VND220,000 ($9.7) and VND285,000 ($12.5), respectively, for a carton of 24 cans.

An expanding Vietnamese middle class and youthful population have helped drive a 300 per cent surge in beer demand since 2002, according to Euromonitor, which estimates that Vietnam’s beer market was worth VND147.2 trillion ($6.5 billion) in 2016. It predicts that per-capita consumption will reach 40.6 liters this year, making Vietnam the biggest consumer of the amber fluid in Southeast Asia.

Growth, though, is not being driven by local beers, which cost about VND5,000 ($0.22) per can or bottle, but by Heineken, which costs ten times as much, at VND55,000 ($2.42). The Dutch brewer has seized on the increasing popularity of high-end products among Vietnamese consumers, driven by the country’s growth.

Heineken’s 2016 sales jumped at least 10 per cent, spurred by Tiger, Chairman and CEO Mr. Jean-Francois van Boxmeer told the company’s annual shareholders meeting in April. Vietnam drove an almost 27 per cent surge in operating profit from the Asia region, he said.

The rising popularity of Heineken may be the sole reason for the two local brewers doubling their advertising spending in the first six months of this year, with both Sabeco and Habeco outlaying a total of more than VND1 trillion ($44 million) on promotional campaigns. Only limited gains in revenue and profit came in return, however.

During the January - June period, Habeco saw a 5 per cent year-on-year increase in total revenue, to VND4.22 trillion ($184.76 million), and a pre-tax profit of VND485.4 billion ($21.35 million). Sabeco, meanwhile, saw total revenue rise 7 per cent year-on-year to VND15.8 trillion ($695 million), but higher advertising costs kept its pre-tax profit at the same level year-on-year, or VND3 trillion ($132 million).

While Sabeco commands the local market, enjoying a 40 per cent market share, or 50 per cent higher than its nearest competitor, Heineken, which has 30 per cent, and well ahead of Habeco, with 18 per cent, the Dutch brewer maintains its dominance of the high-end market, with 67 per cent. 

Vietnam's first integrated business park under construction

The Ascendas Saigon Bund Company will open OneHub Saigon, the first integrated business park in Vietnam, in Ho Chi Minh City by 2020.

OneHub Saigon has a total area of 12 ha with a variety of amenities, including a mixed-use commercial building, seven office towers, two work-office-home-office buildings, and a training center with a total gross floor area of 360,000 sq m.

The business park is the first to be developed with the intention of providing a well-rounded environment for “working, living, entertaining, and learning”. It is also an integrated community development incorporating technologies, talent, and capital that caters to Vietnam’s aspiring advancement in research and development, science, and information technology.

Located at the entrance to Saigon High-Tech Park in Ho Chi Minh City, within the growing economic zone and national construction projects, OneHub Saigon is just 25 minutes from the city center. The park will also be directly connected to Metro Line No.1, specifically Station 12, when open, and will satisfy demand for office, mixed-use commercial, and serviced apartment leasing.

OneHub Saigon is a joint venture between Ascendas-Singbridge and Saigon Bund Capital Partners. The partnership leverages Ascendas-Singbridge’s vast experience and track record in the development of successful business parks in Singapore, China, and India, and Saigon Bund Capital Partners’ investment capabilities and network in Vietnam.

Ascendas-Singbridge, Asia’s leading sustainable urban development and business space solutions provider, has focused on investing in landscaping and developing a sustainable environment for the project.

The Ascendas Saigon Bund Company has officially appointed JLL as the Lead Marketing Agent for OneHub Saigon.

“The decision to partner with JLL at OneHub Saigon was based on their in-depth knowledge and experience in Vietnam’s commercial real estate sector,” said Mr. Koh Mui Kwang, General Director of the Ascendas Saigon Bund Company. “Their commercial leasing team is also well-connected in Ho Chi Minh City. We look forward to working with JLL to attract a strong mix of tenants interested in this premier location in the east of the city.”

“OneHub Saigon offers tenants a high standard of office space within a business park environment that is not found elsewhere in Ho Chi Minh City,” said JLL’s Country Head Mr. Stephen Wyatt. “The thoughtful and intelligent design of OneHub Saigon is sure to provide tenants with an unparalleled office experience. We are excited to partner with the Ascendas Saigon Bund Company to share this exceptional property with the market.”

JLL is a leading professional services firm specializing in real estate and investment management. A Fortune 500 company, it helps real estate owners, occupiers, and investors achieve their business ambitions.

ICT companies to focus on services in Vietnam

Co-investment in customer service delivery seems to be the new direction of foreign investors in the Vietnamese information and communications technology (ICT) sector.

Last weekend in Ho Chi Minh City, B2X, a company specialisin in after-sales services for smart mobile and IoT devices, officially entered Vietnam by forming a joint venture with Digiworld Corporation and created B2X Care Solutions Vietnam.

At the signing ceremony, Stefan Gyarfas, director of strategic projects at G2X, said that B2X Care Solutions Vietnam will be responsible for providing customer services for Samsung Electronics Vietnam.

The total investment and contribution were not disclosed, but Doan Hong Viet, chairman and CEO of Digiworld, said B2X's “world-class customer service solutions” will surely help its expansion in the country.

B2X Vietnam planned to open eight centres, with 150 technicians providing world-class after-sales services for all Samsung products in Vietnam (including Samsung smartphones, electronic devices and appliances).

Explaining why B2X chose this time to enter Vietnam, Andrew Humphries, head of global delivery management, said that the Vietnamese smartphone market is currently very active and has much growth potential.

According to IDC Vietnam, smartphone sales in Vietnam are expected to reach 15 million by the end of 2017, and Samsung is currently holding 28 per cent of the market. Thanks to this, Vietnam is now the third country in Southeast Asia, fifth in Asia, and twelfth in the world that B2X has invested in through a joint venture.

On cooperating with B2X, Viet said that the presence of a world-leading customer service provider will be the launch pad for Digiworld to continue investing in services in the future.

After B2X, Lazada shook the market with its announcement of expanding operations in Vietnam through a sizeable investment in customer experience (CX). Lazada officially announced the appointment of Vu Ngoc Lam as customer experience officer (CXO) along with strategic plans to improve the shopping experience of customers.

CX refers to the overall experience of customers through their interaction with the brands in every channel.

To Lazada, CX starts from the moment customers click on lazada.vn through finding and purchasing products, to the point when delivery is completed or they call the customer service centre for help or to exchange products.

Particularly, Lazada has implemented strategic plans to improve CX, such as improving communication channels between customers and sellers (the channel saw tens of millions of questions during the first week alone, with a response ration of 86 per cent), encouraging customers to rate the products (average 25,000 ratings per week), and working with delivery agencies to reduce the delivery time in urban areas.

Lazada also expanded online commutation with customers through cooperation with Zalo. Lazada will utilise Zalo’s instant messaging service to ensure fast and constant communication with customers, monitoring the delivery status of products, diversifying image and text messages, as well as saving costs from standard text messages.

Alexandre Dardy, CEO of Lazada Vietnam, said, “Lazada’s goal in 2017 is to increase investment in CX, making it the core connecting other departments and improving the overall quality of all activities involving customers. CX will be the factor to push Lazada to develop further in bringing the best experience to customers and help perfect the ecommerce ecosystem Lazada has been building for the last five years."

Anpha Holdings picks up Novaland subsidiary

Vietnamese real estate developer Anpha Holdings has announced completing the purchase of a 99.98 per cent stake in Nova Galaxy Real Estate JSC from Novaland Group, according to newswire Saigontimes.

The deal value has yet to be disclosed. Novaland also refused to release the reasons of its divestment, however, decrease in net revenue and after-tax profit may have played a part. Notably, in the first half of this year, Novaland earned VND3.33 trillion ($145.9 million) in net revenue and VND841 billion ($36.85 million) in after-tax profit, signifying decreases of 33 and 45 per cent, respectively.

After the purchase, Anpha Holdings will take over Nova Galaxy’s projects, especially its newest project, the apartment and shopping centre complex located in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City.

Anpha Holdings, through its subsidiary Anpha Consulting, provides full consulting services ranging from market research, feasibility studies, financial modeling and sourcing, strategic sales and marketing, and design management to project management for residential, commercial, and mixed-development projects, retail, hotels and resorts, and luxury serviced apartments.

Along with consecutively pumping capital into domestic projects, Anpha Holdings has invested capital to expand its operations in Southeast Asia, with a series of property projects in Singapore and Malaysia.

Anpha Holding plans to co-operate with Villamas Sdn., Bhd. from Malaysia to develop a high-end property project in Kuala Lumpur-SK Development. The $320-million project will include three towers with 1,772 apartments, a 7-storey shopping centre, a 13-storey office building, and a five-star hotel. The construction is expected to start in the third quarter of this year and be completed in the first quarter of 2023.

Regarding Novaland, it now has a portfolio of more than 40 projects with different types of products, such as townhouses, office-tels and condotels, trading centres, land houses, and villas.

Aside from six projects completed and delivered as committed, in the first quarter of 2017, Lakeview City in District 2, Lucky Dragon in District 9, and Orchard Garden in Phu Nhuan district have been handed over to residents. Novaland is expected to deliver nine more projects in 2017, aiming to maintain clients’ trust and its brand name in the real estate market.

HN targets parts supply growth

Hà Nội needs more favourable policies to boost the parts supply industry, experts said Monday at a conference on developing the industry in the capital. The city plans to increase the number of parts supply firms from the current 200-250 to 900-1,000 firms by 2020.

According to the Heavy Industry Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the development of the parts supply industry in Việt Nam has a potentially important role in economic development but is performing below expectations with modest local procurement rates. For example, local procurement by the footwear industry is just 20-25 per cent and by the auto industry 7-10 per cent for cars with fewer than nine seats.

A number of industries are still largely dependent on imported raw materials, the department said, adding that State support for the parts supply industry is limited while foreign manufacturers tend to use suppliers from their home countries.

Nguyễn Hoàng, Chairman of the Hà Nội Support Industries Business Association, said the capital city needed policies to support existing parts supply firms and encourage new ones.

Experts at the conference attributed the slow development of the industry to hesitation resulting from over- complicated procedures and less favourable policies than those enjoyed by foreign-invested firms.

According to Phan Nhật Minh, general director of the Nhật Minh Company, local companies should be provided with incentives similar to those granted Samsung or at least equal to half of Samsung’s, adding that there was a significant difference in incentives between local and foreign companies.

Lại Minh Đức, a representative from the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, said the city had a developed mechanical industry but lacks co-ordination among firms. “It is important to promote co-ordination among parts supply firms to improve competitiveness in the rapid international economic integration,” Đức said.

According to Hoàng, Hà Nội needs to develop human resources for the parts supply manufacturers and establish special zones for support industries.

Transport Ministry to suggest solution to BOT tollgate problems

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat has said his ministry is coming up with a plan to solve problems with build-operate-transfer (BOT) road toll stations nationwide.

In regard to a Government Office correspondence issued on August 4 to fix problems with BOT road toll stations, Deputy Minister Nhat told the Daily on August 7 that the Transport Ministry intends to submit the plan to the Government for consideration later this week.

Nhat said the ministry asked relevant agencies to look into BOT road toll stations nationwide, and work with investors and local governments. The plan is not intended to solve problems with some tollgates which have prompted protests among road users. But instead, it would apply to all toll stations in the country, he noted.

The correspondence requires the Transport Ministry, other relevant ministries and local authorities to instruct the Vietnam Directorate for Roads, and developers of BOT roads to seek workable solutions to issues at BOT tollgates in order to balance the interests of the State, investors and road users.

In a related development, some truck drivers have used small change to pay toll fees at tollgates or parked their vehicles at the toll stations, especially Ben Thuy in Nghe An Province, Tam Nong in Phu Tho Province, Thanh Ne and Luong Son in Thai Binh Province, and Cai Lay in Tien Giang Province. This is a way to express their frustration over toll collection.

For the latest toll station on a bypass around Cai Lay town in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, motorists said the fact that the station is located at KM 1999+300 on National Highway 1 is acceptable as fees are collected for the bypass. The toll station was put into operation early this month.

To protest, they often use small change to pay fees at the station or change directions to the streets of Phu An and Binh Phu avoid toll payment.

Nguyen Phu Hiep, director of National Highway No.1 Tien Giang Investment Co Ltd, told the Daily that the ministries of transport and finance had approved the location of the toll station as proposed by Tien Giang Province.

Finance Ministry points out impediments to e-customs

Many local companies have switched to using electronic tax and customs procedures but tax and customs authorities have still asked them to provide paper documents, according to the Finance Ministry.

The ministry said more than 97% of domestic enterprises which have employed e-transactions in the tax and customs sectors are still told to submit their paper files to go through necessary procedures.

That enterprises are frequently asked to print out their digital invoices has brought unnecessary costs for them, thereby reducing the efficiency of the administrative reform.

A survey of the ministry shows some agencies which are responsible for verifying financial information have indirect effects on e-transactions. They are the Market Surveillance Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam Register under the Transport Ministry, the Traffic Police under Ministry of Public Security, and the Border Guard under the Ministry of Defense.

Therefore, the Finance Ministry proposed the Government issue regulations on inspection of online invoices replacing Decree 27/2007/ND-CP on financial e-transactions.

The Finance Ministry has proposed relevant ministries inspect their digital invoices electronically rather than by paper.

The ministry plans to send the Government a draft decree that would replace Decree 27 next month.

Origin of much pork untraceable

The origin of four-fifths of pork at HCMC’s Binh Dien wholesale market, which consumes a majority of pork from other provinces, is still unknown despite the city authority is pushing for pork traceability.

The ratio of pork with traceability tags which is imported into HCMC from other provinces has shown signs of standing still. It is as low as 21% at Binh Dien wholesale market, according to the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade.

A report by the department says, “Wholesalers at Binh Dien market still take delivery of pork from (neighboring) Long An Province even though it wears no traceability tags.”

The department has proposed the city government order the Food Safety Management Board to conduct quick tests of pork samples to find whether they contain microorganisms and banned substances. Vendors should be sanctioned if the pork they sell has no traceability tags, the department suggested.

The department also proposed the Food Safety Management Board launch campaigns to call for canteens at hospitals, schools and industrial parks to use pork with clear origin.

The department said it would work with other agencies like the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Food Safety Management Board to make the origin of other produce traceable.

In the long term, all produce will have clear origin thanks to the traceability program, according the department.

HCMC kickstarted a traceability plan for poultry meat and eggs in early July, just six months after the launch of the pork traceability plan.

The plan allows consumers to directly check and get full information about poultry products they buy.

VN aims to gain US$200 bln from export this year

Viet Nam’s total export turnover reached more than US$115 billion in the first seven months of the year, a year-on-year increase of 18.7%, with 20 items joining the US$1 billion export club, including eight with value exceeding US$3 billion.

The information was released at the Export Forum 2017, which was organized on August 8 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Exports to nations signing the free trade agreements with Viet Nam have been increasing, said Deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Import and Export Department Nguyen Phu Hoa, adding that Vietnamese businesses are taking advantages of these agreements.

The U.S. was the largest importer of Viet Nam with US$23.4 billion in seven months, up 9.9%. It was followed by the EU with US$21.5 billion, up 12.8%, China US$15.5 billion, up 42.6%, ASEAN US$12.3 billion, up 27.1%, Japan US$9.6 billion, up 20.6% and the Republic of Korea US$7.6 billion, up 26.4%.

The country expects to gain US$200 billion from exporting this year, up 13% and make an import value of US$205 billion, up more than 17%.

Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) in Viet Nam Jonathan Moreno affirmed that the Amcham will be a connection for Vietnamese enterprises to enhance exports to the U.S. market.

Viet Nam has diversified its export markets and joined other free trade agreements, thus the U.S.’ withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership will not affect much Vietnamese businesses’ export activities, said Mr. Fred Bruke, from the Amcham.

HCM City aims to receive 11 million foreign visitors by 2020

Ho Chi Minh City set the target of welcoming 11 million foreign visitors by 2020, said head of the city’s Department of Tourism Ta Hoang Vu.

The city is making efforts to create new tourist products such as street art performances, art lighting performances, an international Marathon and more tours to museums.

The department invited 10 top professionals in fields of public policy, human resources training, culture and society to join in tourism development strategy establishment process.

The city also cooperated and signed cooperative documents with 48 provinces and cities.

As of this August, the city welcomed nearly three million foreign visitors, a year-on-year increase of 14%, reaching nearly 50% of the year’s plan.

The city gained VND54,000 billion from tourism, up 12%.

In 2016, some international agencies and organizations listed Ho Chi Minh City among Top 25 destinations in Asia and top 25 cities with highest tourism growth in the world.

HCM City’s Cần Giờ District hope to capitalise on tourism

HCM City’s coastal district of Cần Giờ is focused on exploiting its tourism potential, which includes eco-tourism, homestay tourism, leisure tourism and tree planting tours to mangrove forests, according to the chairman of its People’s Committee.

Lê Minh Dũng said local authorities have worked with the city Department of Tourism to organise fam trips for travel agents to diversify its tourism products.

Trần Trọng Hưng, deputy director of the Cần Giờ Mangrove Protective Forest’s communication, environment education and eco-tourism centre, said the number of foreign tourists choosing tours that combine mangrove planting and sightseeing has been rising steadily in recent years, and numbers 5,000-6,000 a year now.

The coastal district, 60km from the city downtown, is famous for its UNESCO-listed mangrove biosphere reserve forest of 31,000ha, which is home to more than 200 species of wildlife and 150 species of flora, Vàm Sát Ecological Tourist Zone, Monkey Island, and Whale Festival.

Swallow nest and seafood farming and tropical fruit gardens are some of the district’s other advantages, Dũng said.

The number of visitors to the district has topped 700,000 so far this year, a year-on-year increase of 40 per cent, he said.

Cần Giờ eyes 1.25 million visitors this year and tourism revenues of VNĐ500 billion (US$22.02 million).

Higher credit growth could increase listed banks’ profits

The profits of the seven listed banks could rise 32.16 per cent against the beginning of 2017, if this year’s credit growth target is raised to 20 per cent.

These estimates have been made by HCM City Securities Company’s (HSC). The seven listed banks, which include Vietcombank, Vietinbank, BIDV, ACB, Military Bank, Sacombank and SHB, have earned VNĐ18 trillion in pre-tax profit in the first six months of the year, up 22.7 per cent year on year, HSC stated.

At a Government meeting last week, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc asked the State Bank of Việt Nam to consider raising the credit growth limit for this year to at least 20 per cent instead of the 18 per cent as per the previous plan, so as to support the country’s economic growth target of 6.7 per cent.

If the credit growth limit stays at 17.2 per cent as planned at the start of 2017, HSC forecasts that the seven banks will collectively earn VNĐ36.2 trillion in pre-tax profit for the whole year, recording 18 per cent growth.

If credit growth is loosened to 20 per cent and other factors remain constant, the pre-tax profit of these banks could be 12 per cent higher, or around VNĐ40.54 trillion, up 32.16 per cent from the beginning of the year. This assumption is based on the maintenance of current variables, HSC said.

In the first half of 2017, credit growth reached 9.06 per cent, the highest level in the past six years.

According to HSC, because of low inflation pressure, it is safe to boost credit growth a little more. At present, there are not many macro risks associated with increasing credit growth as in the first six months, the CPI rose only by 2.52 per cent year on year, while the exchange rate has stabilised after rising 1.2 per cent in the beginning of 2017, it said.

Domestic airlines’ efforts to keep flights on time     

Domestic carriers made efforts in July to improve their on-time performance rate despite an increase in the number of flights, the Civil Aviation Administration of Viet Nam (CAAV) said.

There were about 25,657 flights during the month — up 5 per cent year-on-year. Of the total, 21,736 flights or 84.7 per cent arrived on time, 177 were cancelled, while the remaining were delayed mainly due to late arrivals.

Among the four airlines, the Vietnam Air Services Co, VASCO, recorded the highest percentage of on-time flights — 94.7 per cent. Jetstar Pacific came next with 87.4 per cent of on-time flights, followed by the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines with 85.4 per cent and Vietjet with 82.2 per cent.

The rates of delayed and cancelled flights of four domestic airlines over past six months were 12.2 per cent and 0.5 per cent, respectively, recording a year-on-year fall of 3.6 percentage points and 0.1 percentage points, according to CAAV.

Earlier in June, the Noi Bai International Airport had asked all domestic airlines to improve operations, minimise the number of delays, and enhance passenger experience. 

HEC wins Long Sơn Petrochemical Complex contract     

South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company (HEC) has won a US$320 million contract to build facilities at the Long Son Petrochemical Complex.

Online newspaper Bizlive reported that HEC has signed a deal to build a water supply and treatment plant at the Long Son Petrochemical Complex in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

The project will be carried out on a turnkey basis, meaning Hyundai Engineering will be responsible for the entire construction, from design to test operations. The company estimates construction will take 47 months after ground is broken.

Once completed, Long Son Petrochemical Complex will be the largest of its kind in Viet Nam.

Long Son Petrochemical Co Ltd, owner of the $5.4 billion project, is a joint venture between Thai conglomerate Siam Cement Group (SCG) and PetroVietnam.

SCG’s representative last month said the company will start construction work on the complex next year and the facility will start commercial operations by 2022. 

600 businesses trading on UPCoM market

Hanoi Stock Exchange said that the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) in July had 25 newly registered stock codes, taking the total number of businesses trading on the bourse to 600 so far.

Among the 25 are large companies which investors have expected to trade on UPCoM such as Vietnam Electronics and Informatics Join Stock Company (VEC), Vietnam National Construction Consultants Corporation (VGV) and Construction No.1 Joint Stock Company (CC1).

Besides, there are year-long brand names familiar with Vietnamese consumers such as Colusa-Miliket Foodstuff Joint Stock Company (CMN), Ha Bac Nitrogenous Fertilizer (DHB) and Chemicals Joint Stock Company (DHB).

At present, UPCoM Index reaches 56.43 points, down 2 percent over the end of last year. UPCoM’s capitalization value hits VND448.82 billion (US$19.74 billion). The market has 219.14 million transferred shares, equivalent to a transaction value of VND3,378 billion ($149 million).

Transaction value is estimated to hit VND161.97 billion ($7.12 million) per session on average, down 12.3 percent over the previous month.

Transport Ministry reduces toll fees of 35 BOT projects

The Ministry of Transport yesterday said it had negotiated with investors to reduce toll fees of 35 projects built under BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) form.

Twenty seven projects charge toll lower than average level while 11 other projects have yet to reduce the fee because of vehicular traffic is lower than investors’ financial plans.

Especially, the ministry has negotiated to strike balances of 51 BOT projects, change toll levels of 23 projects and financial plans of 28 others toward lowering toll.

The ministry has required authorized agencies to continue adjusting Circular 35 to solve problems at toll stations and change toll levels to suit the real situation of BOT projects under implementation.

The ministry also assigned projects’ management board to prompt investors to draw balance sheets to recalculate financial plans and reduce service prices.

Travel deals: Save 30% on railway tickets to Nha Trang

Vietnam Railway Corporation is offering 30% end of summer discounts for tickets on the Ho Chi Minh City-Nha Trang route, reports the Vnexpress online newspaper.

The special fare pricing applies to tickets purchased August 7-14 for departures on the SNT1 and SNT2 trains that depart August 14-December 27, inclusive.

Trains depart Ho Chi Minh City daily at 8:30pm and arrive in Nha Trang at 5:30am the following day. The return trip departs Nha Trang at 7:10pm and arrives back in HCM City the following morning.

Ticket prices vary but range US$12.04-US$19.22 (VND265,000-VND423,000), one way depending on seat or bed. 

Upgraded Chu Lai Port put into operation

Quang Nam province has put into operation Chu Lai Port as a key logistics hub for the central and Central Highlands region after a one-year upgrade and expansion.

The project carried out by Truong Hai Auto Corporation (THACO) included the expansion of the berth upstream, the expansion and upgrading of the warehouse system and the completion of infrastructure, said Tran Huu Hoang, Director of THACO Logistics Co., Ltd and Director of Chu Lai Port.

The project cost 120 billion VND (5.2 million USD), raising the level of investment to build the Chu Lai Port from 2010 to the present to nearly 800 billion VND, he said.

“The port hosted 150 cargo ships with a total 600,000 tonnes of cargo including 23,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in the first six months this year,” said Hoang.

Extended by 171 metres upstream, the Chu Lai berth measures nearly 500 metres, with a depth alongside berth of -9.5 metres capable of receiving three vessels of 20,000 tonnes at the same time. These include general cargo ships and liquid cargo ships. Before the upgrade the berth could only receive two 20,000-tonne vessels.

The warehouse and workshop system has been expanded from 71,040 square metres (2016) to 91,200, including bonded warehouses (57,600 square metres), warehouses (13,440 square metres), unpackaged cargo inspection workshops (20,160 square metres), among which the unpackaged cargo inspection workshop is an entirely new facility put into operation in early 2017.

The Chu Lai Port is divided into three separate functional areas for different types of cargo, including containers, bulk and liquid cargo to meet the needs of ships arriving to load, unload and deliver freight.

The Chu Lai Port also invested in loading and unloading equipment, such as Liebherr cranes, tire cranes, container reach stackers, Folk Lift with modern and complete loading and unloading equipment, with tugboats and more than 20 high-capacity tractors to ensure optimum port performance.

Besides serving the transportation of finished products, materials, spare parts for automotive production and assembly and supporting industries of THACO in Chu Lai, the port also provides a variety of useful services for external businesses and customers, including ship towing and rescue services; cargo loading, unloading, tallying, and warehousing; domestic inland shipping, freight forwarding and shipping agents; bridge and berth services, and related shipping services.

Hoang said that among the total volume of cargo through the port, 15 percent belong to more than 50 external enterprises, consisting mainly of food, agricultural products, plastic pieces, tires, paints, chemicals, batteries and consumer goods.

In addition to domestic shipping routes, the port has launched direct sea routes to Incheon Port in the Republic of Korea (RoK), and Fangcheng Port in China, and planned to open new routes to other ports in China, the RoK and Japan. It also plans to provide further logistics service for foreign direct investment (FDI) businesses in the Chu Lai Open Economic Zone.

According to Hoang, in order to build the Chu Lai Port into a logistics hub of the key economic region, the Chu Lai Port has proposed that Quang Nam province support the dredging of the channel to a depth of -10.7 metres to accommodate 30,000-tonne vessels by 2019, and further to a depth of -12 metres to accommodate 40,000-tonne vessels after 2020. 

The Chu Lai Port was built in 2010 and put into operation in May 2012. It is the second biggest port in Quang Nam province after Ky Ha Port and was designed with a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes of bulk cargo and 150,000 TEUs per year.

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