BUSINESS IN BRIEF 25/6

Hanoi centre irradiates first tonnes of lychees for export

The Hanoi Irradiation Centre (HIC) on June 23 for the first time irradiated two tonnes of lychees which are to be shipped to Australia.

The centre is expected to help lychee exporters save transport costs and time rather than shipping lychees to the south for irradiation treatment, said Dam Quang Thang, Director of Agricare Vietnam – one of the two companies that are having lychees irradiated at the HIC.

The same day, Rong Do manufacturing, commerce and services company also brought lychees to the HIC for treatment.

The cost of irradiation in Hanoi is 6,000 VND (0.27 USD) per kg while it amounts to 11,000 – 12,000 VND in Ho Chi Minh City.

Le Son Ha, head of Plant Protection Department’s plant quarantine office, said the plant quarantine staff will offer all possible support to firms.

The HIC, which got the official certification from Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on June 20, is currently capable of irradiating 20-30 tonnes of fruit each day.

Irradiation is a safe technology that helps kill bacteria and micro-organisms and keeps fruit fresh for longer periods, even up to a few months.

Integration opens up new economic development space: President

International integration and engagement in new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) have opened up a fresh development space for the Vietnamese economy, President Tran Dai Quang has said.

The State leader made the remarks at a June 23 meeting with business people who attended a forum on Vietnamese enterprises’ connectivity and integration in the era of new-generation FTAs held by the Finance Ministry in conjunction with the National Assembly’s External Relations Committee and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Hanoi the same day.

He stressed active and proactive integration and international cooperation as major strategic orientations charted by the Party and State in order to fulfill the tasks of national construction and defence.

Reviewing outcomes of the international economic integration process, the President said Vietnam has established trade ties with more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, joined efforts in building the ASEAN Economic Community and engaged in 15 new-generation FTAs, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an agreement with the EU and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

He hailed the business community’s contributions to national achievements, saying they have actively partaken in the global supply chain, contributed to the State coffer and helped elevate the country’s position in the world arena.

However, the leader said, the path of international integration also offers a galaxy of difficulties and challenges to the domestic economy.

Given this, he asked domestic enterprises to set forth specific action programmes, focusing on long-term strategies for production, business and market development in order to improve the competitiveness of their products and services.

The President also urged ministries, agencies and localities to pay more heed to raising public awareness of international integration as well as challenges and opportunities afforded by the new-generation FTAs.

Business representatives proposed a number of solutions to make the best of the deals in the time ahead with importance placed on trade promotion, enhancing the role played by trade representative offices, technological application in management, and connecting local firms with regional and global value chains.

Sugar prices high despite imports

Government approval for importing 100,000 tonnes of sugar will help meet demand in the local market, but cannot bring down prices because the distribution system is poor, economists say.

The prolonged drought has had a great impact on the sugar industry, with sugarcane production falling for the last two years.

Do Thanh Liem, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Sugarcane Association, said this year’s sugar supply would only reach 1.2 million tonnes, a whopping 1.4 million tonnes less than last year, pushing up retail prices.

From VND13,000 per kilo last year, they have shot up to VND17,000-21,000.

This has persuaded the Government to approve the import of 100,000 tonnes as recently suggested by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

“However, the import … cannot help lower sugar prices immediately,” Liem said.

Sugar prices are high in the world market and so import prices will be high, he said.

Vu Vinh Phu, chairman of the Hanoi Supermarket Association, said the diminished supply is not the main reason for the price increase.

Locally produced sugar can meet 70-80% of the demand, while the remaining 20-30% is met by illegal imports from Thailand, he said.

“Poor distribution has forced sugar prices up. The production costs range from VND13,000 to VND14,000 per kilo, but it is sold for VND19,000 at traditional markets and VND20,000–21,000 at supermarkets.

He said the distribution channels should be improved and intermediaries should be eliminated to bring sugar directly from the refineries to retailers.

“Furthermore, sugarcane growers should be paid better so that they do not chop sugarcane when prices go down.”

GE Healthcare unveils new anesthesia solutions in Vietnam

GE Healthcare announced the launch of its new Carestation 600 Series, an affordable suite of anesthesia solutions, at the Vietnam Congress of Anaesthesiology 2016 in the central province of Binh Dinh’s Quy Nhon today.

The new suite of solutions is comprised of two machines – both of which balance user interface design with intelligent tools to help physicians prevent misuse and medical errors in the operating room.

Perioperative care is increasingly complex with more sick patients, requiring more tasks to accomplish at the same time and with the same resources in a highly regulated environment. In a fast-paced environment such as the operating room, rotating clinical staff need easy-to-use equipment so they can focus their time on patient treatment rather than operating machines.

“This is the first time we have such great integrated anesthesia solutions in Vietnam. It is good news for not only our anesthetists but also the patients. It helps control the anesthesia in the most effective way with a full range of indicators provided,” said Association Professor, PhD Cong Quyet Thang, chairman of the Vietnam Society of Anesthesiologists.

The new GE anesthesia machines intelligently package and connect monitoring devices, innovative parameters and advanced ventilation tools into a single, integrated system.  With these new machines, Vietnam is now offered modern technologies that help to improve anesthesia administration and perioperative care, resulting in safer surgeries.

The Carestation 600 Series recently received the ‘iF Design Award 2016’ for its excellence in product design from the iF International Design GmbH. The iF Design Award is one of the most celebrated and valued design competitions in the world receiving 5,000 submissions from 70 countries every year.

“By creating a product that helps reduce the number of medical errors in the operating room, we are improving the standards of safe anesthesiology in the country, ultimately improving safe surgery,” said Nilesh Shah, general manager of Life Care Solutions for GE Healthcare Asia Pacific. “The Carestation 600 Series anesthesia machines help to address many market demands in the country – an anesthesia machine that is simple, smart and agile but also still reliable and cost-effective.”

Mega expos planned for second city

The Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of Ho Chi Minh City, the Japan External Trade Organization and Reed Tradex last week inked a deal to jointly organise four international supporting industry exhibitions in Ho Chi Minh City.

Accordingly, Thai-based Reed Tradex will organise the machine tools and metalworking solutions exhibition Metalex Vietnam, Industrial Components and Subcontracting Vietnam as well as measurement and testing technologies for electronics manufacturing exhibition Nepcon Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of Ho Chi Minh City (ITPC) will organise the Business Alliance for Supporting Industry exhibition. At the expo, Japanese manufacturers will display parts, equipment and supporting services while Vietnamese suppliers will contribute stands on components and equipment.

Isara Burintramart, Reed Tradex’s executive director, said that the mega expos would help stimulate the development of Vietnamese supporting industries by facilitating technology transfer and expanding business networks.

Hirokata Yasuzumi, JETRO’s chief representative in Ho Chi Minh City, shared that there was a 12 per cent decrease in the number of projects invested by Japanese firms in Vietnam last year. The percentage of the domestic supply for Japanese companies in Vietnam accounted for only 32 per cent.

 He added that most Vietnamese supporting firms were small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which lack the required capital to invest in new technologies and equipment. Furthermore, it is difficult for them to access banks and credit institutions.

Indeed, Vietnamese SMEs are facing intensive competition, and as a result, many will withdraw from the market if they do not receive timely support soon. The Ministry of Planning and Investment has recently drafted a new SME support law that includes many incentives but the key to promoting supporting industries will be implementing the law efficiently.

E-commerce agency says no to criminalization of administrative violations

The Vietnam E-commerce and Information Technology Agency has confirmed its stance that administrative violations in the e-commerce field should not be treated as criminal offenses, heard a conference in HCMC last weekend.

The agency made clear its view after many startups and enterprises active in the field voiced concern over a regulation in Article 292 of the 2015 Penal Code as some administrative violations like having no license may be considered a criminal offense of providing illegal services on the Internet and telecom network.

Talking about how Article 292 could affect business operations and startups at the Vietnam Mobile Day 2016, the agency’s head, Tran Huu Linh, said just administrative fines on violators would be enough.

Linh said he has heard that the amended Penal Code treats as criminal offenses some actions related to e-commerce platforms, mobile app development and telecom services. But perhaps the drafting committee led by the Ministry of Public Security aimed to strictly deal with violations on the Internet which might greatly affect national security.

According to Linh, the article will not affect the development of technological business models and startups in Vietnam.

Nguyen Thanh Hung, chairman of the Vietnam E-commerce Association (VECOM), suggested individuals and organizations interested in establishing businesses in the technological field read Decree 52/2013/ND-CP on e-commerce. Those who face legal difficulties seek help from associations like VECOM, the Vietnam Software and IT Services Association (VINASA) and the Vietnam Association for Information Processing.

Nguyen Dinh Thang, vice chairman of VINASA, said the association cared about issues such as the criminalization of administrative violations and the imposition of administrative fines on startups.

Thang said VINASA would request the Government not to introduce regulations which might hold back the development of startups and young businesses.

SBV to represent State stake in PVcomBank

Vietnam Public Bank (PVcomBank) has said the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) will replace Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) to become the representative of a 52% State stake in PVcomBank.

According to a draft document to be presented at an upcoming shareholder meeting of PVcomBank, the lender got the the Prime Minister’s nod in early March for a restructuring scheme in the 2016-2020 period. The SBV will replace PetroVietnam to manage the State stake in PVcomBank after the bank has completed its restructuring.

The central bank approved the restructuring scheme early this month, according to local media.

In 2013, Phuong Tay Commercial Bank (Western Bank) and PetroVietnam Finance Corporation (PVFC) merged into PVcomBank. After the merger, PetroVietnam has remained the biggest shareholder of PVcomBank with a 52% stake, or VND4.68 trillion (US$209.6 million).

As market conditions have not been good for PetroVietnam’s capital divestment from PVcomBank, the central bank will take over the management of the State stake in the lender, so PetroVietnam would not get money from the transfer.

According to the 2015 audited financial report, PVcomBank earned VND56 billion in after-tax profit, down 39% against 2014.

PVcomBank leaders explained that the bank could not increase its revenue and profit last year as it concentrated on restructuring.

This year, PVcomBank looks to obtain revenue of VND5.5 trillion and pre-tax profit of VND65 billion.

Many foreign suppliers seen coming to Vietnam

Many suppliers of machinery and technology will follow manufacturers that are relocating production from Thailand and China to Vietnam, said BT Tee, deputy chief of the Singapore Exhibition Services (SES) office in Vietnam.

Tee was speaking about this trend at a press conference held in HCMC on June 22 to introduce the 14th International Precision Engineering, Machine Tools and Metalworking Exhibition and Conference (MTA Vietnam 2016).

Tee said foreign manufacturing firms have seen opportunities to set up shop in Vietnam as the country has intensified international integration and signed more free trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Therefore, numerous machinery, equipment and technology suppliers will follow them.

Regarding MTA Vietnam 2016, Tee said 416 enterprises have put their names down to participate in the event and that 75% of them are from abroad. The number of exhibitors was 342 last year.

At least 50 Taiwanese enterprises will take part in MTA Vietnam 2016, the biggest number of exhibitors from a single foreign market at the upcoming event. According to Tee, many of them have registered to join the exhibition because they are aware of their customers’ plans to shift production from Thailand and China to Vietnam.

Statistics of the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) indicated that Taiwan ranked fourth among 60 countries and territories investing in Vietnam in the first five months of this year, with a total of over US$845 million pledged for 51 new and 43 operational projects. A majority of Taiwanese projects in Vietnam center on manufacturing, especially machine tools.

The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) said many Taiwanese engineering firms and suppliers have chosen Vietnam as their investment destination and that international trade events such as MTA Vietnam are a good chance for them to enter the local market and build partnerships.

Tee said many enterprises from South Korea and Singapore have also stepped up investments and shifted production to Vietnam and helped attract many suppliers to this growing market. They will help develop Vietnam’s manufacturing sector and supporting industries and services.

Tee quoted surveys as saying that every US$1 invested in manufacturing would result in an additional investment of US$40 in supporting industries. Therefore, if Vietnam maintains its advantage as an attractive destination for global manufacturers, its economy would develop in the same way as China’s did in the past.

MTA Vietnam 2016 will kick off at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center (SECC) in District 7 on July 5. The four-day event will showcase innovative technological devices and machines in the precision engineering, machine tool and metalworking industries.

The event will be jointly organized by SES and VCCI Exhibition Service Co Ltd.

Traditional specialties of Ninh Binh labelled with collective marks

Kim Son fine-art sedge products, Ninh Van stone carvings and Trau fish – the traditional products of the northern province of Ninh Binh – now have their own collective trademarks.

The certificates of the collective marks were presented on June 23.

Nguyen Thanh Binh, Director of the Intellectual Asset Development Centre under the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam, said Kim Son fine-art sedge products, Ninh Van stone carvings and Trau fish (known as “the fish of the king”) are famous in Vietnam and other countries.

The certification of the collective marks will help improve their prestige and competitiveness in domestic and foreign markets, he noted.

Ninh Binh’s association for craft producers should issue detailed standards to ensure the uniform quality of the products, Binh said, asking the provincial Department of Science and Technology and other agencies to assist craft producers to acquire trademark management and development skills.

Nguyen Thanh Ha, who leads the project on building and developing the collective mark of Kim Son fine-art sedge products, said relevant agencies should enhance communications to help producers and businesses fully understand the importance of the collective mark.

Meanwhile, Hoang Ha, head of the project on developing the collective mark of Trau fish, said Trau fish is a rare species with a specific habitat, making the domestication and farming of this fish difficult. Local authorities need to provide financial aid and training courses to help farmers expand the raising and trading of this species.

Woori Bank to set up entity in Vietnam

South Korea’s Woori Bank has applied to set up shop in Vietnam sometime this year, Reuters reported on June 20.

The largest South Korean bank in terms of consolidated assets according to first quarter of 2016 figures, Woori Bank is waiting for final approval from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to become a wholly foreign-owned bank in the country.

Sources close to the central bank confirmed the Reuters report with VET but no SBV leaders were willing to give confirmation at this time. Woori Bank currently has branches in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

South Korea is the largest foreign investor in Vietnam with substantial investments coming from giants such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. Vietnam aims to become a Southeast Asian production hub for South Korean conglomerates.

Other major South Korean companies in Vietnam include Kumho Construction, Posco, Hanjin Logistics, and Kumho Tire.

South Korea and Vietnam have major potential to further promote their relationship and economic ties when the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA), signed last year, comes into effect.

As at May this year South Korea had 5,273 projects with total registered capital of $49 billion in Vietnam, ranking it No. 1 out of 115 countries and territories. The average scale of each project is about $9.3 million, according to figures from the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

Two-way trade was reported at $34.4 billion in 2015, a 29 per cent increase year-on-year. As at the end of April trade was $12.7 billion this year, 13 per cent higher year-on-year.

There are also wide-ranging people exchanges between two countries. More than 1 million Vietnamese people are employed by South Korean enterprises and 130,000 South Koreans are living and working in Vietnam.

Once licensed, Woori Bank’s Vietnam concern will be the second South Korean bank in the country and it is expected to provide support and encourage even more South Korean companies to expand their operations.

The other 100 per cent foreign-owned banks in Vietnam are HSBC, ANZ, Standard Chartered Bank, Hong Leong Bank, Shinhan Bank and Public Bank Perhad (PBB).

With approval expected, Woori Bank will strive to strengthen its localized services to retail customers through channels such as its mobile banking platform Wibee Bank and its chat app Wibee Talk.

HSBC was the first foreign bank to gain approval from the SBV to set up a wholly foreign-owned bank in Vietnam, in September 2008. Malaysia’s Hong Leong Bank was the first from Southeast Asia to gain approval from the SBV, in December 2008.

Standard Chartered Bank, Shinhan Bank and ANZ all received approval from the SBV in 2009. Malaysia’s Public Bank Perhad (PBB) is the newest foreign bank to gain approval, in March this year.

Vietnam now has 50 branches of foreign banks, 50 representative offices, 16 foreign non-bank credit financial institutions, and four joint venture banks, according to the SBV.

Seminar highlights Viet Nam-Germany economic prospects

A seminar featuring the prospects of Viet Nam-Germany economic ties was held in Berlin on June 22, attracting managers, economists and over 300 Vietnamese and German businesses.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Vietnamese Ambassador Doan Xuan Hung described Germany as the largest trade partner of Viet Nam in the European Union (EU) and the fifth largest EU investor in the country.

He said two-way trade and investment, however, remained modest, and German businesspeople had not gained a good understanding of the Vietnamese market even though many wanted to invest in the country.

Several Vietnamese and German officials addressed the event, analysing the potential of economic, trade and investment links and mentioned their governments’ measures to remove existing hindrances.

The speakers included Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong from the Vietnamese side. The German speakers were State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Uwe Beckmeyer, and Director General for Economic Affairs and Sustainable Development under the Foreign Ministry Dieter Haller.

Officials from both sides appreciated the initiative to open a Germany-Viet Nam trade office, towards the goal of lifting two-way trade to US $20 billion in the next five years.

The participants discussed Viet Nam’s competitiveness and ability to attract German small and medium-sized enterprises and said Vietnam and Germany should cooperate in mutually-beneficial and supplementary fields.

Economist Vo Tri Thanh said Viet Nam is interested in developing small and medium-sized enterprises and hopes for further German assistance in the field.

Concluding the event, Ambassador Hung said the embassy will thoroughly consider recommendations, especially ways to boost bilateral ties, and report to the government, ministries and agencies. He also pledged support for businesses in the embassy’s capacity.

South Africa keen on boosting trade ties with Vietnam

South Africa considers Vietnam a promising economic, trade and investment partner, said South African Ambassador to Vietnam Kgomotso Ruth Magau during a Vietnam-South Africa business meeting on June 23 in Ho Chi Minh City.

The diplomat said that practical support policies in trade and investment that South Africa has offered to foreign investors will help Vietnamese business access the market effectively.

South Africa is calling for investment in infrastructure building, the production industry as well as mining and heavy industry, she revealed.

In the first four months of this year, trade between Vietnam and South Africa reached 362 million USD, with Vietnam’s exports totalling 332 million USD.

Vietnam mainly shipped mobile phones and accessories, footwear, apparel, coffee, rice, wood and wooden products, and seafood to South Africa; while importing steel, chemicals, material plastics and cotton fabric.

According to Nguyen The Huong, Vice Director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s branch in Ho Chi Minh City, two-way trade has seen remarkable growth, but not yet matching potential.

He said he believes that the event, with the presence of nearly 20 South African enterprises, mostly in food processing, agricultural production, steel and fertilizer, will offer oppertunities for business of both sides to boost their partnership in the future.

As part of efforts to back their connectivity, the VCCI has signed a cooperation agreement with the South Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry to jointly organise action plans and investment promotion conferences between the two sides, creating opportunities for enterprises to exchange experience and seek partnerships, Hung added.

Bac Giang exports over 32,200 tonnes of lychee so far

The northern province of Bac Giang has so far exported over 32,215 tonnes of “thieu” lychee, a provincial specialty, to China, the US, Australia and Malaysia, accounting for nearly 25 percent of the province’s total production in the 2016 crop.

According to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, 32,200 tonnes were shipped to China through Lang Son, Lao Cai and Ha Giang border gates. Meanwhile, 13 tonnes were sent to the US, Australia and Malaysia.

This year, lychee exporters are expanding their markets to Poland and the Middle East, the department added.

As part of efforts to back exporters, the department has coordinated with authorised agencies in the border provinces of Lao Cai and Lang Son to update them on the market situation and new policies of China, while promoting lychees in mass media in China, the US, France, Australia and Malaysia.

In this year’s crop, Bac Giang’s total lychee production is estimated to reach 130,000 tonnes, including 59,450 tonnes produced to VietGap standards. So far, 54,200 tonnes, or 39 percent of the lychees, have been harvested.

Luc Ngan district, the largest “thieu” lychee producer in Bac Giang, has 158 hectares of lychee farms producing about 1,000 tonnes to the GlobalGap standard.

Along with exports, Bac Giang has also sold a great volume of lychee to the domestic market, especially southern localities, with 8,000 tonnes.

Vietnam reports $177 million trade deficit in May

Sugar prices high despite imports, SBV to represent State stake in PVcomBank, Many foreign suppliers seen coming to Vietnam, Woori Bank to set up entity in Vietnam, Vietnam reports $177 million trade deficit in May

Vietnam saw a trade deficit of 177 million USD in May after two months enjoying slight surplus, according to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

The country shipped 14.37 billion USD worth of products to foreign countries (up 0.1 percent) while imports ballooned to 14.55 billion USD (up 3.4 percent) in the month.

During the first five months of this year, Vietnam’s foreign trade totalled 133.25 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 2.2 percent. The national balance of trade saw a surplus of 1.64 billion USD with export turnover at 67.44 billion USD and import value at 65.8 billion USD.

Foreign-invested enterprises posted 8.34 billion USD in trade surplus while domestic businesses ran a trade deficit of nearly 6.7 billion USD.

Finance group to focus on restructuring

The National Financial and Monetary Policy Advisory Council will concentrate on dealing with the reorganisation of credit institutions and State-owned enterprises, and handling bad debts during the rest of the year.

The council, which is tasked to advise the Government on financial and monetary issues, will also focus on restructuring State budget revenues and spending, assuring public debt security, and working out schemes against dollarisation in the economy.

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue made the announcements as he chaired the first meeting of the council yesterday, after the 31-member commission was established following a decision by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on June 17.

Hue is the chairman of the council, and its standing vice chairman is State Bank of Viet Nam Governor Le Minh Hung. Two other vice chairpersons are Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung, and National Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Vu Viet Ngoan.

Hue said the council will have an “independent voice” while consulting financial and monetary operations of the Government and the Prime Minister.

He assigned the State Bank of Viet Nam – the standing agency of the council – to regularly poll international experts, entrepreneurs and scientists to support the operations, besides holding quarterly council meetings.

Yesterday, Hue received Standard Chartered Viet Nam General Director Nirukt Sapru at the Government headquarters, asking British bank Standard Chartered to continue to assist the Vietnamese Government in working with international credit rating agencies.

He said the Government needs recommendations from the bank so that the rating agencies can have comprehensive and objective assessments about Viet Nam’s socio-economic situation. This is necessary for the country to improve its image in the international arena in general, and investors’ world in particular.

He also asked the bank to keep a close contact with the Ministry of Finance in monitoring global capital market developments, forecasting macro-economic conditions, and developing the local financial market.

Sapru suggested that Viet Nam should pay more attention to its bond issuances in international markets, because this is a premise for effective public debt management.

During a working session on public debt on Tuesday, Hue urged ministries, sectors and localities to quicken capital disbursement to ensure job generation and national economic growth.

Slow disbursement

Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said the disbursement progress in public investment projects had been slow this year.

Ministries, sectors and localities had disbursed a combined total of over VND83 billion trillion (US$3.73 billion) (can kiem tra so) worth of public investment capital this year, equivalent to some 33 per cent of the quota set by the National Assembly for 2016.

Dung attributed the situation to slow submission of capital plans by the authorities and incomplete documents guiding the assessment and approval of investment projects. Obstacles in land clearance and weak competence of contractors also led to the tardiness.

Hue asked the Ministries of Planning and Investment and Finance to promptly review the guiding documents and intensify inspection of the quality of public investment projects, to promote their roles towards socio-economic growth.

Businesses and trade

During another working session with the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday, Hue said the issuance of a list of imported products, which must follow customs procedures at Vietnamese border gates, must be under established laws while creating favourable conditions for businesses and trade.

He asked the ministry to attach importance to these issues when compiling the list of imported products which must have customs procedures conducted at Vietnamese border gates.

“Careful study is needed, given the recent promulgation of Government Resolution 35/NQ-CP on support to enterprises by 2020,” he said.

The possible impact, such as congestion of goods at border gates or rising business costs, must be taken into consideration, he said.

According to the Ministry of Finance, which was in charge of compiling the list, the issuance was in line with Decree No 08/2015/ND-CP instructing the implementation of customs procedures following the Law on Customs, with one term stating that based on import and export in each period, the Prime Minister had decided the list of imported products with customs procedures to be conducted at border gates.

Deputy Minister of Finance Do Hoang Anh Tuan said the move was aimed at tightening customs checks on products to limit consumption in the domestic market or on products with high risk of trade frauds.

The finance ministry has proposed 11 categories of products to be included in the list.

These include cigarettes, cigars, tobacco and alcohol, as well as beer, cars with less than 16 seats, motorcycles with cylinder capacity above 125cm3 and aircraft, along with yachts which were subject to special consumption tax, air conditioners with capacity of less than 90,000 BTU, cards, votive papers and imported products which enjoyed preferential import taxes.

Nguyen Ngoc Anh, deputy director of the General Department of Customs, said those products accounted for just 8.7 per cent of the total customs clearance volume, thus the impact on enterprises would not be significant.

Vietjet launches HCM City-Tainan air route

The low-cost carrier Vietjet Air launched an air route between Ho Chi Minh City and Tainan (Taiwan) on June 22 with favourable prices.

The air route will meet transport and travel demands of people from two cities and contribute to promoting trade ties and global integration.

Tainan is the second destination of Vietjet Air in Taiwan after Taipei.

The route will be operated on every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday in about 3.15 hours.

The flights depart from Ho Chi Minh City at 10:45 (local time) and arrive in Tainan City at 15:00 (local time). The return ones take off from Tainan City at 16:00 (local time) and arrive in Ho Chi Minh City at 18:15 (local time).

Tickets can be booked at www.vietjetair.com (also compatible with smartphones at https://m.vietjetair.com) or at www.facebook.com/vietjetvietnam (just click the “Booking” tab), tel19001886 and booking agents across the country. Payment can be easily made with debit and credit cards of Visa, MasterCard, JCB, and American Express and ATM cards issued by 24 Vietnamese banks with Internet banking.

To celebrate the new route, Vietjet offers 100,000 saving tickets just from VND 0 on June 21,22 and 23 from 12 to 2pm at websitewww.vietjetair.com for all flights from August 10 to December 31, 2016.

Nafiqad retracts wrong warning against Saigon Food

The National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (Nafiqad) has retracted a warning that Saigon Food Joint Stock Company (SGF) had sent Australia a frozen red tilapia shipment with Enrofloxacine antibiotic residues.

In Document 1261/QLCL-CL1 sent to SGF, Nafiqad clarified the shipment belonged to another local firm, Saigon Aquatic Products Trading Joint Stock Company (APT).

In another document sent to the Australian agency in charge of the incident on Monday, Nafiqad requested data about the exporter to be corrected. Nafiqad asked the agency to avoid repeating similar mistakes as this affects the reputation of wrongly named fish exporters.

Nguyen Nhu Tiep, director of Nafiqad, told the Daily that the mistake may have resulted from the same word “Saigon” in the names of the two companies. Nafiqad urged APT to give an explanation.

Mai Minh Vuong, deputy general director of APT, said the company had recently exported red tilapia samples to an Australian partner and has not heard from the partner as well as Nafiqad. Therefore, APT is unaware of whether the shipment was infected with antibiotics and if yes antibiotic residues exceeded permissible levels or not.

Vuong added APT has long exported red tilapia to Europe and antibiotic residues in this product are strictly controlled.

Smart garment technology on display in Hanoi

Around 15 exhibitors from Belgium are demonstrating the latest in technologically advanced smart clothing at an international garment trade fair that opened on June 21 in Hanoi.

Wearable technology such as smart t-shirts that have the capability to measure body parameters has become increasingly popular throughout Europe over recent years, say representatives of Flanders Investment and Trade, one of the organizers.

Smart t-shirts, they say, allow for maximum user comfort and natural movement while at the same time measuring a person’s heart rate with pinpoint accuracy in an unobtrusive way.

In addition, wearable technology has the ability to tackle a vast range of applications from fitness tracking and healthcare monitoring to safety applications, such as firefighters working in dangerous situations.

Smart electronic functionality is new technology to Vietnam said Truong Van Can, vice president of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), another organizer of the event.

Belgium businesses are widely recognized around the globe as pioneers in electronic and digital technologies for checking, supervising and controlling the textiles production process, said Mr Can.

The top five patented textile machinery applications for weaving utilized in the production of interior fabrics (wool carpets, upholstered furniture, tablecloths, linen, and velvet) are on show at the fair.

He said almost all of the technologies on display are fully compatible, allowing for rapid integration, with most standard material production processes and conventional textile manufacturing currently utilized in Vietnam.

Vietnam seeks to fulfill TPP commitments to employment

Vietnam should complete labour standards and relations in order to fulfill its commitments to employment and trade union in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement to which the country is a signatory, heard a workshop in the central city of Da Nang on June 21.

Dr. Bui Sy Loi, deputy head of the National Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee, underlined the need for Vietnam to satisfy labour standards and relations stated in the 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of the International Labour Organisation to which Vietnam is also a member.

At the same time, Vietnam should assess the agreement’s impacts on sectors and businesses while seeking specific measures to maximise opportunities afforded by the pact, he said.

Loi noted that joining the deal will help Vietnam speed up the perfection of the market economy mechanism, the restructuring of the economy and work force as well as the transformation of growth model.

His views were shared by Mai Duc Chinh, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL), who suggested adjusting and supplementing a number of contents of the Labour Code in order to meet TPP requirements.

It is necessary to ensure occupational health for female workers and lift the regulation banning women from certain jobs, he stressed.

He said apart from integration and development opportunities, the agreement will pose great challenges to trade union organisations, especially in fulfilling employment commitments.

Economic ministers from Vietnam and other 11 member nations signed the TPP agreement in Auckland, New Zealand, on February 4, 2016. The countries are on the process of ratifying and implementing the deal.

Mekong countries share land governance experiences

Government officials from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, which border the Mekong River, shared land governance experiences at a forum which opened in Hanoi on June 21.

The three-day function features nearly 20 panel discussions, during which the officials, along with scientists and businesspersons, are set to exchange experiences and suggest solutions to ensure transparent and fair land access for farmers and enterprises, thus driving sustainable development of agriculture and rural areas.

Jochem Lange, Country Director of the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), said ensuring responsible and sustainable investment in land is vital for socio-economic development.

At the forum, Ngo Dong Hai, Vice Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Economic Affairs, said in the current industrialisation and modernisation, land resources have not been managed and exploited effectively. Land degradation and pollution has reached an alarming rate in many areas, while drought and saltwater intrusion are threatening others.

Sustainably developing land resources is critically important to the sustainable development of Vietnam, he added.

Le Quoc Doanh, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said Vietnam is strongly restructuring agriculture with a view to enhancing the sector’s added value and sustainable development. To do that, it must remove policy obstacles, especially those related to land – the basic means of production in agriculture and forestry.

The forum was held as part of the Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The MRLG project aims to assist the Mekong countries to issue solutions to challenges they are facing during the building and implementation of land governance policies and legal regulations.

VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VET/VIR

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