FDI firms provide forthright advice

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As the business community has entered 2014 with new hopes and plans, VIR talks with executives of foreign firms about their expectations on FDI policy improvements. Crispin Bui IBM ASEAN executive and general business manager of IBM Vietnam Since its official return to Vietnam in 1996 as a 100 per cent foreign-invested IT company, IBM has grown fast in the market with serious long-term commitment and focused investments from the corporation. In the past few years, like other investors, we have been concerned about the post-crisis prospects, when many of our clients are uncertain about their sustainability. The increasingly interconnected economies, enterprises, societies and governments have made the new economic environment substantially more complex, more uncertain and more unpredictable. IBM views marketplace volatility as an indispensable part of doing business globally. Importantly, the Vietnamese government has been seeing FDI as a driving factor for the country's … [Read more...]

Foreign investors yet to take root

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Although the Red River Delta is an attractive venue for drawing foreign investors in livestock sector, there appears to be an urgent need for better incentives to lure more overseas capital, as VIR's Thanh Thu reports. In early October 2012, US' Cargill Vietnam's ninth Vietnam-based animal feed mill in northern Ha Nam province officially came into operation, with and total investment capital of $18 million and the capability of producing 240,000 tonnes of feed per year. This is the company's second animal feed mill in the country's Red River Delta. The first one located in neighbouring Hung Yen province started operating in 2004 and it now has an annual capacity of 120,000 tonnes. It is expected that the combined capacity of these two mills will reach 400,000 tonnes by 2015. In mid-October 2012, Cargill Vietnam also put its $4 million aqua feed production line into operation at the Hung Yen mill, raising the number of the company's total aqua feed production lines in Vietnam to … [Read more...]

BUSINESS IN BRIEF 18/9

US stimulus buoys local shares Stocks on the HCM City Stock Exchange posted modest gains over the course of last week but declined in Ha Noi despite a strong performance on Friday driven in part by the positive response of world markets to the announcement of a new round of US stimulus measures. The US Federal Reserve said last week that it would pump US$40 billion into the economy each month through a bond-buying progamme already being referred to as QE3 (the bank's third round of quantitative easing). … [Read more...]

Tongwei’s appetite to succeed

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China-backed Tongwei Company has inaugurated Tongwei animal feed factory in the northern Hai Duong province's Lai Cach industrial zone. The $10 million factory, covering 30,000 square metres, is equipped with the latest technology to process food for domestic animals. The new facility has a designed capacity of 200,000 tonnes per year. … [Read more...]

BUSINESS IN BRIEF 12/7

Strawberry, artichoke cultivated area decreased in Da Lat Recently, the cultivated area under strawberry and artichoke, both famous specialties of Da Lat City, has been decreased due to unstable price factors and spread of plant disease. Ho Ngoc Dinh, chairman of the Farmer’s Association of Ward 12 in Thai Phien village in Da Lat City said that the village now has only 40 hectares under artichoke cultivation, a decrease by 10 hectares since last year. From 1997 to 1999, artichoke cultivation was spread across more than 100 hectares and sold at a high price of VND120,000 per kilogram. Even though it remains a favorite food item, price of artichoke has continued to fall since 2007, with the fresh flower selling at VND10,000-VND15,000 a kilogram and the dried for about VND70,000 per kilo. Farmers have turned to flower cultivation to supply to the local and export markets to reap higher profits, using greenhouse technology. Strawberries too are not being seen much in Ha Dong … [Read more...]

Feed producers’ big appetites

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Many foreign animal feed producers are increasing investment in Vietnam to meet the industry’s rich potential.Japfa Comfeed Vietnam, an affiliate of Japfa - one of Indonesia’s leading groups in producing and trading animal feed and breeding animals, started work on its fifth animal feed factory in Vietnam, with the 7.6 hectare plant in northern Hoa Binh province coming with a VND600 billion ($28.8 million) price tag. “With huge development potential of the animal feed industry and a favourable investment environment, we decided to build the Hoa Binh animal feed plant with an aim to meeting the market’s increasing demand,” said the company’s general director Sanjeev Kumar. Japfa Comfeed Vietnam targeted to reach its animal feed output of one million tonnes by 2015 and two million tonnes by 2020, he added. In March Cargill Vietnam, an affiliate of the US-based Cargill Group, inaugurated its ninth animal feed plant in the country. The new $18 million … [Read more...]

Vietnam property market poised for solid 2016

The Vietnamese property market is entering 2016 after witnessing recoveries of firms in 2015, driven by macroeconomic improvements and policies of openness. Still, there are concerns about the property market's development. Vietnam News reporters speak to real estate service and consultancy firms, a developer, an association and a bank about the development of the realty market and their expectations. Mauro Gasparotti, executive director at Alternaty, or Alternative Real Estate Service Co., Ltd: huge investment opportunities Vietnam is offering the most exciting opportunities in the region, while the regional real estate markets are suffering. Singapore is feeling the effects of the heavy-handed cooling measures, Indonesia and Malaysia have seen rapid currency depreciation, Thailand continues to grapple with internal issues and Myanmar is seeing significant supply coming into the market, putting downward pressure on rentals and pricing. Meanwhile, Vietnam has come through an … [Read more...]

VN property market poised for solid 2016

The Vietnamese property market is entering 2016 after witnessing recoveries of firms in 2015, driven by macroeconomic improvements and policies of openness. Still, there are concerns about the property market's development. Viet Nam News reporters speak to real estate service and consultancy firms, a developer, an association and a bank about the development of the realty market and their expectations.Mauro Gasparotti, executive director at Alternaty, or Alternative Real Estate Service Co., Ltd: huge investment opportunities Viet Nam is offering the most exciting opportunities in the region, while the regional real estate markets are suffering. Singapore is feeling the effects of the heavy-handed cooling measures, Indonesia and Malaysia have seen rapid currency depreciation, Thailand continues to grapple with internal issues and Myanmar is seeing significant supply coming into the market, putting downward pressure on rentals and pricing. Meanwhile, Viet Nam has come through an … [Read more...]

Weekly roundup: Expat life, holiday madness, corruption ranking

How Vietnam fares in this year's Corruption Perceptions Index   Transparency International published the index this week, trying to give a rough idea of how corruption is perceived.

Tan Son Nhat has been seeing a massive influx ahead of the country's biggest festival. Village given final warning to stop pig slaughter ritual in public Officials, however, are not very confident that villagers will listen and take the gory tradition away from the public eye. Many have protested the cable car project, but the first passengers seem too happy to care. … [Read more...]

Malaysia’s anti-graft efforts haven’t put investors at ease

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CIMB Group chairman Nazir Razak Bank accounts frozen. Bankers quizzed. As offshore authorities seek to track money flows involving Malaysia’s troubled government investment fund, fresh questions are rising about doing business in the country. Crisscrossing countries from Switzerland to the U.S., Middle East and Singapore, investigators are chasing a trail of transactions linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd. With the probes potentially running for years, investors and analysts say it may damage the perception that Malaysia is trying to become a more transparent place. The risk is political, economic and commercial. Debt-ridden 1MDB, which is in the process of being broken up, was touted as the vehicle for the government to spur growth, investing mainly in property and power generation. Prime Minister Najib Razak -- who has faced a separate furor over a $681 million personal donation from the Saudi royal family -- sits on its advisory board. The premier was cleared of any … [Read more...]

How Vietnam fares in this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index

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A map of Corruption Perceptions Index 2015. Photo credit: Transparency International Vietnam's score on an annual corruption index published by Transparency International continues to stay below average, but at least one official has suggested people should not read too much into the findings. Scoring 31 out of 100 for the fourth year, Vietnam was ranked 112 out of 168 polled countries and territories on the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index released early this week. The index, which measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption from zero to 100, or highly corrupt to very clean, is calculated using 12 different data sources from 11 international institutions that capture perceptions of corruption in the past two years, the organization said in its report. With a score that was much lower than Asia-Pacific's average of 43, Vietnam was among countries where corruption among public institutions and employees is perceived as common. Although it outranked Cambodia, Laos and … [Read more...]

Corruption Perceptions Index: Vietnam ranks fifth in SEA

According to the 2015 corruption perception index (CPI) released by the Transparency International (TI), Vietnam ranked fifth in the top 10 Southeast Asian (SEA) countries. Singapore was the cleanest country in Southeast Asia with the score of 85/100. Malaysia and Thailand placed the second and third with 50/100 and 38/100, respectively. This year, Vietnam ranked 112 out of 168 countries and territories with the same score of 31/100. Denmark topped the world for the clean level (91/100), followed by Finland (90/100), and Sweden (89/100). Somalia and North Korea ranked at the bottom of the world with the same score of 8/100. The index ranked 168 countries and territories based on the perceived level of corruption in the public sector. It was based on 13 independent surveys, conducted by experts and businesses. VOV … [Read more...]

Official claims Transparency International ranking does not reflect ‘real situation’

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Pham Trong Dat, head of the Government Inspectorate Anti-Corruption Bureau has claimed that Vietnam's recent rankings on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index does not reflect the actual situation in the country. Pham Trong Dat, head of the Government Inspectorate Anti-Corruption Bureau "This information is just for reference," Dat told local media yesterday. "Transparency International did the studies and assessment in their own way, which are different from the way we things do here. Therefore, the results don't thoroughly explain the real corruption problems in Vietnam. Vietnam ranked 112 out of 168 countries on the TI Corruption Perception Index 2015, improving seven places on last year, even though the country’s score remained at 31 on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), which remains unchanged over the last four years. TI advised Vietnam to carry out measures including the declaration of assets, collection of stolen assets, … [Read more...]

Vietnam sees little improvement in 2015 Corruption Perception Index

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Vietnam's ranking on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index improved marginally, but its score remains the same as the last four years. Stop Corruption Campaign in Thailand Vietnam ranked 112 out of 168 countries, improving seven places on last year, even though the country’s score has remained at 31 on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). Vietnam has tried to implement various measures to fight corruption. Last year, 705 officials were discovered to have been involved in corrupt practices. The inspectors proposed to recover VND756bn of stolen assets and over 6.3 hectares of land. Regarding to the score, representative of Towards Transparency, a Vietnamese non-profit consultancy company, said there were shortcomings in the anti-corruption measures that had not been addressed properly. Towards Transparency suggested that anti-corruption agencies and judicial authorities have enough resources and independence to operate. The government … [Read more...]

Survey finds Southeast Asia still struggling with corruption

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Workers operate cranes at an executive condominium construction site next to completed public housing apartments in Singapore on January 19, 2016. Singapore is the eighth least-corrupt nation in the world, according to Transparency International’s annual survey. Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su Three Southeast Asian nations -- Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar -- rank among the 30 most corrupt countries in the world, while one -- Singapore -- is among the 10 least corrupt, according to Transparency International’s annual survey. Two Southeast Asian countries -- Malaysia and the Philippines -- were seen as becoming more corrupt last year, while the others all improved or remained the same, according to the Corruption Perception Index released Wednesday. "If there was one common challenge to unite the Asia-Pacific region, it would be corruption," Srirak Plipat, Transparency International’s regional director, said in a statement. "From campaign pledges to media coverage to civil … [Read more...]

Progress in Vietnam’s anti-corruption efforts

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(VOVworld) – Transparency International reported that Vietnam’s corruption perceptions index in 2015 was 31 on a scale of 100 points. Vietnam’s Central Steering Committee for Corruption Prevention and Control convened in Hanoi this week to discuss anti-corruption plans for 2016. 11 suspected cases of corruption were detected in Hanoi and HCM city in the first 9 months of the year. They were reported to relevant agencies for further investigation. Government Inspector General Huynh Phong Tranh said: "It is difficult to detect all forms of corruption, whose consequences are huge. Signs of corruption include a group of people nullifying democratic institutions in an agency and establishing policies or mechanisms to serve personal or group interests." Mr. Tranh said relevant agencies should map out coordinated measures to prevent corruption: "Vietnam promulgated the law on corruption prevention and control in 2005 and revised it in 2007 and 2012. Vietnam has issued a … [Read more...]

Corruption fight on the right track: Chief Gov’t Inspector

More than 123,000 inspections on corruption have been conducted in 2015, with about VND212trillion (US$9.57 billion) seized by investigators. The State has recovered 70 per cent of misappropriated monies. This shows the innovation in planning, administration, management, and promoting responsibilities and qualities of inspectors, said Chief Government Inspector Huynh Phong Tranh during an interview on a VTV show People ask, Ministers answer on Sunday. He praised Ha Noi and HCM City for carrying out many inspections. During the first nine months of the year, the Ha Noi Inspectorate has transferred seven cases where crimes were suspected to functional authorities for further investigation while the figure in HCM City is four cases. Tranh said that there should be thorough and practical efforts made to tackle corruption. Regarding Viet Nam's implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and tasks on corruption prevention and fight, Tranh said that Viet Nam had … [Read more...]

Corruption fight on the right track

HA NOI (VNS) — More than 123,000 inspections on corruption have been conducted in 2015, with about VND212trillion (US$9.57 billion) seized by investigators. The State has recovered 70 per cent of misappropriated monies. This shows the innovation in planning, administration, management, and promoting responsibilities and qualities of inspectors, said Chief Government Inspector Huynh Phong Tranh during an interview on a VTV show People ask, Ministers answer on Sunday. He praised Ha Noi and HCM City for carrying out many inspections. During the first nine months of the year, the Ha Noi Inspectorate has transferred seven cases where crimes were suspected to functional authorities for further investigation while the figure in HCM City is four cases. Tranh said that there should be thorough and practical efforts made to tackle corruption. Regarding Viet Nam's implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and tasks on corruption prevention and fight, Tranh said … [Read more...]

Votes trump clean air as Indonesia polls worsen forest fires

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Indonesian police and firefighters extinguish a fire on burning peat land in the district of Kapuas in the Central Kalimantan province on Borneo island. Photo: AFP Indonesia’s forest fire-induced haze that has shrouded Southeast Asia for months has probably been made worse by electioneering ahead of the country’s local polls in December, a study has found. The practice of giving land handouts during campaigns increases access to forest that can be cleared by fire for plantations, according to research by forestry scientist Herry Purnomo at the independent Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research. Fires have increased in the years when local polls have also been held, he said. His study, which is unpublished and continuing, highlights the complexities for Indonesia’s government led by President Joko Widodo in tackling the fires that are an annual occurrence and have been prolonged this year, blanketing Indonesia and parts of Southeast Asia in thick … [Read more...]

Businesses have to pay “underground” fees to lubricate government apparatus

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VietNamNet Bridge - Eighty-nine percent of foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) say if they do not pay "commissions" to state agency officials, they will meet with unfortunate action or behavior. The audience at the Spring Economics Forum organized in late April roared with laughter when Dau Anh Tuan, head of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (VCCI) legal department, noted that he could see some improvement in the "underground fee culture". In 2010, over 47 percent of FIEs, answering VCCI’s questionnaire, said they got things done with state agencies after they paid underground fees. The proportion was higher, at 58 percent, in 2014. This means that 53 percent of FIEs paid under-the-table fees to state officials some years ago but their problems still could not be settled. This means that FIEs paid money, but gained nothing. But the figure has decreased to 42 percent, which means that more state officials fulfill their work after getting money. Tuan … [Read more...]