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...]

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...]

Putin earns less than many in the Kremlin, documents show

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MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin earned about $151,000 in 2014, less than many others in the presidential administration, according to details of his income declaration published by the Kremlin on Wednesday. Putin's wealth has long been the focus of speculation by opponents who portray him as one of the richest men in the world, allegations he has dismissed. Putin declared ownership of three Russian cars, a trailer, some land, an apartment and a garage. His earnings of 7.65 million roubles compared to about 3.6 million roubles in 2013, which was around $100,000 at the exchange rate a year ago. The Kremlin did not say how much of the 2014 income was made up by Putin's salary, which is not public knowledge, but was raised a year ago. His income declaration has in the past included a KGB pension and interest from bank deposits. Putin earned much less last year than Barack Obama, who was paid $400,000 for his position as U.S. president and had additional income from book … [Read more...]

Social News 8/4

Road accident kills three in Gia Lai At least three persons were killed and one was seriously injured, when three motorbikes collided on Road 661 in Gia Lai (Tay Nguyen) Central Highland Province on Sunday. After receiving information about the accident in La Lok hamlet in Chu Pah district, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who is also chairman of the National Committee for Traffic Safety, sent condolences to the families of the victims and requested the provincial traffic safety department to provide the best medical aid possible to the injured person and support the victims' families. The local traffic police said the cause of the accident was being investigated. The transport department has guided local authorities to review the safety conditions of the transport system in the province, particularly emphasising on segments, intersections and connections between rural roads, district roads and highways. The department has also focused on repairing damaged roads, and … [Read more...]

Malaysia join forces to combat corruption

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(VOV) - A delegation from the Government Inspectorate of Vietnam (GIV) on April 6 met with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in Hanoi to forge international cooperation to curb corruption. Leading the delegation, Deputy Chief Government Inspector Tran Duc Luong said the meeting was a strong indication of the two nations’ desire to share expertise and information to enhance efforts in the fight against corruption in both countries and across borders. At the meeting, they agreed to step up efforts to implement memorandum of understanding (MoU) that have previously been signed. The MACC is proud of its reputation as a country that is at a high position in the Corruption Perception Index and is confident that both countries can share experience to intensify efforts on corruption prevention, a MACC official said at the meeting. Malaysia has vast experience in fighting corruption-related crimes at the international level and in the Asian region, the official said … [Read more...]

Vietnam, Malaysia join forces to combat corruption

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(VOV) - A delegation from the Government Inspectorate of Vietnam (GIV) on April 6 met with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in Hanoi to forge international cooperation to curb corruption. Leading the delegation, Deputy Chief Government Inspector Tran Duc Luong said the meeting was a strong indication of the two nations’ desire to share expertise and information to enhance efforts in the fight against corruption in both countries and across borders. At the meeting, they agreed to step up efforts to implement memorandum of understanding (MoU) that have previously been signed. The MACC is proud of its reputation as a country that is at a high position in the Corruption Perception Index and is confident that both countries can share experience to intensify efforts on corruption prevention, a MACC official said at the meeting. Malaysia has vast experience in fighting corruption-related crimes at the international level and in the Asian region, the official said … [Read more...]

Asia’s about to spawn a new tiger economy

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Perched along one of the world’s most crucial shipping routes, and with a young and growing population, Vietnam is - once again - being tipped for economic lift-off, after years of disappointment. Money pouring into the Southeast Asian economy from the likes of manufacturers Samsung Electronics Co. and Intel Corp. is giving Vietnam a second run at becoming Asia’s next tiger economy. The country’s "Doi Moi" market opening in the 1980s ushered in spurts of growth in excess of 7 % that waned in recent years after a pile-up of bad debt at state-owned enterprises. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the country has the potential to become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies over the period to 2050. Not only is the Southeast Asian nation gaining ground as a cheaper manufacturing alternative to neighboring China, Vietnam is also a politically palatable destination for Japanese firms boosting investment in the region amid recurring Sino-Japan … [Read more...]

Asia’s about to spawn a new tiger economy: Good morning, Vietnam

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Vendors sell produce at the Cho Hom market in Hanoi, Vietnam. Perched along one of the world’s most crucial shipping routes, and with a young and growing population, Vietnam is -- once again -- being tipped for economic lift-off, after years of disappointment. Money pouring into the Southeast Asian economy from the likes of manufacturers Samsung Electronics Co. and Intel Corp. is giving Vietnam a second run at becoming Asia’s next tiger economy. The country’s "Doi Moi" market opening in the 1980s ushered in spurts of growth in excess of 7 percent that waned in recent years after a pile-up of bad debt at state-owned enterprises. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the country has the potential to become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies over the period to 2050. Not only is the Southeast Asian nation gaining ground as a cheaper manufacturing alternative to neighboring China, Vietnam is also a politically palatable destination for Japanese firms … [Read more...]

Jury out as Vietnam holds fast to white-collar noose

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Policemen (center row) keep watch as inmates wait before being released from Hoang Tien prison, about 100 km (62 miles) outside Hanoi August 30, 2013. Despite the official enthusiasm, few outsiders believe that executions offer an effective means of deterring corruption. Photo credit: Reuters Sipping a cup of coffee in his office overlooking the Saigon River, Lien Khui Thin, 62, questioned Vietnam's rationale for executing people like him. In 1999, Thin and two other men, including a prominent banker, were sentenced to death for embezzling VND3 trillion (now US$141 million) by falsifying government loan documents. Thin's two accomplices were executed in 2003, but his sentence was reduced to life imprisonment. Then-President Tran Duc Luong attributed the clemency to Thin’s good behavior and his efforts to return the stolen funds. In 2009, he was granted full amnesty. Less than a year later, he and his friends launched a charitable fund to help ex-convicts reintegrate into … [Read more...]

Vietnam – UK enjoy good strategic partnership relations

British Ambassador to Vietnam Giles Lever who used to work in Hanoi in the 1990s.

(CPV) - On the occasion of the Lunar New Year 2015, British Ambassador to Vietnam, Giles Lever had an interview with a reporter from the Communist Party of Vietnam Online Newspaper to review some of the achievements recorded by the two countries to enhance their strategic partnership. Reporter: The United Kingdom and Vietnam have experienced more than 40 years of diplomatic ties and over the past years, the cooperation between the two countries has brought about positive results. Do you feel satisfied with the relationship and level of cooperation between the countries, Ambassador?British Ambassador to Vietnam, Giles Lever: I’m satisfied that the relationship is progressing in the right direction. I worked in the Embassy in Hanoi as a young diplomat in the 1990s. If I compare the bilateral relationship then and now, it has become far broader and far deeper. The Strategic Partnership of 2010 provides a comprehensive basis. We have an annual Strategic Dialogue and a Joint Economic … [Read more...]

Social News 15/2

HCMC lauds good medical workers 113 teams and individuals of medical clinics in Ho Chi Minh City were lauded for their achievements in the patriotic emulation movement for 2010-2014. The municipal Department of Health held a meeting on February 12 to appraise 26 teams and 87 individuals for their good performance in the health sector’s emulation movement. At the meeting, the Department also launched the patriotic emulation movement for the next period from 2015 to 2020. The movement will focus on following Uncle Ho’s teaching that a good doctor must be a good mother to fight negative acts in treatment and examination. The movement also aims to improve curing and treatment quality, strengthen capability for district medical clinics to reduce overloading in big hospitals and implement the Ministry of Health’s programs. Da Nang flyover work to continue during Tet The Trung Nam Group installed the final span to complete the second flyover at the three-level stack … [Read more...]

Tet gifts may mask bribery, corruption

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Gifts at Tet and other special occasions are being used to mask bribes, and authorities need to take earnest steps to curb corruption, experts say. Tet gifts on display Associate Professor Dang Ngoc Dinh, of the Centre for Community Support Development Studies, said excessive gifts on special occasions, such as Tet, and at weddings and funerals, are becoming symptomatic of the complicated corruption situation in Vietnam. The government inspectorate recently launched a hotline for reporting cases of bribery and corruption during Tet. Dinh said that while such a measure was welcome, it would not necessarily be effective because a bribe could easily be passed off as a legitimate gift. "Only the givers and receivers would know," he said. "But we can generally understand that normal gifts are more symbolic while bribes would be more expensive. When corruption can't be curbed, people will continue giving bribes during special occasions." Dinh said that while a gift might not be cash, … [Read more...]

Da Nang waits with bated breath as Vietnam’s corruption czar falls ill

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Buddhists converged at a monastery to pray for his well-being. Others thronged the airport hoping to witness his charter flight's arrival from the US. The man at the center of their concern remains out of sight, but he continues to be the subject of an endless stream of conspiratorial Internet rumors and hopeful news stories. For many in Da Nang, Nguyen Ba Thanh represents one of the few politicians who speaks up for the people and does what it takes to protect their interests. When that does not work, many acknowledge, he is the first to step forward and accept responsibility. Thanh was Da Nang’s leader between 2003 and early 2013. Since then, he has served as the head of the Central Interior Commission, an organ tasked with advising the Communist Party on anti-corruption efforts and the appointment of high-ranking personnel. During a packed press briefing held Wednesday, Tran Huy Dung, deputy head of a central commission tasked with caring for senior Party officials, … [Read more...]

AirAsia, Indonesia and effective crisis management

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Joko Widodo speaks during a news conference at the AirAsia Crisis center In his run for president this year, Joko Widodo pledged to bring greater openness and accountability to Indonesia. As his administration faces its first international crisis, the mysterious crash of an AirAsia jet, he's proving to be a man of his word. You can tell a lot about a nation from its response to great tragedy, whether it's Japan's 2011 Fukushima crisis, Malaysia's lost Boeing 777 in March or South Korea's deadly ferry accident in April. So far, Widodo has performed admirably. Since news broke on Sunday that an Airbus A320 flying from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore vanished with 162 people on board, Widodo has coordinated search-and-rescue efforts, demanded a review of air safety regulations and called on weather agencies to provide timelier information. His government is giving steady updates, and Widodo has sought help from Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Australia and, remarkably, China and … [Read more...]

Authorities to protect citizens who stand up in fight against corruption

Viet Nam would further protect whistleblowers and provide more incentives for them to come forward to increase the public's trust, Huynh Phong Tranh, head of the Government Inspectorate, said yesterday. The Government Inspectorate and UN offices held a forum on preventing and fighting corruption yesterday to celebrate International Anti-Corruption Day. Legislation protecting whistleblowers can be one of the most effective tools in that fight, Zhuldyz Akisheva, country director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said at the event. … [Read more...]