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...]

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...]

Vietnam corruption fight stalls

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Despite progress in some areas in Vietnam's fight against corruption, the overall situation as measured by the Transparency International corruption index has failed to improve, the chief government inspector said. … [Read more...]

China falls in corruption ranking despite Xi’s crackdown

Corruption in China may be getting worse, according to a survey by Transparency International. In its annual Corruption Perceptions Index, the Berlin-based watchdog found that China dropped four points, to 36, on a scale from zero, or highly corrupt, to 100, or very clean, over last year. Bloomberg's Rosalind Chin reports on "On The Move Asia." … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s strong economic growth in Italian media spotlight

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(VOV) -Under the title "Vietnam sets economic targets for 2015" Italy's sudestasiatico.com ran an in-deep article on Vietnam's remarkable economic growth despites numerous difficulties, including bad debt. Author Roberto Tofani reported that the 8th session of the 13th Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) opened in Hanoi on October 20 with a heavy agenda. During the 35 working days, the longest session of this tenure so far, the legislature is expected to adopt 18 draft laws and three draft resolutions, and debate 12 other draft laws. Here's the full article posted on the front page of Sudestasiatico.com on October 28: Addressing the opening session, NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung touched upon three main global problems-economy, armed conflicts and epidemics in many areas of the world-to frame Vietnam's profile. In Vietnam, while the macro-economy maintains its stability and the national economy is on a track of recovery, "many difficulties remain, threatening sustainable development … [Read more...]

Dictator nostalgia in Indonesia

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Indonesia's election next month was supposed to be a progressive turning point: one reformer passing the baton to another, and promising to lift Southeast Asia's biggest economy. Instead, it's looking like a march backward in ways that should worry investors and world leaders alike. I'm not endorsing a successor to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ahead of the July 9 contest. But it's breathtaking to see favorite Joko Widodo blow a race that was his to lose. A month ago, the 53-year-old Jakarta governor was way ahead in the polls and inspiring his youthful nation of 250 million people (26 percent of whom are under 15) with all the flair of Barack Obama circa 2008. His pledges to reduce red tape, attack corruption, strengthen Indonesia's finances and move it further away from the bad old Suharto era resonated far and wide. … [Read more...]

Rethinking aid and corruption in Vietnam

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Analysts say major graft allegations stemming from a Japanese aid project warrant a reconsideration of aid's role in international relations and a deeper rooting-out of corruption The Bai Chay Bridge in the northern province of Quang Ninh, built with Japanese official development assistance (ODA). Analysts say Vietnam should stop regarding ODA as an achievement in foreign policy because at the end of the day it is a financial burden that Vietnamese younger generations will have to shoulder. File photo In a show of assuring the public about its resolve to tackle rampant graft, Vietnam suspended several officials and ordered scores of others to clarify their involvement in allegations that a Japanese firm had paid bribes to secure a deal for a rail project in Hanoi. A deputy transport minister almost immediately led a delegation to Japan last month only to learn that agencies concerned there would not be able to reveal any further information other than what the Japanese media … [Read more...]

In Vietnam, bribery allegations at foreign-invested project up in the air

A land plot set to be used for the Sing-Viet City project in Le Minh Xuan Commune, Binh Chanh District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo courtesy of Nguoi Lao Dong Newspaper

Ho Chi Minh City authorities have said they are waiting for instructions from a central committee on anti-corruption to investigate allegations that the investor of a foreign-invested project in the city paid bribes to Vietnamese public officials to facilitate procedures for the project. Vo Van Luan, a spokesman for the HCMC People's Committee, told the press last week that the city is seeking instructions from the Central Interior Commission, which advises the ruling Communist Party on major policies related to anti-corruption, before it makes its move. The Sing-Viet City project, which aims to build a 331-hectare (817-acre) urban area in Binh Chanh District's Le Minh Xuan Commune, got the city's approval in 1997. The investor of the project was a joint venture of four Singaporean companies and Vietnam's Binh Chanh Investment and Construction Joint Stock Company, with total costs estimated to reach US$300 million. However, the project had still failed to break ground 10 years … [Read more...]

Investigation halted as Vietnam bigwig accused of bribery in major corruption case dies

This picture taken on December 14, 2013 shows Duong Chi Dung, former Vinalines chairman, standing trial at Hanoi's People's Court. Photo: AFP

An investigation into an information leak in a multimillion dollar graft case at state shipping giant Vinalines will be halted because the suspect, a deputy public security minister, has died, a senior official has said. Judge Truong Viet Toan, deputy head of Hanoi Criminal Court, was speaking to Vietweek in an interview on Wednesday, one day after the Ministry of Public Security's website announced that Senior Lieutenant-General Pham Quy Ngo died of liver cancer that same day at the 108 Military Hospital in Hanoi. Investigators will soon issue an official decision announcing when the suspension will take effect, Toan said. The judge also said that the suspension is in line with the Penal Code, which stipulates that a criminal investigation will be suspended when the suspect dies. Ngo's death came a few days after Pham Anh Tuan, deputy head of the Central Interior Committee - which advises the Party on anti-corruption policies - was quoted by Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper … [Read more...]

Trial verdict speaks volumes in corruption fight

by Thu Huong Le One of the largest corruption stories of the year has come to an end in December: two former executives at the Viet Nam National Shipping Lines were found guilty of embezzlement and sentenced to death. Each was convicted of embezzling VND10 billion (US$476,000). They masterminded the purchase of a non-functional floating dock that resulted in a loss of about VND367 billion ($17.9 million) for the Government, as well as "intentionally violating state regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences." The verdict for former Vinalines' chairman Duong Chi Dung and his accomplices has given the public a greater trust in efforts to reform State-owned companies, which is vital to the country's socio-economic development goals in 2014. This has underscored the Government's efforts to clamp down on corruption and ensure the public that fighting corruption is among the nation's top priorities - a mission that does not just involve documents and … [Read more...]