SOCIETY IN BRIEF 20/7

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Khmer homes linked to grid More than 6,000 households, most of them ethnic Khmer, in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tra Vinh have been linked to the power grid under an ongoing project that seeks to achieve universal electrification. At the end of the VND228 billion (US$10.94 million) two-phase project, nearly 19,000 households would have been connected. An additional 418 transformer stations would have been built to supply power to the families living in 83 remote villages in seven districts. In just the first phase, the ratio of households with power will increase from 87 to 94 per cent. Thach Tha My, a Khmer farmer living in My Chanh village, Chau Thanh District, said: "My family has 0.35ha of farm land. I used to buy power from neighbours at high prices for farming. "Because many families share the same electricity line, the voltage is not stable. "Thanks to the project, we now have electricity for household and agricultural purposes and no longer have to pay … [Read more...]

Official held for revealing State secrets

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Police in Ho Chi Minh City have arrested a state official for providing secret State materials to overseas reactionary organizations. The official, Pham Chi Dung, who had been working for a State agency in HCMC, was arrested on July 17 for further investigation, police said. Police also searched his home and office for materials related to the case. A source said that after four reactionaries, Le Cong Dinh, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Le Thang Long and Nguyen Tien Trung were tried in January 2011 for "working to overthrow the people's administration", some reactionary organizations that these men had been involved in continued conducting acts of sabotage against Vietnam. After a lengthy investigation, police had collected enough evidence to conclude that Dung was the person who has provided those organizations with secret materials. Dung had received thousands of dollars as reimbursement from these organizations, investigators said. At the above-mentioned trial, the Ho Chi Minh … [Read more...]

Reducing import surplus

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The import surplus in May was valued at US$750 million, accounting for 12.3 percent of the total export turnover, the lowest import surplus so far this year. Speaking at an online conference between Hanoi and HCMCity on June 8, the Minister of Industry and Trade, Vu Huy Hoang, emphasised that although exports show some signs of picking up, more effective measures need to be put in place to deal with the import surplus. Exporters still in a fix According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the export sector is experiencing several positive signs, with an export turnover of almost US$6.1 billion in May, up 14.4 percent over the previous month and 37.5 percent higher than the same period last year. In the first five months, Vietnam's total export turnover hit US$25.8 billion, reaching 42.7 percent of the set target for the whole year and representing a year-on-year increase of 12.6 percent. This is attributed to a strong growth in the export of industrial products despite … [Read more...]

Fraudulent forest officials suspended

Part of Dam Doi protective forest destroyed for illegal shrimp farms (Photo: Tien Phong Online)

Two high raking forest management officials, charged with illegally granting land in the Dam Doi Protective Forest in Ca Mau Province to family members to build shrimp farms, have been suspended, the chairman of Dam Doi Ward People's Committee, Doan Quoc Khoi, announced yesterday. Khoi said that Duong Thanh Thanh, head of Dam Doi Ward Forrest Management, Mai Thanh Truc, head of the Dam Doi Protective Forest Management and 60 staff members connected to the case were suspended from the their duties. They will face appropriate disciplinary measures. Earlier, the Dam Doi Ward People's Committee had abolished the decision issued by deputy chairman of Dam Doi Ward People's Committee Tran Xuan Khuya on July 2008. According to the decision, 62.8 hectares of land of Dam Doi Protective Forest would have been to given 14 families of local farmers to turn it into shrimp breeding farms. Despite Dam Doi Protective Forest Management's proposal saying all the local farmers were poor and … [Read more...]

Mind maps help city teacher popularize literature studies

A teacher in a continuing school has used the concept of mind maps pioneered by Tony Buzan to get his students enthusiastic - and proactive - about literature. "Last year, I found various books in related to a new concept, mind maps, by Tony Buzan. The more books I bought to read, the more interested I became. It got me thinking that this concept can probably be applied to my subject", said Hoang Duc Huy, who currently teaches Literature in District 4's Continuing School in HCMC. Extra class hours or recess is the period Huy chose to apply the new method to his students. He also recommended that his students try it after class as well. So, the students were encouraged to surf the internet at home to find materials, including pictures and other content, to draw their own mind maps relating to the just-completed lesson. Usually considered a boring subject by most students, Huy is proud that every student of his has applied the new method of learning. "But not all lessons will have … [Read more...]

Caterpillars devastate pine forest in central Vietnam

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Caterpillars have ravaged 500 hectares of a state-owned pine plantation at the resin collection period in central Vietnam's Thanh Hoa province. Pham Chi Dung, director of the Tinh Gia Forest Park, said the pests were swarming onto the trees at an extremely high rate of 2,000 per tree. Another 500 ha is now in danger of being devoured by the pests. … [Read more...]

Bauxite Project Still Effective

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Recently, a seminar on the Central Highlands bauxite mining project held by the Pan Nature Centre said that "If Vietnam produces 660,000 tonnes of bauxite, it will lose US$374 million" and Vietnam is being caught in "cheap trap". In this regard, on March 31, the Ministry of Industry and Trade officially noted that the remarks by the seminar were "hasty and groundless".Quicker capital recovery than expected The Ministry of Industry and Trade said it reported the updated results (as of April 26, 2014) on economic effects of Tan Rai alumina project to the Standing Committee of the National Assembly, estimating that the loss-making period was four years and the payback period was 11.5 years. Nhan Co Alumina Plant had lower economic efficiency because of longer transportation distances. Thus, the loss-making period was five years and the payback period was 12 years. Besides, the ministry noted that the Vietnam National Coal, Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited (Vinacomin) … [Read more...]

A dozen Chinese traders dominate Vietnam’s watermelon market

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VietNamNet Bridge – The major buyers of Vietnamese watermelons are Chinese traders. This is a reason cited by the Ministry of Industry and Trade why many watermelon trucks have been stuck at the Vietnam-China border gates in recent days. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, over 10 Chinese merchants dominate the selection and reception of quality watermelons at the border gates. After harvest, Vietnamese traders transport watermelons to the Vietnam-China border, but the right of selection and receipt of the qualified fruit entirely belongs to Chinese traders. "The customs clearance takes two to four hours instead of over a minute as usual. The long time of clearance affects the quality of watermelon," said Deputy Minister Tran Tuan Anh. The official said China’s demand for watermelons increases by 10% each year. Particularly in 2015, it is estimated that 130,000 tons of watermelons will be exported to this market. This crop is easy to cultivate so it is … [Read more...]

Deputy PM Ninh calls for wider access to trade agreement information

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NDO - Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has called on relevant agencies to improve the dissemination of information on trade agreements so that it is more accessible to the business community. The Deputy PM made the request at a meeting on April 16 of an inter-agency steering committee on international economic integration. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, 2014 was a busy year for Vietnam as the country was negotiating important trade agreements with the Republic of Korea, the European Union and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Last year also saw Vietnam make necessary preparations for the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community. At the meeting, participants said that the way in which information on free trade agreements is communicated to enterprises should be changed so that new opportunities can be profited from these agreements. Many said the role of disseminating information should belong to trade association, research … [Read more...]

Trade deficit in first quarter hits over USD1.8 billion

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Total export turnover in the first quarter reached an estimated USD35.67 billion, a year-on-year rise of 6.9% (worth nearly USD2.3 billion), reported the Ministry of Industry and Trade. This figure includes nearly USD10.6 billion of domestic enterprises, making up 29.7% of the total, while foreign-invested enterprises (including crude oil) earned about USD25 billion from exports, accounting for 70.3%. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam’s imports in March amounted to USD13.3 billion, a 26.9% rise from the previous month or a 7.4% increase over a year earlier. With this, total import turnover in the first quarter of 2015 was estimated at USD37.5 billion, up 16.3% compared to the same period last year. On the total, the trade balance in March saw about USD600 billion of imports over exports, bringing the figure for the first quarter to over USD1.8 billion. Of this, the trade gap of domestically-invested enterprises was USD3.8 billion while foreign-invested … [Read more...]

Exports experience hard time in Q1

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Foreign trade experienced difficulties as exports of many key commodities tumbled in the first quarter of 2015. (Photo: VNA) Foreign trade experienced difficulties as exports of many key commodities tumbled in the first quarter of 2015, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT). Export turnover reached 35.67 billion USD, up 6.9 percent from the same period last year but below the quarterly target of 10 percent set by the sector. The figure fulfilled 21.6 percent of the state’s yearly target, the Ministry said. Vietnam shipped 4.25 billion USD worth of agricultural and seafood products abroad, an annual decrease of 15.8 percent, due to the fall of several key export revenue generators including seafood, coffee, rubber and rice (with decreases of over 30 percent), costing the country 500 million USD during the period. The contraction was triggered by the absence of major contracts from Vietnam’s key buyers early this year, such as China, the Philippines, … [Read more...]

Support industry needed to amp up production

HA NOI (Biz Hub) — Viet Nam should boost the development of support industries to improve the production chain for multinational corporations, as it can meet a modest portion of local demand for raw materials. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, domestic firms in support industries currently meet only 10-15 per cent of the local procurement demand with mostly simple and low-value components and materials, even though incentive policies for developing support industries were raised three years ago. There remains a large gap between the demand of multinational corporations and the manufacturing capacity of domestic firms, the ministry said, adding that Viet Nam had still failed to provide technology-intensive components. A report by the Industrial Strategy and Strategy Institute revealed that the support industries of Viet Nam had failed to meet the demand of many industries, including automobile production, garments and textiles, mechanics and … [Read more...]

EVN holds key responsibility in developing power system: Deputy PM

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EVN's total profit in 2013, including affiliates and subsidiaries, reached more than 4.938 trillion VND (230.8 million USD) (Photo: VNA) The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) is responsible for developing the national power system. Speaking at a ceremony to announce the appointment of the Chairman of the EVN Member Council on March 31 in Hanoi, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai urged the group to seek alternative energy sources for the long-term to ensure an adequate, stable and continuous supply of electricity for the national economy and the sustainable development of the sector. He also requested the EVN build on its positive momentum and improve its transparency, competitiveness and effectiveness. Deputy PM Hai congratulated new EVN Chairman Duong Quang Thanh, expressing his belief that Thanh and the group’s steering committee work together to reap achievements. Thanh said the Member Council will focus on the efficient operation of existing systems and mobilising … [Read more...]

Cashew exporters secure firm foothold in markets

Vietnam has secured its place as the world’s top cashew exporter for eight consecutive years, supplying roughly 60 percent of the cashew nuts in the global markets. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the sector pocketed 276 million USD in revenue during the first two months of 2015, posting an annual increase of 44.7 percent. Last year, as many as 1.2 million tonnes of cashew nuts were shipped abroad, generating nearly 2 billion USD and representing the largest figure recorded so far, according to the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas). The internationally recognised Vietnamese cashew is now sold in 50 countries, with 30 percent of total exports destined for the US and the remaining for China , the Netherlands , India , Germany , Japan , and others. Cashew nuts have become one of the key export staples of Vietnam ’s farming sector, following rice, rubber and coffee. Despite challenges in 2015, such as the Euro devaluation and the oil crisis, the … [Read more...]

FTAs: a driving force for economic growth

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(VOVworld) – Participation in free trade agreements (FTA) will generate motivation for businesses and economic growth in the future. The comment was made at an online conference organized by the government web portal on Friday. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam has signed 8 FTAs with Chile, Japan, and ASEAN members and partners. Vietnam is negotiating 7 FTAs including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement. Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said: "As Vietnam will participate in several FTAs, the government has built a strategy for FTA negotiation and participation. It identifies partners, interests, and challenges. Participation in FTAs must generate a driving force in line with Vietnam’s reform effort with minimum adverse impact. It will also manage the international integration roadmap to avoid overlap." Most opinions agreed that global economic integration is the best way for businesses to … [Read more...]

Trade deal hurting local auto makers

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The Vietnam Association of Mechanical Industry (VAMI) has requested the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Finance to adjust the import tax imposed on complete built up (CBU) trucks. This has been requested so the revised tax is more in keeping with tax levied on trucks, which are locally-assembled with imported parts that are complete knock down (CKD). The proposal was made after VAMI members evaluated the import tax imposed on CBU trucks and the current tariff regulated under the finance ministry's circular, which is an implementation of the ASEAN–China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) for the 2015 to 2018 period. VAMI said the ministry had allowed a number of imported CBU trucks the kind of preferential tax rate, which is unfair for domestic manufacturers who have been producing and assembling trucks with CKD parts. It added that when importing CKD parts, besides import tax, domestic firms are also burdened with many other costs, such as investment capital plugged into … [Read more...]

Fast-food chains kick off cyber-war

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VietNamNet Bridge – The competition among fast-food brands in Vietnam has become fierce as they now have to struggle on the internet. The total fast food revenue in the Vietnamese market in 2011 was VND870 billion, an increase of 30 percent over 2010, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT). The 30 percent annual growth rate of the fast food sector proves to be attractive to any investor, which explains why more and more foreign fast food chains have been set up in Vietnam. Five years ago, KFC, Jollibee and Lotteria were known to all Vietnamese, because they were the only foreign fast food brands in Vietnam. But today more than 10 well-known brands exist in the 90-million consumer market. In the market competition, service providers have to apply new sale methods to attract more customers. Selling products online is one of the methods chosen by many brands. The service allows fast food chains not only to approach customers far from the central districts … [Read more...]

Garment exports hit US$3.4 bln in Jan-Feb

(VOV) - Garment exports in the January-February period surged 18% to US$3.4 billion on-year, signalling a good sign for this year’s export target of US$28-28.4 billion, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT). The US remained the largest export market for Vietnamese garment and textiles, accounting for 8.4% of the country’s market share. This year’s exports to the highly lucrative market is forecast to explode 13% to US$11 billion over a year earlier. Meanwhile, the EU continues to be a key market for Vietnamese garment and textiles in the time ahead after the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) comes into effect. Accordingly, a tax cut of 12 to zero % on Vietnamese garment products will help Vietnamese firms sharpen their competitiveness. … [Read more...]