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...]

Vietnam president urges businesses to double Russia trade value target

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Vietnamese businesses should all contribute to boosting trade ties with Russia so that the bilateral trade value in 2020 can be double the target set by the two governments, State President Truong Tan Sang said Sunday. Vietnam and Russia have targeted a bilateral trade value of US$10 billion in 2020, but enterprises should do even more to send the number to $20 billion, President Sang said as he met the business community in Ho Chi Minh City. Local businesses should try to grab every chance to invest in the Russian market, the president said. The government has exerted efforts to facilitate penetration into the Russian market for Vietnamese businesses, he added. Vietnamese enterprises still face some hurdles in terms of procedures when exporting their products to Russia, but these obstacles will be cleared once Vietnam signs free trade agreements of which Russia is a member, according to the state president. One such trade pact is the FTA between Vietnam and the Eurasian … [Read more...]

Australia opens door for Vietnamese lychees, but growers still worried

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Vietnamese lychee farmers still cannot breathe a sigh of relief after Australia announced it will open its door for the fruit given the rising yield this year, though both central and local authorities have moved to help raise domestic demand for it. The Australian Department of Agriculture last Monday gave the green light for irradiation-treated lychees from Vietnam to be exported to the Australasian country, and it notified Australian importers about the approval to begin importing the fruit on the same day, according to news website abc.net.au. Consignments of Vietnamese lychees are permitted to be air or sea freighted to Australia and must be inspected on arrival. The go-ahead, coming after Vietnamese authorities applied for it 12 years ago, was released just in time for Vietnam's 2015 lychee harvest, which has two stages, from the middle to the end of May and from June to July 20, the Australian news website reported. Head of Australia's Lychee Growers Association, Derek … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s imports of Chinese vehicles nearly triple in Jan-Apr

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Discussions on the Vietnamese automobile industry may be overshadowed by upcoming tax exemptions which cars imported from ASEAN will enjoy in 2018, but Chinese-made vehicles have stolen the spotlight with shocking import statistics released last week. Vietnam imported 8,860 vehicles from China in the first fourth months of this year, a massive 289 percent increase from the same period last year, according to the latest customs data. In total more than 35,000 completely built cars, collectively worth US$880 million, were shipped to the Southeast Asian country in the first four months of this year, a 131 percent increase in volume and 180 percent rise in value year on year, the Vietnam Customs said Friday. Most of the imports are cars with fewer than nine seats, accounting for 13,200 units, compared to 13,000 trucks. The growth from the Chinese market was the strongest among other countries, from which Vietnam also imported more complete cars in the Jan-Apr period, according to … [Read more...]

Vietnam produce exports should meet food hygiene, safety requirements in overseas markets: ministry

The Ministry of Industry and Trade  earlier this week issued a document asking  Vietnamese exporters of agricultural and food products

Saudi Arabia is the latest foreign market to issue warnings about many agricultural and food products shipped from Vietnamviolating food hygiene and safety standards, while similar warnings from other key export markets of the Southeast Asian country were given in the first four months of this year. to strictly comply with food hygiene and safety requirements by Saudi Arabia after receiving a warning about standard violations from the West Asian country. The ministry said on its website on Monday that it has repeatedly warned local exporters that the Saudi Food and Drug Authority has strengthened measures to check Vietnamese-made products to ensure that they meet food hygiene, safety and brand name regulations. The warning was released after the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Hanoi informed the ministry that several shipments of agricultural and food products imported from Vietnam were forced to be returned to their country of origin, or warned by importers because of quality, … [Read more...]

Companies urged to focus on food quality

Vietnamese firms need to enhance their role in the food industry value chain to supply more quality products and increase export of farm produce, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Speaking at a conference in HCM City on May 14 Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said the agricultural sector not only met local needs with its diverse, quality products but also exported to many countries around the world. Agricultural exports had increased strongly in recent years to more than US$30 billion last year, with Vietnam being among the world's largest exporters of many items like cashew, pepper, rice and coffee, he said. "However, limited processing capacity, a lack of brands and exports via many intermediaries have resulted in low export earnings." Held by the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency on the sidelines of the first Vietnam International Food Industry Exhibition, the conference sought to come up with measures to add value to Vietnamese food products, … [Read more...]

Fuel price hikes likely on falling price stability fund

Minh Tam According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Singapore fuel prices have remained high since May 5, with RON92 gasoline hovering around US$81.68 per barrel on May 6, the highest in six months. Meanwhile, kerosene and diesel were priced at US$80.2 and US$80.3 per barrel respectively. At the trading session on Tuesday, the respective prices of RON92 gasoline, kerosene and diesel dropped to US$80.25, US$77.84 and US$78.63 per barrel. But these prices were higher than the 15-day average used to set the base price and adjust retail prices on May 5. A source from a fuel trading firm told the Daily that the current base price of gasoline was VND1,800 per liter higher than the retail price. Fuel trading firms lose over VND300 for each liter sold as they get VND1,427 a liter from the fuel price stabilization fund. According to the ministries of finance and industry-trade, the fuel price stabilization fund had VND2.843 trillion left in the first quarter of this year, down … [Read more...]

French beef permitted to ship to Vietnam

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The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has officially allowed French beef without bone to be imported into the Vietnamese market from May 2015. This is good news for France’s beef famers and export businesses as the demand for beef is growing rapidly in Vietnam. Vietnamese consumers and businesses will also benefit from the additional high-quality supply at more competitive prices. Beef steak is a highly delicious and popular dish in France. In the past, France was one of the world’s leading beef exporters but production was interrupted for a long time after the spread of mad cow disease in 2000. After controlling the disease, the French exports to neighboring countries has gradually recovered over the last four years According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam has recently imported beef from Australia and Japan with increasing volume. Beef import turnover in 2014 rose about 70% and is forecasted to be on the rise in the near future … [Read more...]

Textilers move in ahead of FTAs

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Foreign textile and garment firms are reeling out new investments in anticipation of upcoming free trade agreements. Nguyen Duc Tiep, deputy head of the Quang Ninh Provincial Investment Promotion Division, told VIR that Hong Kong’s Texhong Group is nearing completion of its second production factory which is worth US$200 million. The complex is located within the US$953.6 million, 3,300 hectare Hai Ha Industry Park, which is also under the group’s construction. "The park and factory will likely come into operation within the coming months. Texhong is calling upon many fabric and textile investors from Hong Kong to invest into the park and supply materials for its two factories", Tiep said, adding that Texhong would build a power plant at the park to supply sufficient power to the textile and garment factories there. The group’s first textile factory, also worth over US$200 million, has already been operating at the province’s Hai Yen Industrial Park for … [Read more...]

Trade fair to promote Vietnamese exports to RoK

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Processing frozen shrimp for exports (Photo: VNA) A trade fair to select outstanding Vietnamese products destined for the Republic of Korea (RoK) will take place in Ho Chi Minh City on June 24-28. The event is also to promote trade activities between the two countries, according to the municipal Centre of Promoting Trade and Investment and the Industry and Trade newspaper under the Ministry of Industry and Trade on May 11. Pham Le Cuong, Director of the HCM City Centre for Supporting and Developing Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises, said the programme helps businesses update information on the market’s import-export regulations. He added that the signed free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries has opened opportunities for Vietnam to boost farm produce exports to the market, such as garlic, ginger and sweet potato. Tran Thi Nghia, a representative from the RoK’s Lotte Mart, said the company will open three additional supermarkets in Vietnam in 2015 and … [Read more...]

VN agricultural products need emergency aid

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VietNamNet Bridge - Although the export turnover of agricultural - forestry – fishery products in the past four months reached $9.13 billion, a series of export items, which are considered Vietnam's strengths, saw a strong downward trend. Specifically, rice exports fell 9.2% in value, coffee with 39.3% fall in value and 41% in volume, pepper 25% in volume, and seafood 16.6% in volume. Unfavorable exchange rates, market difficulties, high production costs, and narrowed outlets are the problems facing by agricultural, forestry and fisheries enterprises of Vietnam. They have asked for assistance from the Government and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The Ministry of Industry and Trade on May 4 held a conference to seek solutions for agricultural-forestry-fishery products. At the conference, the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed the panorama of Vietnam’s exports in the January-April period, which was quite gloomy. Of the total $50.1 billion of export turnover in … [Read more...]

Seafood exporters concerned about material shortages

Thuy Dung Nguyen Ngoc Hai, head of the Thoi An Tra Fish Cooperative in Can Tho City, said tra fish and shrimp farms have shrunk because farmers have not been able to earn profit in the past time. Due to export difficulties, processing enterprises have bought shrimp at only VND70,000 (US$3.5) per kilo compared to the previous VND100,000, causing farmers to lose around VND5,000 for each kilo sold. Tra fish prices have also fallen to VND21,500-22,000 per kilo, almost the same as cost. Farmers have to pay bank loan interest but enterprises settle payments by installment lasting up to 20 months for their seafood materials. Moreover, diseases have hit shrimp farms in the Mekong Delta. Speaking to the Daily at a farm produce export seminar in Hanoi City on Monday, Nguyen Hoai Nam, deputy general secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said tough exports have badly affected aquaculture this year. Some provinces and cities have reported sharp … [Read more...]

VN to re-import French beef from May 1

Viet Nam to re-import beef from France from May 1. — Photo vietnamnet.vn

HA NOI (Biz Hub) — Viet Nam will allow businesses to import boneless beef under 30-month-old from France from May 1, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has announced. The French beef imported into Viet Nam must meet the country's current regulations, it said. The move is being considered a positive step in implementing agreements to remove trade barriers, which were reached during the annual high-level economic dialogue between Viet Nam and France on April 15 in Ha Noi. Viet Nam banned French cattle and beef imports in 1998, when the mad cow disease was sweeping through Europe. Scientists suspect the disease is linked to a similar fatal brain-wasting disease that occurs in humans called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). In 2008, the World Organisation for Animal Health announced that France had successfully brought the mad cow disease under control. France has since exported beef to other EU countries, Brazil, the United States, New Zealand and some … [Read more...]