Vietnam, New Zealand sign first-ever agreement on sheep milk distribution

Viet Nam needs to form policies that will boost the digital economy, a move that will generate added value and help sustainable development, experts said at a conference on Wednesday in Ha Noi. Rapid e-commerce development is favourable for the digital economy. - Photo Dao Huy Giam, General Secretary of the Viet Nam Private Sector Forum (VPSF), said that more than ever, it’s time for Viet Nam to pay attention to digital economy. Giam cited statistics showing that 1.7 per cent of the population are involved in the digital economy and contribute 5 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP). Each labour worked in the digital economy creates added value three times higher than the national average. “The digital economy stimulates high added value and leads to breakthroughs in capacity for sustainable development,” Giam stressed. According to Nguyen Trung Chinh, head of the VPSF’s working group on digital economy, with US$900 million revenue from e-commerce in 2016 and 60 million smartphone users, Viet Nam had significant room to boost the digital economy. Still, the biggest challenge is that Viet Nam had not had favourable policies to encourage new business models and digital technology-enabled companies, Chinh said. He said that to develop digital economy, the Government should hasten efforts in limiting the use of cash, promoting e-commerce and e-contracts and creating payment infrastructure for electronic transactions. In addition, incentives should be…... [read more]

Three foreign investors and six Vietnamese companies will build urban railway lines in Hanoi as the city revs up its public transport system, Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee, Mr. Nguyen Duc Chung, has said. The People’s Committee will create optimal conditions for the investors so that projects will be completed quickly and help ease traffic congestion, Mr. Chung told a recent meeting with voters, though he did not reveal the names of the investors. It was reported earlier this month that the city would allow two foreign companies - Russia’s Mosmetrostroy and South Korea’s Lotte Group - to join the railway projects. Five Vietnamese companies will also be involved: Vingroup, Xuan Thanh Group, Lung Lo 5, Tan Hoang Minh, and a consortium of Licogi and MIK Group Vietnam. The construction of the railway lines is part of the city’s plans to enhance its public transport network and limit personal vehicles in the central business district by 2030. According to the city’s master plan for 2030 and vision to 2050, Hanoi will have ten urban railway lines with a combined length of 417.8 km. The city will need over $40 billion for their construction, including $7.5 billion in 2017-2020, $7.6 billion in 2021-2015, $3.5 billion in 2026-2030, and $21.3 billion after 2031. All will be built under the private-public partnership (PPP) model, in which investors can use land to develop urban infrastructure and shopping centers. Hanoi earlier submitted plans to auction 6,000 ha of land to build ten urban railway…... [read more]

NDO – The General Department of Vietnam Customs has set out specific goals for 2017, including efforts to reduce clearance time by 70 hours for exports and 90 hours for imports, whilst offering 100% public services online at level 3 or above, and 70% of the key sectors’ public services at level 4, the highest of the four online public service levels. The move is part of the customs sector’s efforts to implement Government Resolution No. 19-2017/NQ-CP dated February 6, 2017 on main tasks and measures to improve the country’s business environment and enhance national competitiveness in 2017, with orientations towards 2020. It is a tough challenge and requires huge efforts to realise the abovementioned targets, aiming to improve Vietnam’s ranking from 93rd position to below-82nd place in terms of clearance time for cross-border trade transactions (as rated by the World Bank) in 2017. Enhancing the quality of specialised inspection work over import and export goods is an immediate measure with considerable impacts for reducing clearance time, which should be taken into account by the customs sector. This step has received the most “criticism” from businesses due to its inadequacies leading to prolonged cargo clearance time. First of all, it is of urgent need to design and issue a full list of goods items under specialised inspection in orientation towards narrowing the scale of inspection, reducing the list of goods subject to inspection, detailing codes of dossiers and applying the principle of risk management in inspection work. The sector should…... [read more]

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the Vietnamese Government will create favorable conditions for Malaysian investors to do business in Viet Nam, including solar power development. PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) welcomes Malaysian FM Anifah Aman at the Government Office in Ha Noi on July 27, 2017. Photo: VGP The Government chief made the statement at his meeting with Malaysian FM Anifah Aman who is on two-day visit to Viet Nam to co-chair the 5th Viet Nam-Malaysia Joint Commission Meeting on Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation. PM Phuc stressed that the two countries have maintained good political trust, hoping that both sides will coordinate in organizing various activities to mark the 45th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2018. He also asked the two sides to soon begin talks on and sign agreements on anti-human trafficking, extradition, and handing over persons sentenced to imprisonment while accelerating labor, tourism cooperation as well as people-to-people exchanges. Welcoming Malaysia’s position on the East Sea issue, PM Phuc underlined the spirit of building the East Sea into a region of peace, friendship, freedom of navigation and aviation, of settling disputes through peaceful measures on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. For his part, FM Anifah Aman affirmed Malaysian will work closely with Viet Nam on the East Sea issue. He also confirmed Malaysia PM Najib Razak’s attendance…... [read more]

The historic city of Hội An will re-enact a 17th century wedding parade held for Princess Ngọc Hoa and Japanese businessman Araki Sotaro in the old quarter as part of the 14th annual Hội An-Japan Culture Festival on August 18-20. The Hoài River in Hội An city. - VNS Photos Công Thành The city’s Culture and Sports Centre said the parade marks the relationship between the Japanese community and Hội An city 400 years ago when Japanese traders docked at the busy trading port. The homes built by many of these traders have been preserved. Local residents preserve the tombs of Japanese traders who died in Hội An in the 17th century. The oldest was Tani Yajirobei’s, who is believed to have died in 1647, and his records include the oldest and clearest information related to his life, including a love affair with a local woman. The love story reflected the close relationship between Japanese traders and Hội An residents during a wealthy period of the town’s history in the early 17th century. Japanese singers Min, Ueno Yuuka, One Asia Join Concert band, and the Hà Nội Sennen Yosakoi Dance team will perform at the festival along with local folk art troupes. Vietnamese and Japanese participants will demonstrate cosplays and martial arts performances of karate, judo, Vietnamese traditional Vovinam, while craftsmen will offer visitors traditional Yukata try-ons, origami (paper folding) and local…... [read more]

Located in the wetlands of the Plain of Reeds in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Đồng Tháp, Tràm Chim National Park is known for its spectacular diversity of bird species, attracting bird-watchers year-round. Conservation efforts: Grey Heron can be found year-round in Tràm Chim National Park. - VNS Photo Nguyễn Tiến Lễ Local farmers named the park Tràm Chim due to the great number of cajeput (tràm) trees and birds (chim). The 7,300ha park, flooded for half a year and dry for the other half, is home to more than 100 vertebrate species, 40 species of fish, and 213 species of water birds, including 16 rare birds like the Sarus crane, the greater adjutant, black-headed ibis, darter, and little egret. Nguyễn Thế Hạnh, vice director of the national park, said that thousands of Asian openbill storks, which were given priority for preservation, have flocked to the park. The park has a good environment for birds, containing a level of water conducive to the development of flora and aquatic creatures. Thanks to its diversity of bird species, the park holds bird-watching tours, attracting a great number of visitors. The number of visitors exceeded 60,000 in 2014, a five-fold increase compared to 2012, when it was recognised as Việt Nam’s fourth site under the Ramsar Convention of Wetlands of International Importance. In the first half of the year, the park welcomed…... [read more]

Vietnam plans to spend more than US$6 billion to build a strategic petroleum reserve and to expand commercial storage for crude oil and oil products by 2025, according to a document reviewed by Reuters. The Southeast Asian country joins nations such as China and India in establishing an oil buffer to enhance its energy security as crude imports have jumped while domestic production is on the decline. Under the plan, Vietnam plans by 2020 to build strategic petroleum reserves of up to 2.2 million cubic metres of crude oil, or about 13.8 million barrels, equivalent to six days of imports. Strategic oil product reserves by 2020 would total 1.8 million cubic metres, or about 11.3 million barrels, equal to 14 days of fuel imports. Following the approval, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, PetroVietnam and Petrolimex are expected to submit feasibility studies for the projects by September, said a source with knowledge of the matter. Vietnam's prime minister earlier this month approved a plan to build crude and petroleum stocks of at least 90 days worth of net imports by 2020. However, the projects are likely to take longer than expected to materialise given the track record of refinery construction in Vietnam and the big funding requirements for storage projects, said Sri Paravaikkarasu, Head of East of Suez Research at energy consultancy FGE. "Ninety days is a big target even for big countries like China and India which rely heavily on imports," she said.... [read more]

Internet colossus Amazon on Thursday reported its profit shrank in the recently ended quarter despite surging sales as it poured money into growth. photo AFP The US-based company said that net sales increased 25 percent to $38 billion when compared to the same period last year, but that profit plunged 77 percent from a year ago to $197 million. Investments, depreciation of equipment, share buys and other expenses ate into revenue in a familiar pattern of Amazon putting long-term growth ahead of short-term profit. "Our teams remain heads-down and focused on customers," Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said in a release. "It's energizing to invent on behalf of customers, and we continue to see many high-quality opportunities to invest." Amazon has been expanding from its original mission as an online retailer to a diversified tech firm in cloud computing, online video, computer hardware and artificial intelligence. The company also recently announced plans to acquire US grocer Whole Foods, which could help Amazon expand in that sector. Bezos noted recent company moves including launching a new version of home digital assistant Echo; upgrading Alexa artificial intelligence, expanding its streaming video offerings outside the US, and even adding to the company's air cargo fleet. Amazon shares slipped some three percent to $1,012.15 in after-market trades that followed the release of the earnings figures that fell short of Wall Street expectations. …... [read more]

As more and more holidaymakers turn to Airbnb for accommodation in Vietnam, the local hospitality sector is beginning to feel the pressure. Founded in August 2008, Airbnb is an online platform where users list and book unique accommodations, from apartment rentals and homestays to hostel beds and hotel rooms, around the world.  The platform, now available in more than 65,000 cities and 191 countries, is putting a serious dent in the market share of traditional hotels. As of last month, there were some 6,500 lodging facilities listed on the Airbnb network, according to Kenneth Atkinson, executive chairman of Grant Thornton Vietnam. At an average cost of US$35 per room, Airbnb rentals typically offer much more bang for your buck than hotels, driving tourists toward the tech-based service. Attractive business model Joining the Airbnb network has become a new way of ‘doing business’ for many Vietnamese. Even though she does not have any extra space in her personal home, Thuong, an office worker in Ho Chi Minh City, still wanted to cash in on the Airbnb service. The woman decided to rent a spacious apartment in District 1, with windows pointed toward the famous Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, and gave the place a redesign. The apartment was then divided into separate bedrooms and posted on Airbnb. “Before putting a room on Airbnb, you have to ensure it is like a mini hotel – well furnished, equipped with amenities, and has a…... [read more]

Stewart Beck, President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (Source: Toronto (VNA) - Policies that facilitate SMEs development are the most important topic of discussion at the third meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), said Stewart Beck, President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency on the sideline of the ABAC meeting in Toronto on July 26, Beck noted that 98 percent of companies in Asia-Pacific are classified as small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), thus it is important to promote their operations and growth potential. Policies for SMEs growth include those on mechanisms for business establishment, startups, and recruitment at local level, he said. Meanwhile, looking for measures to diversify business categories in the region is also necessary, he added. Beck considered globalisation an important process, particularly with IT firms. He said he supports e-commerce, which, to him, is a platform for SMEs to trade without border. The point is governments’ understanding of online trading and issuance of policies that encourage its growth, said Beck, adding that the matter will be among ABAC’s recommendations to APEC leaders. The ABAC’s third meeting in 2017 took place in Toronto, Canada, from July 24-28. During the event, business leaders from APEC member economies gathered to build an agenda and make recommendations on business climate improvement across the APEC region, which will be submitted to the APEC Economic Leaders’…... [read more]

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