‘Sorting waste at source’ plan fails to take off

Illustrative Photo (Source: VNA) Binh Duong (VNA) – India’s Tata Coffee Ltd., Asia’s largest coffee plantation company, began construction of a freeze-dried coffee plant in Vietnam on August 16.   The groundbreaking ceremony officially marked the beginning of the coffee plant that aims to produce 5,000 metric tonnes per annum of freeze-dried coffee at the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park II (VSIP II) in the southern province of Binh Duong. The plant is slated to start production in the next 18-21 months.   Sanjiv Sarin, Managing Director and CEO of Tata Coffee Ltd., said the Tata Group already has a close relationship with Vietnam in various sectors, including automobiles, steel, trading, energy and watches. With this investment, beverages will also become a major sector of participation.   “While our products are already exported to over 40 countries across the globe, our instant coffee has so far been produced only in India. Tata Coffee Vietnam marks our first foray beyond Indian shores as a manufacturer, and hence is a significant milestone in our journey to become a global coffee major,” he said.   “Tata Coffee Vietnam will endeavour to bring best-in-class manufacturing practices, with special focus on safe working conditions. The project will contribute positively to earning foreign exchange and creating local employment,” he added.   Tata Coffee is a subsidiary of Tata Global Beverages, and one of the largest exporters of instant coffee in India.   Tata Coffee produces more than 10,000 metric tonnes of shade grown Arabica…... [read more]

The government in 2014-2015 gradually restored business confidence, helping reduce the ‘fear-of-failure’ index to 45.6% in 2015.  However, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), the index has always been high. It was 56.7% in 2013, the second highest level among 70 surveyed economies. The government’s efforts helped Vietnam rise to the eighth position among 60 surveyed economies in 2015. Vietnam’s business environment index in 2017 went up nine notches, from 91st to 82nd, with Vietnam among the economies with the most considerable improvement, just after Brunei (+25 grades) and Indonesia (+15 grades), according to the World Bank.  “Embezzlement, copyright abuse and lengthy administrative procedures, however, are the three biggest problems,” Nguyen Mai, chair of VAFIEs (the Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises), said. The total FDI (foreign direct investment) registered capital in Vietnam in the first six months of the year increased by 54.8% compared with the same period last year, according to an MPI report.  However, analysts noted the absence of strong investments from American and European investors. Western investors are cautious when making investments, especially in developing countries like Vietnam. A delegation of representatives from 29 US leading conglomerates came to Vietnam last March, just to learn about the government of Vietnam’s reform of investment environment and make proposals on amending current policies. The US has never been the No 1 foreign direct investor in Vietnam. It ranks seventh among the biggest foreign investors in the country. …... [read more]

Standing in a warehouse in a Moscow suburb, Dmitry Marinichev tries to speak over the deafening hum of hundreds of computers stacked on shelves hard at work mining for crypto money. "The form of currency we are used to is about to disappear," predicts the 42-year-old entrepreneur, who also works as President Vladimir Putin's adviser on internet matters. Marinichev is one of Russia's leading crypto-businessmen at the helm of operations in this facility larger than a football pitch located in a former Soviet-era car factory, which collects virtual money on the accounts of its clients. Individuals, or firms like Marinichev's, provide the computing power to run the so-called blockchain which records the world's virtual money transactions. In return for providing that service they receive virtual money, of which bitcoin is the most popular, as payment -- a process bitcoiners call "mining". Mining farms like this represent a growing craze in Russia for bitcoin and other virtual currencies not backed by governments or central banks that are increasingly used for goods and services on the internet. The hunt for virtual currencies is accessible "to anyone who may be hardly familiar with computer science," Marinichev said. "It's no more complicated than buying a cellphone and connecting to a mobile network." The practice has become so popular in Russia that computer stores in the country have run out of graphic and video cards developed for gamers but are used by bitcoin miners to boost the processing power of their home computers. Marinichev…... [read more]

My Phuoc Industrial Park park 3 in the southern province of Binh Duong. — VNA/VNS Photo Van Khanh Authorities in the southern province of Binh Duong and the representatives of South Korean companies operating in the province met on Wednesday to resolve difficulties faced by businesses in the area. At the meeting, companies raised questions about human resources, product displays, business expansion, fire prevention, work safety, social insurance, wages and the environment. The authorities answered questions and offered solutions, promising the companies that they would continue to improve the investment environment. A representative of the province’s Department of Construction said that construction of 1,230 sq metres of social housing, including accommodations for workers would end in 2020. At the meeting, the province’s Department of Industry and Trade said it would offer convenient conditions to investors to develop centres for product display and would regularly organise trade promotions and exhibitions where companies can display products and technologies. Under the national plan for key economic zones in the southern region, a fair and exhibition centre will be built by 2035 on an area of 25 hectares, according to the department. The province’s Department of Planning and Investment said it was working with the provincial People’s Committee to upgrade local infrastructure and that investors would be sought to develop infrastructure in industrial zones. By 2020, the province is expected to have 34 industrial zones with a total area of nearly 15,000ha. …... [read more]

With the aim of building a dialogue channel for Vietnamese and Taiwanese green energy industries, as well as supporting Taiwanese companies to develop the Vietnamese green energy market, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ho Chi Minh Branch (VCCI-HCM) recently collaborated with the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) to host the Conference on Green Energy Insights: Vietnam-Taiwan Trends and Development.” Speaking at the conference, Madam Karen Ma, Director of the Green Trade Project Office, Taiwan, said, in many Asian countries like India, Thailand, Singapore and Brunei, using green energies, including solar energy, is highly recommended and seen as an effective solution to ensure national and regional energy security. In particular, these countries have also developed complete legal frameworks to provide a solid foundation for green energy development in the future. “While energy demands in developing countries are increasing and non-renewable energy sources are costlier and more environment-polluting, investing in green energy development in general and solar power development in particular is considered to be indispensable and sustainable direction,” she stressed. Taiwan has extensive experience in green energy and can fully use this strength to help Vietnam to harness its abundant green energy potential by introducing advanced green energy technologies to develop green energies and renewable energies in Vietnam, thus enabling Vietnam to achieve the goals of the Green Energy Strategy and implement international commitments for sustainable development, said Karen Ma. Sharing her experience in developing green energy industries, she said, “The core…... [read more]

NDO - According to an ILO expert in Vietnam, economic performance and labour market facts should be taken into account when determining the minimum wage in order for workers’ rights to be protected while helping enterprises to grow. Dr Chang-Hee Lee, director of ILO Vietnam, stated that Vietnam should develop a better labour market information system so that the minimum wage is effective in both protecting wage earners and creating a favourable business environment. He added that the capacity of the National Wages Council should be enhanced to provide comprehensive economic and labour market data, thereby helping representatives of employees and employers negotiate wages based on facts. Earlier this month, the Council agreed on a proposed 6.5% increase in minimum wages for 2018 after intense debates, which Lee commented could be seen almost everywhere in the world. He stated that minimum wages could have different effects on different groups. An example would be enterprises at the bottom of the global supply chains, with prices as their comparative edge, have been facing more pressure from rising minimum wages in recent years. Meanwhile during that period, what they will receive from outsourcing multinationals largely remain the same, forcing them to reduce production costs by keeping wages low to maintain the profit margin. Lee advised that multinationals should therefore work with Vietnamese suppliers and trade unions to ensure the economic fruits and social responsibility equally. The ILO expert also stated that minimum wages will have an impact on not only low-income earners but…... [read more]

While both Cambodia and Vietnam share strong growth prospects and risks related to their financial systems, Vietnam’s more diverse economy, stronger institutions, and higher incomes underpin greater shock absorption capacity, Moody’s wrote in an August 15 report. Robust foreign investment flows into manufacturing and steady growth in global demand have driven export-led expansion in both Cambodia and Vietnam. As the countries have become increasingly integrated into global supply chains, their economies have grown rapidly and income levels have risen markedly. Cambodia’s real GDP increased around 7 per cent per year on average over the five years to 2016 while Vietnam’s expanded about 6 per cent per year. Growth is likely to remain robust ahead. Vietnamese exports are spread across a variety of products and markets while garments and textiles and a few other low-value-added manufacturing products dominate Cambodia’s exports. These are largely destined for the US and the EU, exposing the economy to sector- and market-specific shocks. Vietnam’s reach into higher value-added products is reflected in greater income levels that bolster households’ capacity to absorb economic shocks. Meanwhile, Cambodia’s ongoing reforms to reduce corruption and enhance the rule of law are positive, although they have yet to materially strengthen its institutions. The central bank has a track record of delivering economic and exchange rate stability, which supports foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, but high dollarization continues to limit monetary policy effectiveness. In contrast, Vietnam’s relatively stronger institutions and greater policy effectiveness have contributed to a more conducive business environment, which…... [read more]

Funded by the European Union (EU), the 2017-2021 project aims to strengthen voices of non-State sectors, including civil social organisations, local residents and communities, to improve sustainable forest governance in the region.  Speaking at the event, Deputy Director of the Centre for People and Nature (PanNature) Hoang Xuan Thuy said the project covers Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam with the goal of empowering and connecting non-State sectors, monitoring and responding appropriately to strengthening forest governance, particularly in the EU Action Plan for forest law enforcement, governance and trade – Voluntary Partnership Agreements (FLEGT-VPA) and REDD (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation).  By 2019, forest governance supervisory systems will be piloted and spread while an information sharing platform among regional countries will be launched for the effort.  Deputy Director General of the Administration of Forestry Nguyen Van Ha lauded the efforts of civil social organisations, local residents and communities to the success of the country’s forestry development strategy until 2020.  Over the past years, the forestry sector has helped with environment protection, climate change response and raising forest coverage from 32% in 1998 to 41.19% in 2016. The figure is expected to hit 42% by 2020.  Mekong region is now home to nearly 85 million people living on forests, one third of them are natives. An estimated 30% of population in rural areas are living in need.... [read more]

NDO – The Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) held a ceremony on August 16 to celebrate Prof. Dr. Dang Huy Huynh’s as the ASEAN Biodiversity Hero. Huynh, President of the Heritage Tree Council and Vice President of the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (VACNE), is the first Vietnamese citizen and one of the 10 outstanding individuals from ASEAN member states to receive such a noble title on the occasion of the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN. The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes are individuals with significant contributions to the ASEAN biodiversity, through their activities and initiatives, contributing actively to the socio-economic development in their respective countries and in the region. During his over 60 years of research in biology, Prof. Huynh has made many contributions to the preservation of biodiversity in Vietnam and in the surrounding region. He possesses the ability to inspire the community in biodiversity conservation and development, and is recognised as one of Vietnam’s leading scientists. Prof. Huynh has been presented with nearly 20 orders and medals of different types, including the Ho Chi Minh Award (twice) – Vietnam’s most noble award in science and technology, the Vietnam Environmental Award in 2009, and a certificate of merit from the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment in recognition of his devotions to biodiversity conservation activities in 2015, among others. Holding a myriad of positions, both appointed by the State and entrusted by the society, concerning the environment, Prof. Huynh has implemented specific and practical…... [read more]

HONGKONG: Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific on Wednesday (Aug 16) reported a massive net loss of HK$2.05 billion (US$262.07 million) for the first half of the year as the airline struggled with intense competition from rivals. Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific reported a massive net loss of HK$2.05 billion for the first half of the year as the airline struggled with intense competition from rivals. (Photo: AFP/Anthony Wallace) The results, which were worse than analysts predicted, came after Cathay saw its first annual loss in eight years in 2016, as lower cost Chinese carriers eat into its market share. Wednesday's results pave the way for the first ever back-to-back annual losses in the company's 70-year history. Bloomberg analysts had forecast a year-on-year loss of HK$1.2 billion (US$153 million) for the first half of 2017. Chairman John Slosar described the results as "disappointing" to reporters and said competition was the most significant factor. Companies like China Eastern and China Southern Airlines are offering direct services to Europe and the United States from the mainland, while budget carriers like Spring Airlines have targeted regional travellers, undermining Cathay's position. The airline is also losing premium travellers as it comes under pressure from Middle East rivals which are expanding into Asia and offering more luxury touches. That has led to promotional prices for Cathay's top tickets as they are sold to leisure…... [read more]

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