The Vietnam General Department of Customs has been informed that Petrolimex might be trying to avoid VND64 billion (USD3.1 million) in new taxes.
On June 8, 2012, the Ministry of Finance issued Circular 94 to raise petrol import tariffs.
The tax on petrol will be raised from 4% to 7%, diesel will increase from 3% to 6% for and mazut and kerosene 5% to 8%.
On June 4, Petrolimex had come and filed their tax declaration for a diesel ship from the Middle East which is expected to arrive on June 17. The old tax rate of 3% would still applied.
The officers suspected that Petrolimex knew beforehand about the move to raise the import tax because the corporation previously always filed their declaration one or two days before the ship docked.
With this ship, Petrolimex registered and sent their declaration 14 days before the expected arrival date.
Petrolimex is one of 14 businesses that trade petrol and has the biggest market share in Vietnam.
Vietnam, EFTA countries start free trade agreement talks
Minister of Industry and Trade, Vu Huy Hoang and Norwegian Ambassador to Vietnam Stale Torstein Risa, officially launched negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, in Hanoi on July 3.
The EFTA comprises of Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
At the launching ceremony, Minister Hoang signed a memorandum of understanding on EFTA’s recognition of Vietnam as a market economy.
According to Minister Hoang, the fact that EFTA and 30 other countries in the world have recognised Vietnam as a market economy showed the international community’s recognition of the Southeast Asian country’s efforts to renovate its economy and integrate it into the international economy.
The MoU is proof that Vietnam and EFTA have sufficient basis to boost economic and trade ties, of which the signing of an FTA between them is one of the most effective measures, Hoang added.
The FTA will be comprehensive and fully compliant with the rules of the World Trade Organisation and include commodity trading, service trading, investment and other fields of mutual concern.
The document is expected to bring practical benefits to both Vietnam and EFTA countries, including those of the people and business circles.
APEC business advisors to talk integration, investment
This year's 3rd session of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) will take place in HCM City from July 16-19 to discuss regional economic integration and trade and investment liberalisation.
President Truong Tan Sang will be present at the event.
According to ABAC Viet Nam Chairman Hoang Van Dung, major content will include: developing new service programmes, promoting supply chain connection, intensifying food and energy security, spurring technology transfer and hi-tech investment, stimulating infrastructure investment, supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), spurring regional financial market integration, and sponsoring creative ideas and initiatives.
At the four-day event, officials from Viet Nam, the US, Mexico, Chile and Peru will hold forums to introduce investment environments and projects, besides working to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. A forum for female APEC business leaders will also be organised.
"During current tough economic conditions, this will be a good opportunity for domestic firms to promote their images and products, approach big APEC groups and investors and expand cooperation with regional partners," Dung said.
He added that Viet Nam's participation at APEC has shown its increasingly important role over the last few years.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) from APEC countries now represent 80 per cent of total FDI in Viet Nam, while trade values with these countries accounted for half of the nation's total trade.
The US, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were important markets for the country, he said.
Among issues of cooperation, Dung urged Viet Nam to focus on supporting SMEs by providing preferential interest, tax exemption and human resource training assistance.
As up to 90 per cent of APEC businesses are SMEs, this is a matter "APEC leaders are very interested in", he noted.
"This is also what the Government should especially do in the current context so as to maintain tax revenues and reduce unemployment," he added.
Dung said increasing cooperation, investment and technology application in agriculture "was very important for Viet Nam, as 70 per cent of the nation's population are dependent on agriculture and 30 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) comes from this sector".
The ABAC was established in November 1995 by APEC economic leaders with the aim to give advice about top business issues in the 21-economy region.
Russia, chairing the council in 2012, has theme this year's event "Aspirations to Reality". The 4th ABAC session will be held in this country in September.
Price disparity due to distribution
Wildly differing prices for pig, chicken and tra fish products are being charged because of many intermediate levels involved in the distribution system, according to reports in Tuoi Tre newspaper.
Phan Van Tho, for example, of Dong Nai Province's Vinh Cuu District recently sold 2,000 industrially raised chicken to a HCM City-based slaughterhouse at VND25,000 a kilo.
After slaughtering, the chicken price was quoted at VND39,000 a kilo, excluding internal organs and feet.
Phuong, an owner of a slaughterhouse in HCM City said that he and other slaughterhouses were earning a profit of VND6,000-VND7,000 a kilo.
Slaughterhouses sell the chicken to wholesale distributors, supermarkets and markets.
Wholesale distributors then sell the products to retailers, who further increase the price by another VND5,000-6,000 a kilo, Phuong said.
He said that the retail price for a kilo of chicken should have been about VND37,000 a kilo if everyone had charged a "reasonable price".
But chicken was selling for more than VND45,000 a kilo at markets in the city, and at a higher prices at smaller markets.
The same phenomenon has been occurring with tra fish prices.
In recent weeks, the price of tra fish has fallen because seafood-processing companies have lacked capital to buy the fish.
Traders bought tra fish directly at ponds for VND17,000-18,000 a kilo and then sold to wholesalers at the Binh Dien market, for example, for VND20,000-28,000 a kilo, depending on the size.
Wholesalers at Binh Dien market then sold the fish for VND21,000-32,000 a kilo to retailers who priced the fish for consumers at VND28,000-38,000 a kilo.
Tran Quang Trung, owner of a pig farm in Dong Nai Province, said he and others had incurred big losses because live pig prices had fallen to only VND38,000-40,000 a kilo, much lower compared to production costs of VND47,000-48,000 a kilo.
However, pork retail prices in the market remained high at more than VND70,000 a kilo.
Nguyen Van Ngoc, owner of a chicken farm in Dong Nai Province, said that farmers were selling their products at a low price and consumers were paying high prices.
Agricultural experts said the price disparity was caused by the poor farm-produce distribution system, causing disadvantages for both producers and consumers.
Diep Kinh Tan, deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that prices of some kind of farm produce had increased by 100 per cent from farm to market due to the country's inappropriate distribution system.
He said that relevant ministries should develop measures to remedy the situation.
Manufacturing fair opens in HCM City
The country's leading manufacturing solutions trade show, the 10th annual Viet Nam International Precision Engineering, Machine Tools and Metalworking Exhibition, opened yesterday in HCM City.
Occupying more than 8,000 sq.m, the largest ever edition of MTA Viet Nam, the four-day exhibition attracted more than 400 exhibitors from 23 countries and regions, showcasing a wide variety of quality products and solutions in precision engineering, machine tools and metalworking available in the global marketplace.
Adding to the list of prominent exhibitors is the gathering of 10 pavilions from Germany, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, the UK and Italy, where they will display their most innovative products and solutions.
Tee Boon Teong, chief representative of Singapore Exhibition Services' s representative office in HCM City, said MTA Viet Nam 2012 was expected to cater to the diverse and fast-growing needs of Viet Nam's manufacturing industry.
The event will provide a platform for industry professionals to network, explore business opportunities, gain hands-on experience of international best-of-breed machine tools, and gather knowledge about the latest trends.
MTA Viet Nam was launched in HCM City in 2005, and has since grown to become Viet Nam's most comprehensive manufacturing solutions trade event, with at least 80 per cent of exhibitors from other countries.
PM approves plan to buy up rice surplus
The Prime Minister yesterday approved a plan to buy 500,000 tonnes of summer-autumn rice between July 10 and August 10 for temporary stock.
The Viet Nam Food Association (VFA) will offer the rice to food enterprises for purchasing.
The Ministry of Finance and State Bank of Viet Nam will provide capital for the sales.
In June, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) proposed that the Government permit food firms to buy one million tonnes of summer-autumn rice.
However, in a recent conference on rice exports, VFA said the Government should keep temporary stock of 500,000 tonnes of rice.
It added that rice trading firms should not have a large temporary stock but should increase trade promotion to speed up rice exports.
This year's summer-autumn crop is expected to provide 2.5 million tonnes of rice for domestic consumption and export.
Binh Dinh licenses 12 projects
The central province of Binh Dinh licensed 12 projects worth VND338.8 billion (US$16.2 million) in the first half of the year, according to the Binh Dinh Department of Planning and Investment.
The department said that it would also approve another 12 projects to invest in its Nhon Hoi Economic Zone and industrial zones.
Spain ups dealings in Viet Nam
A business delegation from Spain's Gipuzkoa province is paying a four day working visit to HCM City to promote trade co-operation with Vietnamese partners.
Gipuzkoa's authorities have selected Viet Nam as one destination in its trade promotion programme in Asia.
Viet Nam last year imported nearly 226 million euros (US$284.5 million) from Spain, up 42.7 per cent against the previous year, while exporting more than 1.41 billion euros ($549 million) from the market, up 32 per cent.
Vinh Long in need of investment
The southern province of Vinh Long has announced a list of 36 projects that call for a total investment of nearly VND18 trillion (US$857.1 million) in the 2012-15 period.
The largest projects include the $95.8 million 400ha Binh Tan Industrial Zone, the $83.8 million 350ha Dong Binh IZ and the $47.9 million 200ha An Dinh IZ.
Express delivery service launched
The Viet Nam Post Corporation (Viet Nam Post) yesterday introduced its new international express delivery service called VNQuickpost at a ceremony in Ha Noi.
This is the outcome of a joint initiative between Viet Nam Post and DHL Express, the world's leading express service. The economical, secure and fast express delivery service targets customers in the middle-income bracket.
At first VNQuickpost will operate from seven cities and provinces, including Ha Noi, HCM City, Hai Phong, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Da Nang and Quang Nam.
The service delivers to over 220 countries and territories across the world within 2-7 days.
Province revokes project licences
The Department of Industry and Trade of southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province has proposed to retrieve investment licences of 16 industrial zones in the province.
The department said that the projects failed to meet the construction schedule due to the investors' difficulties in land clearance and financial status.-
Taxi companies lower fares
Mai Linh yesterday announced a reduction of its taxi fare of VND200-500 per km in the wake of a recent petrol price reduction of VND600 per litre.
Ta Long Hy, chairman of the HCM City Taxi Association, said that many other taxi firms in the city were also considering a fare cut.-
Goods prices to barely inch up despite power price hike
The recent power price hike of 5% places more burden on producers, but it is forecast that there would be no strong goods price increases given the poor purchasing power at present.
Pham Thanh Nhan, deputy general director of Saigon Co.op, said purchasing power at the Co.opMart system inched up unnoticeably in late June against late May. He said consumers have yet to loosen their purse strings and mainly spend on essential items and those with discount prices.
Higher power prices will certainly leave a great impact on production and business activities, Nhan said. Still, given the current weak buying energy, producers will not dare to raise prices, but they will continue to withstand the input cost pressure.
“I personally think that there would be no price spikes like what happened in the previous power price increases. Price hikes, if any, would only occur at big firms with exclusive products,” Nhan predicted.
Trinh Chi Cuong, general director of Dai Dong Tien Company, told the Daily that power accounted for 10-15% of the company’s total production costs. However, he stated his company decided to shoulder the cost burden to maintain prices.
Instead, the firm will tighten its operation to control costs, review the list of products and eliminate the unprofitable ones, and improve product quality to enhance competitiveness.
Similarly, Nguyen Tri Kien, director of Minh Tien Bag Manufacturing Company, said his company would offer promotions to boost consumption rather than raising prices.
“Businesses are mired in difficulties, so every little change can further exhaust them. But in the current context, enterprises must save themselves and shoulder everything on their own,” said Kien.
According to business representatives, so far there has been no sign that purchasing power will pick up in the coming time. Therefore, enterprises expected the Government to have stable and consistent macro policies so that they can have confidence in production and investment.
Furthermore, there must be measures to stimulate consumption and solve the outlet problem of producers. “Businesses are used to enduring now. Who can survive has survived. Who cannot has died. The important thing is to revive the entire economy,” said Cuong.
VinaCapital owns 100% stake in VinaProjects
VinaCapital has completed acquisition of 50% stake in VinaProjects Joint Venture Company from inProjects Group, a Hong Kong-based property service provider, to put VinaProjects wholly under its umbrella.
Accordingly, VinaCapital from May 15 has held full ownership over VinaProjects and continued to maintain strategic relationship with inProjects Group.
Matt Flectcher, general director of inProjects Group, said in a statement that offloading stake in VinaProjects is part of the company’s general strategy, focusing on key services and sectors with rapid growths in Vietnam.
Don Lam, general director of VinaCapital, said the fund manger will maintain partnership with inProjects Group so that they can join biddings for projects in Vietnam and Indochina together.
Established in 2009, VinaProjects is a joint venture between VinaCapital and inProjects Group. It offers professional project and construction management, urban planning and facilities management services to the local market.
VinaCapital is a fund and investment manager in Vietnam with funds under its management in excess of US$1.7 billion. It manages three closed-end funds, focusing on stocks, private enterprises, real estate and infrastructure.
Ministry seeks ways to spur transport projects
The Ministry of Transport will work in close collaboration with banks, investors, contractors and material suppliers so as to hasten the pace of transport infrastructure projects which are currently suspended given public spending cuts.
The connection is aimed at speeding up the execution of delayed projects and helping material suppliers to ease mounting inventories, said Transport Minister Dinh La Thang in a meeting last week. The meeting was attended by representatives of Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), project owners and building materials suppliers.
However, the program only targets transport projects backed by official development assistance, state budget and government bonds with completion planned for between now and 2014.
BIDV suggested participating investors to open deposit accounts at the bank and use its services. They must satisfy the bank’s criteria on credit rating and credit supply conditions in line with the central bank’s regulations.
In the context that many transport projects have been put on hold due to capital shortage, the move is expected to remove bottlenecks in capital mobilization and construction pace. However, some enterprises are concerned about credit rating, collateral and other issues.
In the current tough economic conditions, enterprises find it hard to meet requirements of banks, said Vu Hai Thanh, general director of Civil Engineering Construction Joint Stock Co. No. 8. Thereby, it is still difficult for borrowers to acquire loans to secure the completion of their transport projects.
Cau Gie-Ninh Binh toll fee based on journey
Vehicles on Cau Gie-Ninh Binh Expressway will have to pay toll fees, which are calculated based on their journey on the expressway, from this month.
The Ministry of Transport and Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC) last Saturday opened to traffic the entire 50-kilometer Cau Gie-Ninh Binh Expressway. With six lanes, it helps reduce the duration of the journey from Hanoi to Ninh Binh Province by half, at around 50 minutes.
Cau Gie-Ninh Binh is the first expressway of the Red Delta and connects Hanoi with provinces in the south of the delta.
The first and last construction package of this expressway was launched in January 2006 and November 2009 respectively.
The project has total investment of VND8.974 trillion, with VND6.938 trillion for construction, VND49 billion for site clearance compensation and VND665.39 billion for loan interest. The investment includes VND800 billion taken from the VEC’s chartered capital and VND8.174 trillion from bonds issued by VEC and guaranteed by the Government.
Under the toll collection solution presented to the Ministries of Transport and Finance, the highest toll vehicles have to pay when running on the entire expressway is VND280,000.
When entering the expressway, vehicles will take a card which measures the length that they run and then pay the toll fee when leaving the expressway. The lowest fee is VND15,000.
Motorcycles, bicycles, motorized vehicles, vehicles carrying explosive materials and large vehicles are banned from the expressway.
The Ministry of Transport last Saturday also opened to traffic the elevated road of Hanoi’s belt road No. 3.
Belt road No. 3 from Mai Dich to Bac Ho Linh Dam has a length of nine kilometers and a designed speed of 100 kilometers per hour. The elevated road from Thanh Xuan to Bac Ho Linh Dam is 3.267 kilometers long and constructed by the TLG-Cienco 8-Cienco 4 consortium.
This package was scheduled for completion in late November but has been completed five months ahead of schedule.
Contractors implementing the first and second packages of belt road No. 3 are also trying to finish the job before the end of the year.
Slowing demand challenges businesses
Lower purchase power has created more pressures to enterprises which are facing high inventories and debts.
Many companies have had to downsize production activities and sell products at discounts or even suffer losses in order to survive, said Van Duc Muoi, a member of the Economic and Budget Board under the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Council cum General Director of Vissan Ltd. Company
Pham Hai Long, General Director of Agrex Saigon Foodstuff JS Company, said that every year it exported more than 2,000 tonnes of foodstuffs, but this had declined to just 1,000-1,500 tonnes. The firm also has to pay more for materials and wages while product prices are lower. It is also unable to increase one-year export contract values because of a commitment to importers. At present, the company is only able to pay salaries for its staff and not make any profits.
Dinh Anh Viet, Head of Dong Nai Tile Brick Company’s Business Department said his company had to offer big discounts to attract customers, affecting their profits. Furthermore, late payment by many project owners has added to its burdens.
Mr. Hung, an owner of a helmet manufacturing company said, “the company is trying to maintain production to pay staff. A number of companies at Le Minh Xuan Industrial Park in Binh Chanh District have halted operations for many months, firing hundreds of workers. Every day, dozens of workers come to my company looking for work.”
Vinamilk Director of Public Relations Bui Thi Huong said the domestic purchasing power in the first half of the year sharply dropped, meaning the company had to boost milk exports.
Property companies face a worse situation. According to Le Hoang Chau, Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association, most enterprises had suffered losses or even faced bankruptcy.
The latest increase in electricity prices from July 1 is putting additional burden on small businesses. Electricity prices have risen to VND2,192/kWh (USD0.1/kWh), meaning that small businesses are trying to make as many savings as possible to mitigate the effect of the 5% price hike.
Nguyen Van Thien, Chairman of the Vietnam Cement Association, complained that the cement sector is coping with high inventories. Despite offering big discounts, firms continue to fail to attract customers; while electricity accounts for 7% of their total costs annually.
Seafood companies also share the same fate. A medium-sized enterprise in this sector has to spend around VND2 billion on power costs every month.
Do Ha Nam, Chairman of the Vietnam Pepper Association said the Vietnamese economy is threatened by deflation. If enterprises continue reducing production and go bankrupt, causing more unemployment, this was even more dangerous than inflation.
Companies must restructure their distribution network, protect trademarks and set targets for community development so that customers remained loyal to them, he said, noting that the most important thing was the solutions from the State Bank to help deal with their bad debts and ability to access capital.
Chau emphasised that, “The urgent solution is lowering interest rates as well as boosting consumer demand to reduce inventories. Banks must be banned from applying deposit interest rate of 9% and lending interest rates of up to 17-18%.”
Several economists said it is also necessary to consider state expenses such as public investment.
Chairman National Financial Supervisory Commission Vu Viet Ngoan said the Government had recently issued many solutions to support businesses, including Resolution 13 on personal income tax extension and exemption and lowered interest rates. He hoped that they would have a positive affect on the country in the coming time.
Vietnam halts licensing of foreign ships
The Vietnamese Ministry of Transport has ordered the cessation of licensing for foreign container ships beginning January 1, 2013, in an effort protect the domestic shipping industry.
The Vietnam Maritime Administration was assigned to inform owners of foreign container ships operating in Vietnam in time to prepare for the change in regulations. The administration will also be in charge of monitoring shipping vessels in Vietnamese waters and report violations to the Ministry of Transport. The aim of this measure is to ease traffic at seaports.
Passenger ships will still be eligible for licenses for routes that Vietnamese ships are unable to service.
The licensing of foreign vessels in Vietnam has been a source of controversy to local sipping companies, who fear that international shipping firms will out-compete them. Also, many Vietnamese companies have complained that foreign firms can get around the 15-year rule for the age of ships by registering them abroad while licensing them here.
Company delists following losses
Construction firm Vinaconex No 11 (V11) would delist from the Ha Noi Stock Exchange at an appropriate time to restructure its business, its shareholders have approved after the annual meeting.
Last year, Vinaconex No 11 faced a loss of VND31 billion, and revenue reached VND320 billion. Therefore, it expects to earn only VND300 billion in revenue and continue to be unprofitable with a loss worth VND22 billion.
V11 shares bottomed out during yesterday's session, reaching only VND2,100 per share.-
Government issues more bonds
In the first half of this year, bonds worth a total of VND54.8 trillion found buyers, an increase of 45 per cent compared to the same period last year. Around 74 per cent of the bonds were three-year and five-year bonds.
In accordance with the decline in bank interest rates, bonds yields also decreased throughout each month. The yields in June ranged around 9-9.5 per cent.
Meanwhile, sold Government-guaranteed bonds totalled VND32.6 trillion, accounting for 55 per cent of this year's plan. Of these, the Viet Nam Development Bank successfully sold a value of VND20 trillion, while the remaining was issued by the Social Policy Bank.
The State Treasury was set to raise capital through the issuance of Government bonds worth VND100 trillion and Government-guaranteed bonds worth VND59 trillion this year.-
Few foreigners aware of new VAT-refund policy
The new refund policy for value-added taxes paid by visitors to the country on products they have purchased has been in place for three days at HCM City's Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
However, few foreigners are aware of the new policy, which is now in a pilot phase in HCM City and at Ha Noi's Noi Bai airport, where desks have been set up for VAT refunds only.
Genelle Eisele, of Canada, a teacher at the Canadian International School, who was at the HCM City airport yesterday, said she had been in Viet Nam for almost a year but had no idea about the VAT refund scheme.
"I think this is a good scheme, but the Government should make the procedures easy and convenient for foreigners," she said.
Sheena, of Singapore, who works at the US-based Loud Technology Company, told a Viet Nam News reporter that he travels between Viet Nam and Singapore every month for business, but was unaware of the policy.
"The VAT refund scheme is such a good policy, which can help Viet Nam promote tourism. So I think the scheme should be further promoted so most foreigners can know about it," he said.
The VAT refund scheme for foreigners and overseas Vietnamese began on July 1.
Under the scheme, purchases that total at least VND2 million ($95) are eligible for VAT refunds.
To qualify for a VAT refund, a declaration form must be filled out within 30 days from the date of departure.
Foreigners can claim up to 85 per cent of the VAT charged on goods purchased in the country.
The tax refund will be paid at the airport in Vietnamese dong or a foreign currency in line with bank exchange rates.
According to Hoang Viet Cuong, deputy head of the General Department of Customs, VAT refunds would encourage foreign visitors to increase spending in Viet Nam, and boost tourism.
After the pilot phase, the scheme would be extended to more airports and border gates across the country, he said.
Work hazards plague farmers
The high use of chemicals and machinery in agriculture is putting farmers at high risk.
Ha Tat Thang, director of the Labour Safety Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said that compared with people in other industries, farmers faced an alarming rate of work accidents.
A survey by the ministry showed that nearly 90 per cent of farmers do not know how to use machinery properly and 28.4 per cent do not have a proper understanding on the use of electricity.
Authorities also generally fail to control the quality of imported or self-modified farm machinery. In addition, most of the machinery sold has few instructions on how it should be used, especially imported multi-function machinery.
The ministry said out of every 100,000 people working in the sector, 799 had electricity-related accidents and 856 had accidents relating to machines.
According to the Health Ministry's Preventive Medicine Department, about 20,000 people are injured on farms each year – 1,500 of them fatal.
Moreover, just 19.3 per cent of farmers are aware of the harm that can be caused by chemicals they use every day.
More than 70 per cent of farmers buy chemical products without knowing their origin or composition and 94 per cent of them use the chemical without proper instructions.
And about 29.4 per cent do not know how to spray pesticides safely.
According to a survey in the provinces of Thai Binh, Thai Nguyen, Dong Thap and Dak Lak, in the last three years, a total of nearly 4,900 people were poisoned by chemicals.
Vice chairman of northern Thai Nguyen Province's Farmers' Association Nguyen Hai Khe said that there were training courses to help farmers improve their understanding and skills about labour safety.
However, while many followed instructions at the beginning, they often reverted to unsafe routines, declaring that protective equipment was inconvenient.
Nguyen Van Doi from the province's Dai Tu District said that he bought a rice crusher machine and taught himself to use it.
Last year, boiling water from the machine's tank splashed onto his face, nearly sending him blind.
Meanwhile, the Japanese Government has announced it will fund a project to improve labour safety in high-risk industries in Viet Nam including agriculture. The three-year project will benefit people in Bac Kan, Hai Phong, Ha Tinh, Quang Ngai and Dong Nai.
At present, there are about 22 million people working in agriculture, accounting for more than 52 per cent of the total workforce and contributing 20 per cent of GDP.
SJC to become state gold bullion brand
The deputy governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, Le Minh Hung, yesterday attended a media conference to respond to questions regarding which gold bar brand name will be chosen as a state brand.
The official also took questions on how deformed gold bullion will be treated, which was a concern of many consumers who are holding gold bullion of different brand names.
Hung said under decree no. 24, which took effect on May 25, the government will be the monopoly in processing gold bullion, and it has assigned the central bank to manage the gold trading market.
Consequently, all of the licenses granted for gold manufacturers, including Saigon Jewelry Co (SJC), have expired since the issuance of the decree.
With SJC holding 95 percent of the gold bar market, and enjoying a high reputation for its quality and prestige, the central bank has decided to choose SJC as the state brand of gold bullion, said Hung.
“The move was intended to save expenses for the government and society, as well as avoid messing up the gold market,” he explained.
Hung asserted that at the moment, SJC is not allowed to process new gold bullion.
“SJC is allowed to continue its gold trading activities, except for making new gold bars as this is something that should be exclusively implemented by the central bank,” he added.
Although SJC is the state brand, gold bullion of other brand names that have been previously licensed are now still eligible for circulation.
Regarding the public complaint that SJC is now refusing to buy back deformed SJC gold bars, Hung said the central bank will allow the company to reshape the bars to protect consumers’ rights.
But he failed to set the exact timing for the process.
“The central bank will announce the policies in the shortest possible time,” he said.
Over 800 businesses join Vietbuild exhibition
The International Exhibition for Construction, Building Materials, Housing and Interior Decor (Vietbuild) got underway in Ho Chi Minh City, on July 4.
Jointly held by the Information Center, the Ministry of Construction and the AFC International Exhibition Joint Stock Company, the 2,200-stand exhibition has attracted over 800 businesses from 22 countries and territories.
The 5-day exhibition is an excellent opportunity for businesses to explore new markets and promote their products.
On addressing the opening ceremony, the Deputy Minister for Construction, Nguyen Tran Nam, said that Vietbuild 2012 is to help businesses look for investment as well as learn about new technologies used in the construction industry.
The exhibition will also hold seminars on new construction technologies and a ceremony to honor outstanding construction businesses.
US-backed technology conference kicks off in HCMC
US Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City and Strategic Alliance Vietnamese Ventures International (SAVVi) organized the 2012 Technology Entrepreneurs Creative Mix (TECx) at New World Saigon Hotel on Wednesday.
The event, taking place from July 4 to 7, is a chance to boost cooperation between Vietnam and America technological businesses.
The annual event, themed “Technology Transforming Our Lives”, is also held to promote and strengthen trade relations between Vietnam and the US in the field of technology, trade and investment, said Consul General Le Thanh An.
“Technology has nearly transformed our lives, impacting us in many ways and if we don’t pay attention to it, we hardly notice it,” said SAVVi President Huy Do.
“There will also be opportunities to brainstorm and collaborate on education and sustainable agriculture, sectors being rapidly changed by technology and visionary entrepreneurs,” An added.
There are about 15 American businessmen and experts who participate in the conference to discuss new US-invented technologies and thinking in seven main areas, including movie production, media, digital consent/payment, healthcare (stem cell research and technological applications in skincare and eye-care), agriculture (biotechnology in agriculture), education and entrepreneurships.
The presentations and discussion panels joined by US and Vietnamese experts in the related fields of technology will take place during the daytime.
The evening session will be set for Vietnamese enterprises to register to meet directly with US firms to learn about the technologies as well as find opportunities for cooperation.
“I am confident during this program many creative ideas will be born and shared; and that unexpected new collaborations will be founded,” An said.
The four-day conference is held in partnership with SAVVi Angels Network, Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP), and VinaCapital Foundation. Its diamond, platinum and gold sponsors are the Windsor Property Management Group Corporation (WMC Group), BOSE, and New World Saigon Hotel respectively.
The US-based SAVVi is a subscription based global platform providing services to those wishing to do business with Vietnamese professionals and Vietnam. It has about 2,500 members across the globe with chapters in Northern and Southern California, Texas, Vietnam, and France.