Vietnamese businesses in Europe meet in Hungary

The 10th Conference of Vietnamese Businessmen in Europe is taking place in Budapest, Hungary from September 16-18 with the focus on the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

The highlight of the conference is a seminar on opportunities and challenges brought by the EVFTA on September 17. Ambassador-head of the EU Delegation to Vietnam Bruno Angelet was scheduled to deliver a speech on this issue.

The conference is the biggest event of the Vietnamese entrepreneur community in Europe. Held annually since 2006, it has brought together leading Vietnamese enterprises operating in Europe.

This year’s event saw the first-time presence of the European Vietnamese Youth Business Alliance.

Hanoians snapping up Da Nang property

Research by real estate services provider Savills Vietnam published recently showed that more than 80 percent of people who bought a second home in the central city of Da Nang are from Hanoi.

Savills Vietnam said that Hanoians were attracted by a variety of factors, including completed infrastructure, bright tourism prospects, sales policies and a young, dynamic and green city.

Da Nang pioneered in luxury coastal homes and was second to Nha Trang in total stock with 1,199 villas and 3,367 apartments. A large future supply and apartments and coastal villas are expected in the central city, according to Salvills Vietnam.

The company said that second homes are becoming commonplace in Vietnam.

Thai Nguyen’s strengths introduced to US enterprises

The northern province of Thai Nguyen introduced its strengths and potential to US enterprises at a seminar held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York on September 16.

Speaking at the event, permanent Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nhu Van Tam said that Thai Nguyen boasts advantages of minerals and tea.

The province is currently home to over 5,000 businesses, including more than 100 foreign-invested ones. It has six industrial zones and 32 industrial clusters, and is asking for the Government’s approval of building a 500ha concentrated information and technology zone, he added.

To become an industrialised province, Thai Nguyen wants to continue attracting investment in several key fields and supporting industry projects related to mineral processing, hi-tech agricultural production and waste treatment.

Russell K Statman, Executive Director of the Registrar Corporation, stated that the biggest difficulty for Vietnamese enterprises, including those from Thai Nguyen, is to understand and apply the US’s import-export regulations.

For food commodities, he suggested Vietnamese exporters have a thorough grasp of the US Food and Drug Administration’s regulations to meet this market’s requirements.

Connectivity necessary for southeast region’s sustainable development

Officials and economic experts have emphasized regional connectivity as the key to sustainable economic development in the southeast region.

Addressing the Southeast Region Economic Forum 2016 in HCM City on September 16, Cao Duc Phat, deputy head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission, noted that the region’s economic development has not met its potential and advantages and pointed to growth quality, human resources, infrastructure and regional connectivity as areas in need of improvement.

Despite its status as one of key economic regions, institutions and mechanisms for economic coordination and linkage are absent, he said.

Doan Duy Khuong, Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the region should strive for strong intra-region economic linkage in order to optimize its advantages.

Dang Xuan Quang, Deputy Director of the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, stressed the need to increase linkages with other regions, particularly the Mekong Delta and the Central-Central Highlands regions, to expand market and create supply chains.

He also stressed the need to train a workforce of regional and international capability, considering it as one of breakthrough solutions to ensure the region’s sustainable development.

Phat said the region should look at other economic hubs in ASEAN, Asia and the world to understand the need to reform mechanisms, policies and institutions to compete effectively and connect with other big economic centres in the region and the world.

He also urged the region to clarify the direction for industrial development, suggesting it give priority to high-tech and clean industries and those of highly-added value.

The southeast region, which includes HCM City and Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces, accounts for nearly 60 percent of the country’s total export value and nearly half of foreign direct investment capital.

It is expected to become the locomotive of the country’s economy under a master plan to 2020.

Vietnam, Japan cooperate to boost supporting industry

A study on how to develop the supporting industry in Vietnam suggested cooperation with Japan in the field, heard a seminar held in Hanoi on September 16.

The research, conducted by the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) and the Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc. (MRI), analysed the current challenges encountered by the supporting industry in Vietnam and proposed cooperation policies between Vietnam and Japan in order to improve the sector.

According to Vice President of CIEM Nguyen Thi Tue Anh, there is a lack of connection among enterprises operating in the sector.

She also said the ability of Vietnamese enterprises to supply intermediate products and their possibility to enter the global supply chain are weak.

The country has a number of policies to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), however, the efficiency of the policy implementation is not high, she added.

At the event, experts from the MRI proposed the application of the model of public technology centre in Vietnam.

In the model, which has been successful in Japan, SMEs are able to use the centre’s services to do research and experiments.

According to the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), the local content of products made by Japanese businesses in Vietnam was very low, reaching only 32.1 percent in 2015.

Purchasing 11.5m shares, VEIL becomes strategic partner at PCC1

Power Construction JSC No 1 (PCC1) has sold nearly 11.5 million shares to the London-traded Vietnam Enterprise Investments Limited (VEIL) for nearly VND380 billion (US$16.9 million).

The shares were sold for a price of VND33,000 per share.

The deal also allows VEIL to act as a strategic investor in PCC1. With that shift, VEIL is now able to send a representative to attend PCC1’s shareholder meetings.

After the deal, PCC1 increased its chartered capital to VNĐ753 billion from VNĐ638 billion.

VEIL is a closed-end fund, managed by the HCM City-based investment group Dragon Capital and traded on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.

VEIL now owns total asset of more than $900 million.

LEDTEC ASIA 2016 to come to Ha Noi

Viet Nam Int’l LED/OLED and Lighting Show 2016 (LEDTEC ASIA 2016) will take place at the Hanoi International Exhibition Centre from September 28 to 30.

The Exporum and EIFEC Co., Ltd. co-organised a press conference to announce the event in Ha Noi on Thursday.

This is the fifth time that LEDTEC Asia is being held in Viet Nam, but it is the first time it is being held in Ha Noi.

About 150 booths from 80 companies from 10 countries will be displayed at the event, including well-known names in the LED industry, such as Rang Dong, Dien Quang, FawooKidi and Schreder.

Kim Jeonghun from Exporum said LEDTEC Asia 2016 will be the ideal solution for enterprises, which expect to expand their business in other countries, such as the fast development of LED in Viet Nam and ASEAN.

Sabeco seeks listing on HOSE

Sai Gon Beer Alcohol Beverage JSC (Sabeco) asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to list its shares on the HCM Stock Exchange (HOSE) in the future.

Sabeco said it planned to sign a consultant’s contract with Maybank Kim Eng Securities JSC before September 20.

According to a source, it will take at least two months for all the procedures required for listing to be completed.

In August, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc urged the equitization process be carried out for Sabeco, which is still the nation’s largest domestic brewery, with nearly 90 per cent financed with State capital.

Truman to build $89.6m project in Thai Binh

Private realty developer truman Holdings Corporation Vietnam announced a VND2 trillion (US$89.6 million) project named New City Project in northern Thai Binh Province on September 14.

New City is spread over 26ha of land in Tran Lam Ward with a building density of 40 per cent. The project is surrounded by three major roads of Thai Binh, Le Quy Don and Hoang Van Thai Street.

The project will have 1,000 townhouses, 53 luxury villas, a business center and a pool, as well as a sport centre, a children’s playground, a kindergarten and a park.

Besides the New City Project, Truman Holdings Corporation Vietnam also announced three realty projects in HCM City, Da Nang City and Binh Thuan Province, with the total investment for the projects amounting to VND4 trillion. These projects have already met conditions and construction is set to begin. They are expected to be completed and in operation before 2020.

The Construction and Infrastructure Development Corporation is the contractor, while the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam and the Bank for Housing Development are the lenders for these projects.

Authority warns of virtual currency trading fraud

Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA) has warned of fraud related to the trading of virtual currency and raising funds through a multi-level practice.

This has led to serious damage and stirred discontent in the public.

VCA said that this type of multi-level trading had high risks, since it was easy to appropriate money from the participants.

VCA said multi-level trading of any services was illegal according to the Law on Competition. Before participating in any multi-level trading, citizens must study the enterprises carefully and should stay away if the companies conduct multi-level trading of services, the authority said.

Bitcoin multi-level trading has made an appearance in Vietnam, in which investors spend a certain amount of money to participate and buy bitcoins. They are then required to seek new investors to earn commissions, according to VCA. Bitcoin transactions are conducted online with the server located abroad.

VCA said that it was difficult to withdraw “real” money out of this type of trading system (or the withdrawals were limited to a modest amount).

Risks existed as the operators could easily appropriate money from investors without any commitments or erase data of the investors, leaving behind no basis for claims.

In addition, virtual currency is not a legitimate form of payment in Vietnam, thus, in case of disputes, investors had no legal ground for their rights to be protected.

Several cases of bitcoin trading frauds were reported recently, in which dozens of billions of dong had unexpectedly disappeared and the victims were left stranded.

The VCA also warned about the multi-level money raising operation, with abnormally high commissions, which was said to be invested in property, hospitality or mining projects, but in fact was just a cover. One the pyramid collapsed, it would be difficult for participants to take back their money.

“Residents should keep their eyes open,” VCA said.

Vietnam, Cuba look for stronger economic links

Vietnamese and Cuban senior officials have agreed to enhance economic links between the two countries through experience sharing in promoting economic development models, attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) and developing tourism.

The agreement was reached at meetings between Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung and the Cuban ministers of economics, planning and tourism during his visit to the country from September 13-15.

Minister Dung praised Cuba’s effort in integration and administrative reform, drawing FDI and creating policies for growth.

The two sides said that the agreement on investment protection in 1995 and the agreement on avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion in 2002 are a solid foundation for the two countries to deepen economic ties.

During his stay, Minister Dung visited Cuba’s Mariel Special Development Zone and attended a conference on investment connection between Vietnamese and Cuban businesses.

At the conference, the Cuban side called for investment in various fields, including ago-forestry, sugar, health, pharmacy and biotechnology, metallurgy mechanics and the light industry among others.

On the occasion, representatives from the Vietnamese Foreign Investment Agency and the Mariel Special Development Zone signed an agreement on investment promotion, aiming to facilitate investment flow between the two countries.

Vietnam has only one investment project worth 9.5 billion VND in Cuba, while Cuba has two projects in Vietnam.

Last year, two-way trade was 235 million USD.

Vietnam exported foodstuffs, footwear, ceramics, construction material, coal, apparel and chemicals, while importing medicines and foods from the Caribbean country.

Australia opens door to fresh Vietnamese mango

Australia has given the green light for fresh mango from Vietnam to be imported into the country after years of negotiations, making it the second Vietnamese fruit, after litchi, to be imported into the country.

The Vietnam Trade Office in Australia said the first batch of mango will arrive in Australia this month, with about 18 tonnes being imported everyday soon.

Vietnam applied for a license to export mango to Australia in 2009, with approval given after meeting requirements on origin, packaging, pest control, and disease.

The Vietnamese Embassy in Australia and the trade office organised programmes to introduce the fruit at the Australia International Food Fair from September 12 -15 to promote trade and boost consumption of the fruit.

On the occasion, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on supporting consumption of Vietnamese agricultural products, including fresh fruits was signed between the trade office and the Vietnam Business Association in Australia.

Vietnam boosts cooperation with German state

The Vietnamese Embassy and Consulate General in Germany have worked with the German state of Hesse and businesses to seek cooperation between the two sides.

President of the Parliament of Hesse Nobert Kartmann vowed to spare no efforts to promote relations between Vietnam and Germany and Hesse in particular.

Chief of the Cabinet Office Axel Wintermeyer and Minister of Science and Arts Boris Rhein spoke highly of collaboration between the two countries across economics, trade, investment, education and human resources training.

The two officials agreed that there is room for Vietnam and Germany to enhance cooperation, and affirmed Hesse authorities will work with the Vietnamese Embassy and partners to bolster bilateral ties.

Vietnamese Ambassador Doan Xuan Hung highlighted Germany as an important partner of Vietnam in the European Union, saying the five-year-old strategic partnership has progressed remarkably.

Hesse plays a crucial role in the affiliation between Vietnam and Germany, he said, adding that he hopes the two sides will push ahead with cooperation in trade, investment, tourism, science-technology, education and lighthouse projects.

While meeting with Vice President of the Frankurt/Main Chamber of Commerce and Industry Stefan Messer, Ambassador Hung discussed collaboration opportunities in economics, trade and investment.

Hesse businesses lauded the efficiency of some investment projects in Vietnam, but also mentioned difficulties in getting investment licenses.

The Ambassador took note of the opinions and affirmed the Vietnamese Government’s determination to improve the business environment and attract more foreign investment.

He expressed his wish that Hesse companies will continue to invest in Vietnam.

With a population of 6.1 million, Hesse is one of the most wealthy states in Germany with gross domestic product of more than 230 billion EUR (258.56 billion USD). In 2015, the state imported 1.2 billion EUR (1.35 billion USD) worth of goods from Vietnam.

Binh Phuoc, Laos’ Champasak push agriculture ties

The southern province of Binh Phuoc will continue offering technical assistance to the Lao province of Champasak in growing cashew and pepper trees between now and 2021.

During a working session with Vice Secretary of the Party Committee and Vice Governor of Champasak province in Binh Phuoc on September 15, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Huynh Anh Minh said both sides will continue updating businesses about market information, respective cross-border trade promotion policies, as well as facilitating the trading of materials for processing.

Bouttivong, for his part, said both sides have scored positive achievements since the signing of a cooperation agreement in June 2011.

Binh Phuoc has offered nearly 160,000 cashew trees, one tonne of cashew nuts, and 10,000 pepper trees to Champasak province for breeding, as well as sent experts to the locality to help with farming techniques.

In the near future, both sides will launch a tourism route connecting Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia via National Highway 13 and linking with Thailand’s northeastern provinces via Hoa Lu international border gate.

Chinese expert talks about trade cooperation potential with Vietnam

Professor Pan Jin’e from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences highlighted the economic-trade cooperation potential between Vietnam and China in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency on September 14.

She said Vietnam’s new leaders are active to promote the two countries’ relations, especially trade links, benefiting the development of economic ties in the future.

Chinese businesses are showing more interest in the Vietnamese market, she said, describing this as a positive factor for the bilateral trade rapport.

Despite global economic downturn in recent years, Vietnam-China trade has continuously increased, demonstrating a huge potential in this field, she said.

She noted that Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc anticipated two-way trade is likely to reach 100 billion USD in 2016 or 2017 while meeting with the Chinese top leaders during his freshly-ended visit to China .

China’s statistics indicate that the target could be reached this year, she said.

She also underlined the significance of financial and monetary cooperation between the two countries, adding that convenient payment will push the bilateral collaboration ahead.

Vietnam’s recent investment in China is quite modest, so China welcomes Vietnamese investors, especially in cross-border economic cooperation areas.

To attract investment in the fields of mutual interest, the two countries’ governments need to strengthen the confidence that the bilateral relations will develop positively in the future.

The two sides’ ministries and sectors should forge connectivity to popularise Chinese suitable investment projects in Vietnam , she said, suggesting shared border localities increase dialogue exchanges on their respective investment environment.

The two governments need to promulgate some policies to create the best conditions for bilateral cooperation to thrive and help people recognise the mutual benefits, she said.

She encouraged the bilateral academic research to have better policy recommendations for businesses.

She told reporters that the investment and business environment in Vietnam has been improved in recent years, proven by the country’s active and proactive international integration and invitation of foreign investors.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has also held a number of conferences and promulgated resolutions to better business climate and develop enterprises since he took up office in 2016.

Vietnam also has a lot of potential in the field as the country is engaging in many free trade areas, she evaluated, adding that young population is also an attractive factor to overseas investors.

Tax reform efforts not yet meet expectations

The tax sector has made efforts to reform its procedures but has yet to meet requirements for intensive integration, heard a conference seeking to improve the business environment through tax reform in Hanoi on September 15.

Hoang Tien Loi, an expert at the USAID Governance for Inclusive Growth (GIG) Programme in Vietnam, said that an online survey on 80 enterprises revealed that the firms acknowledged the tax sector’s positive reform changes, including reducing the tax-payment duration.

However, 9.3 percent of businesses said that they are facing difficulties in registering tax-payment, while 14.7 percent reported problems in receipts, 32 percent met obstacles in tax declaration, and 13.3 percent faced tax payment matters, he said.

At the same time, constant changes in tax policies have confused businesses, while the delay of e-tax declaration in a number of taxes as well as tax refund has also posed an impediment, noted Loi.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Thi Cuc, President of the Tax Consultants’ Association, said that surveys in localities proved that besides positive changes, the tax sector has also showed shortcomings, including a lack of a legal principle in the settlement of all cases, leading to different ways to deal with the same problem.

Cuc proposed that the tax policy should be changed systematically and regularly updated to support the tax sector, businesses, and people.

At the same time, Michael D’Ascenzo, a consultant of the USAID GIG Vietnam, said that Vietnam has a lot to do to reduce tax compliance cost of businesses.

He proposed improving the entire State management system, not only the tax sector, along with improving tax officials’ capacity and serving attitude.

D’Ascenzo also suggested that the General Department of Taxation, the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Vietnam Social Insurance as well as other related agencies should strengthen their coordination to eliminate unnecessary tax procedures.

EU-Vietnam free trade deal to benefit both parties

A workshop themed ” EU-Vietnam free trade agreement (EVFTA): New opportunities” took place in Brussels, Belgium on September 14, aiming to propose ways to effectively implement the deal in order to bring the most benefits to both parties.

The event was co-chaired by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh and Mauro Petriccione, deputy director general at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Trade, and the EU’s chief negotiator for the EVFTA.

Addressing the workshop, Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium Vuong Thua Phong stressed that the EVFTA is a comprehensive and high-quality trade pact that ensures equal benefits to both Vietnam and the EU.

When it takes effect, the agreement will create a more favourable business climate for enterprises and investors of both sides, however it will also bring challenges to Vietnam’s firms and State management agencies, he noted.

Deputy Minister Khanh, who is also the head of Vietnam’s EVFTA negotiation delegation , highlighted Vietnam’s consistent policy of pursuing economic renovation and promoting administrative reform, towards becoming an attractive destination to foreign investors.

The workshop offered a chance to help people and business communities from EU member countries understand more about the EVFTA, and the importance played by the deal for the EU as well as Vietnam, said Mauro Petriccione.

The event was part of the second legal review session to strictly examine the whole contents of the EVFTA, aiming to ensure that words in the agreement accurately represent the contents negotiated by the two sides.

Vietnam and the EU planned to hold one or two more legal review sessions this year, with the aim of finishing the review before the end of 2016 and then translate the deal into Vietnamese and EU nations’ languages.

Once the EVFTA enters into force, the EU will eliminate about 85.6 percent of tax lines on Vietnam’s exports. The rate will increase to 99 percent seven years later.

Meanwhile, Vietnam will liberalise 65 percent of import duties on EU exports. In 10 years later, about 99.8 percent of EU goods exported to Vietnam will enjoy a zero percent tax rate.

Da Nang port handles nearly 5 million tonnes of goods

Da Nang port in the central city of Da Nang has handled nearly 5 million tonnes of cargo so far this year, representing a year-on-year rise of 13 percent.

The growth was seen in the volume of cement, fertilizer, iron ore, iron and steel.

In the reviewed period, the port welcomed over 640 container ships, with the total volume of nearly 210,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), up 21.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

In an effort to improve the service quality, the port has put into use two conveyors to handle an average of 12,000 tonnes of woodchip per day. In 2016, the volume of woodchip handled at the port is estimated at 900,000 tonnes.

It has accelerated the second phase of a project to expand Tien Sa Port for accommodating 70,000 DWT vessels, 50,000 DWT container ships and 10,000 GT passenger ships.

As part of the logistics supply chain in the Central-Central Highlands region, Da Nang port aims to handle 7 million tonnes of cargo and 300,000 TEUs of container this year.

Vietnam, Brazil forge cooperation in agriculture

Vietnam and Brazil have agreed to cooperate with each other in sugarcane, corn and soybean and coffee production, and in animal feed processing during talks between their agricultural ministers in Hanoi on September 16.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said Vietnam has a developing husbandry industry which needs about 20 million tonnes of animal feed each year.

The sector is forecast to grow about 10 percent in the coming time, he said, noting that up to 6 million tonnes of corn, millions of tonnes of soybeans and other products are needed to meet its demand.

The minister suggested Brazil supply Vietnam with technologies and machines in animal feed production.

Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply Blairo Maggi said Brazil ranks second worldwide in corn and soybean export, even though it uses only 8 percent of its land for agricultural production and 19.7 percent for livestock farming.

Despite the shrinking land, Brazil’s husbandry sector still achieves growth thanks to technological applications, according to the minister.

Brazil wishes to cooperate with Vietnam in this sphere, he said, adding that the transfer of technology would help boost both countries’ animal breeding sectors.

The minister also said up to 17 percent of electricity in Brazil is produced from sugarcane, and the technology is useful for Vietnam.

He noted his hope that Vietnam and Brazil, as the world’s large coffee producers, will step up their affiliation in this field to get better coffee prices.

The two ministers also agreed to share experience in agricultural production and forge ties in agricultural machinery, organic agriculture and biological diversity.

Connectivity necessary for southeast region’s sustainable development

Officials and economic experts have emphasized regional connectivity as the key to sustainable economic development in the southeast region.

Addressing the Southeast Region Economic Forum 2016 in HCM City on September 16, Cao Duc Phat, deputy head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission, noted that the region’s economic development has not met its potential and advantages and pointed to growth quality, human resources, infrastructure and regional connectivity as areas in need of improvement.

Despite its status as one of key economic regions, institutions and mechanisms for economic coordination and linkage are absent, he said.

Doan Duy Khuong, Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the region should strive for strong intra-region economic linkage in order to optimize its advantages.

Dang Xuan Quang, Deputy Director of the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, stressed the need to increase linkages with other regions, particularly the Mekong Delta and the Central-Central Highlands regions, to expand market and create supply chains.

He also stressed the need to train a workforce of regional and international capability, considering it as one of breakthrough solutions to ensure the region’s sustainable development.

Phat said the region should look at other economic hubs in ASEAN, Asia and the world to understand the need to reform mechanisms, policies and institutions to compete effectively and connect with other big economic centres in the region and the world.

He also urged the region to clarify the direction for industrial development, suggesting it give priority to high-tech and clean industries and those of highly-added value.

The southeast region, which includes HCM City and Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces, accounts for nearly 60 percent of the country’s total export value and nearly half of foreign direct investment capital.

It is expected to become the locomotive of the country’s economy under a master plan to 2020.

Vietnam-Brazil forum seeks new agricultural trade possibilities

The Vietnam – Brazil business forum themed “New prospect of trade and investment in agriculture” took place in Hanoi on September 16, on the occasion of the ongoing visit by Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply Blairo Maggi.

In his opening remarks, Brazilian Ambassador Marco Antonio Diniz Brandao said the forum enabled the respective business communities to strengthen trade, investment and agricultural partnerships, thereby further tightening Vietnam-Brazil partnership.

Secretary General of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Pham Thi Thu Hang said two-way trade between the two countries hit 3.9 billion USD in past years, with Vietnam exporting telephones, computer spare parts, seafood, and apparel, and importing corn, soybeans, wheat, and garment materials.

Brazil is currently a vibrant economy in the BRICS group of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and an important gateway for Vietnam to access other economies in South America, she said, adding that the government will facilitate exchanges between Vietnamese and Brazilian businesses.

Minister Maggi said agriculture now accounts for over 46 percent of Brazil’s exports and 21.5 percent of the gross domestic product. The country boasts modern infrastructure, abundant land and water resources, and the government is encouraging investment in farming with orientations to sustainable development.

The forum was co-hosted by the VCCI and the Brazilian embassy in Vietnam.

Indonesia to hold aquaculture business forum

Indonesia plans to invite Vietnam to an aquaculture business forum slated for October 11-12, in an effort to call on neighbouring countries to invest in the sector, according to Secretary General of the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Sjarief Widijaja.

Jakarta has adopted a policy to develop the aquaculture sector, he affirmed.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Indonesia Hoang Anh Tuan recalled that Vietnam and Indonesia signed a memorandum of understanding on fisheries cooperation for 2011-2015, which has been renewed for 2016-2020 during the recent visit by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam.

He expressed his hope that the forum will open up a chance for Vietnamese firms to explore business opportunities and learn more about Indonesian market.

Earlier, 228 Vietnamese fishermen, who had been arrested for accidentally fishing in Indonesia’s seas several months ago, were repatriated on September 14, marking the single biggest number of Vietnamese fishermen released by the country so far.

The repatriation took place in waters off Natuna island, about 74km from Pelabuhan Teluk Lampa seaport. This is the first time Indonesia has handed over fishermen to foreign countries in its waters.

Conference boosts partnership among Vietnamese, French localities

The 10th conference on the cooperation among Vietnamese and French localities concluded in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on September 16, with the adoption of a joint statement and the signing of five memoranda of understanding among 12 localities of both sides.

At the event, 28 Vietnamese cities and provinces called for French investment in 57 projects worth over 7.1 billion USD in various areas, including health care, environment, agriculture, tourism, industrial park infrastructure, seaport, and logistics.

The projects include an 18.3 million USD one to build a food storage centre in Dong Thap Muoi area in Long An province, a 3.5 billion USD one on constructing Hon Khoai seaport in Ca Mau province, and a 50 million USD project to develop infrastructure system for Cam Ranh industrial park.

Meanwhile, Can Tho city introduced two projects on building a high technology agriculture area at a cost of 26 million USD, and developing Con Son tourism site with an investment of 100 million USD.

According to French Ambassador to Vietnam Jean Noel Poirier, the conference helped foster the partnership and deepen mutual understanding between Vietnam and France through the exchange of ideas on issues of shared concern.

He lauded the idea to associate the conference with cultural and artistic events, including a book and photograph exhibition, a calligraphy presentation, a Vietnamese-French culinary fair, the screening of French films and a Can Tho tourism display, which drew a large number of visitors.

He also expressed hope that following the conference, more French investment will be poured into Vietnamese localities.

On his part, Vo Thanh Thong, Chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee expressed wish that Can Tho and French partners will work together in implementing joint projects, contributing to fulfilling the city’s target to become a modern city playing the role as a hub of industry, trade, service, education and training, science and technology, and health care in the Mekong Delta region.

He also handed over the role as the host of the 11th conference in 2019 to France’s Toulouse city.

The triennial event, also known as the Vietnam-France decentralised cooperation conference, was first held in 1989. The 9th conference was held France’s Brest city in June 2013, with the participation of 16 Vietnamese cities and provinces.

Long An calls for investment in 15 projects

The Mekong Delta province of Long An is calling for investment in 15 projects, especially those in industrial parks and in the fields of waste water treatment, biotechnology and logistics, agriculture, transport infrastructure, and energy development.

The plan aims to realise the province’s rapid and sustainable development goals in the 2016-2020 period.

According to Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Duoc, the province boasts favourable conditions for developing both industry and agriculture. It is now home to 28 industrial parks and 32 industrial clusters, which cover a total area of about 13,000 ha.

With large material areas, the Dong Thap Muoi region is suitable for agricultural development and processing industry. It has 330,000 ha of farmland, over 30,000 ha of forest land, and 8,500 ha of aquaculture area.

In addition, improved infrastructure and abundant workforce also makes Long An a magnet to investors.

In the first six months of this year, foreign investors poured around 5 billion USD in 739 projects in the province.

In the same period, the local authorities also granted licences to 195 investment projects worth a total 20 trillion VND (900 million USD), including over 400 million USD from 53 foreign-invested projects.

The positive outcomes were attributable to solutions devised by the local authorities, including activities to support enterprises, and investment in infrastructure development, especially transport and electricity facilities.

The provincial administration has taken many measures to improve the provincial competitive index (PCI), while organising conferences to boost links between local firms with foreign counterparts.

VSIP plans to expand industrial park

The Viet Nam Singapore Industrial Park Joint Venture Company (VSIP) plans to expand its scale in Binh Duong and Bac Ninh provinces to offer more diverse services to investors.

Kelvin Teo, co-chairman of VSIP Group Management Board, said that two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) had been signed with local authorities.

“These two expansions will potentially add 1,500ha to the current 6,660 ha of the existing seven VSIP projects,” he said. “We’re still studying their feasibilities.”

Teo also said that during 20 years operating in Viet Nam, VSIP had attracted US$9 billion investment from more than 630 multi-national companies.

The company has brought more than 174,000 jobs to the industrial service sector, supporting the rise of the country’s middle class.

“Factories no longer serve only the domestic market, but also multiple markets. VSIP is therefore exploring innovation hubs for Viet Nam,” Teo said. “We believe that Viet Nam can embrace greater sophistication expected of foreign factories, but we will need the Government’s support in readying the Vietnamese in education and skills development.”

Strong Singapore ties

Singapore has deep economic ties with Viet Nam, with bilateral trade growing steadily, doubling over the past decade to reach $16 billion in 2015.

Singapore is Viet Nam’s sixth largest trading partner, while Viet Nam is Singapore’s 11th largest trading partner.

Speaking at the 20th anniversary of VSIP on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh praised the contribution of Singaporean businesses operating in Viet Nam.

Singaporean investors have made a hugely significant contribution to the Vietnamese economy across different provinces, in sectors such as oil exploration, industrial manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and seafood processing, and most notably in the fields of infrastructure, business services and real estate, Binh said.

He said that the Government pledged to continue putting in place policies to stabilise the investment environment, promote the reform of administrative processes for a more efficient approach, streamline the legal system and create favourable conditions for foreign enterprises.

Teo Chee Hean, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister, said that Viet Nam continued to enjoy one of the highest economic growth rates in our region.

“Its young population, vibrant workforce and rising middle class are Viet Nam’s comparative advantages. The Government has also progressively reformed and liberalised the economy,” he said.

“It has built up a strong network of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements, and advocated for agreements connecting our region such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Such efforts will improve Viet Nam’s business environment, facilitate investments and open up new opportunities for foreign companies, including those from Singapore.”

Bayer and Monsanto to create a global leader in agriculture

Bayer and Monsanto announced on Wednesday that they signed in a definitive merger agreement under which Bayer will acquire Monsanto for US$128 per share in an all-cash transaction.

Based on Monsanto’s closing share price on May 9 this year, the day before Bayer’s first written proposal to it, the offer represents a premium of 44 per cent to that price.

“We are pleased to announce the combination of our two great organizations”, Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG, said.

“This represents a major step forward for our Crop Science business and reinforces Bayer’s leadership position as a global innovation-driven life sciences company with leadership positions in its core segments, delivering substantial value to shareholders, our customers, employees and society at large.”

Today’s announcement is a testament to everything we’ve achieved and the value that we have created for our stakeholders at Monsanto.

We believe that this combination with Bayer represents the most compelling value for our shareowners, with the most certainty through the all-cash consideration,” Hugh Grant, chairman and chief executive officer of Monsanto, said.

The combined business will benefit from Monsanto’s leadership in seeds and traits as well as climate corporation platform along with Bayer’s broad crop protection product line across a range of indications and crops in all key geographies.

As a result, growers will benefit from a broad set of solutions to meet their current and future needs, including enhanced solutions in seeds and traits, digital agriculture, and crop protection.

The combination also brings together both companies’ leading innovation capabilities and research and development technology platforms, with an annual research and development budget of approximately 2.5 billion euros.

“We are entering a new era in agriculture – one with significant challenges that demand new, sustainable solutions and technologies to enable growers to produce more with less,” Hugh Grant, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Monsanto, said.

“This combination with Bayer will deliver just that – an innovation engine that pairs Bayer’s crop protection portfolio with our world-class seeds and traits and digital agriculture tools to help growers overcome the obstacles of tomorrow.”

Pro-forma sales of the combined agricultural business amounted to 23 billion euros in calendar year 2015. The combined company will be well positioned to participate in the agricultural industry with significant long-term growth potential.

Beyond the attractive long-term value creation potential of the combination, Bayer expects the transaction to provide its shareholders with accretion to core EPS (earnings per share) in the first full year after closing and a double-digit percentage accretion in the third full year.

Bayer has confirmed sales and cost synergies assumptions in its due diligence and expects annual EBITDA contributions from the synergies of approximately $1.5 billion after the third year, plus additional synergies from integrated solutions in future years.

Bayer intends to finance the transaction with a combination of debt and equity. The equity component of approximately $19 billion is expected to be raised through an issuance of mandatory convertible bonds and through a rights issue with subscription rights. Bridge financing for $57 billion is committed by BofA Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, and JP Morgan.

The acquisition is subject to conditions, including Monsanto shareholder approval and receipt of required regulatory approvals.

The merger is expected by the end of 2017.

Bayer has committed to a $2 billion reverse antitrust break fee, reaffirming its confidence that it will obtain the necessary regulatory approvals.


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