Economy & Trade

Vietnam Cuts Gas Prices for Second Time in a Row

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Aug. 28 – Vietnam decreased fuel prices for the second time in a row this month. Gasoline prices will be cut from VND18,000 to VND17,000 a liter while kerosene from VND19,000 to VND18,000.

On August 14, the government cut the price of 92-RON gasoline by VND1,000 a liter in response to dropping world crude prices. Compared to a record US$147.27 a barrel last July 11, crude oil futures have dropped by 21 percent.

Flooding Threatens Countries along Mekong River

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By Chua Siew Joo

Aug. 27 – According to the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), residents and environmentalists in Thailand have expressed suspicions that dams in China and destruction of small Mekong river islands to clear passage for Chinese cargo ships have contributed to severe flooding in the Mekong basin countries.

This year, Thailand experienced its worst flood in 100 years, causing an estimated damage of THB223 million. Large areas of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam were also inundated.

The Mekong River Commission (MRC), established by Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam in 1995, has since issued a statement in August accruing the abnormally high water runoff in the northern part of the Mekong basin following heavy rainfall to the tropical storm Kammuri.

Vietnam to Pass New Telecom Law

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Aug. 26 – The government will soon pass the country’s first telecom law that will allow telecom operators to buy or re-sell licenses to other companies.

According to the current draft of the telecommunications law, each license purchase must be approved by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) to ensure competition among operators and allow foreign investors to easily enter the market.

The license buyer must take all rights and duties of the seller. “Current regulations ban telecom license purchasing, while almost nations in the world allow this to happen”, said an MIC source.

Indian Firm to Build US$50 Million Hydropower Plant in Vietnam

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Aug. 21 – Indian power equipment company, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has bagged a US$50 million contract to build a 200-megawatt (MW) hydroelectric power plant in Vietnam.

The Nam Chien Hydro Power project aims to meet the country’s growing energy demand and join its rapidly growing power sector that is expected to expand by 16 percent annually. The project will be financed through a US$45 million line of credit given by the Indian government and managed by the Export Import Bank of India.

Vietnam to Speed Up Development of Rural Areas

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Aug. 19 – The Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee has approved a resolution that will speed up development in its agricultural, forestry and fishery sector with target annual growths of 3 to 3.5 percent by 2010.

The resolution hopes to increase rural incomes by 2.5 times and incorporate rural laborers to account for 30 percent of the country’s total workforce by 2020.

The government plans to have more than 50 percent of the workforce to undergo training. It assured that despite the planned rural development, Vietnam will still maintain its capacity for rice production to ensure national food security.

Vietnam Reduces Fuel Prices By Up to 5.3%

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Aug. 15 – Vietnam has reduced the price of gas by up to 5.3 percent beginning today. The new prices reflect the drop in world oil prices of more than 20 percent from July.

"The government has ordered us to reduce prices following world price declines," a Petrolimex official told Thanh Nien News.

Vietnamese Migration Fuels Remittance Industry Growth

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By Chua Siew Joo

Aug. 14 – Vietnamese workers in Asia and the Middle East are sending money home like their counterparts in the United States, Australia and Europe.

It may be a sign that lives are getting better for these migrant workers as they are currently not only sending money back to their family but also investing in business.

The Dong A Money Transfer Company reported receiving remittances of US$631 million in the first half of 2008 and expects the figure for the whole year to be US$1.2 billion. Sai Gon Thuong Tin Bank and Vietcombank (VCB) reported remittances of US$420 million and US$730 million respectively.

Vietnam Customs To Open Online Forum On Aug. 22

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Aug. 13 – For the first time, Vietnam's Department of Customs will open an online forum on August 22 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to take customs inquiries.

The office located in the southern Binh Duong province and is expected to field questions from more than 2,300 local businesses. It will soon extend its services to include import-export procedures through e-customs.

The website address is www.haiquanbinhduong.gov.vn.

Vietnam Halts Joint-Stock Bank Licensing

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Aug. 11- The State Bank of Vietnam announced on its website that it will no longer issue licenses for establishing joint-stock commercial banks.

The move is in response to the government’s call to revise rules for the industry.
In a statement the government said, “Pending the revisions, the issue of permits for establishing new joint-stock commercial banks will be stopped temporarily.”

The government has warned that state-owned companies should stay within their core businesses rather than diversifying to industries ranging from real estate to banking.

Vietnam Textile Sales to U.S. Surpass India, Second Behind China

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Aug. 8 – Vietnam has surpassed India to move to second behind China in apparel exports to the United States, shipping garments worth US$4.76 billion in May this year against India's exports of US$3.14 billion.

Out of the total US$73 billion dollars annual imports by the US till May-end, Vietnam managed to capture 6.55 per cent share while China remained the largest exporter to the American market with 30.6 per cent share, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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