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    Non-Residents Required to Pay Income Tax

    Feb. 27 – Vietnam has released new details regarding the deferral of the new Personal Income Tax (PIT) implemented last January 1 involving non-residents.

    The latest regulation says that non-residents would still be subject to PIT. A non-resident is defined as someone with income arising in the country who is (a) not residing in Vietnam; (b) will leave Vietnam before June 30, 2009; or (c) has lived in Viet Nam since January 1, 2009.

    This includes non-residents that have not confirmed their departure from the country, has not registered for permanent residence, and has not entered into a house rental contract for a term of over 90 days, reports Vietnam News.

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    Vietnam Allocates VND40 Billion on Energy Saving Efforts

    Jan. 5 – Vietnam is set to invest VND40 billion (US$2.35 million) for projects that promote an effective and economical use of energy for 2009.

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade also plans to implement large scale projects that hot water sprays that utilize solar energy, bio-gas plants and energy saving buildings.

    Nguyen Dinh Hiep, Chief of the ministry’s Energy Saving Office (ESO) told the Vietnam News Agency that it would create and broadcast radio and television programs that dealt with energy saving in addition to organizing training courses for agencies and top businesses.

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    Remittances to Vietnam Forecast to Reach US$8 Billion

    Dec. 4 – The State Bank of Vietnam estimates overseas remittances to the country may amount to US$8 billion by the end of the year, a 45.5 percent increase from last year's figures.

    One of Western Union’s five agents,Vietnam Bank for Private Enterprises told Thanh Nien News, that revenues from money transfer service have increased by 70 percent this year.

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    Vietnam’s Car Sales Plunge by 37 Percent

    Nov. 10 – According to an industry report made by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association, car sales in Vietnam for the month of October dropped by 37 percent to 5,679 units from the same figure last year due to rising taxes and registration fees.

    For the first 10 months of the year, sales figures reported by 16 automakers operating in the country increased by 64 percent to 95,736 units from the same period last year.

    Dealers complained that demand would wind down until the end of the year after the government tripled registration fees amounting to 15 percent of the car's purchase price.

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    Cambodia and Vietnam Sign Pact for Railway Link

    Nov. 10 – Cambodia and Vietnam have agreed to a deal that would connect the railways from Phnom Penh to Vietnam at a cost of more than US$500 million.

    "China has promised to build the railroad from Phnom Penh to Vietnam as part of the project to create a link from Singapore to Kunming in China," Hor Namhong was quoted as saying by the AFP.

    In the past, there have been plans to link Southeast Asia by rail. So far, only Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand operating cross-border links.

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    Trade Ministry Proposes Changes to New Import Licensing System

    Sept. 23 – Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT) has proposed changes to the new import licensing system that could limit the categories of imports that need to be registered and reduce trade deficit.

    The current system,which took effect on Aug. 21, has been costing importers millions of dong.

    Currently, all import license applications are processed at MIT’s Department of Documents in Hanoi.

    The new import licensing regulation requires companies to obtain licenses to import items such as automobiles, motorbikes, machines, mobile phones, fruit, coffee, tea, cooking oil, meat, sugar, cocoa, vegetables and specific products made from iron, steel and aluminum.

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    Vietnam Approves First Wholly Foreign-Owned Banks

    Sept. 11 – Vietnam has approved the licenses for HSBC Holdings Plc. and Standard Chartered Plc. to enter the country's financial market.

    Prior to this, foreign banks were limited to investing in minority stakes in Vietnamese banks.The banks were approved as wholly-owned units and will be given a year to establish operations in the country.

    The Vietnam banking sector is still in its infancy with only 10 percent of 86.5 million Vietnamese opening bank accounts. Local incorporation will allow foreign banks to grow their distriution network and attract more clients.

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    Vietnam May Allow Foreign Investment in First Oil Refinery

    Sept. 9 – The Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) has submitted a proposal to allow foreign companies to buy stakes in the country’s first oil refinery.

    In a press conference, PetroVietnam Chairman Dinh La Thang said that Royal Dutch Shell, India’s Essar oil, and Russian oil firms Zarubezhneft and Rosneft have expressed interest in purchasing stakes in the ongoing construction of the Dung Quat refinery located in the central province of Quang Ngai.

    "Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has agreed in principle on the sale proposal and is allowing us to proceed," said Dinh La Thang.

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    ADB Calling For Single Customs Clearance For Mekong Region

    Aug. 25 – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is helping countries in the Mekong region implement a single customs clearance service to facilitate free movement of goods by 2010.

    It has already conducted workshops on the subject in the Greater Mekong Subregion countries that include Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

    Laos, Vietnam and Thailand are scheduled to implement the service by the year's end.Currently, each country in the region has their own customs checkpoints that requires each truck going into the country to be inspected. The regulations only serve to hamper the transport of goods across the region and does not promote free movement of trade.

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    Ho Chi Minh Real Estate Prices Rise

    Aug. 18 – During the first two weeks of August, real estate prices increased in Ho Chi Minh City.

    Apartments and land located on District 2’s main roads increased by VND1 million to VND2.5 million per square meter while prices on on Tran Nao and Luong Dinh Cua streets are now worth VND60 million to VND80 million per square meter.

    In the Van Do Building, apartments are priced at more than VND20 million per square meter while those in the H3 Building on Hoang Dieu street are being sold at VND28 million to VND30 million per square meter.

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