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    Vietnam to Speed Up Development of Rural Areas

    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.

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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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    Vietnam Reduces Fuel Prices By Up to 5.3%

    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.

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    Vietnamese Migration Fuels Remittance Industry Growth

    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.

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    Vietnam Customs To Open Online Forum On Aug. 22

    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.

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    Vietnam Halts Joint-Stock Bank Licensing

    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.

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    HCMC Shipping Companies to Charge Extra Fees on Exports

    HO CHI MINH CITY, Aug.8 – Shipping lines based in Ho Chi Minh City will start charging additional fees on backlog freight, ranging from US$50 to US$100 per ton due to delays at ports.

    Recently, Japanese company Mitsui O.S.K Lines announced that it would charge an extra fee on exports shipped from Vietnam to the US and Canada beginning September 1.

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

    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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    Dragonair to Launch Hong Kong-Hanoi Flights

    Aug. 7 – Hong Kong-based Dragonair announced yesterday that it will open a new air-route to Hanoi on October 26, 2008.

    Besides transporting passengers from Hong Kong to Hanoi and vice versa, Dragonair plans to conduct tourists and businessmen from North Asia, North America, Australia and New Zealand to Hanoi as well.

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    Emerging Economy Also Gives Rise to HIV/AIDS Along China Border

    by Chua Siew Joo

    Aug. 6 – At a recent HIV prevention and drug detoxification symposium in Hanoi, Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, Truong Vinh Trong, urged ministries, sectors and localities to prioritize prevention programs to curb the spread of HIV/AIDs.

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