Saturday, January 23, 1999 Very briefly: -There are now 6 industrial zones in Mekong delta covering an area of 580 ha, in which Can Tho industrial zone is the biggest with 20 domestic projects and 13 foreign invested projects capitalizing US$ 121 million. The newly established industrial zone is My Thuan with the total capital of VND 125 billion. - Vietnam marine Time Corporation generated the turnover of VND 3, 107 billion in 1998 and paid the state budget VND 245 billion in terms of taxes or up 7.17 percent over the year target. The corporation exported 860 officers and 30 sailors to 30 foreign ships in Asia. -A license was handed over to CGS Vietnam vice president Thomas Fox for the US$ 270 million methanol project yesterday January 22, 1999. The licensed was approved by Vietnamese government on December 30. -Vietsovpetro (VSP), an oil joint venture between Vietnam and Russia expect to produce 11.7 million tons of crude oil, or up 10 percent and 1.4 billion cubic meter of gas or up 30 percent over the 1998 year plan. - The government is expected to spend VND 2,997 billion in 1999 to build 2,000 km of roads, 5,500 bridges and upgrade 18,000 km of roads in rural areas. A fund of VND 410 billion has also been endorsed to build new public works in 1,000 most deprived villages. State-owned transport sector equitisation faces road blocks (VNS) -Equitisation of automobile transportation companies still faces a rough road, says the Vietnam Road Department, VNRD. VNRD says five of the 86 state-owned automobile companies were asked to implement a trial equitisation period the Passenger Transportation Companies in Quang Ninh, Nghe An, Lam Dong, Ninh Binh and No. 14 in Hanoi. FULL STORY Vinaline targets big market share (VNS) Vietnam's National Shipping Line, Vinaline, has set itself the target of carrying 20 per cent of Vietnam's import - exports by the end of next year. But to do so, the shipping line, which is not working to capacity, will have to almost double the cargo it now carries. FULL STORY Sino-Vietnamese border group meets for 13th time (VNS) Vietnam and China discussed their shared border issues at the 13th session of the Sino-Vietnamese joint working group, which ended on Thursday. During the two-week session, the two sides discussed solutions to border disputes between the two countries. The two sides also compared notes on a Vietnam - China border map and agreed to hold its next meeting in Beijing in March. Head of a Vietnamese Government delegation and Permanent Deputy Foreign Minister Vu Khoan received the group members on Thursday. Chinese ambassador Li Jiazhong was also present. Industrial accidents increase (VNS) Labour accidents are increasing especially in big cities with 25 deaths reported in the first three weeks of this year. HCM City reported five cases resulting in six deaths in the first two weeks of the year. Another 19 deaths and five injuries resulted from a gas explosion at the Mao Khe coal mine in Quang Ninh Province. FULL STORY Population control crucial for long-term food security (VNS) The national food security programme has made major progress in the past ten years, helping to meet the people's demand for food and improve their income. It has seen a food productivity increase of more than 48 per cent in the past ten years, or an extra 10.35 million tonnes. This translates as an average annual increase of over one million tonnes of food, coinciding with an average national population increase of 1.3 million people a year. FULL STORY Export workers need skill, discipline (VNS)- The Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs' Department for Overseas Labour Management has set itself the target of sending 25,000 workers to jobs outside Vietnam this year - slightly double last year's figure. But is this too ambitious? No, say the experts who argue that the figure is not high and could in fact be increased provided two major criteria are met: the skills of the exported workers are upgraded and a satisfactory financial structure is established for the companies responsible for exporting the workers. FULL STORY HCMC proposes Japan fund nine infrastructure projects HCMC has asked for permission to borrow from Japan to implement nine major infrastructure projects from 1999 until 2001. "The city has proposed to obtain Japanese loans through the Ministry of Planning and Investment to proceed with nine projects in three fiscal years from 1999 to 2001," Le Thanh Hai, vice chairman of the city, said yesterday. FULL STORY Delegates discuss budget (SGT) Budget allocation was up for discussion when delegates gathered for the third day of the HCMC Peopleís Councilís 14th meeting yesterday. Director of the Service of Planning and Investment Ha Van Dung said the city's budget allocation for 1999 would cover projects already approved by the city government and counter capital for ODA-funded projects. FULL STORY Imports down, exports up in city in January (SGT) Imports in HCMC reached US$281 million in January down 2.1% from the previous month, while exports reached US$336 million, up 1.3%, figures of the cities statistics bureau show. A recent report by the bureau shows that imports from a number of the city's big markets had plummeted sharply in value. For example. imports from Japan saw a 5.9% fall, Taiwan down 4.1%, Singapore down 2.4% and France down 7.7%. Domestic businesses posted US$219 million in import value, shrinking 3.7% over last month and 2.5% from the year-earlier period. Foreign-invested enterprises. however, recorded over US$60 million in import up 3.8% compared with last month. Exports by domestic firms were worth US$283 million, soaring 0.8% from last month. Agro-product exports dropped 8.1% while fisheries went up 6.4%, forestry products up 5.4% and industrial goods up 3.9%. The bureau also reported exports by the foreign-invested sector in January increased 3.9% from last month to US$53million. Hai Van Pass Tunnel moves ahead (SGT) Forty-eight contractors, including five Vietnamese companies, have obtained the pre-qualification documents for the Hai Van Pass Tunnel Construction project, according to a source from the project Management Unit No.85 (PNU85). Applicants for the pre-qualification will be short-listed by PMU85 later in January. FULL STORY DOP imports to be restricted in 1999 (SGT) Relevant ministries and authorities have agreed to restrict the import of dioetyl phthalate (DOP) to the utmost this year. The Government has decided to exempt LG Vina, the countryís only DOP joint-venture, from last year's turnover tax of VND750 million in a move to back local DOP producers to surmount difficulties caused by the coming in of new projects and the regional financial crisis. The decision follows LG Vina's pledge that it would not increase the price of DOP, a petroleum-derived chemical which now dominates the plasticized market for PVC, provided the Government stops DOP imports. LG Vina officials were quoted by Dau Tu as saying that according to the pledge, the company would offer DOP buyers a price equivalent to a ClF price of DOP imported from regional nations, plus a 5% import tax and shipping charges. Estimates show that last year the country's demand for the product was 2 1,000 tons, but will grow to 25,000 tons this year. Meanwhile, LG Vina is capable of producing up to 30,000 tons a year, but operated at 30% of capacity in 1998. Japanese experts and volunteers to work in city (SGT) As pail of a co-operation program between HCMC and the Japan International Co-operation Agency, JICA, 31 Japanese experts and volunteers will come to the city this year to work at local bodies. They will provide technical assistance in construction, culture, sports, State management, and health care, said city's vice chairman LeThanh Hai. On Monday four experts are scheduled to arrive in HCMC to help promote export activity of small and medium companies. Another two will work in the HCMC Service of Planning and Investment to assist State management and urban development issues, six in the Service of Agriculture and Rural Development. and three in the Service of Health Care. Sixteen volunteers will arrive in July and December this year. They will work with the city for two years in construction, culture and sports agencies. Mr. H. Okubo with JICA told the daily that since 1993 over 150 Japanese expert sand 17 volunteers have come to Vietnam to work short-term or long-term. City authorities tighten price control (SGT) HCMC authorities recently released a directive banning businesses, dealers and service providers from setting prices of their goods and services higher than those valid before January 1. The directive urges them to review production and trading costs carefully and calculate value-added tax (VAT) in line with the tax sector's regulations to set selling prices. If the selling prices are set higher than before January 1, they must report to the city's steering board in charge of the implementation of new tax laws for consideration. However, this directive also states that for goods and services whose prices are not fixed by the State, dealers must list VAT-added price sand sell goods at listed prices. These prices are determined by reviewing costs based on the prices accepted on the market in late 1998. The directive also specifies administrative fines for those not fixing selling prices or selling goods at higher prices than listed ones, or higher dm prices fixed by the State on a number of items. The new directive is some how more logical than the telegram released by the Government Pricing Committee on January 2. The telegram bans all price hikes in any cases. This ruling has, however, prompted a counter effect on the market. Some businesses have decided to stop production or sale while seeking a different feasible solution. Vissan entitled 5% input VAT deduction (SGT-HCMC) The General Department of Tax on Monday sent a statement to the Saigon Trade Corporation confirming the 5% input value-added-tax (VAT) deduction for its affiliate. the Vietnam Meat Processing Company (Vissan) the Sai Gon Giai Phong reports. According to the first article of Government Decree 102, a supplementary guideline to the implementation of VAT, buyers of raw agricultural, fisheries and forestry materials without VAT receipts are entitled to corresponding percentage deductions, said the statement. Specifically, Vissan, the buyer of pigs and cows from farmers for processing, is eligible to a 5% deduction based on the input sale, it said. Previously, the firm's activities were determined as trading instead of manufacturing, and therefore were not qualified for the deduction. Vissan managing director Le Quang Nhuong welcomed the announcement, saying the firm would do better under this way of tax calculation. Vissan is one of Vietnam's largest State-run meat processing companies.
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