[Round-up] Vietnam, EU Reach Timber Deal, HCM City Wants Wider Presence of UK Firms

Tuan Minh

20:05 14/04/2016

BizLIVE - Vietnam and the EU have agreed that the Timber Legality Assurance System of Vietnam (VNTLAS) will be applied for wood and wood products exported to the EU. Ho Chi Minh City expects UK firms to increase presence in the city.

[Round-up] Vietnam, EU Reach Timber Deal, HCM City Wants Wider Presence of UK Firms

Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong meets with UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. (Photo: VNA)

Finance Ministry Plans to Finalize Tariff Policies, Reforms
The Vietnamese Ministry of Finance will continue completing tariff policies and reforming tariff and customs administrative procedures to support production and business and also improve the competitiveness of the economy, Vu Nhu Thang, head of the ministry’s External Relations Department, told the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).
Meanwhile, the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) would bring opportunities and challenges for Vietnam because the nation must reduce various import taxes to zero for goods imported from members of the AEC by 2018.
Vietnam, EU Reach Agreement on Timber Export Market
Vietnam and the European Union (EU) have agreed that the Timber Legality Assurance System of Vietnam will be applied for wood and wood products exported to the EU, and also to other countries and in the domestic market, according to VNA.
The two sides also reached a consensus on applying the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance & Trade licensing mechanism to timber exported to the EU, said Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan at a press conference in Hanoi on April 13.
Vietnam Ready to Import Power from Laos
The 220kV Xekaman1-Pleiku2 transmission line in Vietnam’s territory, which transmits electricity from Laos to Vietnam, became operational on April 12, VNA cited the National Power Transmission Corporation (EVN NPT) as saying.
With the transmission line, Vietnam’s southern region will receive hydroelectricity imported from Xekaman 1, Xekaman San-Xay and Xekong 3 power plants.
HCM City Hopes for Strengthened Trade, Investment Ties with UK
HCM City expects UK enterprises to further investment in local projects, and will create opportunities and conditions for them to develop business, Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong told UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.
Phong expressed hopes that the UK, which has strengths in education, would help the city train high-quality human resources through cooperation between universities on both sides.
Microsoft to Support Da Nang in Startup Program
Microsoft Vietnam and the central city of Da Nang have signed a memorandum of understanding on a business startup support programmer in the city, according to VNA.
Following the agreement signed in Ho Chi Minh City last week, Microsoft Vietnam will aid individuals and organizations in the city in developing the capacity of their business startups.
Thaco to Expand Operations
Truong Hai Automobile JSC (Thaco) will start next week the expansion of the Truong Hai-Chu Lai Mechanical Automobile Industrial Zone with an investment of 794 billion dong ($35.45 million) in the central province of Quang Nam.
The expansion project, which covers 210 hectares, would include a new Mazda plant and other supporting industries for several car models.
500 Firms Partake in Vietnam Expo
More than 500 enterprises from over 20 countries and territories are showcasing their products at 520 stands at Vietnam Expo 2016, which opened in Hanoi yesterday, as the country deepens global integration.
At the event, domestic firms have the opportunity to promote their products and meet foreign buyers, all while expanding and reinforcing the domestic market. Meanwhile, foreign firms can find Vietnamese partners.
Improving Tax System, Management: A Must for Vietnam
Experts at a conference held by ActionAid Vietnam said the country needed to improve its tax legal system and management, to prevent tax evasion and avoidance.
Ensuring the collection of taxes was critical for the government to improve public services, while tax cuts and tariff liberations following free trade agreements were anticipated to cause a drop in the national coffers, according to ActionAid, which initiated the tax justice campaign in July 2013.
Vietnam had a trade surplus of $1.36 billion in the first quarter of this year, compared to a trade gap of $2.6 billion in the same period of 2015, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
The country raked in $38.77 billion from export in the three-month period, up 6.6% year-on-year, while spending $37.4 billion on imports, down 4%.
Traditional trade in Vietnam in 2015 grew faster than the modern trade by 5.4% for the first time in the last decade, now accounting for over 85% of sales in the fast moving consumer goods sector, or nearly $10 billion, according to Vaughan Ryan, managing director of Nielsen Vietnam.
GE Renewable Energy has signed a $9-million service contract with Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) to provide parts for 400MW Tri An hydropower plant in the Southeast Asian country.
Under the contract with EVN, GE will replace control, governing and excitation systems at Tri An project, which is located on the Dong Nai river.