[Round-up] Vietnam Mulling 12-month Visas for U.S. Citizens, Dragon Capital to Buy More Corporate Bonds

Tuan Minh

17:05 04/04/2016

BizLIVE - The Vietnamese parliament will vote this week on issuing 12-month, multi-entry visas for U.S. citizens. Dragon Capital has secured a $50 million loan from IFC to invest in Vietnamese corporate bonds.

[Round-up] Vietnam Mulling 12-month Visas for U.S. Citizens, Dragon Capital to Buy More Corporate Bonds

The Vietnamese parliament will vote this week on issuing 12-month, multi-entry visas for U.S. citizens.

Vietnam’s Dragon Capital to Get $50m IFC Debt to Deepen Corporate Bond Market
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private lending vehicle of the World Bank Group, said it plans to extend a $50-million financing facility to Vietnam-focused fund management firm Dragon Capital, according to Deal Street Asia.  
Dragon Capital will use the funds to invest in bonds issued by medium to large Vietnamese firms. It will also target private, listed or unlisted fast growing companies who are in need of financing to expand their business.
Vietnam Airlines to Sell 3 Planes to Reduce Debts
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines plans to sell and lease back three aircraft that it has ordered in an attempt to raise money and cut down its debt obligations.
In the context of Vietnam’s rising public debt, the carrier will try to reduce government-backed loans by selling and leasing back three A350 aircraft, which will be delivered this year and next.
Vietnam Finance Ministry Weights Tripling Business License Fees
The Vietnamese Ministry of Finance is considering doubling or tripling business license fees soon, as the country is struggling to increase state budget collections.
If the draft decree is approved by the Prime Minister, it will replace the current business license tax from January 1, 2017, when the new Law on Charges and Fees takes effect.
VASCO to Be Renamed SkyViet
Newly-established airline VASCO will be renamed SkyViet, the Vietnam News Agency cited the Ministry of Transport as saying in a report submitted to the government.
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines announced the establishment of the new 300 billion dong ($13.4 million) airline early last month, based on the restructuring of its subsidiary, Vietnam Air Services Company, or VASCO, which is expected to operate 10 airplanes.
Vietnam Needs Clearer Windpower Laws: GIZ-hosted Conference
Delegates at a workshop asked for more specific procedures for small wind power projects, longer validity for investment and generation licenses, and a stricter Standard Power Purchase Agreement (SPPA) from Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), VNA reported.
These were among the petitions related to administrative procedures that were raised at a Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH-hosted validation workshop held last Friday in HCM City.
Need for Regional Links Highlighted at Conference
Regional connectivity amid economic restructuring and a shifting growth model in Vietnam was in the spotlight at a workshop in Hanoi on April 3, according to VNA.
Since 2000, the government and prime minister have issued many relevant documents and region-related issues have been included in socio-economic development orientations, economic restructuring and growth model shifting, said Head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Vuong Dinh Hue.
Vietnam Gov’t Eyes FDI in Farming Sector
Vietnam has issued policies to attract more investment in the farming industry, especially foreign direct investment (FDI), but investors must overcome numerous challenges to achieve success, experts said.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has submitted to the government a draft of a strategy to attract FDI in Vietnam’s farming, forestry and fishery sectors by 2030, according to Tran Kim Long, head of the ministry’s International Cooperation Department.
Under the draft, the ministry has forecast that the FDI to the industry would reach $5 billion in 2020 and $8 billion by 2030.
Brands Aim to Boost Name ahead of TPP
Product quality and brand names are two key requirements for Vietnamese companies to compete when the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is enforced, experts said at a conference in HCM City on Sunday.
Speaking at a conference held to connect companies in TPP member countries by the HCM City Enterprise Association, Pham Ngoc Hung, deputy chairman of the business group said the TPP would make competition tough in the domestic market when products from many countries are imported cheaply.
With a small domestic market, Vietnamese companies should therefore find ways to enter other member countries. To compete there, quality and service must be the first priority, but many companies do not yet to focus on quality, he added.
Vietnam Parliament to Vote on 12-month Visas to U.S. Citizens
Vietnam’s National Assembly (NA) on April 9 will vote on granting multi-entry, 12-month visas for U.S. citizens, making it easier for US citizens to travel to Vietnam for tourism or other business related purposes.
The proposal was put forward by newly-elected President Tran Dai Quang Monday in a move to respond to the U.S. government, which complains that Vietnam’s currently policy of granting three-month visas for U.S. citizens does not correspond to that country’s visa policy and the bilateral relationship.   
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the country’s central bank, will be capable of keeping the USD/VND rate stable in the second quarter of this year as it has “an ace up its sleeve”, the Vietnam Economic Times cited researchers at Hanoi-based Maritime Bank (MSB) as saying.
“In Q2 2016, we expect the USD/VND rate to continue staying steady or decline slightly, enabling the SBV to buy in foreign currency, enrich the forex reserves and improve VND liquidity,” MSB researchers say.
Japan’s Mitsui Oil Exploration Co. (MOECO) and PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP), an oil and gas production subsidiary of Thailand’s state-owned PTT, have teamed up with state-run PetroVietnam to develop gas projects worth up to $8 billion in southern Vietnam, according to http://nangluongvietnam.vn.
The first project, having an estimated cost of $6.8 billion, aims to tap gas in Block B offshore Vietnam. PetroVietnam has interests of 42.896%, PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation (PVEP) 26.788%, while MOECO and PTTEP have respective interests of 22.575% and 7.741%.
China and Thailand continue to prevail over other destinations as Vietnam’s largest competitors for foreign investment, according to the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) 2015 survey jointly conducted by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and USAID.
In the survey, just about half of the foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) currently in Vietnam considered other countries (most commonly, China, Thailand, and Indonesia) before selecting Vietnam as their ultimate destination.