Wednesday, December 31, 2008
HANOI, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam made the target to export 4.8 million tons of rice in 2009, exceeding the estimated 4.5 million tons in 2008, the local newspaper Industry and Trade reported Monday.
The export is expected to go up next year because the global economic crisis may drive some people into starvation and to rely on rice instead of fruit, vegetables and meat, according to Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The estimate is also based on increasing demands from potential foreign importers. African countries, especially Nigeria and South Africa, have expressed interest in importing Vietnam's rice in coming years, said the ministry.
Despite the estimated increase in volume, the prices for Vietnam's rice exports in 2009 are forecast to decrease, causing the shrink in export revenue, according the ministry.
To achieve the target, Vietnam's Finance Ministry has recently approved the elimination of the export tax for rice as part of the government's effort to boost the country's rice export.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
|16:58' 25/12/2008 (GMT+7)|
Mr. Luu Vu Hai
Mr. Luu Vu Hai
The Chief of the MoIC’s Broadcasting, Television and Electronic Information Control Agency, Luu Vu Hai, said: “The state encourages the use of blogs to serve personal freedom but bloggers have to respect social interests and community interests under the laws”.
VietNamNet talked with Hai about the new rules on blog, which was issued recently by the MoIC.
According to circular 07/2008/TB-BTTT, bloggers are banned from some things. But they can claim freedom of speech as stipulated in the Constitution. What is your opinion about it?
Nobody is banned from freedom of speech and giving information but freedom of speech and information must not harm the public interest, the personal freedom of others and the interests of the country and society in general.
Bloggers are not forced to declare their true names when they use blog services. When they commit violations of the rules, will it be very difficult to find out who they are?
It is difficult but it is not impossible.
We will have to ask social network service providers to force blog service users to declare their true personal information.
An issue always has two faces. But we have to see the requirement of development of the society to have measures of management. State agencies want to take feasible measures of management, which are appropriate to the trend of development and create favourable conditions for the people to use scientific and technological achievements, especially Internet applications.
Why does the circular ban bloggers from diffusing press works on their blogs? Maybe bloggers are correspondents who want to archive their works on their blogs or bloggers who are not correspondents but want to archive information for their own reference.
The Press Law stipulates responsibility in using press works. When we use the press freedom right we have to obey the Press Law and we couldn’t use the press freedom right in a non-press environment.
Blogs are encouraged to develop to help individuals share information which is suitable to customs and habits and Vietnamese laws.
Is it troublesome for social network service providers to report on their blog services every six months?
I don’t think this is an administrative difficulty because the contents that they have to report are readily available. This is two-way cooperation between businesses and state agencies.
How will bloggers who commit violations be punished?
The MoIC is compiling a circular on dealing with violations related to the provision and use of Internet services, including information provision on blogs.
Violations related to blogs are stipulated in various legal documents and now they are being grouped together.
The tourism industry is already feeling the effects of the global economic downturn, with international arrivals falling by 22 percent year-on-year in November.
The sector, which employs more than 10 percent of country’s workforce, faces zero growth or even worse next year, AFP quoted Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh as saying earlier this month.
But analysts said once the world economy recovers, people will start travelling again and Vietnam should be prepared for opportunities.
Ngo Minh Duc, Huong Giang Travel Agency general director, said Vietnam needed to restructure its infrastructure for tourism, especially accommodation, otherwise tourists would not return.
Analysts said there were several factors that decided the success or failure of a tourist destination, including the convenience of air traffic and the availability of accommodation, entertainment facilities and public services.
Shorokin Andrey of Russia’s Capital Tour Company said because Vietnam only has international airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, it is hard for operators to arrange tours.
Russian tourists are often exhausted after a 10-hour flight to Vietnam, but they then face another four to eight hours in a bus to get to resort cities like Phan Thiet or Nha Trang, he said.
If Vietnam could launch more air routes, the country would attract as many Russian visitors as Thailand or China, he said.
Many tour operators said the local tourism industry depended too much on natural attractions and it has failed to diversify tourism products or improve services.
Patrick Gaveau, marketing director of HCMC-based Focus Asia, said after complaints that prices of tour packages to Vietnam were high, many people suggested travel agencies lower their prices.
However, lowering prices would not solve the problem once and for all, Gaveau said, noting that it was necessary to figure out why there were such complaints.
He said tour packages to Singapore, for instance, were even more expensive, but tourists were happy to pay because both the infrastructure and services were good and most people speak English.
Meanwhile, there are few tourist attractions in Vietnam and foreigners only know a handful of places such as Phan Thiet, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc or Da Nang, even though Vietnam has a coastline of more than 3,000 kilometers, Gaveau said.
La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said it was time for the tourism sector to stop focusing on how many foreign visitors travel to Vietnam, but on how satisfied they feel.
Nguyen Manh Cuong, deputy head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), said poor infrastructure was the biggest problem that the local tourism industry had to face now.
But analysts said even the administration was not determined to solve the problem. They said the government set a higher target for the sector every year but it had not created any specific plans to improve infrastructure or develop accommodation for tourists.
Many travel agencies said they had been asking for the construction of a tourism seaport for more than 10 years but it has not yet been built.
Focus Asia’s Gaveau suggested the government should play a greater role in the development of the local tourism sector and create a comprehensive plan for tourism with the participation of all related agencies.
Other hindering factors
The visa application process was the “largest obstacle to establishing Vietnam as a global destination,” AFP quoted Baron R. Ah Moo, CEO of Indochina Hotels and Resorts, as saying.
“Due to the processing time, last-minute travel to Vietnam is not an option and has been replaced by weekend trips to Phuket, Bali, Macao and Singapore,” he said.
Tour operators said the government should grant visa exemption for tourists from important markets.
For example, while many countries are easing their visa application processes to attract more tourists from China, a main market of Vietnamese tourism, it still takes a Chinese tourist up to one month to get a visa to travel to Vietnam.
Baron R. Ah Moo said an online registration or a visa-on-arrival system would help speed up the process.
Another weak point of the tourism industry was the lack of marketing.
Claire del Rosario-Bernabe, a hotel marketing director, said she wondered why Vietnam had not launched any new marketing campaigns to help its tourism sector overcome the current difficult time.
The recent political crisis in Thailand was a good opportunity for Vietnam to promote itself as a safe destination, and with effective marketing campaigns, the country would attract a large number of foreign tourists, she said.
But because of limited funds, it would be hard for Vietnam to be able to launch large campaigns like its neighboring countries, RosarioBernabe added.
According to VNAT, it is allotted around VND20 billion (US$1.18 million) for tourism promotion every year.
Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, deputy head of the Tourism Promotion Department under VNAT, said her department needed larger and more stable funds because it is hard to embark on a long-term campaign when funds were allotted on a yearly basis.
VNAT has asked the government to spend $20-30 million on a global marketing campaign to draw back visitors next year and afterwards, AFP reported.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
By Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen
Dec. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Vietnam’s central bank devalued the dong by 3 percent to help exporters after the Southeast Asian economy expanded at the slowest pace in nine years and the trade deficit widened.
The State Bank of Vietnam fixed the reference rate at 16,989 dong per dollar, versus 16,494 yesterday, according to its Web site. Policy makers maintained a currency band that allows the dong to rise or fall 3 percent a day, said Nguyen Quang Huy, director of the regulator’s foreign-exchange department.
Export growth slowed in the past three months as stagnating global economies cut demand for Vietnam’s garments and coffee and the country became less competitive after currencies in neighboring markets weakened more than the dong. Vietnam’s currency has dropped 5.5 percent this year against the dollar compared with an 18 percent slide in India’s rupee, 14 percent decline for Indonesia’s rupiah and a 13 percent slump in the Philippine peso.
“The devaluation is necessary as the government is trying to increase exports,” said Do Ngoc Quynh, chairman of the Vietnam Bond Forum in Hanoi and head of currency and debt trading at Bank for Investment & Development of Vietnam, the nation’s second-biggest lender by assets. “Other currencies in the region have considerably declined against the dollar, but the dong hasn’t dropped that much.”
The dong traded at 17,250 to 17,499 a dollar after the central bank’s decision, according to Hanoi-based Lai Tat Ha, head of currency trading at Vietnam Technological & Commercial Joint-Stock Bank, also known as Techcombank.
At money changers, or the so-called black market, the currency traded between 17,270 and 17,350 to the dollar in Hanoi, according to a telephone directory information service, known as 1080, run by state-owned Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications. The dong has tumbled 35 percent since the end of 1994 as the central bank devalued the currency every year.
“The State Bank of Vietnam will take necessary action to maintain dong at this level,” the bank said in the statement on its Web site.
Vietnam’s VN Index of stocks fell 0.6 percent to 302.19, the lowest level in more than a week. The measure has declined 67 percent this year, the worst-performing benchmark index in Asia.
Gross domestic product grew 6.2 percent in 2008, after expanding by a record 8.5 percent last year, the government said in a statement yesterday.
Vietnam’s trade deficit widened 56 percent to $16.9 billion in the first 11 months of the year, according to government data. The current-account deficit may grow to $12.1 billion in 2009, or 12.3 percent of GDP, from an estimated $10.5 billion this year, or 11.7 percent of GDP, according to a Credit Suisse Group research report dated Dec. 17.
State Bank Governor Nguyen Van Giau told the Tuoi Tre newspaper that the devaluation policy is aimed at helping exporters.
“The Vietnamese dong is facing downward pressure due to the current-account deficit,” said Yuichi Izumi, an economist at Nomura Securities Co. in Tokyo. “The State Bank wants to guide the dong lower to support the export sector.”
Slower gains in consumer prices may have also provided more room for the central bank to weaken the dong. Inflation cooled for a fourth month in December to the slowest pace in nine months, with consumer prices rising 19.9 percent from a year earlier, the government said today. The rate touched a record 28.3 percent in August.
The devaluation followed five interest-rate cuts by the central bank this quarter to help bolster the economy. Policy makers last lowered the benchmark rate on Dec. 19 by the most ever this year to 8.5 percent, from 10 percent. The new cost of money became effective Dec. 22.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Thailand has surprised the world as just ten days after the chaos, they are ready with a new program to lure travelers back to the country. Meanwhile, in
The free flights on international routes provided by Air Asia, departing from
Travelers have been promised surprisingly low hotel room rates with discounts of up to 50-80% in Phuket or Pattaya.
Many Vietnamese travelers have booked air tickets online to travel to
Meanwhile, according to La Quoc Khanh, Deputy Director of the HCM City Department of Culture, Sports and
… to seek solutions for
Many directors and officials of VNAT were present in
Nguyen Manh Cuong, Deputy General Director of the VNAT, affirmed that tourism products must be ready by December 30 at the latest.
Khanh said that a plan to cut tour fees has been designed, and is called a “6 in 1” program. The taskforces for key markets have been set up and they will sit together to discuss the measures necessary to cut tour fees and design mechanisms for controlling the implementation of commitments.
Once tourism products with reasonable prices are ready, travel firms will register to VNAT and the local department of culture, sports and tourism. Afterwards, products will be introduced and advertised to foreign partners.
Khanh said that in the meantime,
Binh, from VNAT, said that the tourism products need to be designed and available soon so that VNAT can advertise the products directly to 500 foreign travel firms and the foreign press in January 2009 at ATF 2009.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suggested that Vietnam thoroughly consider its economic stimulus plan and give priorities to such vulnerable groups as the business and banking sectors.
The IMF forecasts that Vietnam ’s economic growth rate will reach 6.25 percent in 2008 and may reduce to 5 percent next year due to the worsening global economic environment, said IMF Senior Residential Representative in Vietnam Benedict Bingham.
Vietnam ’s trade deficit is expected to go down in the following year but will remain high, accounting for around 9 percent of GDP, he added.
The IMF experts also predicted the country’s inflation rate to decrease to a single-digit level by late 2009, leading to the government’s loosened monetary and financial policies. However, Vietnam ’s position in the international arena is not so strong compared to some regional countries, which may restrict the government’s capacity in pursuing those policies, they said.
The IMF mission, however, noted that Vietnam ’s outlook remains positive given that the government maintains sound policies and continues reforms to increase the country’s competitiveness.
Maintaining reforms in this difficult period is very important for Vietnam to bolster investors’ confidence and ensure a better position for the country when the world escapes from the current economic recession, Benedict said in conclusion.
The country exported 86,000 tonnes of pepper over the past 11 months to earn a turnover of US$300 million, the association said.
Despite global economic difficulties, world demand for pepper would still rise by 15 percent, or 50,000 tonnes, next year, a representative from the India Pepper and Spice Trade Association predicted.
Meanwhile, the International Pepper Community (IPC) forecast that the world pepper supply would be lower than the demand due to the world’s shrinking pepper cultivation area as well as the recent poor weather and disease outbreak in major pepper exporting nations like India, Brazil and Indonesia.
Vietnam would remain the world’s leading pepper exporter in the coming years, said the IPC.
The Vietnamese pepper industry is playing a more important role in the world pepper industry, said VPA general secretary Truong Thi Thong.