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Vietnam News



Casino Business Under Strict Regulations


Rising capital demand puts pressure on liquidity

Reference exchange rate down by 1 VND


PECC survey: rising protectionism is top risk to growth

28 provinces, cities approve urban development programmes


Reforms raise local ranking

Singapore’s businesses pour 41.7 billion USD into Vietnam


City to auction land for build-transfer projects

Realty climbs on solid fundamentals


Kepco & Marubeni to build coal-fired power plant

GV Energy supports renewable energy development in Vietnam


New petrol import tax benefits people

Tour guides required to have affiliations



Dr. Oliver Massmann

International Attorney at Law
Certified Financial Accountant and Auditor
General Director of Duane Morris LLC
Partner of Duane Morris LLP
Member to the Supervisory Board of PetroVietnam Insurance Holdings Joint Stock Company




Casino Business Under Strict Regulations

Dr. Oliver Massmann, Duane Morris Vietnam LLC

On 20 January 2017, the Government issued a long-awaiting casino business decree No. 03/2017/ND-CP (Casino Decree). Although the issuance of the Casino Decree after almost 10 years of waiting opens a promising market to casino industry, foreign investors have been very hesitant and in the waiting mode for further clarification documents from competent authorities. Finally after more than six months since the Casino Decree’s effective date, on 05 October 2017, the Ministry of Finance issues Circular No. 102/2007/TT-BTC (Casino Circular) guiding the Casino Decree. The Casino Circular helps complete the regulatory framework for casino business in Vietnam and put the young industry in momentum growth.

Local Vietnamese eligible for gambling

Local Vietnamese will be permitted to gamble at specific casinos approved by competent authority on a 3-year trial basis (i.e. – calculating from the first day opening of the authorized integrated resorts). According to the public media, only 02 casinos are open to Vietnamese individuals on a 3-year piloting scheme, which are located within complex resorts in Phu Quoc District, Kien Giang Province (South Vietnam) and Van Don District, Quang Ninh Province (North Vietnam). A small likelihood that Ho Tram Resort would join the list.

Local players are permitted to enter casinos if they essentially satisfy the following conditions: (i) 21 years old or above; (ii) monthly salary of VND10 million or more (equivalent to approximately US$440); (iii) paying entrance fee of VND1 million (US$44)/24 hours/ person or VND25 million (USD1,100)/ month/ person; and (iv) not being objected in writing by siblings, spouses and/or biological and adopted parents to play at casinos. However, these conditions, especially the monthly income requirement, are complicated to prove and were not previously dealt with in the Casino Decree. The Casino Circular then substantiates this requirement as below:

- Having documents (tax declarations/ confirmation by tax authorities) proving taxable income at level 3 or above pursuant to the Law on Personal Income Tax;

- Notarized house/ assets lease contract, where the total monthly rent is VND 10 million or above;

- Notarized bank savings book or bank statement of savings with a term of one year or more and having monthly interest from VND10 million or above;

- Other documents proving that the usual monthly income of players being VND 10 million or above; or

- In case a single document mentioned above is not sufficient to prove the VND10 million monthly income, players can submit several documents to prove such total monthly income.

Casinos under strict supervision of tax authorities

Casino-operating enterprises must arrange a place in the casino with necessary means and equipment for state authorities to perform the casino management and surveillance directly or via electronic equipment and camera system. Transactions under supervision are monetary transactions and/ or tokens related ones. These transactions must also be recorded ad reported to the tax authorities.

In addition, state authorities also supervise, either directly or via electronic and camera system, the inventorying and calculation of transactions performed at cashier area and/ or areas for counting and storing cash and tokens.

Foreign currency control in casino business

Casino-operating enterprises must exchange Vietnamese Dong or other currencies for tokens and vice versa for players.

The exchange rates for Vietnamese Dong or other currencies to tokens and vice versa must be based on the purchasing rates on the transaction date announced by the licensed bank where the casino-operating enterprise’s specialized foreign currency account is opened. In case the transaction date falls on days off or public holidays, the exchange rates must be based on the rates announced on the previous transaction date.

A casino-operating enterprise may accept bank cards of players to exchange for tokens when they play in the casino. The transaction must be in Vietnamese Dong.

In case the Vietnamese players win the prizes, they are only allowed to receive the prize in Vietnamese Dong (whether in cash or by bank transfer). This is not the case for foreign players where they can also receive the prize in foreign currency.


The issuance of the Casino Decree and the Casino Circular timely open Vietnam’s young casino industry to attract foreign investment and limit foreign currency loss to other neighbouring countries. According to recent statistics, Vietnam loses about USD800 million in tax revenue annually from gamblers who cross the border to Cambodia. This is even more critical as many countries in the region already allows casino business such as Macau, Singapore, Philippines, Korea and recently Japan. In such scenario, the Vietnam Government still has a lot to do in order to not only retain Vietnamese players in the market but also attract foreign players who are already familiar with other casinos in the region.


If you have any question on the above, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Oliver Massmann under  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Dr. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

Thank you very much!

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Rising capital demand puts pressure on liquidity



Rising capital demand in the last few months of the year has put pressure on the liquidity of the banking system.

This has caused the central bank to pump a significant amount of money into the banking system to support the liquidity, a new report from the Saigon Securities Company (SSI) revealed.

In its weekly report on the monetary market, SSI said the central bank pumped VND6.8 trillion (US$299.5 million) into the banking system last week following seven consecutive weeks of withdrawing money out of the system.

The interest rate in the inter-bank market last week also increased for the second consecutive week. The overnight rate closed the week at 0.7 per cent, up 3 basis points from the end of the previous week. The rate for one-week loans rose by 14 basis points to 0.99 per cent.

SSI forecast that the liquidity of the banking system will suffer more pressure in the next few months when the capital demand rises sharply.

With the aim of meeting the rising capital demand, many banks, especially small- and medium-sized ones, are offering high-interest rates and promotion programmes to compete for the mobilisation of deposits.

According to statistics from the State Bank of Vietnam, credit growth in the first nine months of this year rose 11.02 per cent against December last year. The increase was much higher than the rates of 10.78 per cent and 10.46 per cent in the same period in 2015 and 2016, respectively.


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Reference exchange rate down by 1 VND




The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) set its reference VND/USD exchange rate at 22,469 VND/USD on the morning of November 9, down by 1 VND from the previous day.

With the current/- 3 percent VND/USD trading band, the ceiling exchange rate is 23,135 VND per USD and the floor rate is 21,797 VND per USD.

The exchange rates remained stable at major commercial banks in early hours on November 9 morning.

Vietcombank, Vietinbank and BIDV kept both rates unchanged from the previous day at 22, 680 VND (buying) and 22,750 VND (selling), per USD.

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 PECC survey: rising protectionism is top risk to growth



A series of risks to growth in the Asia-Pacific region has been highlighted by an annual survey by Pacific Economic Cooperation Council released today as 21 economies gather in Danang for the Apec 2017 Economic Leaders’ Week.

The State of the Region 2017-2018 survey found that increasing protectionism was seen as the top risk to the growth of the Asia-Pacific region. A lack of political leadership and slowdown in the Chinese economy were ranked as second and third risks to growth.

“Against the backdrop of concerns over rising protectionism, arguments for regional economic integration efforts and emphasis on pathways to achieving the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and support for the multilateral trading system become even more pertinent. They provide stability, certainty, and a sense of forward momentum,” said Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) co-chair Don Campbell.

Despite the United States pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), according to the economic modelling mentioned in the report, the implementation of the TPP-11 (TPP without the US) could boost the GDP of the 11 remaining economies by 3.0 per cent.

In comparison, estimates suggest that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) could raise the real average GDP of the participating economies by 1.9 per cent, should all import tariffs be eliminated.

However, particularly for the smaller economies in the region, the real gains will happen less through the improved access to external markets and more by reducing non-tariff measures (NTMs) and by addressing domestic regulation reforms, according to the report.

About 65 per cent of the Asia-Pacific policy community surveyed thought that RCEP would likely be completed in about two to five years. About 49 per cent thought that TPP-11 would be completed in two to five years, while 21 per cent said it would never materialise and another 21 per cent remained uncertain.

On the likelihood of the US rejoining the TPP, 20 per cent said yes, while 26 per cent said not likely. Over 51 per cent of North American respondents thought that the US would rejoin the TPP under a different name.

“FTAAP is a strategic choice for the long-term prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. It will provide institutional guarantees for our region’s open economy. There are several pathways and initiatives underway that can effectively complement each other towards the eventual realisation of an FTAAP,” said Ambassador Tang Guoqlang, co-chair of PECC.

“In addition to the TPP and RCEP, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which links the two ends of the vast Eurasian continent, will contribute to keeping up the momentum of globalisation. These regional economic integration efforts will help each economy maximise their own growth potentials, while the entire Asia-Pacific region would essentially benefit,” he added.

PECC’s State of the Region 2017-2018 report was released on the sidelines of the Apec senior officials’ and ministerial meetings ahead of the summit. This report includes the results of a survey of over 700 regional policy experts on key developments and challenges that the Asia-Pacific is facing as a region. The survey panelists were selected based on their expertise and direct involvement or influence on regional policy making, hailing from governments, businesses, and the civil society.


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28 provinces, cities approve urban development programmes




Twenty eight out of 63 provinces and cities have so far approved their urban development programmes, under the Decree 11/2013/ND-CP about management and investment in urban development.

Besides, 23 others were underway to develop or adjust their urban development programmes, according to the Ministry of Construction.

The ministry said that these programmes were necessary to contribute to ensuring harmonious and sustainable urban development.

Focus would be placed on completing the legal framework for urban development to ensure consistency and tighten management, the ministry said, adding that existing regulations about urban development were still proving to be ineffective.

The ministry is working on drafting a law on architecture.

The Decree 11/2013/ND-CP issued on January 14 aimed to ensure the consistence between local and national socio-economic development planning and synchronous urban infrastructure development.

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Reforms raise local ranking



Vietnam’s business environment has significantly improved, with the World Bank raising the country’s business climate index by 14 ranks – a record improvement over recent years.

The World Bank last week issued its high-profile “Doing Business 2018” report, which stated that Vietnam has “implemented the most reforms in the past 15 years, with 39 reforms. Today, an entrepreneur in Ho Chi Minh City spends 22 days and 6.5 per cent income per capita registering a new company, compared to 61 days and 31.9 per cent in 2003.”

Under the report, Vietnam’s business climate index rose to the 68th position out of 190 economies surveyed, from 82nd out of 190 economies last year.

“This is the highest climb in Vietnam’s World Bank rank index over the past decade,” said Nguyen Minh Thao, deputy chief of the Central Institute of Economic Management’s Business Climate Division.

WB has used 10 categories to assess all the economies, including starting a business, getting credit, trading across borders, dealing with construction permits, protecting minority investors, getting electricity, enforcing contracts, paying taxes, registering property, and resolving insolvency.

Of these categories, seven have seen a rise in the ranks and scores for Vietnam, including paying taxes (up 81 ranks and 14.78 points); getting electricity (up 32 ranks and 6.46 points); getting credit (up three ranks and five points); dealing with construction permits (up four ranks and 0.4 points); protecting minority investors (up six ranks); trading across borders (94th place, up 0.91 points); and enforcing contracts (up three ranks and 0.93 points).

Another two categories of Vietnam also witnessed a climb in scores, including starting a business (up 2.85 points), and resolving insolvency (up 0.08 points).

“Vietnam’s business climate improvements recognised by WB have resulted from a series of solutions applied by the government to improve the business climate,” Thao said.

Specific factors included things like ‘Getting electricity’. The government has increased the reliability of the power supply by rolling out a supervisory control and data acquisition automatic energy management system for the monitoring of outages and the restoration of service. Regarding ‘Getting credit’, Vietnam strengthened access to credit by adopting a new civil code that broadens the scope of assets that can be used as collateral. Also, for ‘Paying taxes’, Vietnam made paying taxes easier by abolishing the 12-month mandatory carry forward period for value-added tax credit and by introducing an online platform for filing social security contributions.

In another case, concerning ‘Trading across borders’, Vietnam made exporting and importing easier by upgrading the automated cargo clearance system and extending the operating hours of the customs department. And in terms of ‘Enforcing contracts’, Vietnam made enforcing contracts easier by adopting a new code of civil procedure and by introducing a consolidated law on voluntary mediation.

Commenting on Vietnam’s business climate competitiveness, Raymond Mallon, an Australian senior economist who has spent decades studying Vietnam’s economic situation, told VIR that the key factors that matter to investors considering long-term sustainable investments in Vietnam are long-term profitability and risk.

“Reform efforts should continue to focus on reducing administrative bottlenecks in Vietnam, improving public infrastructure and services, and strengthening skills and the institutional foundations for productivity growth while also ensuring macro-economic and social stability,” Mallon said.

“Promoting equitable development is also important as it will help promote stability and increased domestic demand. It is critically important that the government continues to reduce the obstacles to the emergence of a dynamic domestic private sector, as many foreign firms are looking to build relationships with dynamic and potentially lower-cost private firms,” he added.


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Singapore’s businesses pour 41.7 billion USD into Vietnam




Vietnam attracted more than 1,900 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects from Singaporean businesses in January-October, which were valued at 41.7 billion USD.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, a Singaporean project has average capital of 21.6 million USD, above the foreign project average in Vietnam of 12.9 million USD.

Singapore is investing in 18 out of the 21 economic sectors in Vietnam, including the manufacturing and processing industry with 548 projects worth nearly 18 billion USD, making up 44 percent of the country’s total investment in Vietnam.

Singapore has also invested in 48 out of the 63 cities and provinces in Vietnam. The southern metropolis of HCM City drew the biggest number of Singaporean projects (992) with total registered capital of 10.3 billion USD, followed by Hanoi capital (310 projects).

Speaking at a recent ministerial meeting on connecting Vietnam and Singapore’s economy, minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said one of the highlights of Singapore’s FDI in Vietnam is the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP).

So far, the VSIP Group has invested in eight projects in Vietnam, including three in the southern province of Binh Duong, three in the northern provinces of Bac Ninh, Hai Phong and Hai Duong, and two in the central provinces of Quang Ngai and Nghe An.

With the hope of expanding the VSIP model, Singapore’s Sembcorp Development group is preparing to build a similar industrial park in the north-central province of Quang Tri.

The Vietnamese government has approved the project and directed the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the provincial People’s Committee to work with the Singaporean group to carry out the project.

VSIPs in Vietnam have lured more than 720 investors from 30 countries and territories with total investment of nearly 10 billion USD. Businesses at VSIPs also earned 32 billion USD from exports and generated jobs for about 200,000 workers.


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 City to auction land for build-transfer projects



HCM City plans to put projects under the Build-Transfer (BT) investment model under more scrutiny by auctioning land instead of offering it in exchange for infrastructure.

“Land for BT projects must be carefully calculated. The city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment will publicly announce the available land that can be used for BT projects,” Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said.

Phong spoke at yesterday’s seminar on BT projects and solutions needed to create a land fund for infrastructure development.

Speaking at the seminar, Dr Huynh The Du from Fulbright University pointed out that most BT projects were implemented by exchanging land for infrastructure and choosing contractors without public bidding.

In addition, investors mostly lean on capital from banks, according to Du.

“We should limit the number of BT projects with the investment model of land exchange for infrastructure. Instead, authorities should issue bonds for construction and bids for use of land-rights,” he said.

“The BT model should be used when we have a ‘clean’ (with no buildings or infrastructure on it) land fund, and bids for the land must be done independently. Money from the sale should be used to pay for the project,” he added.

Su Ngoc Anh, director of the city Planning and Investment Department, said a Government decree regulated different models of infrastructure construction, but investors and government agencies still preferred to use land exchange in the BT mode.

“But, in fact, the land fund for infrastructure exchange is limited, and there are also cumbersome procedures. In addition, compensation to households that have to move to make way for the infrastructure project can be complicated,” Anh said.

Hoang Manh Phuong, deputy head of the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Legal Framework Department, said the ministry planned to adjust the decree on the law regarding BT investments.

Tran Duc Thang, head of the Ministry of Finance’s Public Asset Management Department, said there were six laws regulating BT projects (investment, land, public assets, state budget, bidding and public investment laws).

“There are too many laws on this, and it results in delays and many challenges for BT projects. The land fund is limited, and expenditures for compensation are very high. All of this leads to inefficiency in investment,” he added.

“There are many procedures for a BT project, but the most important thing for a BT project is how to repay the investor when the land is not ‘clean’ (when there is something on it),” Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the Transport Department, said.

Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the HCM City Real Estate Association, said that it was common to see investors using the BT model for land plots in good locations.

“This can easily cause a negative impact because investors and bidders often have only 10 per cent of ownership capital, and 90 per cent of their capital is from banks,” he said.

Chau said he strongly supported public bidding as it would give international and local investors an opportunity to bid on infrastructure and construction projects.


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 Realty climbs on solid fundamentals


The local real estate market has been on an upbeat growth trajectory, profiting from the country’s positive macro-economic fundamentals.

Nguyen Sy Cong, general director of leading construction group Coteccons, said that currently, the real estate market is in quite a good mood. “Stable transactions, reasonable and affordable price changes, the continuous increases in foreign direct investment flows into Vietnam, and the increased number of enterprises in the real estate business are positive factors for the local real estate market.”

A positive sign in the property market is that investors are now more narrowly focused – paying more attention to the real demand of customers. Housing projects are now equipped with different functions as well as combined facilities and services to better fulfil consumer needs.

Moreover, the products offered for the middle class – the most sought-after consumer demographic – have been increasing.

According to a report released by real estate agency DKRA, more than 6,000 mid-range and affordable apartment units were purchased in the year’s first three quarters in Ho Chi Minh City, accounting for 78 per cent of the newly created stock.

Pham Lam, general director of property consultant DKRA, said that in the fourth quarter of 2017, mid-range and affordable housing will lead the market. The second home segment, Lam said, will also see strong sales towards the year’s end.

The positive signs in the real estate market were backed by a solid economy.

According to Nguyen Xuan Thanh, development director of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Programme, the national economy has been on a good track, with many positive signs. “The property market will continue growing in the last months of 2017 and in 2018 thanks to the stability and on-schedule financial policies of the government,” he said.

Thanh said that in the last three quarters, the economy’s growth rate had reached its highest level since 2010.

Government statistics show it was 5.15 per cent in the first quarter, 6.28 per cent in the second quarter, and 7.46 per cent in the third quarter of the year.

“This is a positive sign for the economy, leading toward the planned growth rate of 6.7 per cent for the whole year,” he said.

According to Thanh, local credit growth is also on an upward trend. In the year’s first 10 months, credit growth was 11 per cent higher than it was last year. The growth rate of construction, real estate, and infrastructure systems are at all-time highs.

Thanh also predicted that by the end of 2017, the credit growth rate would be between 15 and 19 per cent.

Meanwhile, deputy general director of HD Bank Le Thanh Trung said that the interest rate – one of the major factors that impact the real estate market – was the brightest sign of the whole economic picture of Vietnam, and it is set to maintain these reasonable levels going into 2018.

In addition, the global economy has been fairly stable, with very few signs of crises in leading economies such as the US, Japan, and the Euro zone.

The exchange rate, Trung said, would be kept stable from now until the end of the year, with the foreign exchange reserves reaching a record $45 billion. “These factors will keep interest rates reasonable until 2018, setting a strong foundation for the real estate market in Vietnam,” Trung said.

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 Kepco & Marubeni to build coal-fired power plant


Consortium to build 12,000 MW, $2.3 billion plant in Thanh Hoa province.

South Korean utilities provider the Korea Power Electric Corp. (Kepco) has signed a $2.3 billion deal to build a coal-fired plant in Vietnam, the company said on November 9.

A consortium involving Kepco and Japanese trading firm Marubeni will be in charge of construction as well as the operation of the 1,200 MW plant at the Nghi Son 2 Economic Zone in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa, about 200 km south of Hanoi.

The State-run Kepco and Marubeni will both hold a 50 per cent share in the project. Kepco expects to receive around $13.2 billion through the plant’s operations over a 25-year period.

Construction will begin later this year with completion targeted for the end of 2021.

The consortium signed a turnkey-basis contract with Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction to build the coal-fired plant, the company added. The Export-Import Bank of Korea will invest 75 per cent of the $2.3 billion needed for construction, Kepco said.

The two-turbine project with total capacity of 1,200 MW has been approved by the Vietnamese Government, who selected the two companies as investors under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) mode following an international public auction.

The project is expected to supply electricity for the economic development of the northern region while ensuring national energy security.

Vietnam’s annual power consumption is about 162 billion kWh, according to estimates by Electricity of Vietnam (EVN). It has some 20 coal-fired plants and plans to increase the number to 32 by 2020 and 51 by 2030. This means that, by 2020, the country’s coal plants will be producing 49 per cent of its electricity output by burning 63 million tons of coal.

This would then reach 129 million tons by the time it has all 51 plants in operation. Its revised National Power Development Plan for 2011-2020 (PDP XII) makes it clear that thermal power will be the mainstay of its energy mix.



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GV Energy supports renewable energy development in Vietnam



To popularise the trend of using renewable energy in Vietnam, GV Energy (Korea) has just installed lighting system powered by solar and wind energy at no charge for two primary schools in the south-central province of Nghe An.  

This is an activity in the Global Corporate Social Responsibility of Korean Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA Global CSR) in 2017.

Korea’s GV Energy specialises in providing products using renewable energy such as solar power or wind power generators.

In line of KOTRA Global CSR 2017 of KOTRA in Vietnam, GV Energy has installed lighting systems powered by 200W wind generator and 600W solar generator for two primary schools in Nghe An at no charge. Additionally, GV Energy also donated hundreds of educational kits to disadvantaged students at these two schools.

Renewable energy brings many benefits to the economy, society, environment and people health. Power generated from renewable energy such as wind power, solar energy has become a trend that has attracted many countries all over the world.

KOTRA as well as GV Energy believes that renewable energy development is one of the critical solutions in response to climate change; creating new economic opportunities, benefiting enterprises, helping the poor access to clean energy, reducing environmental pollution and ensuring national energy security.

“KOTRA Global SCR activities not only contribute to promoting the advantages of eco-friendly energy products of GV Energy in particular and Korea in general, but also enhance good relationship between the two governments and businesses. In the coming time, we will continue to coordinate with local authorities in order to install more hydropower, wind and solar power generation systems in Vietnam,” said Jung Suk Won, CEO of GV Energy.

CSR is social responsibility activity that Korean government has consistently promoted over the years. KOTRA Global CSR is a social contribution project that has been continuously implemented by KOTRA for many years, contributed to creating a supportive business environment through the cooperation between Korean enterprises and other countries.

KOTRA has teamed up with Korean companies and developing countries, including Vietnam, to tackle social issues, educate human resources, and promote cooperative strategies. In addition to renewable energy in Vietnam, KOTRA also actively promotes supporting activities in other fields such as technology and urban development.

Especially since 2011, annually, KOTRA has cooperated with the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and the Korean Embassy in Vietnam to hold CSR Awards in order to honour Korean enterprises which have the best CSR activities in Vietnam.


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 New petrol import tax benefits people



Calculation of petroleum import tax based on weighted average of the tariffs along with locally produced petrol from Dung Quat Oil Refinery would benefit consumers, Vu Thi Mai, deputy minister of finance, said.

Normally, the ministry announced the petrol basis price and the import tax based on weighted average of the tariffs at the first month of every quarter. However, the ministry announced the import tax for the last quarter of the year on October 20 one month later than usual at the rate of 8.56 per cent. The tax rate for the first quarter of the year was 10.56 per cent, while in the second and third quarters it was reduced to 10.21 per cent and 9.31 per cent respectively.

Mai said during a Q&A session at the National Assembly plenary session last week that the previous calculation was based on weighted average of the tariffs.

In the latest adjustment, the ministry proposed to add locally produced petrol of Dung Quat Oil Refinery with a tax of zero to the calculation.

The previous calculation was based only on Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff. However, following integration, Vietnam’s petrol import tax was lower.

Specially, import-export tax for petrol imported from South Korea was 10 per cent, Asean was 20 per cent and MFN was 20 per cent. Petrol imported from other countries is part of the roadmap to reduce import taxes.

Petroleum import tax based on weighted average of the tariffs, taking into account MFN status and the Free Trade Agreement was, therefore, approved by the prime minister in March 2016 to ensure benefits for businesses and consumers.

“If we do not take into account the weighted average of the tariffs of Dung Quat Refinery, tax would be higher, leading to increased basis prices. The refinery accounted for some 40 per cent of the market’s petrol share. Specifically, in the first quarter of the year, Dung Quat made up 47 per cent of the country’s petrol market share,” she said.

The deputy minister added the PM has allowed to add Dung Quat to the calculation.

Recently, opinions on media said petroleum import tax based on weighted average of the tariffs of 8.56 per cent, which was lower than the 10 per cent tax of South Korea, could reduce imports from the country.

She said the ministry would continue to follow changes in the market and closely cooperate with the Ministry of Industry and Trade if there was any effect on petrol reserve and supply.

The Vietnam Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) on Monday announced its balance of the petrol price stabilisation fund was VND3.24 trillion (US$143.3 billion), increasing by VND50 billion from the previous price adjustment on October 20.

In total, its balance was some VND100 billion following the two latest adjustments since October 5.

The ministries of industry and trade and finance said in the adjustment on November 4, they decided to increase spending for the petrol price stabilisation fund to VND300 per litre for petrol A92 and E5 bio-fuel, VND250 per litre for diesel, and VND270 per kilo for fuel oil (FO).

The increasing expenditure from the fund aimed to stabilise petrol retail price following the rise in world petrol prices.


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Tour guides required to have affiliations

The Saigon Times


Tour guides must be affiliated to tourism or job placement companies or professional associations next year when the 2017 tourism law takes effect.

The law requires tour guides to have professional ID cards, employment contracts with travel or tour guide supply firms, membership cards of professional associations, service contracts with travel firms or documents as proof of their assignments.

As for tour guides at tourist sites, there must be assignments by organisations and individuals that manage those sites.

Data of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) showed that there are more than 20,000 tour guides nationwide working for domestic and outbound tour programmes. Currently, a tour guide can work for a company or as a freelance. In reality, most tour guides prefer working as freelances.

Freelance tour guides have complained that they are not covered by any insurance plans. “That is why the new law requires them to join an organisation,” said Pham Le Thao, deputy head of travel at VNAT.

The Vietnam Tourism Association last week announced the establishment of a tour guide association which is based in Hanoi and has offices in Danang City and HCM City. As many as 5,000 tour guides have joined the association so far.

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