Stalled Vietnam seaport underscores economic woes, mismanagement (SOEs) • Washington Post

HANOI, Vietnam. Sep 24, 2012 — All that remains of a plan by Vietnam to build a major deep-water port is 114 exposed pilings trailing into the South China Sea and a barge full of rusty machinery.

Van Phong Port, April 2011

Foreign investors stayed away from the $3.6 billion project and the indebted state-owned company overseeing it bungled the job. Earlier this month, the government accused the company of “financial incompetence” and suspended the project. The prospects for ever reviving it are dim.

The abandoned port in Southern Vietnam stands as a symbol of the inefficiency of the country’s rulers, and the need to reform a massive web of state-owned enterprises weighing down a once-booming economy.

Read more

Weekly Update Aug 13: How to Successfully Penetrate the US Market, Members Night


We, Aug 22 Morning Briefing: How to Successfully Penetrate the US Market
Th, Aug 30 U.S.-ASEAN Business Summit • Digital Economy
Mo, Sep 3 Vietnam’s National Foundation Day (observed)
Th, Sep 6 Dr. Le Dang Doanh: Revitalizing the Vietnamese Miracle
Th, Sep 6 Food Industry Summit, Jakarta, Indonesia
Sa, Sep 8 AmCham Scholarship Information Session
Welcome to new AmCham companies • Jan ~ Aug 2012
ADB wants ODA disbursement accelerated
FDI in apparel production declines
FDI machine needs reworking
Viet Nam may run out of funds for pensions
Vietnam surpassed China as the leading producer of Nike footwear two years ago
Vietnam the next upcoming market: consumer spending to increase 42% by 2016
FDI into Vietnam continues its plunge during first seven months – down 67%
Industrial Parks See Falling Investment in first half of 2012: FDI down 59%
Tu, Nov 6, U.S. General Elections Day • U.S. Voter Registration Web Sites

Read more

ADB Support to Improve Portfolio Performance and ODA Effectiveness

The ADB has identified the main constraints that need to be solved for improvement of portfolio and aid effectiveness in Viet Nam, including:

• lack of harmonized procedures on ODA project management
• project start-up delays
• limited effectiveness of joint portfolio performance management mechanism
• project management capacity constraints, and
• delays in institutionalization of results of dialogue between Government and development partners on aid effectiveness

ADB carried out a first technical assistance (TA) project to enhance ODA absorptive capacity and efficiency from October 2007 to August 2011. A new TA project, from June 2012 to Nov 2014 will address the above-mentioned constraints and further institutionalize the outcomes of the policy dialogue between Government and the Six Development Banks Group (6BG) as agreed in the second Joint Action Plan (JAP-2). The 6BG brings together the ADB, the World Bank, JICA (Japan), Korea Eximbank (Korea), KfW (Germany) and AFD (France).

Read more …

ADB: Support to Improve Portfolio Performance and Aid Effectiveness in Vietnam, (Inception Report), June 2012

Official Development Assistance (ODA) has been an important catalyst for Viet Nam’s rapid economic development since resumed international development partners resumed ODA in 1993. However, portfolio performance as reflected in indicators such as disbursement, project start-up compliance and average loan extension has deteriorated in 2004 and improved in 2009, but slid back in 2010. Some portfolio performance indicators in Vietnam are worse than those of other Southeast Asia countries. This situation requires that ODA utilization and management in Vietnam need to be improved to contribute to better ODA effectiveness.

ADB’s portfolio performance review in 2010 and 2011 identified main constraints that need to be solved for improvement of portfolio and ODA effectiveness, which include, among others: (1) lack of harmonized procedures on ODA project management, (2) project start-up delays, (3) limited effectiveness of joint portfolio performance management mechanisms, (4) project management capacity constraints, (5) delays in institutionalization of results of dialogue between Government and development partners on aid effectiveness.

The purpose of this report is to set out a clear approach and methodology to implement the Technical Assistance, present the implementation plan, activities, timeframe and resources to implement the TA over the period Jun 1, 2012 – Nov 30, 2014.

New tool shows relationship between development, aid and governance
Dani Kaufmann and Homi Kharas have combined their expertise on governance and aid at the Brookings Institution to produce a new tool for “connecting the empirical dots” on development, aid and governance. The tool – an interactive platform and databank of information about aid quality and governance – aims to ensure that policy discussions are informed by the best available evidence.

Planning ODA Effectiveness
How do donors go about improving aid effectiveness in practice? The inception report “Socialist Republic of Viet Nam: Support to Improve Portfolio Performance and Aid Effectiveness” gives an insight into how the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) thinks it should do it. At the end of the report there is a useful Design and Monitoring Framework (p. 17-19).

FDI into Vietnam continues to fall: down 27.3% in first half of 2012

FDI in Vietnam 2010-2012eDuring the first half of this year, foreign investors have committed to FDI of about $ 5.96 billion, a 27.3 per cent reduction from last year. New FDI only registered the total capital of US$ 4.76 billion, a sharp fall of 24.6 percent from 2011. Expansion FDI in existing projects also decreased. If present trends continue, FDI in 2012 could be about one-half of FDI in 2010.

Vietnam said it may fail to achieve its goal of attracting at least $15 billion of committed foreign direct investment this year amid a faltering global recovery and a domestic growth slowdown. Disbursement of foreign investment may fall to $10 billion this year, lower than an earlier forecast of $11 billion. Vietnam aimed to attract $15 billion to $16 billion of pledged foreign investments in 2012, according to a Dec. 30 government statement.

On a positive note, previously approved projects are getting underway. An MPI report released on June 26 showed that US$ 900 million worth of previously approved FDI has been implemented, raising the total FDI capital disbursed in the first six months of the year to US$ 5.4 billion, higher than the US$ 5.3 billion level of the same period of the last year, and equal to that of 2010.

Read more

First wind turbines ready for generation in Bac Lieu, Vietnam’s Mekong Delta

HCMC, May 26, 2012. Cong Ly Construction-Trading-Tourism Co. has successfully installed two wind power turbines along Bac Lieu Province’s coastline, said assistant general director Nguyen Thang Long of the company.

The wind power towers and turbines, each weighing 210 tons with a height of 90 meters, have been erected by the U.S. firm General Electric (GE) with an output of 1.6 megawatts each, Long told the Daily.

Long said his company would generate power to the national grid after finishing the first phase of the project with the installment of ten more turbines in September.

Read more

Metro Line No. 1 project to get going September 2012 (Blue Line)

HCMC, May 17, 2012. HCMC vice chairman Nguyen Huu Tin on Wednesday urged district authorities to promptly hand over cleared site for the Metro Line No. 1 project to get off the ground in September this year.

He was speaking at the signing ceremony of a contract to build the overhead section of the Metro Line No. 1 running from Ben Thanh Market to Suoi Tien Theme Park. The deal was signed between the HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways and the contractor being a consortium of Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation and Vietnam’s Civil Engineering Construction Corporation No. 6 (Cienco 6).

There are still two other packages, including a package for construction of the underground section connecting Ben Thanh Market and Ba Son Shipyard and one for mechanical-electrical devices and maintenance.

Read more

ADB to lend another US$ 500 million to city’s second metro line (Red Line)

HCMC, May 18, 2012. – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will lend an additional US$500 million to HCMC to develop the underground section of Metro Line No. 2.

A trial run of the metro line is expected to take place in 2017. Work on the underground tunnel and stations, funded by ADB, will start in April 2013 before the main component gets off the ground in June 2013.

Fencing and ground leveling in Tham Luong Depot in District 12 began in August 2010 and is planned for completion in the third quarter this year. Site clearance, however, has yet to be finished.

Read more

Fair Labor Association, VCCI to improve working conditions, social compliance programs

On April 11, 2012, FLA and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) launched an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of State to provide technical assistance and guidance to improve working conditions and social compliance programs at 50 apparel and footwear factories in Vietnam. VCCI is implementing the project in collaboration with FLA, the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, and the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor.

VCCI, MOLISA, and the VCGL comprise the “Tripartite Partnership” for industrial relations in Vietnam.

Under the agreement, US FLA will provide technical supports for 50 garment and footwear production facilities in six Vietnamese cities and provinces, namely Hanoi, Thai Binh, Hai Duong, Dong Nai, Long An and Binh Duong.

Read more

Bitexco to build US$ 500 mil twin towers in HCM City

Bitexco Ben Thanh Towers April 26, 2012. Bitexco, a multi-industry group, announced on April 26 that it will pour US$ 500 million into a trade centre-office-residential complex to be built in district 1, HCM City.

The General Director of Bitexco Group, In-Suk Ko, said that The One Ho Chi Minh City will get off the ground on April 27, covering a total area of 8,600 square meters.

The complex will include two towers of 55 and 48 stories, a trade centre, offices, and apartments for rent, and a six-star Ritz Carlton hotel.

Read more

Vietnam encourages FDI in hi-tech sectors, but still installs barriers

Intel, Samsung, Nokia and Compal are the names that people regularly mention when talking about the hi-tech projects in Vietnam. However, in fact, not every project is considered a “high technology project” and receives preferential treatment.

In 2008, when receiving the investment certificate for the mobile phone factory Samsung Electronics (SEV) in Bac Ninh province, Samsung was recognized as a high technology enterprise.

However, when the investor expanded the project by raising the investment capital from 670 million dollars to 1.5 billion dollars, and planned to make printing machines, mobile phone batteries and cameras as well; the products were not listed as high technology products. As a result, the investor can only enjoy some incentives after entreating a specific mechanism from the government.

Read more