OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs)

The OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises give concrete advice to countries on how to manage more effectively their responsibilities as company owners, thus helping to make state-owned enterprises more competitive, efficient and transparent.

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Text of the Guidelines

This booklet contains the text of the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises. Download the different language versions in pdf file format.

English (official version)French (official version)

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National Assembly begins third session

HA NOI, May 21, 2012. Viet Nam’s 13th National Assembly started its third working session this morning in Ha Noi.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung called upon deputies to embrace democracy, concentrate on their responsibilities and use their intellectual capacities to make the session successful.

During the month-long process, participants will focus on the review and passage of 13 draft laws and two resolutions and discuss six other draft laws.

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Plan of discordance: Transport Ministry plans $ 600 million for new HQ and agencies buildings

May 15, 2012. When the Transport Ministry announced last week a cost-extensive plan to spend some VND12.2 trillion, or nearly US$ 600 million, to build the new headquarters for the ministry as well as its affiliated agencies, with two-thirds of which to be disbursed in the next three years, public disagreement heats up, as shown in local media.

In the plan approved by Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang, the cost for building the ministry’s headquarters alone amounts to VND1 trillion, while buildings for other departments under the ministry’s direct administration require over VND4.8 trillion, reports Tuoi Tre. The plan also clarifies that of the VND12.2 trillion for building headquarters, the ministry will ask for some VND10 trillion from the State Budget.

Nguyen Duc Kien, former vice chairman of the National Assembly, also observes that such a costly program is unwelcome at a time of economic difficulties like now, according to the website of Doi Song va Phap Luat newspaper. The paper also quotes Nguyen Thi Kha, a member of the NA Committee on Social Issues, as saying that “State agencies need to practice thrift to reduce State Budget deficit… and the State spending should prioritize urgent issues of the people’s livelihood.”

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Weekly Update May 14: TV Advertising in VN, Members Night


We, May 16 TV Advertising in Vietnam: Learn from the Best, Worst and Mediocre
Th, May 17 International Product Safety and Environmental Compliance Conference
Fr, May 18 TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Workshop
Th, May 24 AmCham Members’ Night & Meet the U.S. Consulate General
Fr, May 25 Business Lunch: Future of Medical and Cancer Care
We, May 30 AmCham Palooza Party
Apparel exports rise 14% in first four months
Falling export activity hits logistics firms – an indicator?
Vietnam Stocks Rise Most in Asia on Tax Breaks
Gov’t okays $ 1.4 billion bailout package for enterprises
Terumo BCT to Invest $ 94 million in Vietnam state-of-the-art facilities
HCM City & S. Key Economic Region Infrastructure: Ports, Industrial Parks (update)
Welcome to new AmCham companies • Jan ~ May 2012
Advance Notice: Sep – Dec AmCham Scholarship 2012
Tu, Nov 6, U.S. General Elections Day • U.S. Voter Registration Web Sites

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150 SOEs must be equitized every year; HCMC pace is slow

In the first four months of 2012, only four State-owned enterprises (SOEs) were equitized, said a report of the Steering Committee for Enterprise Reform and Development. This is a slow progress given an urgent need for SOEs equitization. The Saigon Times Daily talked to Pham Viet Muon, deputy chief of the steering committee, who also serves as vice chairman of the Government Office, on this issue.


The Saigon Times Daily: Could you comment on the progress of the SOEs equitization process so far?

Pham Viet Muon: SOEs equitization began in 1992, and since 2001 has been accelerated. By the end of 2011, we have equitized nearly 4,000 enterprises. The number of SOEs dropped from the original 12,000 to 5,655 in 2001. Now, there are only 1,309 enterprises wholly owned by the State nationwide.

Basically, most SOEs are turning into joint stock companies, attracting more resources from the society. More importantly, the management of these enterprises has been publicized.

Some data show that in 2011 and the first quarter of 2012, the number of equitized SOEs is very modest. Why does the process slow down?

the decisive factor is the guidance of ministerial and local agencies, State groups and corporations is not drastic enough.

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Private sector should be economic driver: Pham Do Chi

Pham Do Chi Pham Do Chi, Senior Economist, STAR Plus Program

Saigon Times. Apr 19, 2012. Macroeconomic uncertainty is among the biggest problems the country is facing. Efforts are being made to restructure the economy so as to achieve stability. The Saigon Times Daily talked with Pham Do Chi, senior economist of the Star Plus Program, former expert at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on the fundamental issues of Vietnam’s economy. Excerpts:

The Saigon Times Daily: There have been production stagnation, high inventories and bankruptcies. And the central bank has signaled interest rate cuts. Vietnam is entering another battle against economic downturn. What is your comment on this?

Pham Do Chi: The problem lies in the fiscal policy, given the high public spending that has been pressuring the monetary policy over the past years, building up inflationary pressure. Actual inflation is caused by the lax fiscal policy. The Government has overemphasized public investment. As evidence, the public investment rate of Vietnam is the second highest in Asia, at 42% of GDP, only after China. Furthermore, as the incremental capital output ratio (ICOR) remains high meaning investment efficiency is low, it is necessary to further slash public investment, and encourage private investment instead. This will be a long-term effective dose for inflation.

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Vietnam Increases Gold Market Controls

April 12, 2012. The State Bank of Vietnam is instituting a de facto nationalization of Vietnam’s gold market, in an effort to restore confidence in the country’s currency – the dong. Vietnam is suffering from a growing current account deficit and record-high inflation. The government’s new measures will have unpleasant side effects, as more than 2,000 Vietnamese gold traders might have to close their businesses. However, private citizens will retain the right to buy gold.

From May 25 the State Bank of Vietnam will in effect be the sole controller of gold trading in the country. Rules passed last year pushed many small gold traders out of business, and these new gold rules mean that after the May 25 deadline, only companies with minimum capital of 10 billion Vietnamese dong, yearly tax payments of 500 million Vietnamese dong and with branches in a minimum of three provinces will be allowed to trade gold and import gold bars.

Currently, the only company able to comply with these requirements is the public company SJC of Hoh Chi Minh City. SJC controls 90 % of the national gold trade. According to the new regulations, major Vietnamese banks will also be allowed to trade gold. The State Bank of Vietnam has called on major banks to present their own plans for joining the gold trade, and regarding possible development of a national distribution grid. Experts believe that the State Bank of Vietnam is trying to use commercial banks to create its own distribution grid and thus increase its control of the gold sector.

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New Strategic Partners U.S. and Vietnam Begin Tough TPP Trade Talks • Amb Raymond Burghardt

Mar 4, 2012. Vietnamese and Americans joined together in Hanoi last December for a happy celebration, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the entrance into force of the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement signed in December, 2001. The gathering of current and former trade negotiators, diplomats, and business leaders exchanged witty anecdotes about who had been the toughest negotiator. However, the main focus for both American and Vietnamese participants was on the positive prospects for future US-Vietnam relations across the spectrum of trade and strategic common interests.

For those of us who served in Vietnam during the war years, this celebration was the latest reminder of the remarkable transformation of a relationship from one of bitter foes to strategic partners. Ties between the United States and Vietnam have steadily improved since they were formally normalized in 1995, but the pace has accelerated during the past three years, motivated in part by shared concern over China’s aggressive maritime claims in the South China Sea.

Washington views Vietnam as a rapidly developing mid-sized country of some 90 million people, and Hanoi has been increasing its leadership role in Southeast Asia, a region that has America’s renewed attention. In turn, the Vietnamese leadership seeks regional stability, global integration, new foreign investment, and markets for its export industries, goals that require good relations with the United States.

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Institutional corruption a thorny issue in Vietnam

Feb 24, 2012. Hanoi Police has recently charged Tran Anh Tuan, formerly a deputy head of the Ministry of Finance’s Administrative Finance Department, with alleged fraud. This case highlights the flaws of the current mechanism for allocating budget funds.

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Vietnam to boost political, investment relations with partners in APEC 2011

HANOI, Nov 10, 2011. State President Truong Tan Sang, who will attend the 19th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting in Hawaii, said that the meeting will offer an opportunity for Vietnam to boost political, trade and investment relations with regional partners.

Vietnam’s participation in this APEC meeting reflects the 11th Party Congress foreign policy of proactively promoting intensive and comprehensive international integration and continuing to play an important role in Asia-Pacific regional cooperation frameworks.

This will also be a chance for Vietnam to take advantage of suitable APEC programmes in an effort to stabilise the macro-economy, serve socio-economic development goals and renew the growth model.

This year, APEC themed “Strengthening regional economic connectivity and expanding trade”, will focus on three areas of priority, namely regional economic connectivity and trade expansion; green growth and advancing regulatory cooperation and convergence.

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