Monday, November 26, 2007

A United Nations Messenger of Peace has beenin Vietnam carrying a plea to young Vietnameseto become active in protecting wildlife

On November 9, the 73-year-old Jane Goodall, who is known as the foremost expert on the chimpanzee, and more recently as a staunch supporter of animal rights, visited a wildlife rescue center in Cu Chi District of HCM City.

She spent many minutes talking to and fondling a vuon bac ma (Hylobates concolor leucogenis), one of a species of gibbon, and a one-year-old sun bear, which is also know as the dog bear, among 189 animals of 10 endangered species at the center.

This was part of Goodall’s two-day visit to Vietnam at the invitation of Wildlife At Risk organization to publicize her international program for young people called Roots and Shoots, which teaches the need to respect all living things.

Goodall said that when she was talking with some Vietnamese, she asked them why they ate wild animals. One told me that their eating wild tortoise meat was like my eating pork, she said. But I told them that they are different because tortoises or animals like that are wild and are endangered.

She was not very surprised with the answer because before visiting Vietnam she had read news stories about the trade in wild animals mainly for medicinal products, and about the practice of keeping in cages wild animals even as big as tigers and bears. Goodall said she knew there were strict rules to protect wildlife but people did not obey the laws.

Talking with hundreds of students at universities as well as with young entrepreneurs, the old lady, who has acted as a protector of wild animals for the past 50 years, said that schools in Vietnam should organize a lot of trips for their students to animal rescue centers like that in Cu Chi, so that “they, too, can talk with the animals and learn how it is easy to love them. Then, the young people will have a better awareness of the need to protect Vietnam’s wild animals.

She said she hoped that more people would get involved with the WAR group or the Roots and Shoots program so that no longer would animals like the rare gibbon and young sun bear she met at the Cu Chi Center end up at restaurants or at rescue centers.
Today, Goodall devotes nearly all her time acting as an advocate for chimpanzees in particular and the environment in general.

Friday, July 6, 2007

25% tax on securities investments too high

The plan to impose a tax of 25% on income from securities investments has been facing strong opposition from experts, who say the taxation should be re-considered or it will badly affect the fledgling stock market.

25% is not reasonable

Nguyen Hoang Hai, Secretary General of the Vietnam Association of Financial Investors (VAFI), said that the suggested 25% tax rate proved to be overly high. The taxation body, according to Mr Hai, does not have the necessary legal basis to build up the method to calculate the expenses for the work that creates income from capital assignment deals.

Let’s take the expenses investors have to pay for brokerage as example. Investors can show the bills to prove the expenses, while they do not have regular vouchers if they make transactions on the OTC market. Investors also cannot claim other expenses, including ones for getting information, training, getting loans and travelling as they cannot get bills.

Moreover, taxation agencies will find it difficult to define the selling and purchasing prices in transactions on the OTC market as the trading deals are not carried out through securities companies, and investors do not have transaction accounts at the companies.

According to Mr Hai, other countries in the region, including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand, do not tax securities assignment deals, while China imposes a very low tax rate. As for the official market, it would be better to tax transactions based on the selling prices (for example, 0.05-0.1% of the selling prices). As for the OTC market, as it is difficult to define the purchasing and selling prices, it would be better to base a tax on the face value of securities, and the tax rate should be higher, at 0.5%.

Economist Nguyen Van Tu also shared the same view, saying that the 25% tax rate proved to be unfeasible. In fact, taxation bodies seem to be targeting the investors who became rich rapidly when the market was hot and brought fat profit to investors.

Tran Dinh Thien, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Economics Institute, agreed that a lot of investors got fat profit, but taxation bodies should consider setting tax rates under the normal operation conditions of the market, not under any other special conditions. Moreover, Mr Thien said that tax policies should be built up in a way that helps stimulate the fledgling market.

Overlapping taxation?

Dr Nguyen Van Tuyen has asked for the reconsideration of the income tax on the income from dividends and the income from capital contribution profit. Before giving dividends or profit to shareholders or capital contributors, economic institutions have to pay corporate income tax already.

If the income from dividends or profit from capital contributions were still subject to the personal income tax, it would violate the principle of not taxing twice on the same income.

Lawyer Cao Ba Khoat also said that taxing dividends would create an overlap in taxation, or double taxation, since dividends are post-tax income.

Source: Lao động

Busy with American partners

More than 20 contracts, memorandums of understanding, and economic cooperation agreements worth more than US$11.5 billion were signed between Vietnamese and American businesses during the recent visit by Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet to the US.

Though having only just recently returned to Vietnam, many Vietnamese firms are already busy with new business opportunities with US partners.

Do it immediately!

During the visit, Ms. Cao Thi Ngoc Dung, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Phu Nhuan Jewelry JS Company (PNJ), signed two business cooperation contracts with two US jewelry companies, Zalemark and DC&D.

Ms. Dung said that those contracts would be implemented this month. Under the contract with Zalemark, PNJ will be the representative of “Demeter” jewelry brand and some other lines of products such as “I forever do” and “Seventeen” of Zalemark in Vietnam.
“To perform this cooperation, Zalemark will assist PNJ in installing equipment, machinery and send experts to Vietnam to directly instruct PNJ’s workers to produce complicated jewelry products under Zalemark’s standards, which the Vietnamese jewelry industry can’t do now,” Ms. Dung said.

Zalemark will also give PNJ its latest designs and most popular collections to produce and sell in Vietnam. Those products will be sold in PNJ’s “Cao-Fine Jewelry” shop system.

After PNJ successfully produces designs under technical requirements of Zalemark, the US partner will place orders with PNJ for exports to the US.

“We put high hopes on this partner because this is a firm foundation and bridge for PNJ to infiltrate the US market,” Ms. Dung said.

This trip also helped improve cooperation between PNJ and DC&D, which has existed for the past three years.

Previously, PNJ processed high-class jewelry products, particularly diamond jewelry for DC&D to sell in the US market. With the new contract, PNJ expects to see a great jump in its export revenue to the US, from US$5.3 million to $20 million in the near future.

Big projects

The Phong Phu Textile-Garment Corporation also signed some important agreements with its strategic American partners.

According to Phong Phu’s leader Tran Quang Nghi, the most notable contract is the one between Phong Phu and the ITG Group on expanding their joint venture project on producing some kinds of cloth with total investment capital of around US$100 million.

This agreement is very important because in June 2006, the Phong Phu-ITG joint venture implemented an $80 million project at the Hoa Khanh Industrial Zone in the central city of Da Nang. ITG will seek export markets for more than 90% of the output of this factory.

In the field of real estate, Phong Phu signed with WL Ross a $100 million contract. In the long term, Phong Phu sees WL Ross as a strategic investor. Phong Phu is preparing to equitise next year.

Dang Thanh Tam, Chairman and General Director of the Tan Tao Industrial Zone JS Company, said that during this visit he signed a contract to build a sea port and thermo power plant with a capacity of 3,600 MW; and a financial lending and equipment supply contract, in the first phase totalling nearly US$4 billion, between the Saigon Invest Group, where he is the Chairman, and a big group in the US.

This was one of the two largest contracts signed between Vietnamese and US businesses during this visit.

Industrial zone up to US standards

According to Mr. Dang Thanh Tam, during the visit he met with several American investors who said that they were ready to cooperate with his company to build industrial zones in Vietnam, on several thousands of hectares.

“It is necessary to prepare well for this and we have prepared land in the north, the south and the central region,” Mr. Tam revealed.

Big contracts signed during the visit:

1/ The Electricity of Vietnam group (EVN) and the Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation (PetroVietnam) signed an agreement with Chevron on a project to develop gas in the southwest territorial waters of Vietnam, worth $4 billion.

2/ The Vietnam Shipping Lines Corporation (Vinalines) signed a project with SSA Marine to build wharfs and provide transport services worth around $500 million.

3/ Microsoft recognised FPT Group and CMC as its Authorized Large Account Reseller in Vietnam. FPT and CMC are authorised to draw up contracts on the use of authentic Microsoft Office software for the whole system of computers of Government agencies at central and local levels in Vietnam.

4/ The Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (Agribank) and Microsoft signed a contract, under which Agribank forever owns the right to use 12,000 licences to use Microsoft Office Standard 2007 and any version of this software that Microsoft will introduce in the next three years.

Those industrial zones could potentially be built in the southern provinces of Long An, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, the central provinces of Quang Nam and Binh Dinh, and in the northern provinces of Ha Tay, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang and Vinh Phuc, Mr Tam said.

According to Tan Tao’s cooperation plans with US partners, the US side will send experts to Vietnam to design those industrial zones under American standards and call for investment in heavy industry, hi-tech, high value added and clean-technology industries in those industrial zones.

Mai Linh Group also signed memorandums of understanding in the areas of information technology and health with US partners.

Ho Huy, Chairman of the Board of Directors and General Director of Mai Linh Group, said that a $5 million memorandum of understanding was signed with SAP to build a management system up to international standard for Mai Linh.

Mai Linh also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Texas Medical Institute to build an international obstetrics hospital worth $100 million in Vietnam.

Source: Tuổi trẻ

Sunday, June 24, 2007