Consumer sovereignty in the framework of social justice, economic equality and environmental balance, within and across borders


  • New Land Law improves framework

    July 29, 2014

    HCM CITY — Though the new Land Law has not completely satisfied all involved parties, it ensures more transparent and equitable treatment for land users, property consultancy CBRE said in a report.

    “It generally helps to improve the legal framework as well as simplify complex and lengthy procedures,” Pham Ngoc Thien Thanh, a senior CBRE analyst, explained.

    “Some notable changes address issues of landed property and land recovery – an origin of dispute in the last decade, including land ownership, land recovery, land use rights, and land price.”
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  • China regulator announces anti-monopoly probe of Microsoft

    July 29, 2014

    A Chinese regulator is conducting an anti-monopoly investigation into Microsoft Corp MSFT.O over its Windows operating system, in the latest of a growing number of competition probes that have unnerved Western firms in China.

    China’s State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) is also investigating a Microsoft vice president and senior managers, and has made copies of the firm’s financial statements and contracts, the agency said on its website on Tuesday.

    It said Microsoft, which has struggled to make inroads in China due to rampant piracy, has not fully disclosed information about Windows and its Office software suite.
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  • Trade competition move creates waves

    July 28, 2014

    A state enterprise has raised concerns over a draft amendment by the Commerce Ministry of the Trade Competition Act 1999, arguing that the move may affect its competitiveness, a source at the ministry said.

    The draft amendment of the law states that the law will be enforced on all state enterprises and private firms. The existing law applies only to private companies.

    The source declined to name the state enterprise, but said officials at the enterprise feared the new law would make it much less flexible in business.
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  • Mobile payment for farmers

    July 26, 2014

    To transfer monthly money to his son, a university student in Hanoi, Vang A Dinh, a farmer in Muong Khuong District, Lao Cai Province, has to travel over 60 kilometers to the nearest post office. He has no other choice rather than undergoing the ordeal of trekking the rough terrain on the way to conduct such a simple service.

    Dinh is just one among the many residents in remote areas who have to face challenges in accessing basic banking services.
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  • Unfair Competition

    July 26, 2014

    During a talk late last week, Pham Chi Cuong, former chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA), told a shocking story. At a VSA meeting reviewing operations in the first half of the year in Hanoi, the audience was taken by surprise when being briefed on the incentives offered to the Ha Tinh-based Formosa steel project covered by the local press. According to Cuong, many incentives have been kept in secret. In other words, as Cuong put it, they lack transparency. “Local steel companies do not dare to dream of such incentives,” he said. “For instance, the 10% corporate income tax ensured to last throughout the project’s lifespan. These unfair treatments may brush aside domestic enterprises”.

    Do Duy Thai, general director of Thep Viet, said what domestic steel companies wish for is a fair treatment regarding investment incentives on the same level with foreign investors. However, the unfair game may distort the development of Vietnam’s steel industry, stripping it of its motivation.
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  • Government to issue instructions on selling State stakes in non-core firms

    July 26, 2014

    HA NOI — A decision explaining Decree15/ND-CP, which orders the selling of the State’s stakes in non-core businesses at below face value, is expected to be issued this month.

    This was announced on the Ministry of Finance’s website. The withdrawal of capital at below face value was among the key resolutions which were taken to accelerate the restructuring of State-owned enterprises (SOE). It was also decided that 432 SOEs must be equitised during the 2014-15 period.

    Although Decree 15/NQ-CP was issued in March, allowing the sale of the State’s stakes at discounted rates, the process has been going slow as many SOEs are stuck, especially because of the withdrawal of outside investments which had incurred losses, and due to the lack of detailed instructions.
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  • South Stymies North in Global Trade Talks

    July 26, 2014

    GENEVA – A group of developing countries brought a tectonic shift at the World Trade Organization on Friday by turning the tables against the industrialised countries, when they offered a positive trade agenda to expeditiously arrive at a permanent solution for food security and other development issues, before adopting the protocol of amendment of the contested Trade Facilitation Agreement.

    Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba and India inflicted a huge blow on the dominant actors in global trade by refusing to join consensus on the protocol required for full implementation of the TFA that is being pushed through the WTO with carrots and sticks.

    “This is unimaginable, that New Delhi would decide the fate of decisions at the WTO, which has been a preserve of the United States and the European Union for the last 50 years,” said a trade envoy from a Western country.
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  • The Global Security Deficit

    July 25, 2014

    Summer is normally a time to take a break from the risks and worries of everyday life, and perhaps to take stock of where we are and where we are heading. But this is increasingly difficult, because our everyday lives are becoming so much riskier and more worrying.

    Much of the discussion in the period following the 2008 financial crisis focused on various economic imbalances that either threatened or impeded growth. These issues have not gone away. The US economy’s surprisingly weak performance in the first quarter, for example, has left analysts confused and uncertain about its trajectory.

    But, to an increasing extent, political insecurity, potential conflict, and deteriorating international relations pose a greater threat to economic progress than the post-crisis debate foresaw.
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