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


  • New regulations target multilevel marketing

    May 17, 2014

    HA NOI — The government has issued a decree on multilevel marketing with stricter regulations in a move to better manage the business model.

    Under the Decree No 42/2014/ND-CP, which will take effect from July 1, multilevel marketing firms must have a charter capital of at least VND10 billion (US$454,545).

    The firms are also required to have a collateral of VND5 billion ($227,272) in banks. The collateral will be used to pay the financial obligations of the firms in case the firms have to close down.
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  • Italy Investigates Internet Companies’ Mobile App Practices

    May 16, 2014

    MILAN — Google Inc., Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are being investigated by an Italian regulator to determine whether the Internet giants mislead people to make purchases in mobile phone apps that are initially free to download.

    The move by Italy’s Antitrust and Competition Authority comes after the European Union earlier this year called on companies to reform their use of the “freemium” model in which apps are free to download, but then later require payments that often get charged to credit cards by default. The EU says consumer confusion with the freemium model threatens the long-term health of the continent’s booming “app economy” that employs more than one million people and is forecast to produce €63 billion in total revenue in 2018, more than triple last year’s level.
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  • Ha Noi tap water poses health risks

    May 15, 2014

    HA NOI — Tap water samples collected from different plants in the capital city fail to meet the Health Ministry’s hygiene standards and pose a public health hazard, according to the Ha Noi Preventive Medicine Centre.

    The centre says tests on samples taken from different water plants in Ha Noi since January this year show excessive levels of minerals and chemicals that can have serious consequences for residents.
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  • World Bank Finds Huge Hole in Social Safety Nets

    May 13, 2014

    WASHINGTON – Social safety net programmes have expanded, yet 870 million of the world’s poorest people remain uncovered, says a new World Bank report released Tuesday.

    Although over one billion people in 146 countries now participate in at least one of roughly 475 social safety net programmes, most of the extreme poor – those who live under 1.25 dollars a day – are not, says the report, The State of the Social Safety Nets 2014.

    Nonetheless, the World Bank’s director for social protection and labour, Arup Banerji, remains hopeful on the growing reach of social safety net programmes, as well as their effectiveness.
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  • Authorities call for oversight of fraudulent retail websites

    May 05, 2014

    HCM CITY — To tap the potential of online trade, stricter penalties should be imposed on websites that engage in fraud, a government source was quoted as saying in the Nguoi Lao Dong (Labourer) newpaper.

    In recent years, improved legal regulations for online trade have helped reduce online trade fraud, but fraudulent practices continue, mostly due to the poor management of several agencies, according to the source.
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  • Future FTAs draw foreign investment

    May 03, 2014

    HA NOI — Foreign companies are starting to pour money into Vietnam to take advantage of potential economic opportunities from future free trade agreements (FTA).

    Viet Nam is negotiating important FTAs, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Viet Nam-EU FTA, the Vietnam-Korea FTA and the ASEAN+6. Once these agreements are signed, companies will have the chance to offer products and services to more consumers and businesses.
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  • Lawmakers, beware!

    May 03, 2014

    Since this tax is to be levied on non-alcoholic carbonated soft drinks (including fizzy drinks for dieters), non-alcoholic non-carbonated soft drinks will not be affected.

    Why has such tax been proposed for bottled carbonated soft drinks? What is behind unveils a little-known story on the beverage market.

    Everyone knows how enticing Vietnam’s beverage market is. According to the date available from tax agencies, the total consumption of non-alcoholic carbonated drinks was 925 million leters in 2013, of which the lion’s share of 88% is clinched by foreign players, primarily Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
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  • Shipping charges provoke bafflement

    May 03, 2014

    A representative of Singapore cargo company said that the freight rate for a 20-foot container between HCMC and the American West is US$1,700 – 1,800, while the rate to the American East ranges between US$2,600 – 2,700, up by 10 – 15% against early 2014 and 7 – 8% year-on-year.

    In fact, shippers have reduced freight rates and charges now and then. Yet price reduction lasted for only one month while price hikes extended from two or three months. Occasionally, shipping agents have increased rates again at the second week of the following month, the representative said.
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