Home » Business » BUSINESS IN BRIEF 21/11

G-bonds counted in credit growth

Credit growth may reach the year’s high target of 10% now that the central bank categorizes investment in government bonds as credit.

Nguyen Van Binh, governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, said the banking system was projected to obtain a 5% rise in normal loans this year but if the money banks had used to buy the debt paper from the Government was included as a form of loan, their combined credit growth would be 10%.If it is true, this will be the first time banks’ government bond purchases are included to calculate credit growth.

Credit growth as of mid-October had reached 3.3%, which is expected to rise to 5% by the year’s end. Meanwhile, the banking system has bought over VND183 trillion worth of government bonds and government-guaranteed bonds in the year to date.

“The credit growth forecast at 5%, plus 5% of indirect investment in government bonds, will take the total credit growth in the banking sector this year to an estimated 10%,” Binh told a Q&A session at the National Assembly early this week.

Deputy Tran Du Lich asked the governor: “The credit growth target is 15-17%, so why did you say credit growth of 5% is fine?”

Binh replied: “Credit growth is not a macro-economic target. In 2011, credit growth stood at 14% but we could not buy government bonds, all funds of banks were focused on lending. Part of the funds this year have been used to buy government bonds and I think this looks reasonable to me.”

Last week, the Ministry of Finance informed the State Treasury had mobilized more than VND115.8 trillion from government bonds sales in the first ten months of the year, 96.56% of the plan for this year and 180.8% of the year-ago figure.

However, Governor Binh said banks had poured over VND183 trillion into government bonds. The gap between VND115.8 trillion and VND183 trillion was attributed to investment in bonds issued by Vietnam Development Bank (VDB) and bonds of local governments, said Do Ngoc Quynh, general secretary of the Vietnam Bond Market Association.

The Government bonds banks have bought are seen as a form of lending to the Government to fund State investment projects and contribute to economic growth, said Binh.

In fact, the money that banks spend to purchase government bonds cannot immediately flow into the economy as disbursement of proceeds from government bond sales is very slow. The current pace of disbursement is actually behind the year’s target.

There are now about 15 banks, mostly big local and foreign ones, actively involved in the primary government bond market.

Techcombank’s BOD update

Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint-stock Bank (Techcombank) Charter and the Board of Directors has passed a resolution to accept the resignation of  Madhur Maini as a member of the Techcombank’s BoD.

The move was on the basis of Maini’s decision to pursue more time in focusing on Masan Group’s consumption and operating businesses. The resolution was passed according to the laws and charter of the bank and the provisions of the Credit Institutions’ Law in 2010.

Transport contractors get squeezed

Pressure is mounting on transport project developers and contractors to fulfill the strict conditions of their 2012 capital disbursement targets.

Ministry of Transport (MoT) figures show that by the end of September 2012 about a 4.653 trillion ($221 million) of state budget capital allocated to construction firms in early 2012 had yet to be disbursed.

If advanced capital portions for 2013 plan were included, developers and contractors reportedly would need to disburse VND3.973 trillion ($189 million) investment capital each month in 2012’s fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, developers and contractors were urged to finalise capital disbursement targets before the deadline January 31, 2013.

Two factors are cited as obstacles for transport sector’s project developers and contractors to meet disbursement targets.

The first hindrance was late capital allocations, of which supplemental capital amounts for 2013 plan were only made clear by relevant state agencies in late September 2012.

Second, the MoT demanded developers to direct capital into new items and not advance or pay for previous items’ completed workload, which remains unpaid.

The requirement was intended to help speed up construction of remaining items at half-done projects for entire finalisation of projects.

Contractors, however, assumed since most construction units face hardships in raising finance, getting a new completed item for capital allotment would not be simple.

At this time, only the Transport Department in northcentral Thanh Hoa and Ninh Binh provinces and Thang Long Project Management Unit have reached the capital disbursement targets. Most other localities and businesses would need great effort to meet the goals, according to MoT’s Planning and Investment Department.

MoT’s Project Management Unit 85 (PMU 85) was the first unit dropping the disbursement target in a recent meeting viewing disbursement results of MoT’s major transport projects as PMU 85’s deputy general director Nguyen Thanh Van had returned VND240 billion ($11.4 million) to authority ministry MoT.

This $11.4 million was part of the sum PMU 85 got from the state for land compensation at the project on building an access road linking Nhat Tan bridge north of Hanoi and Noi Bai international airport.

This sum remains unused since scores of residents in Hanoi’s Dong Anh district in the project’s affected area refused the compensation although relevant land compensation records were earlier ratified by local government.

To quench the thirst for capital of businesses, the MoT required Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC) and Cuu Long Corporation for Investment, Development and Project Management of Transportation Infrastructure (Cuu Long CIPM)–two developers owing the most to building contractors– to finalise payments to contractors before the end of November 2012.

VEC reportedly owes VND1.057 trillion ($50.3 million) and Cuu Long CIPM owes VND585 billion ($27.8 million) to contractors.

Local shippers are all at sea

The jury is out on whether Vietnam’s domestic shipping fleet is in a position to effectively tap local routes and take market share from foreign players.

“Vietnamese container ships are fully capable of superseding 20 foreign ships with strong visibility on local routes at present, including golden routes from Haiphong city, Quang Ninh province’s Cai Lan port in the north to Saigon ports and Cai Mep-Thi Vai port group in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province,” said deputy chief of Ministry of Transport’s Vietnam Maritime Administration (VMA) Bui Thien Thu.

But VMA figures show that only about half of the potential cargo capacity of Vietnam’s the current domestic fleet of 24 ships is being utilised.

Earlier, in a bid to tackle capacity redundancy of the local shipping fleet, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) enacted Document 5063/BGTVT-VT to temporarily restrict the role of some ships carrying foreign flags.

Accordingly, starting from January 1, 2013, the license of cargo ships not carrying Vietnamese flags on domestic routs will be temporarily halted. These ships currently transport about 3,000 twenty feet equivalent unit (TEU) each week on local routes.

“Foreign ship owners ought to follow the decision. Otherwise, the MoT’s move to honour priority on domestic ships comes on par with regulations in the Maritime Law as well as Vietnam’s commitment with World Trade Organization covering protection of member countries’ transport rights,” said Thu.

When the world shipping market was at its heyday, local shipping firms mainly ran on international routes. In that context, to fill up the void in the home market, state agencies gave the green-light to allow foreign ships to tap local shipping market.

“Decelerating world shipping business made local shipping firms return to the home market. At least two container ships with carrying capacity of 1,000TEU now sit idle at ports whereas three new container ships will join the race from late 2012,” said Vietnam Ship-owners Association general secretary Do Xuan Quynh.

However, industry experts assumed it would not be easy for local container ships to master local routes.

According to MoT Deputy Minister Nguyen Van Cong, many foreign ships offer very competitive shipping rates and possess state-of-the art equipment compared to local ships.

Besides, few local ships are reportedly willing to call on separate ports just to pick up small container amounts like foreign ships will.

Vietnam Shippers’ Council general secretary Phan Thong expressed concern that granting priority to local shipping firms would give birth to monopoly status and badly affect service quality.

“Vietnamese ship owners need to prove they are in a position to handle [container transport] services in local market in the face of fading competition from foreign ships,” said a local shipping firm executive.

Quang Ninh keen to lure Europeans

The government of the northern province of Quang Ninh, in coordination with Vietnam Airlines, will launch Halong Tourism Week 2012 from November 27 to 30 along with a number of other events to woo visitors from the EU.

The event is expected to welcome around 140 guests who are representatives of tourism companies, travel agencies and reporters from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Britain. Vietnam Airlines is in charge of taking the guests to Quang Ninh.

The provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said the event would include other activities allowing visitors to go sightseeing and experience overnight accommodation services in Halong Bay. The province will also arrange exchange meetings for Vietnamese and EU tourism enterprises.

According to the department, Quang Ninh welcomed over 5.9 million travelers from January-October, a year-on-year rise of 10%, with the number of foreign arrivals amounting to 1.98 million, surging 7% year-on-year. The majority of visitors going to Quang Ninh visited Halong, and total tourism revenue was put at VND3.66 trillion in the period, up 18%.

Non-core investments sink seafood firms

Venturing into other sectors than their core operations has thrown seafood companies into financial distress, heard a meeting between the central bank and the Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region in Can Tho on Wednesday.

Tran Xuan Chau, deputy director of the State Bank of Vietnam’s credit department, said that as of end-September, outstanding loans for tra fish farming and aquaculture in the Mekong Delta had reached over VND33.7 trillion, up 11.22% year-on-year. To date, loans for the fish farming sector have amounted to more than VND59.9 trillion.

Despite credit growth companies in the sector are still grappling with financial constraints. Huynh Minh Doan, deputy chief of the Steering Committee, said seafood firms have poured much of their borrowed money into other fields than their core operations.

He said that when asking banks for loans, seafood companies said they would use the money for production and export, but reality showed they used the money for other purposes, such as stock and property investment.

“Tra fish supply has exceeded demand since 2008, but businesses have kept complaining about lack of raw material for export processing. However, they have insisted on expanding farming areas because this is a good excuse to borrow money to do other things,” Doan said.

In this situation, many participants in the meeting proposed stronger measures to protect the seafood sector.

A representative of An Giang said: “The Government has pledged financial support for businesses, but it is unsure this financial aid will help prop them up.”

Doan suggested reviewing each enterprise, freezing old loans and giving them new loans. “However, the condition is they must stick to their core business operations.”

Although many solutions have been proposed to deal with the difficulties faced by the seafood industry, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) forecast the difficult situation would continue into next year.

According to a report VASEP delivered at the meeting, seafood material imports in 2013 would rise by 30% from 2012 with average turnover of US$65-70 million per month.

Exports to the EU, one of the largest seafood importers of Vietnam, are forecast to fall by 12-15% next year against 2012, the report said, adding that as for Japan, seafood exports may dip 1.5-2% due to the issue of ethoxyquin,.

However, participants in the meeting emphasized the biggest problem for the fisheries sector in the coming year is production capital.

While VASEP chairman Tran Thien Hai complained about difficult access to low-interest loans, Nguyen Tien Dong, deputy general director of Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, said his bank did not lack funds for lending to agriculture, forestry and fisheries companies.

“If enterprises have good business plans, we will be ready to lend. While enterprises need funds, our banks need borrowers, but it is important that they have to meet our conditions,” said Le Duc Tho, deputy general director of Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade.

According to many participants in the meeting, the picture of the Vietnamese seafood sector in 2013 will be very gloomy without an effective solution to funnel the credit into this sector.

Confectionery makers strike it big in Q3

Confectionery firms listed on the local stock market reported big profits in the third quarter after modest gains or losses in the two previous quarters.

Kinh Do Corporation, listed on the Hochiminh Stock Exchange in its consolidated financial report, posted strong profit growth in the third quarter due to rising sales. The enterprise obtained nearly VND1.7 trillion in sales and service revenue, up by VND143 billion compared to the same period last year.

Its revenue in the January-September period rose 6% to over VND3.2 trillion thanks to seasonal products like moon cakes and ice cream. The company also reduced sales, advertising and management costs.

Kinh Do obtained VND318 billion in after-tax profit in the third quarter. It only posted January-September after-tax profit of VND311 billion, up 21.4% year-on-year, after earning only VND360 million in the first quarter and losing VND9 billion in the second quarter.

Bibica Corporation also gained profits in the third quarter after suffering heavy losses in the previous quarter. It obtained VND14.9 billion in after-tax profit, a 25% year-on-year increase.

Bibica general director Truong Phu Chien said the profit mainly resulted from a reduction in marketing costs, sales staff and sales expenses compared to last year.

Besides, the enterprise launched new product Hura Pie onto the market, which made affiliate Bibica Mien Dong Co. Ltd. profitable. However, its profit in the January-September period plunged 64% to around VND8.4 billion due to a heavy loss of VND7.8 billion in the second quarter.

Listed on the Hanoi Stock Exchange, Hai Ha Confectionery Company reported an after-tax profit of VND3.7 billion in the third quarter, up by VND400 million year-on-year. As of the end of September, Hai Ha obtained VND10.8 billion in after-tax profit, making it the only confectionery firm on the bourse reporting continuous gains from earlier this year.

The three enterprises expect to make stable profits in the final quarter given high demand at the year-end.

Domestic gold exceeds VND47 million/tael

On the morning of  November 20, domestic gold rose by nearly VND200,000 from the previous  transaction to VND47.3 million per tael.

At 8.15am, SJC gold was traded at VND47.1 million -VND47.3 million per tael in Ho Chi Minh City, but it hovered around VND47.22-47.3 million in Hanoi.

The global price of gold was lower at US$1,736/ounce.

Vietnam, Turkey foster trade ties

Vietnamese and Turkish businesses gathered at a meeting held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Hanoi on November 19 aimed at helping popularise Vietnam’s law and regulations on economics.

Since its admission into the World Trade Organization (WTO), Vietnam has become more attractive to foreign investors, with a clear and competitive business environment. International partners can also take advantage of the country’s favourable geographical location to expand economic ties with other Southeast Asian countries, said VCCI Secretary General Pham Thi Thu Hang.

At the event, representatives from two sides’ businesses exchanged information on cooperative potential as well as demand to expand their markets. Turkey steel and mineral manufacturers said that they hope to access projects and find more information on import-export activities with Vietnamese partners.

Businesses also discussed cooperative potential in the fields of farm products, garments and textiles, and manufacturing lines of consumer products.

Two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and Turkey reached US$850 million in 2011, a year-on-year increase of 35 percent. In the first nine months of this year, the figure hit about US$700 million.

Recently, the two sides established the Vietnam-Turkey Business Council to tighten economic relations and foster cooperative activities, especially in bilateral investment and trade in the time to come.

 Vietnam-Busan partnership promoted

The Ministry of Planning and Investment hosted a conference in Hanoi on November 19 on the implementation of the Busan Partnership document for Effective Development Cooperation.

The Busan Partnership Document was adopted at the fourth High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, the Republic of Korea (RoK) last December.

In line with the spirit of the Busan document, the Vietnamese government has compiled a Vietnam Partnership document, detailing its cooperation commitments to partners, the private sector, social organisations and the public, as well as foreign non-governmental organisations.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Cao Viet Sinh said the government will focus on sustainable economic development, social security and welfare, effective use of natural resources, environmental protection, adaptation to social changes and green growth.

Participants in the conference gave their opinions on the Vietnam Partnership draft, which will be submitted to the annual consultative group meeting of donors on December 10 in Hanoi for approval. It is expected to be implemented in the 2012-2015 period.

Participants also shared experiences in implementing the Busan document, with the RoK a successful example.

Vietnam-Israel trade rises 33 percent

Trade value between Vietnam and Israel has hit nearly US$357.7 million during the past ten months, representing a 33 percent.

Vietnam earned US$236.8 million from exports to the Israeli market, up twofold on the same period last year, according to the statistics from the General Department of Customs.

In October alone, export turnover to the Middle Eastern country rose sharply thanks to standout commodities like cashew nuts (US$21.5 million), garments and textiles (US$11 million), and coffee (US$17.1 million).

Bilateral trade turnover is expected to reach US$429 million by the end of 2012.

Vietnam’s primary exports to Israel include seafood, cashew nuts, coffee, footwear, garments and textiles, rice, and pepper. Its mainly imports Israeli fertilisers, pesticides,machinery, chemical and pharmaceuticals.

EU recognises Vietnam’s progress on timber legality

Vietnam and the EU have completed the third round of negotiations on a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) to implement the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT) program.

Speaking at the site of the negotiations in Belgium on November 15 and 16, Hugo Maria Schally, Head of the International Agreements and Trade Unit at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment, stressed the need to develop the Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS).

Participants discussed measures to assist the timely exchange of information, increase the frequency of inspections, and complete the legislative framework on timber legality.

The EU recognised Vietnam’s ongoing progress in enforcing the criteria for legal timber products, inspired by the six basic principles of exploration and export.

Vietnam is completing its TLAS for both domestic consumption and export markets.

Vietnamese and EU representatives agreed on a draft roadmap to be discussed in more detail at the negotiation’s fourth round in April 2013.

Vietnam is expected to finalise all the rounds of negotiation with the EU in September 2013.

According to the EU’s regulations, the FLEGT program will be in effect from March 3 2013 and establishes a mechanism aimed at guaranteeing that the wood exported to the EU market is sourced legally.

So far, the EU has signed FLEGT VPAs with several countries, including Ghana, Cameroon and Indonesia. Negotiations with Vietnam and some other nations are in progress.

Dragonfruit leads fruit exports

Dragonfruit continues to have the highest value of any Vietnamese fruit export, according to industry officials.

Luong Ngoc Trung Lap, head of the Southern Fruit Institute’s market research department, said dragonfruit in recent years had achieved the highest export growth among all fruits cultivated in the country.

Last year, the country gained US$107 million from the export of dragonfruit, accounting for 45 per cent of the total fruit export value.

For the first 10 months of this year, dragonfruit exports reached 226 tonnes, up 78 per cent in volume against the same period last year, and valued at US$128 million, an increase of 94 per cent in value.

During this period, exports of dragonfruit to China grew 107 per cent in volume and 176 per cent in value, according to a report in Thoi Bao Kinh Te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times) newspaper.

Dragonfruit exports to other markets, including South Korea, Japan, Canada and Thailand, have also risen in both volume and value.

The average export price of dragonfruit reached $539 a tonne in the first 10 months of the year, up 6 per cent against the same period last year.

Tran Huu Danh, director of the Long Viet Company, which specialises in exporting dragonfruit, said the volume of exports to several markets were expected to increase even further.

In 2008, dragonfruit was the first Vietnamese fruit allowed to be exported to the US, with the condition that the fruit be radiated prior to shipping.

Beginning in August, the fruit was allowed to be shipped to the US and radiated there before delivery to supermarkets. It was the first Vietnamese fruit export permitted to do so.

All dragonfruit exports to the US must have a code granted by American authorities that indicates its cultivation area in Viet Nam.

The central province of Binh Thuan and the Cuu Long (Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tien Giang both have codes for their dragonfruit exports.

Long An Province is expected to receive a code from the US in the near future.

Earlier this year, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted a trademark for dragonfruit grown in Binh Thu?n Province.

Binh Thuan, the country’s largest dragonfruit producer, has 16,000ha devoted to the fruit, with an annual output of 400,000 tonnes.

Vietnamese-grown dragonfruit is exported to more than 30 countries and territories.

Along with increased exports of fresh dragonfruit, the GAP Agriculture Joint Stock Company has begun to export dried dragonfruit to the US.

The drying technology helps maintain the flavour better than other available drying technologies, according to the company.

The fruit is sliced, frozen and vacuumed-packed before export.

The company also plans to export dried dragonfruit to the EU and Australia in the near future.

Fines bite into used-vehicle sales

A new decree on vehicle-ownership rights is being blamed for the sluggish sales of secondhand vehicles in HCM City, according to traders and customers in the used-car and motorbike market.

Decree No 71, which became effective on November 10, stipulates that any person, including a foreigner will be fined if they buy a behicle but do not register the new ownership with the police.

The fine is VND2-4 million (US$90-$180) for motorbike users and VND6-10 million ($270-$450) for car users.

Today, few customers can be seen on city streets famous for selling used motorbikes, such as Nguyen Tri Phuong in District 5, Phan Dang Luu in Phu Nhuan District and Hoang Van Thu in Tan Binh District.

Ngo Thi Thu, a shop owner on Phan Dang Luu Street, said that most of her customers were selling rather than buying vehicles, partly because of the economy and the new decree.

In one week, her shop did not sell a motorbike, she added.

Le Anh Tuan, owner of a shop selling secondhand motorbikes, said that most of his customers were workers with modest incomes.

They do not want to go through all the procedures for changing ownership because of the time involved in completing all the forms and the high fees.

It can take from two weeks to six months to change the name of the vehicle’s new owner if the new and old owners live in different provinces, according to Tuan.

The new decree has also had a negative effect on the used-car market.

A representative from used-car shops in districts 1 and Tan Binh said market sales had been down since last year, and after the new decree took effect, sales became even worse.

Thach An Lien, a secondhand-car trader, said most of his customers did not want to formally change ownership because they used their cars for only a year or two.

In addition, changing the name of owners cost several million Vietnamese dong.

While traders have suffered, owners of vehicles have also been inconvenienced.

Ta Thanh Tu from District 2, who bought an old Matiz for VND100 million ($5,000), said that, besides the need to pay for frequent repairs on the secondhand car, he would now have to pay more money to register ownership because of the new decree’s requirements. He said he would rather sell it and take a loss.

Le Hoai An, a local worker, also complained about the decree, saying that he could not sell his Chinese motorbike even for the low price of VND2 million ($100).

Many owners said their vehicles had been sold and bought through many people, making it difficult to find the original owner.

Expo highlights ‘green’ building materials

The latest housing designs and property developments will be on display at the VIETBUILD 2012 international exhibition in Ha Noi’s Viet Nam Exhibition and Fair Centre.

The five-day event, to be opened on Saturday, will introduce environmentally-friendly materials and energy-saving devices related to the housing industry.

AFC International Exhibition Company general director Nguyen Dinh Hung told the media yesterday that the exhibition would feature 1,026 booths from 241 domestic businesses, 42 joint venture companies and 23 foreign groups and enterprises. Participants come from China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Italy, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Singapore, France, the US and India.

Hung said this wide participation showed that there is a demand in the sector for enterprises to co-operate and do business, despite the economic meltdown which has affected the real estate market.

The event is expected to offer opportunities to enhance investment in the Vietnamese property market while providing customers with the latest technologies.

The exhibition will include the presentation of the VTOPBUILD and VIETOPRE awards to encourage quality improvements and creation of construction and real estate products.

GE to build centre for petroleum sector

General Electric yesterday announced the establishment of an engineering centre in Viet Nam to focus on product design, applications, and services for the oil and gas industry.

Targeted for completion in late 2013, the facility will be located in HCM City and employ up to 200 local engineers.

“We are pleased to announce the establishment of our new facility which will bring GE manufacturing and engineering capability to Viet Nam,” said GE vice chairman and president/CEO of GE’s global growth operations, John Rice.

“Today is an important milestone in our history in Viet Nam and reflects our support for the modernising of the country’s infrastructure – a critical step in its path towards sustainable growth and prosperity.

“We have plans to expand into application engineering and production design for our power and water and healthcare businesses.

“The centre will create high-quality jobs in a region known for its professional workforce.”

The company has been in HCM City since 2001 with interests in oil and gas, power and water, energy management, healthcare, and aviation.

Since 2009 it has invested more than US$110 million in its manufacturing facility in the northern port city of Hai Phong, which employs 600 engineers and skilled workers. Wind turbine generators and other energy products manufactured in Hai Phong are exported to GE’s manufacturing and service centres around the globe. Its total exports since inception stands at $271 million.

The company has established local partnerships to address the needs in energy infrastructure and for the region’s first wind farm in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.

“GE understands the challenges that Viet Nam is now facing, but we remain confident in the country’s potential for long-term growth,” Rice said.

In conjunction with the visit by Rice, the company hosted a career session for 280 students from engineering faculties at the Viet Nam National University in HCM City and three seminars on healthcare and one on aviation.

GE has been in Viet Nam since 1993 starting with a representative office in Ha Noi.

In 2003 it established a fully-owned firm in the country to offer a range of after-sales services for medical, electrical, and energy equipment.

Turkish investors ponder opportunities in Viet Nam

Viet Nam hopes to lure more investment from Turkish enterprises and offers an investment environment with stable politics, a favourable geographic location and young labour force, said the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s general secretary, Pham Thi Thu Hang.

Making the comments at a business conference in Ha Noi yesterday, Hang called for Turkish companies to enhance their presence in the Vietnamese market as well as establish new partnerships with domestic enterprises.

The conference drew the participation of more than 60 enterprises, and was attended by Necati Abacioglu, chairman of the Turkey-Viet Nam Business Council.

Abacioglu said Turkey attached great importance to promoting co-operation with Viet Nam, especially in economic and commercial relations.

‘’However, our bilateral economic ties remained modest,” he said. “I strongly believe that there is huge potential for further developing our relations.”

The chairman said he hoped the meeting provided many opportunities to enhance the close bilateral economic ties and build permanent partnerships between companies from the two countries.

Turkish Ambassador to Viet Nam Ahmet Akif Oktay said Viet Nam had to make renewed efforts to promote its potentials in Turkey if the country wanted to attract more foreign direct investment.

He emphasised the importance of promoting reciprocal business visits and contacts and providing easy access to reliable and timely information about the conditions, regulations and needs of different sectors, markets and companies from both countries.

During the event, enterprises from the two countries exchanged information and discussed the possibility of co-operation in the area of steel and minerals, agricultural products, apparel and consumer goods.

Turkey is now one of Viet Nam’s most important trade partners in Asia. Two-way trade reached US$1 billion in 2011 and $950 million during the first nine months of this year. Bilateral trade is expected to exceed $1 billion by the end of the year.

As of October, Turkish businesses have pumped $68.8 million into nine projects in Viet Nam.

Seminar to promote competitiveness

Well-known economists and entrepreneurs like Pham Chi Lan, Vo Tri Thanh, and Le Dang Doanh are among those discussing how Vietnamese firms can become competitive despite their lack of experience and financial strength at a seminar in HCM City last week.

“Creativity in the Market Battlefield,” will be held at the Reunification Palace as part of the Creative Festive Day for Vietnamese Aspirations by the HCM Communist Youth Union and coffee company Trung Nguyen.

Also on that day the union’s Central Committee will unveil a five-year programme to develop a creative generation to which Trung Nguyen will donate books on creative start-ups.

On the festive day it will donate 10,000 copies of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Growth Rich, and has promised millions more later.

Airline links up with tourism agency

VietJetAir and Viet Nam Tourism Association (VITA) have joined forces to create affordable, dynamic package tours and tourism products that will boost domestic and foreign tourism in Viet Nam.

VietJetAir agreed on Sunday to offer Viet Nam-based tour agencies low airfare with favorable conditions, while VITA and associated travel agencies will offer discounts on accommodations, meals and transportation. This will allow tourists to enjoy major discounts on tours within Viet Nam with absolutely no reduction in quality or service.

Both partners are also devising competitive international tours (with up to 30 per cent discounts) from Viet Nam to be made available when VietJetAir starts its international service early next year.

Vietnam Airlines buys Airbus A321

The Viet Nam International Bank (VIB) will provide Vietnam Airlines with a US$48 million loan to acquire a new Airbus aircraft, under an agreement signed last week.

The 10-year loan for VNA to buy an A321 aircraft will help the national air carrier better serve customers, according to the airline’s general director Hoang Ngoc Minh.

The bank has also provided forex services and short-term loans to the airline.

Refinery grants procurement contracts

PetroVietnam said that it would join five contractors from Japan, France and S.Korea to build Nghi Son Oil Refinery in May. An official engineering, procurement and construction contract will be signed next month.

The US$6.2 billion project will result in a plant with a capacity of processing 8.4 tonnes of crude oil per year.

The plant is scheduled to be completed in 2014. Its major products will be liquefied petroleum gas, petrol A92, A95, A98, PP, jet fuel and diesel.

The Nghi Son plant, together with Dung Quat Oil Refinery, will meet 50 per cent of domestic demand for oil and petrol.

New labelling rules for wines

Wines manufactured or imported for domestic consumption must be labelled from the beginning of 2014, according to the Government’s recently-issued Decree 94/2-12/ND-CP. The labels will only be granted to organisations or individuals with licences for wine production or wine import.

Wine producers without licences must register with local authorities and will only be allowed to sell their wine to those with licences for re-processing.

Electronic customs open 24 hours

An e-customs declaration procedure will be launched with 24/7 working hours to allow declarers to directly receive responses from customs agencies at any time, Tran Quoc Dinh deputy head of the General Department of Customs’s Renovation Department told the press.

Customs declares need to register their digital signatures with relevant agencies to be entitled to the new service.

E-customs procedures have been now applied at 21 out of 34 customs bodies at cities and provinces. The number of e-customs procedures account for 3.47 million or 95.8 per cent of customs clearance procedures.

Guangxi forums expand China trade connections

The Viet Nam – China Economic and Trade Forum opened yesterday in the city of Liuzhou City, the Chinese province of Guangxi.

Addressing nearly 300 Vietnamese and Chinese firms taking part, Deputy Mayor of Liuzhou City Jiao Yaoguang said he hoped the two countries’ businesses would boost co-operation in infrastructure, science technology, foodstuff, education, training and tourism.

Vietnamese Ambassador to China Nguyen Van Tho said there was untapped potential, especially in agriculture, transport, processing and support services, for the two countries’ co-operation to develop as part of the “two corridors, one economic belt” policy agreed between their leaders.

To facilitate bilateral business activities, the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry had established a business forum and a Vietnamese-Chinese business community, which had attracted over 2,000 members, said chamber vice president Pham Gia Tuc.

Tuc noted that Viet Nam, with its increasing role and position in ASEAN, APEC and ASEM, served as a gateway for foreign enterprises and goods, including those of China, to enter other important markets.

Forum participants who were engaged in automobile production, electronics, sugarcane, chemicals and export-import, shared information and recommended measures to better their cooperative ties.

On the same day, the third China-ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs’ Start-up Forum, themed “Enterprise development and social responsibility”, took place in Liuzhou.

Tuc said the forum’s theme went well with the goal of gender equality while sustainable development was a trend throughout the world.

He said supporting women in business start-ups was an effective policy to stimulate economic development.

Japan urged to assist agricultural sector

Viet Nam wants Japan to increase its investment and co-operation to help industrialise and modernise Viet Nam’s agriculture sector.

The Southeast Asian country also needed more technical assistance and technological support from Japan, especially in the area of aquaculture, said Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam.

The deputy minister made the comments to Japanese Senior Vice Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Takahiro Sasaki during Tam’s visit to Japan from November 12-17.

The Vietnamese officials asked the Japanese side to consider raising the acceptable level of Ethoxyquin content, an antioxidant, found in Vietnamese shrimp exported to Japan.

The Japan Food Safety Committee began proceedings to consider the request on November 6.

The Vietnamese delegation also held working sessions with the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) and Japan Fisheries Association, where it introduced Viet Nam’s fisheries strategy and called for Japanese investment in the sector.

Ca Mau hit by cajeput tree market failure

The failure of the cajeput tree market has hit the southern province of Ca Mau where many households are dependent on the trees and forests have been left standing.

Ca Mau province has more than 10,000ha of standing cajeput trees aged 7-10 years which are ready for milling, but the province had been unable to find markets for the timber for more than three years, said U Minh Ha National Park vice director Nguyen Van Dau.

Dau said construction companies preferred alternative materials such as cement and steel, which cost less than cajeput, while timber product manufacturers had started to use other species.

This had caused a drastic drop in the sale price of cajeput, from VND50,000/ tree (about US$2.5) to 20,000 ($1), leaving many hundreds of families in financial difficulty and a dilemma for local authorities which had planned to replant 2000ha of cajeput for environmental protection purposes this year.

To deal with the market downturn, the province had called on investors to build wood processing factories to make and export cajeput timber products.

However, it would take at least one or two years to build a factory, Dau said.

The province had now decided to reduce the cajeput plantation and plant fruit trees to help farmers improve their income.

Ca Mau province has 80,000ha of forest land of which 38,000ha is in cajeput forests

Da Nang City hopes tourists won’t pass up new site

The central city of Da Nang has made plans to invest in a new tourist site at the top of the Hai Van Pass in order to lure domestic and foreign tourists, vice director of the city’s culture, sport and tourism department, Tran Chi Cuong has said.

People driving over the pass used to take a break at a number of souvenir shops covering an area of over 1,000sq.m. However, since the Hai Van tunnel was put into operation in 2005 this tourist area has been downgraded.

“Over the past seven years most vehicles have travelled through the tunnel, vacating the pass. It is mostly large tankers or tourists on adventure motorbike tours drive over the top nowadays,” Cuong said.

“However, the pass – which is 20km long and is situated 500m above the sea level – still attracts 1,000 tourists each day. Despite this, the area lacks service facilities and standard and secure rest stops for tourists,” he said.

He added that the city will speed up work on development of the tourism site and co-operate with Thua Thien-Hue travel agencies to boost tourism along the scenic, zigzagging road from next year.

Apart from the stunning views, there are sites of historical interest for visitors to see. The top of Hai Van Pass, which is a frontier between Thua Thien-Hue Province and Da Nang City still boasts the historic brick-built Hai Van Gate from the time of the Tran dynasty.

Adventurers journeying across the pass can also stop to explore an octagonal bunker, built by French in 1826.

In 1470, King Tran Nhan Tong proclaimed that Hai Van was “the most marvellous wonder”.

Da Nang has hosted 2.1 million tourists over the past nine months, of which 475,000 were foreigners.

(Vietnam Net)

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