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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 1/4   2009-04-01 - VietNamNet/Xinhuanet

Korea Life moves to tap growth potential in Vietnam

Korea Life opened a branch in Hanoi on March 31, hoping to cash in on Vietnam’s high potential life insurance market.

Korea Life expects a high potential growth in the life insurance market in Vietnam where just 5-6 percent of its 85 million-plus population have joined life insurance, said Hyun Jungseop, General Director of Korea Life Vietnam, at the opening ceremony.

The executive said, as the world economy is coping with the financial storm, Korea Life’s decision to invest in Vietnam, particularly the inauguration of its branch in Hanoi, is a grounded consideration.

Hyun Jungseop also attributed the attraction of the Vietnamese life insurance market to its high young population rate as well as its accession to the World Trade Organisation that would help the country maintain economic growth and increase per-capita income.

He appreciated assistance the Vietnamese Government and relevant agencies extended to Korea Life, and said he hoped to receive more support for operations of Korea Life Vietnam.

Licensed by the Ministry of Finance on June 12, 2008, Korea Life Vietnam has an initial investment capital of 60 million USD. The company plans to open two more branches in Ho Chi Minh later this year.

World Bank aids local bond market

World Bank finance arm, the International Finance Corporation, has joined forces with the Hanoi Securities Trading Centre to support the development of local capital markets.

Under a deal signed on March 31, the corporation will provide the centre with practices which will help it improve information disclosure and transparency in the bond market and the newly organised equity market for unlisted public companies.

“We expect to obtain valuable knowledge from the corporation’s financial experts and specialists to improve the market regulations and supervision and to apply best operational practices, especially in government bond trading and upcoming unlisted public company market,” said centre managing director Tran Van Dung.

Corporation head of advisory services for the Mekong region Nguyen Phuong Quynh Trang said the project emphasised the development of bond market to tap more local funding as a response to the world crisis.

“Given the scarcity of foreign funds, increasing transparency and introducing global best practices to strengthen the bond and equity markets will help better position Vietnam’s private sector for attracting investors,” Trang said.

Up to March, 533 kinds of Government bonds were brought to list and trade in the centre with a total value of 167.07 trillion VND (9.5 billion USD).-

EU inspectors to check local seafood

A European Union (EU) inspection delegation will arrive in Vietnam to check local seafood processors between April 20-30, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP).

The delegation, the fourth of its kind to the country, will include two inspectors from the EC’s Food and Veterinary Office and three from member countries.

It is expected to consider the addition of 30 Vietnamese seafood producers to the current list of 301 ones licensed to export aquatic products to the EU market, based on the proposal of the Vietnamese side last December.

According to VASEP, EU is Vietnam’s third largest importer of seafood with a turnover of over 10 million USD.

Fishery sector needs overall development strategy

The fishery sector needs an overall strategy to ensure the its sustainable development and match its potential, said an official of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Discussing the formulation of such a strategy for the industry to 2020 at a seminar in Hai Phong on Mar. 31, Prof. Dr. Le Tieu La, deputy director of the Vietnam Fisheries Economics and Planning Institute under the MARD, said the lack of a development strategy caused many difficulties to farmers in aquaculture and sale of products.

He also pointed to the poor infrastructure and low competitiveness of the sector.

To achieve this year’s objectives, the MARD asked localities to ensure hygiene and food safety in aquaculture areas, expand shrimp raising areas, adjust the production of tra catfish and shrimp and strive to attract investment to improve aquaculture facilities.

Over the past 20 years, the fishery industry has developed markedly, obtaining an annual growth rate of 6-10 percent in the 1985-2008, increasing its output from 1.16 million tonnes in 1985 to 4.6 million tonnes in 2008.

This year, the industry aims at an export turnover of 4 billion USD.

Vietnam to help Mozambique develop agriculture

Vietnam will send agricultural experts to Mozambique to help it develop the sector and train personnel in the field, heard the first meeting of the Vietnam-Mozambique Inter-governmental Committee in Hanoi on March 31.

In the meeting, delegates agreed that Vietnamese experts will help Mozambique establish a rice breeding centre and farming project.

According to Victor Bernado, Chairman of the Mozambique section to the Committee, the Mozambique government is particularly interested in fostering agriculture cooperation with Vietnam.

The official also said that his country plans to focus on expanding cooperation with Vietnam in a variety of other areas that they feel remain untapped.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Diep Kinh Tan, who heads the Vietnam section to the Committee, proposed Mozambique continue considering possibilities for joint cooperation in terms of investment, economy and trade.

Specifically, he highlighted the possibility of creating conditions for the two countries’ businesspeople to jointly invest in post and telecommunications, mining, steel manufacturing, timber exploitation, and pulp production in Mozambique, as well as introducing light industry products, seafood and farm produce for export to the African nation.

The officials agreed to discuss a taxation agreement and sign an anti-crime agreement in the time to come.

Vietnam and Mozambique signed cooperation agreements covering investment promotion and protection, trade, agriculture, education, health care, and visa exemptions for diplomatic and official passport holders.

Mozambique and Vietnamese officials are scheduled to visit and hold working sessions with several Vietnamese corporations and research institutes on the sidelines of the meeting, which is set to close on April 2.

An Giang vegetable exports to Cambodia thrive

About 70 tonnes of vegetables are exported from An Giang province to Cambodia everyday, double the volume in previous years, according to local officials.

Nguyen Van Thao, head of An Phu district’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department, said the growth follows an agreement between the two countries to exempt tariffs for 40 agricultural products.

The vegetables are grown to high hygiene and safety standards, Thao said.

The Mekong Delta province has become the first locality to export safe vegetable to the neighbouring country through the Khanh Binh border crossing.

An Phu district alone has around 1,000 ha for vegetables, yielding 20,000 tonnes per year. The productivity is yet to meet vegetable demand in the Cambodian market.

However, according to Thao, the export volume has recently dipped and prices of some kinds of vegetables dropped by 50 percent, due to the harvest of vegetables in Thailand.

Farming area in Thailand is not as large as in the Mekong Delta, and brisk exports is expected to resume after the harvest season in Thailand ends, Thao said.

Despite the current lull, merchants at the Khanh Binh wholesale market said they receive orders from Cambodia worth billions of VND a day.

An Phu district authorities said they are now expanding the area for cultivating vegetables by 1,300 ha to meet export demand

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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 31/3   2009-03-31