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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 2/4   2009-04-02 - VietNamNet/VNA

Vietnam introduces business opportunities in US

Egypt’s catfish allegations denied Vietnamese trade representatives joined their Malaysian, Indonesian and Singaporean counterparts to introduce business and investment opportunities and potentials in their countries in New York on April 1.

At a seminar on doing business with Southeast Asian market, US businesses inquired into medical service, social insurance, labour costs, the exchange rate of local currencies and the USD and their partners’ English communication skills.

US Department of Commerce (DOC) representative in New York Carmela Mammas said there are great potentials for Vietnam - the US has potentials for trade and investment cooperation in telecommunications and petrochemical equipment and services, power transmission, environmental protection and medical equipment, education and training and air transportation.

Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Centre in New York Nguyen Manh Hung cited the DOC statistics that two-way trade between Vietnam and the US rose from 1.2 billion USD in 2000 to 15.7 billion USD in 2008.

The seminar, jointly held by DOC and the UPS company, drew the participation of DOC representatives in Singapore, Malaysian trade representatives in New York, representatives from the US - Indonesia Trade Chamber and the Vietnamese Trade and Industry Ministry in New York

FPT trims targets, looks to cut costs

Egypt’s catfish allegations denied Software giant FPT targets revenues of 17.1 trillion VND (961 million USD) this year, just 1.62 percent higher than last year, but expects profits to climb by 17 percent to 1.5 trillion VND (84.3 million USD), management said at the firm’s latest general shareholders meeting.

Revenues in 2008 surpassed 16.8 trillion VND, an increase of 21 percent from the previous year, while profits reached 1.24 trillion VND, a 20.5 percent rise over 2007.

The shareholders on March 29 approved a 26 percent cash dividend on 2008 profits, which would leave equity of 2.37 trillion VND (133 million USD) following the dividend payment.

Market conditions are unfavourable this year, said FPT board chairman Truong Gia Binh, so the company would not attach special importance to revenue growth but focus instead on enhancing business efficiency and developing existing services.

Costs have been cut sharply to cope with the global crisis, with many costs already slashed by 30 to 80 percent, Binh said.

The shareholders meeting also approved for such subsidiaries as FPT Information Systems Co Ltd and FPT Trading Co Ltd, which are “large-sized in terms of revenues, profits and staff”, to make initial public offerings this year, with FPT proposing to sell 10 percent stake initially.

A foreign national, Jonathan Ralph Alexander Waugh, was elected to FPT’s management board for a five-year term. Waugh is director of the Oshan Fund, the co-founder of PXP Vietnam Asset Management, and a former deputy director of ACB Securities. Co.

FPT shares rose 4.9 percent on April 1 on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange to close at 47,100 VND (2.64 USD) per share.

Vietnam’s PE bags face dumping suit in US

Vietnam is facing another dumping suit in the US, this time for its plastic shopping bags.

On March 31, King & Spalding LLP representing Hilex Poly Co. LLC and Superbag Corporation of the US filed their petitions to the US Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission, targeting plastic shopping bags, coded HTS 3923.21.0085, imported from Vietnam, Indonesia and Taiwan.

According to the DOC’s statistics, the US imported around 79 million USD worth of plastic shopping bags from Vietnam in 2008.

Earlier, in June, 2003, the two US companies also sued China, Malaysia and Thailand for dumping their plastic shopping bags in the country. As a result, the US imposed dumping tariff ranging from 0.20-77.33 percent on China’s bags, 0.91-101.74 percent tax rate on Malaysia’s and 0.62-122.88 percent on PE bags from Thailand.

Vietnamese goods fair opens in Cambodia

Government steps up support for low-end real estate market The Vietnamese high-quality goods fair 2009 was officially opened in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh on April 1 in the presence of high-level officials from the two countries trade ministries.

Addressing the opening ceremony, the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce’s Secretary of State Mao Thora said the fair is proof of the strong development of Vietnam and Cambodia’s trade relations.

He said two-way trade has been growing fast through such kind of fairs and Vietnamese commodities with high quality and good designs gained a firm foothold in the Cambodian market.

Two-way trade increased sharply from 935 million USD in 2006 to 1.2 billion USD in 2007 and nearly 1.7 billion USD in 2008, he added.

A total of 170 businesses are showcasing household appliances, foods, textile and garment products, construction materials, pharmaceuticals, production tools and stationary at the fair, which is co-organised by the HCM City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC), the High-Quality Vietnamese Goods Businesses Club, and the Vietnam Goods Trade and Services Corp. (Vietgoods), showcased

During the five-day event, seminars on product quality and contract signings between Vietnamese partners and Cambodian businesses will also be held.

Vietnam, Mozambique focus on agricultural cooperation

Government steps up support for low-end real estate market Vietnam and Mozambique have agreed to focus their cooperation on agriculture and pledged to implement several projects in the field.

A cooperation accord for the 2009-2010 period reached during the first session of the Vietnam-Mozambique Inter-governmental Committee in Hanoi on April 1, also said that Vietnam will send aquaculture experts to Mozambique .

The country will also grant full scholarships to Mozambique students who will take post-graduate agricultural courses in Vietnam in 2009.

Mozambique committed to recognising Vietnam full market economy in the earliest time and boosting cooperation with Vietnam in such fields as economics, science-technology, health, education, culture, sports, tourism, security and national defence.

Specifically, the two sides will exchange a list of export staples, including farm produce, seafood and computer sets, to consolidate bilateral trade ties.

The African country pledged to teach Portuguese language for Vietnamese.

The two sides decided to hold a political consultation meeting between the two Foreign Ministries in Maputo, Mozambique, in the second half of 2009.

The second session of the Vietnam-Mozambique Inter-governmental Committee on Economics, Trade and Science and Technology will be held in Maputo in 2011.

Course strengthens fight against money laundering

Egypt’s catfish allegations denied A training workshop to combat money laundering was jointly opened in northern Lao Cai province on April 1 by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Ministry of Public Security.

The course draws the participation of a large number of local policemen, judges, customs officers, border guards, bank staff members, and officials from nine districts and towns.

Participants will be updated with the knowledge and skills to discover and fight money laundering crime, as well as Vietnamese and international laws related to this field.

The workshop forms part of the UNODC’s three-year project designed to strengthen the capacity of law enforcement institutions in preventing and combating money laundering signed between Vietnam and the UNODC in June 2007.

MoU facilitates investment promotion

Egypt’s catfish allegations denied The Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) of the Ministry of Planning and Investment will work along US-based VQ Partner Company in investment promotion in the US and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed recently in Hanoi, the two sides will open channels of communication and increase information sharing on the investment situation and environment in Vietnam for US and UAE partners to refer to.

The two sides will jointly select investment projects that conform to Vietnam’s needs and the capacity of US and UAE investors, building up an information base for these projects to better facilitate investment inflows into the country.

VQ Partner will also provide FIA with information about US and UAE investors’ requirements relating to investment activities in industrial zones, investment priorities, human resources, and education and training.

Phan Huu Thang, Head of the FIA, affirmed the importance of the agreement, particularly at a time when both the local and international economic environment is shaky. It will create favourable conditions for Vietnam to access FDI from US and UAE partners toward achieving socio-economic development targets, he added.

VQ Partner is an investment promotion consulting firm of MagRabbit Inc. and Algelous Economics Inc., with its headquarters in Texas and a representative office in the UAE.

According to FIA, since Vietnam promulgated its foreign investment law in 1988, the US has 428 investment projects in the country with total capital exceeding 4.2 billion USD; the UAE has one project so far, capitalised at 112 million USD. The countries are ranked 12th and 36th, respectively, of the 84 foreign investors doing business in Vietnam.

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