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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 8/9   2009-09-08 - VietNamNet/VNA, TN

Vietnam resumes foothold in Malaysia’s labour market

Malaysia’s economy is showing new signs of recovery, opening up new chances for Vietnamese guest workers, a Vietnamese labour official has said.

Vu Dinh Toan, head of the Management Board of Vietnamese guest workers in Malaysia , said since the second quarter, more Malaysian enterprises have won new contracts, pushing up their demand for workers. As a result, most Vietnamese guest workers in the country have stable jobs and incomes.

“Some enterprises are even willing to receive hundreds of Vietnamese workers,” he said.

Toan stressed this is a good opportunity for Vietnam to resume its foothold in the Malaysian labour market, particularly in fields of its forces such as electronics, gold jewellery, textile-garment, mechanics industries and services.

Assessing potentials for labour export to Malaysia , Toan said the demand for Vietnamese labourers is high, estimated at 20,000 labourers in the coming time.

According to a survey made by Toan’s management board, there is a large number of Malaysian enterprises that are able to receive between 100-300 Vietnamese workers, not to mention some that have even greater demands.

Toan said Malaysian employers highly praised Vietnamese workers’ diligence, skills and intelligence.

In Toan’s opinion, though the average monthly salary level offered by Malaysia is not high, at about 340 USD, but the working conditions suit Vietnamese workers, both in geological and environmental aspects.

However, Toan said Vietnamese authorities should tighten their management and give strict treatment to labour exporters that violate laws or leave labourers alone.

He also stressed the need to provide more information of Malaysia ’s labour market to domestic labourers and help them improve professional and communication skills as well as understanding of labour disciplines and local laws.

In addition, Vietnamese authorised agencies should coordinate with Malaysian agencies in verifying labour export contracts and keeping a close watch of Malaysian employers in order to ensure interests for Vietnamese labourers, he added.

Vietnam has set the target of exporting 100,000 workers to Malaysia from now to the end of 2010.

Major iron ore mine gets underway

Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung attended a ceremony to remove the top layer of earth from the Thach Khe iron ore mine in Ha Tinh province on Sept. 8.

The Deputy PM described the Thach Khe mine as one of the nation’s key projects.

“By providing the raw materials for domestic steel and pig-iron producers whilst also generating many other auxiliary services, the Thach Khe project is expected to turn Ha Tinh into the northern central region’s industrial hub,” said Hung.

He called on the local authorities and project’s executives to look after the environment while ensuring the mine’s schedule, to ensure it is in full operation by early 2012.

The Thach Khe iron ore mine has estimated deposits of 544 million tonnes.

At a depth of 550m, the mine is expected to yield 370 million tonnes of ore to provide the raw material for steel and cast-iron producers in the Vung Ang economic zone and elsewhere nationwide. In its first phase, the mine is estimated to produce between five and 10 million tonnes a year.

The Thach Khe Iron Joint Stock Company (TIC) won the bid to move 13 million cu.m of soil from the mine during its first phase at a cost of 553.8 billion VND (30.7 million USD).

The initial stages are expected to be finished by the first quarter of 201.

The TIC is also taking steps to build a steel-ingot mill with an annual capacity of four million tonnes in Vung Ang economic zone and a transport system to move the ore from the mine to the factory.

97 Vietnamese firms display their products in Russia

A total of 97 Vietnamese companies will take part in a trade fair for Vietnamese exports in Russia next week, the Embassy of Vietnam said.

The expo is being held at the Moscow Expo-centre from September 15-18 by the Ministries of Industry and Trade and of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Vietnamese Embassy, Ambassador Bui Dinh Dinh told a press conference in Moscow on September 7.

The expo is to increase economic and trade ties between Vietnam and Russia, spotlight Vietnam’s production capacity and export potential and promote the country’s business and investment climate plus tourism, he added.

Two-way trade reached more than 1.64 billion USD in 2008 and over 980 million USD in the first seven months of this year, said Ambassador Dinh.

However, the results do not come up to the level of political links experienced between the two countries. As a result, both national leaders are keen to increase trade to 3 billion USD a year.

The expo will include a forum on Vietnam’s trade and investment potential in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, added the diplomat.

Vietinbank ok’s loan for major port project

The Vietnam Industrial and Commercial Bank (Vietinbank) is set to provide a credit package worth over 110 billion VND (roughly 6.1 million USD) to the Petroleum Technical Services Corporation (PTSC) to build the new Hon La port.

This was the result of a contract signed between Vietinbank and the PTSC on September 7 in the central province of Quang Binh, where the Hon La port is located.

The 10-year loan will be used to upgrade the 94,000 m2 port to enable it to handle major cargo vessels up to 10,000 DWT.

By 2010, the port is expected to manage 1.8 million tonnes of cargo a year and become the major transit port for 1.4 million tonnes of cement en route to Laos .

The Vietinbank’s loan for the upgrade is part of the second phase of the ports face lift and will cost almost 1.3 trillion VND. It aims to turn Hon La into a first class port, able to berth heavy freighters of over 100,000 tonnes.

The Hon La port project was made public in November 2008 and is located in the Hon La economic zone in Quang Binh province.

The project is just three kilometres away from national highway 1A, 153 km from the Cha Lo border gate and 301 km from the Laos-Thai border. It is also just 5-6 nautical miles away from the sea and 360 nautical miles from the East Sea international shipping lane, equidistant from the ports of Haiphong in the north and Da Nang in the central region.

All this places Hon La port in a strategic position, both domestically and regionally.

Banks show positive results for the year

Banks continuously reported positive business performance in August after good results in the first seven months of the year.

Techcombank general director Nguyen Duc Vinh said his bank’s pre-tax profit in August was about 200 billion VND (11.2 million USD), lifting the bank’s pre-tax profit in the first eight months to nearly 1.43 trillion VND (79.9 million USD).

Sacombank chairman Dang Van Thanh said that in the first eight months of the year, his bank earned a pre-tax profit of more than 1.2 trillion VND (67 million USD).

With the results, Thanh expected Sacombank would exceed its annual target of 1.6 trillion VND (89.4 million USD).

Until August 31, Eximbank’s pre-tax profit was more than 1 trillion VND (55.9 million USD), chairman Nguyen Thanh Long said, estimating the bank would meet its yearly target of 1.5 trillion VND (83.8 million USD).
By the end of August, Eximbank’s mobilisation capital was more than 44 trillion VND (2.46 billion USD) while its total outstanding loans were 34 trillion VND (1.9 billion USD).

Maritime Bank said it had so far completed its annual pre-tax profit target of 600 billion VND (33.5 million USD) so that it expected to earn roughly 800 billion VND (44.7 million USD) – 1 trillion VND (55.9 million USD) of pre-tax profit for the year.

By the end of August, HD Bank also earned a pre-tax profit of more than 172 billion VND (9.6 million USD), which was the banks’ target for the entire 2009.

Despite the good results, banks said there remained difficulties ahead as the banking industry was still suffering impacts from the crisis.

Techcombank’s Vinh forecast the banks’ profits gained from credit for the remaining months of the year would reduce as the gap between interest rates for deposit and lending was modest. Deposit interest rates offered by banks nearly reached the 10.5 percent ceiling lending interest rate regulated by the State Bank of Vietnam .

Banks would not be able to continuously expand lending on real estate and securities as they had in the first half because of the State Bank’s decision to closely control the credit, Vinh said.

Therefore, banks’ turnover from credit services would decrease compared to the first half of the year as turnover from credit services represented more than a half of banks’ profits in the first six months of the year.

PetroVietnam to deploy projects in Tay Ninh province

The Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) is expected to conduct a series of economic development projects in Tay Ninh province and to support the local social security programme.

An agreement to this effect was signed in the south western province of Tay Ninh on September 7 by PetroVietnam Deputy General Director Vu Quang Nam and provincial People’s Committee Vice Chairman Vo Hung Viet.

Accordingly, in 2009, PetroVietnam will provide 1 billion VND to help Tay Ninh province deploy its social security programmes.

The group and its affiliate will build a hotel of 3-4 star standard at Tay Ninh town and invest in ecological tourism development on the islands on Dau Tieng lake.

The group is expected to expand its oil and gas depot at Ben Keo port in Hoa Thanh district to 8,000 cu. m in capacity from the current 3,000 cu. m and construct a storage depot for fertilizer in the region.

PetroVietnam has a plan to invest in the building of infrastructure, industrial and urban zones; setting up Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), petroleum and fertilizer storehouses and distribution network; and developing services for finance and insurance in the province.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Chairman of PetroVietnam’s Management Board Dinh La Thang spoke highly of Tay Ninh province’s geographical position, saying the province is expected to be a major intersection point between Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand once the trans-Asia road system completed.

Tay Ninh province borders Cambodia with two international border gates: Moc Bai and Xa Mat.

Maersk introduces new Vietnam-US shipping service

Maersk Line, the world’s largest shipping container line, will launch a new weekly service between Vietnam and the West Coast of the United States this month.

The Pacific Express Service will start on September 16 from Ho Chi Minh City’s Cat Lai Port and connect with Maersk’s TP6 vessel in Hong Kong for a connection with Los Angeles, Maersk Line Vietnam has said.

Peter Smidt-Nielsen, general director of Maersk Line Vietnam, said the new service will cut two days off the transit time between Vietnam and the west coast of the US, taking just 17 days to reach Los Angeles.

The announcement of Maersk’s new service follows the introduction since June of direct services from the deep-water ports of Tan Cang-Cai Mep and Saigon Port-PSA in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau to the US West Coast by several other carriers, including APL and MOL, Hanjin, and K’Line.

Smidt-Nielsen said his company is working with Vietnamese maritime and port authorities to open direct services from Ba Ria-Vung Tau’s deep-water ports to Europe and the US.

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