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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 23/10   2009-10-23 - VNA

RoK to grant loan for VN’s infrastructure development


The Republic of Korea (RoK) has decided to provide a loan package worth around 46 million USD to help Vietnam implement a series of projects on infrastructure development.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the development cooperation between Vietnamese Ministry of Finance and RoK Ministry of Strategy and Finance, together with related agreements, were signed in Hanoi on October 22 with the participation of Vice Minister of Finance Tran Xuan Ha, Vice Minister of Strategy and Finance Hur Kyung-Wook and Vice President of the Export-Import Bank of Korea Chung Whan-kil.

Under the agreement, the RoK’s funding will be injected to a project to build a smart traffic system for the Ho Chi Minh City-Trung Luong Highway, the Moc Chau water supply project, and a project to provide teaching equipment to the Thanh Hoa College.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Vice Minister Ha said that the MoU will be the foundation for the two sides to share their experiences on public financial management, State budget expenditures, fiscal policy and the treasury, the equitisation and management of State-owned enterprises, personnel management and others areas of mutual concern.

The MoU will also contribute to increasing cooperation in fields of economics and trade between the two countries in the near future and bring the relationship between the two ministries to a new height.

Property remains strong, attractive

Vietnam’s property market remains strong and will attract even more investors in the near future, delegates said at a two-day international real estate conference that ended on Oct. 22 in HCM City.

Speaking at the conference, Dang Huy Dong, deputy minister of Planning and Investment, said with a population of more than 85 million, the country has a huge need for more housing.

“The fundaments for the residential property market remain strong,” said David Blackhall, deputy managing director of VinaCapital Real Estate.

Affordability and reasonable payment terms are the main drivers in the current marketplace, with low – to mid-end apartments priced between 800 USD and 1,200 USD per sq.m, accounting for 85 percent of all transactions.

Many provinces including Binh Duong, Ninh Thuan, Quang Ngai, Nghe An, Kien Giang, Soc Trang and HCM City have invited investors to keep develop their own property market .

For example, Ninh Thuan province, which is the first Vietnamese province to hire foreign consultants on its tourism and industrial development plans, plans to call for investment in clean energy, tourism, agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, and real estate development.

Nguyen Chi Dung, chairman of the Ninh Thuan People’s Committee, said the province would focus on improving its traffic system as well as creating a convenient investment environment.

With a 120 km-long coastline and weather unsuitable for agricultural production, central Binh Thuan province wants to call for investors to develop tourism property and services, said deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Thu.

Soc Trang province in the Mekong Delta is looking for outside investment to build tourism, residential, commercial and industrial property projects to meet the increasing demand for industrialisation and modernisation.

However, many obstacles still prevent the property market development, including complicated administrative procedures, poor infrastructure, and difficulties on land clearance and resettlement.

The meeting asked the Government to reduce paperwork and support investors in acquiring land so that projects can finish on schedule.

Phan Huu Thang, former head of the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said localities should map out a master plan that is suitable with their socio-economic situation so that investment promotions will be more effective.

An official from the Ministry of Planning and Investment said the Government would issue policies to encourage the private sector to join hands with the Government to develop infrastructure rather than depend on the state budget or Official Development Assistance funds. Vietnam has many advantages, including diversified geographic characteristics, unique culture and friendly people to develop the tourism industry.

Miquel Angel Perez, chairman of EuroCham Tourism Committee in Vietnam, said improvements could still be made.
“Tourism is a service, we learn how to server. In Vietnam , we don’t serve properly,” he said.

Barriers that make he tourism industry develop in an unsustainable manner are poor infrastructure and services, lack of professional human resources and communications as well as ineffective marketing strategies, according to Martin Kaye, chairman of the Millennium Group and Starbay Holdings Ltd.

He said Vietnamese often look down on people who work as servers, and the attitude needs to change.

The Government needs to focus more on training professional staff for the tourism industry from servers to managers, said Thang, who is also chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Property Association.

Can Tho strengthens trade cooperation with Russia

The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho is carrying out a trade cooperation programme with Russia aiming to reach the target of 100 million USD in export turnover during 2009 and 2010.

The set target that holds 10 percent of the city’s export turnover is a part of the medium-term plan between Vietnam and Russia to take joint action in trade and investment till 2012.

The municipal People’s Committee has instructed relevant departments and agencies to promote trade activities and advertisement, including the cooperation with Vietnam’s trade centres in Russia to open exhibitions on the city’s specialties, especially seafood products.

The city will assist businesses to modernise technologies and equipment to improve the competitiveness of local products in the international markets.

In the spirit, Vietnamese competent authorities have made requests for lifting the Russia’s prohibition of the Vietnam’s exported seafood products.

Foreign trade cooperation between Can Tho City and Russia has developed. In 2008, the city’s export turnover to Russia reached 20 million USD, a year-on-year increase of 69.4 percent.

5,500 tonnes of propylene to be shipped to Japan

Dung Quat oil refinery is expected to ship 5,500 tonnes of propylene to Japan on Oct. 23.

The country’s first refinery, which is located in the central Quang Ngai province’s Binh Son district, resumed operation on Oct. 1 after 20 days of tackling with a problem with its residue fluid catalytic cracking system.

Its capacity is being raised from 65 percent to 100 percent. At present, 13 out of its 14 technical workshops are operating in a stable condition and turning out eight commercial products and the remaining one which treats sulphur will be operated in the next few days.

To date, the refinery sold 18,500 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas, 55,000 tonnes of A92 petrol, 8,000 tonnes of kerosene, 49,000 tonnes of diesel, 17,000 tonnes of fuel oil and 1,200 tonnes of propylene.

Earlier, the refinery imported an additional 80,000 tonnes of crude to serve its operation at its full capacity by the end of this month.

At full capacity, the refinery will produce annually 1.9 million tonnes of petroleum, 3 million tonnes of diesel, 290,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas, 110,000 tonnes of propylene, 410,000 tonnes of jet fuel, and 320,000 tonnes of fuel oil.

Engineering firm nabs oil-field job

International engineering firm Aker Solutions has been awarded a 5 million USD contract to deliver undersea equipment for the Dai Hung oil field in Nam Con Son basin, about 270 km off the coast of the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

The contract was awarded by PVEP Dai Hung, a wholly owned subsidiary of Petro Vietnam Exploration and Production Corporation.

The contract, Aker’s first undersea job for the corporation, would include manufacturing and delivery of one horizontal undersea tree, spare parts and installation services, according to Aker. The equipment, to be installed at 110m below the water surface, has been scheduled for delivery in the second quarter of next year.

“We are pleased to get the opportunity to work with the PVEP and demonstrate our execution capabilities to them,” said Dave Hutchinson, president of Subsea Asia-Pacific for Aker Solutions.

“The stand-alone tree market is becoming increasingly important in this part of the world and this contract shows that we are competitive in this segment.”

Saigontourist holds MICE-charity tours

Saigontourist on October 22 organised a MICE tour for a group of 80 Singaporeans, combining vacation with charitable activities in Vietnam.

The Singaporean tourists joined 30 kids from the Phap Vo Pagoda-based orphanage in collective games such as water carrying and boat races.

They also joined children in assembling and decorating bicycles which were later presented to the kids themselves.

The leading travel agent also held a cordial get-together between the Singaporean tourists and the orphans, where the visitors presented kids with a number of gifts and souvenirs.

Early in the year, the company arranged a meeting between a group of 60 international tourists and kids from the Dieu Phap Children’s Home in the southern province of Dong Nai .

In May 2008, the Saigontourist held a similar tour for a group of tourists from Australia , India , Singapore , Malaysia , Canada , China and Japan .

The tourists were given an opportunity to take part in an exchange programme with 50 children from the Long Hoa orphanage in Nha Be district, HCM City.

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