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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 9/5   2010-05-09 - VietNamNet

Vietnam to export 1.4 million tonnes of rice
Vietnam expects to export about 1.3 -1.4 million tonnes of rice in May and June, raising total rice exports in the first six months of this year to 3.3 million tonnes.

The figures were released by the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) at a meeting held in the southern province of Can Tho on May 6 to review operations in the field during the last four months and to draw up plans for exporting rice in the next two months.

However, the figures are 300,000 to 350,000 lower than that the same period last year and also less than the amount in the contracts Vietnam has signed with foreign partners.

According to VFA, the global demand for rice is still dropping due to the devaluation of the Euro, rice stockpiles in African countries and low purchasing power.

On the bright side, the price of rice for export in South America and several Asian countries like Thailand and China is still higher than in Vietnam.

In the first four months of this year, Vietnam shipped 1.978 million tonnes of rice at an average price of US$466.95 per tonne, a year-on-year increase of US$59.53 per tonne. Of the total, about 75 percent has been purchased by Asian countries and over 13 percent is exported to Africa.

PVFCCo expands business in Cambodia
PetroVietnam Fertilizer and Chemicals Corporation (PVFCCo), a member of Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) on May 7 opened its representative office in Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh.

Present were Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An, Vietnamese Ambassador Ngo Anh Dung, senior trade and agriculture officials from the two countries along with PetroVietnam’s representative Hoang Xuan Hung.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Deputy PM Men Sam An said she hopes the business will develop for the benefit of both PVFCCo and Cambodian farmers. She also expressed her belief that PVFCCo will succeed, generating tax revenues and giving Cambodian farmers high-quality products.

PVFCCo’s general director Phan Dinh Duc said the corporation hopes to contribute to boosting fine traditional friendship between the two nations, especially in economics and agriculture.

After the ceremony, PVFCCo signed three memoranda of understanding with their partners in Battambang province.

On the occasion, the corporation presented 25 tonnes of fertilizer to farmers in the Cambodian provinces of Battambang and Prey Veng.

Over the past time, the company has conducted a series of experiments in Kampong Cham and Battambang provinces in an effort to reach the agricultural output target of 8.6 tonnes per ha.

Vietnam and Australia cooperate in mining exploration
An Australian business delegation consisting of leading contractors and technology providers in the mining sector will visit Vietnam from May 10-12 to seek business opportunities.

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Allaster Cox, emphasised that the visit aims to boost bilateral relationship and cooperation between the two countries.

“For Vietnam, a country processing a great deal of natural resources and considering mining exploration as a key factor in its future economic growth, the Australian business delegation’s visit will provide Vietnam’s industrial sector with a good opportunity to learn more about their experience and professional skills,” he said.

Ambassador Cox also expressed his wish to strengthen cooperative ties with Vietnam.

According to the Australian trade counselor in Vietnam, Tony Burchill, Australia is leading the world in the mining industry and is ready to help Vietnam develop its mining sector for mutual benefits.

About 2,500 companies and 320,000 workers in Australia are currently involved in mining exploration, and 60 percent of the world’s mining exploration software is developed in Australia.

Businesses consider employee retention greatest challenge
Employee retention is considered the greatest challenge for businesses in Vietnam this year, said Navigos Group, the leading and largest executive recruitment solutions provider in the country.

According to a survey conducted by the group in the first quarter of this year, 63.8 percent of respondents from 168 companies operating in Vietnam including foreign-invested ones ranked employee retention as the number one human resource challenge in 2010.

This result is not surprising as it has been a hot topic in many recent human resources discussions.

“Vietnamese employees aggressively pursue opportunities to accelerate their career track to senior positions, challenging work, stretch assignments, continual training and development and competitive pay”, said Navigos Group Managing Director Nguyen Thi Van Anh.

“As long as this is the fact, employee retention is hard work”, she added.

The second amongst the top five challenges for the businesses this year is how to hire the best talent, said the survey.

“It has never been easy to find the right and best talent in Vietnam and the situation will remain unchanged in the near future”, Anh commented.

World pepper market to bring benefits to Vietnam
The world pepper market in 2010 and the coming years will grow benefiting both Vietnamese farmers and processors, said the leader of the Vietnam Pepper Association (VPA).

Speaking at the VPA annual conference held in Ho Chi Minh City on May 7, VPA President Do Ha Nam asked farmers to focus on developing pepper growing following a sustainable development model and food safety as of the 2010-2011 crop to make good preparations for exports.

VPA recommended farmers and enterprises coordinate to adjust the sale volume to suit market demands and prices. Enterprises also need to invest in raising product quality in order to obtain a higher export value.

In order to boost the sustainability of pepper production and reap a high export value, VPA proposed that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development conduct pepper growing according to the Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) from 2010, assist the building of pepper trademarks and promulgate pepper standards for enterprises to apply in production and export.

VPA also proposed that the Finance Minister exempt the value added tax (VAT) for exported pepper to help enterprises ease the shortage in capital.

VPA forecast that the country’s pepper output in 2010 is estimated to be 90,000 tonnes, 20 percent less than the previous year due to bad weather and diseases.

However, the country is likely to export 85,000-90,000 tonnes this year as it has 2,000 ha of three-year-old pepper farms, which are having their first harvest, and 15,000 tonnes of pepper in storage.

The price of pepper on the world market increased from late March based on the forecast that worldwide pepper output would shrink markedly in 2010 and the storage volume decrease, while demand would not decline.

Seminar underlines audit’s role in current economy
A seminar was held in Hanoi on May 7 to discuss the value and role of auditing in the current economy, the development of Vietnam’s State Audit Office and the lessons learnt.

Associate Professor Dr. Dang Van Thanh, who also heads the Vietnam Association of Accountants and Auditors (VAA), said that it is necessary to continue completing the legal system of documents on auditing and improving auditor training.

Auditing has an important role and independent audit work provides a guarantee to investors and instills trust in financial reports as a foundation for transactions, said President Brendan Murtagh of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

Murtagh emphasized the need to have a correct assessment of auditing’s role in economic development to gain foreign investors’ confidence, make financial information more transparent and facilitate the supervision of the financial situation and the results of the operations of business. He highlights this as one of the basic steps needed to help Vietnam’s economy integrate into the global economy.

According to the ACCA in Vietnam, the country is now home to around 148 audit companies registered for operation, including seven foreign invested and 26 domestic audit companies. There will be 1,017 auditors registered by the end of this year.

Rolls-Royce to expand business in Vietnam
Rolls-Royce Marine AS, a wholly-owned unit of Rolls- Royce Group PLC, has acquired the Norwegian ODIM ASA Marine Company after buying 97.3 percent of its shares.
According to Rolls-Royce officials, the franchise will help the company expand its business in Vietnam. An ODIM ASA factory began operating in October 2009 with a total capitalisation of US$15 million.

The websites of both companies have confirmed this information.

French travel agent promotes Vietnam’s image
Vision Ethique has launched a Vietnam tourist promotion campaign, focusing on its diversity of eco-tourism sites and biosphere reserves, reported the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

The French travel agent, in association with the Vietnam Culture Centre in France, has presented Vietnam’s cultural identity, specific culture in different parts of the country and tangible and intangible cultural heritages recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

Vision Ethique has also planned to wage several programmes on eco-tourism and cultural tourism in the Southeast Asian nation to help French citizens explore the beauty of the former French colony.

VNAT said France is always placed as a top market, which sends some 300,000 visitors to Vietnam a year.

To join hands with the French travel agent in this effort, the Vietnam Airlines office in France has organised a tour of Vietnam for representatives from the French hospitality industry, including travel agents, to boost foreign arrivals in the Year of National Tourism and the upcoming Hanoi-Thang Long millennium anniversary.

Dutch Agriterra helps promote green aquaculture
Agricterra, an alliance of agri-agencies in the Netherlands, has funded a training project on environmentally-friendly aquaculture for farmers in the Red River Delta province of Nam Dinh.

As a result, the project has held 44 training courses for 1,200 farmers and almost 400 campaigning sessions to educate 9,500 seafood farmers in food hygiene and environmentally-friendly farming.

The President of the provincial Farmers’ Association, Nguyen Van Thanh, said the project has resulted in the application of green technology by 70 percent of local farmers in nine target villages of three districts.

Statistics showed that seafood production in all the three beneficiary districts has seen increases in various fields from productivity to output and product value.

Per-capita income for seafood farmers has also risen to between VND70-80,000 a day and production output value to VND120 million per ha against the national target of VND100 million per ha.

Thanh added that his province will expand education campaigns on high yielding, food hygiene and green aquaculture technology to other villages along the coast and even to the entire province this year.

The provincial administration will also provide technical, financial, material and marketing assistance for seafood farmers to expand production and increase incomes, the provincial farmers’ leader said.

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