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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 23/5   2010-05-23 - VietNamNet

 
Vietnam, Laos sign agreement to establish electricity company
 
The Viet-Lao Power Joint Stock Company (VLPC) general director, Nguyen Thang Long, and the Electricite du Laos (EdL) director, Khammy Inthirat, signed an agreement to establish Xekaman 1 Electricity Co. Ltd on May 21.

The agreement is a step to accelerate the progress of Xekaman 1 hydrolelectric power project, which plays an important role in investment cooperation between Vietnam and Laos.

With a total investment of US$441 million, Xekaman 1 hydrolelectric power project is built on the Xekaman River in Atopu province, Laos and has a capacity of 322MW. Its above floor is Xekaman 1 Electricity Company and the low floor is Xekaman Xansay Company.

As scheduled, the two companies will be inaugurated in 2014 and supply over 1.2 billion KWh each year.

Technip to hand Dung Quat refinery to PetroVietnam 

France’s oil services company Technip will hand over Vietnam’s first ever oil refinery, Dung Quat in the central province of Quang Ngai, to the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) to operate on May 24, said the refinery’s management board.

After the handover, contractor Technip will continue dealing with technical problems and take charge of guarantee and transferring technology to the Dung Quat Oil Refinery’s engineers and workers for two years.

After over one year in operation, the refinery processed over 3.7 million tons of crude oil from Bah Ho oilfield in Vung Tau and produced around 3 million tons of petrol, of which 2.8 million tons were sold to the market.

The refinery is planned to process 5 million tons of crude oil to produce 4.75 million tons of petrol, and reach a turnover of VND63 trillion (US$3.3 billion) in 2010.

The 148,000 barrel-a-day refinery started test runs in February 2009 but being shut down with operating problems in August-September and December for checks and equipment replacement.

Once running at full capacity, the refinery is expected to meet a third of Vietnam’s fuel demand. The nation currently imports almost all of its oil needs.

Petrovietnam, main investor in the refinery, has planned to increase the capacity of the plant from the current 6.5 million tons a year to 10 million tons. 

Trade fair to boost trade, investment in Mekong Delta
 
The southern province of An Giang on May 21 opened the Mekong River Delta Trade, Tourism and Investment Fair, drawing the participation of enterprises from France, Thailand and Cambodia.

Until May 26, fair goers visiting the Xuan To Industrial Zone in Tinh Bien district, An Giang province, will have a chance to pick up their favourite products from more than 500 booths at the fair, of which 70 are run by foreign firms.

The fair this year attracted enterprises from provinces outside the Mekong River delta including Binh Duong and Dong Nai, aiming to diversify the products on display and create the opportunity for local enterprises to reach a wider market.

The exhibition area is divided into ten different display sections to make it easier for visitors, including one area showcasing the socio-economic and cultural achievements of An Giang, and nine separate sections displaying agro-forestry and aquatic products, processed food, consumer goods, textiles and apparel, machinery and equipment, furniture and interior decoration, construction materials and handicrafts.

The fair also has space for food lovers who can taste delicacies from southern Vietnam and special dishes from France, Thailand and Cambodia.

The fair is part of the national trade promotion programme 2010 which has the theme of “Cooperation for Trade, Tourism and Investment Growth.”

The Trade Promotion Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade will hold a trade exchange programme in the fair and a market survey trip for local enterprises wishing to invest in Cambodia.

Real estate market continues to rebound
 
Hanoi and HCM City are predicted to have an abundant housing supply with around 90,000 apartments being offered for sale and more than 80,000 finished apartments.

A group of experts has reported Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai- Head of the Central Steering Committee for Housing Policy and Real Estate, on the current market which, the group said, will continue to rebound in the near future as demand for houses, business space and offices for medium, and small sized enterprises is on the rise in Hanoi and HCM City.

The real estate market remains a magnet for investors, especially for the surrounding areas of HCM City and Hanoi such as Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Can Tho, Vinh Phuc and Hung Yen.

The expert group has also proposed building a financial mechanism for housing development and the real estate market.

Import surplus at record low
 
Exports in May reached US$6.1 billion, up 37.5 percent compared to the same period last year and the import surplus stood at US$750 million, constituting only 12.3 percent of export turnover, the lowest figure since the beginning of this year.

In the first five months, the import surplus gained US$5.37 billion, making up 20.8 percent of export turnover.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the growth rate of imports in the first four months was higher than the growth rate of exports. However, in May, the situation seemed reversed.

Imports by foreign-owned businesses rose more sharply than domestic ones.

Tourism website goes online
 
The Vietnam Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has set up a website at
http://www.impressivevietnam.vn to promote local tourism.

The website will provide frequently updated information in Vietnamese and English on tours, hotels, restaurants, and promotional offers.

It will also inform visitors of upcoming events, such as the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi, the 2010 National Tourism Year, the 50th founding anniversary of the tourism sector, and the 2010 Hue Festival.

The launch of the website is in the framework of this year’s tourism promotion programme entitled “Vietnam – your destination”.

HCM City sees surges in cloth smuggling
 
Smuggled cloth seized in HCM City this year has increased by nearly eight times against the same period last year.

Nearly 300,000 metres of smuggled cloth, mostly from China, India and Thailand, has been seized so far this year compared to only 40,000 metres in the same period last year, according to the city’s Market Management Bureau.

The rise in cloth smuggling is affecting domestic garment producers and threatening consumers’ health with its possible dangerous chemicals.

Most of the smuggled cloth was recently discovered at warehouses in District 5, District 8, Tan Phu and Binh Tan districts, and was destined for sale at An Dong, Binh Tay and other retail markets.

FIS opens representative office in Cambodia
 
The Vietnam-based FPT Information System (FIS) on May 19 opened a representative office in Cambodia.

The opening ceremony was attended by Vietnam’s Ambassador to Cambodia, Ngo Anh Dung, the secretary general of the Cambodian National Information Communications Technology Development Authority, Phu Leewood and representatives from Cambodian Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, banks, and financial institutions operating in the country.

FIS’s presence in Cambodia reflects the company’s strategy to expand its business into the country, and its commitment to provide a growing customer base with the highest-quality services.

Cambodia is now a potential market where FIS wants to do a long term business to meet customer demand for high-quality information technology services.

FIS began its cooperation with Cambodian banking and telecommunications service providers in 2007.

Young Vietnamese and Singaporean businesses seek co-operative opportunities
 
A 13 member delegation from the Singapore National Youth Council led by Minister of Youth and Sports, Teo Ser Luck worked with Ho Chi Minh City’s Youth Union and young business association on May 20.

The two sides exchanged experiences in promoting youth activities, supporting young businesspeople, researching the investment environment and co-operating in information technology, drinking, retail sales, construction, transport, maritime service, and education.

Pham My Le, president of the Ho Chi Minh City Young Business Association briefed the guests on the activities of young Vietnamese businesspeople and expressed interest in sharing experiences with young Singaporean businessmen, especially in information technology.

The Singaporean delegation have visited some outstanding businesses in the city and will meet with municipal leaders before leaving for home on May 21.

Private sector encouraged to invest in highway construction
 
The Vietnamese Prime Minister has approved a development plan to build and upgrade the 5.800km highway network, said Ngo Thinh Duc, Deputy Ministry of Transportation, at a conference on Vietnamese road in Tokyo on May 19.

With a total investment capital of nearly US$48 billion, the Vietnamese Government will issue policies to attract investors by introducing Public Private Partnerships (PPP).

Deputy Minister Duc confirmed that Vietnam will facilitate Japanese investors who are involved in highway construction. The country is busy preparing a legal framework related to PPP.

On answering the Japanese investors’ concern about the risks associated with PPP, particularly in the ground clearance process, Deputy Minister Duc said that the Government has made a number of adjustments to the process. Recently, it has issued several new policies to make it easier to access the real estate market. The Government will share the risks with the investors.

Also at the conference, representatives from the Ministry of Transportation introduced 16 PPP projects with preferential conditions, including Hanoi’s ring road No.3, Ho Chi Minh City’s ring road No.3 and the Hanoi-Hai Phong highway.

Vietnam, EFTA conduct feasibility study into free trade
 
Vietnam and four members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) began a feasibility study into a free trade agreement in Geneva on May 19, coinciding with the official visit to Switzerland by President Nguyen Minh Triet.

Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Nam Hai and the Ambassadors of EFTA states - Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland - signed a joint statement and other documents on the Joint Study Group’s operations.

The Joint Study Group will examine the possibility of establishing a free trade agreement between the two sides. Results from the study will be submitted to the authorised levels for a decision on FTA negotiations between the two sides.

Comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and EFTA states has seen sustainable development in recent years with the two governments working closely towards the signing of a FTA to open a legal corridor for businesses to increase their investment and trade.

Vietnam, EC handle trade matters
 
Trade officials of Vietnam and the European Commission (EC) have sought ways to address newly-arising issues in bilateral trade ties.

During their three-day meeting in Brussels, Belgium, starting from May 17, they discussed matters relating to procedures to approve the EU’s initiatives, including trade agreements, food hygiene and safety, and environmental protection.

The officials exchanged views on the latest developments in bilateral and multilateral trade ties in a sincere and frankly atmosphere.

The EC officials emphasised Vietnam’s important position in the EC’s international trade relations and the country’s growing prestige in the international arena.

They also referred to Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship and its participation in the upcoming G-20 conference.

They updated the Vietnamese trade counselors with the latest developments in the EU after the Lisbon Treaty takes effect, post-Lisbon treaty institutional issues, and the EU’s new structures and its economic adjustments after the global economic and financial crisis as well as Greece’s debt crisis.

The Vietnamese-EC trade officials’ meeting is a periodic activity within a framework of PCA negotiations aiming to establish a mutual legal foundation for all-sided cooperation between Vietnam and the EU.

This regular meeting will enable the EU and Vietnam to gain deeper understanding to boost bilateral and multilateral trade.

Vietnam Airlines launches Hanoi-Vinh service
 
Vietnam Airlines and Nghe An province announced the launch of the Hanoi-Vinh route last week.

Five flights will be offered each week to the central province on an ATR72 aircraft. Promotional fares are available until May 31. A one-way ticket will cost VND300,000 (US$15) for travel from May 12 to June 30.

Vietnam Airlines also plans to increase the number of flights from HCM City to Vinh by offering daily flights.

PetroVietnam joins hands with construction giant
 
Two leading economic groups of Vietnam, the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) and the Vietnam Industrial Construction Group (VNIC), reached a comprehensive cooperation agreement in Hanoi on May 18.

Under the agreement, the two groups will create conditions for their member enterprises to cooperate in investment projects of mutual interest.

In the immediate future, PetroVietnam and VNIC will jointly invest in and carry out hydroelectric and thermal power, manufacturing, mining, transport infrastructure, industrial zone, depot, port and other real estate projects.



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