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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 14/6   2010-06-14 - Viet Nam Net

Mekong Delta region to raise export value of agricultural products to US$6 billion
This year, Mekong delta provinces will strive to reach VND127,000 billion in industrial production value, up nearly VND20,000 over 2009 as well as raise the industrial proportion to 41 percent of the national economy and export turnover of agricultural products to US$6 billion, up US$ 0.5 billion compared to 2009.

To reach that goal, the Mekong Delta region has developed three power centers including O Mon, Ca Mau and Kien Luong with a total capacity of 9,000 MW-9,400 MW and invested in infrastructure development, especially the transport network linking key economic zones with the eastern Nam Bo region and other economic regions.

Mekong Delta provinces will also promote cooperation with other regions, particularly HCM City to develop the food processing industry and produce high-quality products capable of competing on the domestic and foreign markets.

They will also promote trademark marketing and advertisement to secure its foothold in the market and expand consumption power in many countries and territories in Asia, the EU, Northern America and Africa.

These provinces will intensify seafood and fruit processing, expand the production of construction materials and develop mechanised industry.

Since early this year, Mekong Delta region’s agricultural product export turnover has reached more than US$2.3 billion.

US$10.7 billion poured into Dung Quat economic zone
By early June, the Dung Quat economic zone has attracted 167 foreign investment projects with a total registered capital of US$10.7 billion.

According to Deputy Head of the Dung Quat Management Project Le Van Dung, 51 projects have been put into operation, employing around 12,000 workers. In addition, 116 projects have been granted investment permits with a total registered capital of US$8 billion.

From now until 2020, businesses and investors operating in the Dung Quat economic zone will recruit approximately 67,600 workers, Mr Dung said.

Of that number, FDI projects will need more than 11,200 workers (17 percent), domestic investment projects on refining oil, shipbuilding, seaports, 13,000 (19 percent) and other projects, 44,000 (64 percent).

RoK – biggest foreign investor in Vietnam
As of April 2010, the Republic of Korea (RoK) still remains the biggest foreign investor in Vietnam with more than 2,495 projects worth US$21.99 billion, according to the statistics from the Foreign Investment Department.

In the first five months of this year, the RoK had 99 new projects with a combined investment capital of US$2.214 billion and 22 old projects which increased capital by US$124 million.

After Vietnam joined the World Trade Organisation and the Free Trade Agreement between ASEAN and the RoK signed in 2007, two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and the RoK increased significantly from US$7.2billion in 2008 to US$9.5 billion in 2009.

According to Vietnam Commercial Office in the RoK, in the review period, two-way trade value reached US$5.6 billion, including US$1.1 billion from Vietnamese exports.

Guangxi businesses showcasing products in HCM City
Over 1,000 kinds of products are being showcased at China’s Guangxi Commodity Exhibition, which opened at the Ho Chi Minh City International Exhibition and Convention Centre on June 12.

On the four-day display, 104 businesses from Guangxi introduce a variety of products including vehicles, construction machinery equipment, electronics, electric home appliances, apparels, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

The event is chaired by the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region authorities with the support from the Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade and Ho Chi Minh City authorities.

Last year, two-way trade between Vietnam and Guangxi reached nearly US$4 billion. Guangxi’s main exports to Vietnam were apparel, steel, televisions, portable electric lamps, automobile and motorbike spare parts and chemicals and imported coal, cashew nut, fruit, ore, rubber and timber from Vietnam.

Vietnam Fisheries International Exhibition (VIETFISH) opens
The Vietnam Fisheries International Exhibition (VIETFISH) opened at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC) in HCM City on June 12.

This is the 12th Vietfish exhibition and was organized by the by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) with the aim of helping businesses learn advanced technologies in seafood raising and processing and seek opportunities to expand production.

More than 170 businesses showcased their products in 283 booths, 70 percent of which were seafood processing and export businesses; the remaining specialize in supplying equipment, chemicals, assistance and information for the fisheries sector.

During the exhibition from June 12-16, there will be seminars on the application of biotechnology in testing for residual antibiotics in seafood products, and sustainable development in the fisheries sector to meet the requirements of export markets. They will also discuss technologies to help fish farms meet international standards, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and packaging technology for the US and EU markets.

Polypropylene plant conducts trial run
After three years of construction, the polypropylene plant in the Dung Quat Economic Zone in the Central province of Quang Ngai began a trial run on June 11.

Nguyen Hoai Giang, general director of the Binh Son Oil Refinery Ltd Company, said that the first patch of the thermoplastic polymer will come out.

The Vietnam’s biggest and most modern Polypropylene plant was built on an area of 15ha with a designed capacity of 150,000 tonnes of products per year, at a cost of US$232 million by the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group.

When it is put into operation, propylene output will be taken from the Dung Quat Oil Refinery Plant. The plan will sell more than 60,000 tonnes of propylene to Japan’s Marubeni Group in the initial period.

First 75,000 tonne ship docks at Cai Lan port
The first 75,000-tonne ship, the Panamax-M/V Kavo Alkyon, docked at Cai Lan port in Ha Long City, Quang Ninh province on June 11.

The event marked the 10th anniversary of co-operation between the Quang Ninh Port Company and the US Bunge group –a world leading group in animal feed.

The Kavo Alkyon loaded around 33,000 tonnes of feed in safe and convenient conditions. It is estimated that Bunge group’s output via Cai Lan port will reach 1 million tonnes per year by 2014.

Currently, loading capacity at Cai Lai port is 28,500 tonnes per day, including 5,300 tonnes of animal feed.

Cai Lan is a deep water port which can receive 40,000-70,000DWT ships.

Coffee prices increase sharply
The price of coffee on the London market jumped US$42 per tonne from US$1,341 to US$1,383 on June 10 and hit a record high of US$1,473 per tonne on June 11.

The price of coffee on the domestic market also rose from VND24,300 on June 9 to US$25,500 per kilogram on June 11.

According to coffee businesses in the Central Highland province of Dak Lak, the sharp increase is due to the Government’s decision to buy 200,000 tonnes of coffee for reserves and a forecast that consumption will go up during the 2010 World Cup.

Steel exports hit US$427 million in five months
The domestic steel enterprises earned US$427 million from 550,000 tonnes of steel exported in the first five months of the year, up 244 percent in value and 250 percent in volume over the same period last year.

In recent months, foreign-owned enterprises have produced and exported laminated rolling steel as the price of exported steel surged, according to Pham Chi Cuong chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association.

Vietnam’s tra, basa fish penetrate Mexican market
Vietnam’s tra and basa fish are becoming increasingly popular in Mexico, reports the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP).

The country’s turnover from tra and basa exports to Mexico continues to rise, earning US$9.9 million in 2004, US$17.55 million in 2005, US$32.95 million in 2006 and over US$55.64 million in 2008, the association says.

Even though Vietnam’s aquatic products were only sold by the supermarket chain Wal-Mart before 2006, they are now available in almost every large supermarket, known as Costco, Chedraui, Superama and Soriana in Mexico.

Last year, Vietnam became the largest tra and basa fish exporter to the Central American country, with an export value amounting to nearly US$59 million.

According to VASEP, these encouraging outcomes can be attributed to the efforts Vietnamese seafood businesses have been making, including attending many seafood fairs in Mexico in recent years.

Honey exports increase sharply
The Dak Lak Honeybee Joint Stock Company in the highland province of Dak Lak is expected to export 10,000 tonnes of honey in 2010, doubling last year’s figure.

The company has signed contracts to ship 9,000 tonnes of honey abroad, and has already exported more than 5,500 tonnes to the US, Japan and the Republic of Korea. In particular, the US imported more than 80 percent of Dak Lak’s honey output. At present, the company is expanding its export markets to Malaysia and the Middle East.

The company has provided local households with materials and equipment for production, valued at more than VND25 billion.

In past first five months, Dak Lak produced more than 10,000 tonnes of honey, up 3,500 tonnes compared to the same period last year. The figure is expected to reach 12,000 tonnes by the end of this year.

Building a "geographical zone trademark" for Vietnam’s seas
The General Department of Seas and Islands is finalising a plan to grant green cards to territories of Vietnam, considering it an effective measure to build a "geographical zone trademark" for Vietnam’s seas, said the department’s deputy head Nguyen Dang Dao.

Green cards will be granted to territories which meet such criteria as efficient exploitation, social security, environmental protection and ecological safety. These cards will be granted for a temporary period only, and will be revoked for areas violating the prescribed criteria. The "Geographical area trademark" for Vietnam’s sea will be registered with international organisations for recognition.

The department proposed a list of 15 marine protected areas (MPA), four of which have been established namely Hon Mun in Khanh Hoa province, Cu Lao Cham islands in Quang Nam province, Phu Quoc islands in Kien Giang province and Con Co islands in Quang Tri province.

The remaining 11 areas will be established between now and 2015, accounting for 0.24 percent of Vietnam’s sea area. Currently, the department is co-coordinating with localities to complete documents recognising such islands as Ly Son, Co To, Cat Ba and Con Dao as MPAs.

Vietnam, RoK expects to promote investment and trade cooperation
Vietnam has become increasingly attractive to RoK businesses as they consider Vietnam a profitable market with both medium- and long-term development potential.

This was stated by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) and the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), at a seminar on opportunities for investment and trade cooperation between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) in Seoul on June 8.

Addressing the seminar, Vietnamese Ambassador Tran Trong Toan emphasised that Vietnam’s economy has been constantly developing over the past years and the country has become an attractive destination for foreign investments.

Despite the world’s economic downturn, Vietnam recorded a growth rate of 5.32 percent and attracted US$177.7 billion in direct foreign investment by December 2009, Toan said.

The Secretary General of the ASEAN-RoK Centre, Choi Young-je, said the Centre will play a greater role in promoting cooperation between the RoK and Vietnam.

US companies plan to invest in Vietnam’s infrastructure
The possibility of major US groups upgrading and expanding Vietnam’s infrastructure will be main subject of discussions later this week between the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) and the Vietnamese government.

The American delegation is made up of 22 leading US companies, led by the Council’s President Alexander Feldman and the USABC’s US-Vietnam Business Committee Chairman, Stuart Dean.

They are visiting Vietnam as the country is laying out its socio-economic development plan for the next 10 years. President Feldman said that as Vietnam has recorded an average economic growth rate of 7 percent over the past 7 years, improving the infrastructure will not only help to maintain this rate of growth, but increase it.

Stuart Dean added that as exports play an important role in the national economy, the Vietnamese business community will have more opportunities to expand with a modernised transport network.

Many US companies are preparing to help Vietnam achieve this by supplying professional skills and new technologies to help the country develop its human resources and increase its competitiveness in the global market. 

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