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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 6/8   2010-08-06 - VietNamNet/Xinhuanet

Thailand targets Vietnam in ASEAN rice firm bid


Thailand has unveiled a plan to hold talks with Vietnam on the establishment of a rice trading firm of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).


Thai Minister of Commerce Porntiva Nakasai was quoted by Bangkok Post Daily on August 5 as saying she would discuss the plan with her Vietnamese counterpart at an upcoming ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) meeting scheduled to take place in Vietnam from August 20-27.


She added that her counterparts from Laos and Cambodia have asked Thailand and Vietnam, the world’s two biggest rice exporters, to play a key role in the scheme, reported the daily website.


The initiative was raised by Thailand at an AEM meeting held in Bangkok in 2009, calling on major rice exporters in the 10-member grouping to join in to boost trade and stabilise prices of the regional staple.


Porntiva said the plan has been delayed due to a shortage of rice reserves and rice mills in some countries.


She reiterated her intention to put forward the issues at the upcoming AEM meeting in Vietnam, in order to materialise the scheme.


ASEAN groups Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.


Power supplies continue to be a problem


Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) on August 5 announced that power supplies this month would continue to face difficulties due to unpredictable weather patterns and repairs under way on many of the country’s thermal power plants.


According to EVN estimates, this month, the power sector could generate an average 300 million kWh per day, 1 million kilowatts higher than July, but the national grid had no capacity for reserves.


EVN said that by the end of July, although water levels in reservoirs in the north had improved, reservoirs in the central area of the country were still lower than average levels in previous years.


In particular, water levels in the Ialy, Tri An, Thac Mo and Ham Thuan reservoirs had been closer to levels at which hydro-power plants could no longer operate. The water level in the Tri An Reservoir was only 0.1m higher than dead level at which point it was no longer safe to operate turbines, while the difference at the Thac Mo Reservoir was just 0.5m.


Therefore, to ensure stable electricity supplies for production and consumer use, EVN had asked their hydropower plants in the north to accumulate water to as high levels as possible, continue increasing capacity of coal-and oil-based thermal power plants and buying electricity from China.


In the first seven months of the year, EVN produced 33.15 billion kWh and bought from abroad 21.70 billion kWh, an increase of 5.59 percent and 38.52 percent on the same period last year.


HCM City holds global marketing expo


HCM City
The country’s first-ever International Advertising Equipment and Technology Exhibition opened August 5 in HCM City.


The three-day event, Vietad 2010, has attracted more than 150 booths and nearly 70 domestic and foreign companies specialising in printing, electric signs, audio and lighting systems, and advertising products and services.


Dinh Quang Ngu, chairman of the Vietnam Advertising Association, told the opening ceremony the exhibition was an opportunity to promote the domestic advertising industry, which still lags behind the rest of the industrialised world.


The event also served as a platform for people who want to network and seek business opportunities.


The advertising industry’s annual turnover was estimated at 1 billion USD, of which foreign companies accounted for a large proportion, Ngu said, adding that most equipment and technologies for the industry in Vietnam were imported.


"Inexperienced and unprofessional domestic advertising enterprises still have very little opportunity to access advanced equipment and technology in this field," he said.


A job festival for the advertising industry and an exchange between youth and businesspeople working in the industry will be held on August 7 at the Phu Tho Indoor Sport Stadium.


The event is co-organised by the Vietnam Advertising Association, the Vietnam Printing Association, the HCM City Advertising Association and Dong Nam Advertising and Commercial Promotion JSC.


Dung Quat Oil Refinery sees capacity raised


Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has given the nod on the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group’s proposal of raising the Dung Quat Oil Refinery’s designed capacity.


Accordingly, the Dung Quat Oil Refinery’s designed annual capacity of 6.5 million tonnes will be raised to 10 million tonnes, said Dang Hong Son, Office Manager of the Binh Son Oil Refinery Company, which manages the Dung Quat refinery.


With the current 6.5 million tonne capacity, the 3 billion USD Dung Quat refinery can meet up to 30 percent of the needs for petroleum products in the country.


The plant is expected to satisfy higher petroleum needs and shape up the first oil refinery consortium once it runs with the expanded capacity.


Rolling out its first product on February 22, 2009, the Dung Quat refinery has to date produced such items as LPG, Propylen, non-lead petrol, kerosene, petrol for planes, DO and FO.


Singapore increases investment in Vietnam


Singapore’s investment in Vietnam has to date reached more than 17.3 billion USD, making it among the top five investors in Vietnam.


Singapore is also Vietnam’s fifth largest trading partner with two-way trade reaching 9.5 billion USD in 2009, said Vietnamese and Singaporean officials at a ceremony to mark the 45th anniversary of Singapore’s National Day in Ho Chi Minh City on August 5.


Pong Kok Tian, Singapore’s Consul General in HCM City, and Nguyen Thanh Rum, President of the Vietnam-Singapore Friendship Association HCM City chapter, highlighted the remarkable achievements in bilateral ties and expressed their belief that as ASEAN members, both countries will continue to strengthen cooperation in various fields.


Bilateral ties have developed well in the fields of economy, trade, investment, education, health care, and tourism. Singapore is currently one of the most attractive destinations for Vietnamese students.


Official vows to boost investment in Mongolia


A senior official of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has pledged to encourage businesses to invest in Mongolia in the principles of equality and mutual interest.


Tran Kim Long, Deputy Head of the MARD’s International Cooperation Department, made the statement at a business forum specialising in relations with Mongolia, held in Hanoi on August 5.


Long said the ministry would help businesses solve outstanding problems and develop solutions to boost bilateral trade and investment relations.


Chuluun Bayarmunkh from the Mongolian embassy emphasised that his country’s political stability and security made it ideal for foreign investment.


Foreign investment has been encouraged as an important factor to sustain the nation’s economic growth, said the diplomat.


Long-term agreements and financial stimuli for foreign investors, including tax reduction and exemption as well as policies in favour of exports, have turned Mongolia into a promising land for investors, he said.


The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), a forum co-sponsor, acknowledged that two-way trade revenues remained modest, at 9.8 million USD in 2009.


That figure is expected to rise to 10 million USD in 2010 with canned vegetables, groceries, sweets, cooking oil and veterinary medicine to be Vietnam’s major hard currency earners.


Vietnam boosts investment in Cambodia


Vietnam has so far run 63 projects in Cambodia with a total investment of 900 million USD, becoming the third largest investor in the country.


Projects involve finance, energy, aviation, telecommunications, agriculture and mining, generating jobs for 30,000 local people, said a workshop on Vietnam-Cambodia trade relations, held in Phnom Penh on August 5 with the participation of 150 businesses from the two countries.


Representatives of the Vietnamese Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Cambodian Trade Ministry introduced the countries’ investment incentives that are aimed at boosting bilateral trade relations.


In the past 10 years, two-way trade between Vietnam and Cambodia increased from 146 million USD in 2001 to 1.33 billion USD in 2009. Trade in the first half of this year reached 862 million USD, including 728 million USD from Vietnamese exports, up 34.2 percent over the same period last year.


Cambodia is one of Vietnam’s key investment destinations. According to the Vietnam Ministry of Planning and Investment, since July 2009 seven Vietnamese-invested projects have been licensed in Cambodia, with a total capital of about 400 million USD.

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