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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 27/12   2010-12-27 - Viet Nam Net

Aquatic breeding helps reduce poverty


Aquatic breeding is becoming one of the major production sectors which will contribute to the restructuring in agriculture and poverty reduction, according to the Directorate of Fisheries.


At a meeting to review the performance of fisheries sector in 2010 in Hanoi on December 24, the directorate’s Deputy General Director Pham Anh Tuan, said aquatic breeding is widely developing in many localities towards large-scale farms.


Breeding of seafood species which bring in high export values, including shrimp, basa and tra fish has been encouraged with large investment.


In the 2006-2010 period, aquatic breeding area and output posted average increases of 3.7 percent and 27 percent per year, respectively.


In 2010, the nation’s aquatic breeding area is estimated at 1.1 million ha and output, nearly 2.8 million tonnes.


Besides, the country also netted 2.4 million tonnes of seafood in 2010.


Vietnam has also actively cooperated with foreign countries in this field, Tuan said.


This year, the country took part in several seafood forums organised by FAO, implemented the issuance of certificates of seafood exported to EU market and coordinated with the WWF to remove tra fish from the red list in some European countries.


The country also worked with China to manage vessels’ activities following the Vietnam-China agreement on Fishery Cooperation in Tonkin Gulf and implemented an MOU on fishery cooperation with Myanmar.


ADB helps Vietnam’s small- and medium-sized businesses


The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Hanoi on December 24 signed a loan contract to assist the 2nd programme to develop small- and medium-sized businesses and part of the 3rd programme in finance field, all worth US$100 million.


The programmes aim to stabilise the financial situation and develop the sector, including stock market and bonds, as well as strengthening laws and regulations to reinforce transparency and protect investors and consumers.


The loan will provide credit for investment activities in the country to support economic growth, help the stabilisation of financial sector by increasing competitiveness, reducing risks and minimising disadvantages for poor people caused by the financial crisis.    


The ADB Country Director for Vietnam, Ayumi Konishi, emphasised that the measures proposed include creating favourable conditions for issuing bonds, strengthening transparency and state management, increasing capacity of controlling companies’ risks and providing other forms of assistance to Vietnamese Government.


National gold exchange to be set up


The National Financial Monitoring Committee (NFMC) has submitted to the Government a project to set up the National Gold Exchange based on the proposal of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV).


The exchange is expected to be located in Hanoi and HCM City.


“The establishment of the Gold Exchange will help investors trade in gold methodically under the risk control of the State. The exchange is also a place where managing agencies can supervise, regulate and intervene in the market”, said NFMC Vice Chairman Le Xuan Nghia.


Under the project, the State Bank of Vietnam will establish a joint stock company to monitor and manage the operation of the exchange and build a technical infrastructure system to manage gold trading activities professionally and modernly. Investors will buy and sell gold under the form of certificates.


Many experts said this proposed project will help stabilise, manage and develop the gold market better as well as further promote the role of the capital source in economic development.


The Gold Exchange will ensure the equity in the market and avoid raising prices and creating fevers that cause damages to the economy, said Nguyen Manh, Head of BIDV’s Capital and Capital Business Department.


The State will supervise flows in the gold market more easily, he added.


According to Tran Quoc Quynh, a senior expert of the Vietnam Gold Business Association, in the context of increasing demand on gold investment, the establishment of the National Gold Exchange will create a safe and effective investment channel.


Sugar mills get a caning because of over-planning 


Farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta have had a bumper sugarcane harvest, but 10 sugar mills in the area are facing a shortage of materials as they had planned to process a larger volume this year.


For the 2010-11 season, farmers in the Delta planted 49,000ha of sugarcanes, expecting an output of 3.2 million tonnes.


However, the region's 10 sugar mills planned to process a total of 4.6 million tonnes.


The price of sugarcane in Hau Giang and Soc Trang provinces has increased from VND850 a kg at the beginning of the harvest season in October to VND1,200 a kg.


With an average output of 100-220 tonnes per ha, farmers said they earned a profit between VND70 million to VND110 million (US$3,600-$5,600).


To avoid unhealthy compet-ition for the 2010-11 season, the region's sugar mills had committed not to buy young sugarcane before it is ready to harvest. However, some of the mills have not kept their promise but bought unripe sugarcane from fields where they are not allowed to buy.


Some sugar mills from other provinces come to Hau Giang Province, the Delta's largest sugarcane cultivation area, to buy sugarcane, including unripe plants, according to Can Tho Sugar Joint-Stock Company, which has been allowed to buy sugarcane in Hau Giang Province only.


The Can Tho Sugar Joint-Stock Company has invested about VND5-7 billion a year for farmers in Hau Giang Province to maintain the cultivation area at 13,000ha, accounting for nearly one-fourth of the Delta's total sugarcane area.


Vo Van Son, deputy general director of the Can Tho Sugar Joint-Stock Company, has asked the Viet Nam Sugar and Sugarcane Association and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to develop measures to penalise those who do not keep their promises or make purchases from their assigned areas.


The Delta's sugar mills have faced a severe shortage of sugarcane as the total area under cultivation in the region has fallen in recent years.


Last season, the Delta planted 67,000ha of sugarcane, compared to 49,000ha this year.


Five nations remove VN’s tra fish out of red list 


Five European countries have removed Vietnam’s tra fish from the Red List in the consumer guide published in six European countries, said Nguyen Huu Dung, deputy chairman of Vietnam Association of Seafood Exports and Producers (VASEP). 


The five countries carrying out the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)’s pledge  include German, Austria, Norway, Belgium and Denmark.


In a meeting between WWF and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, one week ago, the WWF also recommended consumers buy tra fish from Vietnam.


This move has been accompanied by Vietnam’s commitment to apply the WWF’s ASC standards to sustainably ‘tra fish’ development.


Vietnam will ask the WWF to remove Vietnam’s tra fish from the Red List in Sweden, said Mr.Dung.


Fruits, beverage consumption up 50 pct ahead of New Year


The consumption of fruits, confectionary, food and beverage has seen a significant rise of 30 to 50 percent in recent days, said the shop owners in Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh City.


Shopping at the supermarkets in HCMC before the Christmas Eve also surged.


Nguyen Huu Tuan, an administrator of Citimart Chu Van An, said the consumption of goods on Christmas Eve increased by 20 percent, raising its revenue to VND500 million (US$25,564) per day.


Certain types of meat, such as fried chicken, chicken balls, and smoked pork, are especially in high demands during these days. The sales of such products were boosted by as much as 40% at the Co.op Mart chain stores.


The recent sharp rises in demands for consumer goods have caused noticeable price hikes in some products. The price of Heineken beer, for example, has gone up by VND30,000 ($1.5) for a 24 pack to VND360,000 ($18,47).


Some shop owners in Phu Nhuan District said they have just been notified by suppliers that the prices of most soft drinks will increase by VND10,000 (51 cents) per carton.


Brazil may impose 35 pct import tax on tra fish


The Brazilian government is set to impose a 35 percent import tax on Vietnam’s tra fish after they included it in a “special list”, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP).


VASEP said the “special” listing happened because tra fish did not meet certain technical and quality standards for the fish.


In May, Brazil's National Council for Fisheries and Aquaculture (NCFA) asked its government to cut imports of Vietnamese tra fish to protect Brazilian fishery industry.


NCFA added that tra was cheaper than the white fish raised by Brazilian farmers, and that consumers' preference for tra threatened Brazilian farmers and processors.


In mid-August, Brazil's Ministry of Fisheries asked the country's agriculture ministry to include the tra fish in Brazil's Importation Threat Analysis Program, which would have entailed a temporary ban on the fish.


Vietnam exported 538,201 tons of tra fish in the first 11 months of the year, fetching nearly $1.2 billion. This year's export turnover is expected to reach $1.4 billion.


Recently, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has agreed to remove Vietnamese Pangasius from the red list in its 2010-2011 guidance manual for consumers in European markets in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway, and Demark.


Brazil National Council of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Exploitation had also complained earlier that Vietnamese tra fish was bred in unsafe environment, but available at big supermarkets in Brazil, according to an August report released by the Vietnam Business Forum.


Report rates most productive companies


The report Vietnam's Most Productive Companies 2010 was released on Thursday by Profiles International, a global company specializing in employment evaluations and management assessment tools for human resources.


The report is divided into two parts: the top 10 factors that drive productivity for the companies, and a list of the most productive companies.


"We wanted to know what made great companies great, and what it was about them that allowed them to thrive," said Rick Yvanovich, national director of Profiles International Vietnam.


"We knew that if we could determine those factors that drive productivity for these great performers, we could help other companies thrive as well."


The top five people factors that drive productivity are a performance-driven culture, effective managers, optimal employee utilization, high employee effectiveness, and encouragement of innovation.


The top five strategic and operational attributes of the most productive companies include technological sophistication, financial sophistication, operational sophistication, effective distribution channels, and marketing and brand sophistication.


"Too often business leaders look at perennial performers and decide that there's some magic formula that makes them great. But this report tells us that there are particular steps that companies can take to increase productivity," says Dario Priolo, managing director of Profiles International Research Institute.


The report has conducted studies of human capital productivity with 550,000 workers in 551 companies in 21 industries and 12 sub-industries, including automotive, chemicals, construction & real estate, construction materials, consumer goods production, electrical and telecommunications, farming, financial services, food processing, furniture and wood processing, garment & footwear, good trading, plastic manufacturing, rubber and paper products, manufacturing, natural resources, post & telecommunications, printing and publishing, software and IT, tourism and hospitality, transport services and others.


Vietnam, Russia expect $3 bln in trade in 2012


Two-way trade between Vietnam and Russia is expected to reach US$3 billion by 2012, according to the Vietnam-Russia medium-term action plan in trade and investment.


Annual average bilateral trade has reached $1.8 billion over the past three years.


Vietnam exported garment, footwear, tropical agricultural products, seafood and handicrafts to Russia while importing petroleum, fertilizer, chemicals, machines and equipment from this European market.


Speaking at a workshop on supporting exporters to the Russian market held in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday, many businesses said that when entering Russia, an open market with many hidden risks, businesses have to face competition in both goods and investment.


Nguyen Quoc Thang, a representative from the Constrexim Trading Investment & Construction JSC, said while exporting goods to the Russian market, his company has met obstacles in payment mechanisms as well as tariff and non-tariff barriers.


Sharing views with businesses, Nguyen Ngoc Quan from the European Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that to support businesses which conduct import-export activities with Russia, the ministry will strengthen the organization of seminars, dialogues and information exchange between the two countries’ localities and businesses as well as build financial support policies for trade promotion program in Russia.


Booming VN telecom sector earns trillions


The telecom sector is expected to earn revenue of VND200 trillion (US$10 billion) in 2010.


The figure was released at a conference to review the implementation of the telecom and Internet development plan to 2010, in Hanoi on Thursday.


Addressing the conference, Permanent Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Le Nam Thang affirmed that in the reviewed period, the telecom sector had a rapid development step, becoming a spearhead economic sector of the country with an average annual growth rate of 30-40 percent.


The country has 162 million telephone subscribers or 189 telephones per 100 people, including 91 percent mobile phone users. The number of people using the Internet has hit 26 million or 31 percent of the country’s population.


At present, Vietnam has 11 network infrastructure enterprises and 81 Internet service providers. They are operating well in the domestic market and have begun to invest abroad. The military firm, Viettel, has invested in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Haiti and Mozambique, while the National Post and Telecom Group has opened a representative office in the US.


India’s look east to growing Vietnam


Vietnam is one of the key factors in India’s “Look East” policy, affirmed Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Ranjit Rea.


At a seminar on opportunities for exports to the Indian market, held in Hanoi on Thursday, Ambassador Ranjit Rea said India would do its utmost to support and create favorable conditions for Vietnamese businesses to export to India.


India will provide Vietnamese exporters with free-of-charge pavilions at the first India-ASEAN Business Fair slated for March 2011, said the Indian diplomat.


In the 2011-2012 fiscal year, India will actively implement measures to promote trade in Vietnam and encourage Vietnamese businesses to open representative offices in India.


According to Ranjit Rea, India has always been one of Vietnam’s top 10 trade partners in recent years. Two-way trade reached US$2.3 billion in the first 11 months of the year, with Vietnam’s exports to India representing more than $863 million, a year-on-year rise of 39 percent.


Vietnam’s trade deficit with India has decreased from $1.58 billion in 2008 to $657 million in the past 11 months.


Apart from agricultural products, Vietnam has diversified its export items to India – clear evidence of positive impacts of the India-ASEAN free trade agreement on the two countries’ bilateral trade.


Ranjit Rea also suggested Vietnamese businesses export products like cement, floor tiles and electronic products that are in high demand in India.


For his part, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Thanh Bien emphasized the importance of exchanging information on the two countries’ trade policies.


He said he hoped both countries would open a direct air route in the near future.

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