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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 16/4   2009-04-16 - VietNamNet/VNA

Banks bankroll northern hydro-electric power plant

Four domestic commercial banks signed with the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) on April 15 a contract on a 2.6 trillion VND loan for the Ban Chat hydro-electric power project in northern Lai Chau province.

The loan providers included the Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (Agribank), the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), the Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank), and the Global Petro Commercial Joint-stock Bank.

Of the total, Agribank has committed 1.46 trillion VND with a 13-year maturity and a 3-year grace period.

The 220 MW Ban Chat project is being built at a cost of more than 8.6 trillion VND on the Nam Mu river.

Scheduled to be operational in the first quarter of 2012, the plan will supply 1.3 billion kWh to the national grid each year, and help regulate water flows for the lowlands.

German programme helps develop small, medium enterprises

The Vietnam-German Small and Medium Enterprise Development Programme (SMEDP) has met most of its set targets and the results sustainable, said a German expert.

Speaking at a conference in Hanoi on April 15 to review four years implementing the programme, Axel Mierke, an independent consultant and Guenter Riethmacher, Director of the German Organisation for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), agreed that the success of the programme has also been seen in effective cooperation between local experts and the programme coordinators, as well as the strong commitments of local partners to reform for future development.

The SMEDP, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and implemented by GTZ and the Ministry of Planning and Investment, aims to improve the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Vietnam.

The 8.3 million EUR programme has been carried out in four selected provinces of An Giang, Dak Lak, Hung Yen and Quang Nam from May 2005 to April 2009.

It consists of four closely interrelated components, namely applying policies to create favourable business environment for SMEs, developing local economy, developing value chains to improve competitiveness of selected sub-sectors, and applying advanced technical services and materials.

Basing on the Vietnamese Government’s policies on developing the private economic sector, the programme suggested several useful measures to contribute to SMEs development plan. Especially, it helped the four projected provinces to build business web portals and introduced the model in 10 other provinces. It also held over 30 forums on public-private dialogues on the Enterprise Law and the Investment Law.

According to Axel Mierke, many localities have asked for continuation of the programme. However, for higher effectiveness, the expert proposed that the programme should select localities in the same region to allow good cooperation and facilitate the building of a common approach. The private sector should be encouraged to take part in providing services for their faster growth.

In its national socio-economic development strategy, Vietnam always attaches importance to SMEs’ sector role and position. Making up 97 percent of the total number of the country’s enterprises, SMEs make great contributions to GDP and exports. In particular, they provide jobs to over 1 million people a year.

Nigerian businesses show interest in Vietnam

A delegation of representatives of 30 Nigerian companies, led by Minister of Commerce and Industry Achike Udenwa, will visit Vietnam from April 19-25 to seek business opportunities.

These companies operate in oil and gas, energy, electricity, electronics, agricultural products, food, pharmaceuticals, garments, plastics, finance and banking, printing, mining, telecommunication, maritime, transport, construction, mechanics, auto and beauty care products.

During its stay in Vietnam, the delegation, including leaders from Nigerian ministries and agencies, will attend a seminar on investment and business cooperation between the two countries to be held in Ho Chi Minh City on April 20 and in Hanoi three days later.

“The event will be a follow-up of the successful Investment and Business Forum between the two countries in Hanoi late last year,” said Pham Van Cong, Vietnamese Commercial Counsellor in Nigeria .

The seminar will offer an opportunity for Vietnamese and Nigerian businesses to exchange experiences and boost cooperation as well as realise agreements reached during last year’s forum, he added.

According to Cong, Nigeria is an African market with great potential that attracts a large volume of Vietnamese goods and serves as a gateway for Vietnam to enter into West African countries.

Early this month, 35 Nigerian businesses came to Vietnam to attend a bilateral trade promotion seminar. Speaking at the event, Charge d’ Affaires of the Nigerian Embassy in Vietnam Sani Bako affirmed that the Nigerian Embassy always facilitates Vietnamese businesses’ application for visas to study investment and trade opportunities in Nigeria.

He also stressed that Nigeria wishes to speed up agricultural cooperation with the Southeast Asian country.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, two-way trade between Vietnam and Nigeria reached over 105 million USD in 2008 with import and export staples including rubber, electric products, footwear, plastics, handicrafts and fine arts, construction materials, raw cashew nuts, fruits, cotton and minerals.

“Businesses and Community” awards make debut

The presentation of “Businesses and Community” awards will be held for the first time in June 2009 under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Trade Promotion Department.

The organising board said that it will present three awards – “Businesses for the community”, “Entrepreneurs for the community” and “Products for the community”- to about 100 enterprises.

The selection of outstanding businesses will be based on criteria such as their effective operation, the fulfillment of business responsibilities in addition to their contribution to environmental protection and humanitarian work.

Vietnam, Brazil see increasing trade

Trade between Vietnam and Brazil has been surging recently, with their two-way trade value marking an increase of 12.9 percent to 118.9 million USD in the first quarter of the year.

The figure included Vietnam’s export earnings of 46.98 million USD, representing a year-on-year rise of 28.9 percent, the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade has said.

The Southeast Asian country shipped mostly footwear, fibre, bike tires, and garment bags to Brazil, renowned as the largest economy in Latin America.

In the reviewed period, Vietnam imported maize, soyabean oil, frozen chicken and beef, timber, tobacco, cotton and cow skin from Brazil valued at around 71.7 million USD, which showed a slight increase of 4.4 percent over the same time last year.

In 2008, Vietnam and Brazil traded 534.595 million USD, a surge of 65.3 percent from 2007.

Alpine Biomed to set up plant in Vietnam

Alpine Biomed, a developer of specialty diagnostic devices, is planning to double its manufacturing capacity and expanded its worldwide network by opening a new facility in Vietnam.

Located in Ho Chi Minh City, the new factory will produce and distribute medical devices that are used in diagnosing gastroesophageal reflux disease, reported the Pharmaceutical Business Review.

Alpine Biomed's new facility is one of the first US-headquartered companies in Ho Chi Minh City to receive medical device quality management system certification from the International Organization for Standardisation.

The manufacturing center will export diagnostic devices to customers throughout the world and employ approximately 100 people.

John Arnott, President and CEO of Alpine Biomed, said: "Our new facility in Vietnam is another key component of our strategic plan to become one of the world's leading specialty diagnostic device companies.”

“It is a state-of-the-art facility featuring the most advanced technologies that connect our manufacturing centers around the world to provide our customers with the highest-quality devices that diagnose a range of gastrointestinal and neurological disorders,” he said.

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