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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 2/8   2009-08-02 - VNN

Domestic coffee price up by VND300-400 per kilo


The domestic price of coffee on July 31 rose by VND300-400 per kilogram to VND25,500-25,600 per kilo as a result of soaring world coffee prices.


On July 31 alone, the price of coffee on the world market rose by US$14 per tonne, returning to the level of over US$1,504 per tonne. This means that in the last week alone, world coffee prices increased by a total of US$30 per tonne.


In the meantime, the domestic market has remained rather quiet as many speculators don’t want to sell coffee products for fear of short supplies and low profits.


In the first 7 months this year, Vietnam exported about 790,000 tonnes with a turnover of US$1.2 billion, according to the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association.


PM gives nod to int’l border-gate city in Quang Ninh


A project to upgrade the Mong Cai international border gate city in northern Quang Ninh province has been approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.


According to Decision No 99 issued on July 29, the current Mong Cai city will be turned into a second-tier Vietnamese city by 2020, with modern trade centres, retail malls and an integrated infrastructure system.


From now until 2020, resources will be prioritised for 26 projects to upgrade the city’s urban infrastructure including the traffic system, inter-provincial highways, bridges, ports and train stations.


Special importance will be attached to developing its river and seaports, including the completion of Van Gia port, which is expected to be capable of handling 5-7 million tonnes of goods per year.


Expected to house 175,000 people by 2020, the Mong Cai international border-gate city will be expanded in all four directions to reach Thinh Coong bridge, 15 kilometres to the west, Van Gia island to the south, Hai Son and Bac Son communes to the north and Tra Co, Binh Ngoc communes to the east.


The city is identified as the economic nucleus of the belt of northern coastal provinces and a locomotive to accelerate growth for the whole northeastern region. It is also expected to help boost socio-economic and cultural cooperation in the border region with China and develop services, tourism and international transport.


PM Dung also requested that municipal authorities discuss with leaders of Dong Xing, a southwestern city of China’s Nanning province, a joint project on a pilot border-gate economic cooperation zone.


The zone, which will operate under the jointly-set regulations on import, export and migration, is expected to boost trade and tourism between the two countries.




Vietnam, Indonesia discuss sea, fishing cooperation
A seminar on maritime and fishing cooperation between Vietnam and Indonesia was held on July 31 in Ho Chi Minh City.


The seminar, co-organised by the Indonesian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City and the Aquatic Resources Exploitation and Protection Department (AREPD) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), aims to exchange information on investment and the business environment in seafood fishing and processing.


It is also a chance for the two countries’ aquatic enterprises and fishing associations to meet with and learn more from each other’s experiences so as to boost cooperation. 


Addressing the seminar, Deputy Minister Vu Van Tam highlighted the effectiveness of the ASEAN Charter and agreements on continental shelf delimitation and cooperation on seafood and maritime affairs signed between Vietnam and Indonesia, which has contributed to promoting joint efforts between the two countries, especially in the seafood sector.


For his part, AREPD Director Chu Tien Vinh reviewed the changes in Vietnam’s seafood industry, noting that the continuous increase in the export value of seafood has helped Vietnam become the sixth largest seafood exporter in the world.


Last year, the country’s seafood export value reached US$4.5 billion, with products sold in 160 countries and territories around the world.


Vietnam’s seafood industry will seek out improved aquaculture production methods to ensure the safety of the marine environment, conserve and sustainably exploit aquatic resources and protect islands. 


Programme helps raise garment industry's competitiveness
The internationally-sponsored Better Work Programme began in southern provinces on July 30 to boost the competitiveness of the country’s apparel industry overseas.


This is a partnership between the International Labour Organization and the International Finance Corporation, which is aimed at improving the working conditions of more than 700,000 workers,

“The programme looks forward to working as partners with garment and textile enterprises, workers and the Vietnamese Government to create sustainable improvements in labour conditions,” said the programme manager, Tara Rangerajian.


“Our goal is to find practical solutions that will decrease costs for project participants, enhance factory competitiveness in international markets, and reduce poverty among Vietnamese apparel workers, their families and communities,” she added.


The programme helps apparel enterprises become more competitive through improving working conditions and labour-management relations, enhancing collaboration with buyers, and strengthening business processes.


Services include assessments of the attainment of international labour standards and national labour law, as well as customized advisory services and a range of training options for managers, supervisors and workers.


Vietnam is one of the first countries to pilot the programme.   


Plan to develop rubber plantations until 2015
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) held a conference in the Central Highland province of Gia Lai on July 30 to enforce the Prime Minister’s decision to develop the rubber sector until 2015 with a vision for 2020. 


By 2010, the country is expected to plant new 70,000 hectares of rubber trees, increasing the total area of rubber trees nationwide to 650,000 hectares. The export turnover of rubber will likely reach US$1.6 billion, and the processing capacity will increase to 220,000 tonnes.


By 2015, Vietnam will have another 150,000 hectares planted with rubber trees and by 2020, the total area of rubber trees will reach around 800,000 hectares, with an estimated export turnover of US$2 billion.


At present, almost every province is finding it difficult to turn many low grade forests into rubber plantations. Many delegates’ suggested that the MARD provide guidelines on how to maintain wood reserves in low grade forests.


Vietnam’s seafood industry plans to contribute about 25-30 percent of the GDP in the agro-fishery-forestry field and an export turnover of US$7-8 billion by 2020.


Pepper prices start to rise
International and Vietnamese experts have forecasted pepper prices on the global market may increase to US$5,000 per tonne due to inadequate supplies.


The surge in the price is attributed to the poor yield of pepper due to unfavourable weather condition.


Businesses exported huge amounts when the price was low and this was one of the reasons why they could not have enough reserves to take advantage of price hikes.


According to the Information and Statistics Centre at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam exported 65,000 tonnes of pepper in the first six months of this year, up 37.22 percent compared to the same period last year but earned US$149 million, down 10,89 percent.


The International Pepper Community estimates Vietnam’s pepper output to be highest in the world at 93,000 followed by India (60,000 tonnes), Brazil (37,000 tonnes) and Malaysia (22,000 tonnes).


Vietnam has just harvested 95,000 tonnes of pepper, 4.4 percent more than last year.


Chan May-Lang Co EZ attracts VND 31 trillion
The Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone (EZ) has, since its inception attracted 33 projects with a total registered capital of over VND 31 trillion (nearly US$1.9 billion).


According to the Zone Management Board’s report released on July 30, the investment capital includes US$1.4 billion from 10 foreign-invested projects.


The economic zone, established under the Prime Minister’s Decision 04/2006/QD-TTg, covers a site of 27,108 ha nearly 70 km southwest of Hue city.


The Thua Thien-Hue provincial authorities have spent a total of over VND 1.6 trillion on the infrastructure, mainly on transport, electricity, water supplies and telecommunications networks in the economic zone.


The Chan May-Lang Co EZ Management Board has adopted incentives in land lease and customs procedures to lure in more investors, including a 50 percent drop in income tax for high earners working there, including foreigners.


The board expects that the zone will work in unison with the Chu Lai, Dung Quat and Nhon Hoi economic zones to drive the economic growth in the central region.


Foreign contractors win multi-million USD power deals
Companies from the Republic of Korea, Japan and Singapore on July 30 sealed three deals worth hundreds of millions of USD in total with the Vietnam Machinery Erection Corporation (Lilama) to build and supply equipment for a thermal power project in the central region.


The Hyundai Engineering Co. Ltd from the Republic of Korea won a US$9 million contract to design the construction of the Vung Ang thermal power plant I in Ha Tinh province.


The Toshiba-Sojitz Corporation from Japan got the second contract, valued at US$112 million to supply 2-unit turbine and power generating system and supervise the assembly and test-running of the system.


The Yokogawa Engineering Asia Pte Ltd, based in Singapore, bagged a US$16.6 million contract to supply the entire automatic control system and to supervise the assembly and test-running of the system.


Lilama General Director Pham Hung unveiled the corporation’s plan to finalise the remaining small-sized contracts in August so as to put the first turbine into operation on schedule by August 2012.


Once completed in March 2013, the project is expected to generate 8 billion kWh annually.
The Vung Ang thermal power plant with a design capacity of 1,200 MW is a long-term investment by the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), which is part of the national power development strategy for 2006-15 with a vision for 2025.


Lilama is the project’s sole contractor entitled to farm out different packages to sub-contractors.

Tra, basa top seafood exports
Since the beginning of the year, Vietnam’s tra and basa fish has topped the list of seafood export items by shipping 264,000 tonnes to earn US$600 million, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.


Experts said that increased demand of both major and new markets have given a boost to tra fish exports.


This year’s demand for tra fish has increased by four times in Eastern European countries, by two times in Mexico and even by 10 times in some African countries compared to the previous year.


The US Department of Commerce has announced it will not impose anti-dumping taxes on six Vietnamese seafood exporters, paving the way for Vietnam’s tra fish to return to this market.


Egypt and the Netherlands have officially confirmed that Vietnam’s basa fish is completely safe.

To ensure sustainable development for tra fish breeding, processing and export, the ministry has asked localities to promptly attach bar codes to their products and build up suitable export plans with a focus on the US market.


The ministry has also requested the State Bank of Vietnam to create favourable conditions for breeders to receive loans under the Government stimulus programme.


Banking inspection, supervision agency set up
An agency, which will be in charge of inspecting and supervising banking activities, will be established following a recent government decision, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) said on July 30.


The agency will operate under the management of the SBV. It will help the SBV monitor compliance with law among small-scale credit and financial institutions, the banking operations of other institutions as well as combating money laundering.


The agency will also help the State Bank Governor negotiate and sign international agreements on exchanging information relating to possible money laundering and cooperate with other organisations and individuals to take anti-money laundering measures.


Its key duties and rights include evaluating risk assessment and analysis, and the risk management capacity and the financial situation of inspected and supervised entities; issuing warnings on risky practices for banking activities, anticipating possible violations of the law and suggesting measures to prevent and deal with breaches.


Building starts on Ly Son power station


Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) broke ground for the construction of the Ly Son Thermoelectric Plant, costing VND240 billion, on Ly Son Island off central Province of Quang Ngai on July 30.


Ly Son Thermo-power breaking ground ceremony is held in the Ly Son Island district’s commune of An Hai on July 30.


The National Assembly deputy chairman, Nguyen Duc Kien, attended the ceremony with the province People’s Committee representative.


The plant will to occupy six hectares with an operating capacity of six mega watts.


The plant will have two generators that will be online in 2011 and able to provide three million kilo watts per year each.


Ly Son is about 30 kilometers offshore Quang Ngai coast in the east, with a population of some 20,000. 


The residents, over the past few years have faced scarce power for daily consumption owing to extreme costs to operating the existing diesel power station.


Vietnam to host ABAC’s meeting


The third meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) in the year will be held in the central city of Da Nang from August 24 – 27.


This is announced by Hoang Van Dung, Permanent Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) at the press briefing on July 31.


Around 200 delegates being the leaders of regional leading economic groups, researchers and officials from 21 state members of APEC will attend this meeting, he said.


The meeting aims to agree to recommendations to be sent to APEC leaders and get ready for the dialogue between the APEC leaders and enterprises within the framework of the APEC Summit to be held in Singapore at the end of the year, Mr. Dung added.


In his opinion, the meeting is also a good occasion to publicise economic and tourism potentials of the central region in order to attract more investors in the region and in the country as a whole.


6,500 DWT tanker handed over


The Pha Rung Shipbuilding Industry Corporation officially handed over the 6,500 DWT oil and chemical-carrying vessel, Hong Kong Pioneer to the shipowner Heung-A Shipping Co., Ltd (Korea) on July 31.


This kind of vessel has complex structure and it requires high accuracy and techniques.


The vessel is 110m long, 18.2m wide and the water-line is 8.75m. Hong Kong Pioneer has a capacity of 7,300 m3 and the exploitation speed of 13 nautical miles an hour in total conformity with international conventions.

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