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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 29/3   2010-03-29 - VietNamNet/ND, VNA

Mekong Delta economic cooperation forum to be held annually


Vietnam will hold the Mekong Delta Economic Cooperation (MDEC) Forum annually following a recent government decision.


According to decision No 388/QD-TTg, MDEC, the forum is aimed at increasing cooperation amongst the centrally-run cities and provinces in the Mekong Delta region as well as creating closer links between the regions and other localities across the country, while promoting its image, huge potential and strengths.


The event’s organising board will include representatives of the South-Western Steering Committee (SWSC), the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the National Committee for International Economic Cooperation, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Government Office and numerous leaders from cities and provinces across the region, with the Deputy Chief of the SWSC holding the chair.


HCM City’s economy growing well


Ho Chi Minh City ’s economy has developed well in the first quarter of this year with a gain of more than 74.1 trillion VND in GDP, a rise of 11 percent over the same period last year.


Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Le Hoang Quan made these remarks at a conference on March 29 discussing the city’s socio-economic performance in the first quarter.


The rise was fuelled by increases of 10.5 percent for the services sector, 11.7 percent for the industrial and construction areas, and 6.2 percent for the agricultural sector, he emphasised.


“The city has for the first time in many years posted a GDP growth rate in the first quarter of the new year much higher than the last quarter of the previous year,” Quan said.


Regarding the GDP growth rate of over 11 percent, the municipal leader asked branches and sectors to continue to implement the set socio-economic targets and focus on measures to reign in inflation and mitigate its impact on the people.


He also requested that branches and sectors decisively halt the implementation of ineffective and unnecessary projects, as well as step up capital disbursement for projects.


Municipal businesses were called on to save energy and reduce input costs, to keep production costs low and ensure the competitiveness of their products.


At the meeting, HCM City authorities asked relevant agencies to deal with unemployment, traffic congestion, and food safety and hygiene issues effectively in addition to regulating the market to stabilise prices.


Footwear exports exceed 1 billion USD in first quarter


Vietnam ’s turnover from footwear exports reached over 1 billion USD in the first quarter of 2010, up 10 percent over the same period last year and coming third among the over 1 billion USD earners, after garments and crude oil.


According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), the EU continues to be Vietnam ’s largest importer of footwear with a turnover of 326 million USD in the first two months of this year, accounting for more than 48 percent of the country’s total. It was followed by the US and Japan .


At present, Vietnam ’s footwear products, mainly sports shoes, cloth and leather shoes and sandals, are exported to 50 countries and territories worldwide.


According to the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso), Vietnam now ranks fourth amongst the worlds 10 leading footwear exporters. In 2009, the turnover of the country’s footwear exports reached nearly 4.8 billion USD and is expected to increase to 5.6 billion USD this year, a rise of 17 percent over last year.


To boost stable growth and competitiveness in the global market, Lefaso’s Chairman Nguyen Duc Thuan has recommended that domestic businesses pay more attention to design, while producing products that are suitable to each market’s demand and tastes.


The association has suggested that the Ministry of Industry and Trade urgently build up a trademark and train more human resources for the footwear fashion industry in order to improve the value of the country’s export products.


Ministry seeks further extensions for equitisations


Following the tardy progress of equitisation of State-owned enterprises last year, the Ministry of Finance fears similar delays this year too and has said it will ask the Government to extend deadlines for further equitisation.


Only 65 enterprises were equitised last year compared to 349 in 2008. The Government had set a target of 714 in 2009 and 2010, including 65 large corporations with an average capital of more than 1 trillion VND (52.49 million USD), the ministry said.


Minister of Finance Vu Van Ninh blamed the slow pace on the large size of the companies involved, saying it usually takes a long time to select strategic investors, value their assets, and do other tasks, the Dau Tu (Vietnam Investment Reviews) reports.


The global economic crisis last year saw demand for securities take a hit, affecting the equitisation process, he explained.


“So we can not rush in and equitise at any price. The process should be implemented in the most effective way to avoid a loss of State assets,” he said.

The equitisation process reflects the Government’s decision to restructure the economy and would force enterprises to stand on their own feet or go bankrupt if they incur losses.


The Government had decided to reduce its stakes in small companies and sectors where it only needs to have a small presence so that it could invest in key sectors, he added.


The State Capital Investment Corporation, the Government’s investment arm, will focus on withdrawing State capital from 87 percent of equitised enterprises this year.


Last year it withdrew from nearly 300 enterprises, four times more than in 2008. According to a ministry report, 3,910 enterprises have been equitised under a process that began in 1992.


VND 1.3 trillion for a ring road around Phu Quoc island


The construction of a ring road around the Phu Quoc island started in Kien Giang province on March 27.


The road, 16.5 kilometres in length, 42 metres in width, has six lanes including four 3.5 metre wide motorised lanes and four bridges, with a total investment of VND 1.3 trillion.


It is expected to be completed within one year.


Vietnam Expo 2010 to open in Hanoi


The 20th Vietnam International Trade Fair (Vietnam Expo 2010) themed ‘Vietnam - A Great Opportunity for Trade and Investment’ will be held at the Giang Vo Exhibition and Fair Centre, Hanoi from April 14 – 17.


The fair will have 700 stalls from 17 countries and territories including Cambodia, Cuba, Taiwan, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the US, Russia, Czech Republic, Singapore, Thailand and China.


Of the 700 stalls, 400 are owned by the Vietnamese enterprises coming from 20 provinces and cities nationwide, where key export products such as agro-forestry and fishery products, food and foodstuffs, wood products and hand-made and fine arts products, garments and  leather and footwear products, electricals and electronics, sets of equipment, construction materials and interior decoration products and so on are on display.


In the framework of the fair, the talks between the Vietnamese and Nigerian businesses will be held in Hanoi on April 16.


Closure of gold trading overseas accounts extended for three months


The Prime Minister has allowed to extend the closure of the gold trading overseas accounts for three months as of March 30, 2010.


In implementation of the Prime Minister’s instruction, the Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam has issued the official document 10/2010/TT-NHNN on extending the closure of the gold trading overseas accounts until before June 30, 2010, thus creating conditions for units with these accounts to have more time to close their accounts in conformity with the development of the world gold price.


However, the operations of the domestic gold trading floors must be terminated by March 30, 2010, according to the Prime Minister’s instruction.


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Ministry seeks further extensions for equitisations   2010-03-29

Singapore’s franchises eye Viet Nam   2010-03-29

Footwear exports exceed 1 billion USD in first quarter   2010-03-29

HCM City’s economy growing well   2010-03-29

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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 28/3   2010-03-28

India urged to invest in VN agriculture   2010-03-28

Prices of essentials to be stabilised   2010-03-28