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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 15/10   2010-10-15 - VietNamNet/VNA

Vietnamese companies penetrate Cambodian market

A trade fair showcasing Vietnamese and Cambodian industrial products will take place in the Cambodian capital city of Phnom Penh from December 15-18.

When addressing a press briefing on October 15, Vice Chairman of the HCM City Mechanical Engineering Association, Pham Ngoc Tuan, said that the event will help Vietnamese businesses to promote their products and seek out new markets in Cambodia .

With almost 350 stands, the fair is divided into two themes, one of which is being run by the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce, focusing on exports from Cambodian provinces.

The other will introduce international industrial products, not only from Vietnam and Cambodia but also from other countries such as Japan , Singapore , China and Thailand . The area will be administered by the HCM City Mechanical Engineering Association and the Dang Khoa Trade, Investment and Services Promotions Company.

At the event, Vietnamese products will be showcased in 100 stands, including mechanical engineering, information technology, transportation, construction and the biochemical’s industry.

According to the organising committee, the Vietnamese and Cambodian governments have signed a number of economic agreements, which have created the best possible conditions for Vietnamese businesses to expand their operations in the Cambodian market.

Market surveys in Cambodia showed Vietnamese products account for a substantial amount of the country’s market share. However the availability of industrial machinery and equipment is still limited.

Tra export forecasts lowered

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has reduced its October forecast for tra fish exports from 1.38 billion USD to 1.35 billion USD following plans by the US to impose an anti-dumping tax of 130 percent on the fish.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said the country’s total seafood export value this year would be 4.81 billion USD, lower than earlier estimates.

The new tax rate, far in excess of any previous dumping tariffs imposed on Vietnamese seafood exports in the last eight years, was agreed at the sixth administrative review by the US Department of Commerce (DOC).

In pervious DOC reviews, most Vietnamese exporters enjoyed a tax rate of just 0.52 percent – the lowest possible.

VASEP said the US department’s ruling is unjustified and that it was based on the price of raw materials imported from the Philippines , not from Bangladesh as was previously the case.

The 130-percent anti-dumping tax rate will be imposed on Vietnamese tra exporters, such as Vinh Hoan, Vinh Quang, Agifish, ESS LLC and South Vina from March 2011.

Nguyen Ngo Vi Tam, deputy general director of Vinh Hoan, said her firm will reduce exports of tra fish to the US and increase exports to other markets as a result.

VASEP said DOC has given Vietnamese tra exporters until October 26 to submit documents relating to their exports if they want the draft tax rate reviewed.

Vietnamese firms eager to invest in Cuba

Cuba has become increasingly attractive to Vietnamese investors following changes to the country’s trade policies that are designed to attract foreign firms in the service and production sectors, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s American Department.

Nguyen Xuan Khien, the department’s head, said Cuba is particularly looking for real estate investors.

He said Cuba has begun actively looking for foreign investment at the beginning of this year, mostly in the fields of tourism, plastic packaging, paper processing, mining and foodstuffs.

Khien said investors in golf courses would be permitted to rent land for 99 years.

Dang Xuan Cuong, from the Vietnam Food Industries Company, said his company is looking into Cuba , which is a new market for his firm.

Last month, the Vietnam Northern Food Corporation signed a contract to sell 200,000 tonnes of rice to Cuba .

Every year, Cuba imports about 400,000 tonnes of rice from Vietnam .

Despite the latest trade incentives, exporters are still facing difficulties, such as late payment, Cuong said.

He said his firm often receives payment 300-500 days after the goods are delivered.

Because of continued late payment, Cuong said his company has to export goods to Cuba through a firm in a third country that paý more promptly.

However, he said Cuba had an attractive investment climate and that Vietnamese firms should closely study this new market.

To boost trade relations between the two countries, the Ministry of Industry and Trade plans to hold an investment forum in Havana , the country’s capital. Particular emphasis will be on sectors such as information and technology, rice, footwear, garments and pharmaceuticals.

Visiting Indian pharmaceutical firms seek local partners

Seventeen Indian pharmaceutical enterprises on Oct. 14 met with HCM City partners during a trade-exchange programme to seek more opportunities in the field.

The companies produce a wide range of pharmaceutical goods, including health food and veterinary medicine.

Pharmaceuticals are one of the major products that India exports to Vietnam .

Two-way trade between the two countries was more than 2 billion USD in 2009, with an annual growth of 20 percent.

From 2008-10, the Vietnamese pharmaceutical industry increased turnover by 12 percent annually.

Last year, the industry sold around 700 million USD of drugs on the local market. The rest, which amounted to 50 percent of sales, was imported medicine.

Vietnam also exported 40 million USD worth of drugs last year, an increase of 20 percent compared to 2008.

However, the local pharmaceutical industry is expected to continue to produce only basic medicines, and will not manufacture specialised drugs for heart or cancer diseases.

Most of the raw materials are imported from China (25 percent) and India (21 percent).

Last year, Vietnam spent 1.17 billion USD on imported medicines.

Demand for medicine per capita increased from 6 USD in 2001 to 16.5 USD in 2008, and is expected to reach to 25 USD in 2015.

HCM City hosts ports, logistics confab

The Vietnam Container Ports and Logistics 2010 conference offers delegates the opportunity to exchange information on port and logistics management and operations amid the global economic recovery.

Speaking at the two-day conference which opened in HCM City on Oct. 14, Vuong Dinh Lam, chairman of the Vietnam Maritime Administration, set out the ambitious agenda: Foreign and local firms discuss a comprehensive plan to develop shipping and ports in Vietnam .

In the last two years, despite the economic crisis, port and logistics operations in the country were encouraging due to the Government’s effective economic management and the efforts of the maritime sector, he said.

From handling 197 million tonnes of freight in 2008, the sector’s output increased to 251 million tonnes last year, he said.

From 1,199 vessels weighing 4.38 million DWT in 2007, the county’s fleet increased to 1,598 ships and 6.3 million DWT last year, he said.

The target for the maritime industry by 2020 is to be the largest component of Vietnam ’s sea-based economy which is expected to contribute 53 percent to 55 percent of GDP, he said.

The Government continues to promote maritime administrative reform and is drafting legal documents and strategies that comply with the country’s laws and international conventions, he said.

Vietnamese companies provided an insight into infrastructure and port development around the country to support cargo transport.

Executives from major industry players like Antwerp Port Authority, Maersk Line Asia Pacific, and the International Association of Ports and Harbors, NYK Line Vietnam , Maersk Vietnam , Cai Mep International Port , Sai Gon New Port , Global Maritime and Port Services, APL-NOL Vietnam , and YCH Group gave presentations and held panel discussions.

They were joined by officials from the Ministry of Transport and the Vietnam Maritime Administration.

There was a pre-conference workshop on Practical Strategies to Optimise Port Operations, Planning and Logistics highlighting strategies for sustainable port development and addressing the demands of efficient container and general purpose terminals.

Military bank opens branch in Laos

The Lao Ministry of Planning and Investment granted an investment licence to the Vietnam ’s Military Bank (MB) to open its branch with an initial capital of 12 million USD, on October 14.

Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Thongmy Phomvisay welcomed MB’s presence in Laos and pledged favourable conditions for the bank as well as other Vietnamese businesses operating in Laos .

MB Vice Chairman Le Van Be expressed thanks to Laos for creating conditions for the bank to open its branch in Laos and promised to provide best services to the clients.

MB currently has 272 million USD in charter capital and total asset value of 4.9 billion USD.

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