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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 17/10   2010-10-17 - Viet Nam Net

Vietnam attends APEC food security meeting

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Bui Ba Bong is attending the first ministerial meeting on food security of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) that opened in Niigata prefecture, Japan , on Oct. 16.

The Japan-initiated meeting is aimed at building and strengthening cooperative ties on food and agricultural policies.

During the two-day meeting, the 21 APEC member economies are expected to produce a ministerial declaration and an action plan aimed at preventing food shortages, according to Kyodo News.

Key items on the agenda of the meeting are sustainable development of the agricultural sector and the facilitation of investment, trade and markets.

Participants will also discuss how to cope with climate change and natural disasters, Kyodo added.

APEC accounts for over 40 percent of the world’s population and contributes about half of the world’s GDP.

State to develop fertiliser plan

The control of fertiliser production and distribution systems, to be approved this month, is expected to benefit both farmers and businesses.

Speaking at a conference on Oct. 12 outlining fertiliser production development for the next 10 years, the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade (MIT), Nguyen Hai Nam , said fertiliser is a strategic product that helps ensure national food security.

Although the Government has cooperated closely with the Vietnam Fertiliser Association in planning fertiliser production and quality, farmers are still faced with shortages and "price fever" when demand soars before planting, said Phung Ha, head of MIT’s Department of Chemicals.

Secretary of the association Nguyen Hac Thuy said there has been no clear development strategy for the fertiliser industry and that demand is unpredictable.

According to the association, farmers lose 1.2 trillion VND (60 million USD) each year due to the low-quality and fake fertiliser products.

This year, the nation’s demand for fertiliser is forecast to reach 9.1 million tonnes, but domestic production can satisfy only 60 percent of this.

A report from An Giang University’s Economics Faculty claims farmers have to buy fertilisers at prices 30-40 percent higher than those offered by producers. They often have to buy low-quality products from small firms because State authorities can only supervise large fertiliser companies.

Ha said one of the reasons fertiliser prices are often unstable was that distribution systems develop spontaneously. Products come to farmers through many middlemen.

Ha said when planning is approved, fertiliser distribution systems will develop based on the establishment of agricultural economic areas, demand in each area, the characteristics of local economic activities and farmers’ purchasing practices.

Under the plan, from now to 2015, fertiliser distribution centres will be set up in Lao Cai, Phu Tho, Bac Giang, Hai Duong, Ninh Binh, Nghe An, Da Nang, Binh Dinh, Dac Lac, Lam Dong, Long An, An Giang, Can Tho and Kien Giang.

Ha said to make planning more efficient, State agencies should change their ways of management. He added that producers must be granted certificates setting out conditions for business required by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Otherwise they should not be allowed to trade.

He said this would help weed out small-scale companies using old technology and those producing low-quality fertiliser.

Unitel launches 3G services in Laos

The Star Telecom company (Unitel) has launched 3G mobile services in 17 cities and provinces of Laos, General Director of the company Nguyen Duy Tho announced on October 15.

Unitel’s 3G network took the lead in Laos with 500 base transceiver stations, 13,000 km of optic cables and a stable speed of 7.2Mbps, Tho said.

It provides diverse packages at economical prices, giving over one million households in Laos a chance to access the Internet with ADSL.

Unitel also offered high-speed broadband Internet access services, MobiNet for mobile phones, and Uni 3G for desktop computers and laptops as well as video calling and online music.

Unitel is a joint venture between Laos’ Lao-Asia Telecom company and Vietnam’s military telecom group Viettel.

Commercial pilots to be trained in Vietnam

The Vietnam Airlines Corp. and the Bay Viet (Viet Flight) Flight Training Joint Stock Company have made a deal to train 60 pilots in Vietnam during the 2010-2012 period.

Under the contract, signed in Ho Chi Minh City on October 14, every 72-week training course will be held in Vietnam and France, each with 20 trainees. The training courses will be completed by the end of 2012.

Vietnam Airlines estimates it will need at least 636 pilots by 2010, 60 percent of them Vietnamese. To raise the rate of Vietnamese pilots to 75 percent by 2015, the carrier plans to recruit at least 100 extra pilots a year to raise the number of pilots by 10 percent during 2011-2020.

The Chairman of Vietnam Airlines Corp Nguyen Sy Hung said that the contract with Bay Viet, the first pilot training centre in Vietnam to have an Air Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL), will help the airline to take the initiative and train its own pilots, cutting costs and raising efficiency.

The deal also proves the airline’s commitment to its domestic partners to implement its strategy on personnel development to ensure sustainable growth and fulfill its plans to develop the country’s aviation industry.

Bay Viet’s General Director Nguyen Nam Lien, said the company will start four other pilots courses for other airlines in Vietnam and around the region in 2010 and 2011.

In the first phase, Bay Viet will work with Vietnam ’s Aviation Academy and provide flight training at Cam Ranh Airport in Nha Trang.

These are the first important steps in the setting up of a pilots training centre to ensure the aviation industry’s development in the future.

Japan finances waste treatment project in VN

Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) and Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on October 15 signed a contract to build a waste treatment system to generate power in Soc Son district in Hanoi.

Covering an area of one hectare in Nam Son waste treatment complex, the system will have an incinerator with a capacity of 75 tonnes of waste per day and generate 1.2 MW of electricity.

The pilot project has a total investment of 21 million USD, of which 17 million USD was contributed by Japan and the remaining by Vietnam’s state-owned Urban Environment Company (URENCO) as investor.

Using advanced Japanese technology for the first time, the project will be carried out from 2011-2012, contributing to environmental protection and sustainable development in Vietnam.

Bac Ninh hosts festival for outstanding entrepreneurs

A conference on creating an action programme for young people just starting their careers was held in Bac Ninh province on October 15 as part of a festival for outstanding entrepreneurs.

The conference was jointly organised by the Vietnam Business Association (VBA), the Thanh Giong Portal, the Bac Ninh Young Business Association, and the Hanaka Group to mark the anniversary of the Vietnam Youth League (October 15) and Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day (October 13).

At the conference, young business people shared ideas about success strategies and obstacles, finding sources of capital, using human resources, and ideas for marketing and distributing of products and services of newly established businesses.

Vietnam Military Bank to open branch in Laos

Vietnam Military Bank (MB) was licensed on October 14 to open a branch in Laos with an initial capital of US$12 billion.

Speaking on this occasion, the Lao Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Thongmy Phomvisay pledged to create the best possible conditions for the MB to operate.

MB’s President Le Van Be thanked the Laotian State and Government for their help and promised to serve customers as soon as possible for the benefit of economic development in Laos.

MB has a charter capital of around US$272 million and property worth US$5 billion.

Tra export forecasts lowered

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has reduced its October forecast for tra fish exports from US$1.38 billion to US$1.35 billion 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 US$4.81 billion, lower than earlier estimates.

The new tax rate, far in excess of nay 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 lower possible.

VASEP said the DOC had agreed to let Vietnamese tra exporters until October 26 to submit documents relating to their exports if they wanted the draft tax rate reviewed.

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