Friday, January 18, 2008

Vietnam's Weekly Business Brief



Exports to US to hit 13 billion USD

Viet Nam ’s exports to the US are forecast to reach 13 billion USD or more in 2008, representing a yearly increase of 28 percent, said the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT).


Garment and textiles will continue to top the list of key hard currency earners as its export turnover is expected to attain 5.4 billion USD this year, surging 25.6 percent against 2007. The US is now Viet Nam ’s largest garment importer, accounting for 55 percent of the country’s total export turnover.

Seafood is expected to fetch 850 million USD, up 14.9 percent, while woodwork will bring home 1.1 billion USD, soaring 23.6 percent.

Around 120,000 tonnes of coffee will be shipped to the US this year, earning between 192-200 million USD.

The ministry also forecasts this year’s export turnover to the whole American market will reach 14.6 billion USD, a 25.2 percent increase over last year.

Viet Nam-Russia handicraft exhibition opens

An exhibition showcasing handicraft and art articles of Viet Nam and Russia opened in Ha Noi on January 16.

The event is a cultural exchange activity aiming at strengthening the traditional cooperation, solidarity and friendship between Viet Nam and Russia.

Attending the opening ceremony were representatives from the RCSC and the Centres of Science and Culture of China, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia and Mongolia.

The exhibition was jointly held by the Russian Centre for Science and Culture (RCSC) and the Viet Nam Handicraft and Art Articles Export and Import Joint Stock Company (ARTEXPORT Viet Nam).

Vietstarbank to be operational in May

The Viet Nam Star Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Vietstarbank) will officially begin operation in May.

The bank held the first shareholders’ meeting on January 16 after receiving the State Bank Governor’s approval for its establishment.

The meeting approved the bank’s charter and elected members of the management board for the 2008-2013 period.

With a chartered capital of one trillion VND, the bank has 28 shareholders, including three main shareholders. They are the Viet Nam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) which contributes 100 billion VND, the Tan Tao Industrial Zone Company (Itaco) (100 billion VND) and the Viet Nam National Chemical Corporation (Vinachem) (50 billion VND).

Viet Nam lauds IFAD’s decision to set up rep. office

A leading government official has applauded the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)’s decision to set up a representative office in Viet Nam , saying that the establishment would help make bilateral cooperation more efficient.

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung made the remark in Ha Noi on January 16 while meeting with the visiting IFAD President Lennart Bage.

Deputy PM Hung thanked the UN in general and the IFAD in particular for their assistance to Viet Nam ’s efforts in poverty reduction and socio-economic development.

He said Viet Nam would make full use of the benefits brought by IFAD-funded projects as well as international organisations’supports to improve living standards for local people.

Lennart spoke highly of the achievements made by the Southeast Asian country in the improvement of living conditions, particularly for those in poor rural areas. He said Viet Nam was a good example in carrying out development activities.

After the meeting, in the witness of Deputy PM Hung, Lennart signed an agreement with a representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to establish an IFAD office in Viet Nam .

Agreements on a non-refundable aid of 300,000 USD for Viet Nam’s rural development strategy and a 35 million USD business development programme for poor rural people in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre and the northern mountainous province of Cao Bang were also signed by the IFAD president and representatives from the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Finance.

Thanh Hoa: confectionery joint venture inaugurated

The KIKI-Lam Son Joint Stock Food Company, a joint venture between the Lam Son Sugar Joint Stock Company and Singapore’s KIKI Food Processing Group, was officially put into operation in central Thanh Hoa province on January 16.

The KIKI-Lam Son Joint Stock Company is capable of producing more than 3,000 tonnes of rice vermicelli and high-quality confectionery a year for both local market and export.

The 50-year joint venture has an investment capital of 2 million USD, of which the Vietnamese side contributes 49 percent and Singaporean side, 51 percent.

It has recruited 300 local workers.

Workshop explores Italy-Viet Nam cooperation possibilities

The Vietnamese Embassy joined with the Italian National Agency for New Technologies (ENEA) and the Italy-Viet Nam Friendship Association in Lazio held a workshop on January 15 to explore cooperation possibilities between Viet Nam and Italy .

Addressing the workshop, Chairman of the Italy-Viet Nam Friendship Association of the Lazio region, Franco Iachini, stressed that the association will continue supporting Viet Nam during its renewal (doi moi) process, particularly in addressing environmental pollution, food processing and dioxin/Agent Orange detoxification.

He affirmed that the association will serve as a bridge to foster the cooperation between the two countries in these fields.

Ambassador Nguyen Van Nam said he hoped the ENEA will assist Viet Nam in technology, power, environmental protection and food protection.

The ENEA said it is willing to receive Vietnamese students to study at the institute.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau ushers in new year with 1.35 bln USD in FDI

The year 2008 got off to a flying start for southern coastal Ba Ria-Vung Tau province as it welcomed three more foreign invested projects, bringing in a total of almost 1.35 billion USD in only the first two weeks of the year.

The province has vowed to maintain its place in the ten most competitive provinces in the country this year.

Addressing a meeting with foreign-invested businesses’ leaders in the province on Jan. 15, the provincial authorities committed to further simplifying administrative procedures and training human resources in order to create a better investment environment for foreign investors.

Last year, Ba Ria-Vung Tau was rated 8 th among the country’s provinces and centrally-run cities in terms of competitiveness, a remarkable jump from the 17 th place in 2006.

As a result, the province attracted 57 foreign-invested projects with a total capital of more than 1.2 billion USD last year, bringing the total number of foreign-invested projects to 196 with a combined capital of around 7.6 billion USD.

Company successful in producing coking coal

The Viet Nam-China Minerals and Coke Company in northern mountainous Cao Bang province has shipped it first batch of 100 tonnes of coking coal to its customer.

The company is a joint venture between China-based Xin Chang Cheng Coke Company, northern coastal Quang Ninh province’s An Sinh Company and Cao Bang’s Production and General Services Company.

It started building a 300,000-tonne-per-year coke production factory in Duc Xuan commune, Thach An district with an investment capital of more than 300 billion VND (18.7 million USD) on March 10, 2007.

The factory is now capable of turning out 150,000 tonnes of coke per year.

The successful production of coking coal meeting European standards will help supply enough materials for the provincial metallurgy industry.

Viet Nam Airlines aims at 1.43 billion USD in revenue

Vietnam Airlines, the national air carrier, plans to hit 22.8 trillion VND (1.43 billion USD) in revenue this year, a 12 percent rise over 2007, the carrier reported January 16.

The airline is set to carry more than 8.95 million passengers and 124,930 tonnes of cargo this year, up 12 and 8.5 percent respectively from last year’s figures.

Despite the rising cost of fuel and intense competition in both the domestic and international markets, Vietnam Airlines managed to register a positive performance in 2007 with a turnover of 20.37 trillion VND, a climb of 15.5 percent against the previous year. Its before tax profit in 2007 was around 370 billion VND, 6 percent higher than the year before.

Last year, the airline transported over 8 million passengers and 115,380 tonnes of cargo on both domestic and international flights.

However, Vietnam Airlines also reported that the number of flights that were delayed or postponed was 11,500 last year, or about 16 percent of its flights.

The carrier spent nearly 4.75 trillion VND (297 million USD) to expand its fleet last year, signing contracts to buy eight Boeing 878-8 airplanes, ten A350-900s, ten A321-200s and five ATR 72s, all to be delivered from now until 2020 under plans ratified by the Government.

Vietnam Airlines’ subsidiary VASCO – the Vietnam Air Service Co – carried 152,540 passengers and earned 104 billion VND in revenue last year.

US law firm opens office in HCM City

US-based Duane Morris LLP, opened an office in Ho Chi Minh City on January 16 as part of its expansion plans in the Asia-Pacific region.

It will offer consultancy on corporate, securities, mergers, and acquisitions issues, complex financial transactions, energy, environment and resources, and others.

Duane Morris LLP is one of the 100 largest law firms in the world.

Viet Nam-Russia handicraft exhibition opens

An exhibition showcasing handicraft and art articles of Viet Nam and Russia opened in Ha Noi on January 16.

The event is a cultural exchange activity aiming at strengthening the traditional cooperation, solidarity and friendship between Viet Nam and Russia.

Attending the opening ceremony were representatives from the RCSC and the Centres of Science and Culture of China, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia and Mongolia.

The exhibition was jointly held by the Russian Centre for Science and Culture (RCSC) and the Viet Nam Handicraft and Art Articles Export and Import Joint Stock Company (ARTEXPORT Viet Nam).