Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vietnam's Foreign Investment News Briefs

Swedish companies eye opportunities in Vietnam

Swedish companies see many potential business opportunities in Vietnam, said Swedish Ambassador Rolf Bergman while meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung in Hanoi on Oct. 27. 

The ambassador, who led a Swedish business delegation on a visit to Vietnam to seek business opportunities, said he was very impressed by Vietnam’s outstanding achievements in socio-economic development and poverty reduction over recent years. 

For his part, Deputy PM Hung said that Vietnam would welcome Sweden’s assistance in developing the application of technology in industry, agriculture and human resources training.

The delegation’s visit reflected the two countries’ friendship and Sweden’s desire to continue and build upon its long-term cooperation with Vietnam, he added. 

This cooperation is important for both countries to help ease their difficulties in the context of the on-going global financial crisis, he went on. 

Hung noted that the Vietnamese government is placing priority on taking measures to control inflation, stabilise the macroeconomy and to ensure social welfare. 

There are more than 70 Swedish companies currently operating in Vietnam.

Investors interested in IZs lying along Hanoi-Hai Phong road

A number of foreign investors are eyeing locations close to Hanoi and along the Hai Duong – Hai Phong corridor.

A number of foreign investors are eyeing locations close to Hanoi and along the Hai Duong – Hai Phong corridor, according to the latest survey by the real estate service provider, CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) Vietnam. 

A CBRE representative said that an industrial zone (IZ) corridor along the Ha Noi – Hai Phong line has been established thanks to the development of the economic areas in both Hanoi and Hai Phong cities. 

The corridor includes 10 industrial zones, hi-tech areas, heavy and light industry zones as well as several factories and industrial facilities located at large IZs such as Thang Long ( Hanoi ) and Dinh Vu (Hai Phong). 

Businesses renting premises in these IZs benefited from a host of preferential investment policies from the government as well as high-quality infrastructure, a stable rental period and low costs. 

Currently, almost all areas within the IZs in Hanoi and former Ha Tay (now Hanoi ) are being rented. 

According to CBRE, investors in IZ construction should investigate expanding the areas of IZs in the provinces of Hung Yen and Bac Ninh to meet the rental demand at IZs located along the Ha Noi – Hai Phong corridor and surrounding areas. 

Japan’s Sumimoto company is planning to commence operations in the Thang Long II industrial zone along the 5 and 39A National Roads in the province of Hung Yen. 

Once operational, the IZ is expected to attract a host of foreign companies, particularly Japanese businesses.

VinaSiam Bank to raise charter capital to 60 million USD

VinaSiam Bank, a Vietnamese-Thai joint venture, has been granted a permit by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to increase its charter capital to 1 trillion VND (60 million USD) later this year.

VinaSiam Bank was founded in 1995 by the Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (Agribank) and the Charoen Pokphand (CP Group) and the Siam Commercial Bank of Thailand. The bank has an initial charter capital of 20 million USD.

In late September, VinaSiam Bank was named the best provider of prime foreign exchange services in Vietnam for 2008 by Asiamoney, one of the leading international financial magazines in the Asia-Pacific region.

SBV previously permitted the Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A to open a representative office in Vietnam, bringing the number of representative offices of foreign banks in the country to 54.

FDI continues to flow in

Foreign investors poured two more billion USD into 68 new projects in Vietnam in October, bringing total FDI amount so far this year to 58.3 billion USD, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

The total investment capital in 10 months saw a 6-fold rise over the same period last year, despite a decrease in project number which totalled 953, equal to 83.3 percent of the figure one year ago.

In October, the nation also permitted 22 projects to add a combined amount of more than 169 million USD. 

FDI disbursement between January-October is estimated at 9.1 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 38.3 percent.

Foreign-invested enterprises reported a total revenue of 40.6 billion USD in the reviewed period, a year-on-year increase of 29.6 percent. The sum included 19.9 billion USD from exports.

Those enterprises generated an additional 16,000 jobs in October, bringing the number of workers in the foreign-invested sector to more than 1.43 million, a year-on-year increase of 15.5 percent.

However, experts urge the government to exert more efforts to increase capital absorption, focusing on large projects licensed in 2006 and 2007.

Vietnamese firms eye Chilean market

A delegation of 18 Vietnamese enterprises met with president Pablo Granifo of the Bank of Chile on October 25, one of the greatest commercial bank in the Latin American country, according to a local newspaper.

The Vietnamese trade delegation, led by Chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association Nguyen Chien Thang, has earlier participated in the “Chile-Vietnam Business Opportunities” seminar, El Mercurio online newspaper reported.

Members of the delegation include those working in the agriculture, tourism, textile, wood processing and wine industies.

In 2007, Chile exported goods worth more than 107 million USD to Vietnam and imported 55.1 million USD. The two-way trade between Chile and Vietnam is forecast to climb to 189 million USD this year.

Vietnam, Laos cooperate in addressing agricultural matters

Vietnam is seeking to further expand the scope of its cooperation with Laos in agriculture and rural development, particularly in areas such as technology, training, investment and trade, said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat.

Holding talks with Laos’ Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) in Hanoi on Oct. 27, Minister Phat and his guest agreed that between 2007 and 2008, the two ministries’ units and localities worked closely together in implementing joint projects in agriculture and rural development. 

Vietnam helped build a number of irrigation works for Laos, including Dongphosy and ThaphaNongpong, at a total cost of 17.8 billion VND (more than 1 million USD). The two countries jointly organised three bird flu prevention training courses in Laos and two additional courses for Lao officials in Vietnam. 

In addition, Vietnam presented 25,000 doses of vaccine, 2,000 samples of frozen sperm and two purebred Brahman bulls to Laos. 

According to MAF Minister Sitaheng Rasaphone, Vietnam-backed projects have yielded excellent results in Laos. “In the future, Laos wishes to receive even more support from Vietnam in these fields,” he said.

The two sides plan to continue strengthening cooperation in animal quarantine during 2009, through the exchange of information relating to cattle and poultry diseases. 

The two sides will increase their exchange of agro-forestry products and create favourable conditions for the two countries’ enterprises to increase cooperation in areas such as agro-forestry and sustainable forest exploitation and management.

Work begins on new industrial zone in Bac Ninh Province

Construction of the Nam Son-Hap Linh Urban - Industrial Zone in the northern province of Bac Ninh commenced on October 27 by the IGS Vietnam Co., Ltd. 

The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Vietnamese Deputy PM Nguyen Sinh Hung, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea (RoK) Jung Jang-Seon and a number of officials representing both countries. 

The urban –industrial zone, costing a total cost of 2 billion USD, occupies an area of 600 hectares, including 400 hectares for industrial development and 200 hectares set aside for a commercial center, schools, clinics, parks and a range of other public facilities. 

The initial stage of the project is expected to attract approximatedly 300 investors in the fields of new industry and advanced technology, such as electronic component production, food and consumer goods manufacturing. It will also create jobs for almost 50,000 workers.