Thứ Bảy, ngày 26 tháng 7 năm 2014

BUSINESS IN BRIEF 26/7

Vinh Xuong industrial zone construction kicks off


The economic zone management board of the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of An Giang began construction of the first phase of the Vinh Xuong Trade and Industry Zone on Tuesday.


The 31-ha area, located in Vinh Xuong Commune, will built with an investment fund of VND148 billion (US$6.95 million).


The province will spend VND31 billion ($1.5 million) to build technical infrastructure across nine hectares in the first phase.


The construction is a key project for the 2014-18 economic zone development strategy for the provincial border area.


The construction aims to attract domestic and international investment to the trade and service sector, and boost trade between Viet Nam and Cambodia, while raising the standard of living for local residents.


Da Nang airport gets new cargo terminal


Da Nang has welcomed the addition of a new cargo terminal that is expected to receive up to five million passengers and 16,000 tonnes of cargo annually.


The terminal, which spreads over an area of 2,400 square metres, with 8,000 square metres allocated for parking, will also be able to accommodate five nine-tonne trucks at any given time. Authorities also say the airport will have the capacity to handle 100,000 tonnes of cargo annually.


Da Nang International Airport is now the third largest airport in Viet Nam, accommodating 150 flight arrivals and departures, 15,000 passengers and about 50 tonnes of cargo every day.


VN expects to sell entire annual rice yield


The Viet Nam Food Association (VFA), believes that the country’s rice yield of roughly 8.8 million tonnes this year will be sold out, thanks to an optimistic market.


According to Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times), VFA chairman Nguyen Hung Linh said that according to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the country this year estimated production of approximately 8.8 million tonnes of rice.


VFA has plans to export around 6.2 to 6.5 million tonnes of rice, besides around another 2 million tonnes of unofficial cross border exports to China, Linh said.


The amount of unofficial cross border rice exports cannot be checked so VFA has not listed that in its export plans.


According to VFA’s statistics, Vietnamese rice exporters from July 1 to 17 shipped 259,400 tonnes of rice worth of US$112.687 million. Asia was the largest rice exporting destination for Viet Nam’s rice so far in July with roughly 197,128 tonnes, or 76 per cent of Viet Nam’s rice exports. The Americas followed, accounting for roughly 40,747 tonnes, or 16 per cent of rice exports.


With the result, Viet Nam exported 3.26 million tonnes of rice worth $1.408 billion by July 17. Average rice exports so far this year stand at roughly $432 per tonne (FOB), up roughly 1 per cent per tonne from around $429 per tonne recorded over the same time last year.


To date this year, domestic rice exporters have signed contracts to sell 5.3 million tonnes of rice, of which more than 3.2 million tonnes have been delivered. They are now boosting rice purchase from farmers to deliver the remaining 2.1 million tonnes, which has helped push up paddy prices in the domestic market.


The price of paddy in the country’s rice granary of Mekong Delta region in the past week increased to VND5,550-5,650 per kilo from VND5,400-5,500 in early July.


A decision made by the Thai government to stop excessive sales, has also led to a rise in not only Thai rice prices but also global rice prices.


Viet Nam’s rice prices are no exception to this. The export price of Viet Nam’s 5 per cent broken white rice has increased to around $445 per tonne this week, up roughly 6 per cent from around $420 per tonne in the beginning of July 2014, and roughly 8.5 per cent from around $410 per tonne in June 2014.


For the rest of the five months this year, domestic rice exporters will have to win contracts for the export of more than 1 million tonnes of rice to meet the annual target of selling 6.2 to 6.5 million tonnes.


Indonesian news portal Tempo reported that according to the Bureau of Logistics (Bulog), Indonesia’s state-owned company that deals with food distribution and price control, Indonesia has recently finalised an import contract for around 50,000 tonnes of rice with Viet Nam.


Bulog fixed the contract at around 6,000 rupiah per kilo, or around 300 billion rupiah ($25.8 million), Bulog Director Sutarto Alimoeso was quoted by Tempo as saying.


Experts said that traditional importers are resuming negotiations to buy Vietnamese rice but are concerned about fierce competition from Thai rice. If Vietnamese rice prices are higher than that of Thailand, the importers will buy Thai rice, they said.


They are also concerned about a rise in a small volume of unofficial cross-border rice exports to China without export contracts, which can cause a little instability in Viet Nam’s rice exports.


To manage rice exports better, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh asked VFA to closely supervise and adjust rice exports, especially those via Chinese borders without export contracts.


Anh has also urged relevant ministries and bodies including MARD, Finance, General Department of Customs and Border Guard Force to issue unique policies to co-ordinate better with VFA in managing unofficial cross border rice exports.


Anh also called on rice exporters to target sustainable growth through the development of potential and high value markets.


HCM City sees export turnover rise


HCM City has maintained economic growth in the first seven months of 2014, with increases in wholesale and service turnover, and expansion of industrial production, heard a meeting to review socio-economic development of HCM City yesterday.


According to a report from the city’s People’s Committee, in the first seven months, total wholesale turnover of the city reached VND336.380 trillion (US$15.85 billion), a year-on-year increase of 12.8 per cent.


Despite difficulties arising due to China’s placement of the oil rig in the continental shelf of Viet Nam in May, the city’s export turnover rose to nearly $16.4 billion, up by 3.5 per cent over last year.


Major export increases were in pepper (up by 85.5 per cent); vegetables (48.5 per cent); machinery, equipment and spare parts (37 per cent); seafood (14.8 per cent); coffee (14.6 per cent); rice (11 per cent) and garments (8.4 per cent).


Meanwhile, the city’s total imports went down by 8 per cent over the same period last year, to $14.1 billion.


The city’s industrial production increased by 6.2 per cent over last year, with major increases (7.2 per cent) in mechanics, chemicals, electronics, plastics and rubber.


Foreign direct investment (FDI) totalled $1.1 billion, a year-on-year increase of 80.2 per cent.


In the same period, the city received nearly 2.4 million foreign visitors, up by 9.1 per cent over 2013.


Total revenue of the city’s tourism sector in the first seven months reached nearly VND52 trillion ($2.45 billion), an increase of 8.5 per cent over last year.


The chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, Le Hoang Quan, said despite difficulties and increases in fuel prices, the city CPI (consumer price index) rose by only 0.12 per cent, the lowest in the past few years, while the city’s exports and industrial production were on the rise.


These increases indicate that the city’s economy has developed well and has not been too dependent on overseas markets.


Tran Anh Tuan, deputy head of HCM City Institute for Development Study, said despite signals of stable economic growth, the city would face difficulties and challenges and needs to focus on support industries, diversify overseas markets for its imports and exports; and adjust its import and export structure to avoid being dependent on the Chinese market.


To score high growth and fulfill the targets of 2014, Quan asked the city’s Government agencies to focus on measures to put prices and inflation under control; to stimulate consumption; and to work with other localities across the country.


Quan asked agencies to increase revenue from taxation but to ensure good business and production for enterprises in the city.


He told agencies to enhance taxation from land resources, saying this is one of the major sources of revenue for the city’s infrastructure development.


Contractors banned from water project


Ha Noi People’s Committee has asked the Viet Nam Construction and Import-Export Corporation (Vinaconex) to prevent faulty contractors who participated in the construction of the city’s first water pipeline from building the second one.


In a document sent out on Wednesday, vice chairman of the committee Nguyen Quoc Hung asked the corporation to lay out a detailed plan for the second pipeline that would carry water from the Da River to Ha Noi from next month.


The 28km-long pipeline would run parallel to the current pipeline from National Highway 21 to the Ring Road 3, at a cost of VND1 trillion ($47.1 million).


Hung asked Vinaconex to carefully select qualified contractors to build the first part of the pipeline, which would run from the National Highway 21 to the Tich River within three months.


The rest would be completed within the next six months, he said.


Hung agreed with the corporation’s recommendation to use domestically-produced pipes manufactured from metal.


The city authority would supervise contractors chosen to build the second pipeline, he said.


The committee has required the city’s Construction Department to transfer the premises to the corporation this month. It also requested water supply units be ready to supply more than 80,000 cubic metres per day after construction of the first phase was completed.


The first water pipeline, that has been carrying water from the Da River to Ha Noi, has ruptured nine times since it was put into operation in 1997, exposing more than 70,000 households in the city to water shortages.


Investor Vinaconex has publicly apologised for the shortages and has since received the city’s approval to continue with the second pipeline project.


Foreign investors vital for economy


Viet Nam has committed to ensuring a favourable, stable and safe environment for foreign investors as they play a key role in the country’s import and export activities, a ministry official has said.


Speaking at a meeting held yesterday in HCM City, Tran Tuan Anh, deputy minister of Industry and Trade, said foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises had greatly contributed to the country’s socio-economic development, especially export turnover.


Last year, exports reached US$132 billion, up 15.4 per cent over 2012, of which FDI businesses accounted for 67 per cent of the country’s total export value, Anh said.


Leading export items from FDI firms included mobile phones, computers, textiles, footwear, machinery and spare parts.


Exports reached $70.88 billion in the first half of this year, of which FDI firms accounted for 67.5 per cent of the country’s total export value.


To date, there are 16,589 FDI projects in Viet Nam with a total registered capital of $239.7 billion.


South Korea topped the list in terms of number of projects (3,827 projects), followed by Japan and Taiwan.


Meanwhile, Japan topped the list in terms of capital with $35.7 billion,followed by Singapore and South Korea, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.


Anh said FDI businesses have contributed to the balance of trade, which helped the country achieve a trade surplus, stabilise foreign exchange and increase foreign currency reserve.


FDI firms achieved a trade surplus of $6.48 billion last year, up from $4.1 billion in 2012.


Also speaking at the event, Tran Thanh Hai, deputy chief of the Import-Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that FDI firms’ export growth had been 30 per cent year-on-year.


Foreign companies have helped to establish export-producing hubs that have adapted to each region’s feature, Hai added.


For example, FDI businesses specialise in making mobile phones and electronics in Bac Ninh and Thai Nguyen provinces and Hai Phong.


They make automobiles and motorbikes in Vinh Phuc Province. And they make electric wires and cables in Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Long An provinces.


FDI businesses have created more jobs, thus enhancing human resource quality and labour re-structuring.


FDI investment has had a positive impact on accelerating industrialisation and modernisation and integration in the global economy. It has also helped create significant capital for the economy.


Some high-quality services have been created such as tele-communications, international tourism, finance and banking, insurance, audit, shipping and logistics.


Meanwhile, there has been a rapid increase in FDI firms’ import turnover: from 43.5 per cent in 2010 to 56.71 per cent last year, said the ministry.


FDI businesses have not yet produced a great deal of high-value added and intensive products in Viet Nam. They also depend heavily on imported materials.


For example, mobile phones, electronics and automobiles are mainly assembled from imported spare parts; and apparel and footwear are just CMT (cut-make-trim) from imported materials.


FDI firms have not actually focused on technology transfer as committed. Also they have not contributed to support industries in Viet Nam, and they have not developed large projects on agriculture or projects in mountainous areas.


Besides challenges and solutions, the conference also discussed the outlook for FDI activities, implementation of the export-manufacturing plan, and challenges in policies related to finance and taxes, exports and imports, and customs procedures.


The event also discussed detailed recommendations on how to increase production and export of FDI firms.


Speakers said the country should focus on producing high-value exports with high value added.


It was also recommended to invest in production chains of materials, including fabric making, weaving and dying, footwear materials, high-class plastic materials, electronic components, and motorbike engines.


Speakers also recommended that Viet Nam enhance its value supply chain with companies in support industries. In addition, the country should continue to transfer technology and improve the local value content of Vietnamese products.


Investment in large-scale agricultural projects and food processing industry in rural and mountainous areas was also suggested.


There are 101 countries and territories with investment projects in Viet Nam.


Cat Lai Port acts on congestion


Sai Gon Newport Corporation has taken steps to curb overloading at Cat Lai Port – the main port in this southern city and the biggest in Viet Nam.


This includes increasing many fees relating to containers, from next month, and refusing to receive container goods from surrounding ports.


At present, more than 80 per cent of goods exported or imported through HCM City and neighbouring provinces go through the port.


Vice director general of the corporation, Ngo Trong Phan, told Hai quan (Customs) newspaper that in the last few months, the number of containers at the port had risen sharply, reducing the flow of goods and slowing down other port services.


In addition, a recent rule by the Ministry of Transport on controlling the load of vehicles on roads has forced transport firms to adjust their operations.


Some said they needed time to find more vehicles, so goods had to wait longer at port.


The new e-customs clearance procedures also allows an extral 300-350 containers into the port each day, while the number departing has fallen by up to 300.


Vice head of the Sai Gon Port Customs Division, Nguyen Thi Bong, said that more than 250 containers went through Customs’ scanning equipment each day, but only 200 containers could be unloaded.


Phan said that to reduce the time goods stayed at the port, the corporate had imposed higher fees.


He added that fees for frozen and dried goods staying at port for more than six days were now nearly doubled after this period.


From next month, Cat Lai Port will not receive containers from neighbouring ports in HCM City and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.


The corporation also plans to buy more cranes for loading and unloading goods and to expand its container terminal.


It also suggested shipping firms receive and deliver goods at Cai Mep Port if they had ships docked there instead of transiting through Cat Lai.


As reported in Hai quan newspaper yesterday, many import-export companies have complained about goods congestion at the port, time-consuming Customs-clearance procedures – and the new fees.


Animal feed exports increase 22%


Viet Nam exported US$205 million of animal feed and animal-feed raw materials in the first half of the year, an increase of 22.1 per cent year-on-year, according to the General Department of Custom.


During this period, China was the largest importer of Viet Nam’s animal feed and raw materials with an import value of $62.3 million, followed by Cambodia with $45.8 million, Malaysia with $26.6 million and Japan with $18.3 million.


Viet Nam’s companies have exported animal feed and raw materials to more than 10 markets, mostly in Asia.


The US was the only market outside Asia that imported Viet Nam’s animal feed and raw materials. The US imported $756,000 of Viet Nam’s animal feed and raw materials.


A large quantity of the exported animal feed and raw materials are being temporarily imported for re-export, Pham Duc Binh, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Animal Feed Association, was quoted as saying in the Nong Nghiep Viet Nam (Viet Nam Agriculture) newspaper.


Many companies have imported raw materials like soybeans and then re-exported them to other countries, he explained.


However, animal feed and raw materials produced in Viet Nam accounted for a significant amount of these exports, he said.


According to Viet Nam’s animal feed producers, Cambodia is the export market with the most potential for made-in-Viet Nam animal feed and raw materials.


Cambodia’s livestock sector is developing, but the country’s animal feed industry has not met domestic demand, they said.


Aviation sector needs HR rethink


The domestic aviation sector needs to totally rethink its human resources policy, which currently has failed to keep up with the sector’s growth, industry insiders said.


Inadequate and weak local human resources remained their biggest challenges, carriers said, adding that this has forced them to hire foreign employees who were paid much more than local employees.


At present, except for the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, all other airlines have to hire a majority of their pilots and engineers from abroad.


The online newspaper Vietnamplus.vn quoted Deputy General Director of VietJet, Nguyen Duc Tam saying that hiring personnel was a difficult problem for the aviation industry, which required special professional standards and services. Also, there were not too many local training establishments, he noted.


Director of Jetstar’s northern office, Duong Hoai Nam agreed. He told the online newspaper that it took time and money for airlines to retrain new recruits as most of them failed to meet the sector’s requirements soon after their graduation.


Experts also outlined the pressure on airlines to increase profits as another reason behind the sector’s personnel shortage. In fact, some carriers have cut training costs for higher profits.


Trinh Quoc Tuan, from the Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam (CAAV) advised airlines to pay more attention to training personnel, which was regarded as an important factor in ensuring safe flight operations.


In order to deal with the problem, the CAAV has joined hands with the Viet Nam Aviation Academy to train aviation human resources, considering it a breakthrough aviation transport development strategy by 2020.


According to the CAAV, Viet Nam’s aviation industry has made significant development in recent years, with domestic routes increasing to 53 in 2013 from only 31 in 2009.


From 2009 to 2013, the sector transported over 175 million passengers and 3.1 million tonnes of cargo, representing annual growth of nearly 17 per cent and 12.7 per cent, respectively.


Apart from Vietnam Airlines, VietJet and Jetstar Pacific, an additional 49 foreign airlines are operating on 71 international routes to Viet Nam.


Mekong Delta shrimp exports to rise


The Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta provinces expect US$1.3 billion from exports of shrimp in the second half of 2014, bringing earnings to $2.6 billion for this year.


The Steering Board for the Southeast Region, said that to increase export targets, the provinces planned to produce 214,000 tonnes of prawn in the second half for processing export products and 430,000 tonnes of prawn for the whole year, which is 4.6 per cent higher than last year.


Meanwhile, the region expected to produce 54,000 tonnes of white-leg shrimp and 16,000 tonnes of blue-leg prawn for export processing in the second half.


Shrimp producers in the region have developed under modern and environmental-friendly modes, including GlobalGAP, VietGAP and safe breeding regions to meet the demand for quality at home and the export markets, the board said.


The board said that in the first half of this year, the Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta harvested 285,000 tonnes of shrimp and earned $1.3 billion in export value.


According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in the first half of this year the total value of Viet Nam’s seafood exports rose 24.2 per cent to $3.45 billion, of which 48 per cent came from shrimps. It was in demand in the United States, the European Union and Japan apart from South Korea and China.


The total export value of seafood this year is expected to reach $6.9 billion, which included $3.5 billion from shrimp exports, similar to that of 2013.


Gov’t announces new regulations on forex transactions


All transactions and cash payments for exports and imports of goods and services must be conducted by bank transfers through authorised credit institutions.


This regulation was approved in the decree 70/2014/ND-CP, issued last week to replace decree 160/2006/ND-CP, detailing the Ordinance on Foreign Exchange.


The new decree will come into effect on September 5.


Accordingly, income in foreign currencies from exports must be transferred to foreign currency accounts opened in authorised banks. Exceptions must get approvals from the State Bank of Viet Nam.


The decree was also aimed at ensuring the liberalisation of current account transactions which said that both residents and non-residents are allowed to buy, transfer and take foreign currencies abroad for payment demands and current transactions.


They must present documents required by credit institutions when buying, transferring or bringing foreign currencies abroad, but are not required to show documents proving completion of their tax obligations.


Regarding the transfer of income in dong from foreign direct investments to other countries, foreign investors are allowed to buy foreign currency at permitted credit institutions and transferred abroad within 30 working days.


Authorised credit institutions must meet foreign currency demands of both residents and non-residents, according to the decree.


The decree said the exchange rate regime of the Viet Nam dong is managed by floating the exchange rate regime by the State Bank of Viet Nam, determined on the basket of currencies of countries which have trade relations, loans, debt payments or investments with Viet Nam in accordance with the macro-economic goals in each period.


Dalat Hasfarm opens first distribution hub in Da Nang


The country’s leading fresh flower producer and supplier, Dalat Hasfarm, opened its first distribution centre in Da Nang City today to meet increased demand from flower wholesalers and flower shops.


Located on Nguyen Huu Tho Street, the distribution centre offers domestically grown flowers as well as premium imported flowers and auxiliary floral products.


The company opened its first retail store in Ha Noi on July 21, while a distribution centre was opened in 1998.


The company provides 100 million flower branches a year, of which 65 per cent are exported, mainly to Australia, Japan, South Korea, the EU and the US.


Poor supervision over mining allows many to get rich


A lack of transparency in exploiting natural resources has resulted in large amounts of revenues from mineral exploitation flowing into the pockets of individuals instead of State coffers.


Speaking at a recent seminar on promoting transparency in nature management held by the People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) and Oxfam in Hanoi, an expert noted that loopholes in the mining law have been utilized for private gains.


Pham Quang Tu, team leader of the Advocacy Coalitions Support Program, said that the 2010 Mineral Law specifies a more transparent mechanism, awarding mining rights to the highest bidders, but the reality is far from that point.


In addition, under the law, many mines can still be licensed without auction. The reality shows that many mines are handed to enterprises without undergoing auctions, according to Tu.


In addition, if mines are put up for auction, valuation is not done and those offering higher prices are allowed for exploitation. Vietnam currently does not make mineral valuation but only rely on the volumes enterprises exploit to collect taxes.


Therefore, Tu asked how the annual exploitation volumes of enterprises could be controlled.


Dang Hung Vo, former deputy minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said that Vietnam has a committee for assessing the exploitation volumes of enterprises but assessments are mainly made based on the reports of enterprises.


Another issue which, according to Vo, has not received enough attention is the lack of transparency in mineral exploitation, leading to deforestation and pollution, affecting residential communities.


From the aspect of economic growth, Tran Dinh Thien, director of the Vietnam Institute of Economics, said that land and minerals are being overexploited, as seen in vast areas of forest being chopped down to build hydropower projects or the excessive exploitation of sand in rivers.


Vietnam has maintained the growth model based on mineral exploitation and product outsourcing and assembly for too long, resulting in unsustainable and slow development, he added.


According to economic experts, it is now time to boost transparency in mineral exploitation to share benefits among relevant sides, promoting economic growth and reduce negative implications.


Senior economic expert Le Dang Doanh said that State officials and enterprises are those benefiting from the lack of transparency.


Therefore, issues like exploitation license, exploitation volume, budget payments and impacts on the environment and the society should be publicized and supervised under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).


One of the principles to promote transparency is to create an effective management mechanism and cut red tape in management.


Linh Dam Lake development gets approval


Ha Noi People’s Committee has approved a plan to build a 147 hectare urban development area south of Linh Dam Lake to house 7,800 people.


A main feature of the project will be skyscraper apartment buildings 35 storeys tall.


The development will be the last of four new urban construction projects to be built in the area.


There is one north of the lake, another at Phap Van-Tu Hiep and a fourth one southwest of Linh Dam Lake.


The new urban area south of the lake is between Hoang Liet Ward in Hoang Mai District, Tam Hiep Commune and Van Dien Township in Thanh Tri District.


Much of the area has been set aside for parking lots, schools, kindergartens, hospitals, public parks and sports areas.


Ha Noi People’s Committee said that all high-rise buildings in the development must allocate at least two storeys for public purposes.


The highest buildings, which will reach 35 storeys, will be located in the centre of the area.


The committee will also invest in building social houses on 7.6 hectares, a commercial centre on 3.4 hectares and a hospital on 3 hectares.


Chairman of the committee, Nguyen The Thao, has asked the municipal Department of Planning and Construction to guide the Housing and Urban Development Corporation, the investor of the project, to quickly complete the planning of the project.


Southern Hydropower lists on HOSE


The Southern Hydropower Joint-Stock Company got on the board of the HCM City Stock Exchange (HOSE) yesterday after having received a license on July 14.


SHP, previously traded as UpCom, has chartered capital of more than VND937 billion (US$44.6 million).


It runs three plants in Lam Dong Province, with a combined output of 550 million kWh, with the largest one (338 million kWh) beginning operation earlier this year.


Last year, SHP achieved turnover of VND194 billion, up almost 10 per cent on the 2012 figure.


Its net profit was VND104 billion, showing an increase of over 14 per cent year-on-year.


This year the company expects a lower profit of VND78 billion, due to increased amortisation with the new plant having been put into production.


SHP, with a charter capital of VND937 billion ($44.4 million), posted a net profit of VND104 billion ($4.9 million) last year, up 14 per cent year-on-year.


The shares closed the first trading day up at VND13,800 ($0.65) per share, a rise of 15 per cent over the reference price of VND12,000 a share.


VN boosts exports to Australia


Viet Nam has seen a trade surplus of over US$924 million with Australia in the first half of this year, the General Department of Customs reported.


During the reviewed period, Vietnamese exports to Australia rose 24.3 per cent year-on-year, reaching $1.89 billion, it said, adding that a majority of Viet Nam’s exported goods to the market had enjoyed an increased turnover over last year’s corresponding period.


Crude oil took the lead with a value of $989 million, a yearly rise of 44.1 per cent. It was followed by mobile phones and components with $185 million, up 21 per cent and seafood with $105 million, up 36.5 per cent.


Notably, despite generating a modest export turnover of $19.3 million, steel and iron recorded the highest growth of 215.6 per cent compared with the same time last year. Other items experiencing encouraging growth, included confectionery, bags, wallets and suitcases, bamboo-made products as well as textiles and garments.


During the January to June period, Viet Nam imported over $971.56 million worth of goods from Australia, surging 37.3 per cent, with major imports including wheat, iron and steel scrap, materials for garment and footwear production, machinery, equipment and cotton.


The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Industry and Trade Information Centre said that the closer geographic distance as compared with other markets such as the EU and US, and the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), would facilitate Vietnamese exports to Australia.


With these advantages, Vietnamese enterprises should foster trade promotion to such potential markets with a focus on joining trade fairs and exhibitions to better advertise their products and services, the centre suggested.


PetroVietnam achieves H1 goals


The Viet Nam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) reached all targets in production and business for the first half of this year, according to the group’s press release yesterday.


The group said it produced totally 13.87 million tonnes of crude oil and gas in the first half of this year, 11.4 per cent higher than its target, including 5.39 million tonnes of gas and 8.48 million of crude oil used at home and abroad.


It produced 2.46 million tonnes of petrol and oil, an increase of 16 per cent compared with its target for the first half.


PetroVietnam increased 16.4 per cent in its total revenue for the first six months of this year to VND380 trillion (US$18 billion) against its target, or 57 per cent of the Government’s expectation.


Increase of crude oil volume from some fields at home did not reach its target, said PetroVietnam, adding that instability in the East Sea, slow recovery of many economic sectors and pressure on capital for existing projects would be challenges for the group in the coming months.


Therefore, in the second half of this year, the group would promote production and business, continue its restructuring plan – including withdrawal of capital from non-core businesses, equitisation and adjustment of its development strategy by 2015 and towards 2035.


It would continue to develop consumption markets for new products, including fibre and bio fuel.


This year, the group planned to produce 26.63 million tonnes of crude oil and gas, including 16.83 million tonnes of crude oil, produce 4.76 million tonnes of petrol and oil products and need VND100 trillion ($4.74 billion) in capital for implementing its projects.


PetroVietnam expected to gain a year-on-year increase of 6.8 per cent in its total revenue to VND673.3 trillion ($31.91 billion) for this year.


Woodcraft villages struggle to compete


Craft villages making wooden products in Viet Nam need to work closely and develop a distribution system to increase their domestic market share and challenge foreign products.


According to Nguyen Ton Quyen, General Secretary of the Viet Nam Timber and Forest Products Association, there were around 1,000 craft villages making wood products throughout the country.


However, not too many companies showed interest in the domestic wood market even though the local demand for wood products was rising.


Quyen said that with the rising demand for interior decoration from households, hotels, offices and new urban areas amid a recovery of the property market, the local market for wood products had good potential.


This seemed strange, considering the fact that Viet Nam was ranked sixth in the world for wood and wood exports with a turnover of US$5.3 billion last year and a presence in around 120 countries and territories.


Nguyen The Truong, Director of the Department of Rural Development of northern Nam Dinh Province, where around 20 villages with 300 wood processing companies were located, said local companies mainly used outdated machinery and simple technology in production due to their limited financial capabilities.


As a result, they mainly processed raw material for big companies and their products for local consumption were just basic designs, he said.


Ngo Sy Hoai, vice president of the Association of the Viet Nam Timber and Forest Products Association, said that local producers were unable to challenge foreign competitors who could, more easily, meet the demands of consumers opting for modern designs at reasonable prices.


“Local producers can see the potential in the market, but cannot compete due to higher production costs,” he said, pointing to the lack of distribution systems that added to the difficulty in expanding their presence in the local market.


Experts also said that promotional activities and application of e-commerce by trade villages in the distribution of wood products also remained weak.


The local consumption of wood products was still not focused and also lacked a consistent development strategy, said Vo Thanh Do, Deputy Director of the Department of Processing and Trade for Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Products and Salt Production.


While some villages coordinated with each other to specialise in production, unhealthy competition still existed during the sale, said president of well-known Dong Ky Wood Carving Village Association, Vu Quoc Vuong.


Deputy President of the Viet Nam Trade Villages Association, Trinh Quoc Dat said craft villages producing wood products should join hands to develop a nationwide distribution network to bring their products to local consumers.


In addition, renovation in materials, designs and quality were necessary to cater to consumer tastes.


The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development aimed to develop the local market for wood products to reach $4 billion by 2020 from the current $2.25 billion.


Mekong Delta targets 2.6 bln USD in shrimp exports

Exporters from the Mekong Delta are striving to rake in 1.3 billion USD from selling shrimp abroad in the latter half of this year, bringing the year’s export earnings from the product to 2.6 billion USD, or an annual rise of 2.2 percent.


Breeding farms have been expanded by 600,000 ha raising mainly black-tiger and white-legged shrimps in Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang, Kien Giang, Tra Vinh, Ben Tre, Tien Giang, and Long An provinces, according to the Steering Committee for the Southwest region.


The breeders have been advised to focus on renovating farming techniques and applying environmentally-friendly models such as the Global Good Agricultural Practices (GlobalGAP) and VietGAP certificates to produce high-quality products for both domestic and foreign markets.


In the first half of this year, they harvested 285,000 tonnes of shrimp, including 171,000 tonnes of black-tiger, which brought in 1.26 billion USD from abroad sales.


In 2013, Vietnam for the first time earned over 3 billion USD from shrimp exports, up 36 percent against the previous year. With this achievement, the country secured third place among the world’s shrimp exporters.


Shrimp exports to Germany soars 93 percent


Vietnam’s shrimp exports to Germany saw a robust growth in the first five months of 2014 with a turnover of nearly 51 million USD, up 92.7 percent from a year earlier.


According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the exports included nearly 62 percent from white-leg shrimp and 30 percent from black tiger prawn.


With a population of over 80 million, the largest European economy is forecast to see increasing demands for imported shrimp and other aquatic products in the future.


Vietnam is now the second largest supplier of frozen-shrimp for Germany after Thailand.


Statistics from the International Trade Centre (ITC) shows that, Germany’s 2013 shrimp import from Vietnam rose by nearly 4 percent compared to those of previous years, while those from Thailand went down 11 percent.


In the first half of this year, the national seafood industry posted 3.45 billion USD in export value, rising 24.2 percent over the same period last year, with 1.8 billion USD generated by shrimp exports, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.


Vietnam’s major export markets were the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Switzerland and the European Union.


Customs sector asked to intensify fight against smuggling


Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has required customs officials to strengthen their role in the fight against smuggling and trade frauds, in the context of increasingly complicated violations in this field.


Phuc, who is head of the National Steering Committee on the Prevention and Control of Smuggling, Trade Fraud and Fake Commodities, made the request at a working session with the Vietnam Customs general department in Hanoi on July 21.


He pointed to challenges the customs sector is facing, including the increasing complexity of violation cases, legal loopholes and the degradation of a number of customs officials.


The Deputy PM also stressed the necessity to reform institutions, increase the effectiveness of coordination between relevant ministries, sectors and agencies.


During the working session, members of the steering committee focused on difficulties faced by different sectors and localities and measures to deal with them.


Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Le Ba Trinh said that it is necessary to prevent fake products from entering the country right at border gates, while boosting awareness campaigns on the negative impacts of smuggling on the economy.


In the first half of this year, the customs sector uncovered nearly 9,000 cases involving smuggling, trade frauds and counterfeits, seizing goods worth nearly 170 billion VND (8 million USD).


Businesses optimistic about business climate


Despite some difficulties, businesses are optimistic about the business climate in Vietnam, the Vietnam Economic News quoted a recent General Statistical Office’s survey as saying.


The survey also indicated that 71.6 percent of responded businesses said they expected their revenues to increase this year; another 14.7 percent predicted their turnovers would remain unchanged and another 13.7 percent said they would see a decline in their revenues, compared with 54.1 percent, 9 percent and 36.9 percent for 2013, respectively.


According to the survey, 75.1 percent of businesses said their pre-tax profits would increase in 2014, while only 5.8 percent expected to remain stable, and another 19.1 percent said they would make lower profits than they did for 2013, compared with 46.4 percent, 10.9 percent and 42.7 percent respectively last year.


Meanwhile, 34.1 percent of businesses expected to increase their export revenues in 2014; 60.6 percent predicted their export value would hold steady; and 5.3 percent said their export earning would go down, compared with 26.6 percent, 61 percent and 12.4 percent respectively for 2013.


In term of capital, 60.8 percent of surveyed businesses said they would maintain their current level of investment this year; 33 percent expected to increase capital; and only 6.2 percent anticipated reducing it, compared with 55.3 percent, 30.8 percent, and 13.9 percent respectively for 2013.


Regarding to employment issue, 51.5 percent of responded businesses said they would maintain their current number of employees this year; 38.5 percent expected to increase their labour forces; and only 10 percent anticipated cutting staff, compared with 44.8 percent, 29.7 percent and 25.5 percent respectively for 2013.


The General Statistical Office also said that many Vietnamese businesses did not have adequate information on global market demand as 55.8 percent of them said they did not know or could not evaluate the current demand in the global market. This weakness had significantly affected the sustainability of Vietnamese businesses, particularly exporters, the survey said.


The General Statistical Office carried out a survey of 7,675 businesses currently operating in Vietnam including 237 state-owned enterprises, 6,812 non-state businesses and 626 foreign-invested businesses.


Kansai Desk set up to assist Japanese investors in Dong Nai


The southern province of Dong Nai has issued regulations on the operation of the “Kansai Desk”, which is established to provide necessary information to and assist Japanese investors in completing investment procedures.


Under the regulations, “Kansai Desk” is a unit under the Dong Nai Industrial Zone Management Board, responsible for receiving and responding to requests from businesses from Japan and particularly Japan’s Kansai region, by either direct meetings or emails and telephone.


It is expected to be bridge connecting Kansai region’s enterprises and local authorities.


Dong Nai is now home to nearly 1,100 valid foreign-invested projects with total registered capital of more than 20 billion USD.


Japan now ranks third among the foreign investors with 151 projects worth over 3 billion USD in total, mainly in support industry, electricity, electronics, health and telecommunications, according to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment.


Source: VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VIR



BUSINESS IN BRIEF 26/7

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