Vietnam among 12 high-growth markets in Asia
Vietnam is now listed among Asia’s 12 high-growth markets, according to UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).
UKTI held a conference in London on February 9 to introduce to UK businesses investment opportunities in the 12 high-growth and newly-emerging markets in Asia, including Vietnam.
Business Secretary Vince Cable of the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, who recently visited Vietnam, explained reasons why UK Businesses should seek investment opportunities in these 12 markets, namely Vietnam, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, the Republic of Korea and Thailand.
Significant business opportunities for UK companies were highlighted across a number of sectors including buildings and the environment, education, energy health, digital media, and transport.
At the conference, entrepreneurs were introduced to the favourable factors of these markets. UK businesses consider Vietnam one of the most dynamic and fast growing economies in Asia, with a large, young population.
According to a recent report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Vietnam’s growth rate is forecast to reach 8.8 percent by 2050, surpassing India and China.
Apart from strong political relations, Vietnam and the UK established a strategic partnership in 2010 and opened direct air routes from Hanoi and HCM City to London in December last year.
In the first nine months of 2011, UK businesses exported goods worth £225 million to Vietnam, up 4 percent from a year earlier.
State Audit to examine land issues
The State Audit of Vietnam has made public its audit plan for this year, with a focus on land use management, mining and social security.
Under the plan, auditing State budget spending will be the top priority, followed by ODA-funded projects. The audit will also cover management and use of capital allocated from the budget to State-owned enterprises and financial and banking organisations.
“The focus dovetails with the requirements of the National Assembly and the Government for restructuring the economy,” said National Assembly Economic Committee Vice Chairman Mai Xuan Hung.
Hung pointed out that land use-related violations have weakened the economy and need to be audited as a basis for measures to improve the situation prior to upcoming amendments to the Land Law.
This year, the State Audit plans to carry out 155 audits, an increase of 2.6 percent over last year, with 11 new special areas, including poverty reduction programmes and electricity subsidies to the poor.
The State Audit also aims to improve the quality of auditing and to provide the Government an exact and comprehensive picture of the economy, said Deputy State Auditor General Le Minh Khai.
Last year, the State Audit conducted 151 audits, saving the State over VND4.8 trillion (US$228.6 million).
Investors urged to raise Vietnam’s image in Cambodia
Vietnam and Cambodia will create a more favourable legal environment for their businesses to invest in each other’s territories.
Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh made the statement after working sessions with Cambodia officials during his working visit from February 9-12.
We will also increase management to ensure our investment projects prove effective, helping raise the profile of both Vietnam and Cambodia and strengthen the long lasting friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries, said Vinh.
According to Vinh, Vietnam’s investment in Cambodia has officially begun, with large-scale projects getting off the ground since 2009 in such areas as aviation, finance and banking, post and telecommunications, industrial plants, and exploitation of mineral ores. To date, its total investment in Cambodia has reached US$2.3 billion, ranking second among 50 countries and territories investing in the country.
However, Minister Vinh acknowledged that some Vietnamese businesses are operating inefficiently, affecting the fine relations between Vietnam and Cambodia. This is also the major issue which delegates from both countries debated during the visit, to reach a consensus on the amended contents of the Investment Encouragement and Protection Agreement signed in 2001.
Vinh said relevant agencies of the two countries will revise legal documents and submit to their governments in the first half of this year.
During the visit, leaders of Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment and Cambodia’s Ministry of Planning signed a protocol for 2012 to strengthen cooperative relations between the two ministries and devise policies for both countries’ socio-economic development.
Doctor proposes straight-line route for airliners
A member of the Vietnam Economic Science Association has proposed a project which he said could enable the national carrier Vietnam Airlines to reap profits by flying between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in a straight line.
In the project titled “A profitable business plan for VNA under Tran Dinh Ba Methodology,” Dr Tran Dinh Ba writes that if the current air routes are replaced with straight routes passing through the airspace of Cambodia, and Laos, VNA could save a great deal of fuels, and make huge profits.
Ba said the new air route would bear the cost of only 5 percent of the total expense to pay the transit fee in Laos, and Cambodia, but could gain back 20 percent.
“Particularly, with the initial investment of US$3 million, VNA can annually save up 65,000 tons of fuels, 12,000 flying hours, and reap profits worth $120 million, while Laos and Cambodia also earn $25 million from transit fee collection,” Ba said.
In response, the Ministry of Transport said it will chair a meeting with relevant agencies next week to consider Ba’s proposal.
Earlier in March, 2009, Mai Trong Tan, a retired pilot, also sent a proposal to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietname for a direct route connecting Hanoi and HCMC by passing through the airspace of Laos and Cambodia.
The proposal had been discussed in many seminars and conferences, after which the Prime Minister put an end to the discussion and research regarding the proposed straight air route.
ADB committed US$730 mil to power transmission network
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Vietnam on February 10 signed the first tranche of a US$730 million investment program to upgrade the country’s power transmission network.
The program will help improve delivery and meet growing demands from industry and households.
Signatories were State Bank of Vietnam Governor Nguyen Van Binh and ADB Vice-President Stephen P. Groff.
“To keep the economy powering forward, the country needs a stable, steady supply of electricity. Upgrades in power generation, transmission, and distribution capacity, as foreseen under the Investment Program, will remove bottlenecks, reduce transmission losses, and ensure the safety and quality of the electricity supply, allowing the lights to stay on and the economy to keep growing,” said ADB Vice-President Stephen P. Groff.
As Vietnam’s economy grows, so does demand for power. Demand is expected to continue its current growth to average 14 percent per year from 2011-2015, and then 11 percent per year until 2020.
Although Vietnam has made remarkable progress in expanding access to electricity, many communities – mainly in rural and mountainous areas – are not yet connected to the grid. Without additional network expansion, the share of urban and rural populations without electricity is expected to increase, particularly among populations with lower income.
The multi-tranche loan facility for the Power Transmission Investment Program begins with a first payment of US$120.5 million. The program supports the construction of almost 648 kilometers of 500 kilovolt (kV) lines and more than 100 kilometers of 220 kV lines, plus upgrades to associated substations, and training and other support for the National Power Transmission Corporation.
Ensuring that the industrial sector – which consumes more than half of the country’s electrical supply – has a reliable source of power is paramount to maintaining the economic growth momentum needed for further poverty reduction.
ADB funds are expected to be released in four tranches, with the first loan from ordinary capital resources having a 25-year term. The program is scheduled for completion in 2020.
Lending rates expected to drop
Most bankers agree that lending rates will fall further this year, having eased by one percentage point compared to the month before Tet.
Lending rates now vary among banks depending on their scales.
The lowest rates are offered by state-owned commercial banks, at around 17 percent a year. Meanwhile, large joint stock commercial banks offer rates of 18 percent – 21 percent per annum while smaller ones charge a yearly interest rate of 19 percent – 23 percent.
Since late last year, the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) has set lending rates at the maximum level of 15.5 percent a year for exporters, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and the agricultural sector.
ANZ Vietnam has also launched a US$160 million (VND3.376 trillion) credit line aimed at supporting those SMEs involved in agriculture and textile and garment or seafood industries. The rate applied by the bank for these clients is one to two percentage points lower than the market average.
According to an executive of Vietnam International Bank (VIB), his branch the lowest lending rate is about 18 percent yearly and the highest is 21 percent.
He noted these levels had dipped over 1 percent against the pre-Tet period as his bank now focuses on healthy corporate clients to avoid credit risks.
The banker predicted borrowing costs from the second quarter would continue to cool down because the money volume injected by the central bank over the past few months had gone up sharply and deposits from the public had bounced back after Tet.
“Lending rates can be pulled down if the central bank is determined to implement the road map to merge weak banks and if all lenders agree to revise down the rates,” he said.
Tran Anh Tuan, general director of Nam A Commercial Bank, said his bank was lending at an annual rate around 19 percent for normal loans, adding the rate would ease to 16.5 percent – 17 percent for potential borrowers.
However, there are few customers enjoying this preferential rate given the bank’s limited capital source, which means it has yet to reduce the rate as soon as expected.
With a credit growth of 15 percent – 17 percent set for this year, Tuan said he would set aside 20 percent of current capital to serve exporters, enterprises in supporting industries and SMEs in accordance with the whole banking industry’s orientation.
Trinh Van Tuan, general director of Orient Commercial Bank (OCB), said most loans at his bank were charged at 19 percent – 20 percent per annum, a slight fall from previous times. His bank needed more time to reduce the rate further, he said.
The National Financial Supervisory Commission’s vice chairman Le Xuan Nghia said the lending rate would fall substantially this year because liquidity at small credit institutions had improved.
Bao Viet Securities in a recent report forecast lending rates would gradually shrink to 15 percent -16 percent per annum at the end of the year.
The stock broker predicted the rate decline would steadily follow slowing inflation and the fund mobilization capacity of the banking system, especially small lenders.
The exchange rate will be stable this year given ample supply of foreign currencies, according to economic experts.
They said optimistic signs on the exchange rate that emerged in late 2011 would continue this year.
Export this year will be adversely affected by continued economic woes, leading to less material import and a lower trade deficit – some VND10 billion.
The US dollar will maintain its position as a strong currency, and may appreciate against other currencies due to the euro zone debt crisis. If inflation was curbed below 10 percent this year, the VN dong might fall 2 percent -3 percent.
Siam Cement to invest in $4.5 bln Vietnam petchem complex
Siam Cement Pcl, Thailand’s top industrial conglomerate, said on Thursday the Siam group has signed a deal with partners under which it will take a 46 percent stake in a US$4.5 billion petrochemical complex in Vietnam.
In a statement filed with the Thai stock exchange, Siam Cement, 30 percent owned by the Thai royal family’s Crown Property Bureau, said full details of its investment in the project and how to finance it will be finalised in 2013.
Siam Cement will hold a 28 percent stake in the project, while its unit, Thai Plastics and Chemical Pcl, will hold another 18 percent.
The remaining stakes will be held by QPI Vietnam, a subsidiary of Qatar Petroleum International (QPI), Vietnam state oil monopoly Petrovietnam and Vietnam National Chemical Corp (Vinachem). Commercial operations are expected to start within four years, Siam Cement said.
The project, delayed by the global economic crisis since 2009, is a major step for Siam Cement towards expanding its foreign business in the fast-growing Southeast Asian region.
The complex would serve as a springboard for import substitution, value-added industries and as a vehicle to capture growth in ASEAN for Vietnam, Siam Cement Chief Executive Kan Trakulhoon said in a statement.
ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The fully-integrated complex, located on Long Son island at Ba Ria-Vung Tau province in southern Vietnam, will have annual capacity to produce 1.4 million tonnes olefins and use ethane, propane and naphtha as feedstock.
It will consist of storage facilities, port, jetty, power plant and other utilities, and most of its downstream petrochemical products would be consumed by the domestic market in Vietnam, Siam Cement said. QPI will supply feedstock to the olefins cracker.
With limited growth at home, Siam Cement is looking for opportunity to buy assets overseas as part of regional expansion ahead of an economic integration of ASEAN in 2015.
Last year, Siam Cement agreed to buy 30 percent of Indonesia’s Chandra Asri Petrochemical Tbk for $442 million.
Siam Cement has also said it wanted to buy Sulfindo Adiusaha, a chemical producer controlled by Indonesia’s Tanojo family, in that could be worth about $700 million.
At 0926 GMT, Siam Cement shares were up 0.8 percent, while the broad index was 0.05 percent lower. ($1 = $0.76 baht)
Insiders decry PVN’s proposal to exclusively supply fertilizer
State-run PetroVietnam (PVN) has sought permission from the government to become the exclusive distributor of fertilizer produced by the Ca Mau Fertilizer Plant, a proposal which has raised a wave of objections from industry insiders.
Specifically, PVN demanded that Ca Mau fertilizer products be distributed exclusively to local farmers via the PVN Fertilizer and Chemicals Corporation, or PVFCCo, one of its subsidiaries.
On January 30, the US$800-million Ca Mau Fertilizer Plant — a unit of the Ca Mau Gas, Power and Fertilizer Project under the Petro Vietnam — announced its first batch of commercial product.
With PVFCCo already the distributor of Phu My fertilizer, if the proposal is approved, PVFCCo will hold the entire fertilizer distribution chain countrywide, since the total production of the two plants accounts for up to 90 percent of the country’s total fertilizer market, industry players said.
With the entire market in its hand, if PVFCCo happens to be in unexpected trouble, the whole fertilizer market will fluctuate accordingly, an official from the Competition Management Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, warned.
For his part, PVN CEO Do Van Hau said PVFCCo has indeed been distributing Ca Mau fertilizer, and the proposal was “just a report to the government.”
Regarding the unhealthy competition between domestic fertilizer manufacturers that industry players are concerned by, Hau said locally produced fertilizers have to compete mostly with imported products.
“PVN wants to make use of its Phu My fertilizer distribution system to supply Ca Mau products as well, which will lead to higher economic effectiveness,” Hau told Tuoi Tre.
The Vietnam Fertilizer Association (VFA) said consumers will be those who suffer the most from PVN’s exclusive distribution, since they can only receive the products via a multilayer distribution chain.
Under PVN’s proposal, PVFCCo will first sell the Ca Mau fertilizer products to its affiliates, which will then distribute to their 1st-grade dealers. The fertilizer will continue to be transferred via dealers of lower level, after each of which prices will rise, before finally reaching farmers, VFA elaborated.
In order to stabilize the fertilizer market, VFA suggested that Ca Mau Fertilizer Plant supply its products right at the plant, rather than having them passed down by a multilayer chain.
“Nearly 20 businesses have demanded to buy a total amount of nearly 800,000 tons of fertilizer directly from Ca Mau plant,” a VFA official said.
This is not the first time PVN demanded being an exclusive distributor of a commodity.
Earlier when the Dung Quoc Refinery has become operational, PVN also proposed to have its subsidiary PVOil become the main distributor of the refinery’s oil products.
This means other companies such as Petrolimex, Saigon Petro, and Military Petroleum Co have to buy the fuel from PVOil, rather than directly from Dung Quoc refinery.
Buyers to check seafood quality
Many countries would send inspection delegations to Viet Nam this year to appraise the quality of Vietnamese export seafood products, the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD) said.
NAFIQAD said the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) announced it would launch an annual inspection of seasoned fish fillet processing factories this month.
The KFDA would inspect 28 dried seasoned processors in Viet Nam from February 19 until March 1, said Tran Bich Nga, deputy head of NAFIQAD. Processors to be inspected include Seo Nam Ltd Company, Hai Thanh Ltd Company, Trung Hai Seafood Ltd Company, Dong Anh Ltd Company and Seafood Viet Nam Ltd Company.
Dried seasoned fish fillet is one of Viet Nam’s key seafood export products to the South Korean market. Others included crab, molluscs, tra fish and mackerel.
Last year, Viet Nam was the third largest exporter of dried fish to South Korea, reaching US$5.95 million in value. The first and second largest exporters were Russia and China, respectively.
In coming years, Viet Nam seafood exporters should further improve and control the quality of seafood products to compete with rivals on the South Korean market, the Vietnamese department said.
Nguyen Nhu Tiep, NAFIQAD’s head, said the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) planned to send a delegation to Viet Nam in May to inspect food safety controls of aquaculture producers.
The FDA would also inspect food safety conditions at facilities that produce and raise baby fishes, process seafood products for export to the US, produce feed for fisheries and sell animal drugs.
In September, the European Union would send two delegations to inspect aquaculture, exploration and seafood processing chains, he said.
Inspection delegations were sent regularly by countries that import Vietnamese seafood products as part of their supervisory activities. The inspections allowed them to look at potential concerns, such as warnings about antibiotic and chemical residues in Vietnamese seafood exports to the US and Japan, Tiep said
NAFIQAD had promoted activities to control seafood quality at all phases of production, from aquaculture to catching seafood in the wild, processing and export activities to further improve quality in order to maintain relations with existing export markets and expand to new markets in North Africa and South America, he said.
Viettel expects big overseas business
The country’s leading telecom and internet service provider, the Viettel Corporation, expects to increase its overseas revenues by 50 per cent this year.
It plans to expand to three or four new foreign markets with a total population of 100 million.
“By the end of 2012, Viettel will have 190 million subscribers outside Viet Nam,” Nguyen Manh Hung, its deputy general director, said.
Last year Viettel’s foreign investment rose sharply, while its overseas turnover was $500 million, and profits, undisclosed, were estimated to have risen eight-fold.
It has operations in Cambodia, Laos, Haiti, Mozambique, and Peru. Viettel reported a profit of VND20 trillion (around US$1 billion) last year, globally ranking 80th in terms of turnover in the telecom industry but 30th in terms of profits.
By 2015 it expects to have 100 million local subscribers and 500 million abroad.
“The local market is big but saturated,” Hung said.
“Therefore, overseas ventures will open up the world market and form a foundation for long-term development and research and producing new ICT equipment.”
Mali is Viettel’s next target, and it hopes to be up and running in the West African nation this year. Other Vietnamese telecom firms too are eyeing foreign markets. The Viet Nam Post and Telecommunications Corporation (VNPT) will transfer its share in VNPT Global to MobiFone, one of its subsidiaries, to boost the latter’s overseas efforts.
VNPT Global provides telecom and internet services in the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Czech Republic.
“It is hard to make overseas investment at this time but, to maintain development, there is no choice,” VNPT deputy general director Phan Hoang Duc said.
REE to pay 16% cash dividend for 2011
Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Corp (REE) will pay cash dividends for 2011 earnings at the rate of 16 per cent to existing shareholders on April 6, the Viet Nam Securities Depository has announced.
The ex-date will be February 16 (stocks traded on or after this date will not qualify for the dividend) and the deadline for shareholders to register to participate in this payout will be February 20.
Thai Hoa Group fails to issue 30m shares
Only 60 shares out of 30 million total shares released in the first phase of beverage company Thai Hoa Viet Nam Group’s (THV) recent share issue were sold, the group reported.
In light of this result, THV decided to transfer all of the outstanding stocks to the second phase which will be auctioned off on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange. This plan has been approved by the State Securities Commission.
Late last year, the group registered to issue more than 30 million shares at the per value price, of which 2.75 million would be offered to employees and 27.5 million to existing shareholders. THV expected to raise VND302.5 billion ($14.4 million) through this issue.
OCH leads property firms in Ha Noi
Ocean Hospitality and Service Co (OCH) posted the highest net profit among property development firms on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, gaining VND84.8 billion (US$4 million) in 2011, statistics of the financial information company Vietstock have revealed.
According to the OCH financial statement, the company’s last-quarter revenue increased 89 per cent year-on-year to VND33 billion ($1.6 million), lifting the whole year’s figure to VND66 billion ($3.2 million), a decrease of 57 per cent from the previous year.
With a 2011 net profit of VND80 billion ($3.8 million), Sai Gon Thuong Tin Real Estate Co (SCR) ranked the second, followed by Real Estate 11 Co (D11) with VND37 billion ($1.8 million) in net profit.
Masan Group posts $93.8m net
Food giant Masan Group (MSN) earned VND1.97 trillion (US$93.8 million) in net profit last year, equivalent to VND2,928 ($0.14) in earnings per share (EPS), the group has reported.
Gross revenue rose by more than 26 per cent year-on-year to VND7.06 trillion ($336.2 million), but financial revenue decreased from VND1.62 trillion ($77.1 million) in 2010 to just over VND1.18 trillion ($56.2 million) last year.
At the end of 2011, Masan and its subsidiary companies had over VND9.57 trillion ($455.9 million) in cash-on-hand, four times more than it had at the beginning of the year thanks to heavy foreign investments.
Korean home-shopping arrives
Viet Nam Cable Television’s shopping channel VCTV14 will broadcast Lotte DatViet Homeshopping for 24 hours a day from today and relayed on HCM City Television’s HTVC channel.
The programme is run by Lotte DatViet Homeshopping Co Ltd which debuted on Wednesday
The company is a joint venture between Lotte Homeshopping, the fifth largest conglomerate in South Korea with revenues of US$63.4 billion last year, and local partner Dat Viet VAC Group Holdings, a leading media and communications group in Viet Nam.
Sai Gon Railway cuts ticket prices
The Sai Gon Railway Passenger Transport Company will begin selling promotional tickets for passengers travelling on return journeys from HCM City to Hue and HCM City to Quy Nhon and back, to attract more passengers after the Lunar New Year.
The promotion begins from 12am March 1 until March 28, then from 12am April 3 to April 26 and again from May 3 until May 31. Each train uses hard-seat railroad cars without air-conditioning, and tickets will be 20-30 per cent lower than present.
The reductions will only be applied to tickets purchased at stations in HCM City, Bien Hoa (Dong Nai), Tuy Hoa (Phu Yen), Quy Nhon (Binh Dinh), Long Khanh and Quang Ngai.
Beeline gets more mobile phone numbers
The Ministry of Information and Communications’ Department of Telecommunications has officially granted 1 million new mobilephone numbers to mobile network provider Beeline.
Specifically, the 1 million new numbers are in the range 0994 (starting from the fourth digit). Beeline will use this block to provide mobile communication services on a national scale.
Previously, Global Mobile Telecom Joint Stock Company, the owner of Beeline network, sent a letter to the ministry to ask for an additional 1 million new numbers to meet its network development.
Da Nang approves environmental bases
The Da Nang People’s Committee has allowed telecoms providers to run trial tests on four samples of environmentally-friendly based transfer stations (BTS) in the city to ensure a beautiful landscape.
Nguyen Hoang Cam, deputy director of the City Department for Information and Communications, said the city was now home to seven mobile phone network providers with a density of over 1,686 BTS installed at 950 locations.
Such a thick density of BTS in the city has affected the city scenery and residents’ health.
The department permitted mobiphone network providers to install 27 environmentally-friendly BTS or 15 per cent of the total 180 permitted ones in 2011.
Viettel Corporation to enter pay-TV industry
The Viettel Corporation has said it plans to enter the pay TV industry this year.
Viettel said it had become harder to accelerate profits at a time when the telecom industry was saturated.
“There is little room left for us to grow in the telecom industry, which encourages us to expand into the pay TV sector,” Deputy CEO Nguyen Manh Hung told the Viet Nam Post Newspaper.
There are currently only 4.5 million pay TV subscribers in Viet Nam, a rate Hung said was too low compared to other countries.
“With many businesses expected to jump into the industry this year, the pay TV market is likely to boom,” he said.
Nokia sees explosion in Vietnamese apps
There are currently over 800 Vietnamese mobile applications at the NokiaStore, according to Fabien Lotz, Nokia Ecosystem Manager for Indochina-Philippines.
In a press discussions on Thursday in Ha Noi, Fabien Lotz said NokiaStore had now more than 50,000 mobile applications. There are 177 developers to register content of over 1 million downloads, of which Viet Nam has four units: Naiscorp, VNG, Colorbox and BlueSea.
Currently the NokiaStore every day has about 11 million downloads globally and operates at a considerable growth rate. One year ago, this figure was only 4 million .
By late December last year, the number of downloads from the Viet Nam market reached 100 million and Viet Nam became one of the top 10 markets in the world.
Agro-aqua export volumes set to increase in 2012
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is expecting a significant increase in volume and value in both seafood and rice exports in 2012, despite problems and setbacks in production.
More than 3,000 workers in ten shrimp processing and export enterprises in Ca Mau Province have already resumed work since January 23, second day of Lunar New Year, so as to complete pending export orders.
The province is presently leading the country in shrimp exports and is likely to increase its production this year.
Shrimp exports in the province reached a record high of $910 million last year and the target in 2012 is expected to reach $1 billion, said a representative from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Tra fish (pangasius) exports target $1.8 billion
Pangasius exports are expected to reach $1.8 billion in 2012, said Nguyen Huu Dung, deputy chairman of Vietnam Association of Seafood Producers and Exporters.
For the first time, 24 members of a community organisation in An Giang and Can Tho are developing pangasius production in a sustainable manner on more than 28 hectares of land.
All enterprises and producers in the sector are members of a community organisation that works towards building brands and developing markets for products.
Enterprises wanting to export must meet requirements on quality as well as other criteria set by the organisation, said Dung, adding that this helped prevent unhealthy competition.
The Government itself could not effectively resolve the issues related to the development of market economy. It required a joint force of associations and alliances, he said. A community organisation can manage, supervise, discover and deal with actions that adversely affect the community and prestige of the product.
Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development said that the ministry will summit to the government all regulations related to veterinary, food safety and hygiene and fishery resource management to avoid an overlap in management and an inability to trace the origin of products.
The ministry will also propose to establish the Mekong Delta Pangasius Association.
Rice exports target 7.2 million tonnes
Huynh Minh Hue, general secretary of the Vietnam Food Association said that total rice exports for the year could be between 6.5 million to 7.2 million tonnes.
He said that the association will not only focus on rice volume but also rice quality as well as ensure benefits for rice farmers.
According to a representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the ministry will implement some measures to ensure rice farmers can benefit by at least 30 per cent.
Ho Minh Khai, director of MTV Co Do Company, said that the company is trying to enhance rice quality and build a rice brand in the domestic and foreign market. These are measures to reduce production expenses and help farmers get benefits.
Vietnam has affirmed its position as a big rice exporter in the world with a record rice export volume of 7.1 million tonnes in 2011.
Last year, the country obtained a double success in rice exports by not only increasing export volumes but selling at much higher prices. The average export price was $494 per tonne in 2011 and the export turnover was at the highest at $3.5 billion.
HCM City price subsidised programme curbs price escalation
For the first time, prices of essential commodities did not escalate even in the face of booming demand during the Tet Lunar New Year festival season in Ho Chi Minh City because of an excellent buffer provided by a well organised city price subsidised programme.
Le Thi Ngoc Dao, deputy director of the Department of Industry and Trade in the city said at a meeting on Friday that because of adequate stocks, prepared well in advance for Tet holiday season, prices of most essential commodities remained stable.
This is also the first year when businesses have joined hands collectively to adopt a price reduction policy and offer huge promotions on an assortment of goods, said Ms. Dao.
During Tet, the city had organised about 2,600 sale depots and over 300 mobile outlets in 24 districts of the city so that residents could conveniently access subsidised goods.
Concluding the meeting, Nguyen Thi Hong, deputy chairwoman of the city People’s Committee expressed appreciation of the efforts made by relevant departments and businesses in preparing goods for the Tet festive season.
However the number of price subsidised shops are still few in suburban districts, leading some traders to take advantage and increase prices during festival time. Hence, related departments must attempt to open more price subsidised shops in remote areas, added Hong.
She also asked the Industry and Trade Department to complete plans to subsidise milk and milk products before start of the new school year and report to the People’s Committee by early March.
Two major gas companies slash retail prices
Two major gas companies of Vietnam, Petro Vietnam Gas and Saigon Petro, have decided to lower the retail price on a 12 kilogram cooking gas cylinder by VND10,000-12,000 from Friday.
As of 7.30 am today, Saigon Petro will slash price on a 12kg gas cylinder by VND10,000 which now will cost VND415,000.
Similarly, Petro Vietnam will decrease price by VND12,000 to fix retail price at VND416,000.
Le Thi Anh Man, deputy director of Saigon Petro said that although the import price of gas was still high, her company had decided to slash retail rates to share the burden with consumers.
The move is in response to a joint appeal by the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee as well as the Vietnam Gas Association, said Man.
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