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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 19/7

 Footwear sector takes big steps; Japan loans $338m for thermal plant; HSBC: investors do not change view on Vietnam; US to impose anti-dumping duty on steel pipes; Samsung selects Vietnam as site for US$982 million facility

Footwear sector takes big steps

Domestic and foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) in the leather and footwear sector continue to show impressive growth, making Viet Nam the second largest global exporter of footwear.

The Viet Nam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso), said that in the first six months of the year, the nation's footwear exports jumped 17.8 per cent year-on-year to US$4.8 billion and the value is expected to surpass $11 billion by this year-end, radio The Voice of Viet Nam (VOV) reported.

The global demand has risen mainly due to the economic recovery in the US and the EU, said the association, and the free trade pacts expected to be signed will give a further impetus to Viet Nam's leather and footwear exports.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and Viet Nam-EU Free Trade Agreement (VEFTA) are likely to be signed later this year or early next year, and the optimism it is generating has resulted in huge investments in the leather and footwear sector.

Numerous projects awash with foreign funding are being set up throughout the country in these sectors, with state-of-the-art technologies, and modernised and streamlined facilities that are adding value to their production processes.

Suppliers of imported raw materials are also making significant investments in the sector, carving out a niche in the Vietnamese market, while aggressively looking for opportunities to tie-up with Vietnamese partners.

They are unanimous in the view that once the TPP and VEFTA come into effect, 2014 would be a crucial year to lay the foundations and reap the benefits of increased trading activities.

The opportunities are there and it is up to the domestic businesses to grab them, Tran Vi Co, Director of Hien Dat Exhibition and Trading Services Company said.

Lefaso President Nguyen Duc Thuan emphasised that the increase in use of domestic material has generated a lot of interest.

The leather sector has, till now, used only around 30 per cent of its domestic materials, but this will increase significantly in the future, Thuan said, adding the country is developing two leather industrial zones in two main regions.

Furthermore, smaller industrial zones in key regions are in various stages of development to produce other materials, such as synthetic leather, shoe soles, and decorating materials.

HCM City is going through a revolutionary transformation as a centre for the supply and exchange of raw materials for the whole sector.

The sector has set a target of using 100 per cent domestic tanned leather by 2020, and 50 per cent of synthetic leather and 70 per cent of shoe soles by 2050, Thuan said.

Currently, Lefaso has devised measures to help the sector develop sustainably in the future. Training is one of its priorities.

Accordingly, a human resource-training centre will be set up in the southern region in 2015.

Dong Nai reforms beget FDI gains

The Dong Nai administration says persisting with administrative reform efforts with a focus on licensing, tax and customs procedures have paid off big time.

It has been able to meet its annual FDI target in just six months, a Voice of Viet Nam Online report said yesterday, citing Tran Minh Phuc, Vice Chairman of the provincial People's Committee.

He said the province has attracted US$826 million in FDI in the first half of this year, fulfilling its yearly target and ranking it third in terms of FDI attraction among cities and provinces nation-wide.

Phuc said streamlined administrative procedures and improved infrastructure facilities have considerably improved the local investment climate and made the province an attractive investment destination for foreign investors.

The provincial Department of Planning and Investment said Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are the leading FDI sources.

The first half figures takes the total number of FDI projects in the southern province to 1,430, capitalised at over $25 billion, it said.

Chien Chih Ming, Chairman of the Taiwan Business Association in Dong Nai told VOV Online that Taiwanese investors highly appreciated the local authorities' timely and effective assistance in solving their business difficulties.

Earlier this year, the province decided to earmark VND3 trillion ($143 million) for key development projects in transportation as well as infrastructure in industrial zones.

Japan loans $338m for thermal plant

Japanese banks will loan Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN) more than US$338.2 million to build the Vinh Tan 4 thermal power plant in the central province of Binh Thuan.

The contract was signed in Ha Noi yesterday.

More than $202.9 million of the 17-year loan comes from the Japan Bank of International Co-operation, while the rest comes from the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.

The construction of the two-turbine 1,200 MW plant, invested by the EVN Power Generation Company 3, was started on March 9 this year.

The plant has a total investment of $1.8 billion and will generate about 7.2 billion kWh per year once fully operational in the third quarter of 2018. Its first turbine is slated to go into operation in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Vinh Tan 4, together with three other plants, forms the Vinh Tan Power Centre – the country's largest coal-fired power station with a combined capacity of 5,600 MW.

The centre's operation will mainly serve the southern central and southern regions.

Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is a policy-based financial institution wholly owned by the Government of Japan. From October 2008, JBIC has no longer provided ODA loan facilities, which have been merged into the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).

Bibica reveals soaring profits

Confectioner Bibica Corporation (BBC) has announced first half pre-tax profits of nearly VND24 billion (US$1.1 million), four times the VND6 billion ($284,000) it earned during the same period last year.

The company's sales also increased 15 per cent year-on-year, totaling VND431 billion ($20.4 million), general director Truong Phu Chien said at a shareholders' meeting in HCM City on Wednesday.

Chien said they have targeted total revenues of VND1.2 trillion (nearly $57 million) this year, a year-on-year increase of 14 per cent year-on-year, for net profits of VND48.5 billion ($2.3 million).

It has also decided to keep its cash dividend for 2014 unchanged at 12 per cent, he said.

It will pay VND18.5 billion ($877,000) as a 12 per cent dividend on 2013 business results.

Last year, Bibica posted total sales of VND1.053 trillion ($50 million) and a net profit of VND45 billion ($2.1 million).

The corporation plans to raise its market share to 11 per cent this year by expanding production capacity.

Bibica projects to invest VND145.4 billion ($6.9 million) to expand its Hung Yen factory, using VND73 billion ($3.5 million) to develop jelly candy production and VND11.5 billion ($545,000) for increasing production of Hura layer cakes.

Chien said the firm would focus on developing its major brands with total sales of over VND100 billion ($4.7 million), focusing in particular on high-end herbal candies.

Regarding concerns over low liquidity of Bibica's shares, Chien explained that strategic shareholders like Lotte and Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) holding 83 per cent of the total capital and free-floating shares on the market accounted for just 6 per cent of the firms shares.

BBC stocks declined 0.9 per cent Wednesday to close at VND57,000 ($2.70) per share on the HCM City Stock Exchange despite the positive business results. The trading volume was just several hundreds to a few thousands shares each session.

Despite stiff competition in the market, other big confectioners like Kinh Do Corp (KDC) and Bien Hoa Sugar Co (BHS) have also posted good performances this year.

Kinh Do Corp's revenues in the first five months rose 30 per cent year-on-year to VND1.454 billion ($68.9 million) and its pre-tax profits increased 6 per cent to VND112 billion ($5.3 million).

BHS has yet to release its second-quarter business results but its net profit in the first three months climbed 47 per cent year-on-year to more than VND20.4 billion ($1 million).

Lending to pick up in the third quarter

With a rallying economy and help of policies supported by the Government, credit institutions expect better business results in the third quarter of this year.

These are the findings in a State Bank of Viet Nam's (SBV's) quarterly survey of business trends in the banking sector, carried out between May 20 and June 9, with 94 out of 117 polled institutions responding.

Eighty-eight per cent hope the deposit and lending interest rates for the dong will remain stable or decline, while 70 per cent expect these rates to decrease 1.24 per cent and 1.43 per cent, respectively, in this year over last year.

Ninety per cent expect that deposits and loans will grow 3.6 per cent in Q3 and 14.2 per cent in 2014, for the whole banking system, while over 80 per cent say their bad debt ratios will remain unchanged or fall slightly.

With regards to the business prospects, 71 per cent expect improvement while 5.3 per cent have expressed concerns about recession this year.

Over 60 per cent have assessed that the customer demand for banking products and services is currently "normal", 20 per cent think it is "high", and 15 per cent believe it is "low". They all believe, however, that demand will continue to rise in the rest of the year.

Most of the institutions say they will maintain or lower product and service charges, and even a slight reduction in prices won't affect their general business results.

About 36 per cent plan to recruit more employees while only 2.2 per cent intend to retrench staff in the third quarter. For the whole year, the rates are 59 per cent and 3.3 per cent, respectively.

The credit institutions say the SBV policies related to interest and exchange rates as well as operational security have improved significantly and have had a positive impact on the business situation of banks. Over 90 per cent note that the liquidity at their institutions has stabilised and improved in Q2 for both domestic and foreign currencies, and this trend is likely to continue in the coming months.

But very little change is forecast in business and finance conditions, while the demand of the economy for banking products and services will rise slowly.

Siemens shows off power wares

The latest innovations in the areas of power transmission and distribution, industrial automation, and building technologies were on display at Siemens Customer Day in HCM City yesterday.

"Quality and Excellence" was held with the aim of getting closer to local customers and better understand their needs and expectations.

The event was attended by around 200 companies in industries like electrification and automation.

Amway Vietnam gets ISO certificate

Amway Vietnam Ltd Company (Amway Vietnam) became the first multi-level marketing company to receive the global ISO 22000:2005 Certificate dealing with food safety for its vitamins and dietary supplements brand of Nutrilite.

The recognition is a stepping stone for the company to apply this standard system at their second manufacturing facility in Binh Duong, which is expected to be open by the end of 2014.

ISO 22000 defines requirements on food safety management, integrating key elements such as operational knowledge exchange, system management, prerequisite programmes and the principles of HACCP in order to ensure food safety for end consumers. It is the leading global certificate of food safety and validated worldwide.

Shoe, leather expos open in HCM City

The 16th International Shoes and Leather Exhibition opened yesterday in HCM City, offering industry professionals the opportunity to have exchanges with their peers and look for business opportunities.

It is on simultaneously with two other exhibitions, the 17th International Footwear and Leather Products Exhibition and Viet Nam International Exhibition on Garment Manufacturing Equipment and Fabric.

They have attracted more than 150 local and international companies from 18 countries and territories – including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, India, mainland China, and Taiwan – an increase of 20 per cent compared to last year, Tran Vi Co, manager of Top Repute Co., Ltd, one of the organisers, said.

On display are a wide range of materials and accessories for the footwear and garment industries, chemicals, machines, and technologies used in tanning and manufacture of footwear and garments.

Nguyen Duc Thuan, chairman of the Viet Nam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso), said the event seeks to "promote the development of raw materials and components for the leather and footwear and garment industries."

It is also aimed at soliciting local and foreign investment in the supporting industries to help increase local content in shoe and garment production, thus meeting the requirements set by trade agreements like the TPP that the country is negotiating, he said.

Domestic gold prices fall to four-week low

Local gold prices dropped by 0.38 per cent yesterday to a four-week low of VND36.6-36.7 million (US$1,686 – 1,692) per tael, driven by a downward trend in world markets on a strengthening of the dollar on Monday and Tuesday.

Sai Gon Jewellery Company (SJC) traded bullion at VND36.66-36.78 per tael, while DOJI traded the SJC bullion, at VND36.70-36.75 million per tael.

One tael is equivalent to 1.2 ounces.

Hoang Anh, a consultant with the Ha Noi-based International Gold Company (IG) said: "World gold is reviving but is still below $1,300. The domestic market needs to wait until tomorrow morning to catch the right trend."

Local gold price has dipped 0.62 per cent in three days while world prices fell 3.3 per cent in the last two sessions, with Reuters reporting it as the metal's biggest two-day loss since October.

Yesterday, spot gold on the global market had gained 0.3 per cent to $1,297.94 an ounce.

Reuters cited traders as saying gold could drop further, especially as this week's $40 drop failed to generate a robust pick up in physical demand in Asia.

On Tuesday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen signalled that the Fed will hold its monetary policy loose until jobs data shows the financial crisis's consequences are gone.

Market observers have said that if the Fed raised interest rates, there would be not many reasons for investors to hold gold.

SBV announces dollar price hike

The State Bank of Viet Nam has announced that it has started buying the US dollar for an additional VND100 as of July 16.

Accordingly, the central bank increased the dollar's buying rate from VND21,100, which was remained for the last one year, to VND21,200.

In the morning session, the commercial banks of Vietcombank, BIDV, VietinBank, and ACB listed their dollar buying rate at VND21,140 and VND21,180, and the selling rate between VND21,220 and VND21,240.

In the flea market, the US dollar's buying and selling rates were VND21,230 and VND21,260 respectively.

On its website, the central bank kept the US dollar's exchange rate at VND21,246, unchanged from its new rate since June 19. The central bank also set the ceiling price for a dollar at VND21,458.5, which commercial banks were allowed to apply as an effective exchange rate, within 1 per cent margin.

Last week, the central bank released the preliminary report on the currency market during the first six months. The report said that after the new rate was applied on June 19, the forex rate has stabilised and the market liquidity has been stable.

The report also said that credit rose by 3.52 per cent, while the foreign reserves hit a record US$35 billion.

According to local media, SBV governor Nguyen Van Binh predicted that the credit growth would be more than 10 per cent by the end of the year.

Steel sector projects 12 per cent growth

The domestic steel sector is expected to grow at just around 10 to 12 per cent this year, as consumption from July to December would not be high.

Viet Nam Steel Association (VSA) said the three months left in the second half of the year would fall in the rainy season. This is the reason why the industry's growth would be the same as the first half of the year with expected consumption of 1.31 million tonnes, increasing by 13 per cent.

Statistics from the association showed that steel consumption in June was still low at 376,000 tonnes, reducing 10.5 per cent over the previous month.

This was the second consecutive month the sector saw decreasing steel consumption after a sharp increase in March and April with an average amount of more than 550,000 tonnes each month.

The report of Vietcombank's Securities Company (VCBS) on prospects in the second half of the year, also said output of building steel in the six-month period would rise 12.7 per cent to 1.36 million tonnes in comparison with the first half of the year.

However, VCBS said policies to tighten truck loading capacity from the beginning of April, and the rise in prices after the increase in transport costs by 1.5 to 1.7 times, would also reduce steel consumption.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade added that steel prices have risen by VND100,000 to 150,000 per tonne because of the recent petrol hike.

Selling price of almost steel products rose 5 to 10 per cent. Prices of building steel have been at VND15.6 to 15.65 million (US$739.3-741.7) per tonne.

In addition, the joint decree No 44/2013/TTLT-BCT-BKHCN tightening quality of domestically produced and imported steel also caused difficulties in consumption.

Businesses promote goods in Singapore

Six Vietnamese companies are showcasing their products at the Singapore Gifts & Premiums Fair 2014 held at the Marina Bay Sands, Expo and Convention Centre from July 16-18.

At the Viet Nam Pavilion, the Tu Duy Handicraft Co Ltd from HCM City is displaying accessories made from horns and clam shells, while the Bobi Craft Co Ltd has stuffed toys, paper bags, wool and yarn gifts and toys, and the Viet Mano Co Ltd is offering rice paintings.

The three companies have participated in previous fairs and won orders from many Singaporean and foreign companies.

Participating at the event in Singapore for the first time are the Huong Tram Co Ltd from Quang Nam Province, the Nha Trang Shenfa Agarwood Company from Dang Nang and the Global Links Asia Co Ltd from HCM City. They all want to expand their overseas markets beyond China, Thailand and other regional countries.

Bosch Vietnam awarded ‘High-Tech Status' title

The German company Bosch Vietnam was awarded a certificate of "High-Tech Status" yesterday from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment for its use of high technology and investment.

Under current regulations, the certificate is granted to businesses that for three consecutive years have invested at least one per cent of their turnover to research and development work. The investment in the fourth year should be higher than 1 per cent. Among other requirements, its research and development team should represent at least 5 per cent of its total staff.

Earlier this month, the company established its second R&D centre in Viet Nam, an automotive one in HCM City.

"Our local engineers are highly motivated, and the positive experience from our software and engineering R&D centre in HCM City has given us the confidence to expand our engineering capacity in Viet Nam," said managing director Vo Quang Hue.

The first software and engineering R&D centre, set up in 2010, has 500 associates to meet increasing demand for customised software development and solutions in Southeast Asia. Bosch first started operation in Viet Nam in 1994 and in 2008 set up its wholly-owned subsidiary, Robert Bosch Vietnam Co.

Green power exhibitions switch on in HCM City

Many advanced electrical technologies and equipment and energy-saving products are on show at two exhibitions that opened in HCM City on July 16.

The four-day 7th International Exhibition on Electrical Technology and Equipment (Viet Nam ETE 2014) and the 4th International Exhibition on Products, Technologies for Energy Saving and Green Power (Enertec Expo 2014) has attracted over 100 companies, a fifth of them from countries like Japan, France, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Besides the opportunity to showcase their technologies and products, the two exhibitions also offer them the chance to look for local partners and enter the Vietnamese market.

Duc Viet Industrial and Trading Company Ltd told Viet Nam News that it saw much potential in the event.

After selling industrial fans in the north for many years the company is now eyeing the southern market and looking for agents, and the exhibitions offered a great opportunity to find them, a company spokesperson said.

On the sidelines of the events, several conferences on green energy will be held with leading experts attending.

Organised by the city Department of Industry and Trade, CIS Viet Nam Advertising and Exhibition Joint Stock Company, and the Power Corporation, the exhibitions are on at the Tan Binh Exhibition and Convention Centre in Tan Binh District.

Knauf Vietnam commences work on new plant

Knauf Vietnam Company on July 16 started the construction of its first plant in the northern port city of Hai Phong.

Located in Dinh Vu Industrial Zone, Knauf Plant has been one of the largest foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in the city.

Covering an area of 63,000sq.m, the plant has a total investment of 30 million euros (US$40 million). As the plant comes into operational, it would have an annual capacity of 12 million sq.m gypsumboard and 15 million linear metre metal profile.

"We just launched two distributors in Viet Nam (one in the South and one in the North), and now we are starting the construction of our plant. We believe once completed by mid-2015, the plant would help us gain a considerable market share in Viet Nam in general and in the North in particular," said David Thomas, the company's General Director.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Thomas said they were planning to expand their relationship with key partners such as distributors, architects, developers, government authorities with an aim to widely introduce our state-of-the-art products with German technology to Viet Nam market.

"Dinh Vu IZ is a strategic location in terms of transportation and manufacturing that would provide the market with high quality products at competitive price and improve standards of the whole industry. That being said, we would improve and strengthen our position among building material manufacturers in Viet Nam," he added.

Knauf Group, founded in 1932 is a multinational producer of building materials and construction systems that operates more than 220 production plants in over 60 countries with roughly 24,000 employees.

Recently, Knauf has been spreading the market to East Europe and Asia.

Japanese firms interested in PPP projects

Public-Private Partnership (PPP) investments in Viet Nam, were discussed by the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Japan Bank for International Co-operation, in Ha Noi yesterday.

According to Deputy Minister Dao Quang Thu, there was great potential for trade co-operation and investment between the two countries, as Japan is now one of Viet Nam's leading trade and investment partners.

The ministry was striving to complete the building of a PPP decree, expected to be issued next month, with a hope of further promoting the country's economic growth through bringing in investment from private domestic and foreign sectors, he revealed.

JBIC Governor Hiroshi Watanabe stressed that Japanese enterprises had pinned their faith in the country's future economic development prospects and are seeking opportunities to implement their investment projects in the country, including those in the PPP form.

Watanabe asserted that JBIC had the experience in financing PPP projects in many countries, and was willing to share them with Viet Nam, to help the country hasten policymaking and implementation of projects of this kind.

He also suggested that the Vietnamese government create the best possible conditions for Japanese firms, particularly simplifying administrative procedures and regulations to facilitate their investment in the country.

Once issued, the decree, comprising 12 chapters with 82 articles, is expected to help attract more capital from private investors into Viet Nam, especially from those abroad.

HSBC: investors do not change view on Vietnam

The evaluation is based on a stable inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Vietnam, according to HSBC global research.

Since December 2013, HSBC manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) has been above 50, showing the upward trend of the sector. Output and quantity of purchases have been strong, responding to price discounting and better external demand.

In June 2014, export growth was double digits, albeit with some deceleration. But with export performance primarily driven by foreign invested enterprises, the concern is that recent geo-political tensions with China will dampen its prospect.

GDP accelerated to 5.5% year-on-year in the second quarter of this year from 4.8% in the first quarter on higher manufacturing and resilient service growth.

The short-term economic impact from geo-political tensions will likely be limited, with sectors such as tourism bearing most of the brunt.

Tourist arrivals from China will likely slow, but it will be normalised in the coming months. Statistics show that tourist arrivals grew 26.1% in the first half of 2014.

Core investors in Vietnam will stay put, as FDI tend to be sticky. The major foreign investors in Vietnam are Japan, the Republic of Korea (RoK), the US and Taiwan.

The long-term impact will likely be how Vietnam organises its supply chain. Currently, Vietnam still relies on imported inputs for its major export items, including textiles, footwear and electronics.

Vietnam is negotiating for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It is expected to be the largest gainer of TPP once it is passes. However, one of the non-tariff sticking points for Vietnam is the Rule of Origin, which requires inputs to be sourced from TPP countries.

According to HSBC, TPP considerations and recent tensions with China will accelerate the pace of reforms.

Inflation is expected to stay stable, with some seasonal acceleration in early third quarter and State Bank of Vietnam will keep rate steady at 5%.

In addition to waiting for the conclusion of the EU-Vietnam FTA and good news from the TPP negotiations, observers will also watch out for the progress of State businesses and banking sector reform.

Vietnam making great strides as a footwear supplier

Domestic and foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) in the leather and footwear sector continue to experience impressive growth, ranking Vietnam the second largest global exporter of footwear.

In the first six months of the year, the nation’s footwear exports jumped 17.8% year-on-year to US$4.8 billion, according to the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso), and economists are now forecasting them to surpass the US$11 billion benchmark by the end of the year.

The rebounding economies in the US and the EU are one of the key factors giving rise to the increased global demand.  The footwear sector is experiencing but an equally important factor is the free trade pacts that are poised for signature.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (VEFTA) are likely to be signed later this year or early next year, and the optimism they are generating has touched off tremendous investment into the leather and footwear sector.

Numerous foreign invested projects are sprouting up throughout country installed with the latest state-of-the-art technologies, modernised and streamlined facilities that are contributing directly to raising the sectors added value in the production process.

Foreign material suppliers are pouring huge investment into the sector forging their niches in the Vietnamese markets and prospering, and are aggressively seizing every opportunity to cooperate with Vietnamese partners.

With unanimity, they are reporting they consider 2014 as a pivotal year as they jockey to lay the foundation and get in position to benefit from the increased trading activities in the future once the TPP and VEFTA come into effect.

“Vietnam is the centre of focus by material suppliers at the 16th International Shoe and Leather Expo opened in HCM City on July 16,” Tran Vi Co, Director of Hien Dat Exhibition and Trading Services Company.

The number of foreign participants at the expo has increased by nearly 20% compared to last year and this year’s event has attracted a remarkable 150 businesses from 18 countries and territories, he added.

The opportunities are real, but whether domestic businesses will rise to the occasion and seize them remains an open question, he concludes.

Lefaso President Nguyen Duc Thuan emphasised that the increase in the use of domestic materials has been drawing much attention. The leather sector has historically used only 30% domestic materials.

In the future, this will increase significantly, Thuan said, adding the country is developing two leather industrial zones in two main regions. Furthermore, smaller IZs are in various stages of development in key regions to produce other materials, such as synthetic leather, shoes’ soles, and decorating materials.

The HCM City is going through a revolutionary transformation into a centre for supplying and exchanging materials for the whole sector.

The sector has set a target of using 100% of domestic tanned leather by 2020 and 50% of synthetic leather and 70% of shoes’ soles by 2050, Thuan said.

Currently, Lefaso devised measures to help the sector develop sustainably in the future. Training is one of its priorities. Accordingly, a human resource-training centre will be set up in the southern region in 2015.

US to impose anti-dumping duty on steel pipes

The US Department of Commerce (DOC) will officially impose anti-dumping taxes on oil country tubular goods (OCTG) imported from Vietnam on September 2.

The DOC has concluded that several nations including Vietnam dumped OCTG in the US market.

The DOC’s decision was made after complaints lodged by American manufacturers including US Steel Corporation, Maverick Tube Corporation and Boomerrang Tube against Vietnam and eight other countries and territories.

During the DOC’s investigation, Vietnam’s SeAH Steel Vina Corporation was levied 24.22% while Hot Rolling Pipe Co., Ltd. Vietnam, which has failed to answer the DOC’s questionnaire, received the highest dumping margin of 111.47 percent.

Earlier on February 18, the DOC issued a preliminary decision on the case under which Vietnamese companies received a dumping margin ranging from 9.57% and 111.47%.

However, the US International Trade Commission is the main agency and it will issue its final ruling on August 21.

According to US statistics, Vietnam ranks third among steel pipe exporters to the US with turnover reaching over US$110 million in 2013, just after the Republic of Korea and India.

BIDV awarded “Best Commercial Bank”

The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam BIDV has been selected – Best Commercial Bank – by the International Banker, a leading British financial and banking industry news organization.

BIDV is the first bank in Vietnam honoured by the British organization.

It was chosen for the accolade based on its outstanding record of accomplishment in business operations, firm growth rate, prestige and social responsibility.

In 2014, the organization presented banks in Asian countries awards in four categories: Best Commercial Bank, Best Private Banking, Best Investment Bank and Best CEO.    

Australian Bank sets up representative office in Hanoi

The Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has issued a license authorising National Australia Bank (NAB) to establish a representative office in Hanoi.

In accordance with SBV regulations, the NAB license allows it to carry out a wide variety of non-profit trade promotion activities within the constraints of the Law for a period of five years.

One of the key functions of the representative office will be to monitor the progress of its funded projects in Vietnam. The NAB main headquarters is located at level 1, 800 Bourke street, Docklands Vic 3008, Australia.

Dutch dairy producer begins project in Ha Nam

The Netherland-based FrieslandCampina Vietnam company on July 16 kick-started the construction of a project on expanding large-scale dairy farms in the northern province of Ha Nam, the first financed by the dairy producer.

Covering 54.5 ha, the project targets creating 10 dairy farms, of which two are slated for completion by December. After five years, each farm will have 50-80 milch cows. The project aims to ensure stable supply of raw milk for the domestic market.

FrieslandCampina plans to set up a system aiming to purchase raw milk at competitive prices for local farmers and another to control product quality.

Ha Nam now has a herd of some 500 milch cows that generate dairy products totally worth around 15 billion (US$707,630) a year.

It strives to expand the herd to 2,000 by 2015 and 7,000-8,000 by 2020.

Can Tho city – Japan in high-tech agriculture

A workshop aimed at promoting technical cooperation in agriculture and environmental protection between Can Tho city and Hiroshima prefecture, Japan was held on July 16.

Can Tho municipal People’s Committee Vice Chairman Dao Anh Dung said that Japan is a developed industrial country, which has modern agriculture and advantages in applying high-technology in production which can benefit agriculture in the region.

Can Tho specifically wants to boost cooperation with Hiroshima prefecture in the application of high technology to cattle-breeding, cultivation, aquaculture, animal quarantine, and irrigation management, Dung said.

This will greatly benefit agriculture’s contribution to the region’s economic growth and social welfare by expanding production and improving the quality of agricultural products, Dung added.

The leader of the Japanese business delegation stressed that the prefecture stands ready to negotiate cooperation deals in constructing a microbiological fertilizer factory, industrial waste water treatment and environmental protection, in addition to several high-tech agriculture deals.

As of the end of 2013, Japan had supported Vietnam with non-refundable aid of US$120 million for 25 technical assistance projects and provided US$450 million for four major infrastructure projects in the fields of irrigation and forestry.

Approximately US$9.1 million has been disbursed from 13 Japan-invested projects in Can Tho city In 2013, Can Tho exported agricultural products and seafood to Japan generating gross revenue of US$155 million and imported machinery and equipment  worth US$29.5 million from the country.

Samsung selects Vietnam as site for US$982 million facility

Samsung Electronics has select Vietnam over the Republic of Korea (RoK) as the location for a new factory to produce mobile phones, according to an article by editorial writer Choi Yong-hae on Donga Ilbo newspaper (East Asia Daily).

The article said that Samsung plans to invest some US$982 million to construct a home appliance factory in HCM City.  

The decision is attributed to factors such as a highly educated and younger labour force in Vietnam and less expensive labour costs.

Another important factor is that the Vietnam Government has offered many preferential policies for Samsung Electronics in terms of business environment and tax incentives.

At present, around 24,000 Vietnamese workers, who are considered very skilful in making mobile phones, are working at Samsung Electronics’ factory in the northern Bac Ninh province.

Made-in-Vietnam products showcased in Singapore

Many Vietnamese companies are introducing their products at the Singapore Gifts & Premiums Fair 2014, which is ongoing at Marina Bay Sands exhibition centre from July 16-18.

Vietnam’s stand, sponsored by the Vietnam Embassy in Singapore, is showcasing a variety of high-quality goods, ranging from jewellery to handicraft items made of natural materials such as animal fur, bone, horn, and pearl shell.

This is the fourth time Vietnam has attended such a fair in Singapore, through which Vietnamese companies received many orders from foreign firms and distributors.

On the occasion, the Office Expo Asia (OEA) 2014 is getting underway in Singapore, attracting 110 companies, including Bkav Vietnam technology group.

Bkav Vietnam is introducing its latest product – SmartHome. Chu Anh Quan, Singapore-based Bkav Vietnam chief representative said his group has so far signed contracts to provide Smart Home facility for a number of apartments in Singapore.

First concrete filled steel tubular arch bridge in Vietnam

Workers are putting the finishing touches to Dong Tru concrete-filled steel tubular arch bridge, the first of its kind in Vietnam, which is due to open to traffic in October 2014.

The bridge, spanning the Duong River, links Dong Hoi commune of Dong Anh district with Ngoc Thuy ward of Long Bien district in Hanoi.

It is part of the extended Highway No5 project, serving as a key artery to support urban and industrial development in the northern part of the Red River.

The bridge got off the ground in 2006 with a total investment of more than VND6,600 billion sourced from the State budget.

It has been built by the Civil Engineering Construction Corporation No1 JSC (Cienco 1) and China-based Guangxi Road and Bridge Construction Company. However, the Chinese contractor withdrew from the project in June 2012.

Once completed, the 1,140m long bridge will have eight lanes, three main spans, and two access roads.

Vietnam Entrepreneurs Association to debut in Angola

An association of Vietnamese entrepreneurs will be established in Angola to assist each other in operation and better capitalise on business opportunities in this market.

The decision was made at a conference held in Angola’s Luanda capital, discussing the establishment of the association.

The gathering was attended by more than 40 delegates from the Executive Committee of the Vietnamese People Association and Vietnamese business community operating in Angola.

A resolution adopted at the conference says the association needs to take measures to overcome weaknesses among Vietnamese businesses, including spontaneous operations and lack of information updates.

The conference elected a provisional 40-member executive board and approved the draft charter of the association.

Export target tough task for tuna industry

The domestic tuna industry will find it difficult to reach its export value target for the year because of reduction in exports since the beginning of this year.

According to the Vietnam Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the exports of tuna, the seafood product having the third largest export value after shrimp and tra fish, reduced in volume and value two years ago.

Last year, its export value had a year-on-year fall of 7% to US$526 million, and the value was initially expected to gain a year-on-year of 6.46% to US$560 million for this whole year.

However, that expectation is cut to US$450 million for this year because of numerous challenges faced by local tuna exporters.

In major export markets of Vietnamese tuna, including the US, Japan and ASEAN, exports of the local tuna have reduced since the end of last year.

In the first five months of this year, Vietnam exported tuna products to 86 markets in the world, 16 markets more than in the same period last year. But the total export value of tuna saw a year-on-year drop of 19% to US$203.8 million.

During the first five months, the tuna export value to the US and ASEAN countries fell 26.5% and 29.5%, respectively.

The tuna export value to Japan had a growth against the same period of last year but reduced 60% as compared with the value in the early part of this year. Meanwhile, the value to the EU had a year-on-year increase of 0.6%.

The reasons for the reduction in export value include lack of supply, trade barriers and competition with other tuna exporting countries.

VASEP said that the larger markets have asked the exporter to meet the requirements on origin of seafood including the new EU Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing law and a certification for seafood traceability in the US.

However, Vietnamese exporters are finding it hard to meet these requirements due to inadequate data on journals of seafood exploitation and preservation from fishermen.

The export markets have also tightened activities on managing food hygiene and safety, making it difficult for local tuna exporters to increase business in the large markets.

Vietnam has not had a sustainable development plan for the tuna industry so the supply and quality of tuna has not been stable. Equipment for fishing and preservation of tuna is also antiquated.

Additionally, competitive ability of Vietnamese tuna products has also reduced due to low domestic supply and high import tax for tuna that used to be processed for export. Now, Vietnam has imported 50% of its demand for tuna with import tax between 10 to 24%.

BIDV funds Ninh Thuan project

The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) yesterday signed an agreement to finance a medical equipment project for the central province of Ninh Thuan.

Under the document, the bank will provide nearly VND10 billion ($470,000) to purchase medical equipment for three satellite hospitals and the  

Ninh Thuan preventive health centre expansion project.

Addressing the signing ceremony, Thai Phuong Phien, Director of Ninh Thuan General Hospital, pledged to use the funds and accelerate personnel training to operate the new machines.

With the new equipment, the satellite faculties of Ninh Thuan General Hospital are expected to improve the quality of check-ups and treatments and ease the overload in central hospitals. In the long term, it is expected to reduce costs and patient treatment times, according to provincial authorities.

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

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