A potential market for Vietnamese plastics
Japan has been the largest importer of Vietnamese plastic products in recent years with the value accounting for 24.7 per cent of Vietnam’s plastics exports.
In 2010 alone, Vietnam earned $235 million from shipping plastic products to the Japanese market, up 27.7 per cent compared to the previous year. Total plastics exports are estimated to reach $255 million this year.
At a recent seminar in Ho Chi Minh City organised by the Trade Promotion Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, many delegates said that Vietnam’s proportion of plastic exports to the Japanese market still remains modest.
In 2010 alone, Vietnam earned $235 million from shipping plastic products to the Japanese market, up 27.7 per cent compared to the previous year. Total plastics exports are estimated to reach $255 million this year. At a recent seminar in Ho Chi Minh City organised by the Trade Promotion Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, many delegates said that Vietnam’s proportion of plastic exports to the Japanese market still remains modest.
Japan is one of the world’s demanding markets regarding quality control, and some Vietnamese businesses cannot meet its quality requirements because they lack information and experience.
In order to develop the plastics sector sustainably, they said Vietnamese businesses should devise an investment strategy for modern technologies, conduct research and survey potential markets.
They also suggested that Vietnamese businesses should also co-ordinate with Japanese and international trade organisations to receive support in terms of market information and learn about the quality control regulations and administrative procedures.
Footwear exporters out of step
Textile and leather footwear exporters are concerned about losing customers due to rising in production costs.
The main reason is enterprises paying more for social insurance when the new minimum wage requirement came into effect from October 1.
Saigon Garment Manufacturing Trading, with two facilities in Ho Chi Minh City and more than 2,000 employees, is worried about a decline in profits.
Under the new rule, Minh Tien Bag Manufacturing, located in Ho Chi Minh City, paid VND100 million or $4,800 for social insurance each month.
Golden Top Limited chief executive officer assistant Dao Xuan Long said in 2011 even with more orders from Chinese customers, the Haiphong-based footwear company still faced hardship in paying its 1,200 employees under the new wage standard.
Meanwhile, current customers are more reluctant to order in the first quarter of 2012.
“If negotiations are not successful, customers will immediately switch to other countries in the region,” Long added.
Saigon 2 Garment vice president Nguyen Huu Toan said enterprises could not alter selling prices, while Bangladesh and Indonesia may prove more tempting for clients.
In recent years, some Korean, China and Indonesia companies have moved to Vietnam in order to take advantage of low wages. However, according to Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association, when production costs increased, foreign investors would be more cautious when investing in Vietnam.
“Rising minimum wages negatively affects textile and footwear industries which always hire large number of workers. This will reduce Vietnam’s competitive advantage compared to other countries,” said Mirae Fiber vice president Chris Kim.
The decline in local textile and garment firms’ profits is also because of a dependency on imported raw materials which have become more expensive. For example, cotton prices increased by 45 per cent compared with the same period last year. In the nine months of 2011, raw material imports for textiles accounted for $9.2 billion
Local firms harness power of FTA
Vietnam’s export turnover to South Korea market has increased over 100 per cent since the ASEAN-South Korea Free Trade Agreement came into force.
According to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Korea and ASEAN countries removed tariff barriers for more than 92 per cent of imported goods in 2010.
According to Ministry of Industry and Trade figures, in the first 10 months of this year, Vietnam’s export products to South Korea were estimated more than $3.86 billion, up to 60.2 per cent year-on-year. If the growth rate is maintained, Vietnam’s exports to South Korea will hit $5 billion in 2011.
Vietnam Textile and Garment Association figures showed textile and garment export turnover to South Korea was $100 million last month and $700 million for the first 10 months of this year, a record 140 per cent increase.
Reason for this growth is that after the FTA was signed, the average tariff rate for textiles reduced from 8 to 0 per cent, textiles from 13 to 0 per cent.
However, many Korean enterprises operating in Vietnam are also benefiting with total investment over $1.8 billion in Vietnam.
Vice chairman of the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association Diep Thanh Kiet said: “Many export orders for textile, leather and footwear come from Vietnam-based Korean enterprises.”
After the FTA, other goods such as crude oil, glass, footwear, furniture, candy, agriculture-forestry-fishery products, vehicles and electronics will raise strongly.
According to the Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers of Vietnam, Vietnam’s seafood exports to South Korea rose 28 per cent in 2010 and 30 per cent this year.
In the same situation, opportunities for Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports to South Korea are expanding. In the first 10 months of this year, Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports to South Korea increased 100 per cent year-on-year.
Localities urged to promote small firms
Localities should not wait for support from the Government and be active in fostering the development of their small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), heard attendants at a consultation seminar on the SME Development Plan for the 2011-15 period held in Ha Noi yesterday.
The seminar, jointly held by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), aimed to collect ideas for the SME development plan before its submission to the Government.
Head of the MPI's Agency for SME Development (ASMED) Ho Si Hung said the plan had sought to outline the most important needs of SMEs.
Hung added that the role of associations was important. However, these groups needed to play a more active role in the development of member businesses.
"Viet Nam also needs support from other countries in terms of experience in building and implementing plans for SMEs," he said.
To Hoai Nam, vice chairman cum general secretary of the Viet Nam SME Association, said the new development plan would include specific ways to aid SMEs. He also urged the Government to pay more attention to helping household businesses become larger enterprises.
"Encouragement should be focused on mergers and acquisitions among businesses to increase the number of medium-sized enterprises as well as those participating in exports," Nam said.
He added that this move could also help mobilise capital from household businesses and provide more jobs for labours in rural areas.
A survey carried out by ASMED at 63 enterprises in 30 cities and provinces in the north showed that the scale of capital at SMEs was small and the businesses were held back by a lack of competitiveness. Nearly half of the surveyed businesses had capital of less than VND1 billion (US$47,620).
Director of My Anh Company, Tu Thi Bich Loc, said the most important target in the plan was to generate jobs for more than 4 million labourers, while also ensuring their workers' rights.
Sharing the idea, representatives from several businesses said SMEs had not kept up with price surges though they had had to increase salaries every month.
VCCI's General Secretary Pham Thi Thu Hang said SMEs had difficulties in implementing the Law on Labour.
A representative from northern Hoa Binh Province's Planning and Investment Department asked for solutions to help poor provinces that do not have enough money for establishing credit insurance funds to ensure loans for SMEs.
He said SMEs should pay attention to human resource management.
The SMEs development plan aims to set up 600,000 new businesses and provide training for 640,000 people at SMEs with a total funding of VND400 billion ($19 million).
The annual number of newly-established enterprises nationwide would increase on average by 22 per cent, with SMEs seeing an increase of 15 per cent increase.
The plan, which hopes to generate 3 million new jobs during the next four years, also aims to increase the number of SMEs participating in exports by 7 per cent.
Market management co-operation with neighbour nations tightened
Two memoranda of understanding were signed yesterday to boost market management co-operation between the Market Watch Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Ministry and its counterparts in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Under the MoUs, each side will exchange information on mechanisms, policies and legal documents, collaborate to run action programmes and organise training courses to improve the skills of market watch staff.
The memoranda were signed at the first market watch co-operation conference hosted by Viet Nam yesterday.
The conference aimed to help the four countries thoroughly understand their functions and duties in controlling the market to effectively run the memoranda.
All four sides admitted that shortcomings remained in their ability to control the market due to imperfect legal frameworks and poor co-operation among relevant agencies.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu said the move aimed to reinforce economic and trade co-operation among the countries, especially between Viet Nam's Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Commerce Ministries in each of the other countries.
The countries would take turns organising the conference yearly, said Director of the Market Watch Department Nguyen Hung Dung.
Woodworkers urged to improve
Woodworking firms and handicraft makers should focus more on improving product quality and designs and try to reduce their prices to strengthen their domestic market presence, a senior official said yesterday.
Phan The Hao, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's representative office in HCM City, was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Viet Nam Furniture and Home Furnishing Fair (VIFA Home) at the Tan Binh Exhibition and Convention Centre.
With Viet Nam becoming a member of the World Trade Organisation, the country has to gradually cut import taxes and open its doors wider to imported goods. "In this situation, if we don't improve quality and designs of our products and fail to gain support from consumers, we will surely fail in the home market," he said.
As living standards improved, consumers increasingly required high quality household goods, Hao said. They should also be creative and aesthetically pleasing.
Hao said the fair was a good opportunity for handicraft and wood product makers to study consumer tastes and develop appropriate products for the domestic market.
Nguyen Chien Thang, chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City, the organiser of VIFA Home, said the event aimed to promote Viet Nam-made furniture to Vietnamese consumers.
VIFA Home 2011, which will run until November 14, has attracted around 100 outstanding handicraft and wood product producers.
These companies had previously focused on exports, but had decided to turn to the home market now, Thang said.
Products on display include indoor and outdoor furniture, interior decoration products like curtains, fabric, flooring materials, kitchen equipment, lights, picture frames, ornamental trees and handicraft products including porcelain, pottery, rattan and bamboo.
Viet Nam's furniture and wood products are currently exported to more than 120 countries.
The country earned more than US$3.1 billion from exports of handicraft and wood products in the first 10 months of the year.
State forest enterprises face money problems
Financial difficulty was the biggest headache hitting State forest enterprises during the process that converted them into single-member limited liability companies, experts agreed at a forum held yesterday in Ha Noi.
The forum was co-organised by the Viet Nam Forestry Administration and Forest Sector Support Partnership (FSSP) to discuss challenges as well as opportunities of State forest enterprises in their integration into the world economy.
The reform process turned these enterprises into independent companies of the Government, which are responsible for running their own business and also the turnover.
According to deputy director of Yen Binh Forest Enterprise in northern mountainous Yen Bai Province Pham Dang Han, investment comes mainly on loans from banks.
Meanwhile, the loans were often offered with high interest rates and in the short term, while plantation was a long-term investment that forced enterprises to exploit immature forest to pay their debts, workers' salary and social insurance, Han said.
Exploitation of immature forests reduced the output and turnover could not make up for expenses. "Losses were inevitable," he emphasised.
Making the matter worse, the company had no capital to regenerate forests, leaving land uncultivated again. "It would not only be a waste but also badly affect the environment," he added.
In addition, it was also difficult for State forest enterprises to access loans from banks because they had no land use licences on hand as a mortgage, said director of Tien Phong Forest Company in central Thua Thien – Hue Province Bach Le Quang. Without a land use licence, they also faced disputes and encroachments from local residents but lacked measures to solve the problems, Quang said. The forest area under dispute was reported to nearly double, compared to what it was before the reform.
According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hua Duc Nhi, the enterprises are under a difficult and disoriented condition.
He added that they seemed to fail to fulfil their economic, environmental and social responsibilities.
Juergen Hess from FSSP said at the workshop that these enterprises were seen to undergo a significant downsize since the reform process started in 1993.
He pointed out that the number of State forest enterprises was reduced from more than 400 to 170, with the forest area under management halved.
The reform managed to achieve the "old wine, new bottle" adage, failing to improve the efficiency of production and business, which was the weakest and slowest among State-owned enterprises, said Deputy Director of the Party Central Committee's Economics Department Nguyen Van Tien.
"State forest enterprises have not yet been able to adapt to market mechanisms," he said.
It was time to take drastic reform steps towards helping these companies – the sector drivers, overcome the difficulties, emphasised Juergen.
According to Le Van Bach from the Administration of Forestry, long-term and stable land use licences should be granted to forest companies to help them better manage forests while avoiding disputes and encroachments from local residents.
Bach also proposed an exemption of land use fees during the period of 2011-15. Policies to create incentives for State forestry enterprises, allowing them to borrow money from banks, was also urged in an effort to help them overcome financial difficulty and generate income through forest exploitation.
The allocation of forest land to workers and local residents would help improve the situation, Bach agreed.
The reform was regulated on Resolution No 28 and also Decree No 200 which were issued in 2003 and 2004, respectively.
State forest enterprises have been developed over the past 50 years in Viet Nam, mostly in remote and mountainous areas, and currently manage more than 2 million ha of forest land.
Vietcombank explains bad debts
Vietcombank's bad debts were estimated at 3.9 per cent as of the end of September, the highest rate amongst domestic joint stock commercial banks, according to the bank's Q3 financial statement.
Explaining the issue, the bank said that Vietcombank had been applying international rules for computing its bad debts, aiming at helping provide transparency and accountability to its shareholders and customers.
Nguyen Van Tuan, Vietcombank's deputy general director, told Business Forum newspaper that based on Viet Nam's banking regulations, only overdue debts were considered as bad debts.
However, by following international accounting standards, as soon as the operation results of a company went down, Vietcombank listed the loan made for the company as a bad debt, he said.
Tuan also said that in the past years, the bank had poured a huge amount of money worth about VND8 trillion (US$382.77 million) into doubtful debt provision.
He said that the rate of bad debts would be calculated more precisely at the end of its 2011 fiscal year, adding that Vietcombank might use part of the doubtful debt provision to reduce its bad debts.
The State Bank of Viet Nam was planning to apply international accounting standards for the whole domestic banking system, forcing all banks to follow such stringent regulations.
Therefore, Tuan said when all banks were forced to apply the same method, Vietcombank's bad debts would not be shown as the highest figure. He also suggested that the domestic banking system should start restructuring by applying new rules following international accounting standards to serve as a basis for coming bank reform.
UK trade delegation on its way
A delegation of British businessmen, led by London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Deputy Chief Executive Peter Bishop, will make a fact-finding tour of Viet Nam from Monday to Friday.
The delegation will explore investment opportunities in HCM City and Ha Noi and visit Harvey Nash Company, a global recruitment consultancy and IT outsourcing service provider, which has been operating in Viet Nam for 10 years.
Bishop said in London that Viet Nam was considered to be an attractive investment destination for UK businesses because of its achievements, favourable investment environment and high economic growth.
Bishop said he would be accompanied by businesses operating in mechanical engineering, design, water treatment, lab facilities provision, medical management, software, exports, personnel recruitment, publication and vocational training.
He said Vietnam Airlines' moves to open a direct air route from Ha Noi and HCM City to London in December would facilitate business operations.
He hoped Viet Nam would join the Temporary Admission Carnet which would also facilitate Vietnamese business trade promotion.
The chamber would set aside two pages of its magazine in December and January to introduce Viet Nam, he said.
Livestock industry advancements on show
The latest technology and products in animal feed and livestock production are on display at the International Feed, Livestock and Meat expo, known as Vietstock 2011, that opened yesterday at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre in District 7.
Vietstock 2011 has attracted more than 200 exhibitors from 23 countries and territories, including France, Netherlands, China, UK, Malaysia, Singapore and Viet Nam.
The event was an important platform for industry members to get updated on the latest innovations and technology and at the same time network and build business partnerships, organisers said.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Luong Le Phuong, deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said despite facing many difficulties, the livestock breeding industry had achieved encouraging results in the past 10 years with an annual growth rate of 7-8 per cent, greatly contributing to the country's economic development.
The sector had gradually shifted from household-based breeding to industrial farms, he noted.
Phuong also called for increased investment in the livestock breeding sector.
Co-organised by the Department of Livestock Production, UBM Asia and Star Communications And Entertainment Corporation, the exhibition is expected to receive more than 5,000 professional visitors.
Korean group opens subsidiary
The Korean Mirae Asset Capital Company Limited yesterday opened its subsidiary, Mirae Asset Finance Company (Viet Nam), more than a year after it was licensed by the central bank.
The 100 per cent foreign-invested company will initially provide short- and long-term loans. Later it hopes to expand to offer a variety of services ranging from accepting deposits, issuing credit card, and providing consultancy services.
AgroViet kicks off in Ha Noi
The 11th annual Viet Nam International Agriculture Trade Fair 2011 (AgroViet) starts at No 2 Hoang Quoc Viet Street, Ha Noi today with the theme "Viet Nam's agriculture to develop comprehensively towards modernisation".
The four-day fair will feature 400 stalls, displaying products from agriculture, fisheries, forestry, handicrafts, foods and agricultural machinery and equipment.
It has attracted more than 200 enterprises, 50 of which are foreign, mostly from mainland China, said to Dao Van Ho, director of the Viet Nam Trade Promotion Centre For Agriculture.
DHL launches third freight office
DHL Global Forwarding, an air, sea and road freight specialist, has opened an office in Ha Noi. The company already has offices in HCM City and in the northern province of Bac Ninh.
The Ha Noi operation will become the control tower for DHL's newest range of flexible and fast overland freight services linking China and Southeast Asia with Viet Nam.
"Ha Noi itself is undergoing a transformation in terms of infrastructure and economic activity. The challenge for DHL is to provide our clients here with cost-effective services that allow them to take advantage of Viet Nam's hub location, its new logistics capabilities and booming domestic market at rates that keep their products competitive," said Amadou Diallo, DHL Global Forwarding CEO, Africa and South Asia Pacific.
Binh Duong stops property deals
The Department of Construction of the southern province of Binh Duong has asked the provincial People's Committee to fine and revoke the licences of 38 real-estate projects in the province.
The projects are said to have made little progress and are not being run according to approved plans. Only 51 out of a total of 220 projects of residential projects in the province have finished construction.
Fertiliser lays on hand for spring
Petrovietnam Fertiliser and Chemicals Company (PVFCCo) has announced it will provide 200,000 tonnes of nitrogenous fertiliser for the winter-spring crop of 2011-12.
Of this, the company will produce 150,000 tonnes and import 50,000 tonnes.
As forecast, the domestic demand for urea fertiliser in the last two months of this year will be 410,000 tonnes. The supply from local production, imports and inventories is believed to be sufficient to meet demand.
GPBank joins MasterCard
The Global Petro Commercial Joint Stock Bank (GPBank) joined MasterCard on Wednesday. This will entitle it to issue many international credit and debit cards.
SHB opens Lao branch
The State Bank of Viet Nam on Wednesday agreed for the Sai Gon-Ha Noi Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SHB) to open a branch in Laos.
The branch will operate under the authorisation of the SHB and in accordance with Lao laws. The bank must now apply for a Lao licence.
Power metre factory opens
Vinasino Electrical Equipment Joint Stock Co opened an electrical equipment factory on Tuesday in the southern province of Long An's Long Hau industrial zone. Construction began two years ago.
In the first phase, the factory will produce half a million one- and three-phase electrical power meters a year.
Sacombank, FPT announce buyback plans
Sacombank and FPT have become the latest companies to announce plans to buy back shares with the aim of shoring up plunging stock values – and, in Sacombank's case, possibly prevent themselves from becoming a takeover target.
Sacombank (STB) has registered to buy back 100 million shares worth nearly 10 per cent of its charter capital, while software giant FPT has decided to buy back 1,000 convertible bonds worth VND1 trillion (US$47.6 million). Rumours held that both made the moves to protect themselves from likely takeovers.
However, Sacombank Chairman Dang Van Thanh told Sai Gon Economic Times that the bank had previously decided that if its share price fell below VND20,000, incorrectly reflecting book value, the bank would buy back shares.
He confirmed that Sacombank had sufficient financial capacity to buy up to 10 per cent of its outstanding shares as registered. The buyback would be conducted through both order matching and negotiation methods.
"We are willing to invest in our shares, and this demonstrates the bank's responsibility towards its shareholders," Thanh said.
He denied any possibility of a takeover, noting that no single shareholder possessed more than a 30-per-cent interest in the bank. "The bank hasn't discovered any risk of takeover, but it has nevertheless prepared a strategy to counter such a possibility," he added.
FPT Deputy Director Nguyen The Phuong said his company's action was aimed at optimising its capital so the corporation could focus its investment in its core lines of business and limit financial investments.
"This will also help limit any dilution of shares, creating long-term benefits for shareholders," Phuong said.
FPT has accumulated about VND2.5 trillion ($119 million) in cash-on-hand as of September 31.
Many companies have previously bought back shares at depressed levels only to resell them later at higher prices. In addition to STB and FPT, companies that have registered to repurchase their own shares include BIDV Insurance (BIC), insurer PVI Holdings (PVI) and Viet Nam Ocean Shipping Co (VOS) – all of which have decided to buy back around two million shares.
Market insiders expect the number of companies registering to buy back shares will continue to rise if the stock market has not revived towards the end of this year
Source: newsroom - farmingnewsdaily.co.uk