Thousands of items imported from Australia, New Zealand and a number of ASEAN countries to Vietnam will enjoy tax incentives under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) in the 2010-12 period, according to the Ministry of Finance (MoF).
Import duties cut under ASEAN-ANZ trade pact
Under a newly-issued MoF special preferential import tariff, commodities from Australia , New Zealand , Brunei , Myanmar and Singapore shipped directly to Vietnam will get the tax preference provided that they satisfy the MoF’s origin regulations.
AANZFTA tariffs on poultry are 5 percent, fresh and frozen buffalo and beef 10-15 percent; fresh and frozen pork 20-25 percent; poultry products 10-20 percent; fish 20-30 percent; milk 7-25 percent; flowers 25-35 percent; and cigarettes 100 percent.
Almost all imported commodities will have tariffs gradually reduced between 2010 and 2012. For example, tariffs on powdered milk without sugar and other sweeteners will be lowered from 10 percent in 2010 and 2011 to 7 percent in 2012.
Tariffs on cigarettes will remain stable during the implementation of the special preferential tariffs.
The new tariffs will take effect since January 1 next year.
Australia and New Zealand have so far also cut import tariffs on 85 percent and 96.4 percent, respectively, of Vietnamese good items including textiles, fabric and minerals since April this year.
With last year’s trade turnover of 5.6 billion USD, Vietnam currently ranks the eight among Australia ’s trade partners in the ASEAN bloc.
Bilateral trade between the two countries has also grown 22 percent on average for the past five years.
Two-way trade between Vietnam and New Zealand also reached more than 300 million USD last year.
Japanese partner buys stake in noodle marker
Japanese food and beverage producer House Foods Corporation on Dec. 3 signed an agreement to acquire a 1.85 percent stake from HCM Stock Exchange-listed Masan Group, said the local food producer.
Accordingly, House Foods will spend 20 million USD to buy the stakes, equivalent to 9 million new ordinary shares, marking the acquisition a strategic partnership with Masan .
The number of ordinary shares outstanding post the enlargement will be around 485.4 million. Presently, Masan has listed 476.3 million shares on the HCM Stock Exchange, under the MSN code. MSN on Dec. 3 closed at 32,600 VND a piece.
The deal will enable Masan to leverage House Foods Corporation’s research and development capabilities to enhance quality and augment its product lines. Similarly, House Foods will be able to capitalise on Masan ’s knowledge of Vietnam and its network.
“ Masan will continue to partner with leading financial and strategic players to execute our strategy of creating a local multi-national corporation to execute Vietnamese values,” said Madhur Maini, CEO of Masan Group.
Meanwhile, Hiroshi Urakami president of House Foods Corporation, greatly appreciated the partnership with Masan , saying that Vietnam would have tremendous growth opportunities in the future.
Previously, Masan made the partner with private investment group Texas Pacific and Denmark ’s BankInvest, receiving a combined investment of 50 million USD.
Vietnam wins bid to export rice to Philippines
Vietnam has won a bid to export 300,000 tonnes of rice of 25 percent of broken rice to the Philippines at a price of 625 USD per tonne, according to the Vietnam Food Association.
The winning price at the Dec. 1 bidding was higher than the previous one on Nov. 14 at which Vietnam sold rice at 480 USD per tonne.
At present, price of 25 percent of broken rice is 480 USD per tonne in the world market.
The Philippines plans to open bids to buy 1.5 million tonnes of rice.
VFA said it has enough rice to participate in biddings on Dec. 4, 8 and 15.
Da Nang-Taipei air route to open
Direct service between China’s Taipei and Da Nang, Vietnam will begin December 26, according to a representative from the route operator, Taiwan-based TransAsia Airways.
According to TransAsia Airways representative Yang Tiger on December 3, the airline will become the second foreign carrier conducting direct flights to Da Nang after Singapore ’s Silk Air. It will operate two flights on Wednesday and Saturday every week, using Airbus 321-132 planes with 12 business-class seats and 70 coach seats.
The introduction of the route aims to provide convenient services for customers as they fly from Taipei to Da Nang without stop-overs, he said, adding that customers may consider Taiwan a transit point to the US, Canada and the Republic of Korea.
Also in December, Da Nang will receive more direct flights from Osaka, Japan, and China’s Hong Kong.
Vietnam prepares to deploy EC regulations on fishing
Vietnam, on Dec. 3, held a conference to prepare for the implementation of strict requirements by the European Commission (EC) to prevent illegal fishing.
The new regulations are expected to take effect in January, 2010.
Speaking at the conference, chaired by the Department of Capture Fisheries and Fisheries Resources Protection (DECAFIREP) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), MARD Deputy Minister Vu Van Tam highlighted the importance of the EU market, calling for a change in awareness and management methods to meet the market’s requirement.
The EC regulation requires setting up a system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Each move to conform with the EC regulation is expected to affect Vietnamese exporters, fishermen and other workers at sea, Tam said.
Analysts in the seafood sector warned that it is difficult for Vietnam to implement the EC regulation as the country now boasts a small- and medium-sized fishery boat fleet.
According to the DECAFIREP, Vietnam now has around 130,000 fishing vessels, most of which are small-sized, and are expected to catch 2 million tonnes of aquatic products per year.
The EC regulation will make it harder for Vietnamese aquatic product processors and exporters, as they are facing a shortage of input materials.
However, the MARD is trying its best to increase EU-bound seafood exports. It has requested that local authorities tighten regulations pertaining to boat captains and entrepreneurs in seafood trading and set forth sanctions for violations.
The DECAFIREP and its local branches have to design and hold training courses for local businesses and fishermen on the deployment of the EC regulations.
The EU is now Vietnam 's largest seafood importer, buying a third of the country’s total aquatic exports. Twenty six out of its 27 EU members are now importing Vietnam ’s seafood products.
Agreements signed during Canadian mission’s visit
A four day visit of a delegation of government, business and university officials from Atlantic Canada has resulted in the signing of several significant agreements with Vietnamese partners, the Embassy of Canada said on Dec. 3.
The cooperative documents include a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Canadian province of Nova Scotia and Vietnam’s southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau to increase collaboration between the two provincial governments and to further promote trade and investment opportunities between the private and public sectors, along with another MoU between the Ports of Halifax and Hai Phong to enhance cooperation and to generate new business opportunities.
Canadian Atlantic and Vietnamese universities signed a total of nine separate MoUs to explore institutional links and to encourage more Vietnamese graduate and undergraduate students to select Atlantic Canada as a study destination.
The mission, which took place from November 29 to December 3, was organised by the Government of Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
On behalf of the Canadian Government, Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, said the volume of bilateral trade between Canada and Vietnam has increased steadily over the past decade, and now stands more than five times greater than in 1997.
Minister MacKay praised the collaborative efforts of the Canadian delegates and their Vietnamese hosts, saying that the mission is an important step forward in deepening the ties between the two countries for mutual economic and social benefit.
“The mission not only shows Canada’s commitment to increasing trade and investment with Vietnam but it also highlights our countries’ interest in working together to foster lucrative and lasting partnerships that will create new opportunities in the years to come,” he added.
IAEA to evaluate VN’s readiness for nuclear power
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Dec. 2 that it will send two integrated nuclear infrastructure review (INIR) missions to Vietnam and Indonesia to review their preparations for introducing nuclear power.
The INIR missions will help to evaluate the status of the nuclear infrastructure in both countries and identify areas where further work is needed. The missions will carry out a comprehensive assessment of the quality and ability of both countries to plan nuclear power programmes as well as safety regulations, security issues and safeguards.
"The INIR missions are designed to help countries think through their international obligations and their national responsibilities before making an informed decision on whether or not to pursue nuclear power," said Anne Starz, Technical Head of Infrastructure and Planning at the IAEA’s Nuclear Power Engineering Section.
The IAEA plays a unique role in providing these evaluations because of its position as an international organisation and a body that gathers technical expertise from all over the world.
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