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Vietnam to lower import tariffs until 2007

Business Day Newspaper - 2005-01-05

THE Ministry of Commerce said Vietnam will lower the import tariffs on 36 items from Thailand for three years starting from March 31 to offset any damages to Thailand's economy arising from Vietnam's decision to delay imposing a planned reduction of import tariffs for motorcycles and auto part imports from Thailand. Aphiradee Tantraporn, director-general of the Ministry of Commerce's international trade negotiation, said the Thai goods which will see tariffs slashed include animal food, cement, air-conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines.
As a result, starting from next year through to 2007 the tariffs for animals food imports from Thailand will drop to zero percent from five percent, while tariffs on cement imports from Thailand will drop to five percent from 10  percent, said Aphiradee.
The tariffs for air-conditioner imports will be cut to between zero percent and 10 percent from between five and 20 percent, tariffs for refrigerator imports will drop to 10 percent from 20 percent, while the tariffs on washing machine imports from Thailand will be halved to 10 percent from 20 percent, said Aphiradee.
"As a result of Vietnam's import tariff reduction, Thailand's import tax could be cut by as much as US$10 million annually. The chances are therefore high that Thailand may boost its shipment of Thai products to Vietnam and has a good chance of boosting its competitiveness in the internal trade markets," Aphiradee said in a statement yesterday.
Vietnam, as the seventh member of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), was originally obliged to cut import tariffs of motorcycles and auto parts imports from other fellow Asean members from 2003 onwards of between zero percent and five percent , said Aphiradee.
But Vietnam has failed to honour the FTA deal with Asean members on the specified goods imports, citing the country wants to seriously tackle its traffic problem domestically ahead of opening up its domestic market for


Foreigners In Vietnam Now Pay Same Elec Prices As Locals

04 January 2005

HANOI (Dow Jones)--State-owned Electricity of Vietnam, or EVN, has scrapped a discriminatory pricing system that imposed high power costs on foreigners living in Vietnam, a government official said Tuesday.

"We have canceled the old pricing system from the beginning of this year, following a decision signed by the Prime Minister Phan Van Khai last month," the official at EVN's planning department told Dow Jones Newswires.

For many years, Vietnam applied a dual-pricing system that forced foreigners to pay high prices for necessities such as electricity and for air tickets.

But following complaints from foreign investors, the country has gradually changed its pricing systems and now foreigners and locals should be paying the same price for everything.

The official also said EVN has raised electricity rates for some retail users to encourage them to become more thrifty, effective Jan. 1

"In general, retail prices will go up between 11% and 20%, depending on regular or peak hours....this will only apply to end-users in the household sector, not for industrial users," he said.

Over the 2005-2010 period, EVN expects Vietnam's electricity consumption to grow at an annual rate of 14%.

Vietnam Airlines orders more Boeing jets
30/Dec/2004 AP
Boeing Co said Thursday December 30 that Vietnam Airlines would become the latest taker for its new 7E7 jetliner, with a plan to order four 7E7-8s to be delivered in 2010. The deal is valued at aboutUS$500 million at list prices, although airlines usually negotiate big discounts.

US embassy signs software deal with local firm
04/Jan/2005 Saigon Times Daily page 2
The US embassy's commercial section has signed a deal with local software firm Softech Da Nang to launch the Global Trade and Investment Management (GTIM) network in Vietnam.

The network, a business promotion instrument that will provide information for global trade and investment, will be launched in Da Nang first.

Nike exports top US$750m in 2004
02/Jan/2005 Thanh Nien | VNA
Nike-Vietnam earned US$750 million from exports in 2004, US$100 million more than 2003, Nike- announced on Friday December 31.

Deutsche Bank launches factoring service
31/Dec/2004 Kinh Te Vietnam & The Gioi page 5
Deutsche Bank AG-HCM City Branch has officially become the first foreign-invested bank that has received approval by the State Bank of Vietnam to provide export finance via factoring service in Vietnam, said a
high-ranking SBV official.

According to the SBV, as of January 2005, Deutsche Bank AG-HCM City Branch will assist export and import businesses via credits for the sale side of goods by re-buying expenditure receivables from trading of goods in the contract signed by between buyers and sellers.

Seven arrested for Central Highlands disorder plot
30/Dec/2004 Reuters
Vietnam has arrested seven ethnic minority people in the past week for attempts to organise unrest in the restive Central Highlands, state-run media said Thursday December 30. The defence ministry-run Quan Doi Nhan Dan (People's Army) daily identified seven men and said they had been apprehended in the highland province of Gia Lai.

"They planned a demonstration on Christmas night and would have then instigated people in 49 villages to come to Plei Ku to slander the authorities about repressing religion," said newspaper said, referring to the provincial capital.

FDI rebounds
31/Dec/2004 Saigon Times Daily page 5
The year 2004 witnessed gains in attracting foreign direct investment inflow, with US$4.2 billion in pledged capital compared to the year's target of US$3.2 billion. This represents an increase of 35% over last year. Apart
from the high FDI inflow, other noteworthy achievements include the high ratio of realised FDI, and the quality of FDI projects.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment's foreign investment department, of the US$4.1 billion of committed investment this year, up to US$1.8 billion, or some 45% of the total, come from operational projects in the country. Projects with biggest added capital include Nghi Son Cement with an extra US$249 million, Chinfon Hai Phong Cement with an additional US$161.7 million, and Sun Steel Co adding US$147 million.

BP plans gas output expansion
04/ Jan/2005 VNA

BP plans to increase by 30% its output from the Nam Con Son gas project off southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province to 3.2 billion cubic metres of gas in 2005.

BP also plans to expand the Dinh Co gas liquefying station and the gas pumping system at the Lan Tay gas-rig.

Saigon Port looks for foreign partners
04/Jan/2005 Saigon Times Daily page 3
HCM City's Saigon Port, gearing up for certain changes this year, celebrated the New Year by handling the first containers of the year on New Year's Eve.

The port in the city centre is going to relocate to outlying areas this year, leaving room for passenger quays and commercial and tourism facilities. It is seeking local and foreign partners to form joint ventures to develop and operate new ports like Hiep Phuoc in HCM City and Cai Mep-Thi Vai in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, said general director Le Cong Minh.