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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  12 February 2014  

HCM City strives to raise exports

The southern hub city of HCM is targeting an export turnover of US$29.23 billion this year, a 10 per cent increase over 2013, it has been announced.

In order to reach this goal, the city will implement a variety of solutions, with a focus on supporting local firms to overcome their difficulties and enlarge their businesses, said Le Thi Dao, deputy director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade.

Assistance in IT development and expansion of exports would be also included, she added.

Economists have predicted that Vietnamese companies will soon enjoy greater opportunities to develop their exports, as some bilateral and multilateral trade agreements should be finalised this year. The world economy is also looking a little brighter than a year ago, they noted.

However, some local firms said that they were not optimistic about the city's 10-per-cent target.

This year remains a difficult time for domestic exporters, in spite of some positive predictions, said Do Ha Nam, Chairman of the Viet Nam Pepper Association and owner of an export enterprise.

The city is unlikely to achieve this goal without a breakthrough in the solutions required to boost exports, he said.

Yet, the city should review the current policies and then draw up incentives for export enterprises, he suggested.

At present, the city has still to provide export firms with real incentives, which has resulted in many firms wanting to shift their production bases to different localities where attractive preferential policies could be enjoyed, he explained.

The city should actively remove some of the obstacles that enterprises have been objecting to, such as VAT refunds, he said. He added that effective market forecasts would also be important for enterprises seeking new export opportunities.

Of note, the Department of Industry and Trade's statistics show that the city's export value dropped 10.3 per cent year-on-year to $2.4 billion in the first month of this year.

This was due to significant turnover reductions of key items, including crude oil (down 35 per cent), coffee (down 26 per cent) and electronics and components (down 12 per cent). Also faring worse than last year were footwear (down 8 per cent) and clothing (down 5 per cent).

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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