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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs             23  July 2011

China trade to benefit Vietnamese small business

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Vietnamese small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will soon have the opportunity to take part in cross-border trade activities, according to experts. "With Asean members set to form an Economic Community by 2015 and a free trade agreement signed with China, Vietnam is set to become a center point for the transport of cargo," said Nguyen Cam Tu, deputy minister of Industry and Trade.

"Due to an increase in cargo, trade activities and services are expected to significantly develop along Viet Nam's borders with China, Laos and Cambodia." Tu said. According to the ministry, many enterprises have already had much success in cross border trading.

Nguyen Xuan Quynh, director of the Quynh Anh Ltd Company in northern Lao Cai Province, said that his SME had been representing Vinamit, Trung Nguyen and Kinh Do on the Chinese market, exporting dried fruit, coffee and confectionery products, valued at US$3 million per year.

Cross-border trade activities had provided effective channels in expanding export markets, Quynh said.

Despite initial success stories, however, cross-border trade infrastructure still leaves much to the imagination, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT). It added that current weaknesses negatively affected both the efficiency and quality of cargo handling, transport, packaging and payments, reducing the competitiveness of Vietnamese exports.

Hoang Tho Xuan, an economic expert, affirmed that Vietnamese enterprises often came under pressure from foreign partners due to a lack of proper services and infrastructure.

"The State should implement specific policies related to enterprises involved in cross border trade," Xuan said.

"Cross-border trade cannot operate without proper information, consulting and market research services," he added "Viet Nam is in desperate need of an association representing enterprises conducting cross border trade in order to effectively develop this area of the export market," said economist Vo Dai Luoc.

Infrastructure could not sufficiently develop without investment from the private sector, seeing as the government had tightened its purse in order to deal with the current economic crisis, he added.


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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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