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Vietnamese firms eye investment in Burma

Gia Lai Joint Stock Co (HAGL) will be among several Vietnamese companies to invest in Burma, chairman of the company’s management board Doan Nguyen Duc has told local media.

In an interview with the Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper after a trip to Burma earlier in February, Duc said: "We’ve mulled over this investment destination more than four years ago. At present all of our investment projects in Cambodia and Laos have gone smoothly.

"A big company like HAGL could never attain a growth rate of 70 per cent a year if it only invests in the local market."

Duc said no more investment was needed for some sectors in the local market, such as the property sector in HCM City.

HAGL business activities are focussed on four main sectors: real estate, minerals, industrial crops and hydropower plants.

Duc claimed that the use of his personal aircraft had provided easier access to overseas markets. In 2008, Duc bought a Beechcraft King Air 350 plane for US$7 million to operate which he reportedly spends 300 million dong ($18,300) a month.

The cost of operating his own aircraft was only as high as what he would spend on air tickets if he flew with other airlines, Duc said.

However, the gain from flying one’s own plane is much bigger. "When I disembark from an aircraft of my own as an investor at airports in Cambodia, Laos and Burma, I would receive a bigger welcome than investors who fly with other airlines."

Other Vietnamese businesspeople have also shown greater investment interest in Burma. A delegation of ministries and businesses visited Burma from January 14 to 16 to survey investment opportunities.

During a working session at the administrative capital of Nay Pyi Taw, officials of the Myanmar ministry of economic development and state planning said they would create favourable conditions for Vietnamese businesses to invest in areas that benefit both sides. Two seminars were held in Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon to help boost bilateral trade as well as Viet Nam’s investment in Burma.

Investment activities between the two countries began in late 1988. According to Burmese government statistics, by the end of September 2009, Viet Nam had invested $23.4 million in Burma.

Viet Nam is Burma’s 16th largest export market. The country imports agro-forest, seafood products and electronic components from Burma while exporting steel, electronic items, pharmaceuticals, industrial goods, chemicals, computers and computer spare parts.

To further boost investment and business between the two Asean member countries, Viet Nam Airlines will launch a direct service from Ha Noi to Rangoon starting on March 2. The carrier will operate the Fokker 70 aircraft on the new route which will have services on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.- ANN

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