Kerala-based companies invited to set up joint ventures in tourism, IT

Our Bureau

Thiruvananthapuram, Sept. 8

Vietnam is looking to step up cooperation with Kerala, especially in industry and commerce issues, according to Mr Ton Sinh Thanh, Minister Councillor, Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, New Delhi.

He said this while speaking at a workshop on `Opportunities for doing business with Vietnam', being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam here on Friday.

Mr Sinh Thanh invited Kerala-based companies to set up joint ventures in areas such as tourism, IT, food processing, plantation and furniture.

TOWARDS PROGRESS

Vietnam, where over 50 per cent of the population is under 25 and 94 per cent literate and skilled, is developing fast, compelled by its desire to compete effectively in the Asia-Pacific region, he said.

"Economic relations with India have been expanding over the years, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Bilateral trade has risen from $50 million in 1991 to $817 million in fiscal 2005-06. Vietnam has become one of the biggest FDI recipients of India with over $550 million in disbursed capital."

Mr Sinh Thanh described his visit, first time to Kerala, as an affirmation of the nature of bilateral relations, saying "it would provide new momentum for the traditional ties and cooperation to grow further". And in this process, Kerala can play an important role.

Vietnam is an ideal investment destination, said Mr Do Hoang Minh, Third Secretary, Embassy of Vietnam in India. Vietnam has assured political and social stability and a fast growing economy and is recognised by foreign investors to be one of the safest places in the Asia Pacific region.

Investment destination

Its committed labour force, multifaceted business areas, rising purchasing power and favourable investment environment are major attractions for the foreign investor.

According to Mr Nguyen Tuan Quang, Commercial Counsellor, Head of Vietnam Trade Office in India, India has had a persistently favourable trade balance with Vietnam. In order to rectify this position, there is an urgent need to diversify Vietnam's export basket and to concentrate on the major items such as tea, spices and essential oil. India imports these items but mostly from other countries.

Reduction on customs duty is very essential for the easier entry of foreign exports in conformity with the India's `Look East' policy, he added.

Earlier, inaugurating the workshop Mr Elamaram Kareem, Minister for Industries, Kerala, said the Government was keen on the rapid industrialisation of the State. The new industrial policy would be announced soon by incorporating the viewpoints of industrial bodies like CII, he said.

Mr Navas Meeran, Chairman, CII Kerala State Council, welcomed the audience and Mr P. Ganesh, Chairman, CII Thiruvananthapuram Zonal Council, proposed a vote of thanks.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 9, 2006)
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