ts state- backed companies will face greater difficulties borrowing after Vinashin’s default, Moody’s senior credit officer Alan Greene said Dec. 24, after state-owned Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Group was downgraded to B2 from Ba3. “The interest payment showed we are willing to pay lenders as soon as we can,” Su said. Vinashin will double revenue this year to more than 21 billion dong and will build “at least” 84 ships, he said.
Vinashin risked bankruptcy after expanding into businesses from securities to tourism, accumulating about 86 trillion dong ($4.1 billion) of debt as of June, the government said in August. Police are investigating Vinashin Finance Chief Ho Ngoc Tung following allegations of improper loan disbursements, the state-controlled Tuoi Tre newspaper reported on Feb. 16, without saying where it got the information. Police also arrested Trinh Thi Hau, former general director at Vietnam Shipbuilding Finance Co., Vinashin’s financing unit, according to the report. Tung couldn’t be reached at his office in Hanoi, and two telephone calls earlier this week weren’t returned. Su declined to comment on the report. The company’s debt will be cut to 53 trillion dong under a reorganization that ministries will work on through 2013, the government said in November. Vinashin, based in Hanoi, accounts for as much as 80 percent of Vietnam’s domestic shipbuilding capacity, its website shows.
USDA delays decision on catfish inspections
AP 20 February 2011
The Agriculture Department has delayed a decision on a new catfish inspection program that threatens to derail U.S. trade relations with Vietnam.
The agency released a proposed rule Friday seeking more comment on the key question of whether Asian catfish will be subject to a new inspection regime that Congress passed in 2008 and that Asian producers say could kill their export business to the U.S.
The domestic catfish industry, mostly located in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas, has worked for years to slow imports, arguing that Asian species are an inferior product and the imports pose safety risks. They convinced Congress to include new rules in the 2008 farm bill making catfish the only seafood to be inspected by USDA instead of the Food and Drug Administration.
Asian producers, particularly Vietnamese, say USDA's on-site inspections would take years to establish overseas, and the new system would amount to a backdoor trade barrier. They say the safety concerns raised by U.S. producers are a red herring. The USDA issued a statement Friday calling it a "complex issue" and saying the agency will continue gathering data over the six-month comment period before determining which species fall under the new requirements.
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