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Vietnamese shipbuilding boss welcomes WTO membership

Hanoi: In the week that Vietnam was officially accepted into the World Trade Organization, pending final formalities, Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group (Vinashin) coo Nguyen Quoc Anh told Seatrade he welcomed the move. In an exclusive interview at the Group hq in central Hanoi, Mr Anh stated "We at Vinashin and the entire national shipbuilding industry are very happy that Vietnam is a member of the WTO."
 
To date, customs taxation has had to paid on all materials imported for shipbuilding purposes, he explained, which in some cases - such as ship aircon system - has been as high as 48%, the same rate as for household units. This is a particularly heavy burden as at present only around 7-10% of all marine equipment for newbuildings is sourced from within Vietnam - although it is hoped to raise that percentage to 60% by 2010. By contrast, ships bought overseas by Vietnamese owners pay no tax.
 
Once WTO membership takes effect, "we hope taxation will be reduced step by step," the Vinashin chief operating officer said, "and everything is expected to go a lot faster."
 
Questioned as to whether Vietnamese shipbuilders fear any disputes within the WTO such as have occurred between the EU and Korea, Mr Anh said he could not comment on specifics concerning Korea "but the Vietnamese government is not as rich... to offer subsidies to shipbuilders. We are all the time on our own account."  [10/11/06]

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