Sunday, November 30, 2008

Vietnam in Perspective

Vietnam is a nation in a hurry. Years of French colonization and two great wars of independence, 1st against the French and the 2nd, against the Americans had put them among the least developed and the least progressive country even just in the ASEAN region. With the fall of the pro- western former South Vietnam government after the Americans finally pulled-out in 1975, what follows next was a reunification and redevelopment process with agricultural development made their 1st priority. Today, Vietnam is the 3rd largest rice exporting country, next only to Thailand and Brazil which is ranked 1st and 2nd respectively.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saigon Here I Come!

My boss, a representative and a friend from Marubeni-Itochu Manila (one of our suppliers), and I went to Vietnam, specifically to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) early this month (November 2 – 5, 2008). The trip was arranged and coordinated by both the Marubeni-Itochu Office of Manila and Ho Chi Minh City.

The primary objective of the trip was to explore and determine potential suppliers of CRC, GI, Galvalume and PPGI materials, through plant visits and technical discussions. It likewise gave us an opportunity to understand and update the iron and steel industry of Vietnam, which is by virtue of its closeness to the Philippines, may stand not only as a potential supplier but also as a threat to the local industry. At this time, it has already started to enter the Philippine market.

On the the side, we were able to visit historical places and buildings like the famous French built Notre Dame Cathedral, the Colonial Port Office Building, the former US Embassy (gone however was the balcony where the famous last helicopter escape trip during the siege of Saigon took place; this was immortalized in the award winning play Miss Saigon, whose staging in CCP Manila my wife and I didn't miss), Rex Hotel (built by the French and reportedly the oldest hotel in Saigon), the Reunification Building, the park where the statue of Vietnam’s founding father, Ho Chi Minh stands, the Committee Secretariat Building, and many others.

Over-all, the trip to Vietnam was a fruitful, enjoyable and a learning experience for us.

Next post: "Vietnam in Perspective", and a link to more photos.