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Huntsman positive about Vietnam prospects

Released at: 05:55, 03/02/2019

Huntsman positive about Vietnam prospects

Photo: moit.gov.vn

Mr. Kenny Pan, Vice President of the Polyurethanes Business Division, and Mr. Lane Ding, Vice President of the Advanced Materials Business Division, Asia Pacific, at the Huntsman Corporation, shared their thoughts on US-Vietnam bilateral relations and the prospects for US companies in Vietnam.

by Nghi Do

Mr. Lane Ding

To what extent has the lifting of the trade embargo 25 years ago affected US-Vietnam relations?

We have seen a growing relationship since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1995. We hope that this type of positive relationship will benefit the business communities as a whole.

How would you comment on Huntsman’s opportunities in Vietnam?

Vietnam is one of the largest and fastest growing countries in Asia-Pacific, has a young and rapidly expanding population, and the fastest growing middle class in the ASEAN region. GDP growth has been robust over the last few decades following reforms in 1986, and this is forecast to continue, with annual growth of 5-6 per cent foreseen over the next five years. We see many opportunities in Vietnam to support large-scale infrastructure and construction projects in one of the fastest-growing economies in the region. With a friendly environment for FDI, strong inflows are expected to be sustained.

Together, these factors are resulting in the country becoming a hub of manufacturing for export for many of the industries that Huntsman is active in, including footwear, insulation, automotive, electronics, textiles, coatings, construction, electrical, and transportation. This transition will be strengthened by the signing of the CPTPP and the upcoming Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement.

Huntsman is using the latest technology and solutions to provide superior quality products to Vietnam’s growing middle class. Based on our knowledge and experience internationally and close cooperation with our customers globally, we can better support Vietnam’s manufacturing and export market by knowing global trends and moving some supply from China or elsewhere to Vietnam. Based on that, we can see very good opportunities to develop the business here and to collaborate more effectively and efficiently with our customers in Vietnam.

Mr. Kenny Pan

What are the challenges facing the company?

The comparatively underdeveloped logistics infrastructure and lack of supply of some key raw materials pose challenges for our manufacturing in Vietnam. Consistency and transparency in State policies and regulations would further support our investment and business operations in the country.

With Vietnam’s economic and industrial growth running at a strong pace, we also need to be mindful of environmental challenges that are accelerated as a consequence. These challenges also create business opportunities for Huntsman. That is why we are committed to providing solutions to the market that can mitigate these environmental challenges, whether this is light weighting to reduce carbon emissions, e-vehicles or e-bike applications, or waterborne solutions to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions for industrial coatings applications. This continues to be an area of focus for Huntsman. With Vietnam’s continuous development, we believe all of these challenges can be addressed and we are quite optimistic about our future here.

What do you plan to do to boost the company’s business growth in the near future?

Huntsman’s presence in Vietnam can be traced back to 1992. We first set up our business in the country when Vietnam’s constitution was amended to recognize the role of the private sector in the economy. In August 2018, the Huntsman Corporation opened a multi-purpose facility at the Amata Vietnam Industrial Park, near Ho Chi Minh City. The site is a greenfield investment, covering Huntsman’s Polyurethanes and Advanced Materials businesses, comprising manufacturing facilities, R&D capabilities, a technical service center, warehouse and distribution space, and a commercial office.

For Polyurethanes, we’ve been seeing double-digit growth rates for a sustained period and fully expect this to continue. At the new site, we manufacture formulated systems for footwear, insulation foam used in construction and cold chain applications, simulated wood for furniture, and automotive applications. These products will primarily be consumed in Vietnam, with the balance being exported to Cambodia.

Our Advanced Materials Business will manufacture formulated systems for electrical insulation of switchgear and transformers, component materials for flooring and structural coatings, and adhesives for construction applications (buildings, bridges, and railways). Thirty per cent of products produced at the site will be consumed in Vietnam, with the remaining 70 per cent being exported, mainly to countries within the ASEAN region.

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