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Vietnam to Build Plastics Plant

August 27, 2002

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HANOI, Vietnam (AP) _ Vietnam’s plastic association plans to build a $250 million plastics plant powered by natural gas to reduce the country’s reliance on imports, an official said Tuesday.

The government has given the Vietnam Saigon Plastic Association approval to build the plant that will be one of the country’s biggest plastics facilities, association chairman Tran Cong Hoang Quoc Trang said.

The plant, due to become operational in 2004, will be the first in Vietnam to use natural gas to produce polyethylene and polypropylene, Trang said.

It will be located in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, where the government wants to set up more factories to take advantage of large offshore gas fields.

Trang said the association is looking for potential investors in the plant, which will supply the domestic market with 175,000 tons of polyethylene and 175,000 tons of polypropylene each year.

Vietnam spent $540 million importing more than 900,000 tons of plastics last year, including 300,000 tons of polyethylene and 300,000 tons of polypropylene, Trang said.

``Our demand for plastics will grow fast,″ he said. Each Vietnamese consumes an average of only 30 pounds of plastics products each year, compared with average annual consumption of 66 pounds per person in other developing countries and 220 pounds in the United States, he said.

State-owned PetroVietnam is preparing to build another large plastics plant in Dung Cat Industrial Park, beside the country’s first oil refinery. That plant will use crude oil as an energy source, the company said.

Vietnam has 800 enterprises specializing in plastics products. Of these, 600 are domestic and 200 have received foreign investment. The country has attracted $2 billion in foreign investment for its plastics industry, Trang said.

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