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* Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has ratified the amended Vietnam-US Air Transport agreement signed four months ago, which will help airlines of the two countries expand operations, especially cargo flights.

* Trade between Vietnam and Myanmar in the first eight months of this year surged 58 percent from a year earlier to US$73 million, of which Vietnam's exports totaled $23 million, up 67 percent, Myanmar customs data show.

* Mekong Aviation Joint-Stock Co., a Vietnamese private air carrier that has partnered with Skywest Inc., will start flights from October 9, offering eight routes to popular tourist destinations in the country. Air Mekong, as it is also known, will increase the number to ten routes from November, the airline said on Wednesday.

* The government will lend Vietnam Oil & Gas Group US$300 million to pay debt to BNP Paribas SA, online newswire VnEconomy reported, citing a finance ministry circular. The company, known as PetroVietnam, borrowed the money from the French bank in January 2007 to build Dung Quat, Vietnam's first oil refinery.

* Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group, known as Vinashin, has disbursed about VND400 billion to help its units maintain and boost operations, said Nguyen Quoc Anh, acting chief executive officer. The money is being used to pay salaries and social insurance for employees. The cash comes from selling assets during restructuring and loans, Anh said.

* Vietnam plans to spend VND57.4 trillion (US$2.9 billion) over the next decade to develop the seafood sector, the government said on Tuesday. By 2020, the country expects seafood export turnover to reach as high as $9 billion a year and total seafood output to reach between 6.5 million tons to 7 million tons.

* The Vietnam Steel Association expects the volume of steel used for construction in September to fall below 400,000 tons, from 483,000 tons in August, the Vietnam Economic Times reported, citing Nguyen Tien Nghi, vice chairman of the association. Companies have cut steel prices by between VND200,000 and VND400,000 per ton.

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