PM urges more effort to boost trade, investment ties with Bangladesh


Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (right) meets with Bangladeshi Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed in Hanoi on September 13. 

Vietnam and Bangladesh should make stronger efforts to translate potential into sound cooperation in economics, trade and investment, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told Bangladeshi  Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed during their meeting in Hanoi on September 13.

Phuc welcomed Ahmed to Vietnam for the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN) and lauded the long-standing friendship between the two countries, which has been growing.

Vietnam and Bangladesh share many similarities and have all necessary conditions to enhance trade, he said, adding that the two sides need to discuss measures to step up cooperation.

Ahmed, for his part, appreciated Vietnam as a good friend of Bangladesh. He said he is impressed with what Vietnam has achieved in multiple areas and suggested the two nations cooperate more in textile and garments.

Vietnam is Bangladesh’s large trade partner, so the South Asian country wants to raise annual bilateral trade to 2 billion USD, according to the commerce minister.

Furthermore, the business climate in Bangladesh has improved remarkably in recent years, creating a good opportunity for investors from Vietnam, he noted, saying he also hopes bilateral ties in economics, trade and investment will progress in the coming years.

Noting his guest’s proposal, PM Phuc agreed two-way trade has failed to meet the two countries’ potential so they must make greater efforts to reach 2 billion USD in trade revenue. He suggested both nations provide broader market access to each other’s key export products and ramp up business-to-business meetings.

The PM added that Vietnam wants to invest in Bangladesh in agriculture, forestry, fishery, textile and garments, and industry and expects the government of Bangladesh to facilitate Vietnamese enterprises in the country.         

Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) show that two-way trade soared from 14 million USD in 2002 to 388.1 million USD in 2012 and more than 900 million USD in 2017. Vietnam has repeatedly recorded a trade surplus with the South Asian country. 

Vietnam ships clinker, cement, rice, fibre, mobile phones, and components to Bangladesh, while importing pharmaceutical products, seafood, and tobacco materials from the country.

By the end of December 2017, Bangladesh had invested in four projects in Vietnam with total registered capital of 615,000 USD, ranking 99th out of 125 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.  

Meanwhile, Vietnam poured 27,900 USD into a project in Bangladesh, making it 68th position of the 72 countries and territories where Vietnam has invested in. 

HCM City, AIIB look to work together in infrastructure projects


Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem on September 13 met with AIIB Vice President Joachim Von Amsberg who was in Vietnam for the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN) 2018. 

Ho Chi Minh City and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) hope to enhance their ties to facilitate infrastructure development in Vietnam’s southern economic hub.

The news came after Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem on September 13 met with AIIB Vice President Joachim Von Amsberg who was in Vietnam for the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN) 2018.

Welcoming Amsberg to the WEF ASEAN in Hanoi, Liem said this year’s event aimed to address key issues in ASEAN nations in the era of the fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), relevant to HCM City’s aim to become a smart city.

The city is facing big challenges like climate change, traffic congestion and pollution that necessitate investing in infrastructure to keep it aligned with local socio-economic development and lay a foundation for Industry 4.0 in the city, he said.

He proposed the AIIB send experts to assist the city’s authorities in business support programmes and Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects in infrastructure.

The AIIB official, for his part, lauded the city’s potential, saying the bank pays heed to the capital need of Asian cities, including HCM City, in capital-intensive infrastructure projects in transport, energy and water supply.

Amsberg said his bank wants to build a long-term partnership with HCM City and discuss with the local government on new financing methods for urban development, such as non-government guaranteed loans or a support programme to call for international financing.

As a young and dynamic bank, the AIIB is ready to cooperate with the city in support projects for local small- and medium-sized enterprises and other private businesses in infrastructure development. 

The AIIB, a multilateral development bank, has helped many Asian countries achieve better infrastructure, deeper regional integration and poverty reduction, said an official from the bank.

According to Supee Teravaninthorn, Director General of AIIB's Investment Operations Department, the bank has focused on promoting sustainable infrastructure, regional connectivity and private capital mobilisation over the last two years. 

In its first year of operation in 2016, the AIIB approved investment of 1.7 billion USD for nine infrastructure projects in seven countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Azerbaijan and Oman.


In 2017, another 2.5-billion-USD investment was approved by the bank for Egypt, Georgia, India, the Philippines and China.

For countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, the AIIB has financed, approved, or prepared funds for infrastructure projects, including those to improve energy efficiency and air quality in Myanmar and China. 

AIIB is considering projects related to water resources, energy, and sustainable city development in Vietnam, which are likely to be launched in 2018 or 2019. 

Vietnam always treasures ties with Cuba: PM


Vietnam has always treasured, and is determined to consolidate, its fraternal relations and friendship with Cuba, the foundation of which were laid by President Ho Chi Minh and Cuban President Fidel Castro, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on September 13.

He made the statement while hosting a reception for the Cuban delegation, led by First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba Salvado Valdes Mesa. The delegation was in Vietnam to attend activities marking 45 years since leader Fidel Castro visited the liberated area in the south of Vietnam in September 1973.

PM Phuc said that Fidel’s visit to Vietnam is an important milestone in their bilateral relations, which need to be preserved by generations of both peoples.

The Vietnamese Party, State and people have always kept a close watch on Cuba’s development, he said, believing that the American nation will reap further achievements in the socio-economic development.

Lauding the efforts of both nations to consolidate bilateral ties in the past, with various cooperative mechanisms having been effectively implemented, PM Phuc said that the two countries need to maintain sound political relations, bolster economic collaboration, and develop traditional ties in a deeper and more practical manner.

He suggested enhancing delegation exchanges at all levels, saying that the Vietnam-Cuba Intergovernmental Meeting should take place by the end of this year to review cooperation content and look for new collaborative orientations that focus on all-round cooperation and support for each other at the international forums.

On behalf of the Cuban Party, State and people, Salvador Valdes Mesa congratulated Vietnam on the nation’s socio-economic achievements in recent years, affirming that Cuba has always attached great importance to the traditional relations between the two countries.

Cuba has given priority to developing its friendship with Vietnam, he said, adding that the official visit to Cuba by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong is a historical one, opening up new chapters in bilateral relations and setting up new cooperation sectors between the two sides.

Currently, Cuba is carrying out agreements inked during General Secretary Trong’s visit to boost collaboration in economy, trade, investment, and finance, he said.

They can work together in pharmaceuticals which Cuba holds an enormous strength in, he underlined, stating that Cuba has been interested in aviation cooperation with Vietnam to increase the number of flights connecting Cuba and other American countries. 

Also, Cuba wants to set up a joint venture with a Vietnamese enterprise to foster tourism activities. Thus, it needs the support and collaboration of Vietnamese banks, he said. 

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc receives Cambodian counterpart


Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) and his Cambodian counterpart Samdech Techo Hun Sen 

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc hosted a reception for his Cambodian counterpart Samdech Techo Hun Sen on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN 2018) in Hanoi on September 13. 

During the meeting, the Vietnamese Government leader again warmly congratulated the victory of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) during the election of the sixth National Assembly on July 29. 

He stressed that the victory highlights the belief of Cambodian people in the country’s fate led by the CPP and that it will motivate the new government to continue implementing policies towards building a peaceful, stable and prosperous nation. 

PM Phuc affirmed that Vietnam’s leaders and people sincerely wish that the Cambodian people will continue to achieve great milestones, contributing to raising the country’s role and position in the region and across the world. 

For his part, PM Hun Sen warmly congratulated Vietnam on the success of the WEF ASEAN 2018, and expressed his appreciation of Vietnam’s great achievements in national defence and construction. He stressed that the strong growth of Vietnam’s economy in the recent past has created a spillover effect, contributing to promoting Cambodia’s development as well. 

The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation, especially in the field of economy and trade, while stressing the necessity to sign the Vietnam-Cambodia border trade agreement as soon as possible.

They applauded efforts made by both sides in implementing the border demarcation and marker planting, and agreed to direct the Joint Committee for Land Border Demarcation and Marker Planting to increase meetings in order to solve difficulties, towards an early completion of this important work.

PM Phuc highlighted that the two countries’ authorities have made great efforts in licensing legal documents to Vietnamese Cambodians, proposing that the Cambodian side apply flexibly relevant regulations to practically support Vietnamese Cambodians and thus helping them live stably in Cambodia. 

The leaders unanimously agreed to closely coordinate in organising activities to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Cambodia’s victory over the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime (January 7, 1979-2019), aiming to raise awareness of the two countries’ people of the Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia combatant solidarity and the significance of this historical event. 

PM Phuc took the occasion to invite his Cambodian counterpart and spouse to pay an official visit to Vietnam. Cambodian PM Hun Sen thanked and happily accepted.

Indonesian media spotlight Joko Widodo’s visit to Vietnam


Indonesian President Joko Widodo (left) and his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang 

Indonesian President Joko Widodo's official visit to Vietnam from September 11-12 has attracted public attention and been highlighted by Indonesian media. 

The media quoted Indonesian officials as calling the visit crucial to the Indonesian-Vietnamese strategic partnership, creating a political momentum for all-round cooperation between the two countries, especially in terms of economics, trade, investment, maritime cooperation, fisheries, and the negotiations on the demarcation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) between the two countries.

Antara News and Jakarta Post, in their articles, said in his meeting with Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang in Hanoi, Widodo suggested the Vietnamese Government remove trade barriers for Indonesia. 

He was also reported to have expressed his wish that Indonesian investors will expand their business in Vietnam, adding that the two countries signed Joint Communiqué on Voluntary International Cooperation to Combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and to Promote Sustainable Fisheries Governance.

Vietnamese and Indonesian leaders also agreed to intensify negotiations on an EEZ, the media highlighted

Other newspapers of Indonesia have also ran articles reporting on agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs) reached between Vietnam and Indonesia during Widodo’s visit, including those on tourism cooperation, fisheries, and health care. 

The two sides signed the Plan of Action for the Implementation of Strategic Partnership between the two countries in the period of 2019-2023, and a number of other important agreements, including those on cooperation in promoting creative economic development and bilateral trade cooperation, which aim to lift two-way trade between Vietnam and Indonesia to 10 billion USD in 2020.

An agreement on removing trade barriers was also inked, making it easy for both sides’ goods to make inroads into each other market, the articles said. 

The Indonesian media quoted some statements by President Widodo and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

President Widodo appreciated the fruitful cooperation between Vietnam and Indonesia, and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s decision to attend the ASEAN Leaders' Gathering (ALG) in Bali, Indonesia in October.

The Indonesian leader affirmed the ALG was important in the current fluctuations of the world economy, noting that this offers a chance for ASEAN to show its determination to foster self-reliance economic development and its commitment to promote development cooperation and poverty reduction. 

It will be also an opportunities for ASEAN member nations to declare to the world their achievements in recent times. 

Talking to the press on the visit, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi emphasised   that Indonesia is promoting equilibrium trade relations with Vietnam. 

She highly valued the signing of the MoU on fishery cooperation, including illegal fishing preventions; as well as the determination of both sides’ leaders to accelerate negotiations on the demarcation of the EEZ.

Quang Ninh hosts banquet for WEF ASEAN 2018 attendants


Participants at a discussion session in the framework of WEF ASEAN 2018 

Authorities of the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh, home to world famous Ha Long Bay, on September 13 hosted a banquet for participants of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN 2018). 

WEF President Borge Brende delivered a speech at the event, expressing his gratitude for the warm welcome. 

For his part, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Long noted Quang Ninh is continuously calling for domestic and foreign investment, expressing his hope that investors attending WEF ASEAN will be interested in the locality. 

Quang Ninh is committed to providing the best support to investors, he affirmed. 

The province is promoting its potential and advantages, especially conserving and upholding the value of the World Natural Heritage - Ha Long Bay, as well as its historical and cultural relic sites and natural tourism destinations, towards turning it into a tourist center of the world.

Long stressed that after the WEF ASEAN 2018, Quang Ninh will implement the commitments of the Vietnamese Government, aiming to truly  become a growth pole of Vietnam and attract more investors.

Quang Ninh is located 130 km northeast of Hanoi. It is described as the most important and vibrant trade gateway of Vietnam with China, and other ASEAN member nations. The locality is identified as a growth momentum of the north.

In recent years, Quang Ninh has mobilized resources to invest in three strategic breakthroughs, focusing on modernizing socio-economic infrastructure; accelerating administrative reform and e-Government development; and improving the quality of human resources to meet the province’s development strategy. 

As scheduled, WEF ASEAN 2018 delegates will visit Ha Long Bay on September 14 as part of their activities in Quang Ninh.

MRC official hails Vietnam’s contributions


Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) receives CEO of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Secretariat Pham Tuan Phan. 

CEO of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Secretariat Pham Tuan Phan has appreciated Vietnam’s contributions to and cooperation with the commission while being received by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi on September 13.

Phan, who was in Vietnam to attend the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018 (WEF ASEAN), agreed to coordinate with Vietnam in boosting efforts towards the Mekong River basin’s common goal of using the river water resources in a sustainable and effective manner.

At the reception, PM Phuc proposed the MRC promote its role in accelerating the implementation of the basin cooperation strategy and set out orientations and measures to achieve sustainable development goals.

The commission should enhance cooperation mechanisms inside and outside the region as affirmed in the Siem Riep Declaration adopted at the third MRC Summit held in Cambodia last April, he said.-

Groups promise to support Vietnam in meeting standards of digital economy


Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue (R) receives Vice President of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ken Kawai 

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue on September 13 received representatives from Mitsubishi, Deloitte, Hanwha Energy, McKinsey, and HSBC in the framework of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Hanoi. 

At separate meetings with the Vietnamese official, leaders of the groups said they are willing to support Vietnam in meeting standards of a digital and environmentally-friendly economy. 

Meeting with Vice President of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ken Kawai, Deputy PM Hue expressed his appreciation for the group’s scholarships for Vietnamese students as well as its expanded investment and business in the country. 

He suggested the group promote the development of the supporting industry, in which Vietnamese enterprises will become an important link and more deeply join the production and business process. 

Vietnam's growth momentum comes from its processing and manufacturing industry and energy sector, Hue noted, adding that Vietnam welcomes the firm’s technology transfer with modern and environmentally-friendly criteria.

During his reception for head of HSBC Asia Pacific’s international department Matthew Lobner, Deputy PM Hue asked the group to share its experience with Vietnamese partners in the application of financial technology and non-cash payment development. 

He also suggested the HSBC provide assessment reports; give feedback on macroeconomic policies; help Vietnam deal with bad debts and restructuring financial institutions; and increase resilience of Vietnamese banks amid impact of the world economic situation.

In his meeting with Deputy PM Hue, Chief Executive Officer at Deloitte Southeast Asia Philip Yuen said that Deloitte – one of the four most prestigious auditors in the world – has established an auditing training centre in Vietnam. 

The firm is willing to participate in large projects including the equitisation of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) of Vietnam, contributing to modernising accounting and auditing standards in the country, he added. 

For his part, Deputy PM Hue praised Deloitte for its attention to training human resources for Vietnam and some other countries in the region, as well as in raising the scale and quality of the Vietnam Association of Certified Public Accountants’ operation. 

The Vietnamese Government hopes the group will give advice on how to prevent and handle the transfer pricing of foreign invested-enterprises operating in Vietnam, he said. 

For the time ahead, the Vietnamese Government will continue the equitisation of and divestment from large SOEs, which will be a great opportunity for large, prestigious audit firms like Deloitte to participate in appraisal, contributing to making Vietnam’s financial market more transparent, Hue added. 

Meanwhile, Kaushik Das, CEO of McKinsey & Co., consultants in Southeast Asia, said that over the past few years, the firm has completely transformed its digital data based-consultancy to adapt to changes and trends in science and technology. 

McKinsey is ready to assist Vietnam in converting consultancy activities and analysing policies based on the requirements of digital technology, he stressed. 

In his reply, Deputy PM Hue praised the impressive results of McKinsey, calling on the firm to provide advice for Vietnam in making policies for sustainable development, capacity building, and personnel training, towards preparing human resources for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

While receiving Senior Vice President of Hanwha Energy group Pyo Kim, Deputy PM Hue expressed that the local government is highly interested in the energy sector, particularly in renewable energy and solar power.

He suggested the group accelerate the completion of investment procedures, hoping that the firm will pay attention to projects involving high-technology transfer, which ensure criteria on green and sustainable development.

For his part, Kim spoke highly of Vietnam’s economic growth and highlighted the potential for the firm’s cooperation with the country in the coming time. He also stressed his firm’s technological strengths as it invests in Vietnam.

Vietnam determined to continue strengthening solidarity with Cuba


President Tran Dai Quang (R) shakes hands with First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba Salvador Valdes Mesa. 

Vietnam attaches great importance to reinforcing and strengthening the fraternal solidarity and comprehensive cooperation with Cuba, President Tran Dai Quang has told visiting First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba Salvador Valdes Mesa.

Salvador Valdes Mesa is on a working visit to Vietnam and attending activities to mark the 45th anniversary of Fidel Castro’s visit to the liberated zone in the south of Vietnam amidst the war of Vietnamese people against US imperialists. 

During the reception for the Cuban official in Hanoi on September 13, President Quang expressed his pleasure at the comprehensively consolidated and developed relations between Vietnam and Cuba, and congratulated the Cuban Party and people on their important reform efforts. 

He expressed his belief that Cuba’s updated socio-economic development model will help the country achieve more important socio-economic achievements in the time to come, thus raising its position in the region and the world. 

Cooperation mechanisms between the two countries – such as the Intergovernmental Committee, the political consultation between the two foreign ministries, and the dialogue between the two defence ministries – have been performed regularly and effectively, he said, adding that the two sides have maintained close cooperation and mutual support in international organisations and multilateral forums, especially at the United Nations.

President Tran Dai Quang praised the close coordination between the two sides in organising the celebrations of the 45th anniversary of Fidel Castro’s visit to the liberated zone in South Vietnam (September 1973).

He suggested both sides increase high-level meetings, exchanges of delegations at all levels, and experience sharing, particularly in State leadership and socio-economic management.

Bilateral cooperation mechanisms should be maintained to match the fine political relations between the two countries, he said, adding that economic connection should be expanded on the basis of fully tapping potential and strengths of each country, focusing on petroleum, telecommunications, infrastructure, tourism, agriculture, healthcare, education, construction, service, biotechnology, pharmaceutical production, consumer goods, and IT. 

The Vietnamese leader urged the two counties’ ministries and sectors to effectively implement the cooperation agreements signed and continue to promote negotiations to sign new agreements on the economy, trade, investment, agriculture and telecommunications, aiming to perfect the legal framework and ensure stronger cooperation. 

He stressed the need for Vietnam and Cuba to bolster mutual support and closer coordination at international forums where both of them are members – especially in the UN and the Non-Aligned Movement – and to promote multilateral cooperation.

For his part, Salvador Valdes Mesa appreciated the solidarity and friendship between the two nations, expressing his great admiration for Vietnam’s significant achievements in all aspects. 

The Cuban delegation’s visit to Vietnam aims to learn from the Southeast Asian nation’s reform experience, he said. 

Salvador Valdes Mesa said his country always respects and treasures the solidarity and consistent support Vietnam has given to Cuba in recent years, affirming that Cuba will continue to back Vietnam at international forums. 

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc greets Lao counterpart on sidelines of WEF ASEAN


Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) and his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith 

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc welcomed his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith in Hanoi on September 13 on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018 (WEF ASEAN).

PM Phuc spoke highly of the Lao delegation and PM Thongloun Sisoulith for their attendance and positive contributions to the WEF ASEAN.

The two governments should work to effectively implement agreements on labour cooperation, settlement of free migration and undocumented marriage, as well as review the “One Door, One stop” programme at the Lao Bao-Densavan border gate.

At the meeting, the two leaders expressed their delight at recent developments in the traditional friendship, special solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos over the past few years. 

In the first half of this year, two-way trade grew 15 percent compared to the same time last year. A variety of Vietnamese projects received investment licences in Laos, while important works, such as the Lao National Assembly house, and schools in Bolikhamsai and Sekong provinces met their targeted progress.

The two leaders agreed to join hands in carrying out high-level agreements, seeking measures to remove bottlenecks, and ensuring that investment projects are effectively carried out and meet quality requirements. They said that they will coordinate to make careful preparations for the 41st meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Intergovernmental Committee.

Additionally, the two leaders reached a consensus on enhancing information exchange and collaboration at regional and international forums like the UN, ASEAN; at sub-regional cooperation mechanisms; and on strategic issues including those on the East Sea. The move will contribute to maintaining regional and global peace, stability, and development.

Thongloun Sisoulith took the occasion to thank the Vietnamese Party, Government and people for supporting Laos in recovering from the consequences of the dam collapse in the southern province of Attapeu in July.

Vietnam consistently facilitates investors’ development: Party official


Politburo member, Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee and head of its Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh (R) and leading official from Coca Cola 

It is the consistent policy of the Party and Government of Vietnam to create every favorable condition and environment for investors to develop in a sustainable and long-term basis in Vietnam, said Politburo member, Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee and head of its Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh on September 13.

In a reception given to leading officials of Facebook, Apple and Coca Cola on the occasion of their participation in the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN) 2018 in Hanoi, Binh further said Vietnamese authorities are always ready to listen to ideas and proposals raised by enterprises, and stressed that foreign firms need to closely coordinate with the host authorities and respect Vietnam’s legal provisions in their operation.

Binh highlighted the chances and challenges caused by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, especially to developing economies like Vietnam, and held that US firms are enjoying great potential and chances to cooperate with Vietnam, particularly in the fields of digital economy, digital connectivity and helping Vietnam build an e-government. He also spoke highly of the operation and investment orientations by those firms in Vietnam.

For their part, representatives of the firms congratulated Vietnam for successfully hosting the WEF ASEAN 2018, and thanked the Vietnamese Party and Government for facilitating those groups’ operation over the past time. They also spoke highly of Vietnam’s efforts in administrative reforms as well as improving the business and investment environment, and expressed their determination to broaden their business and investment in the country.

The three-day WEF ASEAN 2018, themed “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, was started in Hanoi on September 11. This is the third time the WEF has chosen Vietnam as the venue for a regional WEF.

The WEF was established in 1971 as a non-profit foundation and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The forum engages the foremost political, business, and other leaders of society so as to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Party chief welcomes Lao Prime Minister


General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong (R) and Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong hosted a reception on September 13 for Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith who came to attend the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018 (WEF ASEAN).

The Party chief expressed his delight at the special solidarity relations between the two countries, which have been developing in a practical and effective manner across various sectors.

He spoke highly of the cooperation between the two governments, asking them to join hands to direct relevant ministries, agencies, localities, and businesses to carry out the cooperation programmes and agreements inked.

They should work to remove bottlenecks and enhance all-round collaboration – especially in economy, trade, and investment – and make meticulous preparations for the 41st meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Intergovernmental Committee.

Furthermore, he congratulated Laos on the country’s achievements in internal and external affairs after two years implementing the resolution adopted at the 10th Congress of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP). 

Expressing his sympathy over the losses caused by the collapse of the Sepien-Senamnoi hydropower dam in the southern province of Attapeu and the damage caused by heavy rain and flood in various localities, Party General Secretary Trong believed that under the leadership of the LPRP, local residents would soon be able to stabilise their lives and recover production. 

Thongloun Sisoulith, for his part, complimented Vietnam on the nation’s successful organisation of the WEF ASEAN 2018, and thanked the neighbour for its timely support for Laos in the recent time, especially material assistance following the dam collapse earlier this year. 

He agreed to coordinate with the Vietnamese Government to effectively realise all signed deals between the two Parties and Governments, as well as gear up for the upcoming meeting of the intergovernmental committee.

Cuban President Fidel Castro’s three memorable visits to Vietnam


HCM City steps up cooperation with JICA


Secretary of the HCM City Party’s Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan (R) and JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka 

Secretary of the HCM City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan received visiting President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Shinichi Kitaoka on September 13.

At the reception, Nhan spoke highly of JICA’s assistance in promoting Vietnam’s economic growth and enhancing its international competitiveness through policy support, infrastructure development and State administration improvement.

JICA has supported HCM City in projects on urban planning, environmental protection and improvement of people’s living conditions, thus contributing to fostering the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Japan, he said.

The municipal leader revealed that the city is facing numerous opportunities and challenges in its current development, especially climate change that affects local environment and causes flooding amid degrading technical infrastructure.

To solve this problem, HCM City has been building water drainage systems and tide prevention sewers, he said, adding that the city wants to receive JICA support in constructing the works in the central areas and then suburban districts in order to ease flooding and improve the environment.

Introducing the guest to an innovative urban area project in the city, Nhan said that this is an opportunity for Japanese investors who are strong in technology to engage in developing solar power systems serving public activities and special transport systems linking universities and hi-tech parks.

He also wished that JICA will continue assisting the city’s metro route No 1 (Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien) and vowed to remove all difficulties facing investors and businesses in order to ensure the progress of the project.

For his part, Shinichi Kitaoka said Vietnam and Japan share a lot of similarities in culture and religion. In addition to their extensive strategic partnership, the two countries boast close collaboration between localities and businesses.

In the coming time, JICA will continue supporting HCM City in responding to climate change and reducing flooding by accelerating a non-refundable aid project between Osaka and HCM City on improving waste water drainage systems in the Vietnamese locality, he said.

He expressed his belief that HCM City will continue to be an attractive destination of Japanese investors, especially in the fields of health, transport, technical infrastructure, environment, and building of smart city and innovative urban areas.

Over the past years, JICA has engaged in a number of major projects in Vietnam, including building Hai Van tunnel, upgrading National Road 5 and building Phy My and O Mon thermal power plants.

In HCM City alone, it has been involved in the metro route No 1, East-West avenue, Ben Luc-Long Thanh expressway, Binh Khanh and Phuoc Khanh bridges, as well as improvement of water environment and water drainage and wastewater treatment systems.

WEF ASEAN 2018: Deputy PM talks with business leaders


Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue (standing) at the dialogue with foreign business leaders 

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue had a dialogue with executives of 40 global corporations and five domestic enterprises in the framework of the WEF ASEAN 2018 in Hanoi, to listen to their recommendations on developing a startup ecology, helping Vietnam achieve rapid and sustainable development.  

The Deputy PM said the Vietnamese Government has defined three major tasks, which are proactively promoting international economic integration; accelerating economic institution reform and improving the investment-business environment for the private sector; and mobilizing all resources for infrastructure and socio-economic development and human resources. 

The foreign business leaders said they were impressed by Vietnam’s socio-economic development and hoped the country will achieve sustainable development to facilitate business and production. 

Mantosh Malhotra, regional head for Qualcomm in Southeast Asia and Pacific, said the group has worked with Viettel and Vingroup (of Vietnam) and found many interesting things for cooperation. 

A representative from Airbus said the group has invested in Vietnam’s IT giant FPT to build linkage platforms, while medical equipment maker Sysmec appreciated FPT’s hi-tech human resource. 

The business leaders wanted to know the Vietnamese Government’s vision on 5G, Internet of Thing and digital technology not only at national but also global level. They asked about Vietnam’s State regulations on building financial database and developing fintech, solutions to accelerate the equitisation and divestment of State capital at State-owned enterprises. 

Technology groups, including Amazon and Grab, said they are willing to share experience with Vietnam to help the country develop a cashless payment system. They expressed the hope that the Vietnamese Government will hold more dialogues with businesses. 

Deputy PM Hue appreciated the recommendations of the foreign business leaders, noting that the Government had assigned relevant ministries and sectors to integrate contents related to data building and application of science-technology in governance, production and business in the strategy on participating in the scientific-technological revolution, developing infrastructure connectivity and human resources in 2017. 

He informed that the Vietnamese Government is instructing the connection of database on population, social insurance, finance and administration among ministries and local administrations, and facilitation of the development of Vietnam’s social networks. 

The Government will hold a capital market conference at the end of this year under the chair of the Prime Minister to listen to opinions of experts and businesses, he said, adding that Vietnam also needs advice from other countries and partners on building an ecology for the digital economy. 

Vietnam is of the view that the fourth industrial revolution will bring more opportunities than challenges, he said.

Vietnam-Japan Cooperation Committee convenes 10th meeting


Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (R) welcomes Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono in Hanoi on September 13 

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono co-chaired the 10th meeting of the Vietnam-Japan Cooperation Committee in Hanoi on September 13.

Both sides expressed their delight at the strong, comprehensive, and practical development of the Vietnam-Japan Extensive Strategic Partnership.

They agreed on the necessity of maintaining high-level visits and intensifying cooperation between ministries, sectors, and localities in all fields.

They also exchanged views on specific measures to both realise the outcomes of meetings by senior leaders in the past, and to prepare for upcoming visits.

Both affirmed their determination to implement the second phase of the Vietnam-Japan Joint Initiative to boost Japan’s investment in Vietnam, and pledged close coordination to soon put the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) into effect.

They discussed the situation of ongoing ODA projects in Vietnam, as well as measures to speed up the implementation of these projects and investment projects. They reached a consensus on stepping up cooperation in the form of public-private partnership (PPP).

The two sides also exchanged opinions on how to develop support and automobile industries in Vietnam; boost collaboration in trade and agriculture, and facilitate the export of Vietnam’s lychee, longan, and star apple to Japan, as well as the latter’s orange exports.

Minh thanked Japan for its ODA provision for Vietnam, hoping to receive the country’s assistance in building e-government, smart cities, and public administrative reform.

Kono, in turn, affirmed that Japan is very willing to back and assist Vietnam in sustainable development through improving the investment environment, increasing competitiveness of industries and labour productivity, building high-quality infrastructure, and human resources training.

He committed to continued ODA provision for Vietnam in order to develop high-quality infrastructure, step up administrative reform, and respond to climate change.

Both sides were unanimous in maintaining cooperation in organising activities to mark the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties in 2018, thus helping foster cooperation in tourism and culture, and exchanges between the two countries’ people and localities. 

Chief justice attends int’t judicial conference in Thailand


Representatives of the surpreme courts of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam open the conference 

Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court Nguyen Hoa Binh is attending an international conference under the title of “Judicial Excellence in Response to Today’s Challenges” in Thailand.

The conference is held by the Supreme Court of Thailand with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bangkok from September 13-14 to exchange experiences and enhance cooperation between countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS). 

Joining Binh are the chief justices of the GMS nations, namely Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, alongside those from the US, Australia, and Singapore who came to the event to present their judicial policies and strategies on delivering court excellence. 

The conference will feature the introduction of the International Framework for Court Excellence (IFCE), a self-assessment methodology for court performance by Elodie Beth - Program Advisor, The Transparency, Accountability and Anti-Corruption, Governance and Peace building Program on the second day.

In his keynote speech, the Vietnamese chief justice spoke highly of cooperation among courts of regional countries through multilateral forums such as the Council of ASEAN Chief Justices (CACJ), saying that Vietnam welcomes and supports the Thai Supreme Court’s initiative to intensify partnership among courts of the GMS nations. 

He said it is an opportunity for regional countries to share their common issues and strengthen multilateral and bilateral judicial cooperation.

Binh gave the attendees an overview of some of the breakthroughs by Vietnam’s judicial system in recent years, as well as opportunities and challenges faced by the country in this area, affirming Vietnam has harvested many good results in judicial reforms, fundamental to maintaining the rule of law in the country.

He added that the juridical reforms Vietnam has been promoting is in full conformity with the IFCE and urged other countries to apply the framework based on their real situation.

WEF ASEAN: Deputy PM attends Asia’s geopolitical outlook panel session


Deputy PM and FM Pham Binh Minh (centre) at the panel session on “Asia’s Geopolitical Outlook” at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN) 2018 in Hanoi on September 13. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh was among speakers at the panel session on “Asia’s Geopolitical Outlook” at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN) 2018 in Hanoi on September 13.

Minh said he was concerned about three things when it came to the shifting regional geopolitical landscape – the disruption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), the rise of protectionism and security threats.

“It is undeniable that Industry 4.0 will offer tremendous opportunities, but if countries cannot seize these opportunities, they can be left behind and the development gap would be widen,” he said. “It would lead to the transformation of the geo-economic as well as geo-political landscapes.”

The rise of the nationalism and protectionism also worries him alongside the power politics and strategic competition that can lead nations, whether big or small, to make choices to adapt to the situation.

And his last concern is the traditional and non-traditional security issues that continue to be a threat, including the maritime disputes, climate change, cyber security and etc. 

The Deputy PM also mentioned regional initiatives like the Belt and Road Initiative or the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, saying Vietnam welcomes the initiatives as long as they contribute to the maintenance of peace, stability and prosperity in the region. 

“The initiatives must be open, transparent and inclusive; and respect the international law and self-determination of the nation,” Minh added.

Minh later talked about the challenges of Industry 4.0 which he believes can affect the production methods. 

For a country’s economy that relies heavily on labour intensity, Industry 4.0 will affect its model of production and the labour force, he said. Artificial intelligence, automatic advances, robots would take the jobs of the labour force so education must be the main focus of any country to provide better skills to the young workers to enable them to adapt to the new context, he noted. 

Joining Minh in the session were Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea Kang Kyung-Wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan Taro Kono, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe and Associate Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) from Singapore Lynn Kuok.

The meeting discussed how Asia can secure peace and stability amid a rapid changing geo-economic context, shifting allegiances, and new security strategies from regional and global powers. 

The speakers showed they are quite optimistic about Asia’s geopolitical outlook as the situation has seen progress recently with the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) resuming peace talks, the US-DPRK summit or the new breakthroughs in the denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula. They also spoke highly of ASEAN’s centrality in the regional security architecture.

The WEF ASEAN 2018 takes place in Hanoi from September 11 – 13. Themed “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, the event has attracted leaders of many ASEAN countries and partner nations, over 1,000 delegates who are also WEF members, as well as representatives of businesses from around the world.

It serves as a forum for the exchange of new ideas, a place to understand global trends, especially in regards to Industry 4.0, and to formulate plans for Vietnam’s strategic socio-economic development and the growth of Vietnamese businesses.

It is also a cultural festival for ASEAN countries with the host country in charge of organising activities to promote ASEAN’s shared values of multiculturalism, multi-ethnicity, solidarity, and common goals. 

Vanuatu treasures traditional ties with Vietnam


President Tallis Obed Moses (R) receives Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia and Vanuatu Ngo Huong Nam.

Vanuatu attaches importance to the traditional friendship with Vietnam, President Tallis Obed Moses affirmed while hosting a recent reception for Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia and Vanuatu Ngo Huong Nam, who came to present credentials to the Vanuatu leader.

The two countries share various similarities, especially their arduous fights to gain independence, the President said, expressing his admiration for the heroic Vietnamese people and the country’s economic achievement in the past years.

The Vietnamese diplomat affirmed his resolve to work to promote bilateral relations. 

Ambassador Nam also had meetings with high-level officials of Vanuatu, including Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ralph Regenvanu, and Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity. Vanuatu officials all said they want to learn from Vietnam’s experience in economic development and integration.

Both sides should bolster cooperation in the fields of their potential like agriculture and aquatic cultivation and exploitation, they said, adding that measures should be designed to promote two-way trade, investment and tourism.

In a bid to facilitate collaboration in the coming time, both sides agreed to accelerate the signing of two Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) in the fisheries sector.

On the occasion, Vanuatu officials announced a plan to set up a General Consulate in Vietnam and appoint a Vanuatuan of Vietnamese origin to the post of General Consul. 

Also, Ambassador Nam met with the Vietnamese community in the country and attended a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the Vietnamese fraternity association’s house, during which he laid stressed on the significance of solidarity to promote Vietnamese identity. 

Currently, there are some 300 Vietnamese nationals living and working in Vanuatu. They have gained foothold and made considerable contributions to the host nation. Many of them are successful with their business and create jobs for hundreds of local workers. 

With support from the Vietnamese Embassy, the Vietnamese fraternity association has affirmed its role in building a strong and solid community.

VN, Japanese administrators talk on local government model


Vietnamese and Japanese administrators talk at a conference in Huế. Photo

Vietnamese and Japanese city administrators met at a conference held over the past two days to discuss the issues of administrative management that localities in the two countries encounter.

They also share solutions to solve the issues to achieve better management at city governments.

Speaking to open the conference on Monday, Vietnamese Minister of Home Affair Lê Vĩnh Tân said the conference was a chance for the two countries’ to learn from each other.

He added that the experiences would be the reference for the possible modification of Vietnamese Law on organising local government valid since 2015.

During the two days, officials from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications delivered speeches explaining the local administration in Japan in general as well as going into details of the local government system of Sapporo City.

Takeshi Miyaji, Deputy Minister of Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications, said Japan’s local government management included two levels, the prefectural and the municipal. The country has 47 prefectures and 1,718 municipalities, which refer to designated cities, core cities, special cities, cities, special wards, towns and villages.

“Relation between the central government and local governments is not between the higher and the lower levels but they are the same level,” he said, adding that local governments are independent from the central government and they cooperate on work.

On the Vietnamese side, officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs introduced the conference to the structure of Vietnamese local government system as well as management issues.

Assc Prof Ngô Thúy Quỳnh from Việt Nam National Academy of Public Administration said Việt Nam lacked experiences on organizing and applying local government model.

“The country works clumsily on the application of local government model in HCM City, Đà Nẵng and Hà Nội. We don’t have enough experience as well as we have no profound experts on the field thus we failed to build up a successful model,” she said.

She said the country had a lot work to do to foster the building of a local government model, including law modification and building up a capable labour force for the model. 

WEF ASEAN 2018: Expatriates a potential source for growth

Governments of the ASEAN member states should design suitable policies to control risks and seize opportunities related to the return of their expatriates, said speakers at a discussion within the framework of the 2018 World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN) in Hanoi on September 13.

The discussion on the ASEAN expat network revolved around the role of the group in each country’s development strategies, particularly amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution which has created various socio-economic changes. 

It delved into the economic impact of the group and ways for the home nations to capitalise on returning expatriates’ resources and capacities, particularly in technology transfer.

At the session, Jose Isidro Camacho, Managing Director of the Asia-Pacific Division of the Credit Suisse Group, highlighted the importance of the expat network. 

Camacho, also former Secretary of Finance of the Philippines, said remittances now account for about 10 percent of the Philippines’ GDP, which is used for domestic spending or investment in the private sector, describing this a driver of the economy. 

He said many Filipinos are working in developed countries, particularly the Silicon Valley. When these expatriates come home, they bring along new technologies and skills, becoming pioneers in technology transfer, Camacho added.   

Remittances fuelled the development of Bangladesh’s private companies during the 1990s, said Foreign Secretary of the Bangladesh Shahidul Haque.

He said overseas Bangladeshis and foreigners to the country have made significant contributions to helping the country’s progress in technology and labour skills. 

Participating speakers agreed that more positive manoeuvres from the respective governments are needed to encourage expats looking at returning.

They said favourable policies, a good investment and working environment, and a trustworthy social welfare system are initial factors to attracting the community. 

Professor Lutfey Siddiqi, a visiting Professor-in-Practice at the London School of Economics and Political Science, suggested an increase in marketing campaigns targeting young expats.

He highlighted the necessary of a connection between the expatriate community and their countryfolks at home. 

A marketing campaign on the country’s image, policy, working conditions and multi-cultural society is worth investing in to attract expats’ contributions, he said.

The three-day WEF ASEAN, themed “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, was started in Hanoi on September 11. This is the third time the WEF has chosen Vietnam as the venue for a regional WEF.

The WEF was established in 1971 as a non-profit foundation and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The forum engages the foremost political, business, and other leaders of society so as to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

Vietnam, Japan discuss measures to boost bilateral ties


Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (R) welcomes Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono in Hanoi on September 13 

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh held talks in Hanoi on September 13 with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono on the occasion of the latter’s participation in the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN) 2018. The talks followed the 10th session of the Vietnam – Japan Cooperation Committee co-chaired by the two.

At the talks, the two sides rejoiced at the strong, rapid and comprehensive development of the Vietnam – Japan relations over the recent past and exchanged ideas on concrete measures to further intensify the bilateral ties, including the continuation of visits and contacts by high-ranking officials as well as the thorough preparations for visits by high-ranking leaders in the time to come. They also agreed to maintain and improve the efficiency of exchange and dialogue mechanisms between the two foreign ministries, as well as to further raise the effectiveness of bilateral cooperation in the field of security and national defence.

Minister Kono affirmed that Vietnam’s sustainable development plays an important role in peace, stability and development cooperation in the region and the world over. Japan will support, help and cooperate with Vietnam at regional and international forums, including the successful holding of multilateral activities such as the WEF ASEAN 2018, he said and added that his country attaches importance to and hopes to develop the relations with Vietnam in a more vigorous, intensive, extensive and practical way.

The sides exchanged ideas on regional and international issues of mutual concern, and agreed to continue strengthening their close cooperation at multilateral forums. They also shared the view that it is necessary to maintain the central role of ASEAN in solving regional problems; to boost the ASEAN – Japan ties; and agreed to support each other in their bids to become non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. The two sides stressed they will cooperate with each other to accelerate the liberalization of trade through the early implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) as well as to complete negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

On the East Sea issues, the two sides shared their concern on the recent complex developments in the East Sea, and agreed on the importance of ensuring security, maritime and aviation safety; the settlement of disputes by peaceful measures on the basis of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982; the full respect of diplomatic and legal procedures; and the full and serious implementation of the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), proceeding to the early completion of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), thus contributing to ensuring peace and security in the region.

Party leader welcomes Cuban First Vice President in Hanoi


Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (R) receives First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba Salvado Valdes Mesa in Hanoi on September 13 

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong had a meeting with First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba Salvado Valdes Mesa in Hanoi on September 13.

The Cuban delegation was in Vietnam to attend activities marking 45 years since leader Fidel Castro visited the liberated area in the south of Vietnam in September 1973.

At the meeting, Mesa highlighted the significance of Fidel Castro’s visit to Quang Tri province in 1973, noting that the trip became a symbol for the special Cuba-Vietnam relations.

On behalf of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) and the Cuban State and people, he affirmed the wish and resolve to realise the last teachings of Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro and President Ho Chi Minh in enhancing the traditional relationship and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries’ Parties, States, and people.

He thanked the Vietnamese Party, State, and people for actively cooperating with his country in developing economy, trade, and investment as well as for being ready to share experience in different fields. He also appreciated Vietnam’s coordination in joint activities to intensify the two countries’ special ties.

General Secretary Trong said the 45th anniversary of Fidel Castro’s visit is an occasion for the Party, State, and people of Vietnam to pay tribute to the late leader and their Cuban counterparts. It is also a chance for the countries to honour their exemplary fraternity, time-tested friendship, all-round cooperation, and faithful solidarity.

He thanked Cuba for sincerely and wholeheartedly supporting Vietnam over the decades. He welcomed bilateral cooperation programmes and plans in economy, trade and investment as well as experience sharing, calling on both sides to continue working closely together and backing each other at multilateral and international forums.

The Party chief underlined that the special Vietnam-Cuba relations, founded by President Ho Chi Minh and leader Fidel Castro, is a priceless asset that the two Parties, States, and their people need to make utmost efforts to protect, nurture, and hand down to future generations, for the sake of the Vietnamese and Cuban people and the two Parties’ revolutionary causes.

Fidel Castro’s immortal saying “For Vietnam, Cuba is willing to devote its blood” is forever in the heart of each Vietnamese and has become a sacred symbol of the special solidarity and friendship between the two nations, he added.

At the event, General Secretary Trong sent an invitation to visit Vietnam to First Secretary of the PCC Central Committee Raul Castro. He voiced his belief that under the PCC’s clear-sighted leadership, the Cuban people will soon weather all challenges to continue harvesting even greater victories in their revolutionary cause so as to build on a prosperous and sustainable socialism.

RoK firms interested in doing business in HCM City: official


Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong (R) and Chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries (KDI) Huh Chang-soo

A line-up of businesses from the Republic of Korea (RoK) hope to land investment in Ho Chi Minh City, especially in the sectors of high technology and IT, said Chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries (KDI) Huh Chang-soo on September 13.

During a reception given by Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong, Huh said that Korean businesses hope to receive further support from municipal authorities during their investments, helping to foster the development of both investors and the city, while also enhancing fruitful RoK-Vietnam cooperation relations.

Ho Chi Minh City has proven itself as an alluring destination for foreign investment with half of this in Vietnam being run from the city, he pointed out, emphasising that investors from around the world will come to the city, and Vietnam more generally, to capitalise on its advantages and potential.

With a view to building Ho Chi Minh City into a smart urban area and regional economic, financial, and sci-tech hub, the city’s leading officials have been consistent in rolling out the red carpet for foreign investors, including those from the RoK, said Chairman Phong.

The city is currently prioritising projects in urban infrastructure, electronics, food processing, engineering, and information and technology, he said, affirming that municipal authorities commit to accompanying the investors in removing any bottlenecks and ensuring that they have successful business in the locality.

Registering more than 4.8 billion USD in 1,530 projects in Ho Chi Minh City, the RoK is currently the third largest investor among the 98 countries and territories investing in the city. Some 2,000 Korean firms are investing in the city, many of whom have built their own brands and prestige in the Vietnamese market. 

Vietnam’s top legislator meets with Vice President of Cuba


Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (R) meets with the First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, Salvados Valdes Mesa, on September 13 

Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan on September 13 received the First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, Salvados Valdes Mesa, who was in Vietnam to attend celebrations for the 45th anniversary of Cuban leader Fidel Castro visiting the liberated area in southern Vietnam in September 1973.

Chairwoman Ngan said the visit to the liberated area in Quang Tri province by Fidel Castro in 1973 showed the Cuban people’s solidarity and precious support for Vietnam’s struggle for national reunification. Back then, it became a symbol of the faithful and forever young Vietnam-Cuba relations, as well as international support for Vietnam.

Highlighting the significance of the visit’s 45th anniversary, First Vice President Mesa repeated the immortal saying “For Vietnam, Cuba is willing to devote its blood” of Fidel Castro during his trip regarding his nation’s sincere wish to help with Vietnam’s rebuilding efforts.

He also spoke highly of the growing parliamentary cooperation between the two countries, which can been seen in the regular mutual visits at all levels, including an official trip to Vietnam by President of the Cuban National Assembly Esteban Lazo Hernandez in 2017.

He took this occasion to thank his host for organising so many activities to enhance the unity with and support for Cuba.

Mesa added that during the visit, he met with leaders of the Party and State of Vietnam to discuss issues of shared concern, including the implementation of signed agreements, as well as to propose fields for cooperation to be expanded such as aviation, health care, pharmaceuticals, solar energy, and agriculture.

At the meeting, Chairwoman Ngan expressed her delight at the important achievements Cuba had attained, in particular updating the economic model in such areas as education and health care. She also applauded the country’s amendment of its constitution and supported her guest’s proposal that Vietnam will share its lawmaking experience with Cuba.

The visiting official also agreed with the Vietnamese legislative leader that for the time ahead, the two sides should maintain and improve the effectiveness of dialogue mechanisms and theoretical and experience exchanges, while reinforcing collaboration at international organisations and multilateral forums, thereby strengthening the countries’ solidarity and comprehensive cooperation.

Vietnam treasures all-round cooperation with Cuba


Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh (R) welcomes First Vice President of the Council of State of Cuba Salvador Valdés Mesain Hanoi 

Vietnam treasures and is determined to consolidate and expand its comprehensive cooperation with Cuba, affirmed Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh while welcoming First Vice President of the Council of State of Cuba Salvador Valdés Mesa on September 13.

The First Vice President who led a Cuban delegation is in Vietnam to attend a ceremony to mark 45 years since Cuban leader Fidel Castro first visit to the Southeast Asian nation (September 1973-2018).

Deputy PM Binh affirmed that Vietnam always bears in mind Cuba’s support for its struggle for sovereign independence, territorial integrity and national reunification.

The celebration of the historic visit contributes to tightening the two countries’ special relationship and disseminate it to the two peoples, especially young generations.

Salvador pledged absolute support for Vietnam’s revolutionary cause, saying that Vietnam’s triumph is of significance to Cuba and the progressive movement in Latin American nations.

According to him, the Cuba visit by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong in March has motivated bilateral political and economic ties. Both sides have to effectively implement signed agreements, particularly in trade and investment.

At the talks, both sides exchanged views on their country’s situation, and measures to increase the efficiency of bilateral collaboration.

They agreed that the bilateral relationship has grown well in all fields, reflected though regular delegation exchanges, and the effective organisation of theoretical conferences, political consultations and defence dialogues.

Vietnam and Cuba have coordinated closely and supported each other at international organisations and multilateral forums. Under the coordination of the Inter-Governmental Committee, both have collaborated effectively in the fields of defence, agriculture, information and communications, science and technology.

However, the leaders noted that economic, trade and investment ties have yet to match the two countries’ potential.

Therefore, they stressed the need to maintain high-ranking delegation exchanges and the regular organisation of cooperative mechanisms, and seek new cooperative measures to boost the bilateral relations comprehensively.

President affirms support for Myanmar’s peace process


President Tran Dai Quang and Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi 

President Tran Dai Quang affirmed Vietnam’s support for the peace and national reconciliation process of Myanmar during a reception for Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Hanoi on September 13. 

Welcoming the Myanmar leader to Vietnam to attend the 2018 World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN 2018), the President congratulated Myanmar on the successful organisation of the 21st century Panglong Peace Conference for the third time.

Vietnam treasures the traditional friendship and close cooperation with Myanmar, which was fostered by President Ho Chi Minh, leader Aung San and many generations of leaders and people of the two countries, President Quang said, adding that the two countries share many similarities in culture, religion and the tradition of fighting for national independence.  

He affirmed that Vietnam wants to promote multi-faceted cooperation with Myanmar through all channels – Party, National Assembly, State, Government and people. 

The Vietnamese President expressed pleasure at the development of the comprehensive cooperative partnership between Vietnam and Myanmar, especially following the State-level visit to Myanmar by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong in August 2017, and the official visit to Vietnam by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in April 2018. 

Bilateral trade almost reached 830 million USD in 2017, up 51 percent from 2016. Vietnam has become the 9th largest trade partner of Myanmar and the 7th largest foreign investor in the country. 

To boost bilateral ties, President Quang suggested maintaining the exchange of delegations at all levels and the operation of cooperative mechanisms, early signing a plan of actions to realise the bilateral comprehensive cooperative partnership for 2018-2023, and working to raise bilateral trade to 1 billion USD as soon as possible. 

The two sides should continue to hold negotiations on and accelerate the signing of cooperative agreements in agriculture-fisheries, transport, justice and crime prevention and control, he said, urging the early establishment of a defence policy dialogue mechanism at deputy ministerial and deputy chief of staff levels. 

Quang also advocated more people-to-people exchange, boosting friendly and cooperative ties between Ho Chi Minh City and Yangon, and working towards establishment of partnership between Hanoi and localities of Myanmar.  

Citing the initial success of Mytel, a joint venture between Vietnam’s Viettel group and Myanmar partners which launched telecoms services in Myanmar in June this year, President Quang asked the State Counsellor and the Government of Myanmar to continue creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese firms to invest and do business in Myanmar, thus contributing to Myanmar’s socio-economic development and the partnership between the two countries.

The President also valued the sound collaboration between the two countries at international and regional forums, especially the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN. He proposed that the two countries continue with close coordination in the framework of ASEAN and sub-region cooperative mechanisms such as the Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam (CLMV), East-West Economic Corridor, Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) and Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS). He also expressed the wish that Myanmar soon join the Mekong River Commission (MRC). 

State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi appreciated the friendship and cooperation between Myanmar and Vietnam, and thanked Vietnam for its support of Myanmar’s peace and national reconciliation process. 

She affirmed that Myanmar hopes to increase economic cooperation with Vietnam along with ties in education, tourism, cultural and youth exchange. 

Mentioning the WEF ASEAN 2018, Aung San Suu Kyi said the event provided a good opportunity for firms from Myanmar and Vietnam to connect with each other as well as with their peers in ASEAN and the world. The event also helped increased the linkage between governments and the business circle, she said.

Grand meeting in Cuba marks Fidel’s historic trip to Vietnam


Vietnam’s Ambassador to Cuba Nguyen Trung Thanh  speaks at the event 

The Communist Party and State of Cuba held a meeting on September 12 to mark 45 years since the first visit by Fidel Castro to Vietnam, with the participation of around 400 delegates, activists and diplomats. 

Prominent at the event were Politburo member and President of the Cuban National Assembly of People’s Power Esteban Lazo Hernández, Politburo member and Secretary of the Party Central Committee Mercedes López Ácea, Politburo member and General Secretary of the Cuban Workers’ Federation Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, Secretary of the Party Central Committee and head of the Party Central Committee’s Department of External Relations José Ramón Balaguer, and many senior officials. 

Addressing the ceremony, Vietnam’s Ambassador to Cuba Nguyen Trung Thanh affirmed that the Vietnam-Cuba relationship is a special and unique one, and every generation of Vietnamese love and respect the heroic Cuban country and Fidel - the legendary leader. 

Looking back at Fidel’s first trip visit to Vietnam, the Ambassador stressed that despite the danger, the General Commander was firm in his wish to visit the battle field and the people in southern Vietnam. He became the only foreign head of State to have cross the Parallel 17 to visit a liberated region in southern Vietnam during the anti-US resistance war. 

Holding high photos of the historic trip of Fidel to Quang Tri province, Ambassador Thanh said the leader’s remarks and actions had become a source of valuable encouragement for Vietnamese soldiers and people during their struggle for national independence and freedom. 

The celebration of Fidel’s Vietnam visit in September 1973 also honours the solidarity, the exemplary friendship and comprehensive cooperation between the two nations, the ambassador said. 

Politburo member and Secretary of the Party Central Committee Mercedes López Acea recalled the similarities between the two nations in their ideology and aspiration for independence and freedom, despite the great geographical distance, which made them become loyal fighting comrades on both the battlefield and the ideological front. 

He said he believes the Vietnamese and Cuban people will continue their path to prosperous and sustainable socialism, guided by the ideology of their heroes and fallen soldiers, and maintain their close bonds despite the increasingly complicated developments in the international arena and the dangers threatening humankind as a whole. 

On the occasion, participants at the meeting was treated to a play staged by the Colmenita children’s troupe based on José Martí’s classic work A journey through the land of the Annamese, and artperformances of Cuban and Vietnamese artists and students. 

The series of activities marking 45 years since Fidel’s first visit to Vietnam will end on September 17.

Vietnam, Thailand foster court cooperation


Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam Nguyen Hoa Binh held talks with Chief Justice Cheep Jullamon, President of the Supreme Court of Thailand, in Bangkok on September 12, seeking to enhance cooperation between the two courts.

Welcoming the Vietnamese delegation, Jullamon emphasised the importance of the visit. 

He affirmed he supported strengthening collaboration between the two judicial offices.

Binh, in turn, affirmed the partnership between the two courts has developed stably, reflected through the signing of a memorandum of understanding on judicial cooperation in August 2017.

The document has contributed to stepping up cooperative activities, especially in judicial training, and application of information technology at court, he stated.

Vietnam wants to share and learn from Thailand’s experience in judicial reform and improvement of the court system, and in judicial training.

Binh took the occasion to thank his host Thailand’s support when the Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam acted as Chairman of the Council of ASEAN Chief Judges (CACJ) in 2016. He  

affirmed Vietnam will back Thailand’s hosting of the seventh meeting of the CACJ in 2019.

Binh is visiting Thailand from September 12-15.

Ways sought to foster Vietnam – Canada culture-sport-tourism links


Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien has met with Canadian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ian Shugart to discuss measures to boosting bilateral culture-sport-tourism ties on the sidelines of the Vietnam Cultural Week in Canada.

At the meeting, which took place on September 11, Minister Thien briefed the host on Vietnam’s development achievements and potential for cooperation with Canada.

According to him, Vietnam’s economy is estimated to grow 7 percent this year, with good prospects recorded in agriculture, industry, and services. In particular, tourism has grown by 30 percent in three consecutive years, expecting to welcome 16 million tourists in 2018, doubling the figure for 2015.

Thien said the number of Canadian visitors to Vietnam is still low, just about 14,000 last year, but is increasing at a relatively high annual rate of 16 percent. 

He was confident that the figure would rise, particularly after a series of events are scheduled to be held in Toronto city next week by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

For his part, Deputy Minister Ian Shugart said he wanted the sides to strengthen tourism cooperation in the future, firstly via links between their travel agencies. 

He urged the establishment of a direct air route to facilitate travelling between the two countries, especially between their popular destinations.

Engagements in sports are also helpful to the development of bilateral relations, which can be achieved via the co-organisation of sport events, and exchange of sport science and technologies.

Regarding economic and trade ties, he said Canada currently records a trade deficit with Vietnam, but still gains benefits as their goods supplement rather than compete against each other.

He believes based on existing strong economic and trade cooperation and the soon-to-take-effect Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, Canadian firms will pay more interest in the Asian market, including Vietnam.

The official underlined that the large community of Vietnamese students in Canada will provide a firm foundation for future growth of bilateral friendship. 

Human, cultural, and sport linkages will be a good basis to develop ties in other key sectors like economy, trade, investment and defence, he stated.

WEF ASEAN: Regional military spending not about China, says academic


Although Southeast Asia countries are spending more on military defence equipment, it doesn’t mean they are increasing the risk of conflict in the region, according to Tim Huxley, Executive Director at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Speaking at a session on understanding Asia’s new balance of power, one of the activities as part of the 2018 World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN) in Hanoi, Huxley revealed some surprising numbers on regional arms spending.

In 2017, Southeast Asian countries spend more than 39 billion USD on defence. According to Felix Heiduk from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, total defence spending of ASEAN states doubled over the last 15 years in absolute terms, with countries like Indonesia and Thailand witnessing military expenditure growth rates of 10 percent year-on-year.

But Huxley said there’s no need to panic yet.

“They are mainly doing this commensurately with their economic growth, which has been famously rapid for most of the current century,” he said.

He also pointed out that while the widespread impression was that regional states’ escalating military spending was about China, it was actually misleading.

No other regional state comes close to competing with China, which in 2017 alone spent 151 billion USD on arms, he pointed out.

For example, despite its tiny size, Singapore is by far the biggest defence spender in Southeast Asia, outspending even Indonesia, which has 45 times more people. Yet Singapore has no territorial claims in the East Sea, he said.

“Southeast Asian countries might not need military equipment for the same reasons as western countries. For some countries it might be countering insurgents, for others it might be countering internal political issues,” he said.

When asked about how ASEAN has prepared for a potential conflict between major powers in the East Sea, Tim said he saw very little.

“I don’t see any ASEAN preparation for this or willingness to do this. There would be consultation among members but as a whole they have been unable to present a strong common front on the issue of the East Sea and this has helped China get away with it,” Tim said.

He cited the fact that in reality China had continued to militarise islands, deploying military aircrafts and missiles to the area.

“And there’s no sign that is going to stop,” he said.

On the matter, Robert Girrier, President of the US’s Pacific Forum, reminded that the ruling of the Arbitral Tribunal on the case of China and the Philippines was a clear statement, and that there needs to be a multilateral mechanism to challenge China’s stake on the East Sea.