Government Inspectorate deploys 2015 tasks

The Government Inspectorate (GI) detected the misuse of over VND51 trillion (over US$2.38 billion) and 1682 hectares of land in 2014.

The information was revealed at a conference in Hanoi on January 22 to review the GI’s performance in 2014 and outline its major tasks for 2015.

The discovery was the result of 233,000 administrative and other inspections on specific sectors that the agency carried out over the past year.

The GI also transferred 25 suspected criminal cases to investigation authorities.

Speaking at the session, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted the GI’s achievements in 2014, praising its efforts, the performance of its functions and its contributions to enhancing State management across a wide range of fields.

He also urged the sector to further strengthen its role in order to improve the efficiency of State management and effectively prevent and fight against corruption.

The GI should also work more closely with relevant agencies and further develop the sector to meet the requirements of the present context, the Deputy PM noted.

Uruguay’s top legislator wraps up Vietnam visit

Speaker of the Uruguayan Chamber of Representatives Anibal Pereyra left Hanoi on January 22, successfully concluding his four-day official visit to Vietnam at the invitation of National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung.

Speaker Anibal Pereyra and NA Chairman Hung held talks, during which a cooperation agreement between the two countries’ legislative bodies was signed.

The Speaker met with Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, and made a tour of the port city of Hai Phong and had a working session with the municipal People Committee’s leaders.

At these meetings, Vietnamese leaders affirmed that Anibal Pereyra’s visit to Vietnam will open prospects for all-around cooperation between the two nations in the near future.

Both sides expressed their wish that the two legislatures will further forge links through exchange of visits at all levels, as well as provide mutual support at regional and international parliamentary forums, especially the Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting.

Vietnamese, Lao provinces strengthen cooperation

Vietnam’s northwestern province of Hoa Binh and Laos’s northeastern province of Houaphan on January 22 inked a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in health care, trade, investment, agriculture, and tourism.

The document was signed during the visit to Hoa Binh by Houaphan Governor Khamhung Huongvongsi, who is also Secretary of the provincial committee of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party.

Accordingly, the provinces consented to intensify their friendship and collaboration on the basis of mutual respect and equality in conformity with each country’s law and policy and international conditions approved by the two countries.

Hoa Binh will also partly assist the Lao side in upgrading the latter’s general hospital.

During their working session, officials briefed each other on their socio-economic status in 2014. Houaphan, which borders Vietnam, saw a fair economic growth and it owns potential for the development of hydropower, mining, industrial trees, and animal husbandry.

Meanwhile, Hoa Binh, neighbouring the capital city of Hanoi, enjoyed an average annual growth of 10.3 percent and has advantages in agro-forestry products, building materials, and ecotourism.

Deputy PM welcomes US trade official

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has expressed his conviction that the Vietnam visit by Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan M. Selig would open up a year full of high-level exchange visits between the two countries.

At a January 22 reception for the US trade official in Hanoi, Deputy PM Ninh reiterated the political commitments of the Vietnamese Party and Government in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations and implementation for the benefit of the countries participating in this pact.

Vietnam wants the US to grant flexibility, carefully consider Vietnam’s core interests pertaining to textiles and garments, footwear, agriculture, fisheries and support Vietnam in realizing TPP regulations, Ninh told his guest.

For his part, the Under Secretary informed Ninh about the results of working sessions with Vietnamese relevant agencies, adding that his visit preludes the growth of bilateral relations in 2015 - the year marks the 20th anniversary of the two nations’ diplomatic relations.

He said his visit is designed to compare notes on TPP negotiations and implementation and issues of shared concern such as opening the market for goods and services, particularly those are said to generate huge benefits to both countries when TPP becomes effective.

As a result, Vietnam’s exports could explode 28%, thus significantly impact domestic economic growth, he noted.

On the day, the US official was greeted by Head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Vuong Dinh Hue who asked the US rapidly recognize Vietnam’s market economy.

Vietnam, EU talk human rights in Brussels

The European Union (EU) has evaluated discussions during an annual dialogue on human rights with Vietnam as straightforward, constructive, and helpful, Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Spokesperson Pham Thu Hang said.

Hang was replying on January 22 to a reporters’ question on the annual dialogue on human rights between the EU and Vietnam in Brussels, Belgium on January 19.

She said that the EU acknowledged well-rounded progresses that Vietnam has achieved over the past time and expressed hopes for further dialogue in a constructive and mutual understanding spirit.

In a frank and constructive manner, both sides discussed issues of shared concern, including human rights, the freedom of speech, Internet and the press as well as coordination at the United Nations multilateral forums on human rights, she added.

Vietnam boosts fisheries cooperation with Norway

Vietnamese Ambassador to Norway Le Thi Tuyet Mai attended activities during the Norwegian seafood fair on January 20-21 with a view to promoting bilateral collaboration in the fisheries sector.

Vietnam and Norway have boasted fisheries cooperation since 1972, one year after the two countries set up their diplomatic ties, with a number of training and research cooperation programmes, Mai told IntraFish reporters, citing a project between the Nha Trang Fisheries University and Norwegian counterparts to assess the impacts of climate change on the coastal eco-system and the fisheries sector.

Such collaboration serves as a firm foundation for both countries to expand their business relations in this field, she noted.

The ambassador also mentioned the success of Norwegian seafood enterprises operating in Vietnam such as EWOS, Skreting and PHARMAQ - the first vaccine producer for tra fish in the Southeast Asian nation.

On the occasion, Ole Heanes from Norway ’s trade office in Hanoi , briefed the fair participants on the potential of the Vietnamese seafood market and called on his country’s businesses to increase investment in Vietnam.

Norway is the world’s seafood superpower with 95 percent of its products exported to over 140 countries.

Vietnam, Cuba strengthen traditional solidarity

Members of the Vietnam-Cuba Friendship Association (VCFA) and Vietnamese who had ever studied in Cuba gathered at a friendship meeting in Hanoi on January 22 to celebrate the New Year 2015.

The event, jointly held by the VCFA, the club of Vietnamese alumni in Cuba and the Cuban Embassy in Vietnam , was also part of activities to mark 55 years of bilateral diplomatic ties (December 2, 1960-2015).

Addressing the meeting, VCFA Standing Vice President Nguyen Duy Cuong congratulated the Cuban people on the return of their heroes who have been released from US prisons and affirmed that his association will continue intensifying solidarity with the Cuban people and back their legitimate aspiration for Washington ’s termination of its embargo against the country.

He expressed his belief that with efforts made by the Cuban Party, State and people as well as strong support from the progressive people around the world, Cuba will achieve success in this struggle.

Cuban Ambassador Herminio Lopez Diaz said he is pleased to meet VCFA members who have made great contributions to the bilateral friendship.

On this occasion, a documentary on Vietnam by Cuba cinematographers was screened, reflecting the Cuban people’s sentiment towards their fraternal Vietnamese nation.

Rural development - key task of entire political system

The development of new-style rural areas is defined among key and regular political tasks of the Party, State and the entire political system, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told a teleconference in Hanoi on January 22.

The conference intended to evaluate the new rural development campaign, set 2015 tasks for the drive, and consider proposals to adjust a set of 19 national criteria on new-style rural development.

The PM said the campaign is part of efforts to restructure the economy in general and the farming sector in rural areas, making them industrialised and more modern.

He pointed out drawbacks arising from the process, including the lack of supervision over eligibility for new rural areas and limited investments of businesses and international organisations.

In 2015, the Central Steering Committee for the National Target Programme on New Rural Development looks to recognise 20 percent of communes and over five districts nationwide as new rural areas, with at least three communes in each city and province gaining the status.

It will also fine-tune the national target programme for 2016-2020 to submit to the Prime Minister for approval, and issues special mechanisms conducive to disadvantaged areas.

To speed up agricultural restructuring, the committee plans to develop cooperative models suitable to features of the irrigation, plantation, animal husbandry, forestry and fisheries sectors.

In the meantime, it will continue improving the quality of the environment, education, health care and social order while further spreading the drives calling on the whole nation to build new rural areas and all people unite to develop cultural life in residential areas.

Participants asked for the government’s support to localities in attracting business investments in remote areas, and possible changes to several rural development criteria to suit realities.

The State Bank of Vietnam and the Finance Ministry are also expected to consider providing a credit line for the campaign.

Last year, the nation recorded 785 communes as new-style rural areas, each meeting 10 out of the 19 criteria on average.

In the district level, Xuan Loc and Long Khanh in the southern province of Dong Nai gained the recognition.

A set of the above 19 criteria were defined under the National Target Program on New Rural Development which was approved in 2010, covering infrastructure, production, living standards, income, culture targets, among others that localities have to meet.

Party General Secretary hosts Lao Deputy Prime Minister

The productive coordination between Vietnamese and Laos relevant ministries and sectors helped realise high-level bilateral agreements in 2014 efficiently, said Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong while receiving Lao Deputy Prime Minister Somsavad Lengsavath in Hanoi on January 22.

The reception took place during a Lao high-ranking delegation’s visit to Vietnam for the 37th meeting of the Inter-Governmental Committee for bilateral cooperation that was held in the capital on January 21.

At the meeting, Lao Deputy PM Somsavad Lengsavath briefed his host on agreements reached at the meeting. He continued to state his country, government, and people will continue to foster the traditional special solidarity with Vietnam.

General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong highlighted the achievements that the two countries’ cooperation has obtained thus far.

He said the visit significantly contributed to cementing and stepping up the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.

Looking forward, both sides need to collaborate further, seeking new policies and frameworks relevant to the continually developing status of their bilateral ties, he said.-

Vietnam slams inhumane acts against innocent civilians

Vietnam strongly condemns barbaric inhumane acts targeting innocent civilians and supports efforts by the international community to combat terrorism in any form.

Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Spokesperson Pham Thu Hang responded to questions about Vietnam’s view on the self-claimed Islamic State members taking two Japanese nationals hostage during a regular press briefing in Hanoi on January 22.

She said Vietnam also endorses the fight against extremist violence on the basis of the United Nations Charter, respecting the fundamental rights and principles of international law on independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of countries concerned and ensuring the safety of civilians.

An Islamic State member threatened in an online video message on January 20 to kill Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto unless Japan pays 200 million USD in 72 hours.

US-Cuba diplomatic ties resumption, an important start

The ongoing high-level talks on the resumption of diplomatic ties between the US and Cuba is among significant steps towards a new period in the two countries’ relationship, Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Spokesperson Pham Thu Hang said.

She made the statement in response to queries about Vietnam’s stance on the ongoing talks between the two nations at a regular press briefing in Hanoi on January 22.

Cuban President Raul Castro announced that his country is normalising its relations with the US after 53 years of interruption on December 17, 2014.

The decision was made after a series of secret high-level negotiations between the two sides became public, including a nearly one-hour telephone conversation between President Raul Castro and his US counterpart Barack Obama.

Obama declared this a “new chapter” in relations between his country and Cuba.

The move was publicly lauded in both the US and Cuba, with the majority of Americans hailing Obama’s decision to restore relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana as well as urging the US Congress to revoke its embargo against the island nation.

Deputy PM requests improved social welfare policy

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam asked the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to make improvements to the social welfare policy and mechanism at an online conference in Hanoi on January 22.

The ministry should focus on its vocational training strategy through 2020, including a review of its operation of public-private vocational education centres, while continuing to implement effective policies related to job creation, salaries, labour markets, hygiene, and safety, he said.

The leader described the prevention of social evils, including drug addiction, to be a society-wide mission, saying ministries, sectors and localities must pay heed to the ratio of successful drug rehabilitations at detoxification centres.

He ordered the ministry to continue working with the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee to examine preferential policies for social welfare beneficiaries and concentrate on poverty reduction.

In 2014, the sector created jobs for 1.6 million people, up 3.6 percent from 2013, with nearly 50 percent of the workers attending training courses offered at 1,465 vocational training centres. The percentage of households living under the poverty line dropped by 1.8-2 percent from the previous year.

The outcome was attributed to the ministry’s tireless efforts to ensure social welfare for individuals across the nation. Shortcomings still remain, however, such as job shortages and low labour productivity. Businesses violations of legal regulations on the legitimate rights and interests of the workers are still not detected or handled in a timely manner. Income disparities persist, especially in the northern and Central Highlands mountainous areas.

In 2015, the ministry aims to create jobs for 1.6 million people, over 1.5 million of which working locally and 90,000 employed abroad; reduce the rate of impoverished households nationwide by 1.7-2 percent; and open training courses for at least half the workforce.

President bids farewell to Mexican Ambassador

State President Truong Tan Sang congratulated outgoing Mexican Ambassador Gilberto Lomon Enriquez on successfully accomplishing his working term in Vietnam at a farewell reception for him in Hanoi on January 22.

The State President said the Ambassador had taken numerous activities to step up the time-honoured bilateral friendship and wished him more successes in the new position.

He said he was delighted at annual increases in bilateral trade and suggested the early establishment of a joint committee on trade, investment and economic cooperation to accelerate trade and investment and the creation of jobs as well.

He noted huge potential for connections between Vietnam and Mexico given both are taking part in the final stage of negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and are members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC).

The two countries will celebrate the 40 th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2015 and should use the chance to jointly organise celebratory activities that will create a hallmark of their friendship and cooperation, State President Truong Tan Sang said.

Ambassador Gilberto Lomon Enriquez told his host that he was glad to witness the fruits of the two countries’ relationship as well as Vietnam’s renovation accomplishments during his office tenure.

He expressed the hope that Vietnam and Mexico, built on their traditional friendship and Mexico’s current policy of expanding cooperation with Asia-Pacific, will see their cooperative fields thriving in the coming time.

President welcomes Lao Deputy Prime Minister

President Truong Tan Sang urged Vietnam and Laos to accelerate progress on pending projects in honour of the significant events to be celebrated in the respective countries during 2015.

President Sang made the statement during a reception for Lao Deputy Prime Minister Somsavad Lengsavath in Hanoi on January 22, during which he praised the cooperation achievements of the two nations in recent years.

He also underscored that the two sides need to coordinate their mechanisms and policies to further economic, trade, and investment initiatives, adding bilateral collaboration in education and training should focus on improving Laos’ human workforce capacity.

For his part, the Lao Deputy PM highlighted progress achieved in trade between the two nations in 2014, which increased 34 percent from 2013 to 1.4 billion USD.

He briefed his host on the results of the 37 th conference of the Vietnam-Laos Inter-Government Committee, held in Hanoi on January 21. He said that after the event, the two sides assessed the status of their current cooperation efforts and identified the roots of existing barriers to be promptly addressed.-

Vietnam, Argentina seek stronger friendship

Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) Bui Khac Son and a delegation from the Argentina-Vietnam Cultural Institute (ICAV) discussed ways to enhance the friendship between the two countries at a meeting in Hanoi on January 22.

The VUFO leader said the ICAV delegation’s visit contributes to strengthening the cooperation between Vietnam and Argentina, adding that culture is a bridge for the friendship among nations in the world.

ICAV President Poldi Sosa Schmidt said the visit aims at sharing experience in laws, literature and education with Vietnamese colleagues. The delegation also hopes to gain a better understanding of Vietnam’s economic development policies in the current situation.

Vietnam-Cambodia friendship association turns 40th

Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang has expressed hope that the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association (VCFA) will build on its achievements and further foster the friendly cooperation between the two nations.

Speaking at the VCFA’s fourth National Congress and its 40th founding anniversary in Hanoi on January 22, the Minister praised the VCFA for closely working with the Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Association (CVFA) over the past time.

He asked VCFA and its chapters across the country to offer more support to Cambodian students pursuing studies in Vietnam.

Over the course of its 40-year development, the VCFA has actively promoted friendship exchanges between Vietnam and Cambodia, with diverse activities popularising their countries and people to raise mutual understanding.

It also assigned medical staff to Phnom Penh and Cambodian district of Russey Keo to offer health check-ups, medicine, and gifts to the locals.

Cambodian excellent students were granted with donations while Vietnamese volunteer veterans once fought in Cambodia’s battles received bank deposit books by businesses and philanthropists nationwide.

Deputy Secretary General of the Office of the Royal Government of Cambodia Vann Phal, who is also Vice President of the CVFA, spoke of his wishes to cement the bilateral friendship and collaboration in the coming time.

On the occasion, Minister Quang presented the Labour Order, third class, and the Prime Minister’s certificate of merit to the VCFA.

Cambodian Ambassador to Vietnam Hul Phany granted the Friendship Order, first class, to four outstanding members of the association.

At the end of the event, Vu Mao was re-elected as CVFA President for the 2015-2020 tenure who will lead a 138-member executive committee.

The same day, Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang hosted a reception for Vann Phal in the capital.

Dutch working group seeks cooperation with Binh Duong

A delegation from the Dutch Emmen Region, headed by Stenden University Principal Hanny Van Geffen, worked with key officials of Binh Duong province on January 22 to examine opportunities for cooperation between the two localities.

The Emmen Region, which consists of four cities, Emmen, Coevorden, Hoogeeven and Hardenbeg, and Binh Duong could benefit from collaboration in high-tech industries, food processing, agriculture, education and tourism, and logistics, according to Director of the Emmen Economic Department Wouter Couprie.

Meanwhile, Principal Hanny Van Geffen expressed her desire to liaise with Binh Duong’s universities.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Thanh Liem highlighted the province’s potential, stressing that the province is focused on developing its service and tourism sectors.

According to the Binh Duong Department of Foreign Affairs, in 2014 the industrial sector dominated with 60.8 percent of the province’s economic structure, while the service sector accounted for 36.2 percent, and agriculture only 3 percent. The gross domestic product (GDP) reached 61.2 million VND (2,900 USD) per person annually.

Notably, the city’s foreign investment reached 1.655 billion USD, exceeding its yearly target by 65 percent.

To date, Binh Duong is home to 2,375 foreign direct investment projects with total investment capital of 20.38 billion USD.

Binh Duong joins HCM City, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Dong Nai, and Hanoi in surpassing 20 billion USD in FDI.

The Netherlands is the eighth largest of 39 countries and territories investing in Binh Duong with 20 projects and 478.5 million USD in investment capital.