Government News 30/8
GMS countries implement ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution
At the meeting
The seventh ministerial meeting to coordinate the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries joining the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution took place in the central coastal city of Da Nang on August 29.
Attending the event were ministerial leaders from four GMS countries – namely Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The annual meeting is part of the regional cooperation mechanism to discuss strategies and directions for the effective implementation of the agreement and strengthen cooperation between ASEAN member states.
Participating countries used the occasion to share experience and knowledge on haze pollution prevention as well as to consider the approval of a report submitted at the 13th meeting of the GMS technical working group on the implementation of the agreement.
Delegates discussed solutions and made important decisions related to forest fire management and haze pollution control in GMS countries in particular, and the ASEAN community in general, to produce a vision of a haze-free future for the region.
Host Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan affirmed that Vietnam is committed to utilising all necessary resources to implement effective sustainable forest management, as well as ensure the protection and development of forest resources with priority given to forest fire prevention and control.
Vietnam also calls for the comprehensive cooperation between GMS countries and international sponsors and organisations in jointly building an environmentally friendly community with sustainable development, he added.
The ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution is an important agreement formed within the tradition of solidarity and cooperation between Southeast Asian and GMS nations, aiming to prevent and control fires while minimising negative haze impact on neighbouring countries. The agreement was signed in 2012 with the participation of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar.
Vietnam, NZ agriculture ministers talk farm produce improvements
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong asked for New Zealand (NZ)’s support in improving the value of farm produce during a meeting with NZ Minister of Agriculture, Biosecurity, Food Safety, and Rural Communities Damien O’Connor in Hanoi on August 29.
Cuong lauded NZ’s modern and eco-friendly agricultural industry, in particular its widespread organic farming which, he said, provides a model for not only Vietnam but other countries worldwide too.
According to him, NZ’s agricultural sector holds its strengths in technology, state governance, and manufacturing, while Vietnam still holds huge potential for its farm produce. However, the value of Vietnamese farm produce remains low with weak competitiveness and a lack of trademarks, and as such quality supervision is needed to expand its market range.
He said Vietnam needs NZ’s assistance with standardisation; chain management experience; personnel training for State agencies, schools, institutes, and businesses; and facilitation of cooperation among businesses.
Over the past few years, NZ has helped Vietnam through specific projects, particularly those regarding animal breeding and response to natural disasters.
The host wished that NZ would promptly offer technical support in building trademarks and developing markets for dragon fruit and kiwi fruit, adding that Vietnam will review procedures for joint projects so as to accelerate their progress and build specific cooperation schemes.
O’Connor, who is also NZ Minister for Trade and Export Growth, said Vietnam and NZ have signed an agreement on food safety and biosecurity, adding that both sides could work closely together in the future granting e-licences to facilitate trade.
The guest expressed his support for ASEAN’s one-stop shop mechanism which, he said, will facilitate technological application and trade.
He added that NZ wants to supply food to the world and partner with Vietnam to improve its capacity and manufacturing. He hoped that Vietnam will assist the country in supplying products to the world.
At the meeting, the two ministers witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on bilateral cooperation.
Deputy PM receives Mitsubishi Corp.’s executive vice president
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue (R) receives Executive Vice President at Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation Hiroshi Sakuma (Source: : baochinhphu.vn)
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue hosted a reception for Hiroshi Sakuma, Executive Vice President at Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation, on August 29.
Hiroshi Sakuma affirmed that Mitsubishi is investing in two BOT thermal power projects in Vietnam – Vung Ang 2 with a designed capacity of 1,200MW, and Vinh Tan 3 with a designed capacity of 1,980MW.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade and Mitsubishi signed an investment agreement in early 2017, including land lease and power purchase contracts.
Mitsubishi expects that the Vietnamese Government will soon resolve bottlenecks related to tax incentives in order to put the projects into operation, thus increasing the electricity supply capacity for the Vietnamese market, he said.
In addition to these thermal power projects, Mitsubishi plans to invest in an electric car manufacturing factory in Vietnam, he added, noting that the Japanese corporation is currently evaluating the feasibility of the project. It is looking forward to new regulations on environmental protection taxes in order to speed up investment in the factory.
For his part, Deputy PM Hue highly valued Mitsubishi’s business dealings and investment in energy, infrastructure, trade, and services, affirming that power projects are of national significance in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese Government attaches great interest to the Vung Ang 2 thermal power project and has already agreed on the foreign currency conversion of this project, he said.
He hoped Mitsubishi will continue the necessary works for the two sides to sign cooperation agreements on implementing the projects Vung Ang 2 and Vinh Tan 3 by October 2018 during Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Japan.
Vietnam hopes that Mitsubishi will promptly decide to invest in the electric car project, he noted.
The National Assembly of Vietnam will discuss and approve the draft law on environmental protection tax in the near future, he said, adding that there will be incentives commensurate with environmentally-friendly products.
Vietnamese, Cambodian youth federations urged to deepen cooperation
Vo Van Thuong (right), head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Information and Education, and President of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia. (Source: vov.vn)
Vo Van Thuong, head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Information and Education has urged the Vietnam Youth Federation (VYF) and the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC) to deepen their cooperation, focusing on educating young people on the history and friendship of the two countries.
The two sides should also boost their partnerships in education, science-technology and sports, Thuong told UYFC President Hun Many during their meeting in Hanoi on August 29.
He used the occasion to congratulate Cambodia on the successful organisation of its parliamentary elections in July, and the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) on its victory in the elections, expressing his hope that the party will go on to reap great achievements in the time ahead.
Thuong said he believes that Hun Many’s visit will contribute to enhancing the traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia, and especially their younger generations.
The Vietnamese official extended his condolences to the victims of the recent fire in Phnom Penh and affirmed Vietnam’s consistent foreign policy that prioritises its relations with Cambodia.
For his part, Hun Many extended his greetings to the Vietnamese Party, State, and people on the 73rd anniversary of its National Day (September 2).
He said the UYFC will continue its close coordination with the VYF to constructively contribute to the fine neighbourliness, traditional friendship, and comprehensive , sustainable, and long-term cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia.
An Giang, Cambodia’s Takeo province forge cooperation
At the meeting
The Mekong Delta province of An Giang and Cambodia’s Takeo province agreed on August 29 to reinforce their cooperation in protecting security, and social order and safety along the shared border during the second half of this year.
The consensus was reached during a regular meeting between representatives of the two localities in An Giang province.
The two sides will push border economic development and create favourable conditions for border residents to exchange goods, have medical check-ups and visit their relatives, while sharing information about environmental protection and water resources management in the border area.
The delegates proposed the Vietnamese and Cambodian governments upgrade the Bac Dai-Bak Dai auxiliary border gate to a main one, and open the Vinh Gia-Ta O auxiliary gate, an auxiliary gate in Vinh Nguon ward, Chau Doc city, An Giang province, and another in Kompong Krosang commune, Borey Cholsar district, Takeo province, in an effort to facilitate trade between the two sides.
Leaders of the two provinces consented to better the communication work to encourage locals to abide by laws of the countries, as well as treaties, agreements and border regulations they reached.
They will also step up collaboration in culture, economy and crime combat, the meeting heard.
In the first six months of the year, An Giang and Takeo recorded noted achievements in affiliation in various areas, ranging from economy, trade, agriculture, culture, tourism, health care, education and transportation to border marker demarcation, and search for remains of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers in Cambodia.
They exchanged information and conducted joint patrols, helping ensure social order and safety, and border security, and spur local socio-economic development.
HCM City backs strengthened cooperation with Japan locality
Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan (R) and Governor of Yamanashi prefecture Hitoshi Goto
Ho Chi Minh City authorities will support enhanced cooperation with Japan’s Yamanashi prefecture, especially in tourism, automatic technology, and high-tech agriculture, Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan said on August 29.
During a reception for Governor of Yamanashi prefecture Hitoshi Goto, who is on a working visit to HCM City, Nhan also emphasised that in recent years, Vietnam-Japan relations in general, and those between HCM City and Japan in particular, have been developing strongly, especially in terms of trade and investment.
HCM City and various Japanese localities have fostered the exchange of delegations, cooperation activities, and experience sharing in smart city development and urban management, he added.
The southern Vietnamese city wants to further strengthen cooperation with the Japanese locality of Yamanashi in the spheres of biotechnology and seed production research, as well as the exchange of students, healthcare workers, training, and labourers, he said.
For his part, Hitoshi Goto said he appreciates and believes in the potential for HCM City’s development in the future, expressing his hope that the Vietnamese city’s leaders will pay greater attention to promoting cooperation between the two localities.
While highlighting the potential and strengths of Yamanashi, the guest affirmed that there remains much potential for his locality and Ho Chi Minh City to expand their collaboration in tourism, and experience sharing in automation and artificial intelligence research.
Yamanashi has a high demand for labourers and trainees from Ho Chi Minh City to work in the prefecture, he noted.
Japanese enterprises are operating 1,100 investment projects worth 4 billion USD in HCM City. Trade turnover between the Vietnamese city and Japan hit over 5 billion USD in 2017.
Vietnamese, Lao associations contribute to boosting bilateral ties
Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City Huynh Cach Mang on August 29 urged the Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association (VLFA)’s HCM City chapter and the Laos-Vietnam Friendship Association (LVFA) to increase cooperation programmes and activities.
This is to contribute to developing the special relationship between the two countries in a sustainable manner, said Mang, who is also President of the VLFA’s HCM City chapter, during his meeting with LVFA President Vilayvong Bouddakham in the city.
He said the LVFA delegation’s visit would contribute to enhancing mutual understanding, solidarity and friendship between Vietnamese and Lao peoples.
The official told his guest that over the past years, the VLFA’s HCM City chapter carried out multiple cultural and art activities aiming to consolidate and develop the friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos, as well as between HCM City and Lao localities.
For his part, Vilayvong Bouddakham said the LVFA and its Vietnamese counterpart reviewed cooperation outcomes in the Vietnam-Laos Solidarity and Friendship Year 2017 and the first six months of this year, and discussed orientations to intensify coordination activities in the time ahead.
He said apart from HCM City, his delegation visited the southern provinces of Binh Duong and Binh Thuan to boost collaboration between the LVFA and these localities.
The Lao official expressed his hope that the VLFA’s HCM City chapter will continue to support, exchange experience and enhance cooperation with his association, thus helping promote the traditional friendship between the two countries.-VNA
Officials of the People’s Committee of Mekong Delta Can Tho city and those from Wakayama prefecture of Japan on August 29 discussed prospects of multi-faceted cooperation between the two localities in the Vietnamese city.
Governor of Wakayama prefecture Yoshinobu Nisaka said the Japanese authorities and enterprises highly value Can Tho’s position as a key industrial city and a locality with a high quality and productivity of farm produce in the Mekong Delta and in the country.
However, he pointed out that Can Tho has weaknesses in preserving and processing agricultural products.
Through ODA projects, Wakayama will transfer high technologies in producing, processing and distributing farm products, he said.
Training courses joined by Japanese experts will be organised for local agricultural officials and farmers, thus developing human resources for the locality’s agricultural development and business of local farm produce, the official affirmed.
He added that the prefecture will propose the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam to build a centre for preserving and processing agricultural products with the application of modern technologies meeting international standards in Can Tho in the coming time.
Wakayama will encourage and create favourble conditions for Japanese enterprises in general and those from the prefecture in particular to promote their direct investment in Can Tho and adjacent localities.
The application of hi-tech agricultural models and post-harvest technology will be expanded in Can Tho, towards creating more safe agricultural products with high productivity and efficiency.
Regarding the import of farm produce, Wakayama wants Can Tho to popularise and market products processed from seedless persimmon - Japanese locality’s speciality in the southwest region, Nisaka said, adding that his locality will import special fruits of Can Tho.
In terms of urban management and environment protection, Nisaka said Wakayama’s environmental management agencies have set up database and smart infrastructure management in order to address environmental incidents caused by industrialization and modernization in the locality.
Wakayama prefecture is ready to assist Can Tho in building software for urban planning, preservation of water drainage works, and data management to monitor construction works, he said, adding that such software can be added into curricula at faculties of natural resources and environment across Can Tho universities.
Nisaka committed to support Can Tho in connecting with investors and designers of power-saving devices and solar power-fuelled system for public lighting, tapping public-private partnership models in urban management, especially sluice and water supply systems.
In tourism, authorities of the prefecture will ask tourism agencies, association and local firms to help Can Tho with tourism promotion.
According to him, more and more Wakayama residents have choosen Vietnam’s southern localities as destinations thanks to peaceful setting, hospitality and unique culture. With many natural cultural heritages, Can Tho has attracted the attention of Japanese visitors.
The guest also took the occasion to ask Can Tho authorities to popularise the prefecture’s attractions such as Koya mountain and Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route which have been recognised as the world natural heritages.
Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Vo Thanh Thong agreed with the host’s proposals, and pledged to provide all possible support for Japanese and Wakayama firms to do business in the city.
He reiterated that the municipal authorities encourage departments, agencies and enterprises to strengthen bilateral collaboration.
Da Nang boosts co-operation with Finnish cities
Representatives of Đà Nẵng city and Turku, Finland ink a Memorandum of Understanding on co-operation on sea port development, logistics, public transport and smart traffic. — Photo courtesy Đà Nẵng Portal
Đà Nẵng City and Finland’s Turku have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on seaport development, logistics, public transport and smart traffic.
Vice chairman of the city’s People’s Committee Hồ Kỳ Minh said the MoU, signed during the working visit in Finland last week, will open opportunities for the city and Turku to boost research and study the development of Đà Nẵng.
Minh said Đà Nẵng’s IT infrastructure was now available for smart connections among air control, water, garbage, meteorology and energy agencies. It could also provide earthquake and tsunami warnings, and data on flooding, erosion, sewage management and bridges. It will be ready for 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution).
On the same working visit, Đà Nẵng and Finland’s Salo City agreed on technology transfer deals including computer cloud, big data, bio technology, high-tech farming and personnel training.
Finland supported Đà Nẵng through the Innovation Partnership Programme (IPP) – an Official Development Assistance programme financed by the governments of Việt Nam and Finland between 2012-16.
Many high-tech businesses from Finland have been seeking investment opportunities in Việt Nam, and Đà Nẵng was seen as a potential location for investment.
The central city has been seeking co-operation in solid waste and wastewater treatment projects from Europe countries.
Vietnamese Embassy in Israel celebrates National Day
Vietnamese Ambassador to Israel Cao Tran Quoc Hai
The Embassy of Vietnam in Israel hosted a get-together in the coastal city of Tel Aviv on August 28 to celebrate the 73rd anniversary of Vietnam’s National Day (Sept. 2) and the 25th founding anniversary of Vietnam-Israel diplomatic ties (July 12).
Attended the event were Israeli governmental officials as well as representatives of the Vietnamese community and international friends.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Israel Cao Tran Quoc Hai highlighted the remarkable achievements that Vietnam has gained over the past time.
He said the country had overcome a lot of challenges to maintain its annual average economic growth of 7 percent, thus significantly improving the living standards of people, ensuring national security, politics and social stability.
Vietnam has transformed from a food importer to a leading exporter in the world with key farm produce such as rice, coffee, aquatic products, cashew nuts, and pepper, he said, adding that many of these products have become popular in Israel.
According to the diplomat, with the rising position in the global arena, Vietnam hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting in 2017. The country had been selected by the Asia-Pacific Group as the only candidate of the region to run for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure. To date, Vietnam has received support from many countries around the world for its candidacy.
In the future, Vietnam is committed to promoting comprehensive international integration and establish closer economic links with all main partners, he said.
Regarding relations between Vietnam and Israel, the diplomat said the two sides have witnessed significant strides in cooperation in various fields such as defence, security, trade, agriculture, science and technology.
Both countries have conducted high-level delegation exchanges, including the visits to Vietnam by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in 2017 and President Shimon Peres in 2011.
Regarding economic cooperation, Israel has become one of the leading economic partners of Vietnam in the Middle East with the trade value surpassing 1 billion USD in 2017.
The ambassador believed that the bilateral trade and investment relations will develop more rapidly in the coming years since the two sides are pushing ahead with negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA).
Vietnam is among countries sending the largest number of students majoring in agriculture to Israel, Hai said, adding that the bilateral cooperation in tourism is expanding with Vietnam being one of the most attractive destinations for Israeli tourists.
As a start-up nation with extraordinary accomplishments in technology and innovation, Israel could be an ideal partner of Vietnam in promoting hi-tech industries, building start-up ecosystem, and training high-skilled workers and experts, he noted.
Israeli Minister for Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi congratulated Vietnam’s National Day and the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Vietnam-Israel diplomatic ties.
He expressed his belief that the bilateral relations will continue thriving in the coming time.
50th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting opens in Singapore
Delegates take a photo at the opening
The 50th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM 50) Meeting and Related Meetings kicked off in Singapore on August 29 with the participation of economic leaders from 10 ASEAN member states and partner countries.
The Vietnamese delegation, led by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh, participated in the meetings.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted the establishment and development of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
He said the bloc has tremendous economic potential with a strong market of over 630 million people.
The grouping’s GDP growth has averaged 5.4 percent in recent years, well above the global average, and is projected to expand around this rate over the next five years, he noted.
ASEAN is forecast to become the fourth-largest economy in the world by 2030, just behind the US, China and the European Union (EU), he said.
Lee added that strengthening regional economic cooperation and integration is the key for ASEAN to fully tap its potential, including pressing on with the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025, as well as supporting an open and inclusive multilateral system amid growing trade tensions.
Escalating trade tensions between the US and its key trading partners have put pressure on the rules-based multilateral trading system, which has underpinned ASEAN’s growth and prosperity, he said, adding that each ASEAN member state is also subject to different pulls and pressure from bigger powers.
In these circumstances, all the bloc’s members must stay united and strive to maintain cohesion and exert significant efforts to reach the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at the end of this year to strengthen economic linkages and enhance trade and investment flows, Lee stressed.
Singaporean Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, who is the AEM chairperson, said ASEAN leaders are pushing ahead with some initiatives to further enhance regional cooperation, specifically in the fields of digital connectivity, customs clearance and tourism.
He added that the establishment of the AEC in 2015 brought benefits to businesses and customers in the region. Most of non-tariff barriers have been diminished with less stringent and more transparent service regulations. The implementation of business investment rules has helped promote intra-bloc trade.
AEM 50 will run until September 1 with a series of related meetings such as the 32nd ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) Council Meeting and the 21st ASEAN Investment Area (AIA) Council Meeting.
ASEAN economic ministers are due to meet with their counterparts from dialogue partner countries namely Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the US.
The sixth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial Meeting, the 11th Mekong-Japan Ministerial Meeting, and the 10th Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) Economic Ministers’ Meeting will be held as part of AEM 50.
Founded in 1967, the ASEAN now groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.