Vietnam Clippings: New National Assembly Opens First Session

New National Assembly Opens First Session

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National Assembly

New National Assembly opens first session, VietNam Net, July 21, 2011

Party General Secretary and NA Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong delivered an opening speech. He said the 12th-tenure NA had successfully completed, reaffirmed the experience and results of the legislative body’s through 65 years of history and set a stage for the 13th-tenure NA.

He said the national election in May selected 500 deputies for the 2011-2016 term.

Tong Thi Phong, NA Vice Chairman and Standing Vice President of the Central Election Council, presented a report on the results of May elections at all levels for the new tenure.

Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung delivered a report on the country’s socio-economic situation and State budget in the first half of 2011 as well as major tasks and measures for the last six months of the year.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Dung Re-Elected to Second Term, Wins 94% of Votes, Bloomberg News, July 26, 2011

Vietnam reelected Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to a second five-year term today in a single- candidate vote that was a formality after his reappointment to the 14-member Politburo in January.

Dung was chosen by 94 percent of lawmakers in the National Assembly, according to Do Van Chien, head of the body’s ballot monitoring committee, who announced the results in Hanoi. The confirmation clears the way for Dung to announce a new cabinet next week that the assembly will then vote on, according to a schedule given to reporters.

Newly elected President stresses anti-corruption, East Sea sovereignty, Thanh Nien, July 26, 2011

Newly-elected State President Truong Tan Sang spoke with the press after a meeting of the 13th National Assembly, on Monday.

You said you were very concerned about the process of addressing corruption. What will you do to fight corruption in your new term?

Corruption is the biggest concern among voters across the country; that’s what we’ve learned from our meetings with voters. We fully understand their concerns. The State and the Party have issued resolutions on anti-corruption; what we need now is action. We were told at the 11th National Party Congress, early this year, that the fight against corruption achieved some remarkable results.

In my opinion, the State and the Party must take the lead in guiding the country in its fight against corruption to satisfy the wishes of voters across the country who put their trust in the 13rd National Assembly.

Many NA deputies have promised to fight corruption; I hope they will keep their promises. And I hope the people will keep supervising us so that we can do a better job in the new term.

Vietnam deputy PM nominated National Assembly chairman, Thanh Nien, July 22, 2011

Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung was on Friday nominated to be the Chairman of the 13th National Assembly during the assembly’s first session.

Nguyen Phu Trong, Party General Secretary and current Chairman of the National Assembly, announced the nomination on behalf of the assembly’s Standing Committee, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.

Hung, 65, has been an NA deputy for 14 consecutive years and member of Party Central Committee for four consecutive terms, news website VnExpress said.

Constituents tell the National Assembly their expectations, VietNam Net, July 21, 2011

These expectations were presented by Chairman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Huynh Dam this morning, July 21, after the opening ceremony of the 13th NA’s first season.

Through the Vietnam Fatherland Front, the constituents expressed their discontentment on Chinese ship’s intrusion into Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, which made adverse impacts on the friendship and cooperative ties between Vietnam and China.

They were also worried of the unsteady development of the national economy and matters associated with land management and natural resource exploration, particularly the dependence of many economic sectors to foreign technology and materials, inflation, environmental pollution and food hygiene.

Vietnam Central Bank Governor to Head Committee at Assembly, Bloomberg News, July 25, 2011

State Bank of Vietnam Governor Nguyen Van Giau has been elected the head of the Economic Committee at the National Assembly, according to a statement posted on the government’s website yesterday.

Last week, three people with knowledge of policy makers’ discussions on the matter said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung will appoint the State Bank of Vietnam’s Deputy Governor Nguyen Van Binh as the next leader of the bank, replacing Giau.


Shrimp decision fuels trade questions, VietNam Net, July 22, 2011

Is there any possibility that the US will build other trade barriers against Vietnamese exports after the WTO’s Panel decided the US’s application of the zeroing methodology to calculate anti-dumping tariffs on Vietnamese frozen shrimps was against WTO regulations?

The US’s usage of the zeroing methodology in the Vietnamese shrimp case’s administrative review was not compliant with WTO rules. It was not a new trade barrier the US applied towards countries exporting products into the US market. In fact, US regulations are dissimilar to those of the WTO, whereas as a WTO member, Vietnam has the right to demand the US to adhere to WTO rules in global trade. This means the US must not use the zeroing methodology in its administrative reviews relevant to Vietnam’s shrimp case. Removal of the zeroing methodology, however, does not mean Vietnam can export whatever volume of shrimp products into the US market afterwards.

Vietnam hauls in WTO win on shrimp duties, VietNam Net, July 23, 2011

Last week the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in favour of the Southeast Asian nation saying that the US had violated global trade rules in employing its ‘zeroing’ method to inflict anti-dumping tariffs on shrimp exports from Vietnam.

“The United States has acted inconsistently with provisions of the Anti-Dumping Agreement and of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994. We recommend that the United States bring its measures into conformity with its obligations under those agreements,” said the WTO’s report into the matter.

Under WTO’s regulations, the two sides can appeal against its decision within 60 days.

“This is quite good news for Vietnam. I’m quite impressed by this victory. Vietnam’s exports will see a better position in the world’s market,” said Belgium-based law firm Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I’s partner Oliver Prost.


Experts doubt new agreement will ease East Sea tension, Thanh Nien, July 21, 2011

Experts have called a recent agreement to implement a regional declaration of goodwill a step towards resolving growing tensions in the East Sea – also known as South China Sea.

In 2002, China and members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) created the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

The document vocalized an international commitment to peace and cooperation and suggested that all signatories would eventually commit to rescuing distressed seamen, conducting information exchanges and ensuring one another’s safe navigation at sea.


AES Said to Sign $1.46 Billion of Loans for Vietnam Power Plant, Bloomberg News, July 22, 2011

AES Corp., a U.S. power producer with operations in more than two dozen countries, signed loan facilities of some $1.46 billion with banks to finance an electricity power plant it part owns in Vietnam, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Mong Duong II power plant is owned 51 percent by AES, 30 percent by Posco, the world’s third-biggest steelmaker by output, and 19 percent by China International Capital Corp., the person said, asking not to be identified as details are private.

One loan of $342 million was provided by Export-Import Bank of Korea, or Kexim, which also guaranteed a second $280 million facility taken up by a group of another lenders. A third $839 million facility, subscribed for by the same group of lenders, was guaranteed by Korea Trade Insurance Corp, the person said.

Vietnam Airlines receives first batch of fuel from Dung Quat refinery, Thanh Nien, July 19, 2011

National carrier Vietnam Airlines has received the first delivery of 3,000 cubic metres of jet fuel from the Dung Quat oil refinery.

The delivery on Sunday came two weeks after the airline announced a deal to buy jet fuel produced by Dung Quat, the only oil refinery in the country, after accepting the quality of its Jet A1 product. The deal was inked following nearly two years of paperwork and negotiations.

Vietnam Airlines is expected to buy another 100,000 tons of jet fuel from the refinery until the end of the year.

Financial Services

Companies tap rural Vietnamese demand, Financial Times, July 24, 2011

Whether it’s Unilever’s Sunsilk shampoo or Procter & Gamble’s Downy fabric softener, most products in Nguyen Thi Thao’s tiny shop come in single-use sachets costing 500 Vietnam dong ($0.02) a piece.

She makes a profit of 50 dong on each sale and business is steady in Suoi, a dusty village in the mountainous Son La province, north-west Vietnam.

Nevertheless, companies ranging from household goods makers such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble to insurers such as Canada’s Manulife are increasingly targeting this large, expanding market.

Vietnam’s Inflation Accelerates to 22%, Highest Among Economies in Asia, Bloomberg News, July 22, 2011

Vietnamese inflation accelerated for an 11th month in July after the central bank cut a key interest rate even as the nation faces the fastest price gains in Asia.

Consumer prices rose 22.16 percent from a year earlier, compared with June’s 20.82 percent pace, data released by the General Statistics Office in Hanoi showed today. Prices climbed 1.17 percent from June.

The central bank reduced its repurchase rate to 14 percent from 15 percent on July 4 after a spate of increases since November to fight inflation, leading the International Monetary Fund to say the cut may confuse investors. The benchmark VN Index of stocks is down 16 percent this year, on concern price gains will hurt the economy.

Vietnam’s Tax Cut Proposal Receives Criticism at Legislature, Bloomberg News, July 21, 2011

The Vietnamese government’s proposal to cut a variety of taxes raised questions at the National Assembly on the effectiveness of the measures in boosting the economy.

The government is suggesting tax reduction and exemption measures worth 4.2 trillion dong ($204 million) in 2011 and 2.2 trillion dong in 2012, Finance Minister Vu Van Ninh told the legislature in Hanoi today. The measures aim to “solve difficulties of businesses and individuals and help boost economic development,” he said.

FIEs gather strength to distribution instead of manufacturing, VietNam Net, July 22, 2011

The tariff cuts made by Vietnam under the WTO commitments have clearly encouraged FIEs to import products to sell domestically instead of injecting money and spending time on production factories in Vietnam.

Dao Ngoc Hoang Giang, General Director of Sao Mai Office Equipment Company, a subsidiary of Sao Mai Group, said that it was foreseeable that FIEs, which have manufacturing factories in Vietnam, would push up the import of products under the form of complete built units (CBU) and the distribution of their parent groups’ products, made in the home countries or third countries.

IFC puts $505 mln towards trade finance for small businesses in Vietnam, Thanh Nien, July 21, 2011

The World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) has committed US$505 million in funding that has helped Vietnamese banks increase lending to small local companies engaged in import and export activities.

The record funding is part of IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program, which since late 2007 has helped nine local banks improve their capacity to cover the payment risk in granting trade financing to local companies, mostly small and medium enterprises, according to an IFC announcement made Wednesday.

Vietnam Inflation Challenge Handed to Binh, Bloomberg News, July 20, 2011

Vietnam’s struggle to sustain growth while containing Asia’s fastest inflation will be handed to Nguyen Van Binh under succession plans for the central bank’s leadership, according to three people with knowledge of policy makers’ discussions on the matter.

The National Assembly is scheduled to confirm Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung for a second term in coming days. It then holds votes on Dung’s personnel picks, with the State Bank of Vietnam chief likely in early August, two of the people said on condition of anonymity as the talks weren’t public. Leaders of the Communist Party, which has dominated Vietnam since the 1970s, met to select candidates for top government positions July 4-10.

Food & Agriculture

Vietnam’s agro-forestry and seafood exports to hit US$13.9 bil, Voice of Vietnam, July 26, 2011

In July, Vietnam is expected to fetch US$2 billion from exporting agro-forestry and seafood products, bringing total export turnover in the first seven months to US$13.9 billion, up 33.4 percent against the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Vietnam’s key farm exports including coffee, pepper and rubber are estimated at US$8.1 billion, up 44.6 percent.

Vietnam: on the trail of a declining timber species, The Guardian, July 26, 2011

The second half of the last century dealt a severe blow to Vietnam's forest resources. First, Agent Orange and then a very difficult and impoverished postwar period stripped the landscape of its primary forests and resulted in the catastrophic loss of the country's iconic timber species. My postgraduate student Mr Dong's goal is to get these trees back into the landscape, but first he has to find out what conditions support the vigorous growth and regeneration of his species of interest, Hopea odorata (Sao den).

We have been told that there is small remnant stand of Sao den in Van Hoa conservation forest, about a four-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City in Dong Nai province. Although protected for 15 years, we find this 70,000 hectare forest, once an important haven for the Viet Cong during the American (Vietnam) war, is still not a pretty site with little sign of recovery from its barrage by chemicals and unsustainable harvesting.


A lot of challenges still exist in Vietnam’s telecom market: ITU, VietNam Net, July 22, 2011

Mr Toure said that Vietnam’s telecom industry has been developing very well which can be seen in the use of modern technologies to provide services to people. This has also been reflected in the high growth rate of 3G subscribers: the 3G services were launched in late 2009, and the number of 3G subscribers has been double just after two years, thus helping make the subscriber density increase from 87 percent to 175 percent by 2010.

ITU has ranked Vietnam at the eighth position in terms of mobile phone subscriber development density. The ranking has helped Vietnam go farther in comparison with developing countries which have the average density of 70 percent. Vietnam has also exceeded developed countries with the average density of 114 percent.


Vietnam needs deep water ports, big tonnage ships to import coal, VietNam Net, July 17, 2011

The Vietnam Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) imported 10,000 tons of coal last month, the first consignment of imports in the long term coal import strategy. The import has helped Vinacomin understand that it is not an easy thing to import coal in big quantities, because it requires suitable infrastructure conditions.

“The import deal has allowed Vinacomin to understand about the infrastructure conditions we need to have if we want to import more coal,” said Vu Manh Hung, Deputy General Director of Vinacomin.

Vinacomin, which has been assigned by the Government to import coal to provide to power plants, well understand that the 10,000 tons of imported coal would make nothing if compared with the big volume of coal needed for power plants.

Vietnam plans to build national automobile center, VietNam Net, July 21, 2011

The idea of establishing a national automobile industry center, for the first time, has been put forward which is believed to make a breakthrough and help settle the existing problems in Vietnam’s automobile industry. The “heart of the Vietnam’s automobile industry” in the next 10 years will be located in Chu Lai Economic Zone.

The investment promotion for the center has shown positive signals with two big partners from South Korea.

Kia Group has agreed to resume negotiations with the Chu Lai Open Economic Zone’s management board on a project to manufacture and assemble cars with the capacity of 100,000 cars a year, which would become operational from 2015.


Campaign to promote Vietnamese goods has positive impact, Thanh Nien, July 21, 2011

A major campaign launched by the government to promote the use of locally-produced goods has raised consumer awareness and influenced perceptions, according to a new Nielsen survey.

Since its launch two years ago, 83 percent of consumers in Ho Chi Minh City and 95 percent of consumers in Hanoi have become aware of the “Vietnamese use Vietnamese goods” campaign, the survey found.

US President looks forward to Vietnam visit, Thanh Nien, July 8, 2011

US President Barack Obama has expressed his intention to visit Vietnam in the near future, the president told Vietnamese ambassador Nguyen Quoc Cuong who just extended his tenure there.

Cuong met President Obama to present his credentials after Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet appointed him for another term as ambassador, a Saigon Tiep Thi report said Friday.

Obama congratulated the ambassador on his new position and sent his greetings to the Vietnamese president and other leaders.