Usda 12 billion
PANO – VND 13.5 billion has been granted to the development project to improve the living standards of people of Ro Mam and Brau ethnic minority groups by Kon Tum province.
The project, approved by the government in 2005, will build infrastructure in Sa Thay and Ngoc Hoi districts from roads to accommodation, school, water supplies as well as help locals with crop seeds and pests.
About 300 Ro Mam people are living in Le village, Mo Rai commune (Sa Thay) and nearly 400 Brau people are living in Dak Me village, Bo Y commune (Ngoc Hoi).
Translated by Hoang Anh
Vietnam’s Covid-19 cases surpass 12,000
The Saigon Times
|Residents are waiting for Covid-19 testing. The Ministry of Health this afternoon, June 17, reported 220 new Covid-19 cases – PHOTO: VNA|
HCMC – The Ministry of Health this afternoon, June 17, reported 220 new Covid-19 cases, taking the country’s total so far to 12,014.
Eight of the new cases were imported into Hanoi, Quang Nam, Kien Giang and Hoa Binh.
The remaining 212 cases came from domestic transmission. Bac Giang Province witnessed a strong spike in new cases, with 178, followed by HCMC with 30, Tien Giang with two, Ha Tinh with one and Nghe An with one.
The fourth wave of the coronavirus, which began on April 27, has hit 40 provinces and cities, with 11 of them having undergone 30 consecutive days without new infections.
In another development, Tien Giang Province has decided to set up the second field hospital, with a capacity of 60 beds, for Covid-19 treatment, after the province reported 11 more domestic cases this morning.
The second field hospital, which is located in Phuoc Thanh Commune in My Tho City, will be in charge of quarantining and monitoring suspected cases and treating Covid-19 patients.
As for patients in critical condition, the hospital must transfer them to the provincial general hospital for treatment, the local media reported.
Earlier in March last year, the province had established the first field hospital, with 50 beds, in Chau Thanh District.
Since April 27, the Mekong Delta province has reported 40 locally-infected cases.
In related news, Hanoi City today started to conduct rapid tests on passengers arriving at Noi Bai International Airport from HCMC. The testing is set to last for four to five days.
The testing is aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19 from HCMC, which is one of the biggest Covid-19 hotbeds, according to the Hanoi Center for Disease Control.
During this testing period, the city’s center is working with the Soc Son District Healthcare Center to randomly test 400 passengers arriving from HCMC. The result of each rapid test returns in 20 minutes.
Hanoi (VNA) – Chairman of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee Vu Hai Ha led a delegation to attend the 12th ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Caucus ( AIPA Caucus 12 ), which took place virtually on June 16, focusing on measures to strengthen supply chain resilience and promote trade connectivity.
Tan Chuan-Jin, Speaker of Parliament of Singapore – the host country of the event, said that the 12th AIPA Caucus discussed the implementation of resolutions of the 41st AIPA General Assembly, including the Resolution on “the role of parliaments in promoting ASEAN cohesiveness and economic recovery post-COVID-19” , the Resolution on “Advancing AIPA’s role in supporting ASEAN socio-cultural community in responding to COVID-19”, and the Resolution on “the role of women parliamentarians in securing jobs and income for women workers”.
The Vietnamese delegation said amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, ASEAN should pay more attention to restoring supply chains and promoting trade connectivity in parallel with enhancing close cooperation to prevent the spread of the disease, especially cross-border transmission, accelerating COVID-19 vaccine purchase and vaccination, as well as cooperation in vaccine research and development.
The delegation proposed six specific recommendations to AIPA member parliaments, related to many crucial issues such as completing legal framework to facilitate trade and investment activities, ensuring uninterrupted circulation of goods and supply chains in the region.
Vietnamese participants also underlined the need to strengthen parliamentary supervision over the implementation of commitments on investment and trade within regional and international frameworks, establish new methods in promoting bilateral trade ties, maintain commitments to opening market in order to enhance the resilience and sustainability of regional supply chains, speed up the application of digital technology in production and business activities and goods consumption through e-commerce platforms.
Representatives from AIPA member countries shared experience in controlling the pandemic and promoting economic recovery amidst the health crisis.
They demonstrated willingness to cooperate for economic growth recovery and green economic development, and realise sustainable development goals after the pandemic, for stability and prosperity of the ASEAN Community, and for the sake of regional people.
The AIPA Caucus was officially established at the 28th AIPA General Assembly in 2007 in Malaysia.
Since the first AIPA Caucus in Malaysia in April, 2009, the meeting has been held annually in ASEAN countries (except 2018). The National Assembly of Vietnam has been an active member of AIPA Caucus. The country successfully organized the fifth AIPA Caucus in 2013, which focused on green growth and poverty reduction for sustainable development in ASEAN./.
|European businesses started 2021 optimistic about Vietnam’s trade and investment environment. Photo: Le Toan|
Just after two weeks since he was elected to be prime minister, Pham Minh Chinh signed and enacted Official Dispatch No.514/TTg-PL on reviewing and proposing amendments to legal regulations impeding investment and business activities and people’s lives. The dispatch, coming out amid a rise in business confidence nationwide and the government’s boosting its great efforts to continue creating a more business-friendly climate, was sent to ministers and other leaders of agencies, provinces, and centrally-ruled cities.
“As the country’s law system still boasts overlapped, inconsistent, and infeasible regulations unsuitable to the reality and obstructing investment and business activities and people’s lives, the prime minister requests ministers and heads of ministerial agencies, and chairpersons of provinces and centrally-ruled cities to expeditiously review and list regulations of the type in the existing legal documents,” reads the dispatch. “Concrete contents of the regulations and documents causing difficulties must be specified.”
Ministers and heads of ministerial agencies, and chairpersons of provinces and centrally-ruled cities are also requested to propose specific and feasible solutions in amending the regulations and documents, in a bid to “remove all difficulties, create synchronousness and feasibility of the law system, and contribute to mobilising all resources in the society for investment and business in service of the public and enterprises.” All results from reviews and listings, as well as proposals and solutions must be sent to the Ministry of Justice and the Government Office before May 15 before being reported to the government and the prime minister.
Adam Sitkoff, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Hanoi, has been expecting more improved policies in service of the business community as this would help Vietnam attract more investment and further strengthen enterprises’ confidence.
“The government’s efforts to improve the country’s competitiveness and business climate continue and I am optimistic about 2021. The business community continues to work with our partners in the government on ways to improve the business and investment climate and to attract new investment that will strengthen Vietnam’s post-pandemic economic recovery,” Sitkoff told VIR.
He suggested that it is necessary to accelerate the use of e-government, e-commerce, e-banking, fintech, hyperscale cloud computing, and the overall reduction of paper and cash for all businesses. Replacing Vietnam’s local cloud technical standards in state agencies with internationally-recognised cloud certification and compliance mechanisms and adopting cloud first policies will enable the government to choose the best technologies, strengthen digital resilience, and develop a robust e-government technology ecosystem.
Setting good policies that enable the use of mobile wallets and other electronic payment systems can help facilitate more productive e-commerce and reduce opportunities for corruption and fraud.
“We also need to ensure a favourable climate for existing investors and appreciate that the government has prioritised administrative reform to improve ease of doing business,” Sitkoff said. “It is critical that all companies and investors encounter a fair, transparent, predictable, and streamlined regulatory environment that values innovation – not only to attract new investment, but also to maintain and grow the investment that is already here.”
Meanwhile, a representative of US-backed Cargill in Vietnam told VIR that many firms like theirs are finding it challenging when it comes to policies. “Like other agri-businesses, Cargill is facing some difficulties in policy implementation. Specifically, legal changes are not keeping up with market changes: Vietnamese agriculture has been growing very fast in the past few years, as a result, some issues which have not yet been addressed in any current legal documentation are arising across production and business activities, causing not a few difficulties for enterprises,” the representative said.
The discrepancies in implementation of policies and co-ordination among some state bodies are confusing businesses, he added. “Some regulations have a rushing execution roadmap that makes it really hard for businesses to adapt their operations to the changes. This creates difficulties for well-complying businesses while creating a loophole for non-conforming ones. This is to some extent going against the government’s policy of creating a transparent, fair, and healthily competitive investment environment.”
Commenting on what the society and the business community needs amid the health crisis, Australian economist Raymond Mallon told VIR that an important aim of government support measures should be to stimulate increased domestic consumption and employment because this will improve social wellbeing while also helping stimulate overall domestic demand for goods and services provided by businesses.
“There is also scope for temporarily targeting support to workers and businesses in locations and sectors worst affected by COVID-19 such as those working in the hospitality and other close contact businesses, especially in regions with high concentrations of adversely impacted businesses such as the central coastal provinces,” he said.
According to Mallon, temporary support may also be needed for firms adversely impacted by COVID-19 that are providing essential services to society and businesses, such as health, education, transport, and logistics services. It is important to have clear and simple criteria for selection of businesses eligible for support to ensure that those most in need receive the support and to minimise opportunities for corruption, he added.
On the rise
It is expected that under the fresh order of the prime minister, ministers and other leaders around the country will take drastic action in reviewing and amending unnecessary regulations in favour of the business community, whose confidence is rising since early this year.
For example, European business leaders started 2021 positive and optimistic about Vietnam’s trade and investment environment, according to new data from the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham).
EuroCham’s Business Climate Index reached 73.9 points in the first quarter of 2021, also the highest score seen since the third quarter of 2019. When asked about the prospects of Vietnam’s business environment in the next quarter, 67 per cent predicted either ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ – a 12 per cent increase compared to the previous quarter.
Meanwhile, business leaders are also more optimistic about their own companies. About 68 per cent predict that their orders and revenue will ‘maintain or increase’ over the next three months, a 25-per-cent increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.
According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), in the first four months of 2021, the economy saw over 44,000 newly-established enterprises with total registered capital of VND627.7 trillion ($27.3 billion), employing just over 340,000 labourers – up 17.5 per cent in the number of enterprises, 41 per cent in capital, and 7.8 per cent in the number of labourers as compared to those in the same period of last year.
In particular, the average registered capital of each newly-established business in the four months of the year is VND14.3 billion ($617,000), up 20 per cent on-year. If an additional VND792.9 trillion ($34.47 billion) registered by around 14,900 operational enterprises is included, the total registered capital inserted into the economy in the period is VND1.42 quadrillion ($61.74 billion). Furthermore, the first four months also saw 19,300 enterprises resume operations, up 8 per cent on-year.
“These are very positive signals for the economy in the context that the pandemic remains very complicated, badly affecting enterprises’ business and production activities,” said a GSO report on the economy’s four-month economy.
“In the first four months, the number of newly-established enterprises is the highest in the same periods of the years from 2017-2020, and also the highest in all economic sectors,” said GSO general director Nguyen Thi Huong. “This showed that following the country’s implementation of the dual tasks of socioeconomic development and fighting against the pandemic, the business community’s confidence in the economic development directions and policies of the Party and the government in the 2021-2025 tenure is rising. This is also quite a positive signal for enterprise development outlook in the time to come.”
For Sitkoff from AmCham in Hanoi, this kind of sentiment will keep rising, though much remains to be done by the Vietnamese government for a better business climate.
“Another area that greatly impacts both foreign and domestic businesses is the tax system – although Vietnam’s tax rate of 20 per cent is competitive, filing and paying taxes here is still too high a burden compared to neighboring countries,” Sitkoff explained. “In addition, too many companies are also suffering from what seem to be unfair and non-transparent audits and reassessments or are losing their incentives when a law or an interpretation changes.”
By Nguyen Dat
The anticipated rise in farm and food prices, especially for chicken, sugar, tapioca products and pineapples, as well as Thailand’s strict safety and supervisory measures to prevent the spread of the virus and food contamination, are factors in the food export prediction, according to the Board of Trade, the National Food Institute and the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).
FTI president Anong Paijiprapapon said food exports tallied 980 billion THB last year, down 4.1 percent from the previous year, with shipments in dollar terms equivalent to 31.3 billion USD, down 5.1 percent.
Lower exports led Thailand’s share of the world food market to drop to 2.32 percent last year from 2.49 percent in 2019. Thailand ‘s food exporter ranking in the world fell to 13th from 11th the year before.
According to Anong, Thailand’s food exports only grew to China, the US and Oceania, with outbound shipments to China amounting to 180 billion THB, up 18.1 percent, with those to the US up 12.2 percent to 119 billion THB, and Oceania up 1.7 percent to 33.1 billion THB.
Exports to other markets, particularly Africa, ASEAN, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and the United Kingdom all fell, she said.
China is Thailand’s top food export market, accounting for 18.3 percent of the total, followed by CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) at 13.9 percent, and Japan at 12.7 percent.
Anong said apart from the pandemic impact, food exports last year also struggled with the stubborn baht strength, a container shortage and higher transport costs./.