By Van Khuong – Translated by Anh Quan
Wifi 7 11
|Projects such as Bunge’s agribusiness are expected to increase in number through stronger US ties. Photo: Le Toan|
In his first few days in office five years ago, President Donald Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was a pillar of the Barack Obama administration’s pivot towards Asia. The remaining 11 member states have since reframed the agreement as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and President Joe Biden’s commitment to rebuilding relations with allies has sparked speculation about the US returning to the fold.
Fitch Solutions under global ratings firm Fitch Group told VIR in a statement that Vietnamese trade would receive a surefire boost should new Biden decide to rejoin the CPTPP.
“Biden stated in 2019 that the US should renegotiate parts of the CPTPP and re-assemble a coalition to counterbalance China’s perceived expansionist policies. The Trump administration withdrew from the original deal in 2017 under the pretext that it would harm US workers. A scenario where the US rejoins the CPTPP would deliver substantial tailwinds to Vietnamese exports to the US from lower tariffs in major export categories,” Fitch said.
In fact, the CPTPP may offer great windfalls to the US. Statistics from law firm Duane Morris Vietnam LLC showed that the population of the CPTPP countries exceeded 513 million people as of October 2020. The CPTPP countries account for nearly 45 per cent of US total exports and 37.6 per cent of US general imports in 2014. By cutting over 18,000 taxes in regards to CPTPP, there would be a great benefit for American importers and exporters by enabling them to enter new markets.
As the United States International Trade Commission estimates, the US exports of goods and services to the world would expand by $27.2 billion by 2032 thanks to the CPTPP, while US imports would expand by $48.9 billion.
Oliver Massmann, general director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC, pointed out various benefits for the US if it rejoins the CPTPP. He took public procurement as an example. “Dropping the CPTPP means that the US has lost access to government procurement of other CPTPP countries, which amounts to $1.47 trillion,” he said in a letter recently sent to President Biden.
Massmann cited the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook database in October 2019 as stating that in Vietnam, government procurement’s percentage of GDP in 2019 was 12 per cent or $40.87 billion.
The great advance of the CPTPP will be that even Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei, which have not agreed to coverage of their government procurement before and are currently not covered by an existing US free trade agreement or government procurement agreement of the World Trade Organization, have undertaken to do so.
“This is a key export opportunity for US goods producers and services companies. Currently Chinese companies profit the most. About 90 per cent of power, mining, manufacturing, ferrous, and chemical projects of state-owned companies in Vietnam are awarded to Chinese contractors,” Massmann noted.
Early this month, Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh held phone talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Both sides agreed bilateral ties have advanced across fields over the past 25 years, and pledged to cooperate in deepening ties “in a more comprehensive manner, with a focus on economy-trade-investment, overcoming war consequences, enhancing maritime capacity, fighting COVID-19, and adapting to climate change.”
It is expected that in 2021, there will be more connections and talks between both nations’ high-level leaders, investors, and enterprises.
Adam Sitkoff, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi (AmCham) told VIR that he expected US-Vietnam trade and investment cooperation to further flourish thanks to several reasons including the US new administration’s positive stance towards both nations’ bilateral ties.
“As major investors here, American companies have an interest in Vietnam’s continued success. It is a new year and we welcome the incoming leaders in both countries,” Sitkoff said. “American investors are optimistic about business prospects in Vietnam and we support efforts to create a modern economy that will attract future investment and high-paying jobs for Vietnamese people. We will continue to work on lowering barriers to trade, to help the Vietnamese government make it easier to do business, and to create a high-standard, transparent, and stable business environment to ensure that all investors have fair access to that opportunity.”
Statistics from Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment showed that as of January 20, US investors registered over $9.51 billion in Vietnam for more than 1,000 valid projects, making the US the 11th-largest foreign investor in the Southeast Asian nation. In January alone, the US ranked fourth in investment in Vietnam, with total newly-registered capital of $122.2 million.
Currently many US firms are exploring opportunities in Vietnam, such as Morgan Stanley, ACORN International, General Dynamics, Nue Capital LLC, BlackRock’s Asian Credit, Lockheed Martin International, Smart City Works, Google, Columbia University, and USTelecom.
Fitch Solutions believed that the incoming Biden administration will have largely positive implications for Vietnam.
“The impact on Vietnam’s trade growth should be positive, given that Biden will take a more pragmatic approach towards Vietnam’s growing trade surplus with the US, which means a lower risk of punitive trade tariffs than under Trump’s currency policies,” the Fitch Solutions statement read.
“Trump-era trade tariffs on Chinese exports and rising geopolitical tensions between China and the West have also set in motion a relocation of manufacturing to Vietnam, which is likely to continue. Should the US decide to join the CPTPP in the coming years, Vietnam would also benefit from accelerated trade expansion with the US.”
Fitch Solutions further explained that Biden is likely to take a more pragmatic view towards trade developments with its economic partners.
“In particular, we believe that the Biden administration will come to understand that Vietnam’s trade surplus with the US will grow as more manufacturers relocate to the Southeast Asian nation due to the ongoing US-China trade war. Furthermore, while there is bipartisan support in the US for a hardline stance on trade with China, we believe that a desire by the Biden administration to rebuild its relations with its allies would see an easing of the trade tensions with allied countries generated by the Trump administration. Therefore, we believe that the Biden administration will entail lower risk of further US tariffs on Vietnamese exports.”
In 2020, total export-import turnover between Vietnam and the US was $90.1 billion, up from $76 billion in 2019.
Hurdles need removing
Sitkoff from AmCham in Hanoi told VIR that though Vietnam and the US have many common foundations to further cement their trade and investment ties, he hoped Vietnam’s government will take more drastic action to remove obstacles currently facing investors.
“It is critical that US companies and investors here in Vietnam encounter an equal, level, and predictable playing field as a solid foundation, not only to attract new investment, but also to maintain and grow the investment that is already here,” Sitkoff said.
“In addition, we recommend that foreign investment limitations, an overly restrictive legal framework, and burdensome administrative procedures should be carefully reviewed and selectively relaxed to encourage increased US investment,” he suggested. “In our view, by opening its market to more US goods and services, Vietnam can help to rectify the growing trade imbalance between the two countries in a manner that benefits both countries.”
According to AmCham, one of the biggest hurdles for foreign firms including US ones in Vietnam is the tax system.
“While Vietnam’s corporate income tax rate of 20 per cent is competitive, data shows that filing and paying taxes in the country is still too high a burden compared to neighbouring countries. Too many companies are also suffering from what seems to be unfair and non-transparent reassessments with penalties and interest,” said an AmCham statement recently sent to the government. “We hope to see real progress on advanced pricing agreements which create the stability and predictability necessary for integrating into global supply chains.”
By Thanh Dat
Head coach Park Hang Seo of Vietnam’s national football squad wants to have more time training his players before the World Cup second qualifying round, but his request will be difficult to meet.
V-League is schedule to resume in March.
In order to best serve the Vietnamese team to play the World Cup 2022 qualifier, the Vietnam Football Federation has set two options for the return of V-League 2021 after a break due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Option 1: V-League will resume on March 13 and close on September 19.
Phase 1 of V-League 2021 is scheduled to temporarily cease on May 22 for players of the national squad to group up to prepare for the World Cup 2022 qualifiers. Thus, coach Park Hang Seo will have one week to train his team before going to the United Arab Emirates or Thailand (the Asian Football Confederation – AFC will decide on March 15).
Chairman of Vietnam Professional Football (VPF) Tran Anh Tu said that the two plans are being carefully considered to create the best conditions for the national team.
“VPF and VFF have agreed that this year V-League schedule must create the best conditions for football clubs to compete at continental tournaments, especially for the Vietnam national and U23 Vietnam teams. However, it is difficult to shorten the time V-League because it is too stressful for players,” Tu said.
The new wave of Covid-19 has strongly affected Vietnam’s football. The time for both V-League tournament and the national team’s gathering has reduced.
V-League participants will have only 3-4 days off between games, instead of one week as the first 2 rounds. Before the national team is summoned, 10 rounds of V-League will be held to enable coach Park Hang Seo to recruit the best players.
Coach Park Hang Seo has proposed summoning the national team for two times, totaling arund three weeks, instead of only one as schedule. But because of the current situation, the Korean coach’s proposal may not be accepted.
According to the schedule, Vietnam will face Indonesia on June 7, Malaysia on June 11 and the United Arab Emirates on June 15.
After leaving quarantine center and testing negative for Covid-19, Coach Park Hang Seo is under self-quarantine at home. According to VFF, the coach will officially return to work on March 3.
Regarding Park’s employment contract, VFF said that both sides are very satisfied with each other’s conditions. Two months before the contract ends (February 1, 2022), they will have to discuss a new one, if from now until that day both parties have no problems with each other.
Hanoi (VNA) – Ministries and agencies should speed up the implementation of tasks regarding legal documents assigned by the Government and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, so that there will be no overdue documents during the 2016-2021 tenure, Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung said at a meeting on February 26.
Dung, who is also head of a working group set up by the PM for the work, presided over the meeting with ministries and agencies on the building and issuance of documents that give detailed guidance on laws and ordinances, and the progress of projects in the working programme of the Government and the PM in the first quarter of this year.
He suggested that agencies in charge of compiling decrees coordinate with the Government Office to collect feedback from Cabinet members and relevant ministries and agencies, and report to the PM as soon as possible.
Regarding the working programme of the Government and the PM, the Government Office reported that 89 projects were to be submitted in the first quarter.
As of February 25, ministries and agencies had submitted 21. Of the remainder, there are 57 projects still within deadlines and 11 overdue projects, making up 12.3 percent. The overdue projects are part of the 2020 work and transferred to January 2021./.
The Hanoitimes – If the Covid-19 epidemic situation is put under control, students could return to schools before June 15 and 12th grade students will take the National High School Exam between August 8 and 11.
If the Covid-19 pandemic situation is put under control, students in Vietnam could return to schools before June 15 and 12th grade students will take the National High School Exam between August 8 and 11, the Government Portal quoted Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Huu Do as saying.
In the worst-case scenario where students cannot return to schools before June 15, the Ministry of Education and Training already has appropriate plans Do said at a meeting on April 10.
Due to the unpredictable Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education and Training had rescheduled the events for the 2019-2020 school year. Accordingly, the 2019 -2020 academic year will end before July 15, the college and university admission will take place in the same frame as in the previous years. Thus, the next academic year of 2020-2021 will start on September 5, 2020 as usual.
Besides, the education ministry has asked chairpersons of provincial people’s committee to decide on the class resumption date based on the actual pandemic situation in their localities.
According to Deputy Minister Nguyen Huu Do, during the time of forced school break, the ministry has streamlined the second semester curricula of the 2019-2020 school year. Reference materials related to the National High School Exam 2020 have also been issued, in line with the contents which have been streamlined.
The Ministry of Education and Training has also instructed schools to teach via the Internet and television to regularly assess students’ academic results.
The health sector is confronted with many difficulties, challenges and opportunities for development. With its long-standing traditions, the entire health sector will constantly strive to rise above to serve the country and the people and fulfill all its assigned tasks, thus living up to the trust given it by the Party and people.
In 2020, the world witnessed the rampage of the COVID-19 pandemic with over 105 million cases globally and more than 2.3 million fatalities, affecting all aspects of life. In Vietnam, with the detailed and mindful direction of the Party and the Government; the involvement of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, ministries, departments, branches and localities; and especially the unanimity and active participation of people from all strata of society, the pandemic has ben proactively controlled and contained. In particular, the health sector upheld the tradition of solidarity, creativity and willingness to stand firmly in all hot spots and successfully control the outbreaks, minimise the number of deaths, and curb the spread of the disease. Thanks to this, we have achieved the dual goal of effectively containing the pandemic and maintaining economic development.
In addition to contributing to successes in the fight against the pandemic, with an innovative mindset, the health sector also made many breakthroughs in order to better serve the people. The inception of a remote medical examination and treatment system connecting 1,500 hospitals helps the people access higher-level medical services right at grassroots level, while 97.5 million health records were set up, creating a premise upon which to develop a smart health system. The whole sector actively implemented digital transformation with the introduction of a series of digital health platforms and applications, and the publicisation of drug , medical equipment and service prices, making it more favourable for the people and businesses alike. 2020 also saw innovation in the form of advanced techniques in organ transplantation and conjoined twin separation surgery.
The health sector has determined 2021 as a starting milestone in the process of implementing strong and comprehensive reforms in the sector. This is the first year to implement the Resolution of the 13 th National Party Congress and the health sector has been assigned important tasks on caring for and protecting the people’s health in the new situation. The pandemic continues to evolve in a complicated and unpredictable manner globally, with the potential risk of further spreading in Vietnam. Right from the beginning of 2021, COVID-19 resurged in the provinces of Hai Duong and Quang Ninh and spread to 11 other localities nationwide. The fight against the “COVID-19 enemy” is getting tougher with new strains of SARS-CoV-2 spreading faster. Therefore, the whole sector needs to rapidly and comprehensively reform its activities, while inheriting good traditions and promoting its intelligence and solidarity in order to successfully implement the Resolution of the 13 th National Party Congress and continue ensuring a safe environment for the successful realisation of the Government’s dual goal for a second consecutive year.
One of the most urgent tasks for the heath sector in 2021 is to continue effectively battling the pandemic as its third wave broke out in Hai Duong and a number of cities and provinces. Promoting the COVID-19 fight experience, we once again mobilised the participation of the entire political system, and have basically brought the disease under control in most localities after just over three weeks. Under the direction of the Government and the National Steering Committee, the Ministry of Health has continued to coordinate closely and promptly support localities to quickly take control of the disease, while working to soon bring vaccines to Vietnam to serve the people as well as strongly accelerating the domestic research into and testing of vaccines.
Second, step up preventive medicine and the fight against the pandemic; promote successes and lessons learnt in battling the disease and quelling the outbreaks; establish regional disease control centres; build in-depth research establishments on epidemiology and pathogens; promote community-based programmes on protecting health and preventing infectious and non-communicable diseases; and implement health target programmes as well as the sustainable development goal on health.
Third, improve the quality of medical examination and treatment towards patients’ satisfaction; facilitate people’s access to quality medical services; strengthen administrative reforms in medical examination and treatment; increase investment in medical facilities; speed up the implementation of comprehensive care with patients placed at the centre of services; reduce overloads on central-level hospitals; and enhance the development of traditional medicine.
Fourth, strengthen and strongly reform grassroots healthcare in the new situation towards implementing universal health coverage; improve capacity for grassroots healthcare; implement projects to train medical human resources for remote, mountainous and island areas; implement universal health management; and carry out the community-based healthcare programmes for the elderly..
Fifth, comprehensively reform the development of medical human resources; strengthen the social responsibilities of medical workers; improve welfare policies for health workers, especially those working at grassroots health facilities in remote, mountainous and disadvantaged areas; and promote medical workers’ creativity and working spirit in the cause of caring for and protecting the people’s health.
Sixth, continue to upgrade medical establishments; strengthen management, publicity and transparency in health insurance implementation; and care for policy beneficiaries, the poor, those facing special circumstances, revolutionary contributors and the elderly, ensuring that all people have equal access to health care services.
Seventh, strengthen the management of pharmaceuticals, food and medical equipment; ensuring publicity and transparency in the management, licensing, bidding, and procurement of drugs and medical equipment; publicise the prices of medicines, medical equipment, and medical examination and treatment services; accelerate the domestic production of drugs and medical equipment; promote the development of medicinal materials; tighten food safety management; and strengthen the inspection of medical units’ bidding and procurement implementation and strictly handle all violations.
Eighth, implement the health sector master plan until 2045 to ensure Vietnam’s health system develops on a par with other countries in the world; continue to streamline the medical apparatus to ensure equal development among different regions; develop medical facilities that are capable of competing against others globally; and boost the integration of medical activities with socio-economic development.
Ninth, improve medical ethics among medical officials and workers, especially young doctors; continue to accelerate the study and following of Uncle Ho’s thought, morality and lifestyle; and promptly implement reward policies to encourage medical workers and strictly punish any violations of medical ethics.
Tenth, step up scientific research and international cooperation, including basic science and applied sciences in medicine; strengthen investment in research activities at universities, research institutes and medical examination and treatment establishments; strongly promote the application of Industry 4.0 achievements in medicine; accelerate the research and production of vaccines, medicines and medical equipment; strengthen the role and position of Vietnam’s health sector in the international arena; boost bilateral and multilateral cooperation and attract resources and professional & technical assistance from developed countries; and strongly promote professional cooperation between domestic schools, institutes and hospitals and countries around the world.
Celebrating the 66th anniversary of Vietnam Doctors’ Day amidst the complicated and unpredictable COVID-19 context, more than ever, health workers throughout the country must be more determined to respond to the calls of the Party General Secretary and State President as well as the Prime Minister on successfully implementing the dual goal of fighting the pandemic and promoting economic development.
Prof. Dr. Nguyen Thanh Long
Member of the Party Central Committee and Minister of Health