Government News 16/7
HCMC Party Committee office chief reprimanded
Thai Thi Bich Lien, head of the Office of the HCMC Party Committee, has been reprimanded for her involvement in a State-owned enterprise’s controversial sale of land to a private business.
At the 17th conference of the HCMC Party Committee on July 7, Lien was found to be accountable for a decision by Tan Thuan Investment and Construction Co Ltd, an enterprise under the HCMC Party Committee office, to transfer over 30 hectares of land in the Phuoc Kien Residential Complex in the outlying district of Nha Be to Quoc Cuong Gia Lai Company in June 2017.
In the transaction, the land price was as low as VND1.29 million (US$55.9) per square meter. Therefore, the total value of the deal was VND419 billion (US$19.2 million).
In December 2017, the Standing Board of the HCMC Party Committee asked the HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment to assess the value of the area. According to the department, it should have cost around VND574 billion (US$24.9 million), meaning Tan Thuan could have caused a loss of VND155 billion (US$6.73 million).
The Standing Board that month requested the SOE to cancel the land sale contract.
On June 4, the HCMC Party Committee’s Inspection Board dismissed Tan Thuan’s general director Tran Cong Thien from all Party duties and proposed the Party Committee office remove Thien from the company’s board and his post of general director of the firm.
Inspectors of the HCMC Party Committee proposed the Standing Board order the Party Committee of the HCMC People’s Committee to instruct the city government to launch a comprehensive probe into Tan Thuan to determine whether Tran Cong Thien and other individuals have committed any irregularities.
Emerging security order in Indo-Pacific highlighted at workshop
At the event
An international workshop on emerging security order in the Indo – Pacific: issues and challenges took place in New Delhi, India from July 14-15.
Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh said the Indo-Pacific region is attracting attention in the context of rapid changes in regional and world situation and in power balance along with increasing grave challenges to peace, stability and development.
He noted that the current situation in the East Sea is one of the threats to peace, stability and freedom of navigation, aviation and trade in this region.
The world is witnessing activities to reclaim and construct artificial islands in the East Sea and militarisation via the installment of equipment and weapons, which the Ambassador said is threatening not only the sovereignty of Southeast Asian nations but also the freedom of maritime, aviation and trade of countries outside the region.
The diplomat emphasised the importance of the Indo-Pacific and the East Sea in particular to Vietnam, noting that the country holds sovereignty of not only the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos but also 3,000 other islands and islets. With a coastline of 3,260km stretching from the north to the south, Vietnam has more than 1 million sq.km of exclusive economic zone under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
He said the East Sea is vital to the Vietnamese economy as it is the country’s main gateway to the world, adding that if the East Sea is occupied, not only Vietnam’s security will be threatened but its economy will also be seriously hurt.
In addition, the Indo – Pacific is also of vital importance to Vietnam as most of its biggest strategic and economic partners are located in the region.
The ambassador recalled President Tran Dai Quang’s speech to Indian statesmen, professors, researchers, scholars and students at Nehru Memorial Museum in India in March this year, in which the President called on countries to share a common vision about an open region based on international law and sharing common interest in maintaining peace, stability and inclusive prosperity, in which no country, no ethnic group and no population are left behind.
All countries should strive to defend freedom and unobstructed traffic of maritime, aviation and trade routes so that the Indian Ocean – Pacific will not be divided into sub-regions that are manipulated by powerful countries, impeded by protectionism and divided by insular nationalism, he said.
Ambassador Thanh also urged countries to establish effective mechanisms to maintain peace, stability and the rule of law, ensure common security, prevent conflicts and war, and effectively cope with traditional and non-traditional security challenges.
He stressed that Vietnam’s viewpoint on the Indo-Asia-Pacific region has many similarities with Indian PM Narendra Modi’s vision about the Indo – Pacific as outlined in his keynote speech at the Shangri La Dialogue held in Singapore in June 1, stressing that both Vietnam and India want to engage in instead of confronting in the settlement of regional issues.
Participants at the event shared the view that the Indian Ocean – Pacific is emerging as the most important region with its status as a geopolitical and geo-economical hub, a busy trade corridor of the most importance globally with nearly two-thirds of petrol and one third of global cargo going through it.
However, the lack of cooperation rules and trust building measures, along with unsettled disputes and competition for scarce natural resources are seriously threatening regional peace and stability.
The event at the Indian Council of Social Science Research was co-hosted by the Centre for Canadian, US & Latin American Studies under Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the Kalinga Research Institute for Indo-Pacific Studies.
Algerian newspaper highlights FM Abdelkader Messahel’s Vietnam visit
Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel meets Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi
The Vietnam visit by Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel from July 13-14 was given intensive coverage by Algeria’s daily Elmoudjahid.
The newspaper reported on the meetings between the Minister and Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi, during which both sides discussed measures to boost bilateral ties and other issues of shared concern.
Messahel also conveyed a message from Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to President Tran Dai Quang, which emphasizes the long-standing friendship and solidarity shared by Vietnam and Algeria since the struggle for national independence.
The Algerian FM reiterated Algeria’s commitment to lifting bilateral ties to match their political and historical relations and underscored the importance of further tapping potentials of the two nations, especially in tourism and energy, to bolster their sustainable and mutually-beneficial partnership.
PM Phuc reaffirmed that Vietnam is ready to bolster all-around ties with Algeria for common benefits.
The newspaper also reported that during their meeting, FM Messahel and Deputy PM Minh highlighted the need to make a quality leap in bilateral economic and trade ties, especially via developing joint activities and realising bilateral cooperation agreements.
While discussing regional and global issues of shared concern, and issues regarding the fight against terrorism and organised crimes, they agreed to continue maintaining mutual consultation at global forums.
The daily also quoted the Algerian FM as saying in an interview granted to Vietnam News Agency reporter in Algiers that his visit aims to develop bilateral ties and strengthen the tradition of regular consultation between the two countries.
The visit affords both sides a chance to review their bilateral relations, especially in the fields of economy, trade and investment, he said.
Messahel described the visit as especially important to meeting the hope of both Presidents Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Tran Dai Quang to lift bilateral ties to a greater height that matches the aspirations of the two peoples.
According to the minister, while bilateral political ties are excellent, there is much to do with the economic cooperation, as two-way trade stood at just 360 million USD in 2017, mostly Vietnam’s exports to Algeria. Only one Vietnamese company - the oil and gas group PetroVietnam - is doing business in the African country.
For this reason, he called for materialising commitments at the 11th meeting of the Vietnam – Algeria Inter-Governmental Meeting slated for November 2017, and creating more favourable conditions for enhanced ties, particularly in trade and investment.
Dominican Republic wants to boost ties with Vietnam
President of the Senate Reinaldo Pared Pérez (left) receives Nguyen Duc Loi, CPV Central Committee member and General Director of Vietnam News Agency
Leaders of the Government, parliament and many political parties of the Dominican Republic have affirmed their wish to develop ties with Vietnam during their meetings with Nguyen Duc Loi, a member of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee, who is leading a CPV delegation on an official visit to the country from July 11-14.
President of the Senate Reinaldo Pared Pérez, who is also general secretary of the Dominican Liberation Party (DLP) expressed his admiration of Vietnam’s economic achievement over the past years. He expressed the wish to increase the relations between the DLP, which is leading the ruling alliance in the Dominican Republic, and the CPV.
The Senate President also pledged to inform relevant ministries and agencies on the outcomes of his meeting with the Vietnamese delegation in order to seek specific steps to push the bilateral cooperation forward.
Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas confirmed the Dominican Republic’s plan to open an embassy in Hanoi to bolster bilateral ties across the fields.
General Secretary of the United Left Movement (MIU) and Minister for Regional Integration Policies Miguel Mejía , and Senator Cristina Lizardo, a member of the PLD, said they are rejoiced at the new opportunities for development of both Vietnam and the Dominican Republic at a time when the Dominican Republic is looking to expanding relations with Asian countries, including Vietnam. They affirmed that the MIU and PLD are willing to work as a bridge for bilateral cooperative projects.
During the meetings, Nguyen Duc Loi, who is also Director General of the Vietnam News Agency, reiterated the policy of the CPV and the Vietnamese State to intensify international integration, increase the sharing of experience and information, and coordinate actions with all political parties worldwide for the goal of peace, national independence, democracy and social progress.
He briefed the host country’s officials on the development guidelines and policies of the CPV and the State of Vietnam during the past time
As part of the visit,, made at the invitation of the MIU, the CPV delegation attended a ceremony to honour President Ho Chi Minh at the square and monument named after him in Santo Domingo, granted interviews to several TV channels and toured several administrative, economic, cultural and transport facilities.
HCMC government urged to closely scrutinize China-U.S. trade war
Vuong Duc Hoang Quan, a member of the HCMC People’s Council, has urged the HCMC government to closely scrutinize the trade war between the U.S. and China so as to have timely measures to cope with challenges and make the most of opportunities.
At the ongoing ninth meeting of the council, Quan urged local enterprises and competent agencies to promptly assess both the positive and negative effects of the trade war to make good use of opportunities and minimize the negative effects on domestic production and trade activities with the two largest economies of the world.
Quan noted that the city should look into the impacts of the trade war and prepare solutions to develop the city’s economy in the second half of the year and in the next two years, hinting at possible adjustments to the plan for the city’s socioeconomic development that was prepared for the Council’s session on July 6 when the trade war between China and the United States started.
He stressed that Vietnam in general and HCMC in particular would benefit from the trade war by partially filling the market vacuum in the U.S., adding that local exporters, especially those in the textile-garment and footwear sectors, would have more opportunities to ship their products stateside.
The United States is an attractive market for Vietnamese exports, including farm produce. The demand for agricultural products among U.S. consumers is likely to increase, and Vietnamese exporters should grab the opportunity.
The trade war, however, has also created numerous obstacles to exporting Vietnamese commodities to China. For example, a 30% increase in the export revenue from the Chinese market in the first half of the year is a positive result, but maintaining this trend is also a major challenge as the Chinese market may face a commodity glut due to the trade war.
Quan suggested the relevant agencies, especially taxation and market management agencies and the economic police force, look into the situation and work out effective solutions to respond to possible problems.
Experts, on the other hand, forecast the US-China trade war would bring more challenges than opportunities for Vietnam.
Due to the trade war, Chinese goods will most likely be channeled into other markets nearby, and Vietnam may suffer from such an influx. In addition, Chinese products subject to high import duties in the United States can be sent to Vietnam before being exported stateside.
Moreover, the trade war may pose a high risk for a currency war, affecting foreign exchange rates.
Waste treatment remains major concern
The HCMC government annually spends up to nearly VND4 trillion (US$173.6 million) collecting, transporting, classifying and treating garbage, and dredging wastewater drainage systems. However, local residents have voiced their complaints over the environmental pollution caused by garbage.
At the meeting of the HCMC People’s Council today, July 11, Nguyen Toan Thang, director of the municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said the city daily discharges some 9,000 tons of garbage. Meanwhile, the city cannot completely collect waste thrown into the environment, thus obstructing sewers and causing odors.
Phan Thi Thang, director of the HCMC Department of Finance, asserted the city annually allocates some VND2.85 trillion for waste collection, classification and treatment, and VND1.13 trillion for wastewater drainage system maintenance and improvement.
Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam, chairwoman of the HCMC People’s Council, said the large investment in both waste treatment and wastewater drainage systems in the city is contributed by local people. However, the job in these two areas remains ineffective.
Nguyen Toan Thang proposed asking investors of waste treatment complexes to apply waste-to-energy technology instead of burying garbage to avoid worsening environmental pollution.
In the next five to ten years, HCMC will have 10 waste treatment plants which convert waste into electricity. The city government has called for investments in waste treatment projects using modern technologies.
According to a master plan for solid waste treatment in HCMC in the 2016-2020 period, the city will employ advanced technologies to recycle waste to produce compost and reduce the volume of buried garbage to 60% while the remaining 40% of garbage will be used to generate electricity.
Up to now, buried garbage accounts for up to three fourths of the total waste volume.