KTFA Saturday “Vietnam News” Posted by Henig at KTFA

KTFA: Vietnam


Henig:  Viet Nam to issue e-passports in March


07:00 | 18/02/2023


The Ministry of Public Security and the Vietnamese diplomatic missions abroad will officially issue passports containing electronic chips for Vietnamese citizens from March 1, 2023.


An e-passport will be embedded with a microchip that stores the holder’s personal information, fingerprint scans, identification photo, and a digital signature.


The electronic chip is attached to the back cover of the passport. Languages used in the passport include Vietnamese and English.


Citizens who are at least 14 years old are eligible to apply for a passport with or without the electronic chip. The passports are valid for 10 years.


E-passport holders will be given priority by the foreign sides when considering and granting entry visas.


Vietnamese citizens who had been granted physical passports are allowed to use them until expiration dates without any requirement to shift to e-passports.


According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, more than 100 countries have already rolled out e-passports.


Source: VGP   LINK


Henig:  Central bank to prioritise credit for production, business in HCM City


13:08 | 18/02/2023


The State Bank of Vietnam’s (SBV) Ho Chi Minh City branch will continue to prioritise credit for production and business, especially in priority sectors, to boost economic recovery.


Nguyen Duc Lenh, deputy director of the SBV’s HCM City branch, said the credit flow would be directed to priority sectors while credit quality would also be improved.

Priority fields include agriculture, rural areas, exports, small and medium-sized enterprises, supporting industries, high-tech enterprises, and others.


Credit institutions must also ensure stable liquidity, safe banking operations, and strictly control credit from potentially risky areas, according to Lenh.


Credit growth in the city has focused on production and business to support economic recovery, accounting for 60-70% of the total outstanding loans, said Lenh.


Last December, the SBV lifted the credit growth target by 1.5-2 percentage points for 2022 from its earlier target of 14%, allowing lenders to lend an additional 240 trillion VND (9.7 billion USD).


Interest rates remain high


Economist Le Xuan Nghia, a member of the National Financial and Monetary Policy Advisory Council, said interest rates are still too high, despite the central bank calling on banks to cut lending rates to support enterprises.


Deposit interest rates at banks have surged to as much as 12% per year, pushing lending interest rates up to 15-16% a year, he said.


If the inflation rate is around 4%, the savings interest rates should be around 6-7% per year, he added.


Experts have predicted the deposit interest rate will remain high at least until June and that deposit rates would peak in the first half of 2023 with an increase of 1-1.5 percentage points.


Recently, the Vietnam Banks Association called on commercial banks to keep deposit interest rates at 9.5% or below to reduce lending interest rates.


Commercial banks started lowering deposit interest rates early this month and cut further last week, raising hope of a drop in lending rates.


SBV Governor Nguyen Thi Hong has constantly called on banks to cut operating costs and improve administrative procedures so as to reduce lending interest rates.


Expert Can Van Luc said enterprises should look to other capital mobilisation channels instead of relying too much on bank loans.


Source: VNA   LINK




Henig:  Vietnam sees Russia as prioritised partner: NA official


07:12 | 18/02/2023


National Assembly Vice Chairman Nguyen Khac Dinh held talks with visiting First Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council of Federal Assembly of Russia (upper house) Andrey Yatskin in Hanoi on February 17, during which the host underlined that Russia is one of the prioritised and most important partners in Vietnam’s external policy.


National Assembly Vice Chairman Nguyen Khac Dinh held talks with visiting First Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council of Federal Assembly of Russia (upper house) Andrey Yatskin in Hanoi on February 17, during which the host underlined that Russia is one of the prioritised and most important partners in Vietnam’s external policy.


Dinh, who is also Chairman of the Vietnam – Russia Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group, affirmed that Vietnam always remembers and treasures the support that Russia has given to Vietnam in the past struggle for national liberation and current national development.


He said that Vietnam hopes to continue the substantial and effective cooperation with Russia in all areas for the interest of both sides.


Highlighting the high level of political trust between the two countries, Dinh spoke highly of the mutual support between the two sides at multilateral mechanisms, and thanked Russia for supporting Vietnam to run for a seat at the UN Human Right Council for the 2023-2025 tenure.


The host affirmed that Vietnam supports Russia’s active and constructive role in the region and the world, and is willing to help connect Russia and ASEAN.


He proposed that Russia consider the adjustments and upgrading of the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), towards giving more favourable conditions for bilateral partnership. The two sides should continue to work together to remove non-tarrif barriers in bilateral trade, especially in agriculture.


For his part, Yatskin, who is also head of the Russian Federation Council’s group for cooperation with the NA of Vietnam, expressed his delight at the strong trust between the two countries with resumed the exchange of delegations at all level after the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the regular meetings and mutual support within the framework of multilateral cooperation mechanisms.


Regarding cooperation in the parliamentary channel, the two sides agreed that this is one of the important pillars in Vietnam-Russia relations. The relations among legislative bodies of the two sides have expanded even amid the pandemic, with telephone talks held between the Vietnamese NA leader and the Speaker of the Federal Council of Russia, and many bilateral meetings on the sidelines of multilateral inter-parliamentary forums, they said.


Both sides have actively implemented their cooperation agreement signed in 2012, they said, noting that parliamentarians of the two sides have maintained consultations and cooperation within inter-parliamentary forums such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union (UPU), the World Conference of Speakers of Parliament (WCSP), the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), and the Meeting of Speakers of Eurasian Countries’ Parliaments (MSEAP).


Dinh said that the 12-member Vietnam – Russia Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group hopes to strengthen relations with its Russian peer, contributing to promoting ties between the two parliaments and the two countries.


The two sides agreed to increase the exchange of delegations between the two legislatures and the sharing of legislative experience as well as mutual support at multilateral parliamentary forums.


They pledged to strengthen coordination in supervising the implementation of collaboration deals signed between the two Governments, and work closely with relevant agencies of both sides to organise activities to mark the 10th anniversary of the Vietnam-Russia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, and the 100th year of President Ho Chi Minh’s arrival in Russia.


The two countries’ legislatures should work together to create favourable conditions for the two Governments, as well as localities and businesses of both sides to boost their partnership, they said. The two friendship parliamentarians’ groups should also improve their connections to promote their role in strengthening ties between the two legislatures.


At the talks, Yatskin lauded Vietnam’s achievements in socio-economic development, especially the country’s success in maintaining economic stability and speeding economic recovery and growth during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.


Source: VNA    LINK




Henig:  Joint campaign launched to reduce plastic waste in Việt Nam’s tourism sector


10:00 | 18/02/2023


A new campaign aimed at reducing plastic waste in Việt Nam’s tourism industry was launched on Thursday, signalling the country’s commitment to its sustainable development goals and environmental protection.


The joint effort is led by the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment (ISPONRE) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Vietnam Tourism Association, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Việt Nam.


The campaign encourages individuals and organisations in charge of cultural, sports, and tourism venues to reduce and eliminate single-use plastic and waste disposal. Tourists, visitors, and local communities are also advised to use environmentally-friendly products and technology.


According to ISPONRE’s Deputy Director, Nguyễn Trung Thắng, while there are support policies for waste recycling, there is still a lack of specific guidelines on technology selection, solid waste treatment, national technical standards on recycling, and access to incentives stated in the 2020 environmental protection law.


To perfect the laws and policies on plastic waste management in Việt Nam, Thắng believes that there must be detailed regulations and guidelines on the roadmap to reduce the production and import of single-use plastic, non-biodegradable plastic packaging, plastic waste sorting, as well as on the extended liability of manufacturers on the packaging.


Specific regulations on incentives for recycling and reusing plastic waste, harnessing energy from the waste treatment process, and consuming post-processed products must also be established.


Economic tools such as adjusting the environmental protection tax could also aid in managing plastic waste.


UNDP representative Nguyễn Thị Thu Huyền stated that plastic waste pollution is a major global challenge due to its negative impacts on the environment, particularly on marine life.


Many countries worldwide have introduced initiatives to call for global actions on plastic pollution, taking into account legal compliance.


Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính approved a project in August 2021 on the country’s active participation in forming a global treaty on marine plastic pollution.


Hà Văn Siêu, deputy director of the National Administration of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, believes that the “Reducing Plastic Waste in Vietnamese Tourism Sector” project will help raise awareness among all levels and departments, businesses, locals, and tourists on the matter.


Initiatives and solutions to reduce plastic waste will be piloted at several restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions in Ninh Bình and Quảng Nam provinces before being scaled to the national level.


The project has been granted funding from the UNDP’s Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme for operations in 2023 and 2024.


It will also help build, pilot, and issue criteria to recognise no-plastic tourism businesses, an action plan to reduce plastic waste in tourism, and an application on plastic waste management.


Regulations to reduce plastic waste in tourism were introduced in Decision No. 4216/QĐ-BVHTTDL, which promulgates the code of conduct for environmental protection in culture, sports, and tourism activities.


Source: VNS    LINK


Henig:  Repairs for undersea internet cables to last from March to April


Domestic internet service providers said on February 7 that the Network Operation Center (NOC) Services announced the repairs scheduled for three broken undersea cables that have resulted in slowed connections in Vietnam in the last few weeks.


VNA Wednesday, February 08, 2023 19:27


Hanoi (VNA) – Domestic internet service providers said on February 7 that the Network Operation Centre (NOC) Services announced the repairs scheduled for three broken undersea cables that have resulted in slowed connections in Vietnam in the last few weeks.


Four out of five submarine internet cables connecting Vietnam and the world are simultaneously seeing issues, an unprecedented occurrence.


According to the plan, the disruption on the S6 line of the Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) cable will undergo fixes between March 22-27, while repairs on the S9 line will be conducted on April 5-9.


The ruptures on the Asia, America Gateway (AAG) will be repaired between March 30 and April 4.


Repairs for the 6,800km Intra Asia cable are slated for mid-March, as registration and licensing of ships for the maintenance of the line are still underway.


There is also a problem with the Asia-Africa-Euro 1 (AAE-1) cable near Hong Kong (China) but the NOC has not announced a repair timeline.


This means that internet connection quality between Vietnam and the world will only improve towards the end of March, even mid-April.


The only undersea cable that is still operating normally is the Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 3 (SMW-3), but this is an old cable with low capacity and does not contribute much to Vietnam’s internet traffic to overseas servers.


There have been about 10 incidents on undersea fibre optic cables each year in the last decade. A representative of the Vietnam Internet Association said that incidents on fibre optic lines are not rare but also unpredictable.


Previously, when only one or two cable lines had problems concurrently, Vietnamese internet providers could quickly offload internet traffic between cable lines.


Currently, land-based internet cables cannot be upgraded quickly due to equipment limitations and other factors.


Troubleshooting on undersea fibre optic cables depends heavily on the severity of the problem, the weather at sea, the time it takes to get permission to access the waters of countries to carry out repairs, and many other factors. Therefore, instability and slow connection speeds will persist in the weeks to come.


Representatives of major network operators in Vietnam – including Viettel, VNPT and FPT – are committed to actively working with cable managers and international partners to quickly handle and ensure service provision for customers.






Henig:  Chemical industry applies top technologies


06:00 | 17/02/2023


(VEN) – Enterprises in Vietnam’s chemical industry have applied new technical solutions and production methods, technological innovations and product diversification.


According to the Science and Technology Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), many advanced technologies have been researched and applied into chemical industry production with good results. Specifically, production of superphosphate or fused phosphate fertilizers by Lam Thao Fertilizers and Chemicals JSC (LAFCHEMCO) has reduced coal and electricity consumption, emissions and noise, while also helping the company source raw materials, reduce production costs, and increase prestige by expanding exports to demanding markets.


A project by Pham Quang Tuyen of LAFCHEMCO adopting technological solutions for treating acid H2SiF6 to reduce environmental treatment costs was awarded first VIFOTEC (Vietnam Fund for Supporting Technological Creations) prize in 2017. Another project to improve the quality of fused phosphate fertilizer has met the domestic demand and export requirements to Australia, Japan, Malaysia, and more.


In processing and manufacturing rubber products, Da Nang Rubber Joint Stock Company has effectively applied results of research projects for the production of tires for bicycles, motorcycles and automobiles; while the Sao Vang Rubber JSC researched and manufactured tubeless inflatable aircraft tires – a completely new technology in Vietnam. Similarly, the Southern Rubber JSC has researched the production process of tubes for motorcycles and industrial vehicles using butyl rubber. The product has more dominant technical features compared to the same type of tires made of natural rubber in terms of air tightness, heat resistance, longevity as well as weight.


In the production of basic chemicals, Can Tho Fertilizer and Chemical JSC has successfully applied technology to produce Zeolite 4A products with 99 percent purity for detergent production, aquaculture, cosmetic chemicals, and industrial catalysts. Meanwhile, the Southern Chemicals JSC researched solutions to improve the efficiency of using excess heat from the sulfuric acid production chain to produce steam and hot gas, reducing the consumption of fuel oil (FO) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). In addition, the South Basic Chemicals JSC and Viet Tri Chemical JSC have researched and produced PAC (Poly Aluminum Chloride) products of high quality at low prices, which can compete with imported PAC products from China.


In the chemical pharmaceutical industry, too, various research results have been commercialized, launching products of the same quality as imported goods at competitive prices. These include Cebraton softgels produced by Traphaco JSC for blood pressure control; ASAKOYA sedative products by Mediplantex National Pharmaceutical JSC to treat insomnia, and Gac oil products of Vimedimex Medi – Pharma JSC.


By viewing science and technology as a fundamental factor for the growth and efficiency of production and trading activities, the chemical industry has renovated technologies, machinery and equipment, and improved its research capacity.


Quynh Nga   LINK