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FDI flow in HCM City soars

14:11 | 23/06/2014

VGP – The sharp increase in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flow in Ho Chi Minh City in early months of 2014 has shown that the city’s investment environment is safe and attractive to foreign investors, said Chairman of the Municipal People’s Committee Le Hoang Quan.

Illustration photo

To lure more investment, the city has launched various policies to improve its investment environment and drastically reformed administrative procedures, head of the Department for Planning and Investment Thai Van Re confirmed.

As many as 169 projects with a total registered capital of US$967 million were licensed by the city over the past five months, equal to 423% of the same period last year.

Meanwhile, 53 projects were allowed to increase their capital by US$110 million. The total FDI flow in the city is estimated around US$1.08 billion, equal to 202% of the same period last year.

General Director of Aeon Viet Nam Yasuo Nishitohge revealed that four years after the corporation landed in Viet Nam, it has four projects licensed with a total registered capital of US$512 million.

Mr. Takashi SakakibaraDeputy Director General of Japan’s Nikken company said that Nikken has poured US$711,000 in the mechanical sector. 

The company expects to increase its investment in Ho Chi Minh city in the future, he added.  

By Thuy Dung

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Secretary’s Remarks: Interview With Savannah Guthrie of NBC’s Today Show

As Aired on June 19

QUESTION: And now to our exclusive interview with Secretary of State John Kerry. We were with him on Wednesday as he shuttled back and forth to the White House helping President Obama weigh U.S. options in Iraq. And I began by asking Secretary Kerry about those reports that the President has taken the option of airstrikes in Iraq off the table.

SECRETARY KERRY: Nothing is off the table. All options are still available to the President.

QUESTION: It seems like the U.S. was totally caught off guard by this.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I don’t think – look, our people on the ground in Iraq have seen the increased intensity. We’ve been watching this happening. We have been engaged in efforts over the months. We’ve been beefing up our assistance, our presence.

QUESTION: But did you act too slowly? I mean, Maliki was asking for help with airstrikes in the last few weeks as this was coming, as ISIS was coming toward this part of Iraq. Why didn’t we act then?

SECRETARY KERRY: For a lot of different reasons, not the least of which is we didn’t have operational theater capacity at that point in time, partly because Prime Minister Maliki denied the kind of permissions necessary.

QUESTION: That raises the question: Why come to Maliki’s rescue now? I mean, isn’t he a big part of the problem?

SECRETARY KERRY: This is not about Maliki. Let me stress: What the United States is doing is about Iraq; it is not about Maliki. And nothing that the President decides to do is going to be focused specifically on Prime Minister Maliki. It is focused on the people of Iraq – Shia, Sunni, Kurd.

QUESTION: But it may benefit Maliki.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, that’s up to the people of Iraq to decide. But the United States is deeply concerned about the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant, ISIL, as we know it, that has moved in. They represent a threat to every country in the region. They’re more extreme even than al-Qaida, and they are threatening the United States and Western interests.

QUESTION: You’ve mentioned that the U.S. is open, at least, to possibly working with Iran as you deal with this situation with ISIS in northern Iraq.

SECRETARY KERRY: First of all, I don’t know where this comes from that we are – we’ve suggested working with Iran in that regard. We have heard —

QUESTION: I thought you said it in an interview the other day.

SECRETARY KERRY: What I said is we are interested in communicating with Iran to make clear that the Iranians know what we’re thinking and we know what they’re thinking, and that there’s a sharing of information so people aren’t making mistakes.

QUESTION: Just to be clear, the U.S. isn’t considering working hand in hand with Iran? Because I think for a lot of Americans, that’s a head scratcher.

SECRETARY KERRY: Let me be absolutely clear. Well, it’s not. It would be a head scratcher – and no, we’re not sitting around contemplating how are we going to do that or if we’re going to do that. That’s not on the table.

QUESTION: Dick Cheney wrote today, “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”

SECRETARY KERRY: This is the man who took us into Iraq saying this? Please.

QUESTION: What’s happening now in Iraq is directly related to the situation in Syria. Did the U.S. – did the President miss the moment, make a huge mistake by not trying to turn the tide in Syria then, and what’s happening in Iraq now is just the chickens coming home to roost?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Savannah, let me just say this: There’s plenty of time going down the road here for people to have post-mortems and to make decisions. We are the largest single donor of humanitarian assistance. We are deeply engaged in working with our allies and friends in the region. We are assisting, training, doing work in terms of providing nonlethal aid and assistance to —

QUESTION: Doesn’t the evidence suggest it’s not working? Because instead of things getting better because of our assistance, in fact, a group like ISIS is on the rise and now taking more territory.

SECRETARY KERRY: ISIS is on the rise because Assad is a magnet for terrorists of all ilk and walks who are come there to try to unseat him.

QUESTION: Didn’t you advocate for arming the moderate opposition when you were a senator? I mean, didn’t you think that was the right thing to do?

SECRETARY KERRY: I did.

QUESTION: And doesn’t it kill you now to see what’s happened?

SECRETARY KERRY: I know where you’re trying to – look, let me just make it clear: We are augmenting our assistance in significant ways.

QUESTION: What do you say to Iraq veterans, those who’ve lost so much or families of those who lost everything in Iraq, who are looking now and saying, “What was that for? No sooner have we left than everything goes back to just the way it was”?

SECRETARY KERRY: That remains to be seen. And the test is in really these next few days and weeks. And we are going to do everything in our power to follow through and try to get the job done through diplomacy, if we can, in order to honor their sacrifice.


As Aired on June 20

MS. GUTHRIE: We are back at 7:40. This has been especially a busy week for Secretary of State John Kerry, with the Administration dealing with the crisis in Iraq, other issues around the globe. We heard from him on that Thursday on Today. Well, this morning, more of our time with Secretary Kerry as we take a behind-the-scenes look at his hectic week.

MS. GUTHRIE: From breakfast with senators —

PARTICIPANT: Please unveil the portrait.

MS. GUTHRIE: — and the ceremonial duties of office to back-to-back trips to the White House, Secretary of State John Kerry has taken his new job and run with it, sometimes literally. And the world is seeing a somewhat different Kerry, the once-staid senator now one of the President’s most outspoken road warriors.

SECRETARY KERRY: You just don’t invade another country.

He’s a fugitive from justice.

And history would judge us all.

QUESTION: It seems to me that you are looser than you’ve ever been.

SECRETARY KERRY: After years and years in public life, I know who I am, I know what I want to achieve.

SECRETARY KERRY: I, John F. Kerry, do solemnly swear —

MS. GUTHRIE: It’s a moment a lifetime in the making. The son of a Foreign Service officer, a decorated Vietnam Veteran who famously came to protest the war, a senator for decades and a former presidential candidate, Kerry seems more determined now than ever to make his mark.

SECRETARY KERRY: I have big heels to fill. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Here are some adjectives that I have read that are used to describe you: relentless, ambitious, stubborn, pompous, risk-taker, loner.

SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah. I hope I’m ambitious. I hope the President chose me because he wanted somebody in here who was going to fight hard, and I’m happy to be relentless about it.

MS. GUTHRIE: Ambitious, yes, but with mixed results so far. He pushed for talks to resolve Syria’s crisis, but Assad’s grip has only tightened. Russia’s Putin seems hardly cowed by U.S. sanctions over tensions in Ukraine, and Kerry logged thousands of miles for a Middle East peace deal that never happened.

QUESTION: Some people said they admire your energy, but essentially it was a waste of time.

SECRETARY KERRY: It is never a waste of time to work for peace, ever. We have two and a half years left in this Administration. I say to you I don’t believe that the effort is over —

MS. GUTHRIE: But how much power does he have? Kerry rejects suggestions that the real foreign policy decisions are run out of the White House.

SECRETARY KERRY: I said to the President a few months ago, I thanked him for the extraordinary breadth and absence of leash that he had given me. The President has been incredibly trusting, incredibly empowering.

MS. GUTHRIE: Moments of levity in this job are welcome, and these days that comes in the form of Kerry’s new puppy, Ben, a Lab who is named after Benjamin Franklin, and who is intermittently obedient.

SECRETARY KERRY: Place.

This is embarrassing. Come on, Benny.

QUESTION: (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KERRY: So I’ve got to send him back to school. Ben, sit. Down, down, down. That a boy. There you are. What can I say? Stay.

QUESTION: Is he a good stress reliever?

SECRETARY KERRY: No, he’s a good stress giver. (Laughter.)

MS. GUTHRIE: The job is not without glamour, with Angelina Jolie last week at a London conference and Leonardo DiCaprio this week talking ocean conservation.

QUESTION: They call this the bromance picture to end all bromance pictures.

SECRETARY KERRY: It’s the angle. It’s the angle. It’s not a fair angle. But that said, both my daughters texted me and I won’t tell you what they said. (Laughter.)

MS. GUTHRIE: But after a lifetime in the public eye, Kerry is happy to tell you he is out of elected politics.

QUESTION: Will you really never run for public office again?

SECRETARY KERRY: I have no plans to run for public office again.

QUESTION: Is that, “I will really not run for public office again”?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I’d never say never to anything. I might run for dogcatcher. But no, I’m not planning. I’m not running. This is my last public position, I think, and I’m going to try and get the job done as well as I can.

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China creates artificial lands in disputed waters to boost sovereignty claims

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China syndromeChina creates artificial lands in disputed waters to boost sovereignty claims

Published 24 June 2014

The Chinese government has been implementing a policy of creating new islands on the reefs and shoals of the South China Sea in order to further Chinese territorial claims to the area and increase sea-based infrastructure. By moving sand and other building materials onto these very shallow reefs, such as the Spratly archipelago, new islands are formed which officials say will eventually support buildings, humans, and surveillance equipment. According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, by creating the lands, China will have economic rights within a 200 mile zone of each location.

Artficial islands being by China in process // Source: china.com.cn

The Chinese government has been implementing a policy of creating new islands on the reefs and shoals of the South China Sea in order to further Chinese territorial claims to the area and increase sea-based infrastructure.

As theNew York Times reports, by moving sand and other building materials onto these very shallow reefs, such as the Spratly archipelago, new islands are formed which officials say will eventually support buildings, humans, and surveillance equipment.

The move has alarmed neighboring countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines, who have protested against China for the actions. Many see the move as a “eying a perch in Spratlys as part of a long-term strategy of power projection across the Western Pacific.”

According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, by creating the lands, the country will have economic rights within a 200 mile zone of each location. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel criticized the move in a recent speech.

China has responded to the chorus of criticism by claiming “indisputable sovereignty” over the islands, arguing further that Vietnam and the Philippines have also engaged in construction within the region to an even greater degree. Wi Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, a Chinese government-linked group, said, “Our facilities are worse than those of both the Philippines and Vietnam. You see that Vietnam even has a soccer field.”

Those countries, however, were not involved in the wholesale creation of artificial islands, which can be seen as an evolution in the fight over territory — likely due to the country’s considerable expansion of wealth and GDP within the past decade. Carlyle Thayer, a professor of politics at the University of New South Wales in Australia, told the paper, “It’s changing the status quo, it can only raise tensions.”

China has been engaged in the construction of three to four islands — with one at the Johnson South Reef seized from Vietnam in 1988 — which are estimated to be about 20 to 40 acres each. Already, one contains a military installation.

Adding an additional mysterious element, recent digital sketches of intended structures raised eyebrows after being circulated by the Global Times, a state-sponsored Chinese newspaper, with no explanation.

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HCMC: CPI picks up 0.58% in June

20:43 | 22/06/2014

VGP – Ho Chi Minh City’s consumer price index (CPI) in June saw a month-on-month increase of 0.58% and year-on-year increase of 5.52%, according to local Statistics Office.

According to the HCMC Statistics Office, rising medical costs at 11.65% chiefly attributed to the higher CPI of HCMC. Foodstuff, household utensils, pharmaceuticals and healthcare services, housing, fuel, garment, education and other services were named as the drivers of the index.

The groups of beverages and cigarettes, posts and telecommunication, and entertainment services posted price declines.

Meanwhile, Ha Noi’s CPI only went up 0.08% against the previous month.

Nine out of 11 groups of commodities witnessed slightly rising prices. Prices of restaurants and food services declined by 0.27% and post and telecom 0.17%.

In the sixth month, gold price fell by 0.92% and USD price surged by 0.36% against last month./.  

By Kim Anh

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Da Nang launches summer tourism season

06:50 | 22/06/2014

VGP – Da Nang on June 21 launched the “Summer Rendezvous” program in a bid to attract more local and foreign tourists to the central city.

The program aims to promote city’s sea tourism products and local reputation as a safe and attractive destination for international friends.

The program, taking place on June 19-29, includes a series of activities such as aerobic performances, street dances, a vintage car exhibition, a basket shaking contest and a kayak race in the East Sea Park and Pham Van Dong beach.

The program is featured with a parasailing contest which lures both local and foreign athletes. The tournament will begin from June 27-29.

In the first five months this year, Da Nang welcomed over 1.3 million guests, representing a year-on-year increase of 15.6%. The local tourism industry earned over VND 3.4 trillion in revenue, up 23.9% in the reviewed period./. 

By Khanh Phuong

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China deploys six military ships to protect illicit rig

05:58 | 22/06/2014

VGP – China on June 21 maintained 118 ships, including six military ships, to guard its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 illegally standing in Viet Nam’s waters, according to the Viet Nam Fisheries Surveillance Department.

The Chinese ships kept a distance of 6-9 nautical miles from the rig and constantly disrupted law enforcement operations of Vietnamese fisheries surveillance and coast guard forces.

Despite obstinate and violent obstruction by the Chinese side, the Vietnamese vessels still managed to get to the rig as near as 10-12 nautical miles to persistently demand China remove its rig out of Viet Nam waters and respect international law while protecting Vietnamese fishing boats’ normal operations there.

Three Chinese ships, namely coast guard vessel 2168, tugboats 263 and Haishan, sped towards Vietnamese ships and attempted to ram them while broadcasting distortions against Vietnamese forces, said Viet Nam News Agency reporters at the site.

At 11:07, reconnaissance aircraft CMS-B3843 flew 200-500m above Viet Nam’s fisheries surveillance ships which were 12 nautical miles from the rig.

Around 38 Chinese fishing ships, backed by coast guard ship coded 46102, formed a line to violently block Vietnamese fishing boats from operating in their traditional fishing grounds, 34-38 nautical miles from the rig./.

 

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Chinese aircraft intimidate Vietnamese law enforcement vessels

The reporters said they saw a Z-9C helicopter bearing the number 9237 flying at an altitude of 150m-200m above the Vietnamese ships in the morning of June 20. Later a SU-30MKK fighter plane and a reconnaissance craft circled around above the Vietnamese coast guard and fisheries surveillance vessels.

When the Vietnamese ships were about 10 nautical miles from the rig, three Chinese coast guard ships, a fisheries administration vessel and a tugboat sped up towards the Vietnamese vessels and attempted to ram at them.

The Vietnamese law enforcement vessels tried to dodge them but stayed at the site to conduct communication actions requesting the Chinese side to withdraw the rig and escort ships out of Viet Nam’s waters.

Viet Nam’s fisheries surveillance staff also detected two minesweepers near the rig’s site.

China has illegally positioned the rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 inside Viet Nam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone since May 2. From its initial position at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude, the rig then was moved to 15 degrees 33 minutes 36 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 11 seconds east longitude. The new location is still deep inside Viet Nam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

At the same time, China has deployed a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to protect the rig.

China ’s armed vessels aggressively fired high-power water cannons at and intentionally rammed against Vietnamese public-service and civil ships, causing damage to many boats and injuring many people on board.

Chinese fighter aircraft are also flying over the area where the rig is illegally standing in Viet Nam’s waters and acting aggressively.

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VN, EU resolved to conclude FTA talks this year

19:20 | 19/06/2014

VGP – Viet Nam and the European Union are resolved to conclude the free trade agreement talks this year, according to an official from the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Tran Quoc Khanh said that 90% of the Vietnamese products will enjoy tax exemption if the two sides sign the FTA, opening up vast opportunities for the Southeast Asian country to join the global supply chain.

In June 2012, Viet Nam and the EU launched negotiations for the FTA with a view to ensuring an effective environment for trade and investment relations.

The EU works closely with Viet Nam under the framework of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement inked in June 2012, creating a solid foundation to intensify relations further in a broad range of areas.

In a wider context, ASEAN as a whole represents the EU’s 3d largest trading partner outside Europe (after the US and China). Of the ten ASEAN members, Viet Nam is the EU’s 5th most important trading partner./.

By Huong Giang

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Equitization brings back new opportunities

18:36 | 19/06/2014

VGP – The Vietnamese Government committed to restructuring the economy, focusing on investment, State-owned enterprises, and banking-finance, which opens up new opportunities for local and foreign investors, official said.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung told delegates to the Viet Nam Investment Forum 2014 in Ho Chi Minh City on June 19.

Between 2014 and 2015, the Government planned to equitize 432 State-owned enterprises and investors can join the process.

The opportunities are consolidated by the country’s efforts in improving the business environment through amending and supplementing the Laws on Enterprises, Investment, Real Estate Business, Housing among others.

Mr. Dung said that over 17,000 accounts have been opened by foreign individuals and organizations in the Vietnamese stock market while a number of big investment funds and investors have expanded operations in Viet Nam.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, foreign direct investment reached US$5.51 billion in the first five months of 2014 and the disbursed value increased by 0.4% to US$4.6 billion.

The FDI sector’s export volume accounts for 67% of the country’s total export figure, up 18.6% against the same period last year./.

By Huong Giang

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EuroCham upbeat about VN’s business environment

16:43 | 19/06/2014

VGP – Business confidence and outlook among European businesses in Viet Nam’s market continued to be on the rise.

According a EuroCham Business Climate Index (BCI), conducted in May 2014, BCI in Viet Nam has bounced back to the same level of the prosperous period in 2011, jumping from 59 to 66 after one quarter.

 

Compared to the results of last quarter’s BCI, the amount of respondents assessing their current business situation as positive has remained relatively stable at 44% – compared to 45% last quarter and last year’s 43%.

 

The number of respondents remain negative perception has comparably declined from 29% to 21%.

Eurocham proposed that the Vietnamese Government take into consideration a number of concerns for European companies.

 

This quarter has shown a high expectation from the European business community in terms of the resource of strong implementation of FTA. In addition, the new online Customs VNACCS/VCIS system is deemed to be positive by almost relevant respondents (75%).

 

The positive trend of increasing investment plans has come back with 81% of respondents intending to maintain or increase their investment level, compared to last quarter’s 78%./.

 

By Kim Anh

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