Taiwan eyes Vietnamese healthcare sector

Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, senior policy researcher from the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), said that under the institute’s latest survey about the ASEAN investment situation, Vietnam has been considered by ASEAN as “a regional special investment destination”. “Investment from ASEAN has been strongly flowing into Vietnam, focusing in many sectors, especially in the industrial manufacturing and processing sector,” Maria said at recent Hanoi-based conference on the 50-year anniversary of ASEAN, organised by Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and ERIA. ERIA statistics showed that by late 2016, the total registered investment capital inflows into Vietnam from ASEAN (Cambodia, Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand) reached almost US$60 billion for 3,127 valid investment projects.  About half of that is concentrated into the manufacturing and processing industry. “The fact that foreign direct investment (FDI) from ASEAN went into the manufacturing and processing industry the most demonstrates Vietnam is emerging as an important industrial manufacturing hub of ASEAN, also thanks to its improved business and investment climate,” Maria said. Nguyen Quoc Dung, MoFA Deputy Minister and Vietnam’s ASEAN SOM leader, said that ASEAN total registered capital into Vietnam has so far hit over US$64 billion, the majority of which [about 60%] is focused on the manufacturing and processing industry. “ASEAN investors and groups are building Vietnam as a hub of their manufacturing and processing projects,” Dung said. Recently, about 200 Indonesian medium- and large-sized firms, which…... [read more]

On the theme of ASEAN Charter for ASEAN People, ASEAN leaders will discuss measures to increase regional cooperation, speed up the establishment of an ASEAN Community, weather the global financial storm, ensure food and energy security, mitigate the consequences of natural disasters, and expand the external relations of the bloc. The summit takes place at a time when ASEAN is preparing to build a united community by 2015 based on the ASEAN Charter which was enforced on December 15, 2008. In addition, the bloc is coping with countless challenges arising from the fallout of the current global financial crisis. Besides official meetings, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and other ASEAN leaders will attend dialogue and informal meetings with the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), and representatives of ASEAN Youth and other civil social organisations. PM Dung and Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem will have bilateral meetings with the heads of State and FMs of several countries. By attending the regional meeting, Vietnam wants to lift its role and position within ASEAN, helping to strengthen regional solidarity, cooperation and integration, ensure the association’s leading role in maintaining peace, stability and development, increase cooperation between ASEAN and its dialogue partners and make full use of international assistance for realising its goals. ASEAN was founded on August 8, 1967, marking a milestone in its regional development. From just five founders at the beginning, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, ASEAN later admitted Brunei in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Laos…... [read more]

But Ung Phuong Dung, director of Indochina Services Travel Group, told Saigon Times Online that around half of her clients from these five European countries still need a visa. They want to stay in Vietnam for at least three weeks, but the exemption period is only 15 days, she said. Dung is one of many tour operators who pointed out that the new visa policy, while helpful, has failed to give Vietnam's tourism industry a really strong boost, the news website reported. Some tourists who enter Vietnam and then visit neighboring countries also have to apply for a visa if they want to return to Vietnam within 30 days from their exit, he said. The government wants to simplify procedures to welcome tourists, but the waiver's duration is "too short," thus making them feel that "Vietnam does not really open its door to international visitors," Kien said. Delayed effects Many other travel companies said tourists from distant markets such as Europe often make travel plans half or one year in advance, meaning that the visa waiver rule will not really show its effects until next year. They also said that nobody can be sure about the future of the one-year policy, which means they can not really plan far ahead. More than 5 million foreigners visited Vietnam in the January-August period, down 7.5% year-on-year, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT). Of all the five European countries newly added to Vietnam's visa waiver list, Spain was the biggest…... [read more]

The Southeast Asian country is forecast to log a US$32 billion deficit with China this year, compared to nearly US$29 billion a year earlier, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs. Vietnam’s monthly trade deficit with China was recorded at US$2.6 billion over the last 11 months. In the 11-month period, Vietnam’s imports from China topped US$44.99 billion, up US$5.44 billion from a year earlier, whereas exports stood at US$15.5 billion, an increase of US$2 billion. Customs data for the Jan-Nov period showed that Vietnam also reported negative trade balances with such countries as Japan, the Republic of Korea and Thailand. The deficit with Japan in 11 months widened to US$230 million, whereas last year Vietnam enjoyed a surplus of nearly US$2 billion to the East Asian country. Vietnam’s Jan-Nov deficit with the Republic of Korea also jumped US$4 billion from the same period last year to US$17.28 billion. In the 11-month period, Vietnam suffered a US$5.6 billion deficit with the ASEAN, while the last year figure was US$4 billion. The deficit with Thailand in 11 months was US$4.2 billion, up US$1.23 billion from a year earlier. As of the middle of this month, Vietnam’s trade deficit topped US$3.5 billion, while it enjoyed positive trade balances in the last three consecutive years. The figure, however, was much lower than the US$6 billion trade deficit forecast for Vietnam during a meeting of trade sector last year, according to The Saigon Times Online.... [read more]

More than 630 workers have returned home safely so far from Tunisia. More than 600 Vietnamese citizens are waiting to take exit visas at Djerba Airport in Zarzis City. On March 3, thousands of workers from many countries remained stranded at Djerba Airport after fleeing Libya. They were all provided with temporary accommodation and enough food and drinks. However, it would take time to go through procedures. Doan Xuan Hung, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was present there said the Vietnamese working delegation was trying to get the stranded workers out of Libya. Vietnam Airlines said that it would dispatch six flights in the next few days to bring more Vietnamese workers back home from Libya. About 2,740 Vietnamese workers have returned to the country by the afternoon of March 3, while more than 6,000 others are waiting to transit through third country, according to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA). The Vietnamese Embassy in Libya has joined efforts with labour export companies and local authorities to arrange for those workers to fly home. No injuries or deaths among Vietnamese workers have been reported so far. The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry has asked ASEAN member countries and other nations to support the evacuation of workers from Libya. It has also directed representative offices in third countries like Singapore and Thailand to help Vietnamese workers quickly clear procedures and provide them with essential food and drinks while they are waiting at their airports.... [read more]

Delegates and 28 top students from Vietnam, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand will discuss critical issues affecting the region. Under the theme “The state for Asia - an Asian perspective on managing sustainable development and economic integration,” leading topics for debate will include energy, the environment and economic partnerships and integration. Ngu Duy Anh, head of the Ministry of Education and Training’s Student Affairs Department, says the forum will be a good opportunity for Vietnamese students to show off their talent. Kiyoshi Kinugawa, chairman of Hitachi Asia, says HYLI alumni have made a great contribution to society. The HYLI was launched in Singapore in 1996. Each participating country selects four students to attend the annual event.... [read more]

Dinh La Thang believes the southern metropolis is not living up to its potential, and lagging behind other locations and regional cities in terms of economic development. The city’s Party chief underlined the importance of “winning back the number one position” as he addressed the meeting of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Executive Committee on March 27. Thang started his speech with a story about a horse which thinks it cannot run any faster until it is chased after by a tiger. “With the tiger chasing, the horse can run twice as fast as normal,” Thang said, before questioning whether Ho Chi Minh City had tried its best yet. The southern economic hub needs a ‘tiger’ to push it to grow further, according to the Party chief. “We have hardworking, brilliant, creative citizens who are willing to accept challenges, but we are still lagging behind,” he said. Thang said what is lacking is “the fearless spirit, solidarity and bravery which we used to have during wartime.” “So Ho Chi Minh City has to re-create the strong spirit as it used to have during wartime in order to have social consensus and overcome all challenges and difficulties,” Thang pressed. “Every Party member and every citizen has to have an aspiration of a No.1 city – we used to be No.1 so we have to take back that position.” Thang said Ho Chi Minh City, previously known as Saigon, used to be the “Pearl of the Far East,” and Singapore and…... [read more]

“AIPA has been growing alongside ASEA N in many spheres,” said Mr Trong at a ceremony in Hanoi on November 14 to mark the 30th anniversary of this organisation. “Through AIPA activities, ASEAN legislators have established direct relationships with their peers from partner countries which enable them to share information and experiences and discuss bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual concern in the spirit of open and constructive dialogue in order to promote their mutual understanding and trust,” said Mr Trong. In the face of opportunities and challenges at present, the Vietnamese chief legislator said AIPA should renew its operation to achieve more practical and effective results. He noted that since it joined the organisation in 1995, the Vietnamese legislative body has actively engaged in all AIPA activities and other efforts to cement solidarity and expand cooperation among AIPA member parliaments and with parliaments of other countries. “The Vietnamese NA has developed valuable initiatives aimed at helping ASEAN member countries deal with prioritised issues in the region,” said Mr Trong. In his address, Lim Thuan Kuan, Ambassador of Singapore, which currently chairs AIPA, highlighted the crucial role of the organisation and legislators in building an ASEAN Community. To build a strong ASEAN community, he said legislators should assist their governments in the implementing regional and international accords adopted by ASEAN. AIPA, which has the former name of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organisation (AIPO), was established in 1977 on the initiative of the top legislators of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore…... [read more]

The 2008 UN E-Government Readiness Survey, released on January 5, is the fourth edition of the index, and assesses 192 UN member states on their application of information and communication technologies to serve and interact with citizens. The survey showed that Vietnam also performed well in the e-participation index, leaping to 16th, from 63rd in 2005. Meanwhile, with an index score of 0.447, the Asian region fared slightly below the world average of 0.4514 in the e-government readiness index. Ranking 6th, the Republic of Korea (RoK) is the only Asian country in the top 10 list. It also fared well in the area of e-participation, described as the involvement of citizens in government programmes and services, where it was placed 2nd worldwide, after the United States. India fell 26 notches to 113th, from 87th in 2005, while Singapore and Thailand each fell 16 notches from their 2005 ranking to 23rd and 62nd, respectively, in the latest index.... [read more]

Addressing the ceremony on August 17, Public Security Minister Le Hong Anh confirmed that the police force has always devoted itself to maintaining national security, fighting crime and protecting the lives of the people. General Anh, who is also a Politburo member, reviewed the 65-year history of the police, which he said has grown constantly and vigorously to become a core force for safeguarding national security, maintaining social order, liberating the nation and building a socialist country. Attendees at the ceremony included Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, some former General Secretaries, senior Party and State officials, veteran revolutionaries, heroic mothers, and thousands of police officers and cadets. Among the participants were also delegates from the police forces of Cuba, Cambodia, China, Laos, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, Russia, Singapore, and Thailand. In his speech, PM Dung praised the police force for its dedication and achievements. He highlighted its role in advising the Party on countering sabotage plots from hostile forces and ensuring political stability. He said its deeds have contributed considerably to the country’s socio-economic development and helped raise its status in the international arena. On behalf of the Party and State, the PM awarded the police force a hanging acknowledging its glorious exploits over the past years.... [read more]

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