Lao leaders hail visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) meets with National Assembly Chairwoman Pany Yathoutu (Photo: VNA)

Vientiane (VNA) – Party and State leaders of Laos have welcomed the on-going visit of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc saying that it will significantly contribute to the growth of the Vietnam-Laos ties, especially when the two countries celebrate the Vietnam-Laos Friendship and Solidarity Year 2017.

Following his talks with Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith on April 26, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc met with General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) and President of Laos Bounnhang Volachith, National Assembly Chairwoman Pany Yathoutu, and standing member of the LPRP Secretariat and Vice President Phankham Viphavan.

LPRP General Secretary and President Bounnhang Volachith lauded the fruitful outcomes of the talks between the two Prime Ministers, suggesting that they direct ministries and sectors to effectively implement high-level agreements and the results of the 39th meetings of the Inter-Governmental Committee on bilateral cooperation.

The Lao leaders expressed their delight at the strong development of the partnership between the two countries across the fields including politics, defence, security, economy, education, and culture-society, thus benefiting both peoples.

PM Phuc affirmed to his hosts that the Party, State, Government and people of Vietnam give the top priority to the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation with Laos, considering the ties as a priceless treasure and a vital factor of the revolutionary causes of both nations.

The same day, PM Phuc also met with a delegation from the Laos-Vietnam Friendship Association led by President of its Central Committee Vilayvong Butdakham.

Phuc praised the effective operation of the association over the past year, which has contributed to the development of the friendship between the two countries.

He also expressed hope that the association will continue designing diverse activities to boost bilateral ties, especially in the context that the two sides are celebrating the 55th anniversary of their diplomatic ties and 40 years of the signing of the Vietnam-Laos Agreement on Friendship and Cooperation in 2017.

For his part, Vilayvong Butdakham said that the association will coordinate closely with relevant agencies of both sides during the organizations of these events.

He noted that the association and its Vietnamese counterpart are working together to publish a magazine entitled “Sharing Truong Son Range”.

The association will also invite Vietnamese delegations to Laos to attend ceremonies to marks the special anniversaries.-VNA

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RadioAsia Conference 2017 kicks off in Bangkok

ABU Secretary-General Javad Mottaghi speaks at the RadioAsia Conference 2017 (Photo:

Bangkok (VNA) – A delegation of national radio broadcaster Voice of Vietnam is representing the country at the RadioAsia Conference 2017 that opened in Bangkok, Thailand, on April 26.

The three-day event, organised by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), attracts hundreds of delegates who are workers in the radio broadcasting industry and communications specialists from all over the world.

In the opening speech, ABU Secretary-General Javad Mottaghi said this year’s conference is important as the radio broadcasting industry are facing challenges posed by other types of media and social networks. If the industry does not make changes to adapt to the public, it will be left behind.

Therefore, the 2017 conference is themed “Creating Radio with Passion: Looking into the World of Radio,” he noted.

At the meeting participants gave opinions on the development of radio broadcasting in the new era, the application of digital technology in the industry, and radio broadcasting on mobile devices and social networks.

Minister of the Thai Prime Minister’s Office Panadda Diskul said radio broadcasting remains an indispensable type of media, and the Thai Government still pays attention to it. Radio has helped many people access information in a convenient and easy manner.

The RadioAsia Conference, held annually since 2006, is a forum for regional radio broadcasters to share experience and specify development orientations for the industry to better meet the need of the public.-VNA

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Vinalines seeks strategic investors in Singapore

Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Singapore (VNA) – The Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) held a workshop in Singapore on April 26 to introduce its development orientations to seek strategic investors.

The event drew businesses and companies operating in the fields of marine transport, navigation services, and banking in Singapore.

Le Quang Trung, head of Vinalines’ market development department, said the company is implementing equitisation and set to launch its initial public offering (IPO) in December 2017 with the chartered capital of 550 million USD.

The State will hold 65 percent of the chartered capital at the parent company while strategic investors will have an opportunity to hold up to 17.25 percent of the chartered capital, he added.

Singapore is a potential partner of Vinalines with many Singaporean businesses being interested in the fields of seaport and navigation services, he said.

The synchronous development of the company’s seaport system along with shipping fleets and logistics infrastructure is to create a chain of full-package services for businesses.

It also aims to realise the company’s strategic development plan of increasing competitiveness, a representative said.

Foreign investors will have chance to join key seaport projects that Vinalines will carry out in 2017-2020, with a vision towards 2030.

The company is also participating in the Sea Asia 2017, a premier maritime conference and exhibition, in Singapore from April 25-27.-VNA

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PetroVietnam, foreign firms win license to build $1.27 bln gas pipeline

A subsidiary of state oil and gas group PetroVietnam has secured a license to invest $1.27 billion in a natural gas pipeline in southern Vietnam with foreign partners, making it the country’s biggest foreign investment project to be granted official approval so far this year.

The license for the Block B – O Mon pipeline in Kien Giang Province was granted on April 20 to a joint venture between PV Gas and “a Japanese investor”, the central Foreign Investment Agency said in a monthly report on Wednesday, without naming the foreign investor.

PetroVietnam has identified the foreign partner as Japan’s Mitsui Oil Exploration Co, but also said Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) would be a partner on the project.

The project is the biggest new investment pledge in Vietnam to receive government approval so far in 2017, while Samsung’s injection of $2.5 billion into its Samsung Display Vietnam factory in March is the largest additional funding for an existing FDI project, based on data from the investment agency.

Last year, the Southeast Asian country, which has one of the world’s fastest growing economies, received a record high $15.8 billion in foreign direct investment inflow.

In March 2010, PV Gas, the country’s biggest listed energy firm, signed a cooperation contract with U.S. Chevron Corp, Japan’s Mitsui Oil Exploration Co and Thailand’s PTTEP to build the 431-kilometer (270 mile) pipeline. It is designed to take natural gas from Block B off the southern coast to two power complexes in Kien Giang and Can Tho City, both in the Mekong Delta.

The gas pipeline is expected to deliver 20.3 million cubic meters of natural gas per day to power plants in the two locations, with total capacity of 3,660 Megawatts.

In June 2015, PetroVietnam took over Chevron’s stake in the gas pipeline as well as in Block B after the two failed to reach an agreement over gas prices.

In April 2016, PetroVietnam revived the giant gas project, planning to invest $6.8 billion by 2040 to construct a central processing platform, 46 wellhead and hub platforms, about 750 wells and a floating storage and offloading vessel, the group said.

PetroVietnam said the natural gas supplied to power plants in the Mekong Delta will help reduce the country’s demand for foreign exchange to import oil products and liquefied petroleum gas.

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Vietnamese, Lao Prime Ministers agree to lift ties

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) and his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith meet the press after their talks (Photo: VNA)

Vientiane (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith have agreed to give the top priority to nurturing the bilateral traditional friendship and special solidarity, regarding this as a vital and decisive factor to ensure the victory of each country’s revolutionary cause.

The two government leaders reached the consensus during their talks in Vientiane on April 26 on the occasion of Phuc’s first official visit to Laos in his position as Vietnamese Prime Minister from April 26-27.

They concurred to implement more effectively high-level agreements, especially the Joint Statement issued on the official visit to Laos by Vietnam’s Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in November 2016 and the Joint Statement released on the visit to Vietnam by Laos’ Party General Secretary and President Bounnhang Volachith in April 2016.

The two sides vowed to build on the outcomes gained at the 39th meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Intergovernmental Committee on bilateral cooperation and do their best to carry out the Vietnam-Laos bilateral cooperation agreement in 2016-2020.

The Vietnamese and Lao governments will map out long-term collaboration orientations for the sustainable development of the two countries’ relations, driving economic-trade growth while ensuring social welfares and environmental protection.

The two PMs also agreed to enhance high-level delegation exchanges and effectively deploy bilateral cooperation mechanisms along with increasing political trusts and cooperation efficiency in the fields of politics, external affairs, security-defence, economics, trade and investment.

The two sides aim to increase two-way trade value in 2017 by 10 percent against 2016 and step up connectivity between the two economies, particularly in energy and transport.

Both leaders pledged to carry out efficiently signed agreements, particularly the protocol on cooperation in defence and security in 2016-2020, the protocol on border line and national border markers, the agreement on border and border gate management regulations, the Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral transport cooperation strategy in 2016-2025 with a vision towards 2030, and the agreement on building Vientiane-Pacxan-Thanh Thuy-Hanoi highway.

They agreed to enhance cultural and people-to-people exchanges and jointly organise activities to celebrate the 55th anniversary of diplomatic ties and the 40th anniversary of signing the Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc took the occasion to present his Lao counterpart and the Lao people with the Vietnamese-Lao and Lao-Vietnamese dictionaries with the hope of helping the two countries’ people, especially the youngsters, to learn each other’s languages, thus increasing mutual understanding and strengthening special solidarity.

The two PMs agreed to bolster affiliation in education and training, which has been a bright spot in bilateral cooperation.

They also affirmed to strengthen coordination at regional and international forums such as the United Nations (UN), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and sub-regional cooperation mechanisms, as well as support each other’s initiatives and activities within the framework of ASEAN.

Host and guest vowed to step up cooperation with each other and with other countries and international organisations for the sustainable and effective use and management of water resources in the Mekong River on the basis of ensuring the harmony in benefits of countries in the Mekong basin, especially those downstream. They noted the need to have mechanisms for bilateral coordination and coordination with other stakeholders to assess and monitor the impacts of the use of river water resources.

The two sides also stressed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea; settling disputes via peaceful means and international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); implementing fully and effectively the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and soon reaching a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), looking towards finalising the COC in mid-2017, thus contributing to preserving peace, security, stability, cooperation and development in the region and in the world.

After the talks, the two PMs witnessed the signing of cooperation documents between Vietnam and Laos.

The two countries have issued a Joint Statement on the occasion of PM Phuc’s official visit to Laos. -VNA

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Vietnam’s 30 biggest firms reluctant to publish transparent information – report

None of Vietnam’s top 30 companies disclosed sufficient transparent information in 2016, according to a report released Wednesday by Towards Transparency, the official Vietnam contact of the Berlin-based Transparency International.

“Websites are the easiest way to access a company’s information, and that information should be available for small shareholders, potential investors and the press.” said Nguyen Thi Kieu Vien, founder and executive director of Towards Transparency.

The report said that as of November 30, 2016, four of the top 30 firms did not have working websites, while none displayed transparent information on anti-corruption, company structure and ownership, along with by-country reports for multinational corporations.

Only nine firms partially detailed their anti-corruption commitments on their websites, while just 18 state-owned and public limited companies outlined their structure and ownership.

None of the companies in the FDI sector revealed their corporate structures, including the Vietnamese subsidiaries of Unilever, Microsoft Mobile and Canon.

Since September 2015, state-owned and public companies in Vietnam have been governed by a decree on publishing transparent information, but FDI companies are not.

In March, the Vietnam Provincial Competitiveness Index 2016 showed that around 66 percent of Vietnamese businesses said they had to offer bribes or make informal payments to public officials, of which 25 percent of FDI businesses had to pay bribes to gain an official investment license.

An Oxfam representative told the press that there should be a transparency law for FDI companies to create a level playing for everyone.

However, shifting corruption surveillance from state-owned companies to private and FDI sectors could provide an easy way out for the anti-corruption agency, which is already having a difficult time targeting state-owned companies, according to Dau Anh Tuan, head of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Legal Department.

Call for bolder action

The report also found that 14 multinational companies on the list had failed to provide country-by-country reports, Transparency International’s term for the disclosure of payments and operations of multinational companies.

The team found no information online about the revenues, costs, net incomes or public contributions outside Vietnam for several local firms whose investments in Cambodia or Myanmar have been covered frequently by local media.

“Vietnamese businesses fear that disclosing financial statements could reveal their business secrets,” Tuan said. “However, this is a matter of the country’s image, so these companies should disclose details about their foreign investments.”

Nguyen Phuong Chau, a PR representative for FPT, said no company would publish this information if it wasn’t for the law, a desire for international trade and a vision to bring the company closer to ultimate transparency.

Anti-corruption schemes are still foreign to many Vietnamese businesses, and all of the top 30 provide little or no anti-corruption guidelines or disclaimers on their websites.

In this section, FDI companies were closest to meeting established global standards, scoring 24.2 percent, with 0 percent as no information provided and 100 with complete commitment and policies.

While experts are concerned about the big players, they also pointed out that small and medium enterprises account for more than 90 percent of the country’s businesses, and corruption is often a way of life due to a lack of financial power and resources.

“It is not just the government’s responsibility; businesses also need to develop a mindset that says they do not have to rely on bribery and corruption to thrive,” said Tuan.

“I hope Vietnamese businesses will try harder to combat corruption in the near future.”

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VN, Laos vow to place top priority on nurturing ties

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Lao PM Thongloun Sisoulith hold talks in Vientiane capital on April 26 as part of the former’s official visit to Laos. Photo: VGP

During their talks in Vientiane capital on Tuesday, the two PMs agreed that the exchange of visits by the two countries’ leaders shortly after elections is the vivid evidence of the purity, faith, trust and solidarity between the two sides’ leaders and peoples.

The two sides agreed to continue fruitful implementation of high-level agreements, especially the Joint Statements issued during Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s official visit to Laos in November 2016 and Lao Party chief and President Bounnhang Volachith’s official visit to Viet Nam in April 2016 and the outcomes of the 39th meeting of the Inter-Governmental Committee on bilateral cooperation.

Both sides promised to continue enhancing the exchange of high-level delegations and contacts, political trust, and effectiveness of cooperation in all fields, including politics, diplomacy, security and defense, economy, trade and investment.

The two PMs agreed to raise the two-way trade value by 10% in 2017 and improve economic connectivity, especially in terms of telecommunication, energy and transport in line with the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity through new investment projects

They vowed to effectively realize the Protocol on defense-security cooperation for the period 2016-2020, the Protocol on the borderline and national markers, and the Regulations on management of borderline and border gates.

Both sides agreed to accelerate cultural and people-to-people exchanges and coordinate in organizing activities to mark the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation.

The countries committed to continuing close coordination at international and regional forums like the United Nations, ASEAN and other sub-regional mechanisms; supporting their initiatives and activities within ASEAN and ASEAN-led frameworks; working together to build a strong ASEAN Community and enhance the bloc’s solidarity and central role.

Both sides also pledged to continue strengthening cooperation and coordination between themselves and with relevant countries and organizations for effective and sustainable management and use of the Mekong water resources in the way of harmonizing interests of people living along the river while developing a coordination mechanism for evaluating and supervising impacts of using the water resources.

The two PMs underlined the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, settling disputes through peaceful measures on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and working towards to early conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) by mid-2017 in order to contribute to peace, security, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

Their talks took place in the atmosphere of friendship, sincerity, mutual trust and understanding./.

By Quang Minh

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Indonesia targets to produce 1.2 million tonnes of sugar in 2017

Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesia’s government sets the target of sugar production for 2017 at 1.2 million tonnes, Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita has said.

The national sugar production will come from all sugar mills in the country, including those operated by state plantation companies and other state-owned companies, according to the local Antara news agency.

The targeted national sugar production will still be far below the total needs – which stand at around 3 million tonnes per year.

Therefore, Indonesia will still import sugar to make up the domestic shortage.

Since 2015, Indonesia has mapped out a plan to build additional 10 sugar mills to reduce the import of crude sugar and look towards self-production.

The country is home to nearly 46,000 hectares of sugarcane plantations, mostly on the island of Java, with about 64 white sugar production plants for domestic demand.

Indonesia is the second biggest sugar importer in the world, after China.

It has increased import of sugar from Thailand after the raw sugar import tariff from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reduced by 5 percent in 2015.

Indonesia’s raw sugar import from Thailand was estimated to increase from 30-40 percent in 2013-2014 to 60 percent in 2015-2016.-VNA

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Tourism summit looks at future of industry and global issues

Viet Nam News

BANGKOK — The 2017 World Travel and Tourism Summit began Wednesday in Bangkok, Thailand with more than 900 leading figures in the travel and tourism industry from across the world attending.

Paticipants include Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Secretary General of UN World Tourism Organisation Taleb Rifai.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke of the importance of the tourism industry to Thailand and other ASEAN countries. The bloc has launched a programme to promote ASEAN-wide tourism under the slogan “[email protected]” for the bloc’s 50th anniversary this year.

During the opening speech David Scowsill, President and CEO of World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) – a leading authority in world travel and tourism industry based in the UK, urged industry leaders to take the initiative to lead the world on a path to eradicate poverty, clean up the oceans and protect habitats.

The WTTC president highlighted the contribution the industry has made to the global economy, with a total value of US$7.6 trillion generated globally – roughly 10 per cent of world GDP. Global tourism, which has maintained consistently high growth in recent years, provides more than 292 million jobs, equals to one in ten existing jobs worldwide.

The industry is also the driving force behind three out of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) proposed by the UN in 2015, including the promotion of inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all, sustainable consumption and production patterns and the conservation and sustainability of the oceans, seas and marine resources.

The industry is also expected to play a key supporting role in realising the remaining SDGs.

At the summit, political leaders and industry experts discussed the rise of populism, nationalism and terrorism and how it will affect the industry in the backdrop of last year’s UK ‘Brexit’, the US presidential election and terrorist attacks across Europe.

Extreme measures taken by governments to tighten border controls and security such as the US government’s recently entry ban for citizens from six countries are also challenges.

However, industry leaders believed that travel helps people understand and respect each others cultures and histories.

“I believe that closed borders lead to closed minds; that travel makes the world a better, more peaceful place and that human encounters across cultures change us for the better,” Scowsill said. He also said that travel is among human fundamental rights, regardless of nationality, gender, religion, sexual orientation or age.

Discussing the rising anti-globalisation, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron said while the benefits of globalisation are plain to see, the course of globalisation must be corrected to bring benefits to more people and their concerns on culture, border control and immigration must be listened to.

“There are two things we need to achieve here. The first is to continue to enable more people to trade, to travel, to experience new places, to enjoy the world. And the second is to ensure people aren’t able to go where they aren’t allowed to or stay somewhere long after they are meant to go home.”

He proposed improving border control technology and urged industry leaders to work with governments to retain the benefits of globalisation.

The summit this year, which will conclude on Thursday, will also focus on emerging markets with vast potential such as China and India as well as improving co-operation mechanisms for countries to work together to develop travel and tourism. — VNS

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Vietnam respects strategic partnership with the UK

(VOVworld) – Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung completed his two-day official visit to the UK on Wednesday. He met the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, and other British leaders.

vietnam respects strategic partnership with the uk hinh 0
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung met the Duke of York, Prince Andrew in London (Photo:Xuan Tuyen/VGP)

During the meeting, the Deputy Prime Minister said Vietnam respects its strategic partnership with the UK, especially in trade, investment, education, culture, defense and security. He called for more exchanges of visits, implementation of strategic dialogues in diplomacy, security and defense. He called for British support to Vietnam’s bid to the nun-permanent membership of the UN Security Council in 2020-2021 term and the UNESCO Director General post in the 2017 – 2021 term. He suggested more bilateral cultural and tourism promotion as Vietnam and the UK are to celebrate their 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties next year.

Duke of York, Prince Andrew, and British leaders pledged their new post-election government’s interest in boosting trade, investment and Vietnamese goods access to British market. Britain supports Vietnam’s beneficiary to UK funding in business environment and climate change adaptation.

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Laotian press: PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit lifts bilateral ties to a new height

(VOVworld) – Laos’ major newspapers have praised the Vietnam-Laos relationship, affirming that the visit by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will create new momentum for the two countries to deepen ties.

laotian press: pm nguyen xuan phuc’s visit lifts bilateral ties to a new height hinh 0

An article in Pasaxon newspaper noted that the Prime Minister’s official visit strengthened and expanded the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.

Lao Phatthana said that the Vietnam-Laos special relationship has developed fruitfully in all spheres. The visit will boost the Vietnam-Laos traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation in an intensive, practical and effective manner.

“Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit will create a new momentum for the Vietnam-Laos special relationship” was the title of an article run on Pathet Lao newspaper. Vientiane Mai and Vientiane Times also featured the visit by the Prime Minister and his wife. In addition, the Lao National Radio and Television Stations spent much time covering the visit, affirming it will further deepen bilateral ties.

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Facilitating private sector development, trade and investment

(VOVworld) – Head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission, Nguyen Van Binh, has praised the importance of the private sector’s contribution to economic growth and restructuring.

Head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission, Nguyen Van Binh addressed the forum
Head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission, Nguyen Van Binh addressed the forum

He was speaking in the first forum honoring the private sector in national social economic development in Hanoi on Wednesday. He listed major issues to be addressed to fuel private businesses growth:“Our vision to develop the private sector by 2025 and vision by 2035 have to be practical with national needs and current trends. Favorable environment for the private sector must be nurtured to attract private investment and its operation in line with the market economy. Their innovation, technological modernization and human resource development have to be promoted. State management on private sector economy should be renovated and improved.”

At the forum, delegates discussed policies and laws for private business growth in the context of a new generation of free trade deals.

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