Vietnam News Today (Mar 19): Denmark, Vietnam Step Up Co-operation in Green Seaport Projects

Vietnam News Today (Mar 19): Denmark, Vietnam step up co-operation in green seaport projectsL Vietnamese, Uzbek foreign ministers hold talks; Vietnam unilaterally waives visas for 13 countries; Vietnam, RoK strengthen agricultural cooperation.
March 19, 2024 | 06:07

Vietnam News Today (Mar 19) notable headlines

Denmark, Vietnam step up co-operation in green seaport projects

Vietnamese, Uzbek foreign ministers hold talks

Vietnam unilaterally waives visas for 13 countries

Vietnam, RoK strengthen agricultural cooperation

Vietnam remains one of globe's rising economies: Asian Insiders

Vietnamese, US universities seal training cooperation deal

Vietnam assists Laos in ensuring security in ASEAN Chairmanship Year

Vietnam bucks trend of global economic freedom decline: US news site

Vietnam Innovation Challenge 2024 announced

An overview of the reception.
An overview of the reception.

Denmark, Vietnam step up co-operation in green seaport projects

Vietnam is ready to create optimal conditions for Denmark's APM Terminals Company to pilot a green seaport project under the Vietnamese government’s policy of rapidly changing to renewable energy, said Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha at a reception held for Keith Svendsen, Global CEO of APM Terminals on March 18 in Hanoi.

He highlighted the time-honored friendship and ties of co-operation between Vietnam and Denmark, adding that the establishment of the Green Strategic Partnership has opened up a wealth of opportunities for Danish businesses to invest in the Vietnamese market, especially in the spheres of green economy, renewable energy, and seaport infrastructure.

Deputy PM Ha underscored the importance of developing a seaport system in parallel with the international commercial shipping route whilst also meeting the development requirements of the processing and manufacturing industries moving forward.

The Deputy PM highly appreciated APM Terminals's plan to develop a green seaport system in the face of increasingly stringent technical barriers of environment and greenhouse gas emissions, cited VOV.

For his part, Svendsen hailed the achievements of the Vietnamese Government in improving the business climate and creating favorable conditions for foreign investors, as well as efforts made by digital and green transformation towards reaching the goal of sustainable development.

He expressed his wish to further explore investment opportunities to build the largest and modern deep-water container seaports in the country through digital and green initiatives, while also asking for further support from the Vietnamese Government in the near future.

Vietnamese, Uzbek foreign ministers hold talks

Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son held talks with his visiting Uzbek counterpart Bakhtiyor Saidov in Hanoi on March 18.

Stressing that it is the first visit to Vietnam by an Uzbek foreign minister since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1992, Son said this occasion serves as an opportunity for both sides to review and agree on directions and measures to strengthen the longstanding friendship and to promote practical bilateral cooperation in areas of their strengths.

He took note of the impressive growth of bilateral trade between 2021 and now, averaging over 30% per year. In 2023, the figure reached US$159.7 million, up 32% year on year.

Vietnam always values its relations with traditional friends, including Uzbekistan, the minister affirmed, hoping that the two nations will continue to leverage their political foundation and good relations, creating new momentum for enhanced cooperation that aligns with their needs, desires, and strengths.

Saidov, who is on an official visit to Vietnam from March 17-19, praised the results of Vietnam's foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, and “bamboo” diplomacy, which have contributed to enhancing its position in the region and the world.

Stating that Vietnam is among Uzbekistan's traditional and important partners in the region, he expressed his desire to deepen the bilateral collaboration towards effectiveness, especially in economy, trade, investment, agriculture, and education, according to VNA.

At the talks between Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son his visiting Uzbek counterpart Bakhtiyor Saidov in Hanoi on March 18. (Photo: VNA)
At the talks between Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son his visiting Uzbek counterpart Bakhtiyor Saidov in Hanoi on March 18. (Photo: VNA)

Saidov expected that Vietnam would serve as a bridge to help Uzbekistan further strengthen its cooperation with the region, including the expansion of joint work between ASEAN and Central Asia.

The ministers exchanged information on their respective country’s socio-economic development, major foreign policy directions, while reviewing the bilateral cooperation and the implementation of agreements reached by high-level leaders in the past period.

They agreed that the Vietnamese and Uzbek foreign ministries need to maintain their information exchange mechanism, enhance coordination, and play a coordinating role to connect the two countries' ministries and sectors to explore potential and seek new collaboration opportunities.

On this occasion, Son thanked Uzbekistan for creating favorable conditions for the Vietnamese expat community in the country.

Vietnam unilaterally waives visas for 13 countries

Vietnam currently applies a unilateral visa exemption for 13 countries, which are key tourist areas, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son said at the Q&A session of the 31st National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee held on March 18 in Hanoi.

NA deputy Ta Thi Yen, vice head of the NA Delegate Affairs Commission of the NA Standing Committee, emphasized that the nation has become a developing country after previously being a war-torn, poor, and backward nation.

In 2023, the country recorded an average per capita income and a GDP of about US$433.3 billion, thereby ranking fifth in the ASEAN region, 35th in the world, whilst being the third most populous country in ASEAN and 15th in the world.

In recent years, Vietnam has consistently proven to be a favorite destination among tourists. The nation has thereby unilaterally or signed visa exemption agreements with a number of countries with a view to offering optimal conditions for attracting tourism and facilitating foreign investment in the country.

Furthermore, there remains a large number of Vietnamese people going abroad to work and travel. However, quite a few countries exempt Vietnamese citizens from visas and applying for visas of Vietnamese citizens still faces plenty of difficulties and complications.

Minister Son emphasized that amid the current trend of deep international integration, not only citizens from other countries coming to Vietnam, but Vietnamese citizens also have a great need to go abroad to do business and for tourism purposes.

With its responsibility, the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs has implemented three important measures aimed at promoting international exchanges, with a focus on coordinating with ministries and sectors to simplify immigration procedures.

Recently, the National Assembly (NA) passed the Law on Entry and Exit of Vietnamese Citizens and the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit and Residence of Foreign Citizens in Vietnam. In particular, it has created many advantages, including expanding the length of stay in Vietnam whilst increasing the issuance of tourist visas, Minister Son continued.

In line with this, the Ministry has coordinated efforts with ministries and agencies to negotiate with countries to apply bilateral visa exemption with 15 countries. It is also in the process of negotiating with 80 countries on bilateral visa exemption and reciprocity on diplomatic and official passports.

According to the Government's direction, the Ministry will continue to negotiate and sign bilateral visa exemptions in order to create suitable conditions for foreign citizens to enter Vietnam, Minister Son added.

Also at the session, the Vietnamese diplomat responded to questions regarding legal violations committed by both Vietnamese citizens abroad and foreign nationals in Vietnam, VOV reported.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son at the Q&A session.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son at the Q&A session.

Minister Son presented a report regarding his ministry’s response to these issues, underlining that based on information from relevant agencies, the Ministry has acted swiftly to facilitate consular visits and contacts initiated by foreign countries. This thereby ensures that foreign embassies and consulates can effectively perform their duties in protecting their citizens in the country.

Last year, the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced 285 cases involving foreigners, with charges primarily including trafficking of drugs, fraudulent appropriation of property, deliberate injury, and murder. Notably, a total of 70 foreign nationals were given prison terms in Vietnam, while 108 others completed their sentences.

The Ministry also facilitated 414 consular visits and contacts and granted consent for an additional 337 such interactions.

The report further detailed administrative violations committed by foreigners from Da Nang to Ca Mau. These violations totaled 304, with illegal entry being the most prevalent offense, standing at 113 cases. There were 92 cases of foreigners overstaying their temporary residence permits, 60 of online fraud not yet reaching the level for criminal prosecution, 16 of illegal drug use, 13 of theft, and five of robbery.

Since the beginning of this year, the ministry has reported 37 new cases involving foreign nationals undergoing prosecution, detention, or trial. Furthermore, 20 foreign nationals commenced prison sentences in the nation, while 13 others finalized their terms.

The ministry's efforts in facilitating consular visits and contacts continues this year, with 65 arrangements made and consent granted for 77 more cases.

Whilst matters involving foreign nationals must be dealt with according to international law and Vietnamese law, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for notifying foreign parties when their citizens are detained or serving prison sentences due to violations of Vietnamese law, thus enabling foreign parties to carry out citizen protection measures.

At the request of the foreign side, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to coordinate with competent agencies to allow foreign representative agencies to conduct consular visits to their country’s citizens who are being detained.

Vietnam, RoK strengthen agricultural cooperation

Vietnam, one of the world’s leading agricultural exporters, wants to bolster cooperation in the field with the Republic of Korea (RoK) who boasts strengths in applying advanced technology into cultivation and processing, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan said on March 18.

At a workshop jointly held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Hanoi, Hoan highlighted that both countries hold great potential to cooperate in developing agriculture, elaborating Vietnam has been famous for its rice, vegetables and fruits and aquatic products while the RoK has a modern agriculture with various kinds of seedlings.

Vietnam News Today (Mar 19): Denmark, Vietnam Step Up Co-operation in Green Seaport Projects
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan (Photo: VNA)

Over the past time, they have worked together in technology transfer to branch out biofuel crops, high-quality vegetables, medicinal mushrooms and safe food production, as well as in trade promotion for products of both sides’ strengths, among others, he added.

He took the occasion to thank KOICA for its support to build the Vietnam – Korea cooperation vision in agriculture and rural development during the 2024-2030 period, saying the report has an important role to play in identifying potential cooperation areas, promoting comparative advantages of the two countries, and diversifying forms of cooperation and investment so as to enhance efficiency and ensure sustainability.

Meanwhile, KOICA President Chang Won Sam said that KOICA sees agriculture a key cooperation area between the two countries, and will support the collaboration under its mid-term and long-term strategies through various projects such as improving value chain, promoting market connectivity, and enhancing capacity for climate change response.

"The key words for the cooperation in the time ahead are digitalisation, climate change, innovation and sci-tech application in agriculture," he said.

According to Deputy Director of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Anh Phong, the RoK is currently the fourth largest importer of Vietnamese agro-forestry-fishery products.

Since the Vietnam – Korea Free Trade Agreement took effect in 2015, Vietnam’s agricultural export to the East Asian country has been on strong surge, with average revenue of more than 2 billion USD a year during 2016-2023.

Meanwhile, Vietnam is also the 4th largest market of the RoK’s agro-forestry-fishery goods. Boosted by the free trade deal, RoK’s shipment of those products to Vietnam has grown at an average 6.2% per year.

Although the RoK is the biggest foreign investor in Vietnam, its capital funneled to the agricultural sector makes up only 0.17% of its total FDI in the country. Most of the investment has been poured into localities with preferential policies and holding favorable conditions in weather, land, infrastructure, labor force and material areas.

Phong said the RoK is the second largest ODA provider for Vietnam’s agriculture, adding the capital has contributed to improving productivity and quality; however, it accounts for only 3.36% of the total ODA the country has offered Vietnam.

Vietnam remains one of globe's rising economies: Asian Insiders

The economy of Vietnam is going through a dynamic shift, marked by robust growth and the development of several key trends supporting a stronger looking future, noted Asia- wide consulting network Asian Insiders in a recent article.

According to Asian Insiders, the IMF places Vietnam among the top twenty fastest growing global economies.

The population of Vietnam is around 102 million and with a nominal 2024 GDP at US$469 billion, the 35th largest in the world or 26th if measured by PPP.

In modern times, the economy of Vietnam is centrally directed through a series of five-year plans. These are a series of economic development initiatives, broadly shaped by the central government, mapping strategies for economic development, growth targets and launching reforms.

Recognizing the need for technical innovation for the economy of Vietnam, the government has made substantial investments in research and development, evident both in the rapidly improving economy as well as its ascent on the Global Innovation Index (GII), ranking 46th of 132 countries in 2023, according to the GII report released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The country maintains its second position amongst lower middle-income countries.

Improvement in innovation and technical competence is key to attracting significant investment from industry, especially as most major manufacturers seek to diversify their production as well as take advantage of Vietnam's still lower labor rates.

Companies like Samsung, LG, Foxconn, Panasonic, Bosch, GE, Piaggio and Yamaha have established either local research and development facilities or a full manufacturing base – underlining Vietnam's potential for being an innovation as well as production hub.

Vietnam's geographic location supports this also, its long 3,300km eastern coastline offering 45 seaports of various grades. The economy of Vietnam is significantly enhanced by recent and looming improvements to its infrastructure, VGP reported.

The improving economy of Vietnam is made possible with the major influx of foreign direct investment (FDI). The country has been successful in attracting significant investments making it one of the top countries globally in attracting FDI. In 2023, Vietnam attracted US$36.6 billion, a 32 percent increase on the previous year. Further this includes newly registered capital of around US$20 billion, a remarkable increase of 62 percent on the previous year. That reflects 3,188 newly registered projects in 2023.

Vietnam News Today (Mar 19): s
Photo: VGP

Vietnam is looking to take a leading role also in the green economy and sustainability, with the Ministry of Planning and Investment last year announcing ambitious goals of increasing the green economy contributions to GDP from US$6.7 billion in 2020 to a remarkable US$300 billion by 2050. The plan offers domestic and international business partners a framework with which to align their strategies, with a potential to contribute US$40-50 billion annually.

With strong GDP growth, a solid increase in FDI and significant improvements in infrastructure, Vietnam remains one of the globe's rising economies. With the labor market rebounding and a surging middle class, there is a noticeable uptick in domestic consumption.

The double impact of export-driven growth and a thriving domestic market position the economy of Vietnam for sustained and dynamic growth, highlighted Asian Insiders.

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