Vietnam News Today (Nov. 17): Vietnam and Thailand Foster Economic Ties, Eye US$30 Billion Trade Target

Vietnam News Today (Nov. 17): Vietnam reports 502 Covid-19 cases on November 16; Vietnam and Thailand foster economic ties, eye US$30 billion trade target; Dialogue promotes Vietnam-US labor cooperation; Vietnamese economy facing strong headwinds ahead, says WB.
November 17, 2022 | 07:43

Vietnam News Today (Nov. 17) notable headlines

Vietnam reports 502 Covid-19 cases on November 16

Vietnam and Thailand foster economic ties, eye US$30 billion trade target

Dialogue promotes Vietnam-US labor cooperation

Vietnamese economy facing strong headwinds ahead, says WB

Vietnam ready to support Cambodia to organize 32nd SEA Games: Deputy Defense Minister

Vietnamese President, Thai PM co-chair press conference

Can Tho city to host Mekong Connect 2022 Forum

Vietnam treasures relations with Belgium: NA Vice Chairman

Son Tay ancient fortress citadel boasts historical, architectural values

Illustrative image. Photo: VNA
Illustrative image. Photo: VNA

Vietnam reports 502 Covid-19 cases on November 16

An additional 502 Covid-19 cases were reported in Vietnam on November 16, according to the Ministry of Health.

The new cases lifted the total number of infections since the pandemic broke out to 11,509,975.

With 143 patients given the all clear during the day, the number of recoveries rose to 10,606,299.

Meanwhile, there are 66 patients needing breathing support, cited VNA.

One death from Covid-19 was recorded in the past 24 hours, raising the total fatalities to 43,167.

So far, more than 262.80 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the country.

Vietnam and Thailand foster economic ties, eye US$30 billion trade target

Vietnam and Thailand will increase economic cooperation to soon raise bilateral trade turnover to US$25-30 billion in a more balanced direction.

The agreement was reached during talks in Bangkok on November 16 between Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc who is paying an official visit to Thailand.

To this end, the two sides will bring into full play bilateral cooperation mechanisms, especially the joint Cabinet meeting co-chaired by the two prime ministers and effectively implement an action program to realize the Vietnam – Thailand Enhanced Strategic Partnership for 2022 - 2027 to be signed on this visit.

They will encourage businesses of the two countries to invest in each other’s markets, in such fields as green energy, automobile manufacturing and assembly, food processing, garment making, electronic material and chemical manufacturing, and industrial park infrastructure development.

Both the Thai PM and Vietnamese President welcomed the two central banks’ initiative to connect bilateral retail payments using QR codes, thus facilitating trade, investment and tourism between the two countries.

Phuc proposed Thailand limit the application of trade remedies and create favorable conditions for Vietnamese agricultural products to access the Thai market. He encouraged Thai enterprises to invest and expand operations in Vietnam, especially in new fields such as high technology, digital economy, e-commerce, green energy, and infrastructure.

The two sides agreed to promote the enhanced Strategic Partnership between Thailand and Vietnam by making full use of their ‘Three Connections’ strategy in terms of supply chain, business production, and development policy based on Vietnam’s National Strategy for Green Growth and Thailand’s Bio - Circular - Green Economy Model (BCG). They also consented to promote cooperation between localities, people-to-people exchanges and exchanges between their friendship associations.

An overview of the high-level talks in Bangkok on November 16 between Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and visiting President Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Photo: VOV
An overview of the high-level talks in Bangkok on November 16 between Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and visiting President Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Photo: VOV

Phuc proposed that the Thai government and local authorities continue to create conditions for Vietnamese expatriates to reside, work and study in their host country, while preserving and promoting the value of cultural and historical sites of Vietnam in Thailand, especially the three monuments in commemoration of President Ho Chi Minh, according to VOV.

Exchanging views on regional and international issues of mutual concern, the two leaders affirmed both Vietnam and Thailand will continue to work together to promote a united and resilient ASEAN as well as the bloc’s central role and build a connected, peaceful and prosperous Mekong sub-region. They vowed to support ASEAN’s common stance on the South China Sea, while emphasizing the importance of maintaining peace, stability, safety, security, freedom of navigation and overflight in the regional waters on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

After the talks, President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha witnessed the signing of five cooperation documents including the action programme to implement the Vitenam – Thailand Enhanced Strategic Partnership for 2022 – 2027.

Other signed documents include an agreement on mutual legal assistance in civil matters, a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of cooperative ties between Da Nang city of Vietnam and Khon Kaen province of Thailand, a memorandum of understanding between the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Trade Competition Commission of Thailand, and an agreement to promote bilateral trade and investment cooperation between the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) and the Export-Import Bank of Thailand (Exim Thailand).

The two leaders also co-hosted a press briefing to announce the results of their talks and the release of a joint statement on the Vietnam-Thailand relations.

Dialogue promotes Vietnam-US labor cooperation

The 16th Vietnam-US labour dialogue took place in Hanoi on November 16, gathering representatives from the Vietnamese Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), the US Department of Labor, and the US Embassy in Vietnam.

Addressing the event, MoLISA Deputy Le Van Thanh said the dialogue’s resumption after years of hiastus has helped the two sides share information about labour as well as labour cooperation and propose solutions to promoting labour-employment and social security cooperation.

While appreciating the technical and financial support with the US Department of Labor, Thanh said these activities have contributed to helping Vietnam to better its system of labor and social policies and improve the effectiveness of their implementation, as well as making the US one of the important bilateral partners of the MoLISA.

Participants at the dialogue. Photo: VNA
Participants at the dialogue. Photo: VNA

Thea Lee, Deputy Undersecretary for International Labor Affairs at the US Department of Labour, expressed her belief that the resumption of the dialogue will promote cooperation between the two countries.

At the dialouge, prticipants focused their discussion on reform of labour relations and technical cooperation; Vietnam's efforts in addressing child labour and forced labour; workforce development in the digital economy; key challenges and opportunities, and safety and health at the workplace.

Vietnamese representatives updated participants on Vietnam's new labor policies, including the revised Labour Code (2019), the country’s preparation to join conventions of the International Labour Organisation, including Convention 87 and 98, and information on the implementation of the National Action Plan on Child Labour.

The US side spoke highly of Vietnam's efforts in recent years, including issues of interest to the US such as joining conventions, and child labor, reported VNA.

The US Department of Labor also provided information on occupational safety and health, and labor in the digital economy, contributing to helping Vietnam build orientations for occupational education development and training.

The participants also reviewed the implementation of cooperation activities between the two ministries in recent years, and proposed cooperation plans.

Vietnamese economy facing strong headwinds ahead, says WB

The Vietnamese economy is expected to continue facing obstacles in the time ahead due to unfavourable factors locally and globally, the World Bank said in its November economic update released on November 16.

The Vietnam Macro Monitoring report shows the industrial production index increased by 6.3% in October compared to 10.3% a month earlier, and the fall is largely attributed to weaker external demand in the United States, the European Union and China. The manufacturing PMI also fell from 52.5 in September to 50.6 in October, staying just above the 50 benchmark but reaching the lowest reading since October 2021, corroborating the deceleration in manufacturing growth.

Despite enjoying a trade surplus of US$2.3 billion in October, export growth slowed to a 12-month low of 4.8% in the month, the lowest since October 2021, as external demand weakened amid high inflation, tightening global financial conditions, and heightened global uncertainties.

However, FDI commitment bounced back strongly thanks to a jump in greenfield investment in electricity, gas, and water supply while FDI disbursement maintained a robust growth. Total investment commitment jumped to US$3.7 billion in October, up 133% year on year and the second highest level in 2022. FDI disbursement remained strong, growing by 8.1% in October and by 15.2% over the first 10 months.

Though fuel prices fell in October, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) accelerated from 3.9% in September to 4.3% in October, exceeding the 4% target set by the State Bank of Vietnam for the first time since April 2020. Notably, the price of food that accounts for 21.3% of the CPI basket rose 5% in October, the highest rate since December 2020.

After recording 16.9% in September, credit growth moderated to 16.5% in October due to the central bank’s tightened financial conditions. Average overnight interbank interest rate reached a new record high of 5.8% in October from 4.9% in September, and substantially higher than the 0.65% rate recorded a year earlier.

To ease pressure on the local currency amid the rising of the US dollar, the State Bank of Vietnam increased exchange rate flexibility by widening the VND/USD trading band for the first time since August 2015, from +/- 3 to +/- 5%, and at the same time raised two key policy interest rates by another 100 basis points.

Industrial production is showing signs of slowing down due to weaker external demand. Photo: VOV
Industrial production is showing signs of slowing down due to weaker external demand. Photo: VOV

The report also points out that as of end October 2022, the Government collected 3.7% more than the planned total revenue for the year, but spent 68.3% of planned total expenditure, resulting in a US$10.7 billion budget surplus. The State Treasury issued only US$1 billion worth of government bonds denominated in local currency in October, and over the first 10 months of the year, total bond issuance reached 34.9% of annual plan, much less than in the same period of 2021 (72.5% of planned).

According to the WB, the local economy will continue to face strong headwinds in the coming months. Slowing external demand and tightening global financial conditions are affecting the exchange rate, while rising inflation and tightening domestic financial conditions could affect domestic demand.

As US Fed is expected to continue raising interest rates, WB experts recommended Vietnamese monetary authorities consider allowing further flexibility in the exchange rate, including through a quicker pace of depreciation of the reference rate. This could be complemented with continued use of reference interest rates, especially if faster depreciation leads to higher inflation and inflation expectations rise.

Given the persistence of exchange rate pressures, they said direct foreign exchange sales should be used judiciously to preserve the foreign exchange reserves. Fiscal and monetary policy coordination will be critical to ensure price stability in light of accelerating domestic core inflation. Moreover, recent banking sector volatility calls for increased vigilance and intensified supervision efforts.

Vietnam ready to support Cambodia to organize 32nd SEA Games: Deputy Defense Minister

Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defense, within its capacity, is ready to support Cambodia in successfully organising the 32nd Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), said Deputy Minister Sen. Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Tan Cuong.

Cuong, also Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army (VPA), made the remarks while receiving General Khim Bunsong, Secretary of State of the Cambodian Ministry of National Defense and Chairman of the Royal Cambodian Army’s military sports council in Hanoi on November 15.

Deputy Defence Minister Sen. Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Tan Cuong (R) receives General Khim Bunsong, Secretary of State of the Cambodian Ministry of National Defence and Chairman of the Royal Cambodian Army’s military sports council. Photo: qdnd.vn
Deputy Defense Minister Sen. Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Tan Cuong (R) receives General Khim Bunsong, Secretary of State of the Cambodian Ministry of National Defense and Chairman of the Royal Cambodian Army’s military sports council. Photo: qdnd.vn

He stressed that training cooperation has always been a focus of the two countries' defense ministries and militaries, considering this a matter of strategic significance.

The official took the occasion to congratulate Cambodia on recent successes in hosting a series of politics-diplomacy and military-defence events in its ASEAN chairmanship year 2022, cited WVR.

For his part, Khim Bunsong thanked Vietnam for its valuable assistance to Cambodia over the past time and expressed his delight at activities held in the ongoing Vietnam-Cambodia and Cambodia-Vietnam friendship year.

He informed his host of outcomes of his talks with Lieutenant General Huynh Chien Thang, Deputy Chief of the VPA General Staff, stating that experiences exchanged at the meeting are helpful for Cambodia’s organisation of the 32nd SEA Games next year.

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