Vietnam News Today (Oct. 30): Vietnam, EU Hold 4th Joint Committee Meeting in Brussels

Vietnam News Today (Oct. 30): Success in COVID-19 combat reflects Vietnam’s mettle, wisdom; Vietnam, EU hold 4th Joint Committee meeting in Brussels; HCM City promotes tourism products to international markets; Relaxed visa policy opens new period of Vietnam-Hong Kong partnership.
October 30, 2023 | 06:07

Vietnam News Today (Oct. 30) notable headlines

Success in COVID-19 combat reflects Vietnam’s mettle, wisdom

Vietnam, EU hold 4th Joint Committee meeting in Brussels

HCM City promotes tourism products to international markets

Relaxed visa policy opens new period of Vietnam-Hong Kong partnership: Diplomat

Fresh FDI approvals soar 15% in Jan-Oct

Dong Van Karst Plateau recognized as a UNESCO Global Geopark for 3rd time

Vietnam looks to develop, and maximize modern seaports

Digital transformation – key for theater arts to thrive

Promoting core role in building great national unity

PM Pham Minh Chinh (centre) speaks at the national hybrid conference on October 29. (Photo: VNA)
PM Pham Minh Chinh (center) speaks at the national hybrid conference on October 29. (Photo: VNA)

Success in COVID-19 combat reflects Vietnam’s mettle, wisdom: PM

The success in the combat against the COVID-19 pandemic has once again reflected the spirit, mettle, and wisdom of Vietnam, which does not step back in the face of every difficulty and challenge, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said on October 29.

PM Chinh, who is also head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, made the statement while chairing a national hybrid conference reviewing the pandemic fight.

Participants in the event shared the view that COVID-19 is an unprecedented, complex, and unpredictable global pandemic. Facing the urgent need to protect people’s lives and health, ensure social security, and boost socio-economic development, right and timely decisions appropriate to each stage of the pandemic have been issued, enabling Vietnam to slow down the spread, prevent the outbreak, and gradually curb the disease in a short period of time.

The pandemic has been brought under control nationwide. People of all social strata put their trust in the Party and State’s policies on the pandemic fight. The results of COVID-19 prevention and control have substantially contributed to socio-economic recovery in most areas, they said.

Angela Pratt, Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Vietnam, highly valued the country’s achievements in the COVID-19 combat and noted its response to the pandemic is a model for other countries.

Highlighting six lessons and factors of the country’s success, which led to the recent downgrade of COVID-19 from a Group A infectious disease to a Group B one, she said Vietnam showed strong capacity of detecting, tracing, zoning and phasing out the disease; a very effective combination of border measures and appropriate hotspot lockdown; good health care capacity, enabled by many dedicated and skilled health care workers; the very effective vaccination rollout; good engagement of the community broader society in the response; and especially very strong, clear and committed government leadership in the pandemic combat.

Reviewing the unforgettable moments of the combat, PM Chinh said the COVID-19 fight demonstrated the solidarity and patriotism of the entire nation, cited VNA.

He held that Vietnam has recorded fruitful results thanks to a right mindset that puts people’s health and lives first and above all, considers people as the center and key player of the fight, and views the victory over the pandemic as the victory of people.

He attributed the success to the timely leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the Party Central Committee, and the Politburo with Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong giving frequent and direct orders; the strong directions from the Government, the PM, and the National Steering Committee; the support from the State President and the National Assembly, the coordination from the Vietnam Fatherland Front; the drastic, unanimous, and consistent actions by all-level administration; people and businesses’ support, trust, and active participation; along with assistance from international friends.

On behalf of the Party and State leaders, PM Chinh appreciated efforts by all-level authorities, sectors, localities, the steering committees for COVID-19 fight, and especially health workers, military and public security soldiers, and other frontline forces.

He also took this occasion to thank other countries and international Organizations for supporting Vietnam in the fight against the pandemic.

Pointing out several lessons, the Government leader asked ministries and sectors, particularly the Ministry of Health, to continue perfecting regulations, mechanisms, and policies to meet anti-epidemic requirements in all circumstances; develop preventive and grassroots health systems; and reform policies and methodology on the training of medical workers to ready manpower for combating epidemics, especially workers at the grassroots level and in disadvantaged, remote, mountainous, border, maritime, and ethnic minority areas.

He also demanded decent treatment for health workers be ensured; the pharmaceutical industry, vaccines, biologicals, medical equipment, and traditional medicine developed; and information technology application to epidemic forecasting and healthcare management boosted.

The PM requested ministries, sectors, and localities press on with settling pandemic consequences; stabilising people’s life, especially pandemic victims, including orphans; deal with outstanding problems; and rewarding those with remarkable performance in the combat.

At the meeting, he also affirmed that the steering committees for COVID-19 prevention and control at all levels have excellently fulfilled their duties and now wrap up their role.

Vietnam, EU hold 4th Joint Committee meeting in Brussels

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang and Paola Pampaloni, Deputy Managing Director of the Asia and Pacific Department under the European External Action Service (EEAS) chaired the 4th meeting of the Vietnam - EU Joint Committee to implement the EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) on October 27 in Brussels.

At the meeting, the two sides informed each other about the socio-economic situation and foreign policies, comprehensively evaluated Vietnam - EU cooperation, especially in cooperation frameworks such as the Defence - Security Dialogue, the enforcement of the Vietnam - EU Free Trade Agreement ( EVFTA), activities of specialized subcommittees in the Vietnam - EU Joint Committee.

Both sides assessed that Vietnam - EU relations have recently seen positive development, demonstrated through delegation exchanges, enhanced high-level contacts and trade-investment cooperation. Development cooperation, and defense - security, education - training, climate change response were strongly promoted, while cooperation/dialogue mechanisms obtained positive results.

The EU hailed Vietnam's impressive achievements in socio-economic development and international integration.

To strengthen the partnership and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and the EU in the coming time, the two sides agreed to continue to intensify the exchange of high-level delegations, boost closer coordination to fully and effectively deploy the EVFTA), and effectively promote existing cooperation/dialogue mechanisms.

They will further bolster cooperation across multile potential fields, especially trade - investment, development cooperation, green, digital and circular economy, modern and sustainable fishery development and strong transition to farming, clean energy transition, innovation, and infrastructure.

Participating delegates at the meeting (Photo: The Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Participating delegates at the meeting (Photo: The Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Deputy Minister Le Thi Thu Hang asked the EU to prompt the Parliament of 10 of the 27 EU member countries to soon ratify the Vietnam - EU Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) to create new opportunities for bilateral trade and investment development, boster cooperation and support Vietnam in developing its marine economy, including early removal of the IUU yellow card for the nation's seafood exports.

She also suggested the EU continue to cooperate and support Vietnam in carrying out sustainable development goals (SDG), especially financial support, technology transfer, human resource training within the framework of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) between Vietnam and the International Partners Group, of which the EU is the coordinator.

Representatives of ministries and agencies attending the meeting also proposed many specific measures to strengthen cooperation between the two sides in the fields of trade - investment, finance, development cooperation, climate change response, logistics, agriculture, and defence - security, according to VOV.

Deputy Minister Le Thi Thu Hang affirmed that Vietnam supports strengthening the ASEAN - EU strategic partnership, with priority given to stepping up trade - investment cooperation, responding to global climate challenges, the environment, natural disasters, epidemics, contributing to green and sustainable development, and sub-regional development cooperation, including the Mekong sub-region.

Agreeing with the proposals of the Vietnamese side, the EU announced the priorities in the Cooperation Strategy with the Indo-Pacific region and the bloc's Global Gateway and expected Vietnam to participate in cooperation projects within the framework of these strategies.

The EU highlighted Vietnam as a very important partner of the bloc in the Asia-Pacific region and will continue to support Vietnam's sustainable development, serving as a model for EU cooperative relationships with other partners around the world.

The EU proposed that the two sides continue to boost cooperation in key areas of relations including politics - diplomacy, trade - investment, defence - security, climate change response, while expanding cooperation in new areas such as tax, biodiversity conservation, global plastic waste treatment, labor and illegal migration prevention.

Regarding international and regional issues of mutual concern, the two sides consented to promote multilateralism and the role of the United Nations. They affirmed that disputes must be resolved by peaceful means, with respect for international law and the basic principles of the United Nations Charter, while ensuring security, safety, and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea in line with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).

One day earlier, Deputy Minister Le Thi Thu Hang received Helena Konig, Deputy Secretary General of the EEAS.

HCM City promotes tourism products to international markets

Ho Chi Minh City’s tourism industry has worked to promote local tourism products to key international markets from early this month.

At the ITB Asia 2023 - the leading travel trade show of Asia held in Singapore from October 25-27, the municipal Department of Tourism collaborated with the Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore to arrange a pavilion to promote tourism in Vietnam and HCM City in particular to Singaporean businesses, contributing to expanding trade connections between the two sides.

Le Truong Hien Hoa, Deputy Director of the department, said that representatives from local tourism management agencies, airlines, travel businesses, and hotels from Vietnam, HCM City and other localities joined the event.

Similarly, from October 17-19, the city participated in and promoted tourism at IMEX America 2023 held in Las Vegas. The event is the largest trade show in the US for global meetings, events, incentives and the travel industry.

From October 22-29, the city attended a culture and tourism week held in Luang Prabang province, Laos, reported VNA.

Bui Vien street in HO Chi Minh City's downtown area. (Photo: VNA)
Bui Vien street in Ho Chi Minh City's downtown area. (Photo: VNA)

Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, Director of the department, said that through the events, the city not only wants to effectively stimulate tourism demand, but also realizes relations between Vietnam and the countries in general, and promotes tourism cooperation of the southern metropolis in particular.

She noted that with Vietnam's new visa policy, the city expects to welcome more domestic and and international tourists.

The city’s tourism industry will proactively provide updates on tourism products and services in Vietnam in general and HCM City in particular, as well as support Vietnamese tourism businesses to connect with their partners in key markets.

Currently, the city has strengths in resort tourism, health care tourism, culture-history, eco-tourism, and inter-regional products. The city also focuses on education-combined tourism, golf tourism, and MICE tourism. Recently, it has developed a variety of inner-city products associated with festivals, cuisine, and music to increase choices and experiences for visitors.

Relaxed visa policy opens new period of Vietnam-Hong Kong partnership: Diplomat

The relaxed visa policy by Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (China) for Vietnamese citizens will open a new period of bilateral partnership, said Vietnamese Consul General in Hong Kong Pham Binh Dam.

The diplomat held that the policy would allow Vietnamese businesses and people to start up and seek employment opportunities in Hong Kong, while exploring the capital market to exploit Hong Kong's financial services for the development of the Vietnamese economy and Vietnamese businesses.

The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR, John Lee Ka-chiu, in a policy address to the region's legislative council on Wednesday, announced a relaxation of its visa policy in a bid to attract skilled professionals from Vietnam, Laos and Nepal.

Lee said Hong Kong would now ease the visa policy for skilled workers from Vietnam, Laos and Nepal who wish to pursue employment, training or study in one of Hong Kong’s eight public universities.

Previously, the three Asian nations were not included in Hong Kong’s Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, which aimed to attract highly skilled individuals to work in Hong Kong without requiring a job offer in advance.

In addition, Hong Kong will also ease the visa policy for multiple-entry visas for business and travel purposes for Vietnamese nationals, according to Lee.

Before this change, Vietnamese citizens were only eligible for single-entry visas, which permitted a maximum stay of seven days for tourism or business activities such as attending conferences or seminars.

Under the new visa policy, Vietnamese nationals can now apply for multiple-entry visas valid for two years or more, allowing unrestricted entries into Hong Kong, with each stay lasting a maximum of 14 days.

To qualify for these visas, applicants must meet certain criteria, including having visited two or more countries at least three times in the past three years, or having pursued educational or professional opportunities in Hong Kong over the previous two years, VNS reported.

A campus of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), one of the eight public universities in Hong Kong. Photo: VNS
A campus of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), one of the eight public universities in Hong Kong. Photo: VNS

According to the Consul General, in terms of economy and trade, Vietnam and Hong Kong are the 10th biggest partners of each other. Hong Kong was one of the first to invest in Vietnam after the country opened its doors, he noted, holding that the two economies could supplement each other.

Therefore, Hong Kong’s opening of its labor market to Vietnam amid its shortage of human resources in various areas would create many employment opportunities for Vietnamese laborers and businesses, he said.

Meanwhile, Associate Prof. Nguyen Tuan Anh from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) said that one of the priorities of Vietnamese students when choosing Hong Kong as their place for studying was to seek jobs after graduation. Thus, the limited visa policy that Hong Kong applied previously caused difficulties for them.

Anh held that Hong Kong’s issuance of visas to Vietnamese people would help promote cooperation and academic and research exchange between the two sides, contributing to promoting science-technology partnerships between Vietnam and Hong Kong.

In early 2024, the HKUST would invite a number of graduates from the University of Natural Sciences – Vietnam National University Hanoi to conduct joint short-term research in the HKUST, he said.

Dr. Nguyen Phuong Anh, a researcher at Zeta Motion Hong Kong company, said that Hong Kong was facing a serious shortage of computer programmers, expressing his hope that the relaxed policy would enable Vietnamese workers to access an open international working environment.

Experts are optimistic that along with the sound relations between Vietnam and Hong Kong in recent years, the new visa policy for Vietnamese workers and travellers will open up abundant employment and business chances for Vietnamese workers and enterprises, contributing to further promoting the bilateral partnership.

Asked for reaction from Vietnam regarding the new development, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam Pham Thu Hang said "We highly appreciate and acknowledge the decision to ease the visa policies of Hong Kong for Vietnamese citizens," stressing that Vietnam and Hong Kong are important economic partners to each other.

Fresh FDI approvals soar 15% in Jan-Oct

Vietnam has seen a 15% increase in new foreign direct investment (FDI) approvals in the first 10 months of this year compared to the same period last year, according to the Foreign Investment Agency.

By October 20, the total new FDI, including new projects, capital adjustments by existing projects and capital contributions, had amounted to over US$25.76 billion, up 14.7% year-on-year.

New projects contributed significantly to this rise. FIA data showed there had been 2,608 new projects worth over US$15.29 billion approved in the year to October 20, up 54% year-on-year.

FDI disbursements had reached an estimated US$18 billion, a 2.4% increase versus the same period in 2022.

The manufacturing and processing industry had attracted the most FDI, accounting for nearly US$18.84 billion, or 73.1% of the total. This represents a 45.8% surge compared to the previous year, Saigon Times reported.

However, while the number of projects registering for capital adjustment had risen by 19.4% to 1,051, the additional capital garnered had reached over US$5.33 billion, a 39% year-on-year decrease.

Further data showed a decline in stake acquisitions by foreign investors, with 2,836 transactions reported, a 5.4% drop from the year prior. Yet, the total capital from these stake purchases surged 35.4% year-on-year to more than US5.13 billion.

The real estate sector had secured the second-highest investment, with nearly US$2.14 billion, despite a 44.8% decrease over the same period in 2022.

Financial services, followed by the wholesale and retail sectors, had attracted investments of some US$1.54 billion and almost US$907 million, respectively.

From January to October, Vietnam has received investments from 108 countries and territories. Singapore is the top investor, with almost US$4.65 billion, though it fell 13% versus the same period in 2022. South Korea and Hong Kong follows with US$3.93 billion and US$3.54 billion in investments, respectively.

Quang Ninh Province had emerged as a major FDI recipient, with close to US$3.09 billion, surging by 41.3% year-on-year.

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