sure of WTO membership
Friday, March 04, 2005
HANOI: Vietnam said it is speeding up talks on entering the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) but suggested it might not gain membership by the end of this
year as it had hoped on Thursday.
Vu Khoan deputy prime minister told donors in December that Vietnam's goal was
to join the WTO at its ministerial meeting in Hong Kong this December.
But trade minister Truong Dinh Tuyen was quoted this week as saying entry in
2005 might now be unrealistic since entry talks had been tough.
"We earlier expected the country to join the WTO late this year, but the current
situation could make that unrealistic," Tuyen was quoted as saying by the
state-run Saigon Times Daily on Wednesday. "Perhaps the country's WTO admission
will take place next year."
On Thursday, foreign ministry spokesman Le Dung also suggested Vietnam might not
meet the December target.
"We are striving with our utmost effort to enter the WTO at the earliest time
and if the earliest time is the end of 2005, it is good news," he told a news
Last month, the European Union, which finished its negotiations with Vietnam
last year, urged the United States to wrap up talks with Vietnam and three other
countries this year.
EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy told a US business group in Washington he
hoped the WTO would welcome the "four important economies that remain outside"
in Hong Kong in December. The four are Russia, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and
Each of the four has to conclude individual market access agreements with any of
the 148 WTO members, which seek one. They also have to reach an overall
agreement with all WTO members on rules for copyright and patent protection and
The foreign ministry's Dung said Vietnam had finished bilateral talks with six
WTO members - the European Union, Cuba, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Singapore.
It had still to complete two or three more multilateral negotiations and
bilateral talks with 21 countries, including the United States, Japan and China.
The Saigon Times Daily quoted Tuyen as saying WTO members demanded Vietnam open
up import/export operations to foreign firms and lift import tariffs on various
products. Vietnam considered the demands unacceptable, he said.
But deputy trade minister Luong Van Tu, who just returned from talks in Geneva,
said Vietnam has managed to narrow the gaps in many areas, especially on tariffs
and the service sector. "It is our policy to speed the process of bilateral
talks," Tu told state-run Voice of Vietnam radio on Thursday.
Vietnam's long-held goal of WTO entry has taken on fresh urgency with the expiry
of quotas on textiles and garments among WTO members, especially China, at the
end of 2004.
The products are Vietnam's second-most valuable export earner after crude oil.
The EU scrapped textile quotas on Vietnamese imports on Jan. 1, 2005.
VIETNAM WAR US SOLDIER REMAINS REPATRIATED
Mar 3, 2005
Danang, Vietnam, March 3 Reuters - Forty years after the first American troops
arrived to fight in the Vietnam War, the suspected remains of a US serviceman
were flown home on Thursday from the city where his comrades first landed.
The lone coffin, covered by the Stars and Stripes, sat in pouring rain for a
ceremonial handover in Danang, where the first US troops landed on March 8, 1965
to fight in a war which cost 58,000 American and three million Vietnamese lives.
It was then loaded onto a C-130 military cargo plane named "The Last Frontier"
to be flown to Hawaii, where identification tests would be carried out.
Almost simultaneously, a chartered Miami Air Boeing 737 flew in nearly 100 new
military personnel to search for more than 1,800 Americans still listed as
missing in action in the jungles of the region.
Vietnam lists 300,000 missing.
Since 1973, more than 700 sets of US remains have been recovered and identified.
"We could always to do more and we will do more" to find the missing, deputy US
ambassador John Boardman told Reuters Television. "We need to keep looking
The next searches for missing Americans were due to start on Friday, US
Only a few Vietnamese civilian and military officials were on hand to greet the
new American searchers, a far cry from the welcome accorded the 3,500 marines
who landed 40 years ago.
They were greeted by smiling Vietnamese women bearing flower garlands and
banners welcoming the "gallant marines" arriving to defend the important Danang
Danang is home to China Beach, popular during the war with US soldiers on their
recreation breaks. It now boasts glitzy resorts and direct flights from
The war ended in 1975 with the defeat of the US-backed South Vietnam by the
northern communists, who will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of
Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, on April 30.
Asked about that anniversary, Boardman said the US government was looking
forward to the 10th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic ties.
"We are looking forward rather than backward at this stage," he said.
Vietnamese citizens sue US chemical companies over Agent Orange
Vietnamese citizens who say they have suffered a life time of health problems
after being poisoned by Agent Orange during the Vietnam war are suing the US
chemical companies that provided the Pentagon with the toxic defoliant.
The case has huge implications. If successful it could open the way for claims
against companies that produce weapons such as depleted uranium-tipped munitions
which have been linked to cancer.
In the lawsuit filed this week, it was alleged that up to four million
Vietnamese people suffered persistent respiratory and reproductive problems as a
result of being contaminated by Agent Orange. They are seeking compensation that
could run to billions of dollars from 30 companies such as Dow Chemical and
One of the plaintiffs, Dr Phan Thi Phi Phi, told the court in New York that she
had worked in an area that was heavily sprayed with the defoliant and suffered
four miscarriages during the early 1970s. "We did not know what happened to us,
what was the cause of it, so we were very sad because we had so many
miscarriages and we could not have children," she said.
US forces routinely sprayed the defoliant to clear areas of jungle where they
believed Communist forces were hiding and to destroy their crops.
Although US$300m (NZ$412m) in compensation has been paid to US troops who fought
in Vietnam, there has never been any compensation paid to those Vietnamese who
suffered. Scientists have stated that the defoliant can cause cancer, diabetes,
birth defects and other problems.
Jonathan Moore, one the plaintiffs' US lawyers said: "the companies that
produced Agent Orange knew it contained high levels of dioxin and did not
carebecause "they ignored it because they figured the only people getting
sprayed were the enemy."
The companies being sued have sought to dismiss the claim. This week lawyers for
the corporations argued that the US courts had no power to penalise companies
for executing the orders of a president exercising his powers as commander in
chief. Lawyers also stated that companies normally enjoyed exemption from
criminal and civil liability for alleged war crimes.
The US Justice Department also sought dismissal of the lawsuit, arguing that
opening the US courts to former wartime enemies could threaten presidential
power to wage war. The US government has argued that the effects of Agent Orange
are not supported by direct evidence.
District Judge Jack Weinstein questioned whether presidential orders exempted
the firms, citing the actions of German corporations during World War II.
"The fact that all power was centralised under Hitler did not permit all people
operating under his orders to violate international law," he said.
Dave Cline, of the veterans group, Vietnam Veterans against the War, supported
the action. He said US veterans had fought for years to receive compensation for
11 separate conditions and illnesses linked to Agent Orange.
"In Vietnam they say three million people still suffer," he said.
No-one from Dow Chemical was yesterday available to comment.
Vietnam Eases Deposit Restrictions On EU-Based Banks
3 March 2005
HANOI (Dow Jones)--Vietnam's central bank has eased restrictions on European
Union-based banks operating here, the second time in less than a year, allowing
their deposits in the local currency to expand to 750% of their registered
The relaxed ruling took effect Tuesday, an official from the central bank told
Dow Jones Newswires Thursday.
In April last year, Vietnam allowed E.U. banks operating in the country to raise
their dong deposits to 500% of their registered capital from 50%.
Specifically, E.U. banks can now receive from Vietnamese firms a maximum of dong
deposits equivalent to 400% of their registered capital, as well as deposits
worth up to 350% of their registered capital from Vietnamese individuals.
Vietnam has allowed U.S. banks to receive desposits in dong equivalent to 750%
of their registered capital starting 2005, up from 500% from 2004, according to
the Bilateral Trade Agreement the two countries signed in 2001.
However, Vietnam still doesn't allow foreign banks to receive dollar deposits
from Vietnamese firms or individuals who don't have business dealings with the
Vietnam has been slow in opening up its financial market, and World Trade
Organization members are urging the country to move faster in removing
restrictions against foreign firms following its application to join the global
Local media quoted Vietnam's Trade Minister Truong Dinh Tuyen as saying Thursday
that the country is unlikely to be able to join the WTO in December. If Vietnam
were to liberalize its market before then, "local companies can't survive
foreign competition," Tuyen said.
Lecturing leads professors to Vietnam
Current Issue: Thursday, March 3, 2005
Faculty exchange allows new perspectives, ideas to enter classrooms
Ed Young, professor and chair of the department of economics, found himself
lecturing on economics to university students over winter break.
That's not at all unusual - except he was lecturing at a university half a world
Young was one of three UW-Eau Claire professors who participated in a faculty
exchange trip to the Vietnam National University-Hanoi in January, through the
Education for Reconciliation and Economic Opportunity Program.
"The whole thing was just memorable," he said.
This is the third year a group of Eau Claire faculty has traveled to Vietnam.
The program allows for visiting professors to hold a series of university
lectures on various economic and business-related topics.
Along with Young, economics professor Rose-Marie Avin and management and
marketing professor Rama Yelkur also made up this year's group of representative
lecturers from Eau Claire.
Each professor lectured and discussed issues related to their areas of expertise
with Vietnamese students and faculty.
Karl Markgraf, director of the Center for International Education, is the
coordinator of the program and has headed the trip to Vietnam each year since
the first faculty exchange in the spring of 2002.
Markgraf said the purpose of the project is to assist education and reform
within the country's educational system.
"The goal is to help Vietnam develop economic policies more in line with global
and western economics," he said.
Markgraf made his first visit to Vietnam in the summer of 2001, when he was
initially planning the project. He picked Vietnam, he said, because he felt it
was an "up and comer" in international commerce.
The reason reform is necessary, he said, is because most economists in Vietnam
have been using policy that doesn't work well with economic policies in the rest
of the world.
"Most policy-setters have had their training from the former Soviet Union, in
Marxist economics," he said. "Teaching this to the future generation of economic
students is wrong. That's the program's approach."
The faculty exchange also invites Vietnamese professors to Eau Claire. Last
fall, visiting professor Mai Khu spent the semester discussing Vietnamese
economics and international education with students and faculty.
This year's trip was Young's second to Vietnam, having participated in the
program in 2003. He said he discussed the history and current status of the
American labor movement with about 50 students and six to 10 staff in each
Markgraf said he believes the biggest impact on students at Eau Claire is that
they have an emerging group of professors who have a different international
outlook from what they had previously.
"(The professors) bring enthusiasm, a level of expertise, to the classroom that
they didn't have before," he said.
Markgraf also said a lot of professors will probably discuss their experiences
with students in their classrooms.
"It's a window on Vietnam that our professors can open up to the students in the
classes here," he said.
Young agreed that students at Eau Claire will be positively affected by what the
returning professors can now contribute to lectures and coursework in class.
"Since everyone cannot have the opportunity to go overseas, it helps to have
professors willing to share their experiences," Young said. "It gives (students)
a broader appreciation of different cultural experiences."
Mission to Vietnam explores wood products industry
Vietnam has a rapidly expanding wood products industry, which provides a unique
opportunity for Pennsylvania hardwoods companies. Oak Hill Veneer, located in
Troy, and Bennett Hardwoods, from Forksville, joined the Northern Tier Regional
Planning and Development Commission (NTRPDC) on a trade mission to Vietnam in
According to a spokesman:
NTRPDC and the North Central Regional Planning and Development Commission
organized the mission cooperatively, with a total of five businesses
participating. NTRPDC obtained additional grants from the Northern Tier
Hardwoods Association, Pennsylvania Hardwoods Development Council and U.S.
Department of Commerce to help cover expenses. The mission included two days of
factory tours in the region around Ho Chi Minh City, followed by pre-arranged
appointments over several days with over 20 potential customers from throughout
Vietnam. The USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service staff also provided assistance.
"They are an excellent resource for any agriculture-related business interested
in the Vietnamese market," said Chad Rimbey, export development program manager
with NTRPDC. Trade missions are regularly organized to help a variety of
industries develop their overseas market. For more information, please contact
Chad Rimbey, export
development program manager, at 570.265.9103 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support to Improve Vietnam's Legal System
France will help Vietnam improve the legal system in the Southeast Asian
country in lines with requirements by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Secretary of the Rights of victims for the French Minister of Justice Nicole
Guedj, who doubles as co-President of the Orientation Committee of the Vietnam
- France Legal Home, announced the pledge with local reporters on March 3 in
Hanoi after attending the committee's 12th working session from March 2-3 to
discuss an orientation for legal cooperation between the two countries.
The cooperation between the two nations is being geared to special fields such
as commercial operation and legal procedures in an effort to catch up with
national economic development, the secretary said. The new focus of bilateral
ties is the follow-up of the progress made in France's assistance to Vietnam
in legal reform such as revising the Civil and Commercial laws.
The secretary revealed that she and Vietnam Minister of Justice Uong Chu Luu
also put on table the child adoption on the occasion. The two countries will
jointly set up an agency specializing on the matter next year, she said.
The Vietnam-France Legal Home (VFLH) was founded in 1993 to implement
inter-governmental programs of cooperation under the guidance of the two
countries' Ministries of Justice. The VFLH has so far opened training courses
for over 2,000 Vietnamese lawyers and held almost 400 professional symposiums.
(Youth Mar 4 p16, VNA Mar 3)
Vietnam Unsure of WTO Admission, Confirms Negotiation Progress
Vietnam is not sure of its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) by
the end of this year as targeted but affirms that negotiations on its bid to
the body are making progress.
"The current pace of negotiations is progressing," said Foreign Ministry's
spokesperson Le Dzung in response to a question posed by reporters regarding
Vietnam's chance of joining the WTO by the end of this year during the
ministry's regular press briefing in Hanoi on March 3.
"The Vietnamese State hopes the upcoming talks will go smoothly, speeding up
Vietnam's bid to join the WTO," he added.
To join the global trade body, Vietnam has to hold bilateral negotiations with
27 partners and two or three more multilateral negotiations, Dzung said. To
date, the country has concluded negotiations with the European Union, Brazil,
Cuba, Argentina, Chile, and Singapore.
Vietnam is scheduled to hold the 10th round of multilateral talks in April.
In recent interviews with local media, Trade Minister Truong Dinh Tuyen also
admitted that Vietnam has little hope to become a member of the WTO this year
as it expected because the country is unable to meet all demands of the body's
member countries. Many demands are unacceptable under the country's current
circumstances, he also said.
Vietnam has so far reached agreements with 99 countries in the world to grant
each other the Most Favored Nation (MFN) status. (The People Mar 4 p6, Vietnam
Economic Times Mar 4 p2, VNA Mar 3)
Vietnam Asks US Firms to Take Responsibility for Agent Orange Victims
US toxic chemical producers should be legally responsible for Vietnam Agent
Orange victims, announced Vietnam's Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Dzung on
March 3 in response to correspondents' questions about the country reaction to
the US Department of Justice's view that the court should reject the lawsuit.
"We consider it a proper course of action for Vietnamese victims," said Dzung.
"Previously, American veterans who fought in Vietnam and had diseases related
to Agent Orange/Dioxin also brought American chemical firms to court. This
shows that those companies have liability for the Vietnamese sufferers of this
The spokesman made the statement for the first time after the hearing of the
lawsuit filed by the Vietnamese Agent Orange victims against 37 US chemical
manufacturers ended on February 28 without final conclusion.
The case is a civil lawsuit mounted by Vietnamese Agent Orange victims against
the US companies, Dzung said, adding that it has drawn much attention and
received warm support from the international community.
He once again pointed out that the Agent Orange/dioxin used by the US army
during the war in Vietnam seriously affected people and the environment in the
Southeast Asian country. More than 40 years have gone by, yet the consequences
are still deeply disrupting socio-economic life in Vietnam, Dung said. This
fact has been affirmed by many scientists, including US scientists, he said.
From 1961 to 1971, US troops sprayed 83 million liters of defoliants including
366 kilograms of dioxin manufactured by the chemical producers in 80,000
villages and communes in the south of Vietnam, directly affecting to four
million local residents.
As many as 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to toxic chemicals, of
whom three million were affected by Agent Orange, a herbicide that contains
dioxin, one of the most toxic substances known to man.
One of South Korea's three biggest TVs is making a news report named "Road to
Justice" on dioxin consequences on Vietnamese people. Their reporters have met
with Vietnamese veterans and Agent Orange victims in the Southeast Asia
country over the past month. (The People Mar 4 p8, Young People Mar 4 p2,
Youth Mar 4 p1, VNA Mar 3)
Extradition warrant for Vietnamese in US
02/Mar/2005 Thanh NienA Vietnamese national
suspected of embezzling 90 billion dong has been arrested in the US and will be
extradited to Vietnam, Vietnam's Ministry of Police said on March 2. US Interpol
informed Vietnam of the arrest of Nguyen Khac Son, 48 and former director of the
HCM City branch of Hanoi-based Printing Import-Export Co (Prinmatexim) in late
Health minister orders medicine price
3/Mar/2005 Nguoi Lao DongThe health
minister has sent an official letter to provincial and central city People's
Committee calling for cooperation and coordination for medicine price management
The Ministry of Health (MoH) suggests to
supervise medicine producers and traders to control medicine prices. Also,
departments of health are proposed to give comprehensive investigation to
prevent an punish medicine speculation. Any case of speculation and price
inflation must be subject to compensation to customers.
Former top war general criticises US for
`shirking Agent Orange issue'
02/Mar/2005 VNAGeneral Vo Nguyen Giap on
March 1 criticised the US government and chemical producers for shirking their
responsibility for compensating victims of Agent Orange which they sprayed
during the war in Vietnam 30 years ago.
Giap said although gunfire ended and peace
was restored in Vietnam in 1975, the Vietnamese people continue to suffer from
heavy consequences of the prolonged war; especially Agent Orange/Dioxin sprayed
by US forces in South Vietnam.
"Many Vietnamese victims, including women
and children, have died of A/O related diseases. Millions of others are
suffering critical diseases while tens of thousands of children have been born
with congenital deformities.
They are facing numerous difficulties in
both their material and spiritual lives, and are a heavy burden on their
families and on society," said general Giap.
Giap expressed his hope that the conference
will make clear the responsibilities of those people who waged the chemical war
in Vietnam, seriously violating international law.
Cisco to inaugurate 14th network
institute in Vietnam
02/Mar/2005 VietnamnetCisco systems will
open its 14th networking institute in Vietnam at the Hanoi University of
Technology. Like other Cisco-recognised networking institutes, the new Cisco
Bach Khoa will have international laboratories training students on networking
and the internet.
SBV announces stricter debt provisioning
02/Mar/2005 State Bank of VietnamAlthough
having made good preparations, many banks cannot help worrying upon issuance of
Decision 127 of the central bank on February 2 concerning amendments to some
articles of current lending regulations. Under Decision 127, credit quality of a
number of banks will closer reflect international standards and will not be so
easy for banks, especially state-run banks, to "beatify" figures.
First foreign bank launches operational
2/Mar/2005 Kinh Te Vietnam & The Gioi page
4The Australian and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ) in Vietnam this week
will launch the service of operational financial lease. This is the first bank
that has carried out this new service in Vietnam.
This service is carried out by ANZ/V-Trac,
a finance affiliate of ANZ.