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Vietnam axes import taxes on electronics components

21 March 2005

HANOI, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam has just slashed import tariffs on electronics components and spare parts, most of which are not produced by local firms due to their inability, by dozens of percent, the country's Finance Ministry said on Monday.
Under the ministry's decision issued on March 17, the tariff on many kinds of transformers used in television, radio and cinema are to decrease to 5 percent from 30 percent, that on printed circuit assemblies to 5 percent from 20 percent, that on most of antennas to 20 percent from 30 percent; and that on some kinds of cartridges to zero percent from 20 percent.
After the new decision takes effect in early April, prices of electronics goods in the local market will drop by 3-5 percent, local electronics producers predicted, noting that they now can hold a relatively big market share for only color TVs, and VCD and DVD players, giving lion's shares for other items to foreign- invested firms. Vietnam turned out nearly 2.5 million TVs of all kinds last year.
Under the roadmap of CEPT-AFTA (Common Effective Preferential Tariffs for ASEAN Free Trade Area), members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations are to reduce import tariffs on electronics products to 5 percent in 2005 and then zero percent in 2006.


Vietnam allows free import of cotton, milk materials, maize

21 March 2005

HANOI, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam will remove import quotas on cotton, milk materials and maize from next month, according to the
Finance Ministry on Monday.
Under a recent decision of the Vietnamese government, local enterprises will be allowed to import any volumes of the three items as they want from April 1. Cotton, and condensed and uncondensed milk materials are largely imported from the United States and New Zealand.
Vietnam imported 22,000 tons of cotton worth 23 million US dollars in the first two months of this year, posting year-on-year increases of 80 percent and 35.4 percent respectively.
Local enterprises intensified cotton import because nearly 6, 000 hectares of cotton crops in the central highlands province of Dac Lac and the southeast region, two main cotton-growing areas in the country, are affected by drought.
Vietnam imports cotton mainly from the United States, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, South Korea and India. Up to 35 percent of its imported cotton comes from the United States. The country, home to 26,000 hectares of cotton with annual output of 34,500 tons, plans to raise the output to 80,000 tons by 2010.
Vietnam is estimated to produce 110,000 tons of milk materials in 2005, up from 54,000 tons in 2000, meeting less than 15 percent of its dairy sector's demand, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. It has to import over 85 percent of the total volume of milk materials it needs for milk production.
Each Vietnamese person consumed around 9 kg of milk in 2004, up from 6.5 kg in 2000 and 0.5 kg in 1995, the Agriculture Ministry said, noting that the figure is estimated at 13-14 kg in 2010.
Vietnam now has around 965,000 hectares of maize, turning out over 3.4 million tons of maize each year.


Agent Orange, Vietnam's Unfinished Research

March 21, 2005

For almost 40 years, the US Government has resisted supporting Vietnam Veterans and Vietnamese who have developed diseases because of their exposure to Agent Orange. The National Science Foundation says that
there is no research to prove the effects of the carcinogen. The article, Agent Orange, Vietnam's Unfinished Research, provides an overview of the Agent Orange issue and offers a research strategy.
(PRWEB) March 21, 2005 -- The ghosts of the Vietnam War still haunt us. From 1965 to 1971, an estimated 11 million gallons of Agent Orange with dioxin were sprayed on Vietnam. Not only did this carcinogenic herbicide kill vegetation, it also poisoned 2.6 million United States veterans, the children of these U.S. veterans, and millions of Vietnamese and their children.

It was not until 1991 that the U.S. Veterans Administration was forced by Congress to admit a service connection between exposure to Agent Orange and to over 30 kinds of cancer. In 1996, a genetic birth
defect, spina bifida, was hesitantly added to the VA disability list. Leukemia and diabetes are now part of the Agent Orange legacy. Last year, conferences held at Yale University, Stockholm, and Hanoi brought to light new data and research issues in the Agent Orange debate. Researchers have begun to establish a correlation between Agent Orange and mental illness, Hodgkin's Disease, and cancer.

Ask any veteran who has had to deal with the Agent Orange issue and he or she will tell you about how the U.S. government has been either non-cooperative or complicit in trying to silence the persistent moans
heard from this ghost.

It is now time to act. Recent research is now available to justify a major epidemiological study of America's Vietnam veterans. Agent Orange was only sprayed on South Vietnam, excluding North Vietnam. This affords an excellent opportunity to compare the health of the two areas.

In the National Academy of Science Agent Orange Report for 2003, the Academy admits that "the lack of adequate data on Vietnam veterans themselves makes it difficult to reach conclusions about increased
risk of disease among Vietnam veterans."

Promoting Enduring Peace, a non-profit organization, published a July 2002 "Vietnam Report from HOA BINH" that stated that thousands of children are being born with terrible defects and disabilities to include mental illness, fatal heart ailments, spina bifida, and many cancers. What these children have in common is a parent, or both parents, who were exposed to Agent Orange.

The cover-up continues. The VA is not only denying that Agent Orange is a major contributor to the diseases that the children of Vietnam veterans have, but is also violating Federal law that requires veterans be assisted. In April 2003, Donald Stout, Regional Director of Veteran's Affairs, Oakland, in a letter to Mr. Dodge, stated that "we are not obligated to furnish the records (you) requested under the Veterans Claims Assistance Act of 2000." This VA denial for support is in-spite of Federal Regulations Title 38 that states the "VA will make
reasonable efforts to help a claimant obtain evidence necessary to substantiate the claim."

It is now time for the VA to initiate a study of all those exposed to Agent Orange, Vietnam veterans and their children, as well as Vietnamese and their children. It is for the children that a nation goes to war. It is for the children that a nation seeks peace. It is for all children exposed to Agent Orange that we seek justice. Yes,
Agent Orange is America's weapon of mass destruction.

C.W. Brown, PhD, is an independent scientist and consultant to the non-profit Promoting Enduring Peace, an organization researching the effects of AgentOrange(www.pepeace.org).