Vietnam, U.S. Talk Human Rights Ahead of Decision Deadline
Tuesday, Mar. 8, 2005
U.S and Vietnamese officials are holding intensive talks ahead of next week's deadline to decide if Vietnam remains on the U.S. State Department's "worst-offender" list for religious violations.
A U.S. Embassy spokesman would not confirm details, but said that Ambassador john Hanford was holding "ongoing and constructive" meeting in Hanoi, according to an Associated Press report.
Last year, Vietnam was placed in the United State's "countries of particular concern" category, which refers to Vietnam's human rights record. If the status does not of the category does not change by March 15 when Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice makes a recommendation to President George W. Bush, It is possible that sanctions may be levied against Vietnam. The sanctions could take the form of economic penalties.
The People's Police newspaper reported that ambassador Hanford met with the Vice Minister of Public Security Nguyen Van Huong in Hanoi on Sunday.
Among the issues raised during the meeting was a new Vietnamese directive that would allow Protestant "house churches" in the Central Highlands of northern Vietnam. The state of religious prisoners was also discussed.
Last month prior to the Lunar New Year, Vietnam released two high-profile political prisoners. Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly and Dr. Nguyen Dan Que were released for writing online essays dealing with freedom and human rights.
In June 2004, the U.S. announced that the amount of economic aid given to Vietnam would be linked in part to its human rights record, according to Index on Censorship.
Last month, the government gave permission for "house churches" in the Central highlands, as long as they cut off their relationship with a group that officials consider a separatist movement.
Recently a U.S. report on Human Rights criticized Vietnam's treatment of religious and ethnic minorities, including Christians.
Vietnam eyes more exports to US this year
9 March 2005
HANOI, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam is expected to post export revenues of 5.7-6.0 billion US dollars to the United States this year, a year-on-year surge of 9.6-15.4 percent, said sources from the country's Trade Ministry on Wednesday.
Of the total revenues, export value of garments and textiles is estimated at 2.7 billion dollars, woodworks at 500 million dollars, agricultural products at 340 million dollars, and some other items such as electronics, toys and plastic products at 340 million dollars.
Vietnam exported nearly 5.2 billion dollars worth of goods to the United States in 2004, posting a year-on-year rise of 15.4 percent, and accounting for 0.35 percent of the United States' total import value. Vietnam's key exports to the United States included textiles, garments, footwear, woodworks, crude oil, seafood and farm products.
Vietnam focuses on further exploring export markets of China, Northern Europe and new European Union members, in a move to reach export target of 31.5 billion dollars this year. It posted a year- on-year surge of 28.9 percent in export turnovers to 26 billion dollars last year.
Vietnamese journalist to be prosecuted for revealing "state secrets"
9 March 2005
Agence France Presse
HANOI, March 9 (AFP) - A Vietnamese journalist working for the state-controlled Tuoi Tre newspaper and one of her sources are to be prosecuted on charges of revealing "state secrets", the daily said Wednesday.
Investigative police had asked the People's Supreme Procuracy to prosecute Nguyen Thi Lan Anh, 29, for "obtaining state secrets" and printing the information in the newspaper, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said.
The journalist printed a letter sent by the Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, regarding a sensitive pharmaceutical issue. The reporter and the official from the health ministry, who gave the letter, willboth face sanctions.
The pharmaceutical industry has been shaken these last months by the sharp rise in drugs prices.
The so-called "secret" letter concerned a health ministry proposal regarding the investment licence of Zuellig Pharma Vietnam, one of the country's biggest foreign pharmaceutical products importers and distributors, which has been accused of being responsible for the hike.
Two reporters from the communist party mouthpiece, Nhan Dan, and the daily Lao Dong, who received the information and printed them the same day, were only subject to administrative treatment, Tuoi Tre added.
An official from Tuoi Tre confirmed the article but denied to comment.
Vietnam's communist regime retains a tight grip over all domestic media activities. No private media outlets are permitted.
Agent Orange lawsuit wins hearts of Vietnamese people
9 March 2005
Agence France Presse
HANOI, March 9 (AFP) - A child with distorted face, a legless woman walking on her hands, two babies fused together in a single body: heartrending pictures of alleged Agent Orange victims have hit Vietnamese newspapers in recent weeks. A mass campaign to support an ongoing lawsuit against manufacturers of the
defoliant used by US forces during the Vietnam War has gained widespread support in the communist country.
According to official figures impossible to verify, more than 11.5 million people have added their signatures to a campaign launched by the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA), and hundreds of thousands more have shown their support online.
"We received active participation from the people, from pupils to state employees," said VAVA vice president Nguyen Trong Nhan. "I even think the number of 11.5 million signatures has not reflected the reality. More will turn up," the professor added.
Between 1961 and 1971, the US sprayed tens of millions of litres (gallons) of herbicides over South Vietnam to destroy the vegetation communist VietCong forces used for cover and food. Agent Orange was the most common.
Vietnam says many people's health problems and deformities were caused by the defoliant, which contains toxic dioxins which some say spread through the food chain, causing birth defects. The exact number of victims has never been seriously assessed. Vietnamese authorities two years ago said anywhere between hundreds of thousands and two million people were affected. Now, Hanoi says it has approximately four
million victims of Agent Orange, now including third generation victims. Since the end of their brutal war in 1975, Hanoi and Washington have managed to resolve most of the issues that divided them and most of their disputes are economic.
But the painful question of dealing with the victims of defoliants used by the US military is yet to be answered.
"Agent Orange victims in Vietnam had no way out but filing the lawsuit," Nhan told AFP.
"We have repeatedly suggested the US to solve the consequences of war by cooperation and humanitarian activities but they refused our goodwill." The lawsuit, filed by VAVA on behalf of millions of Vietnamese in the US Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York, is seeking compensatory and punitive damages from the 37 chemical companies that produced the agent which contains highly toxic dioxins. The defendants, including subsidiaries of New York-listed giants Dow Chemical, Monsanto and Occidental Petroleum, are accused of complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity, among other charges. "The US side must understand its responsibility. Those chemical companies had the right to refuse to produce this most dangerous toxic known to human beings,but they didn't as they received great profits," Nhan said. Late last month, the US Justice Department asked federal judge Jack Weinstein to throw out the lawsuit, arguing it should be dismissed on procedural grounds.
The move, of course, was not welcome in Vietnam.
"Why don't they come here to see with their own eyes children who are suffering from deformities," said a motorbike taxi driver in Hanoi as he was reading news about the suit.
"We must win, and we will win. Surely," he said.
The case also has an echo in the international community. A two-day international conference focusing on the long-term effects of the defoliant opens Friday in Paris.
Len Aldis, from the Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society which created the website which has gathered 680,000 online signatures in support, regards the US JusticeDepartment's call as "nonsense and dangerous".
"It is clear that the (American) government is afraid. They fear the lawsuit will expose the truth," he said.
"The companies did manufacture Agent Orange, and they knew the effects it would have. As did the US government when they purchased the chemicals, and ordered their use on the people and land of Vietnam."
Even General Vo Nguyen Giap, who masterminded Vietnam's epic victory at Dien Bien Phu 51 years ago, felt he had to have his say on the matter. "Regrettably, those who committed the crime against the Vietnamese people are trying to shirk their responsibility for their crime," wrote the 93-year-old national icon in a letter published by the state-controlled Vietnam News Agency. "The lawsuit was not only for the own interests of Vietnamese victims but also for the legitimate interests of victims in other countries, including those in
the US," Giap said. In 1984, in a class action settlement with no admission of liability, the manufacturers agreed to pay 180 million dollars to US war veterans who died or became ill after exposure to Agent Orange or other defoliants. "We haven't calculated how much compensation we would receive if we win the case, but no matter how huge it is, nothing can compensate for the victims' ordeal," Nhan said.
"Don't be afraid of us. We will not seek revenge. But we are seriously hurt. Please, help us," Nhan quoted victims as saying.
Vietnam's long march towards justice for Agent Orange
HANOI, March 9 (Xinhuanet) -- Despite facing a bumpy road ahead, the lawsuit against 37 US defoliant producers by Vietnamese Agent Orange victims -- the poorest among the poor, the most miserable among the miserable -- will bring about justice to them.
"The suit is not only for the life of Vietnamese Agent Orange victims, but also for the legitimate rights of all victims in many other countries, including the United States. The suit is conducted because we believe that conscience and justice are stillrespected in this earth," Dang Vu Hiep, president of the Vietnam Agent Orange Victims' Association (VAVA), told Xinhua on Wednesday. According to studies of US scientists, the US army forces dropped some 80 million litters of defoliants, mostly Agent Orange,which contained nearly 400 kilograms of dioxin, an extremely toxic substance, to Vietnam between 1961 and 1971.
Among 4.8 million local people exposed to the dioxin, 3 millionare Agent Orange victims, many of whom, and even their children and grandchildren suffer from cancer and genetic deformities, Hiep noted. "Tens of thousands of people have died in agony. Many women either have been unable to have babies or given birth to deformed children. Millions of people, including their children and grandchildren, are now living with diseases and in poverty due to cruel aftermaths of the Orange Agent spraying," he said.
To help Agent Orange victims overcome their painful experiences,the Vietnamese government as well as the international community has offered them both spiritual and practical support. The government has recently raised the level of financial allowances to the victims, while foreign countries, individuals and organizations from France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Brazil and Chile among others, Hiep said. Len Aldis, secretary of the Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society,has received nearly 700,000 signatures from many countries after placing a petition in support of Vietnamese Agent Orange victims on the Internet. He has already set letters to US President George Bush and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to seek support for the victims.
"In 1984, American veterans of the Vietnam War took the chemical companies which manufactured Agent Orange to court. The companies settled by paying a sum of 180 million US dollars. Today, in a court in New York, the city that is also home to the building of the United Nations, a lawsuit has begun, brought by three
Vietnamese seriously affected by Agent Orange. This lawsuit also speaks for the 3 million victims in Vietnam. The lawsuit may take a number of years before a judgment is reached," says the letter sent to Kofi Annan.
An international conference on the effects of the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam is to take place on March 11-12 in Paris, which will draw greater attention of the international community. "Via the conference, more people around the world will have concrete actions to assist the victims and strongly support their lawsuit against US chemical producers," Hiep said. On Jan. 30, 2004, three Vietnamese Agent Orange victims brought the suit against 37 US companies that produced defoliants to the US district court in Brooklyn, New York. After much research of thousands of documents and legal arguments, the lawsuit began on Feb. 28, 2005.
"People on planes which sprayed toxic chemicals have been recognized that they are poisoned and infected with diseases. So, there is no reason for people, who had to receive the toxic on their head, ate and drank food and water containing the toxic, won't receive the same recognition. We believe that the lawsuit, withthe wide support of the fair international community, including the US public opinion, will certainly give us a victory," said Nguyen Thi Binh, VAVA honor chairwoman.
Vietnam : Country deemed strategic textile and garment supplier to US
9th March 2005
Paying a compliment to its textile prowess, many US businessmen consider Viet Nam a strategic supplier of textile and garment products, said the US International Trade Commission (USITC).
USITC in its latest reports has rated Viet Nam second after China in terms of competitiveness among Asian textile and garment producers.
Meanwhile, in order to seek measures to boost exports, the Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Industry and the Viet Nam Textile and Garment Association will jointly organise a conference in Ha Noi this week.
Textile and garment products exports to the US are expected to earn US $2.8 billion or 55 percent of the annual target for the whole sector this year for Vietnam.
Chinese Garments Restrain Vietnam
Nation Struggles to Compete With Neighbor's Productivity
Wednesday, March 9, 2005
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam -- Le Thi Ha bent her head over the sewing machine, pressed a bare foot to the pedal and in six seconds turned out a neat armhole seam on a green nylon Pacific Trail jacket that will retail in the United States for $100, slightly more than her monthly wages.
An expert seamstress on Production Line 2 of Factory Number 4 of the state-owned garment firm Vigatexco, she is part of an industry that employs 2 million people in Vietnam, more than any other industry in the country. Garment and textile exports are valued at $4.5 billion annually -- second only to oil and gas -- and
about $2.7 billion worth of these products go to the United States, which established normal trading relations with Vietnam at the end of 2001. But after several years of rapid growth, the industry faces trouble: the rise of
China as the world's largest low-cost producer and uncertainty about when Vietnam will join the World Trade Organization. The government had counted on joining the WTO, which sets trade rules among member nations, by the end of the year. But meeting that goal will be difficult, Vietnam's trade minister, Truong Dinh Tuyen, said last week. Vietnamese negotiators are trying to complete bilateral agreements with more than 20 WTO members, including Japan, China and the United States, one of the conditions of membership. Tuyen said that progress has been slow and that several countries that want Vietnam to open its markets to more foreign competition are not yet satisfied with Vietnam's offer. The United States, in particular, would like Vietnam to open its services sector -- banking, insurance and telecommunications. Until Vietnam becomes a WTO member, it must continue to operate under a special quota agreement with the United States that limits exports. The restrictions effectively make Vietnam less competitive, raising the chances of massive
layoffs and social unrest. A separate global textile quota system that had helped level the playing field
among apparel-producing countries expired Dec. 31 for WTO members. But because Vietnam is not part of the organization, it and a handful of other countries are still subject to quotas and have to contend not only with China, but also with other developing countries, such as Indonesia and the Philippines, that are now
quota-free. At Vigatexco, for instance, one of the industry's larger factories, officials have laid off 300 of 1,500 employees so far this year because orders have dwindled by about 30 percent, said Nguyen Dinh Han, assistant general manager. Many of the orders are now going to WTO members, mainly China. Chinese factories can churn out huge quantities of garments in a relatively short period. This efficiency has forced down prices for each garment by 20 to 30 percent, he said. The average price per garment at his firm is $3, he said. With orders falling by 50,000 pieces for the first quarter of this year, he said, that means about $150,000 lost to China. "We are worried about the future of our textile and garment industry," said Le Quoc An, chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association and the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Corp., a group of state-owned companies. "This year, 2005, it will be very difficult for Vietnam to compete with China and other countries that export to the United States."
China has squeezed production times with its enormous capacity and domestic cotton industry. Using fabric made at home, Chinese factories can produce garments in a quarter of the time it takes their Vietnamese counterparts. "One of our factories in China can produce 100,000 pants in one week," said a U.S. buyer who spoke on condition of anonymity because of corporate policy. "It would take a Vietnamese factory four weeks." Vietnam is trying to build a cotton industry, but that is years away, officials said. For now, it takes an average of 15 days to import material or to have clients ship it.
"This year we shifted a lot of the orders to Indonesia and the Philippines," said the buyer, who deals with as many as 15 factories in Vietnam. The buyer said the other disadvantage to ordering from Vietnam is that the
quotas restrict the number of garments he can move out of the country.
Some industry officials said Vietnam can survive in the short term under quotas if the government distributes them to factories that have proved they can fill orders. A scandal last fall in which senior Trade Ministry officials were accused of graft in assigning the quotas greatly disrupted the industry. The prime minister has declared a campaign against corruption, and factory officials say they believe the Trade Ministry will be forced to operate more transparently.
Vietnam cannot hope to compete directly with China in mass production of standard clothing, but it is trying to develop higher-end markets for garments that require more handwork or technical expertise, industry officials and buyers said.
Le, a single 35-year-old woman, churns out 250 items a day, which helped earn her the designation of Best Employee. "To me, it's easy," she said, pausing for a moment from her stitching and snipping. She sends one-third of her salary, which is more than what most factory workers earn, to her parents, she said. Han, the assistant factory manager, acknowledged the risks in the current climate but said he was confident the firm would continue to attract orders. "We are optimistic even though we know that other countries have lost market to China," he said. "We will survive."
Houston Oi! Oh, It's South Vietnam
"I'm a born-again Texan."
Mar 09, 2005
Nha Magazine, News Feature
The aroma of pho ga, the murmuring of a pop song from Viet Nam, the comings and goings of Vietnamese families in and out of stores and restaurants chattering in Vietnamese. A sultry, shifty, humid sky, rice fields and oceans not an hour away...No, my friend, you're not in Sai Gon. You're in Houston, Texas! Make yourself at home with the thousands of Vietnamese Houstonians!
And what a home: the oil and gas capital of the U.S., the largest medical center in the world, the NASA Space Center, a thriving arts culture, and the second largest population of Vietnamese people in America outside of Los Angeles. The unofficial count is now over 100,000 in a metropolitan area of five million, the
population of Sai Gon.
It has three Vietnamese radio stations and one cable TV station, several bookstores, uncountable restaurants, and two major international airports from which you can hop back to Viet Nam on almost any day of the year. Many here do.
And most recently, plans are brewing for an official designation of part of Midtown as "Little Saigon." Yes, the Vietnamese have indeed arrived.
Just how did this come to be?
The Cradle of Midtown
"I'm a born-again Texan," says Nicole Cao, a banking officer who arrived here in 1976 with bittersweet memories of her homeland.
"I did not just lose a country and scores of relatives. I lost my identity." But with hard work, she made a new one. In 1979, she and her new husband, a budding pharmacist, managed to buy a large, old, vacant building and open a pharmacy. The deserted area of town was largely abandoned by businesses. Asian gangs were a problem.
To create a customer base, she and her husband gave free office space to doctors whose customers then began to buy from Cao's Milam Pharmacy. Meanwhile, the first Midtown Vietnamese grocery store attracted more Vietnamese from outside the area. Holy Rosary Catholic Church had already begun offering two Vietnamese masses every Sunday, drawing many to the area.
"I went to the owners of nearby properties and they laughed when I told them we should work together to fight crime." They underestimated Nicole Cao. She joined efforts with several business owners who also wanted security. And with Steve Bancroft, pastor of Trinity Episcopal Church on Main Street, she formed the
Midtown Redevelopment Association, which helped raise money and awareness in the community.
Several small Vietnamese shopping centers sprung up. The city council took notice and had Vietnamese street signs put up in the area: Nguyen Hue, Hai Ba Trung, Tu Do, Phan Thanh Gian. A huge real estate revival took off in 1999 and trendy town homes soon popped up all around Midtown.
But Cao isn't stopping there. Based on a remake of Kelly Park in San Jose, California, she's promoting a redesign of Elizabeth Baldwin Park. "It'll have jogging and walking trails," she says, pointing to an artistic rendering, "and a small focal point of Vietnamese interest." Parts of the park will pay tribute to other ethnic groups as well.
And of being a Viet-Houstonian, Cao says, "Houstonians welcome you as someone interesting. They're accustomed to seeing and living near people from different cultures."
Down the Southwest Corridor
But Midtown was just the beginning. The Vietnamese population began following many of the Chinese businesses to the southwest along a corridor defined by Bellaire Boulevard and the Southwest Freeway which lead 25 miles out towards Sugarland, a middle-class enclave with a 23 percent Asian population.
"This is a big city and it's getting bigger," says Pierre Nguyen, who owns two video rental stores catering to Vietnamese-only speakers. Customers come and go from his store with not one or two, but whole bags of rented videos. He opened the first store in Mekong Center, a small Midtown shopping center, then followed
the Vietnamese market to Bellaire Boulevard with a second store across from the landmark Hong Kong Mall. The Vietnamese center of gravity was shifting dramatically to the southwest.
Pierre says that Vietnamese investments have cycled upwards from convenience stores, cleaners, and small shops to real estate, shopping centers, and pharmaceuticals. "Vietnamese people are moving here from the northern U.S. and California. Houston is still affordable, but who knows what real estate values will be in five years. It's a good place to invest. In the next five years the Vietnamese community will be huge," says Nguyen proudly.
"Here, the new Vietnamese immigrants can follow the same path as us: work, save, start a business, study English."
"My family received no government help at all. Now we own office buildings, a pharmaceutical products company, an immigration service company, and other small businesses."
And the culture is being preserved. "The older generation was thinking ahead by teaching their children Vietnamese language and culture at home, at churches and temples. I speak Vietnamese to my six-year-old son. He'll pick up English at school," says Nguyen.
"I have no fear," says business owner Pamela Ngo Tranpark. Her dauntless spunk and business acumen are the modern equivalent of those women warriors of Vietnamese folklore.
"I was six when my family left Viet Nam and I remember the boat trip where we almost didn't make it." At the depths of the ordeal, she said, her father prayed and pledged to build a temple in the U.S. if they survived.
"When we came to Houston, my parents worked at menial jobs in a dangerous part of town to support six children. I organized my siblings to run the household. When our parents came home we would have them sit, massage their feet, feed them and clean up after dinner. And they said our job was to make straight A's. Our family valued education."
That was years ago. Now Tranpark's parents own a shopping center in Midtown. She's a thirty-something successful realtor and mortgage broker and Midtown booster. Tranpark is instrumental in the current push for an official "Little Saigon" designation of part of Midtown. "I want a tangible community symbol of our culture, the Vietnamese culture I know and grew up in. That was the only thing I could hold on to. It's my roots. And I want it to continue for my children."
Tranpark's business is a family effort. Her father and siblings work with her. "My father has always reminded us of our family motto: If we're one chopstick, anybody can break us, but if we're two chopsticks nobody can break us."
And that temple? It's one of the largest Buddhist temples in the U.S.
The Object of Academia
Steve Kleinberg, a prominent sociologist at Houston's Rice University, has been tracking Houston demographics for several years with a special eye on the growing Asian community and its interesting effect on the city.
"Houston's Anglos are now a minority population. The city has become a land of immigrants for the first time since 1914."
He recognizes the challenges of Vietnamese in Houston in a high-tech economy.
"The Greeks, Polish and Italians who came with fifth-grade educations could follow a path to a professional job, though it may have taken three generations. Today the Vietnamese don't have an (national) economy that allows them to stepup. It's a tremendous challenge in education and they know it. Not all of them
"Now in the second generation you see successful hardworking Vietnamese with all the pressure and sacrifices from the first generation."
Are Vietnamese accepted more today among Americans? "There are positive stereotypes that Americans have that the Vietnamese are a model minority. That can be a hindrance."
"The Vietnamese today come into a Vietnamese community that can help them. They've all come from battling communism, just like the Cubans. They reach out to each other, pay attention to each other's kids. Now there are many social economic resources available, a lot of social capital."
While making slow but steady economic progress, there is also a pointed effort on many fronts to preserve Vietnamese culture by providing social, educational, and community services: the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce, the Vietnamese Culture and Science Association (see the March/April 2004 issue of NHA Magazine) Research Development Institute and several budding political action committees.
The Asian Pacific American Heritage Association addresses the same concerns for a wider group of Asians and has within it a Vietnamese group.
Home is Where the Heart is
The Vietnamese came to the U.S. with much the same disposition as that fabled Thy Kieu, in search not only of home but of heart and soul. Houston Vietnamese have not merely survived but have prospered. The city feels their cultural and economic impact, their love for homeland, freedom, and their American brethren.
Quintessentially American, yet still Vietnamese in language, manner and pride, in Houston they have reached a critical mass where a collective heart abounds, tying each to each, sister to brother, parent to child, to make Houston more than just a mere place of refuge, more than a home. It's a staging ground for
bringing the future to the thriving new generations in their homeland.
For this is Houston. In the future, anything can happen.
Japan puts pressure on in WTO talks
09/Mar/2005 Thoi Bao Kinh Te Vietnam page 1A half of a month following the conference held in Geneva, Vietnam and Japan scheduled to meet each other again on March 10.
The recent bilateral negotiation sessions between Vietnam and Japan have not presented any optimistic signs. Tokyo has put tough requirements on intellectual property rights matters and required Vietnam to take stronger measures to protect interests for Japanese investors.
Reporter faces prosecution for publishing `secret' documents
08/Mar/2005 Thanh NienThe police ministry have recommended prosecuting a woman reporter on charges of "appropriating confidential state documents."
after a two-month investigation.
Nguyen Thi Lan Anh from the HCM City-based Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper had been under house arrest since the police investigation started.
Anh wrote an article eight-months ago on May 20, 2004 about a likely inspection of the Vietnam Zuellig Pharma Co, which at the time was a dominating force in the imported medicine market in Vietnam. In her article, Lan Anh quoted from an as yet unreleased dispatch from the Ministry of Health.
Earlier, the investigation agency had warned that the health ministry's dispatch, which was quoted in the article, was part of a list of state confidential secrets in the health sector.
Vietnam listed in group of three most corrupt Asian nations
08/Mar/2005 AP | Jakarta PostThe most corrupt countries in Asia are Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, but graft in China poses the biggest global threat because of the country's growing economic influence, a consulting firm said on Tuesday March 8 in a study.
The report by Political & Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd noted Indonesia was Asia's most corrupt nation, ranking 9.25 on a scale from zero to 10. "The issue of corruption could make or break Indonesia," the report said.
Imported pharmaceuticals prices soar
07/Feb/2005 Vietnam Investment Review page 8Prices for imported drugs increased rapidly during the Tet holiday, despite efforts by the government to rein in what has become an overheated pharmaceuticals market.
In spite of a series of sanctions by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and pledges by drug makers to the contrary, drug prices have skyrocketed in the last two months.