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Vietcombank Allowed to Hire Foreign Auditors
The Vietnamese government has allowed the State-owned Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) to hire foreign auditors to evaluate its assets prior to privatization.
This decision, according to foreign analysis, comes just in time to help Vietcombank Vietnam's leading bank in terms of international payments - accelerate its privatisation process.
At a recent conference on equitization (Vietnam's term for privatization), Pham Viet Muon, Deputy Head of the National Steering Committee for Enterprise Reform and Development Committee, said that one of the two basic difficulties for the equitization of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) is the assessment of enterprise value.
"It is difficult to assess the value of a normal enterprise so it is much more difficult for assessing the value of a bank like Vietcombank," said Warrick Cleine, Deputy General Director of KPMG Vietnam.
"Hiring international consulting firms is completely necessary because they are experienced and professional, which can help avoid mistakes, " Mr. Cleine added.
Vietcombank General Director Vu Viet Ngoan said that his organization, and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), would complete and submit to the Government the equitization scheme this March.
"Once the scheme is approved by the Government, we will lease foreign consultants," Mr Ngoan revealed.
At the moment, Mr. Ngoan said his organisation has not yet selected any consulting firm but since the information of Vietcombank's equitization was released several years before, many consulting firms have expressed their wish to come on board.
Whatever the case, the Government requests that the equitization of Vietcombank should retain the State as the majority shareholder and that everything possible should be done to ensure the operational runs smoothly.
Mr. Ngoan confirmed that in the initial period after the equitization, the State would hold at least 51% of total shares. Reduction of State ownership, while still ensuring its majority, will be conducted several years after equitization. This is suitable to the aim of reforming Vietcombank toward multi-ownership with State control.
In the meantime, Vietcombank will prepare to issue "preferential shares" worth around VND1,500 billion ($95.5 million). The bank's current equity capital is around VND7,000 billion ($445.9 million), which is expected to double after equitization.
The bank will also reserve part of its shares for foreign partners. According to current regulations, no foreign shareholder may hold more than 10% of the total shares and combined foreign shares cannot exceed 30% with analysts citing Vietcombank's provision of 5% of total shares to 4-5 foreign partners, a good first step.
"Any participation of foreign investors in Vietcombank will bring about interests. However, the participation rate needs to be discussed," said Nguyen Khac Thanh, General Director of Ernst & Young Vietnam.
Analysts believe that inviting foreign investors into the equitization process will help the bank attract modern technology and management from leading financial groups, the ultimate goal being to turn Vietcombank into a world financial player. (VietStock Mar 10, YFCstock Mar 10, VietNamNet Mar 11, Vietnam Economic Times Mar 8 p5) 
HCM City Downtown to See One More Five-Star Hotel
The five-star Park Hyatt Saigon Hotel is set to open in June in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City after five years of standstill due to financial problems.
According to Truong Bach Han, deputy general director of Grand Imperial Saigon Hotel, the owner of the Hyatt hotel, the opening of the eight-story 259-room hotel is at a suitable time when the number of foreigners coming to Vietnam for leisure and business is rising strongly.
The project is a $48 million joint venture between Vietnam's Saigon Construction (30% stake), Malaysia's Radiant Investment (51%) and Hong Kong's United Concord International (19%).
Works were kicked off in 1995 but were delayed in 1998 and only resumed when five Vietnamese banks agreed to lend the project owner $27.5 million.
The world's top hotel management group of Hyatt International (HI) will run the hotel, its first project in the communist country.
Jan Peter Van Der Ree, the hotel general director, revealed that HI decided to manage the Park Hyatt Saigon as the hotel meets all of its requirements for a standard hotel including location (downtown Ho Chi Minh), large car park and many other criteria.
Standardized hotel rooms in Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam, are now inadequate and not adequate to the increasing demand of international visitors, therefore Hyatt Park Saigon hotel will recoup investment soon, Ree said.
"Guests will enjoy international standardized accommodation services in a Vietnamese traditional space here," he said.
Ho Chi Minh City now has eight five-star hotels with 2,760 rooms, seven four-star hotels and 22 three-star hotels with totally nearly 3,100 rooms.
Last year, the city received 2.5 million domestic tourists, up 60% on-year, while international arrivals reached 1.58 million, a 21 % rise. (Saigon Times Weekly Mar 12 p12, Investment Mar 11 p13) 

Reforms, Corruption Fight Needed for Better Mass Mobilization
Drastic administrative reforms and the outcomes of the corruption battle play decisive roles in effectively mobilizing the masses in Vietnam, a high-ranking member of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam said on March 9.
Local people are still upset by mounting corruptions in all sectors of the country, some of which were committed by officials and Party members, Tong Thi Phong, secretary of the Party's Central Committee and head of the committee's Commission for Mass Mobilization, told a national conference held in Hanoi on Mach 8-9.
Such an evil is one of the main reasons for peoples' distrust of the Party's leadership, she acknowledged.
In 2005, mass organizations will consult the Party to improve its regulations on democratic practices at the grassroots levels, she said.
Mass mobilization organizations will also participate in the campaign to build a strong and transparent government, promote thrift and drive back corruption and other social ills, the Party secretary stressed.
The Commission for Mass Mobilization this year will also review instructions and directives concerning policies on mass mobilization, ethnic minorities and religion.
Ms. Phong promised more reforms to the mass mobilization work.  The methods of disseminating information to and mobilizing the people will be the first things to change, she said.
The Commission for Mass Mobilization will also coordinate with other organizations nationwide to open training courses for mass mobilization officials, she said, adding that pilot programs would be carried out in special areas.
Despite repeated calls from the Politburo, the mass agitation work currently remains ineffective as many officials conduct their tasks in a perfunctory manner, the conference was told. Many are incapable of passing information as they themselves do not comprehend the Party's policies, and also do not sympathize with the peoples' needs and wishes. Some are even accused of being authoritarian and corrupt, harassing the people and embezzling State money allocated for infrastructure and humanity projects in disadvantaged areas.
The Communist Party holds a conference on mass agitation every year, often in March, showing its great attentions to the task, however, the work has not been improved but remains formal. (Young People Mar 10 p1, Pioneer Mar 10 p1) 

US Accused of Immorality When Dismissing Agent Orange Petition  
The US is considered to have acted immorally when it turned down claims against US chemical firms by Vietnam's Agent Orange victims, accused an overseas Vietnamese senior researcher.
Nguyen Van Tuan from the Australian Garvan Institute of Medical Research made the indictment on the local Tuoi Tre newspaper today after the Brooklyn court in New York dismissed on March 10 the lawsuit by some four million Vietnamese. Tuan claims that US chemical companies committed war crimes by making Agent Orange for use during the Vietnam War, and ruled that there was no legal basis for the claims of the Vietnamese victims.
Although the US is a powerful country and a leader keeping the flag of justice and morality in the world, it does not dare to take responsibility for its wrong actions in the past, the scientist said. "A country, who avoids admitting its mistakes with its citizens and the world, is unable to improve its morals," Tuan said.    
He cited that the German government admitted its faults during the Second World War not only for the war's victims but also for the future of the nation.  
"The US should recognize its errors after having sprayed toxic chemicals in Vietnam during the war and take practical measures to relieve the pain of millions of Agent Orange victims in Vietnam," the researcher vowed.
Also, a lawyer for the Vietnamese plaintiffs at the Agent Orange lawsuit said US Brooklyn District Judge Jack B. Weinstein made "a clear error" in deciding Agent Orange was not a poison and thus dismissing the case.
"The use of this chemical in Vietnam was a scandal from the very beginning, and the failure of this court to redress these wrongs is a continuation of that scandal," said lawyer William Goodman.
The lawyers said an appeal was planned.
Late January last year, three Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange filed their suit, accusing 37 US chemical firms of producing and supplying toxic defoliants used by the US army in Vietnam between 1961 and 1971.
The lawsuit was the first attempt by Vietnamese plaintiffs to seek compensation for the effects of Agent Orange, which is laden with the highly toxic chemical dioxin and has been linked to cancer, diabetes and birth defects among Vietnamese people and American veterans.
Today, a two-day international conference on the consequences of Agent Orange/Dioxin on Vietnamese people and environment opened in Paris.
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 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. (Youth Mar 11 p1, Young People Mar 11 p1, The People Mar 11 p8, Labor Mar 11 p1, Great Unity Mar 11 p2, Liberated Saigon Mar 11 p8)

Montagnards start return to Vietnam from Cambodia

11 Mar 2005

GENEVA, March 11 (Reuters) - Ethnic hilltribe people began returning home to Vietnam on Friday, the first to accept repatriation after nearly 800 Montagnards fled to Cambodia seeking political asylum last year, the United Nations said.
Under an agreement signed by the two countries and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) last January, Hanoi gave written guarantees that they would not be persecuted upon return.
The Montagnards, a loose grouping of mainly Christian ethnic groups, said they fled to northern Cambodia because of religious persecution and land disputes in the troubled Central Highlands.
Under the accord they were also given an option to emigrate to a third country. A group of nine Montagnards left in a convoy from Phnom Penh on Friday morning, UNHCR spokesman Fernando del Mundo said. "They crossed the border at midday," he told Reuters.
Thirty-four more Montagnards have decided to return to Vietnam, including 16 scheduled to go back in April, he added. Nearly 300 Montagnards have chosen to resettle in a third country, mainly the United States, followed by Canada and Finland, according to the spokesman. Cambodia has told the UNHCR, who is caring for the Montagnards in Phnom Penh, that local integration is "not an option", he added.


Nine Vietnamese hilltribe people who fled crackdown return home from Cambodia

11 March 2005

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) - Nine Vietnamese hilltribe people who fled to Cambodia last year during a crackdown on anti-government protests were heading back Friday to their country where the government has pledged not to prosecute them, a U.N. official said. The nine -- a father and his 13-year-old son and seven men in their 20s -- were traveling in a United Nations convoy to a border checkpoint where they would be turned over to Vietnamese authorities, said Cathy Shin, a protection officer for the U.N. High Commissioner
for Refugees.
"They really miss their families. They all have wives at homes ... and little kids," said Shin, who was traveling with the group. "When I ask, they say, oh they're happy (to go back) ... they're also nervous, I think."
She said the Vietnamese government had been "cooperative" in the return. In January, Vietnam, Cambodia and the UNHCR reached an agreement giving the asylum seekers the option of returning to Vietnam or being
resettled in a third country. Vietnam agreed not to prosecute or discriminate against those who returned and said it would allow UNHCR representatives to visit to follow up with those who returned home. The U.N. refugee agency is caring for nearly 730 Montagnards, as the tribespeople are collectively known, at a shelter in the Cambodian capital. The Montagnards, who are mostly Protestant, fled from their homes in the Central Highlands to Cambodia during a crackdown last year following an Easter weekend protest against land confiscation and religious restrictions. Vietnam's Communist government allows only officially sanctioned and supervised religious groups. International rights groups have said at least 10 protesters were killed in the Easter weekend clashes with police, but the government said only two were killed by rocks thrown by other protesters. The area was sealed off to international media and foreign diplomats following the incident.
Three hilltribe people were sentenced in January to up to 11 years in jail over the protest.
A similar demonstration occurred in 2001, after which more than a thousand members of ethnic minority groups fled to Cambodia. Most were eventually resettled in the United States. A group of nearly 40 Montagnards who arrived in Cambodia after the crackdown was resettled in the United States in February. Another 40 are expected to head there in late March, Shin said.


Vietnamese angered, disappointed over dismissal of U.S. lawsuit against Agent
Orange makers

11 March 2005
AP via New Jersey Online

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) - A Vietnamese group expressed anger Friday over a U.S. judge's dismissal of their historic class-action lawsuit claiming American chemical companies had committed war crimes by making the defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein threw out the case in Brooklyn, New York on Thursday, saying he did not agree that Agent Orange and similar herbicides should be considered poisons banned under international rules of war. U.S. aircraft sprayed more than 80 million liters (21 million gallons) of defoliant, mostly Agent Orange, on Vietnam in 1962-71 to destroy crops and remove foliage used as cover by communist forces. It has been widely blamed for a vast range of health problems. "We are disappointed ... Weinstein has turned a blind eye before the obvious truth. It's a shame for him to put out that decision. We just want justice, nothing more," said Nguyen Trong Nhan, vice president of Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange. The lawsuit was the first-ever attempt by Vietnamese plaintiffs to seek compensation for the effects of Agent Orange, which contains the highly toxic chemical dioxin and has been linked to cancer, diabetes and birth defects among Vietnamese soldiers, civilians and U.S. veterans. Weinstein also found that the plaintiffs could not prove that Agent Orange had caused their illnesses, largely due to a lack of large-scale research.
Though the ruling is a big blow, Nhan said the group is already thinking about filing an appeal. "We are not surprised (by the decision). It was one of the things that we had anticipated. When we filed our suit, we wanted to win, but we understand that this is a complicated case," he said. Lawyers for chemical manufacturers Monsanto, Dow Chemical and a dozen other companies had argued that they should not be punished for following orders of the nation's commander in chief, and that international law exempts corporations, as opposed to individuals, from liability for alleged war crimes. "We've said all along that any issues regarding wartime activities should be resolved by the U.S. and Vietnamese governments," said Dow
Chemical spokesman Scot Wheeler. "We believe that defoliants saved lives by protecting allied forces from enemy ambush and did not create adverse health effects." The Justice Department had supported the chemical companies in court, saying a ruling against the firms could cripple the president's power to direct the military. Many U.S. veterans and Vietnamese have long blamed Agent Orange for a variety of illnesses, including cancer, diabetes and spina bifida. The U.S. government claims there is no direct evidence linking dioxin with the illnesses. However, about 10,000 Vietnam War veterans in the United States receive disability benefits related to Agent Orange exposure. Vietnam's government has said that the United States has a moral and spiritual responsibility to heal the wounds of war, but Hanoi has never formally asked for compensation for Agent Orange victims of Agent Orange.


Vietnam Agent Orange plaintiffs condemn US court decision

11 March 2005

HANOI, March 11 (AFP) - Vietnamese Agent Orange victims on Friday angrily condemned a US court's dismissal of their lawsuit accusing a string of US chemical firms of crimes against humanity and pledged to continue their legal battle. A New York judge threw out the case, filed on behalf of millions of Vietnamese harmed by the war-era defoliant, on Thursday, saying it had no basis in law. "It is a wrong decision, unfair and irresponsible," said Nguyen Trong Nhan, vice president of Vietnam's Association for Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA), saying the legal fight would continue. "This is just another war that could be long and difficult, as was the Vietnam war. We are determined to pursue it until the very end, until the day we will be able to ask for justice," he told AFP. Agent Orange was used by the US Army in the 1954-1975 Vietnam War to clear the jungle and prevent enemy forces from being able to use the dense foliage for cover. The lawsuit, against firms including pharmaceutical giants Monsanto, Dow Chemical and Hercules Incorporated, won mass support in Vietnam where 11.5 million people signed a petition, according to official figures.
Heart-rending pictures such as a child with a distorted face, a legless woman walking on her hands and two babies fused together in a single body have hit Vietnamese newspapers in recent weeks.  But district court judge Jack Weinstein said there was no law that could enforce the plaintiffs' claim that the firms were guilty of crimes against humanity for making Agent Orange available. "There is no basis for any of the claims of plaintiffs under the domestic law of any nation or state or under any form of international law. The case is dismissed," the judge said. The US-based Fund for Reconciliation and Development (FRD) said the judge's decision made it easier for the United States to "continue to evade moral responsibility for the consequences of its actions." "Regardless of how much chemical companies and the US government knew about the poisonous dioxin... they should not hide behind legal and scientific technicalities to avoid facing their obligation...," FRD Executive Director John McAuliff said.
In theory, the decision can be appealed and then taken to the US Supreme Court. Some Vietnamese experts believe an appeal could be possible on the legal precedent of a 1984 class action settlement, when manufacturers agreed to pay 180 million dollars to US war veterans who died or became ill after exposure to defoliants."If the medical files (of Vietnamese victims) are not convincing enough, we will use the ones of the American soldiers," said in Tuoi Tre newspaper Professor Ngo Thanh Nhan, who participated in the campaign to drum up support for the case. "There's no reason why those who sprayed chemical products got compensation for their contamination... and the direct victims' suit is rejected by an American court."
Several Vietnamese papers condemned the decision. "It is not only a legal matter. The two aspects, legal and moral, have to be examined," said Nguyen Van Tuan, an Australian scientist of Vietnamese origin, in the Tuoi Tre newspaper. "The US are today the first world power... and they have to admit their fault... and take concrete measures to reduce the pain of millions of victims in the country." "We wonder why the United States allow themselves to teach Vietnam lessons about human rights as they try to avoid their responsibilities...," said the People's Army mouthpiece, Quan Doi Nhan  Dan.
In September, the US State Department singled out Vietnam as a  "country of particular concern" over its abuse of religious freedom.

Vietnam Agent Orange Victims Slam U.S. Verdict

Fri Mar 11, 2005

HANOI (Reuters) - The dismissal of a case in the United States which accused chemical companies of war crimes by supplying the U.S. military with Agent Orange in the Vietnam War triggered angry protests from Vietnamese victims on Friday. "His verdict is completely unreasonable and unjust," Nguyen Trong Nhan, vice president of Vietnam's Association of Victims of Agent Orange told Reuters a day after U.S. District Court Judge Jack Weinstein dismissed the case.
"We will pursue the suit until justice is done," Nhan said. The civil suit was based on allegations by Vietnamese that they were injured and their land left barren by the U.S. use of Agent Orange and other herbicides from 1965 to 1971. More than 30 companies were named in the lawsuit, among them Dow Chemical Co. and Monsanto Co.. "Judge Weinstein has made it easier for our country to continue to evade moral responsibility for the consequences of its actions," John McAuliff, executive director of the New York-based Fund for Reconciliation and Development, said in a statement. The suit said up to 4 million Vietnamese people suffered from dioxin poisoning due to Agent Orange, a defoliant dumped by U.S. warplanes on Vietnamese jungles to destroy sources of food and cover. Dioxin can cause cancer, deformities and organ dysfunction.
U.S. forces sprayed an estimated 20 million gallons of herbicides, including Agenct Orange, on Vietnam during the war but the chemical remained in the water and soil decades later. Weinstein said the evidence of injuries in the case was presented in "brief anecdotal form," and "the fact that diseases were experienced
by some people after spraying does not suffice to prove ... that the harm resulted to individuals because of the spraying." The case had been closely watched as a test of the reach of U.S. courts as it considered the power of the U.S. president to authorize use of hazardous materials during war. The chemical companies argued they produced Agent Orange according to U.S. government specifications and there was no proven connection between Agent Orange and the health problems it is accused of causing.
Other companies named in the lawsuit included Hercules Inc., Occidental Chemical Corp., Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp., Maxus Energy Corp., Uniroyal Inc. and Wyeth.


Hawaii Lawmakers Should Not Form Friendship with Vietnam Communist Party Bad for
Foreign Relations, Bad for Business

By Joseph Hallabay, 3/8/2005 10:39:57 PM

Honolulu is a beautiful city in the Paradise state of Hawaii. Its primary business with all of the outside world is the "tourism industry" and Honolulu has had with good intentions many "Sister Relationships" with beautiful cities across the world. I truly believe in supporting one another in "Win-Win" and mutually benefited relationships. However, HCR 65 and HCR 69 call for "State-province relations of the State of Hawaii and the province of Thua Thien-Hue of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam". I can see some good resulting from this arrangement such as exchanging cultural, educational, and musical information. But when it comes to business, I am opposing to both HCR 65 and HCR 69 due to the following reasons: * Vietnam is a communist country - it is just like North Korea, PRC ... Testimony such as this one would never be allowed in that kind of
regime. The law of the land (I call it Jungle Law) belongs the Vietnamese Communist Party and the people have no say whatsoever. The Vietnamese Communist Party owns and controls all major businesses. Sure, corruption exists everywhere in the world to different degrees (and that includes Hawaii), but in Vietnam, the percentage number runs very high.
* Vietnam is now well known for: Child trafficking (girls being auctioned on Ebay, girls being sold to other countries such as Taiwan); and drug trafficking (see Internet articles from Reuters and World Vision Action News). Since the fall of Saigon to the communists in 1975, Vietnam for the last 30 years or so has been known to dare to "Expropriate" properties, wealth and land from Montagnards, local citizens, local businesses as well as foreign businesses. Of course, Vietnam, with such a reputation in the international business arena (as most big businesses are state owned and run), has been trying to improve matters but, because of the "jungle law" that the Vietnamese Communist Party operates, it is still a very deceptive place for foreigners to do business there, or for any decent state such as Hawaii to be friends with.
Lawmakers considering the passage of this resolution should ask themselves: What is the role of the State of Hawaii when it comes to "foreign investment" in Vietnam? Are the opportunities open to all Hawaii residents and businesses? Who can invest in Vietnam? Are there any restrictions? Who really are going to benefit when these HCRs are completely passed? Is it the Vietnamese Communist Party or some private investors in Hawaii? Is it the people of Vietnam or the people of Hawaii? Hawaii residents should be aware that if the HCRs are passed, Hawaii is going to engage in doing business with Vietnam's Vietnamese Communist Party.
How much do the lawmakers and other people of Hawaii really know about communism?
Those who have not lived within the walls of communism, who have not talked to family victims who got tricked into losing their teenager girls to the sex slave trade, who lost their businesses, homes and all that they own, don't understand the dangers of such a proposal. Also an important question, are lawmakers going to use public funds to help out the Vietnamese Communist Party to do business in Hawaii? Should the HCRs pass the Legislature, other sister cities may be offended because Hawaii now is supporting and making friends with such a highly corrupted Communist Government that has no credit in the international arena, with many Human rights deprivations, child trafficking, drug trafficking, and the common practice of expropriation of private property. How about tourists from Japan and other parts of the world? What happens if they are offended and as a result do not visit Hawaii thereby hurting the tourism agency? How about other types of imports and exports? If the future outcome of Hawaii's economy is negatively affected by lawmakers' decisions, then who is going to be accountable for that? Joseph Hallabay, BSEE, MBA is a Vietnamese American and Concerned Resident of Hawaii. He can be reached via email at mailto:winwindeals4all@yahoo.com


No Benefit to Hawaii to Be Sister City to Communist Vietnam

By Nina Nguyen, 3/10/2005

I am opposed to HCR 65 and HCR 69, which establishes state-province relations between the state of Hawaii and the province of Thua Thien-Hue.
The reasons for opposing these resolutions deal with events of the past and present.
During the 1968 Tet Offensive in the ancient city of Hue, South Vietnam, the most barbarious massacre in our history occurred. More than five thousand (5,000) men, women and children were murdered by the North Vietnamese Army, on orders from infamous "war hero" General Vo Nguyen Giap, rounded up and marched the civilians to a dry river bed and summarily executed them with bullets, bayonets and clubs.
Some were buried alive with their hands tied behind their backs. General Frederick Weyand, former Chief of Staff of U.S. Army, describes first hand that "the skulls all have been crushed -- not shot ... they were clubbed on beaten or even stabbed to death. Most of them were children, women, teachers, Budhhist monks, Catholic priests."
This occurred during a 4-day ceasefire agreed upon by both sides (North and South Vietnam).
* Presently, the human rights on my people are being constantly violated with emphasis on the arrest, detention and interrogation of religious leaders.
* Second, Vietnamese women and children are being sold as slaves to Cambodia, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Macau for sexual exploitation and forced marriages, some as young as 7 years.
* Third, communist members are promoting drug trafficking of opium in Thua Thien-Hue and other remote sectors of Vietnam. Drug abuses are uncontrollable in most cities.
* Fourth, corruption among government officials is rampant in Vietnam with under-the-table payoffs prevelant in all levels and escalating since 1999.
* Fifth, between the United States and Vietnam, there is a U.S. trade deficit of negative $4, 112.4 billion with the state of Hawaii having nothing to trade with the province Thua Thien-Hue.
I was fortunate to leave Vietnam before my country fell into the claws of Vietnamese Communist Party in 1975 and become a U.S. citizen and a resident of the state of Hawaii. The past and present actions of the present government in Vietnam support my position that Vietnamese Communist cannot be trusted and that, unless human rights violations upon my people come to an end. Culturally, a Thua Thien-Hue Massacre Memorial has to be built before the State of Hawaii enters into a sister relationship with the province of Thua Thien-Hue. This would end the silent tears for 5,000 deaths caused by Vietnamese Communist terrorist acts.
There is no beneficial results for the people of the state of Hawaii from such a relationship.
Nina Nguyen, the director for A Voice for Vietnamese in America, can be reached via email at mailto:VNtv@hotmail.com


Citibank launches interest rate swaps

11/Mar/2005 Thoi Bao Ngan Hang page 2The State Bank of Vietnam has recently issued an official letter allowing Citibank Vietnam to launch interest rate swaps between US dollar and dong to clients. The maximum duration of interest rate swap contracts is five years or less since such contracts become effective.


MoF turns down tariff cuts on electronic components

10/Mar/2005 Vietnam News page 14The Ministry of Finance said, on March 8, it will not reduce import tariffs to zero on electronic components, ending months of speculation about such a move and dashing industry hopes.

The ministry said it will maintain import tariffs for those components that local producers have the competitive advantage. However, the ministry will reduce the rate of imported components for those goods which domestic producers cannot compete, including display tubes, electronic ray drivers antennae, and transponders, from the current 15-30% to 5-20%.


Import duties cut on apparels imported from US and EU

10/Mar/2005 Thoi Bao Kinh Te Vietnam page 1The Ministry of Finance issued Decision 13/2005/QD-BTC dated March 8, 2005 modifying import duties applied to apparel and textile products imported from the US and European Union (EU) to implement pledges in accordance with the agreement between Vietnam and EU on market access and the trade agreement on apparel and textile products with the US in 2005.


VAORRC raised funds for victims of Agent Orange

07/Mar/2005 Tuoi TreNew York-based Vietnam Agent Orange Responsibility and Rescue Campaign or Vaorrc on March 5 held a grand meeting to collect one million signatures in purpose to claim justice for Vietnamese Agent Orange victims.

According to Tuoi Tre correspondences reported from New York, Phan Thi Phi Phi Prof who represents for Agent Orange victims and as a lawyer of the petitioner; and representatives from Vaorrc, New York associations of doctors for social responsibilities, and the Americans who are interested in the lawsuit attended the meeting.


Call to raise cap on transferring allowances abroad

10/Mar/2005 Tuoi Tre page 11Vice director of the State Bank of Vietnam-HCM City Branch, Ho Huu Hanh has petitioned the central bank to increase the cap of transferring allowances by local people to their relatives living abroad to US$10,000 per person a year, instead of US$5,000 as presently.