Vietnam, Netherlands Sign MoU on Customs Cooperation: Vietnam and the Netherlands have agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance their customs cooperation. This agreement aims to strengthen the partnership between the two countries in areas such as trade facilitation, border security, and the combat against illicit trade. The MoU signifies the commitment of both Vietnam and the Netherlands to promote efficient customs procedures and foster trade relations.

On November 4th, here are the latest updates on Vietnam: Vietnam urges for the lifting of the US embargo against Cuba. Meanwhile, Vietnam and the Netherlands have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on customs cooperation. In other news, Vietnam's trade surplus for the first 10 months of this year has reached a record high of US$24.6 billion. Lastly, HCM City has welcomed over 30 million tourists in the span of 10 months.

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Vietnam News Today (Nov. 4) notable headlines

Vietnam calls for an end to US embargo against Cuba

Vietnam, Netherlands exchange MoU on customs cooperation

Vietnam’s 10-month trade surplus hits five-year record high of US$24.6 billion

HCM City’s tourist arrivals top 30 million in 10 months

Hoi An, Da Lat join UNESCO Creative Cities Network

Gift festival expected to promote Hanoi tourism

Da Nang to become big socio-economic center

Sa Huynh civilization relic site seeks UNESCO recognition

Workshop talks Vietnam-Argentina comprehensive partnership

Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, head of the Vietnamese Delegation to the UN, calls for an immediate end to the ongoing US embargo against Cuba during a UN General Assembly debate in New Year on Nov. 1-2.
Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, head of the Vietnamese Delegation to the UN, calls for an immediate end to the ongoing US embargo against Cuba during a UN General Assembly debate in New Year on Nov. 1-2.

Vietnam calls for an end to US embargo against Cuba

A Vietnamese diplomat to the UN has called on the United States to put an immediate end to its embargo against Cuba and remove the Caribbean state from the list of state sponsors of terrorism as part of steps towards normalizing relations between the two countries.

A Vietnamese diplomat to the UN has called on the United States to put an immediate end to its embargo against Cuba and remove the Caribbean state from the list of state sponsors of terrorism as part of steps towards normalizing relations between the two countries, cited VOV.

Vietnam opposes the economic, commercial, and financial embargo placed against Cuba that violates international law and goes against the basic principles of the UN Charter, he stressed.

The Ambassador also stated that Vietnam opposes all forms of unilateral imposition and embargoes placed against sovereign countries.

He also reaffirmed Vietnam’s close cooperation, friendship, and solidarity with the fraternal Cuban people.

The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”, with 187 votes in favor, two votes against, and one abstention.

Since 1992, the UN General Assembly has held similar debates and passed similar resolutions with support from the majority of UN member countries.

Vietnam, Netherlands exchange MoU on customs cooperation

Deputy Minister of Finance Vo Thanh Hung and Dutch Ambassador to Vietnam Kees van Baar on November 2 exchanged the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the implementation of the Vietnam-Netherlands agreement on cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs matters.

The exchange of the MoU was witnessed by Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte who is on an official visit to Vietnam.

The agreement was signed during Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s visit to Vietnam in 2019. An article on the agreement states that customs offices of the two countries will together decide on detailed arrangements within the framework of the agreement to facilitate the implementation.

On that basis, the General Department of Vietnam Customs and the Customs Administration of the Netherlands negotiated and then completed negotiations and domestic legal procedures to sign the MoU on the occasion of the 50th founding anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries and more specifically, on the occasion of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s official visit to Vietnam, according to VNA.

Deputy Minister of Finance Vo Thanh Hung (R) and Dutch Ambassador to Vietnam Kees van Baar on November 2 exchange the MoU. (Photo: baochinhphu.vn)
Deputy Minister of Finance Vo Thanh Hung (R) and Dutch Ambassador to Vietnam Kees van Baar on November 2 exchange the MoU. (Photo: baochinhphu.vn)

Vietnam’s 10-month trade surplus hits five-year record high of US$24.6 billion

Vietnam maintained a positive trade balance of US$3 billion in October, raising the country’s total trade surplus during January – October 2023 to more than US$24.6 billion, the highest in five years.

The 10-month trade surplus increased more than 2.5 times compared to the same period last year, said the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

The trade surplus helps maintain macroeconomic stability, ensure major economic balances and support the international balance of payments, said the ministry.

The trade surplus was maintained thanks to the sound performance of the foreign invested enterprise sector that struck US$42.6 billion in export surplus (including revenue from the export of crude oil) in 10 months. However, the domestic economic sector slipped into a trade deficit of nearly US$18 billion in the reviewed period.

Unlike previous years, this year saw Vietnam record a positive trade balance due to a sharp fall in imports in comparison with exports, VOV reported.

Vietnam has maintained a positive trade balance over the past 10 months, hitting US$24.6 billion, the highest in five years.
Vietnam has maintained a positive trade balance over the past 10 months, hitting US$24.6 billion, the highest in five years.

MoIT statistics show imports rose by 2.9% month on month to US$29.3 billion in October, but 10-month imports declined 12% year on year to US$267 billion. Meanwhile, 10-month exports fell just 7.1% year on year to US$291.28 billion.

According to the MoIT, the remaining two months of the year will still be difficult due to strategic competition between major powers, increased uncertainty, slow global economic recovery and prolonged conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, and between Israel and Hamas, alongside new global food security risks.

In addition to stimulating domestic consumption, the MoIT said it would accelerate negotiations towards signing trade agreements with potential partners such as the United Arab Emirates and the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) in an effort to diversify markets, products, and supply chains.

HCM City’s tourist arrivals top 30 million in 10 months

Ho Chi Minh City welcomed more than 30 million domestic and foreign visitors during January – October, according to the municipal Department of Tourism.

The number included 4.12 million foreign tourists, or 82% of the set target.

Revenue from accommodation and catering services was more than VND89.45 trillion (US$3.6 billion), and that from travel service was over VND8.9 trillion, up 30.6% and 68.3% year on year, respectively.

Ho Chi Minh City welcomed more than 30 million domestic and foreign visitors during January – October. (Photo: dangcongsan.vn)
Ho Chi Minh City welcomed more than 30 million domestic and foreign visitors during January – October. (Photo: dangcongsan.vn)

Director of the municipal tourism department Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa attributed the result to the sector’s efforts to develop an array of tourism programs that connect tourist attractions in the city, and those that link local destinations with tourism sites in 13 Mekong Delta provinces, Southeastern region, Northwestern region, Northeastern region and north-central region.

With a view to realizing its goal of welcoming 5 million international visitors and more than 35 million domestic ones, and gaining some VND160 trillion in tourism revenue, the sector will continue to popularize its standout tourism offerings through various events.

The third Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Week, which will take place from December 4 to 10, has received an enthusiastic response from travel companies. It will feature special tourism, sports, and musical events, along with promotional programs to stimulate shopping and travel demand across the southern economic hub, cited VNA.

A highlight of the week will be an exhibition where Thu Duc City and 21 districts of HCM City will display their tourism information and images, including attractive tours and typical tourism products.

Local tourism businesses are working to branch out new tours and design incentives for green tourism products and services in response to the Tourism Week.

Hoi An, Da Lat join UNESCO Creative Cities Network

Following the official designation of 55 cities across the globe by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay on World Cities Day (October 31), the historic town of Hoi An has now become a proud member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) in the Crafts and Folk Art category.

The Information and Sports Center of Hoi An City have stated that relentless efforts have finally borne fruit, as the city of Hoi An and its community have been extensively planning and preparing the necessary procedures and activities since the beginning of this year.

Da Lat City in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong was the second city in Vietnam to join the network, becoming a new member in the field of music.

In the press release on October 31, UNESCO said new cities were acknowledged for their strong commitment to harnessing culture and creativity as part of their development strategies and displaying innovative practices in human-centered urban planning.

Vo Tan Tan, a craftsman, is adorning a bicycle frame with bamboo in his personal workshop located in the Cam Thanh Commune, Hoi An. The historic town is now a proud member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), specifically in the Crafts and Folk Art category. - Photo courtesy of Son Ca
Vo Tan Tan, a craftsman, is adorning a bicycle frame with bamboo in his personal workshop located in the Cam Thanh Commune, Hoi An. Photo courtesy of Son Ca

The network now counts 350 cities in more than 100 countries, representing seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music.

Newly designated cities will cooperate with network members to strengthen their resilience in the face of evolving threats such as climate change, rising inequality, as well as rapid urbanization, with 68% of the world’s population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, it said.

“The cities in our Creative Cities Network are leading the way when it comes to enhancing access to culture and galvanizing the power of creativity for urban resilience and development,” said Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General.

In the press release on October 31, UNESCO said new cities were acknowledged for their strong commitment to harnessing culture and creativity as part of their development strategies and displaying innovative practices in human-centered urban planning.

The network now counts 350 cities in more than 100 countries, representing seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music, VNS reported.

Newly designated cities will cooperate with network members to strengthen their resilience in the face of evolving threats such as climate change, rising inequality, as well as rapid urbanization, with 68% of the world’s population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, it said.

“The cities in our Creative Cities Network are leading the way when it comes to enhancing access to culture and galvanizing the power of creativity for urban resilience and development,” said Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General.

Folk arts have been preserved as a consistent feature in traditional festivals and communal activities.

The center has noted that there are 1,700 households and 685 small-scale enterprises engaged in crafts and the performance of folk arts. Approximately 4,000 laborers and craftsmen generate an annual average income ranging from US$3,500 to $4,000 through their involvement in folk arts performances and craft trades.

In 1999, UNESCO conferred world heritage status upon the Old Quarter of Hoi An.

Rosie Nguyen