Vietnam News Today (Oct. 2): Bright Prospect Ahead as Nation Welcomes New Foreign Investment Wave

Vietnam News Today (Oct. 2): 671 new Covid-19 cases recorded on October 1; Bright prospect ahead as nation welcomes new foreign investment wave; Vietnam attends world conference on cultural policies, sustainable development in Mexico; Xoe Thai folk art honored by UNESCO.


Vietnam News Today (Oct. 2) notable headlines

671 new Covid-19 cases recorded on October 1

Bright prospect ahead as nation welcomes new foreign investment wave

Vietnam attends world conference on cultural policies, sustainable development in Mexico

Xoe Thai folk art honored by UNESCO

Vietnam looks to upgrade int’l merchant fleet

Declining Mekong water levels in flood season creates hardship in An Giang

Vietnamese paragliders to fly high at World Cup

Vietnam records high digital banking growth

Tran Van Thao becomes first Vietnamese IBA champion

Illustrative image. Photo: VNA
Illustrative image. Photo: VNA

671 new Covid-19 cases recorded on October 1

The national Covid-19 caseload rose to 11,480,028 with 671 new cases recorded on October 1, the lowest daily number for nearly three months, according to the Ministry of Health.

With 727 patients given the all clear during the day, the number of recoveries rose to 10,592,592. Meanwhile, there are 91 patients needing breathing support, cited VNA.

One death from Covid-19 was recorded in the past 24 hours. The total fatalities rose to 43,149.

On September 30, an additional 19,430 doses of vaccines were administered, raising the total number of doses of Covid-19 vaccines injected to 260,178,998.

Bright prospect ahead as nation welcomes new foreign investment wave

The country has a “golden chance” to attract a fresh wave of foreign investment, especially to its economic zones (EZs) and industrial parks (IPs), according to Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong.

Annual foreign direct investment (FDI) poured into IPs and EZs currently accounts for 35% to 40% of the total FDI capital inflows, with the rate reaching between 70% and 80% in the processing and manufacturing industry, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

The MPI stated that the nation is currently home to 403 IPs, 18 coastal EZs, and 26 border gate EZs, all of which have become key magnets for domestic and foreign investments. Indeed, many of them are accommodating large foreign enterprises such as Samsung, Canon, LG, Sumitomo, Foxconn, and VSIP.

Explaining why the country typically attracts new investment, especially in IPs and EZs, experts and international organisations stated at a recent forum that aside from political stability, the local economy is bouncing back quickly after the Covid-19 pandemic. In line with this, the Vietnamese economy boasts one of the fastest growth rates in the region, ensured major balances, and curbed inflation.

Photo: VOV
Photo: VOV

Many free trade agreements (FTAs) have also been signed and come into effect, thereby creating optimal conditions for international investment and trading activities. In addition, thanks to the State’s attention to building infrastructure, especially expressways, and the engagement of large businesses, infrastructure conditions for industrial development nationwide have been considerably improved.

However, Nguyen Anh Tuan, editor-in-chief of Nha dau tu (Investor) magazine, also pointed out certain challenges relating to the investment attraction of IPs and EZs, including complex administrative procedures. This is along with the lengthy site clearance for new IPs, issues related to law and policy enforcement, especially investment incentives and tax refunding, a general shortage of high-quality manpower, and housing and social welfare for workers in IPs and EZs, according to VOV.

According to economists, in order to welcome more investment, IPs and EZs need not only good infrastructure and excellent services, but also assistance for investors. In order to achieve this, they in turn also need support from the Government.

Favorable conditions provided for IPs by the Government will therefore facilitate investors, whilst difficulties facing IPs could also directly or indirectly affect investors, experts noted.

Deputy Minister Phuong noted that as the advisory body for the State management of IPs and EZs, the MPI will work alongside other ministries, sectors, and localities to continue overhauling mechanisms and policies, as well as assisting investors to create an increasingly transparent and positive environment in IPs and EZs.

Vietnam attends world conference on cultural policies, sustainable development in Mexico

A delegation of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism led by Minister Nguyen Van Hung joined more than 2,500 delegates from 161 countries and territories at the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development (MONDIACULT) 2022 held in Mexico from September 28-30.

During a thematic session entitled “Culture for sustainable development”, Hung shared Vietnam’s experience and recommendation on identifying and fully assessing the role and contributions of culture for sustainable development, as well as the building and development of cultural policies in the coming time.

Vietnam is fully aware of the role of culture as a driving force for sustainable development and commits to carrying out and achieving the 2030 Agenda, the minister underlined.

To capitalize on the country’s diverse cultural heritage and young and creative human resources, the Vietnamese Government has exerted efforts in building strategies, particularly the one for the development of cultural industries by 2030, he said, adding that Vietnam is also among the first countries to pilot the culture index to review cultural databases, policy frameworks and development programs.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung (R) poses for a photo with Mexican Secretary of Culture Alejandra Frausto Guerrero. Photo: VNA
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung (R) poses for a photo with Mexican Secretary of Culture Alejandra Frausto Guerrero. Photo: VNA

The culture sector currently accounts for 3.6% of Vietnam’s GDP, Hung said, adding that improving working conditions and welfare of cultural workers will be a priority in policies of Vietnam and the world in the time to come.

Meeting with UNESCO Chairperson of the Executive Board Tamara Rastovac Siamashvili, Hung expressed his hope that UNESCO will continue to support Vietnam in heritage conservation and the revision of the Law on Cultural Heritage.

For her part, Siamashvili spoke highly of Vietnam’s responsible participation in and contributions to UNESCO, reported VNA.

The minister also met Mexican Secretary of Culture Alejandra Frausto Guerrero to discuss measures to strengthen bilateral cultural cooperation, during which the sides affirmed the special role of culture for both countries, shared their priorities in the building and implementation of cultural policies and measures for socio-economic development and the realisation of sustainable development goals.

They agreed that culture and art exchange will serve as a driving force for the Vietnam-Mexico ties, and foster solidarity, friendship and mutual understanding between peoples of the countries.

The Mexican government and Secretariat of Culture wants to boost ties with Vietnam in culture-art and particular fields such as cinematography, exhibitions and archaeology, Frausto Guerrero stressed.

The two ministers consented to sign a cooperation agreement as soon as possible in sectors of mutual concern, as the two countries are looking forward to bringing the relations to a comprehensive partnership in the coming time.

Meeting with the head of the culture and cinematography committee of Mexican Chamber of Deputies, Carlos Francisco Ortiz Tejeda, Hung proposed the Mexican side uphold cultural values of President Ho Chi Minh in Mexican localities where the late President’s statues are placed, and increase cultural exchange through holding film weeks and annual exhibitions of Vietnam and Mexico.

He welcomed Mexican filmmakers to Vietnam for filming, and invited Mexico to send films to attend the sixth Hanoi International Film Festival slated for November.

Xoe Thai folk art honored by UNESCO

Xoe Thai is a unique art form in the cultural and religious life of the Thai ethnic minority in the northwestern province of Son La.

“The art of Xoe Thai” was honored by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It’s a pride and inspiration of the Thai and other ethnic groups to further promote Xoe Thai in the contemporary life.

At a ceremony to to honor Xoe Thai dance on September 19 in Son La province, performances by Thai people refreshed the folk art and cultural values of the Thai people in the northwestern region.

Luong Pham Mai Phuong, a Thai woman in Son La province, said, “I’m proud to join the Xoe Festival and celebrate UNESCO’s recognition of Xoe Thai as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. I’ll try to preserve the traditional art and promote it to many more people.”

Xoe Thai is a folk dance genre with movements representing human activities, which is performed at religious events and festivals. The Thai say that “Without Xoe, flowers can’t bloom, people aren’t happy, a boy and a girl can’t become a couple, and rice and corn can’t grow.”

Thai people dance Xoe. Photo: VOV
Thai people dance Xoe. Photo: VOV

Luong Chua of Yen Chau district, said Thai of all ages love Xoe dancing, which makes their daily life and festivals happier and more joyful.

“Xoe is a good tradition of the Thai. In the old times it was born from community solidarity and bonding. The Xoe circle represents cohesion. There are 6 original Xoe dances. We’re proud that the UNESCO recognized Xoe Thai as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”

Son La province has preserved many old Xoe dances such as Xoe inviting liquor, Xoe advancing and withdrawing, Xoe with scarves, Xoe clapping hands, and Xoe with rings.

Xoe dances have been taught to all the staff of administrative agencies in Son La province to perform at community events and cultural exchanges, cited VOV.

Tran Xuan Viet, Deputy Director of the Son La provincial Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, said preserving and promoting the culture of ethnic groups is an urgent and long-term task.

“We’ll encourage art troupes to replicate their models and promote Xoe Thai dance at cultural exchanges and in daily activities. The community will further promote the art,” Viet said.

UNESCO’s recognition of Xoe Thai is the pride of ethnic groups in the northwestern region and gives them a duty to promote it in the contemporary life. Son La province will open Xoe Thai classes and honor Xoe artists.

Vietnam looks to upgrade int’l merchant fleet

Vietnam’s maritime sector is striving to upgrade its international merchant fleet in order to reduce the country’s dependency on foreign-owned vessels in export-import activities.

A report of the Vietnam Maritime Administration (VinaMarine) showed that along with an average annual growth of 12 percent of export-import turnover in the 2016-21, the cargo throughput of the country’s seaports saw stable increase in the period. In the first seven months of this year, the throughput growth slowed down but still showed a year-on-year rise of 2 percent, reaching about 63 million tons.

The country’s ports in recent years have been developed and are now able to accommodate the world’s largest ships.

However, containers imported and exported to and from Vietnam are mainly handled by foreign shipping lines, especially on long-distance sea routes to developed countries such as Europe and the US, WVR reported.

The domestic fleet currently mainly operates on domestic and short international routes in Asia, VinaMarine Deputy Director General Hoang Hong Giang said.

The country has 10 container shipping companies owning 48 container vessels capable of carrying 39,520 TEUs and only 17 of them are able to sail on Asian waters. There is a lack of container ships and large tonnage ships operating on international routes. Experts say the fleet’s irrational structure with mostly low capacity ships is limiting its competitiveness.

Vietnam looks to upgrade int'l merchant fleet. Shipping vessels at a port - llustrative photo. Source: VNA
Vietnam looks to upgrade int’l merchant fleet. Shipping vessels at a port – llustrative photo. Source: VNA

Vietnam’s merchant fleet ranks third among ASEAN nations and 28th in the world. A Vietnamese firm has invested in a 320,000-DWT oil tanker and over-1,000-DWT bunkers. The move serves as a foundation for the domestic fleet to move step by step in line with the global trend and optimize shipping costs.

VinaMarine has consulted the Ministry of Transport on a project on the development of Vietnam’s international merchant fleet between 2022 and 2030, towards the goal of maintaining its foothold in the domestic market and gradually bolster its presence and competitiveness on the global market.

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Xuan Sang underlined that the development of an international merchant fleet under the project requires efforts from relevant State management agencies, firms and associations.

About US$1.5 billion will be needed to add more vessels to the fleet in the first phase of the project running until 2026.

It is also crucial to improve the quality of crew members and adopt incentives designated to support seafarers.

Rosie Nguyen