Vietnamese Cuisine: A Treasure Trove of Exquisite Fish Dishes

Vietnam is making significant strides in promoting digitalization in customs activities. This move is expected to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and enhance transparency in international trade. Moreover, the northern region of the country is buzzing with excitement as numerous spring festivals are kicking off. These festivals offer a vibrant and colorful celebration of Vietnamese culture and traditions. Additionally, Quang Ninh province has ambitious plans to introduce 62 new tourism products by 2024. This initiative aims to diversify and enrich the tourism offerings in the region, attracting more visitors and boosting the local economy. These are just a few highlights of the latest news from Vietnam today.

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Vietnam News Feb. 16 notable headlines

PM urges speeding up key transport projects

Vietnam promotes digitalization in customs activities

Vietnam attends second international meeting of theoretical publications of left parties, movements

Numerous spring festivals kick-off in the northern region

Quang Ninh to have 62 new tourism products in 2024

Vietnamese exports to Australia bring back nearly US$5.23 billion

Vietnam rakes in over US$14 million from longan exports

Central bank pushes others to boost lending from start of New Year

Cement industry expected to bounce back in 2024

Deputy Director and Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Su That National Political Publishing House Vo Van Be speaks at the event (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam attends the second international meeting of theoretical publications of left parties, movements

A delegation from the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), led by Deputy Director and Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Su That (Truth) National Political Publishing House Vo Van Be, attended the second International Meeting of Theoretical Publications of Left Parties and Movements, in Havana, Cuba from February 12-14.

Addressing the plenary and thematic sessions, the CPV delegation affirmed the need to strengthen solidarity and unity amidst diversity among international left-wing parties and movements. They agreed with the Joint Action Plan to be approved at the meeting, with priority given to the expansion of cooperation, exchange of opinions, and concrete coordination to proactively adapt and triumph over common challenges. The delegation also introduced new achievements in theoretical research during the Party’s renewal period, orientations of external information dissemination, and efforts to enhance the role and responsibility of Vietnamese youth in safeguarding the Party’s ideological foundation.

The CPV is ready to share experiences and lessons learned in the theoretical summary and real situation of the Doi Moi process with international left-wing parties and movements, they said.

Over 200 delegates from 37 countries globally, along with representatives from 43 organizations and 36 international press agencies, engaged in in-depth discussions on recent developments in the international situation and the progress of the Action Plan adopted at the first meeting last year.

After three days of sitting, the meeting approved an Action Plan, paving the way for the establishment of a standing task force to ensure coordination between meetings. Additional measures include building a foundation to expand linkages and mechanisms to engage the public in efforts for freedom of communications and peacekeeping; forming a network of digital publications, and digital information repositories to disseminate revolutionary theory and practice; collaborating on research on contemporary challenges, the development of Marxism-Leninism in new conditions, among others.

Participants adopted a Joint Statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people, calling for an immediate cessation of violence and urgent dialogue to end violence in the Gaza Strip, seeking a long-term peaceful solution for the region.

While in Cuba, the Vietnamese delegation laid wreaths at the Monument of President Ho Chi Minh, paid a courtesy call to the Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) Central Committee and head of its Ideological Department Rogelio Polanco Fuentes, met and held working sessions with other Cuban officials.

They also attended an event to introduce the book “Some Theoretical and Practical Issues on Socialism and the Path to Socialism in Vietnam” by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, to leaders and advisory bodies of the PCC Central Committee.

Quang Binh Customs Department’s staff works on VNACCS/VCIS system. (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam promotes digitalization in customs activities

The General Department of Customs 2024 will continue to reform customs policies and procedures, as well as build and deploy digital customs. That will contribute to creating favorable conditions for import-export businesses, supporting trade promotion, and helping the country’s economy achieve its growth target.

This year, the General Department of Customs is assigned by the National Assembly a state budget revenue of 375 trillion VND, including 204 trillion VND from import and export activities. However, the state budget revenue from import and export activities is forecast to continue to face many factors affecting the world’s economy and society.

To ensure the legal basis for implementing customs reform and modernization in the coming time, the customs sector has been focusing on completing the submission of documents on the legal implementation of customs administrative procedures on electronic and digital platforms to the Government and the Ministry of Finance for promulgation. Specifically, the Ministry of Finance issued Circular 33/2023/TT-BTC dated May 31, 2023, on determining the origin of export and import goods.

At the same time, the customs sector continues to accelerate the completion of draft decrees that play a particularly important role in promoting administrative reform, creating favorable conditions in enterprises’ activities of goods import and export, and implementing all customs procedures and tax management for these goods.

They include a decree regulating the management mechanism, methods, order, and procedures for quality and food safety inspection for imported goods; a decree on customs management of import and export goods traded via e-commerce; and a decree amending and supplementing Decree 08/2015/ND-CP on implementing the Customs Law’s regulations on customs procedures, inspection, and supervision.

At the same time, the customs sector also focuses on building and completing the digital customs and smart customs project, synchronously and comprehensively implementing solutions to promote digital transformation in customs activities, said Nguyen The Viet, deputy director of the division on customs supervision and management, General Department of Customs.

This project also aims to manage activities of the customs in the digital environment from the entire process of implementing customs procedures, including before, during and after customs clearance. That ensures seamless management from the beginning stage to the end for exported, imported and transited goods; and transport means.

The General Department of Customs also continues to actively propose reforms in management and specialized inspection of import and export goods. In addition, customs authorities improve the operational efficiency of the National Single Window and ASEAN Single Window, gradually implementing digital transformation of this system to optimize their operation.

Now, all core customs procedures are implemented on the VNACCS/VCIS system at all customs offices nationwide. The General Department of Customs also provides online public services at levels 3 and 4 for other administrative procedures, the representative of the General Department of Customs said.

Last year, Vietnam’s total goods import and export value was estimated to reach 683 billion USD, down 6.6% from the previous year. Of which, exports decreased by 4.4% while imports decreased by 8.9%.

With the existing difficulties in the global and home markets, from the beginning of 2023, the General Department of Customs synchronously and promptly implemented tasks and solutions according to the issued resolutions to facilitate trade activities, remove difficulties for businesses and implement the State budget revenue plan.

Viet said notably, the General Department of Customs issued Decision 123/QD-TCHQ on implementing administrative reform, simplifying customs procedures, and facilitating trading activities in 2023. Accordingly, the customs sector has reduced by 10% the time required to implement customs clearance and goods handling. The number of electronic documents certifying the origin of goods also increased sharply.

Customs authorities prioritize the implementation of customs clearance procedures for agricultural products and perishable goods, and work with local authorities to actively complete customs clearance at the northern border gates, he said. Border gates in Lang Son province are currently operating customs clearance from 7 am to 10 pm.

In 2023, import and export activities were conducted at six border gates in Lang Son province. The total import-export turnover of Lang Son reached nearly USD 5 billion, an increase of 60.9% year on year. The customs clearance of fruit and agricultural products was carried out smoothly, with no congestion, contributing to maintaining stability in bilateral trade activities and ensuring the supply chain of goods.

Vietnam’s ca kho to – caramelized fish in clay pot (Source: TasteAtlas)

Vietnamese culinary delights among Asia’s finest fish dishes

Vietnam’s sweet and sour soup and clay-pot caramelized fish have respectively ranked 11th and 44th in a list of 53 best Asian fish dishes by the cuisine magazine TasteAtlas.

Canh chua ca – the sweet and sour soup – refers to a range of Vietnamese fish soups known for their blend of sweet, spicy, and sour tastes. These soups are typically made with a tamarind-infused broth and feature chunks of pineapple, tomatoes, okra, bean sprouts, or assorted veggies. According to the magazine, while catfish is a common choice, other variations may include carp, snakehead fish, eels, or salmon. Typically garnished with cilantro, these soups are served alongside rice.

The soup has also earned recognition as one of the top 35 highest-rated fish soups by TasteAtlas, securing 5th position.

Meanwhile, ca kho to – caramelized fish in a clay pot – involves braising fatty fish cuts in clay pots. Typically featuring catfish or snakehead, the dish is caramelized with a mixture of fish sauce, sugar, and coconut water, often enhanced with sliced scallions, onions, or garlic. Traditionally, caramelized fish in a clay pot is served with rice.

The list, based on the number of votes from diners and culinary experts, also includes Indonesia’s pempek – a fish cake made from ground fish meat and tapioca starch, Bangladesh’s shorsheilish – hilsa fish cooked in a mustard sauce, and Japan’s maguro, otoro, and chutoro nigiri sushi that feature different cuts and qualities of tuna.

Vietnamese exports to Australia bring back nearly US$5.23 billion

Vietnam’s exports to Australia hit US$5.23 billion last year, representing a slight fall of 5.3% compared to the previous year, according to statistics released by the General Department of Vietnam Customs. The group of phones and components secured the largest export turnover with US$589.25 million, representing a fall of 23% year on year. They were followed by machinery, equipment, tools, and spare parts (US$562.88 million), crude oil (US$552.35 million), and computers, electronic products, and components (US$506 million).

Industry insiders attributed the decline to the global economic recession. Meanwhile, Vietnam spent over US$8.53 billion on importing goods from Australia, down 15.7% compared to 2022. Most notably, coal imports of all kinds took the lead valued at US$3.28 billion, followed by ores and minerals (US$1.06 billion), cotton (US$1.02 billion), and wheat (US$924.5 million).

Vietnam – Australia trade has continued to enjoy robust growth in recent years as the two sides are fully tapping into incentives from several multilateral trade agreements. In 2022, two-way trade turnover between the two countries reached US$15.7 billion, up 26.9% compared to 2021, making Australia the country’s seventh largest trading partner. Of the total, Vietnamese exports edged up 26.2% to US$5.6 billion, whilst imports surged 27.3% to US$10.1 billion.

Amy Mai Nguyen