Political Headlines December 8

TPP ministerial meeting opens in Singapore

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Ministerial Meeting opened in Singapore on December 7 with the participation of trade ministers and officials from the 12 TPP parties.

At plenary sessions held daily from December 7-10, besides tackling issues such as trade liberalisation in goods, services, investments, and government procurement, the delegates will discuss areas such as intellectual property rights, technical barriers to trade, labour and environment, agriculture, investment, financial services, telecommunications and State-owned enterprises.

At the first plenary on December 7, the trade ministers of Singapore, Canada and New Zealand; the vice ministers of Chile and Japan; the TPP chief negotiators of Australia, Brunei, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam; and the US Trade Representative at the TPP Ministerial Meeting discussed issues relating to goods and e-commerce.

Bilateral meetings will also be held during the four-day conference.

All the 12 TPP countries, namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US, and Vietnam are also members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

With the admission of Japan in July 2013, the TPP members account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP and about one-third of all world trade.

NA Vice Chairman seeks warmer ties with Norway

Senior Norwegian officials have made clear their intention to facilitate trade and investment between Vietnam and European nations, in addition to pursuing bilateral partnerships in line with environmental protection as part of their response to climate change.

This was expressed as Vice Chairman of the National Assembly (NA) Uong Chu Luu held talks with First Vice President of the Norwegian Parliament Marit Nabykk; Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Tore Schei; and top officials of the Norwegian Prosecution Authority; parliamentary committees on justice, scrutiny and constitutional affairs, external affairs, and defence during his visit to Norway from December 5-6.

Nabykk suggested both sides embrace new cooperative fields like climate change adaptation, forestation and negotiations on a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

Both sides said they are satisfied with their recent bilateral ties, especially between the two legislatures, and vowed to carry economic and trade collaboration forward so as to match each country’s potential.

Luu informed the hosts that the Vietnamese NA will hold the 132nd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in March 2015 and extended NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung’s invitation for the president of the Norwegian Parliament to attend the event.

Luu’s visit was made in order to tighten affiliation between the two legislative bodies, including the sharing of experience in the State apparatus.

It was the first visit by a high-ranking Vietnamese parliamentary delegation since the two nations established their diplomatic ties in 1971.

Bolivian President encourages closer ties with Vietnam

The similarities in the national construction plans between Bolivia and Vietnam are the basis for the two countries to further strengthen cooperation in such fields as oil and gas and agriculture, Bolivian President Evo Morales has said.

The Bolivian leader met with visiting Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh in La Paz on December 6.

Morales proposed the two sides increasingly work to overcome the difficulties presented by geographical distance separating the two countries.

He expressed his admiration for Vietnam’s historical tradition and preeminent figures such as President Ho Chi Minh and General Vo Nguyen Giap, while congratulating the country on its recent socio-economic development achievements.

For his part, Deputy PM Ninh thanked the Bolivian Government and its people for their valuable support to Vietnam in the past and at present. He also reaffirmed Vietnam’s policy to promote all-round ties with Latin American countries, including Bolivia.

Deputy PM Ninh also met with his Bolivian counterpart Alvaro Garcia on the same day. They briefed each other on their country’s economic situation, and said recent bilateral ties between the two sides developed positively due to high-ranking official visits.

Both host and guest also agreed about many measures to promote relations between the two countries, including maintaining delegation exchanges at all levels; implementing newly-established cooperation frameworks and enhancing economic-trade ties, especially in strong fields such as oil and gas, mining, agriculture and textiles.

The two countries demonstrated their determinations to coordinate and support each other at international organisations and multilateral forums such as the United Nations (UN), the Non-aligned Movement (NAM) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to enhance their positions, thus contributing actively to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

While visiting the State-owned oil and gas company of Bolivia (YPFB), Ninh said he hopes that YPFB and Vietnam’s National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) will be able to cooperate effectively in the future.

Deputy President of YPFB Jorge Marquez affirmed that his group will create favourable conditions for PetroVietnam to access the most accurate information when it invests in oil and gas in Bolivia next year.

Also the same day, Vietnamese Deputy Head of the Government Office, Deputy Mnisters of Foreign Affairs, Industry and Trade, Finance and Agriculture and Rural Development held meetings with their Bolivian counterparts.

The officials discussed specific action programmes in order to implement signed agreements that will further deepen bilateral relations.

Deputy PM Ninh and the Vietnamese Government delegation visited several of Bolivia’s historical and cultural monuments before wrapping up their visit to Bolivia on December 7.

PM Dung highlights HCM City’s economic growth

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has praised HCM City for its impressive economic achievements during 2013.

Working with municipal leaders on December 7, Dung commended the city’s practical socio-economic development measures that proactively contributed to macroeconomic stability, minimal inflation, and the protection of social welfare and security.

He was especially complimentary of the city’s leadership in tightening the relationship between Vietnam’s key economic regions.

The Government leader asked HCM City to maintain its macroeconomic stability while undertaking economic restructuring and the transformation to a new economic growth model.

Industry, agriculture, and services demand special focus if the three key sectors are to form the national economic spearhead, he said.

HCM City People’s Committee Chairman Le Hoang Quan reported the city estimates its 2013 GDP growth rate at 9.3% or 1.7 times higher than the national average. The city’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.8%, while the poverty rate decreased by 0.8%.

Quan acknowledged some of the shortcomings the city needs to address in 2014, including those related to urban management, environmental protection, social security, and food hygiene and safety.

HCM City’s goals for the new year include achieving a GDP growth rate of 9.5–10%, increasing the total social investment to around 31% of GDP, and lowering the unemployment rate to less than 4.7%.

The city will also concentrate on reducing traffic accidents and improving flood prevention, clean water supplies, and environmental sanitation.

Party chief hears issues of public concern

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong listened to issues of public concern while meeting with voters in Ba Dinh district, Hanoi on December 7.

A majority of those in attendance, who vote for local NA deputies, praised the achievements reached at the recently-concluded sixth session of the 13th National Assembly, which saw the adoption of revised 1992 Constitution and Land Law, and consensus reached on key national issues.

However, the Party leader was told of issues concerning the public. Several expressed worry over the performance and attitudes of some State officials and called for greater training and supervision for them, particularly those working at grassroots level.

Criticisms were also raised over the construction and operation of hydro-power plants in some regions, which have damaged thousands of hectares of forest and disrupted the lives and property of those living nearby due to poor or irresponsible administration.

The management in urban planning and construction also poses shortcomings, voters said, claiming that they have pressed many times for illegal or damaged buildings to be dealt with to no avail.

They also touched upon drawbacks in education at present, including the lack of pre-schools, contrary to the prevalence of universities, many with few students.

The Party chief thanked the group for their comments and said he is hopeful that voters will continue contributing constructive feedback and ideas to the NA, Party and State in the time to come.

Source: VOV/VNA
tpp, NA, Party chief, voters, nguyen tan dung