Nation to strengthen bond with overseas Vietnamese

HA NOI — The millions of Vietnamese people living and working abroad are a national treasure, playing an important role in and making effective contributions to the process of building the nation of Viet Nam, said Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Phu Binh.

"We highly value the overseas Vietnamese community’s contributions to their fatherland," Binh said in a recent interview with the Associated Press.

Overseas Vietnamese encouraged to play in Vietnam

Overseas Vietnamese singer Duy Quang performing in the music show Duyen Dang Viet Nam
A new government directive would make it easier for overseas Vietnamese artists to return to play in Vietnam, an official said.

To receive permission to perform, an artist should submit to authorities a performance application along with verification from the organizer of their show in Vietnam, according to Mr. Le Nam, Head of the Arts Performances Management under the Ministry of Culture and Information.

Economy expands 7.2% despite droughts, avian flu, price hikes

HA NOI — Viet Nam’s economy managed to expand 7.2 per cent in the first quarter of this year despite prolonged droughts in the central and central highlands areas, the avian flu epidemic, and materials’ price hike, the Government said during a two-day meeting which closed yesterday in Ha Noi.

The Government’s figures matched the General Statistics Office’s report which revealed the first quarter’s growth was way lower than the Government’s full-year expectation of 8.5 per cent.

Community care to benefit 15,000 more children annually

HA NOI — The community-based health care and educational allowance will now benefit an additional 15,000 underprivileged Vietnamese children each year until 2010.

The expansion is part of Prime Minister Phan Van Khai’s 2005-10 project to provide community-based health care to extremely impoverished children.

Orphans, abandoned and disabled children, victims of Agent Orange/Dioxins and those infected with HIV/AIDS will benefit, receiving help with integrating into their communities, stabilising their lives and asserting their rights.

VN upbeat as WTO meeting ends

HA NOI — Positive results were achieved at the recent round of talks between Viet Nam, the US and Canada on the country’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), said the National Committee for International Economic Cooperation.

At the negotiations with the US, which took place in Washington from March 14 to 16, Viet Nam discussed requirements on opening the market to US goods and services that the US proposed in January.

Prime Minister receives expatriate Vietnamese Zen Master

Prime Minister Phan Van Khai affirmed Buddhism's close link with and contributions to the nation while talking with expatriate Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in Hanoi on Mar. 25.

PM Khai welcomed the visit to the homeland by the Zen Master, a Buddhist monk of Vietnamese origin, who founded and is the head of Lang Mai (Plum Village) Sangha in France. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh's visit is being made at the invitation of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha's International Religious Board.

Foreign sector helps exports top $6.7b

HA NOI — Viet Nam has achieved US$2.5 billion in export turnover during the month of March, reported the General Statistics Office (GSO).

This month’s export turnover has brought the total for the first three months to $6.7 billion or an increase of 16.2 per cent against the same period last year.

According to economists at the GSO and the Ministry of Trade, the high export turnover in March was largely due to increasing prices on the global market.

US venture funds opens rep. office in HCMC

A US$100-million venture capital fund officially opened its representative office in Ho Chi Minh City on Mar. 25 to commence operations in southern Vietnam.

At the opening ceremony, IDG Ventures Vietnam, a subsidiary of the US International Data Group, the world’s leading technology, media, research and event firm, said it has invested into two Vietnamese software companies, PeaceSoft and iSphere.

PeaceSoft and iSphere, both based in capital Hanoi, are two dynamic companies with qualified staff, said Nguyen Bao Hoang, IDG Ventures Vietnam chief executive.

“Narrower gaps” in Vietnam’s WTO talks

In past talks over Vietnam’s entry to the World Trade Organization this year, partners like Japan have shown their support by reducing demands for the country to open up its market, said a deputy trade minister.

“Many partners said the gap between them and Vietnam in negotiations for the country’s integration into the World Trade Organization has been narrowed,” said Deputy Trade Minister Luong Van Tu.

Legal load for WTO entry

The National Assembly (NA) is drafting 30 legal documents concerning negotiations on Vietnam's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The documents, 26 laws and codes and four ordinances, are being drafted or revised and supplemented to carry out duties which will arise during bilateral and multilateral WTO negotiations.

Minister of Trade Truong Dinh Tuyen said that Vietnam's law building programme has drawn due concern from major partners, including the US, who consider it one of Vietnam's top priorities for admission.