Vietnam Religious Ordinance Promulgated

Ho Chi Minh City, 29 July: According to Catholic priest Vu Quang Trung of Jesus Christ from the Hien Linh Monastery, the Government Ordinance on Religions and Belief and its guidance decree have helped usher in a new chapter for spiritual activities of religious people. The promulgation of the mandate clearly reflects the state respect for people's religious and belief freedom, and their spiritual needs and activities, the priest added.

Foreign University Opens New Campus in Saigon South

Australia’s RMIT International University in Vietnam inaugurated a brand new campus in Ho Chi Minh City’s Saigon South July 25.

The new US$20 million school with a four-story main block can seat around 3,000 students.

The new 12.4ha site will also house a state-of-the-art medical center, theatre, and library.

Located some seven kilometers from the city center, the new campus will bring faculty and students together to study at one location.

Study Worries U.S. Catfish Industry

A study that suggests Vietnamese basa catfish are tastier than US pond-raised catfish has caused a stir among American catfish farmers across the country’s Southeast region.

The study, made public by Mississippi State University researchers last week, has drawn sharp criticism from Mississippi-based Catfish Farmers of America, a group that pushed for tariffs on the Vietnamese basa.

Vietnam Lifts Quota Fees for Textile Exports to U.S.

Vietnam’s Finance Ministry has decided to abolish the fees local textile manufacturers have to pay to obtain quotas for exports to the US market.

The abolition should boost nearly 800 local textile producers exporting to the American market, helping producers cut business costs and ease difficulties in export to the US so far, according to the ministry.

Out of the country’s biggest textile markets, only the US still upholds the imposition of quota restrictions.

Textiles are Vietnam’s second largest export earner after crude oil.

State Bank of Vietnam Plans to Liberalize Financial Market

Viet Nam News, (25-07-2005)

HA NOI — The central bank is considering expanding the categories of securities tradable on the open market in order to develop the financial market, a senior bank official said.

State Bank of Viet Nam’s (SBV) deputy governor Nguyen Dong Tien also told a conference held last week to review five years of the open market operation that the SBV would also ask the government to issue more short-term treasury bills for the purpose of expanding securities.

Leading U.S. Entrepreneurs Show Interest in HCMC

A delegation of leading American businesses expressed their wishes to invest in Ho Chi Minh City during a survey trip to Vietnam July 22 to 24.

Representatives from American Dye Golf Corporation, Salim Group, Dallas Pension and Consult Fund all showed serious intentions in carrying out projects in the city, according to Chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee Le Thanh Hai.

U.S. Consortium Gets Nod for HCMC Waste-to-Energy Plant

The U.S. Entropic Consortium has been given approval to commercialize a 300 million-USD waste-to-energy facility in Ho Chi Minh City, the Business Wire reported Thursday.

The consortium concluded its final negotiations this week after a major presentation to government officials. The approval is subject to a final design, technology and administrative review by the HCMC Environmental Protection Agency.

Foreign Investors Target Vietnam Commercial Banks

Foreign investors are increasingly buying into Vietnam’s fast-expanding banking industry, creating favorable opportunities for local banks to boost their operations.

Overseas companies now see joint-stock commercial banks in Vietnam as an attractive investment option following the country’s rapid-growing financial market and the fact that banks are making huge profits.

Vietnamese Life Expectancy Increases

Vietnamese life expectancy is reportedly now at 71.3, three years longer than it was five years ago, according to the Ministry of Health.

The improved healthcare system is a major reason behind the increase in life expectancy, the ministry said.

At present, all communes and wards have healthcare workers, with 65 percent of the clinics being run by doctors. The number of clinics reached 1,024 last year, while 70 per cent of cities and provinces have set up hospitals for traditional medicines, the ministry added.