Viettel’s Cambodia affiliate signs strategic cooperation agreement with local group

– Metfone, the Cambodia-based affiliate of the military-run telecom group Viettel, and ISI Group of Cambodia signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on strategic cooperation in Phnom Penh on March 29.

Under the MoU, the sides will bring into full play their advantages and strengths to support each other. Accordingly, Metfone will ensure the network in the areas where the multi-sectoral Cambodian group is investing, and cooperate with K-mall, the commercial centre chain which sees ISI investments, in the field of marketing.

Metfone committed 45,000 USD/year to ISI for five years, including funding for flashlights at its Dangkor Senchey Stadium, and agreed to consider sponsoring its football club. The telecoms firm also allowed ISI subsidiaries to optimise its technical platform for marketing purposes.

General Director Cao Manh Duc said the cooperation is expected to spur socio-economic development in Cambodia and raising local residents’ living standards.

Duc noted his hope that ISI will help Metfone in upcoming business activities, and maintain its leading position in telecoms services in Cambodia, thus better meeting the increasing demand of Cambodians.

Metfone will make efforts to support ISI when possible, he pledged, suggesting the two sides put forth a specific implementation plan for the MoU following the signing ceremony.

The firm, which has been operating in the neighbouring country for more than 14 years, has directly created jobs for over 3,000 labourers and contributed nearly 1 billion USD to the local budget to date./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

HCM City, RoK step up cooperation in environmental protection

Ho Chi Minh City wants to cooperate with Korean businesses and partners in wastewater, garbage and air pollution treatment as well as in sharing experience and mobilising international resources to adapt to climate change and deal with its impacts, a municipal leader has said.

HCM City is also willing to boost long-term cooperation with the Republic of Korea in green economy, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Phan Van Mai said while receiving Korean Deputy Minister of Environment Kum Hang-seung in the city on March 28.

As the city is preparing for its strategy on sustainable development, green and circular economy, it expects to learn from the RoK’s experience in building policies, standards and roadmaps to achieve goals of the sustainable development strategy, he said.

Speaking highly of the RoK’s potential, Mai expected that in its pioneering role, the RoK would lead major cities in Asia to foster sustainable economic development, build green economies and protect the environment.

Kum, for his part, said the two countries have organised annual ministerial meetings on environment to share relevant policies.

The RoK chose 2023 as the year of green technology growth and via international cooperation, it will share technologies in green development, contributing to green growth of countries worldwide, he said.

The RoK is honoured to welcome delegations from Ho Chi Minh City to explore environmental protection models and share environmental policies, he said, adding that the RoK is strong in environmental protection such as clean water management, wastewater treatment and ready to share its experience with Ho Chi Minh City and hold short-term courses to improve the quality of its human resource.

Korean firms hoped that that the municipal authorities would create favourable conditions for them to join in wastewater treatment and environmental projects in the city, Kum added./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Foreign Minister holds online talks with Chinese counterpart

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son held online talks with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang on March 28, during which they agreed to intensify all-level exchanges.

Both foreign ministers spoke highly of the fruitful development of the relations between the two Parties and countries over the past time, especially after the official visit to China by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong from October 30 to November 1, 2022.

They shared the view that the success of Trong’s visit has given a boost to the traditional friendship between the two Parties as well as the bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

Son congratulated the Chinese side on the success of the first session of the 14th National People’s Congress (NPC) and affirmed that Vietnam treasures the friendly neighbourliness and the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership with China, which is the strategic selection and top priority in Vietnam’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralisation and diversification.

An important task for the two foreign ministries lies with urging agencies and sectors to concretise common perceptions of leaders of the two Parties and countries, he emphasised.

For his part, Qin stressed that China attaches importance to the relationship with Vietnam and regards it an important priority in China’s neighbourhood diplomacy.

The two ministers agreed to increase all-level exchanges on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership (2008-2023) in order to consolidate bilateral political trust.

They will also work to boost and raise the efficiency of mutually beneficial cooperation in economy, trade and investment, and coordinate to effectively roll out the projects using Chinese assistance.

Son suggested the two sides take practical measures to foster the trade ties in a balanced and sustainable fashion, join hands to address obstacle to some projects, promote links via road, rail, sea and air routes, soon restore effective and sustainable tourism cooperation, and enhance exchange and cooperation between the two foreign ministries.

Qin also noted his hope for expanded and deepened cooperation in economy, trade, investment, culture, education and tourism, and tightened coordination at regional and international forums.

Regarding maritime issues, the two sides consented to continue implementing agreements and common perceptions reached by high-ranking leaders of the two Party and countries seriously, and working together to maintain peace and stability in the region.

Son said the two sides should respect international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, for development in each nation, and for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world at large.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Agribank contributes to boosting hi-tech agriculture

In the hope of making contributions to the growth of a clean and high-value agricultural sector, the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) has taken an active role in providing capital, consultations and other support to farmers in promoting technology. This move is seen as crucial for the sector to develop in a sustainable and effective direction.

Obvious trend

Agricultural development based on innovations in science and technology is considered as one of the key solutions to challenges as the sector grows. Insiders believe the superiority of biotechnology, greenhouse technology, drip irrigation technology, sensor technology, automation, and the Internet of things is helping the sector save production costs, increase productivity, and improve the quality of farm produce, thus actively contributing to environmental protection. Experts and scientists agreed that this is an important measure to make breakthrough progress in agricultural development, assisting agricultural restructuring and enhancing farmers’ lives.

A report from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) showed that science and technology advances have contributed over 30% to the added values in overall agricultural production, and 38% to the production of plant and livestock varieties, while considerably reducing the loss in agricultural production (to under 10% in rice production).

The level of mechanisation at the stage of tillage for annual crops (such as rice, sugarcane, maize and vegetables) has reached about 94%, while that in the rice harvest stage has been 50%, and even 90% in delta localities.

Many high-tech agricultural enterprises and farms have been mastering technologies and reducing product costs, while replicating technological processes transferred to producers in all fields, thus increasing labour productivity and economic efficiency by 15-30%, and promoting agricultural production in an industrial manner.

According to the MoST, thanks to science and technology, the productivity in the production of some livestock and plants in Vietnam is higher compared to that in other countries in the region and the world. Specifically, Vietnam ranks first among ASEAN countries in rice productivity (more than one-and-a-half times higher than Thailand). On the global scale, the country comes second in coffee production only after Brazil, first in pepper production, second in rubber after India, and first in tra fish with a production of 500 tonnes per hecrares.

Right time, right way

Amid changing mindset in modern agriculture, open mechanism and ready workforce, the engagement of Agribank in providing loans for high-tech agriculture in that context is timely, helping provide full resources for the growth of a sustainable agriculture.

However, despite favourable conditions for its development, high-tech agricultural industry has difficulties. The high-tech agricultural model requires relatively large production scale and adequate investment in infrastructure and technologies, while investment capital poured into the sectors is modest.

In order to promote the credit demands of businesses and farmers, Agribank has applied lending interest rates at 0.5% to 1.5% on customers depending on specific cases.

Along with that, customers who borrow money under Agribank’s high-tech and clean agriculture development programme will receive free money transfers within the bank’s system, and a 50% reduction of Agribank’s current prescribed fee for money transfers outside the bank’s system.

At the same time, Agribank has actively improved its lending process and methods, aiming to reduce cost for businesses and make it easier for them to access credit. Alongside, the project to shorten the appraisal time for projects and loan plans and raise the lending norms for customers, coordinate with local authorities to remove loans for customers to access loans immediately. Since its inception, efforts have been taken to shorten verification time for projects and investment plan, and raise the loan limit for customers. The bank has also coordinated with local authorities to remove obstacles facing customers in getting loans right from the project establishment.

From November 2016 when the Prime Minister launched the programme to strengthen loans for high-tech agriculture to November 30, 2022, Agribank contributed over 30 trillion VND (1.27 billion USD) to the programme with an outstanding loan reaching over 5 trillion VND (212.02 million USD) for nearly 4,000 customers, including nearly 100 corporate customers and 3,900 individual ones.

Among large-scale projects that Agribank has invested in include factories to process fruits, vegetable and food for export in An Giang and Vinh Long provinces, with a capital of more than 4.1 trillion VND; shrimp fry and shrimp production, and dairy cow breeding projects in Ninh Thuan, with more than 3.7 trillion VND; and clean animal feed production project in Ha Nam with a loan of nearly 5 trillion VND.

The bank has also engaged in developing vegetable, flower and fruit production models in Lam Dong; a vegetable and fruit processing project in Ninh Binh; animal feed production, pig and chicken breeding projects in Binh Phuong and Thanh Hoa; and passion fruit, safe fruits and vegetable production projects in Dak Nong and Kon Tum. The efforts have been fruitful, continuing to affirm Agribank’s role in high-tech agriculture investment and development.

For sustainable agricultural development

Defining agriculture and rural development as prioritised fields for credit provision, in the time to come, Agribank plans to increase loans for major areas in association with products meeting the criteria of the OCOP (One Commune-One Product) Programme – one of the important standards for Vietnamese farm produce.

Having OCOP products will help rural residents increase their income, contributing to eliminating backward farming habits and heading to a market-oriented economy. It will also help to improve the reputation of cooperative products and trademarks, opening a new, modern development direction with higher productivity in production and trade of traditional products. It will also enable them to reach larger markets. This is expected to help restructure the organisation of rural financial and economic structure.

In its orientations, along with providing direct credit capital to production households, Agribank will supply loans for the production of finished products and the development of value chains in agricultural and commodity production associated with the development of OCOP products

The bank will also focus on applying the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria during its operations, replicating the model of safe agricultural production, thereby, changing consumers’ perception of the quality and safety of Vietnamese agricultural products.

At the same time, in order to meet the diverse demand of customers in payment transactions, Agribank has applied many policies to strengthen human resources and technology systems, while focusing on developing diverse mobile payment services suitable to conditions in all regions of the country.

Meanwhile, Agribank’s cross-border payment services are being expanded to many banks and partners, diversifying preferential mechanisms, thus better supporting businesses and people, especially those engaging in exporting high-tech agricultural products.

With a network of transactions covering many countries, Agribank’s payment services are fast and convenient, acting as an extension arm bringing Vietnamese agricultural products closer to the world. The activity serves to create fundamental changes in agricultural production and promoting the growth of many industries and services, contributing to boosting socio-economic development in localities and improving people’s living conditions.

With its roles and high sense of responsibility, Agribank is committed to always accompanying the business community and farmers to build a modern and advanced Vietnamese agriculture. This is part of the banks’ efforts to meet the expectation of society, as well as the responsibility, rights and development motivation for the bank itself in the period of innovation and integration./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Vietjet offers 50% off SkyBoss and SkyBoss Business tickets

Low-cost carrier Vietjet offers the greatest party of 2 million zero dong Eco tickets to fly across its flight network and opportunities to experience SkyBoss, SkyBoss Business with a 50% off promotion, together with many attractive gifts and accumulating unlimited SkyJoy loyalty points.

The campaign is to welcome the Vietnamese Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1) holidays.

During the greatest promotion week from March 28 to April 4, 2023, travelholics are offered more than 2 million zero dong tickets at and Vietjet Air mobile app to fly in all Vietjet’s flight network, enjoy the unlimited travel journeys on Vietjet’s 100 routes flying across Vietnam and to Australia, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong (China), and all over the Asia Pacific.

The flight time is flexible and comfortable from now until December 12, 2023.

Especially, with the 50% discount, the price of SkyBoss, SkyBoss Business tickets is from 2.3 million VND each domestic flight and from 4.5 million VND each international flight. From now until May 5, 2023, customers can apply the promotional codes ALL50SBB and ALL50SB when booking SkyBoss Business and SkyBoss tickets to enjoy 50% off in price. For the routes connecting Australia (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane) with Vietnam, customers can use AUS50SBB and AUS50SB promotional codes for two ticket classes SkyBoss Business and SkyBoss respectively. The flight period is applied from now until December 12, 2023. The promotional codes are applicable on and Vietjet Air mobile app.

Moreover, the party will be greater with the presents for members of Vietjet SkyJoy loyalty programme, including receiving 100 SkyPoints when purchasing domestic tickets, and 300 SkyPoints when buying international flight tickets on the promotional golden week from now until April 4, 2023.

Vietjet is a fully-fledged member of International Air Transport Association (IATA) with the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate. As Vietnam’s largest private carrier, the airline has been awarded the highest ranking for safety with 7 stars by the world’s only safety and product rating website and listed as one of the world’s 50 best airlines for healthy financing and operations by Airfinance Journal in many consecutive years. The airline has also been named as Best Low-Cost Carrier by renowned organizations such as Skytrax, CAPA, Airline Ratings, and many others./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

PM hosts leader of Yunnan provincial Party Committee

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh underlined the importance of the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in Vietnam’s external policy during a reception in Hanoi on March 28 for Wang Ning, Secretary of the Yunnan provincial Party Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the provincial People’s Congress.

The talk between PM Chinh and his guest focused on measures to tap the potential and strengths of both sides and further promote bilateral cooperation, especially between Vietnamese localities and Yunnan province in the near future.

PM Chinh highlighted the need to continue concretising the common view of Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and Chinese Party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping on taking the Vietnam-China relations into a new development phase with higher political trust, more practical and effective cooperation and a stronger friendship foundation.

He wished that the two countries’ ministries, agencies and localities would maintain regular exchanges, effectively make use of existing cooperation, and actively promote friendly exchanges between mass organisations in border areas to raise mutual understanding and trust.

The PM also wanted to expand mutually-beneficial cooperation focusing on making breakthroughs in economic-trade ties, road and railway transport connectivity, tourism and education. He asked Yunnan to improve the efficiency of customs clearance for goods at border gates, import more high-quality farm produce and aquatic products from Vietnam, and create favourable conditions for Vietnamese firms to join international trade fairs in Yunnan.

The Vietnamese government leader urged tightening coordination in border protection and management in accordance with the three legal documents on the Vietnam-China land border and related agreements, so as to jointly build a borderline of peace, stability and development.

Wang, who is also member of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, affirmed that the Party organisation, authorities and people of Yunnan will partner with Vietnamese border localities to well implement the common perceptions of leaders of the two Parties and countries; maintain all-level exchanges, discuss infrastructure connectivity projects, boost economic and trade ties, including importing more farm produce from Vietnam, and develop coordination in agriculture and tourism./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Tra Vinh province eyes expansion in organic coconut growing areas

The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh is encouraging farmers to grow more organic coconuts to increase the value of the produce.

Tran Van Dung, deputy director of its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said coconut farmers and companies would be offered preferential policies for the purpose and linked up to establish value chains.

The department has instructed its Plant Protection and Cultivation Sub-department to teach farmers organic coconut growing techniques and strengthen advocacy about its benefits.

Besides reducing costs, the cultivation of organic coconuts also helps protect the environment and community health.

Tra Vinh, which is the country’s second largest coconut producer after neighbouring Ben Tre province, has more than nearly seven million trees, mostly in Cang Long, Tieu Can and Cau Ke districts.

It produces 370,000 tonnes equivalent to 444 million coconuts a year.

With support from the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Project in Tra Vinh province, the department developed a plan to enhance the coconut value chain productivity in 2018.

It focuses on developing concentrated organic farming areas and linkages between coconut farmers and companies.

In the five years since, the organic coconut growing area has increased to 5,000ha, up nearly 4,600ha from 2018, with an annual output of 78,500 tonnes of nuts.

Farmers have contracts with companies, who buy their coconuts at 10-15% above market prices.

Duong Van Tho, Chairman of the Ngãi Hùng Agriculture Co-operative in Tieu Can district, said his co-operative was assisted with developing a 392ha coconut growing area in 2019.

The department should regularly organise courses to train farmers in organic growing techniques, he said.

Farmers, co-operatives and companies should be helped with the development of value chains, he added.

Farmers, co-operatives and companies are developing more organic coconut growing areas.

The Thuan Phong Agricultural Product Processing Co., Ltd. in Ben Tre province has developed a 906ha organic coconut plantation in Chau Thanh district.

The company is expected to expand it by 3,000ha by September.

Tra Vinh plans to increase its coconut growing area to 30,000ha by 2030 from more than 26,000ha now.

It has more than 50 companies, co-operatives and households which make products such as dried coconut flesh, coconut milk, oil, coal, cosmetic products, and others for both domestic consumption and exports./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Foreign Minister meets UNESCO World Heritage Centre Director

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son hosted a reception in Hanoi on March 27 for Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre Lazare Eloundou Assomo, who is paying a visit to Vietnam.

Son stressed UNESCO’s important role in maintaining and consolidating peace, sustainable development and prosperity of countries worldwide, and in preserving and promoting heritage and cultural values of humankind in particular.

Vietnam has worked to contribute to major UNESCO mechanisms to which it is a member such as the Executive Board, the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, he said.

The minister noted that Vietnam always attaches importance to culture, considering it a spiritual foundation of the society, a target and momentum of national development.

He appreciated the support of Assomo himself and the centre for the recognition, conservation and promotion of cultural and natural heritages of Vietnam, saying he believes that the world heritages in Vietnam have significantly contributed to raising living standards of local residents as well as national socio-economic development.

For his part, Assomo expressed his good impression on Vietnam during his first visit, and lauded the country’s efforts in managing, conserving and promoting world heritage values.

He also highly valued Vietnam’s approach in ensuring the balance and harmony between heritage preservation and development, and called the country a model in heritage conservation and promotion.

Vietnam’s experience in this regard should be shared with other countries, he said.

Assomo affirmed that the centre always accompanies and provides the best support for Vietnam in the conservation and promotion of world heritages; and commits to supporting Vietnam’s world heritage nomination documents in the near future.

The centre will provide consultations for and assist the country in management, conservation and promotion of its eight global heritage sites and back its bid for a seat in the World Heritage Committee in the 2023-2027 tenure, he said.

Earlier on March 24, Assomo was received by Deputy Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Vietnam National Commission for UNESCO Ha Kim Ngoc, who underscored Vietnam’s commitment to the conservation and preservation of world heritages for future generations.

Asomo, for his part, appreciated the attention of Vietnamese leaders and communities to the management, conservation and promotion of world heritage values. Vietnam is one of the typical countries with the effective implementation of the 1972 UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, he said.

The UNESCO official was on a Vietnam trip from March 24 to 27 at the invitation of Ngoc./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency