23/07/2023   11:00 (GMT+07:00)
President Vo Van Thuong and his spouse left Hanoi on July 23 morning for an official visit to Austria, a State visit to Italy and a visit to the Vatican.
The visits, lasting until July 28, are made at the invitations of President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen, President of Italy Sergio Mattarella and Pope Francis.
This will be the first visit to Austria by a Vietnamese President in the past 15 years, and the first trips to Italy and the Vatican by a Vietnamese head of state in the past seven years. The President’s visit to Italy will be also the most important highlight as the two countries are celebrating the 50th founding anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of the Strategic Partnership in 2023.
President Thuong is accompanied by Chairman of the Presidential Office Le Khanh Hai, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung, Secretary of the Party Committee of Vinh Phuc Hoang Thi Thuy Lan, Vietnamese Ambassador to Austria Nguyen Trung Kien and Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Duong Hai Hung, among others.
The visits aim to continue implementing the foreign policy of the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam on independence, self-reliance, peace, friendship, cooperation and development; promote and deepen Vietnam’s bilateral cooperation with Austria, Italy and the Vatican. They are also to help boost Vietnam-EU relations and contribute to enhancing ASEAN-EU ties.
Malaysian PM concludes official visit to Vietnam
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and his spouse left Hanoi on July 21, concluding the two-day official visit to Vietnam at the invitation of PM Pham Minh Chinh.
During the visit, PM Anwar paid courtesy calls to Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President Vo Van Thuong, held talks with PM Chinh, met with National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue, witnessed the signing of cooperation agreements between the two countries, and joined the official banquet.
He also attended the Vietnam-Malaysia business gathering.
During the talks and meetings, the Vietnamese leaders welcomed PM Anwar Ibrahim and his encourage to Vietnam on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties this year, and believed that Malaysia will successfully pursue the “Malaysia Mandani” strategy initiated by PM Anwar Ibrahim, and become a high-income country with sustainable development.
Leaders of the two countries expressed their satisfaction with the development of bilateral relations in recent years, especially since the upgrade of bilateral ties to a strategic partnership in 2015. Malaysia is now Vietnam’s second biggest trade partner within ASEAN and the ninth largest globally. Cooperation areas directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as tourism, labour, education and training, has shown a strong recovery.
Both sides agreed to facilitate the exchange of delegations at all levels via the Party, State, Government and parliament channels, consider the possibility of establishing a mechanism for regular or periodic meetings between the two PMs under flexible forms at multilateral forums, expedite the implementation of the signed sectoral cooperation mechanisms, and strive for balanced bilateral trade with less trade barriers.
Following their talks, the two PMs witnessed the signing of two documents, namely the minutes of the seventh meeting of the Joint Committee for Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, and a memorandum of understanding between the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia.
On the occasion, PM Anwar Ibrahim together with PM Chinh and their spouses called at a book street in Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem district where they experienced an outdoor reading space and enjoyed Vietnamese coffee.
PM Chinh introduced and presented to PM Anwar Ibrahim the poem collection “Nhat ky trong tu” (Diary in Prison) by late President Ho Chi Minh, the book “The World People’s Affection For President Ho Chi Minh”, and another book “Some theoretical and practical issues on socialism and the path towards socialism in Vietnam” by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.
The two spouses joined various activities, such as enjoying the art of water puppetry and visiting the SOS Children’s Village, a place that provides care, nurturing, and support for orphaned, abandoned, and disadvantaged children.
It was the first Vietnam visit by the Malaysian PM since he took office in December 2022, marking a new milestone and contributing to the advancement of bilateral strategic partnership.
Top legislator meets with US Treasury Secretary
The US values the comprehensive partnership with Vietnam and will continue to develop it, affirmed US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at her meeting with Chairman of the National Assembly (NA) Vuong Dinh Hue in Hanoi on July 21.
Currently on a visit to Vietnam, Yellen said that she believes Vietnam will successfully achieve its development goals and that the US wishes to contribute to this process.
Chairman Hue stated that in Vietnam’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, friendship, cooperation and development, the US is a crucial partner. He affirmed support of the enhancement of stable and long-lasting bilateral relations for the interests of both countries, as well as for peace, friendship, and cooperation in the region and the world.
The top Vietnamese legislator proposed both sides further promote relations across the channels of party, state, parliament, and people-to-people exchange; strengthen parliamentary cooperation, high-level delegation exchanges; and establish mechanisms for legislative collaboration commensurate with the bilateral relationship.
He urged both countries to coordinate to set up new and more effective bilateral and multilateral cooperative mechanisms in trade and investment. Vietnam does not pursue a trade surplus policy with the US, he said, highlighting the Southeast Asian nation’s continuous improvement of the domestic legal system and investment climate to create favourable conditions for long-term and successful operations of US enterprises.
The NA Chairman proposed that the US recognise Vietnam’s market economy status and limit technical measures and trade defence to facilitate Vietnamese goods’ access to its market. He suggested that the US Treasury and Government take measures to support Vietnam in enhancing its position in the global supply chain amid current trends of trade-investment diversification and restructuring.
He recommended the US support Vietnam in a fair energy transition, particularly in terms of finance, and proposed allocating resources supporting the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) and cooperative initiatives within the framework of the Mekong – US partnership.
He also requested the US to assist Vietnam’s development of the digital economy, digital government, digital society, and digital transformation to meet sustainable development requirements.
For her part, Yellen said she will consider the matters raised by the Vietnamese NA leader and quickly give concrete reply on the ones that can be implemented in the immediate future.
She appreciated the progress Vietnam has made in implementing an action plan for exchange rate and information transparency. Both sides have engaged in positive dialogue, she said, expressing a wish to continue the bilateral cooperation in this area.
Yellen stated that the Biden administration prioritises key partners like Vietnam in a bid to ensure stability and resilience in supply chains.
Hailing Vietnam and partners’ statement on the establishment of the JETP in December last year, she appreciated Vietnam’s positive steps in carrying out the statement and stressed that the US supports Vietnam’s access to multilateral and private financial sources to carry out its energy transition process.
Party delegation visits Venezuela to enhance bilateral ties
A delegation of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) led by Vice Chairman of the CPV Central Committee’s Commission for Mass Mobilisation Nguyen Lam is paying a working visit to Venezuela from July 19 to 23.
During the trip, the delegation made a courtesy call on First Vice President of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) Diosdado Cabello Rondon, held talks with PSUV Vice President of Mobilisation and Events Nahum Fernandez, and had a working session with Minister of Communities and Social Movements Jorge Arreaza.
At the events, Lam stressed that the CPV delegation’s visit aims to enhance the friendship and cooperation between the CPV and the PSUV, thereby helping further intensify the traditional friendship and comprehensive partnership in all aspects between the two countries.
He appreciated the solidarity and support that the people and progressive forces of Venezuela have given to Vietnam during the struggles for national liberation and reunification in the past as well as the process of national development at present.
The official expressed his hope that the two sides will increase all-level mutual visits, maintain mechanisms and agreements like the political consultation between the two foreign ministries and the Inter-Government Committee to bolster multifaceted ties, keep expanding relations in such fields as culture, education and sports, and coordinate closely and support each other at international forums.
Welcoming the CPV delegation, the PSUV leaders said the visit and other delegation exchanges will help further strengthen the ties between the two ruling parties and the Venezuela-Vietnam comprehensive partnership.
PSUV First Vice President Diosdado Cabello stressed that Vietnam has been and will remain an example for Venezuela and the PSUV to follow, affirming the importance his country has attached to the traditional relationship and comprehensive partnership with the Southeast Asian nation.
He voiced his hope that as the two ruling parties, the PSUV and the CPV will continue increasing the exchange of mutual visits at all levels, especially high-level ones.
Aside from boosting the exchange of experience in the Party building, state management and mass mobilisation, the two sides should expand connections in economy, trade and investment, especially in the fields they have strengths in and potential for such as oil and gas, agriculture, and trade, Cabello suggested.
During the visit, the CPV delegation laid wreaths at the monument dedicated to President Ho Chi Minh in Caracas at a ceremony that was also joined by leaders and members of the PSUV and other parties in the ruling alliance. They also visited some PSUV agencies in the capital city and met with the Vietnamese Embassy’s staff and people in Venezuela.
Prime Minister expresses gratitude to revolution contributors
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attended a meeting held in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue on July 22 to honour outstanding contributors to the revolution from nationwide on the occasion of the 76th anniversary of the War Invalids and Martyrs Day (July 27, 1947 – 2023).
The event saw the presence of 300 delegates representing more than 9.2 million revolution contributors across Vietnam.
Addressing the meeting, PM Chinh expressed his deep gratitude to veteran revolutionaries, Heroic Vietnamese Mothers, Heroes of the People’s Armed Forces, war invalids, martyrs’ families, and other contributors to the revolution.
He said that over revolutionary periods, especially the struggles for national independence and reunification, the defence of the border, and the performance of international missions, generations of Vietnamese people bravely devoted their lives for the sake of national construction and safeguarding and the people’s peace and happiness, and many fell down or sustained wounds.
Over the last 76 years, the Party and State have paid special attention to gratitude expressing activities, issued a number of policies to support war invalids, martyrs’ relatives and other revolution contributors, and considered this as an important and regular political task, he noted.
PM Chinh highlighted the development of the “Paying the Debt of Gratitude” movement in society, the building and upgrade of martyr graves, cemeteries and monuments, as well as the fruitful search for, repatriation and identification of martyr remains.
On behalf of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and other Party and State leaders, PM Chinh voiced his admiration for the strong will and efforts by war invalids, martyrs’ relatives, and other revolution contributors to move forwards and continue dedicating their strength, wisdom, and talent to supporting their families, hometowns, and the nation.
Pointing out difficulties facing revolution contributors, he asked all-level administrations, sectors, and localities to continue properly implementing the Party’s guidelines and the State’s policies and laws, further promote the care for the contributors, and overhaul related policies and legal regulations to help make up for their disadvantages.
Also on July 22, PM Chinh visited and presented gifts to Nguyen Trung Chinh, 94, a veteran revolutionary in Phu Nhuan ward, and Heroic Vietnamese Mother Nguyen Thi Vang, 100, in Thuy Xuan ward of Hue city.
Thua Thien – Hue strives to turn tourism into spearhead economic sector
Hanoi develops rural, agricultural tourism
Agricultural and rural tourism is currently considered one of the types that can help increase the length of stay and experience for visitors to Hanoi capital city.
Therefore, the city’s tourism sector is cooperating with relevant agencies to develop and expand more models of agricultural and rural tourism in localities in order to develop it more methodically and professionally.
At present, Hanoi has two first four-star OCOP (one commune-one product) products in the community-based and ecological tourism services and destinations. They are Hong Van village service tourism site in Thuong Tien district’s Hong Van commune, and Phu Dong Green Park in Gia Lam district’s Phu Dong commune.
There are also seven others associated with rural and agricultural tourism in the suburbs, namely Duong Xa and Phu Dong tourism sites in Gia Lam district, Thuy Ung comb village tourism site and Van Diem high-class carpentry village site in Thuong Tin district, Dai Ang and Yen My sites in Thanh Tri district, and Long Ho village tourism site in Son Tay town.
However, experts said that developing agricultural and rural tourism in the capital city still faces difficulties and limitations.
Therefore, they advised localities and units to connect with each other to develop this type of tourism.
Last year, the People’s Committee of Hanoi issued a plan to boost the development of agritourism in line with the building of new-style rural areas in the 2022-2025 period.
The city tourism sector has implemented plans to develop relevant tourism products and encourage traveling activities, while focusing on training human resources and building tourism criteria for model new-style rural areas to support businesses and individuals to develop agritourism in the city.
Director of the municipal Department of Tourism Dang Huong Giang said that in order to create typical agritourism products, Hanoi will optimise its advantages of wet rice cultivation and culture of the northern delta region, and foster the combination of agritourism and cultural heritage and craft village. Rural farms have been developed serving school tourism activities and weekend vacations in outskirt areas and vicinity.
Hanoi’s accommodation establishments improve quality, promotion to attract visitors
Accommodation establishments in Hanoi have been preparing to welcome foreign tourists during the peak time that usually falls between September and March of the following year.
Besides improvements in facilities, service quality and staff, the establishments also pay much attention to promotion activities.
Nguyen Thuy Bich Van, Sale Director of Movenpick Hotel in Hoan Kiem district, said that at this time, the hotel is upgrading some facilities and will open them in early October to serve international guests. The hotel will offer special services of food, entertainment, swimming pool, as well as attractive promotion policy. 
CEO of Sheraton Hotel in Tay Ho district Bui Xuan Dang said that the hotel has a promotion and marketing strategy with many foreign partners about the hotel’s room policy and service quality.
Meanwhile, a representative from Grand K Hotel in Cau Giay district said that holiday makers’ needs and habits have changed after the COVID-19 pandemic. The hotel now prefers using environmentally-friendly materials in the utilities it offers.
Manager of Boutique and Spa Hotel in Hanoi’s Old Quaters Dang Minh Thoi said that it is now stepping  promotion activities and online booking policy at apps to reach more clients.
In the suburban area of Hanoi, accommodation establishments’ activities are noticeably vibrant. They offers more experience services for visitors such as medicinal bath, mineral bath, or wellness tourism.
According to the Hanoi Department of Tourism, as of June 2023, there are 3,756 tourist accommodation establishments in the city with 70,218 rooms.
In June, the average occupancy rate of hotels was estimated at 65.9%, an increase of 23% compared to the same period in 2022.
According to Associate Professor, Dr. Pham Hong Long from University of Social Sciences and Humanities under Vietnam National University, Hanoi, international visitors have changed their habits. Accommodation facilities need to use 4.0 technology applications and digital communication to access tourists.
He said to keep visitors to stay longer, accommodation establishments should design tours with nearby attractions so that guests can have more experience activities.
Director of the Hanoi Department of Tourism Dang Huong Giang said that the department has regularly cooperated with related units to inspect accommodation establishments to promptly detect and address their problems.
Tourist arrivals to Hanoi reached 12.33 million in the first six months of this year, up 42% from last year. Of the figure, international tourists accounted for 2.03 million, up seven times against the same period of last year.
Total tourism revenue was expected to reach nearly 44.9 trillion VND (1.9 billion USD), representing 74.3% growth compared to the corresponding period in 2022. The average occupancy rate of hotel rooms reached 61.1% in the reviewed period.
The city has carried out concerted solutions to promote socio-economic recovery in general and the tourism industry in particular.
In addition to building new tourism products, Hanoi has also enhanced tourism routes to vicinities such as Bat Trang ceramics village, Huong pagoda, Tam Chuc – Trang An tourism complex, Son Tay – Ba Vi, Thach That – Quoc Oai, and Dong Anh – Soc Son.
To bring more experiences to visitors, the city organised 127 free double-decker bus trips for 6,680 passengers during the April 18-May 2 holidays.
On June 6, three restaurants in Hanoi were awarded for the first time one Michelin star by the world’s most prestigious food ranking organisation – the Michelin Guide.
This is considered an important milestone, promoting the culinary culture of Hanoi in particular and Vietnam in general, creating an attraction for foreign tourists.
SMS text drive launched to support dioxin ictims
The Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin Victims (VAVA) and the National Humanitarian Portal (Portal 1400) jointly launched an SMS text campaign in support of Agent orange/dioxin victims. 
By texting a message DA CAM to 1409 through the mobile phone, phone subscribers contribute VND20,000 (US$0.85) each to the fund.
The proceeds of the campaign which is scheduled to last from July 21 to September 19 will be used to assist medical examination and treatment, provide vocational training, build and repair homes, and present gifts to Agent Orange/dioxin victims living in specially difficult circumstances across the country.
Last year’s similar campaign raised more than VND3 billion to build seven houses and repair nine other dilapidated houses worth VND470 million, and present gifts worth more than VND2.6 billion to the victims on the lunar New Year holiday and Day for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin in Vietnam (August 10).
During 10 years until 1971, the US army dropped about 80 million litres of herbicides, of which Agent Orange made up 61$% and contained roughly 366kg of dioxin which is among the most potent toxins known to mankind.
Preliminary statistics showed that 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin. Tens of thousands of people have died while millions of others have suffered from cancer and other incurable diseases as a consequence. Many of their offspring also suffer from birth deformities.
Knock Out the King to bring fierce offroad racing to Vũng Tàu
The fifth off-road racing Petrolimex Knock Out the King (KoK) will be held on July 29-30 at the NovaWorld Hồ Tràm’s Tropicana Park in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province.
Athletes from more than 30 teams will compete in the two-day event. They will compete head-to-head to vie for berths in the finals.
The competing time in the final round will be 20 minutes, giving drivers opportunities to show off their talents and also creating challenges for them both in terms of endurance and technique.
The tournament’s play-off rule will allow teams to correct their mistakes in the qualification. The winner of the play-off will advance to the finals where they can knock out the king.
“As a racer and organiser since the first year of the tournament, I expect the KoK will be an ideal playing ground for motorsport lovers where they find the intense racing,” said the head of the organising board Nguyễn Thanh Hải.
Hải said in the KOK23, racers will drive in a selected area with racing tracks designed to have more difficulties.
In the qualification, athletes will have different races so the more they drive the better result they can hope to get. It will help them show their skills and push up their speed to the highest to earn berths in the finals, Hải said.
There is also a category for Enduro racing at the Petrolimex KoK23 with the participation of more than 50 competitors.
“The competition aims to get racers familiar with professional events and gradually access regional and international rally events,” said Hải.
“After years, I have to confirm that our drivers’ technique has been improved and I believe that spectators at the KoK23 will be satisfied over two days of the event.”
A timekeeping system with an accuracy of up to 1/1000s will be used to ensure the accuracy of race results.
Head of the organising board Nguyễn Thanh Hải speaks at a press conference announcing the KoK23 in HCM City on July 20. 
Teams will vie for a total prize pool of VNĐ300 million (US$12,700) in which the winner will enjoy VNĐ70 million along with other gifts.
“This year, we will race on a sandy track which is a tough terrain for every racer and a test for our vehicle’s endurance,” said veteran driver Vũ Ngọc Cường.
In addition to the races, spectators will have a chance to enjoy the performance of the professional rally team AKA Racing and a night of music by rock band Bức Tường. 
Water accumulation at hydroelectric dams leads to consecutive earthquakes
Kon Plông District in Kon Tum Province has been struck by 70 minor earthquakes since the beginning of July, which experts say are linked to the accumulation of water at the hydroelectric dams in the region.
On one day alone, July 7, 15 consecutive earthquakes were recorded with the largest registering magnitudes ranging from 3 to 4.2.
Four earthquakes hit the district on the morning of July 20 ranging from 2.6 to 3.1 in magnitude.
Director of the Institute of Geophysics, Nguyễn Xuân Anh, said stimulated earthquakes that happened in this mountainous district depended on the accumulation of water at the hydroelectric plant.
“The stimulated earthquakes resulted from the hydroelectric reservoirs and there is always water in the reservoirs,” Anh said.
“The recent storm that hit the Central Highlands may have increased the amount of water. However, the water takes time to seep down. When the water penetrates deep into the ground, it will cause pressure and earthquakes will occur.”
Anh said the Institute had been sending staff to install earthquake monitoring stations in Kon Plông since June 2021.
A total of six stations have been installed in the district to study the situation and take proactive measures to prevent damage to people and property.
Based on data, the earthquakes that hit the Kon Plông District this year have occurred more frequently and tended to be stronger compared to those in previous years.
From 1903 to 2020, there were only 33 earthquakes recorded in the area. But since 2021, the number of earthquakes has increased.
More than 260 earthquakes had been recorded to hit the area from 2021 to August 2022.
According to the Earthquake Information and Tsunami Warning Centre (EITWC), this district has experienced up to 210 earthquakes this year with magnitudes ranging from 2.5 to 4.2.
Those earthquakes are said the stimulated earthquakes, which may have been caused by hydroelectric dams.
Although no damage to people and property has happened so far, the consecutive earthquakes have significantly impacted the lives of people in the area.
Kon Tum province and Kon Plông District are in the fault zone. Research also shows that earthquakes in the area have a magnitude not exceeding 5.0.
However, the authorities should notify people and take measures to ensure security and order in the area.
The Institute of Geophysics regularly reports and updates the earthquake situation to the local authorities to have a proper response. 
Việt Nam-US trade outlook positive in the second half of 2023
Trade between Việt Nam and the US will flourish in the second half of this year, said the Counselor and Head of the Việt Nam Commercial Office in the US.
“The trade relationship between Việt Nam and the US is improving after hitting the US$100 billion export milestone for the first time in 2022, especially after the end of the investigation into the illegal trade in timber and wood products, as well as after the US took Việt Nam off the monitoring list for currency manipulation,” said Đỗ Ngọc Hưng, Counselor and Head of the Việt Nam Commercial Office in the US, during an interview with Việt Nam News Agency resident correspondent in Washington DC.
Hưng attributed the improvement in trade between the two countries to the thorough direction of Vietnamese agencies such as the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the State Bank of Việt Nam, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, as well as the co-ordination of the Vietnamese Embassy in the US.
Counselor Đỗ Ngọc Hưng said the situation in H2 would have certain advantages compared to the first six months after evaluating the business potential in the last six months.
In terms of growth and consumer demand, he said the US economy had begun to show signs of recovery. The US government and industries continued to pay attention to Việt Nam and pledged to strengthen business collaboration.
A strong rebound had also prompted major US retail chains to resume placing orders with Việt Nam, he said.
“The US is a massive market with 330 million people, with more than 2.1 million Vietnamese Americans. The Vietnamese community in the US is continuously looking to their homeland and desires to use Vietnamese goods. This is regarded as a great potential for Vietnamese exports. The network of thousands of foreign businesses is a potential distribution channel for Vietnamese products to penetrate deeper into the US market,” he said.
In the coming months, the Việt Nam Trade Office in the US would collaborate with Vietnamese representative agencies in the US to promote trade policy research in order to provide timely information and support to businesses, Hưng said.
The office would also emphasise promoting trade opportunities and Vietnamese goods, thus expanding the market’s potential, particularly in places like California, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Texas, and others with significant Asian-American populations who were well-off, he said.
Two-way trade turnover exceeded US$46.5 billion from January 1 to May 2023, according to US Department of Commerce data. The US remains Việt Nam’s top export market, while Việt Nam is the US’ seventh largest trading partner. Notably, the US bought $43.5 billion from Việt Nam and exported approximately $3 billion.
In the ASEAN bloc, Việt Nam accounts for approximately 35 per cent of total export turnover. Thailand is placed second, with an export revenue of roughly US$20 billion.
The trade deficit between the US and Việt Nam in the first five months of this year totalled more than $40 billion, accounting for 9 per cent of the US trade deficit. Việt Nam’s trade surplus with the US currently ranks third, just after China and Mexico, according to Hưng.
The reason was largely due to the complementary nature between the two economies, along with the export and their foreign trade structure, he said.
Vietnamese goods supplied to the US competed primarily with third countries rather than directly with domestic firms, Hưng remarked.
The availability of Vietnamese goods in the US gave US consumers a chance to use goods with various designs and more affordable pricing, he said. 
Hà Nội ensures transparency of agri-product origins with QR codes
Hà Nội has stepped up support for cooperatives and enterprises in developing a traceability system for agro–forestry–fishery products to ensure transparency regarding origins.
The effort to tighten the management of the origin of agricultural and food products has paid off with many products seeing stable sales and gaining the trust of consumers living in the capital city and surrounding areas.
Director of Tiên Dương Organic Agricultural Cooperative in Đông Anh District Phạm Thị Lý said that with cooperatives deploying the model of organic agricultural production in the chain, all products were monitored following a strict production process from cultivation, processing to packaging.
Specially, 100 per cent of vegetables, tubers and fruits are stamped with QR codes to help consumers trace the origins and quality of products through their smartphones.
Doãn Văn Thắng, director of Vân Nam Agricultural Cooperative in Phúc Thọ District, shared that the cooperative called on farmers to maintain cultivation areas, introduce new varieties and apply science and technology in production and harvesting to increase yield and quality.
There is also a focus on strengthening research and investment in modern machinery and to diversify products to improve quality and join the One Commune – One Product programme.
Director of the municipal Department of Agro-Forestry-Fishery Product Quality Management Nguyễn Thị Thu Hằng said that Hà Nội has promoted the development of an origin traceability system with the launch of the portal at check.hanoi.gov.vn.
To date, the portal has provided 3,229 accounts for cooperatives and firms with more than 11,700 sets of traceability codes for products meeting food safety criteria.
Hà Nội has developed an integrated rapid warning system and food safety risk analysis on a GIS-based platform to strengthen the management of food safety in the city.
The city also built an online system to test food safety knowledge for establishments operating in agriculture.
The use of QR codes also helps management agencies improve the control over food hygiene and safety.
Head of the Economics Department at Thanh Trì District People’s Committee Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Anh said that the district would continue to provide support to the development of safe food chains and the use of QR codes, and will run more promotions of products, including in fairs inside and outside the district.
They will strengthen post-inspection work and provide financial support for the analysis of food samples for quality control, she said, adding that the district will also cooperate with units to increase participation in trade fairs to introduce and promote products with QR codes.
According to Mai Quang Vinh, Chairman of the Union of Digital Economy Cooperatives, provinces and cities should open a common portal for the management and supervision of food products, which would integrate information from thousands of cooperatives to ensure transparency.
Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Ngọc Sơn said that Hà Nội proposed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to issue national criteria and standards for the origin traceability system as well as regulations about the application of information technology in QR code tracing.
Hà Nội will speed up the implementation of the city’s origin traceability system to integrate it into the national portal by 2025, he said.
Support will also be provided to the local production and distribution establishments to register and use QR codes for origin traceability. 
Ministry proposes electricity price be adjusted every three months
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has proposed the average retail price of electricity be reviewed for adjustment every three months instead of six at present.
This suggestion was raised in a draft on amending the mechanism for adjustments which was recently made public for comments.
Việt Nam Electricity (EVN) was allowed to adjust the price at the corresponding rate between 3 to 5 per cent of the suggested limits.
An increase from 5 per cent to below 10 per cent would be decided by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and by 10 per cent or higher by the Prime Minister.
Notably, if the production cost decrease by 1 per cent or more below the average price, EVN will be responsible for reducing the retail electricity prices at corresponding rates.
After an increase of 3 per cent on May 4, the current average retail electricity price is VNĐ1,920.37 per kWh.
Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Mai, Deputy Head of the Electricity Prices and Fees Department said that the review for adjusting the price every three months aims to reflect fluctuations in production costs and to develop a roadmap for regulating electricity prices without shocking adjustments.
Mai stressed that any increases must ensure the prices remains within the regulated bracket.
Mixed opinions have arisen surrounding the proposal of adjusting the price every three months.
Economic expert Ngô Trí Long said that the current regulation on the minimum adjustment period of six months was reasonable, although shortening it to three would not cause a stir among the people.
He also questioned whether it was reasonable to change when the current regulation had not been implemented properly.
Đào Nhật Đinh, an energy expert, said that Việt Nam should set up an independent energy council to evaluate the production costs of electricity. This council should meet every three months and decide whether or not to adjust electricity prices.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade recently proposed reducing the pricing tiers from six to five which would narrow the gap between the first steps and expand the pricing range for higher consumption. 
State bank launches VNĐ15 trillion credit package to support forestry and fishery businesses
The State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) on Wednesday issued a document guiding commercial banks to implement a credit package, worth VNĐ15 trillion (US$641 million), for businesses in the forestry and fishery sector.
Under Document No 5631, the eligible borrowers of this credit package are firms that have projects or plans to serve production and business activities in forestry and fishery areas.
They will enjoy lending interest rates in đồng which will be at least 1-2 per cent/year lower than the average interest rates offered for short-term, medium-term, and long-term deposits by commercial banks. 
The credit package will be implemented until the end of June 30, 2024, according to the document. 
In addition, commercial banks will, according to their competence, waive and reduce service fees for customers participating in the programme, by legal regulations and the size of the bank’s operations.
The programme will be implemented by self-mobilised capital from banks and lending under the normal commercial mechanisms.
Up to now, 12 commercial banks have registered to participate in the programme. They are Agribank, BIDV, VietinBank, Vietcombank, LPBank, Sacombank, MB Bank, ACB, Nam A Bank, OCB, Eximbank and SHB. 
Previously, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính instructed the SBV to study and propose a credit package of VNĐ10 trillion to support businesses producing and processing seafood and forestry products.
The PM asked for measures to help businesses conquer major markets while seeking new markets to boost exports.
He also asked the Ministry of Finance to direct authorised agencies to consider and implement solutions relating to exemptions and also reduce or extend payments of taxes and land and water surface rental fees to support businesses.
The export value declined by 28.2 per cent for main forest products to $6.5 billion over the past six months as European and American consumers tightened their spending and reduced consumption of wood products, resulting in a decline in new orders. 
Seafood exports also slumped 27.4 per cent year-on-year to $4.13 billion during the period. Of which, a high decline of 32 per cent in shrimp exports to $1.56 billion and 40 per cent in the tra fish export to $840 million were also recorded in H1. 
Dak Lak police handed 4,500 weapons by locals after 40 days
Police in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak have collected 4,576 weapons 40 days after calling on local people to hand in weapons and explosives. 

Police in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak have collected 4,576 weapons 40 days after calling on local people to hand in weapons and explosives.
According to a July 20 report released by local police, the pilot programme received support from local people who handed in 1,278 guns, 2,666 bullets, and 1.70 kilos of explosives over the past 40 days.

Director of Dak Lak Police Department, Le Vinh Quy said that the programme was launched following the recent terrorist attacks in the area.
“We started piloting the exchange of weapons, explosives, and hunting equipment for rice and other essential foods in Cham Village, Ea Sol Commune in Ea H’leo District before expanding to other areas after receiving support from local people,” Quy said. “The programme will be continued in the coming time.”
According to the official, many local people are still making weapons and equipment for hunting in local forests. Since the programme was launched, they have gradually realised the danger of keeping the weapons and are willing to give them up to local authorities.
On early June 11, two armed groups attacked the headquarters of Ea Tieu and Ea Ktur communes people’s committees, including communal police offices, in Cu Kuin District, killing nine and injuring two.
Dak Lak police have so far issued legal proceedings against and the temporary detention of 90 suspects on the charge of “terrorism aimed at opposing the people’s administration”, among others.
Vietnam’s hearing impaired footballers to compete at Summer Deaf Games in Russia
The Vietnamese deaf football team has undergone training at the Vietnam Youth Football Training Centre in preparation for the Summer Deaf Games “We Are Together Sport” that will be held in Ufa, Bashkortostan Republic of Russia from July 23 to August 2, according to Vietnam Football Federation (VFF).
More than 600 athletes from 31 countries will compete at the Games.
The Vietnamese sports delegation to the games consists of 27 members, including athletes, the training board and interpreters. The athletes will compete in three sports, namely football, badminton and bowling.
Previously, in 2016, the VFF supported the deaf football team to attend the first ASEAN Deaf Football Championship held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in which, the team won a bronze medal.
Book reflects development of Party’s mindset about defence strategy
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s book on the military policy and defence strategy of Vietnam in the new period reflects his consistent thought about the leadership and directions over the national safeguarding, many experts and researchers have said.
The recently released book, with its title translated as “Some issues about the military policy, national defence strategy during the cause of building and defending the socialist Vietnam Fatherland in the new period”, comprises 39 articles, speeches, and interviews of General Secretary Trong, who is also Secretary of the Central Military Commission.
The first section, with 21 articles, speeches and interviews, focuses on the building of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) into a revolutionary, regular, elite, and modern military in the new period.
The second, with 18 articles and speeches, is about the building of lean, strong and modernity-oriented forces of the army to fulfill requirements and tasks in all circumstances.
Meanwhile, the third is reserved for a writing by Sen. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh, former member of the Party Central Committee, former member of the Central Military Commission’s Standing Board, and former Deputy Minister of National Defence. It affirmed the Party General Secretary and Secretary of the Central Military Commission is a leader with a dialectical mindset and strategic vision on the formation of the military policy and defence strategy for safeguarding the socialist Vietnam.
Assoc. Prof. and Dr Pham Van Linh, Vice Chairman of the Central Theoretical Council, held that the Party chief’s leadership and directions shown in the book help clarify the development of the Party’s theoretical thinking about the military policy and defence strategy.
Maj. Gen. Vu Cuong Quyet, Director of the Institute for Defence Strategy, noted keeping peace is a sacred value of the task of national safeguarding. A core point and breakthrough in General Secretary Trong’s thinking about the military policy and defence strategy is that protecting national independence and self-reliance must be connected with keeping peace. This is a creative and unique thought on military and defence, with keeping a peaceful environment being the consistent target.
Vietnamese, Lao health sectors eye closer cooperation
A delegation of the Ministry of Health led by Minister Dao Hong Lan held talks with its Lao counterpart led by Minister Bounfeng Phoummalaysith in Hanoi on July 21.
During the talks, Minister Lan highlighted the sound development in the Vietnam – Laos special relations, affirming that Party and State leaders, as well as ministries and sectors of Vietnam always highly value the vital role and significance of the special solidarity between the two countries, as well as bilateral cooperation in various areas, including healthcare.
The two countries’ health sectors over the past decades has always maintained close and effective cooperation, contributing to further promoting the Vietnam – Laos relationship, she stressed.
To enhance cooperation between the two sides, notably in the coordination of medical examination and treatment, training of medical staff, control of infectious diseases,  central-level and specialised hospitals of Vietnam are ready to receive and provide medical treatment for Lao people.  
Lao people living along the shared border lines between the two countries have received support, medical examinations and treatment from the border health agencies of Vietnam, she said.
Some medical universities of Vietnam have received and trained Lao students under an agreement signed between the two governments, Lan said, adding that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides supported each other in the fight against the disease.
Lan expressed her desire that cooperation between the two sides’ health sectors will continue to be enhanced in the coming time.
For his part, Bounfeng Phoummalaysith thanked the Government and the Ministry of Health of Vietnam for their timely and practical support during the fight against COVID-19.
Vietnam’s health sector has always assisted its Lao counterpart, especially in providing medical equipment, training human resources, and giving medical examination and treatment for Lao people in border areas, he said.  
Minister Bounfeng Phoummalaysith wished to continue receiving support in human resources training, and in developing Laos’ hospitals into financially autonomous medical facilities.
He suggested the two sides expand cooperation in traditional medicine, pharmacy, and disease prevention and control.
He affirmed the mutual support between the two sides at international forums and with ASEAN countries in building the ASEAN Center for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED) when Laos undertakes the role as the ASEAN Chair in 2024.
Politburo issues new regulation on controlling power, preventing corruption in personnel work
Permanent member of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat Truong Thi Mai, on behalf of the Politburo, has signed into promulgation regulations on controlling power and preventing corruption and negative acts in personnel work.
The new regulations, known in brief as Regulation 114, took effect on the day of signing – July 11, 2023, and replaced the Politburo’s regulations (Regulation 205) dated September 23, 2019. 
Regulation 114 consists of five chapters and 16 articles, stipulating the responsibility of Party Committees, Party organizations, managements and their heads, as well as heads of advisory agencies in personnel work. 
It specifies the acts of abusing positions and power, including using personal influence and family relationships to influence and pressure others to make decision, advise, propose, assess, and vote regarding personnel matters according to their own preferences; integrating personal motives when performing official tasks for personal gain or benefits; directing and advising various stages of personnel work without adhering to the required qualifications, standards, principles, regulations, processes, and decisions. 
It also clearly describes the prohibition of acts such as running for positions of power, such as directly or indirectly brokering, giving, and receiving bribes to help others obtain positions, titles, or benefits; giving gifts, money, real estate, or other material or non-material benefits.
The regulation specifies the measures to be taken by competent authorities when dealing with violations committed by Party members, officials, and public employees. Cases of violations in personnel work will be transferred to relevant agencies for examination and punishment according to regulations.
PM pledges Vietnam’s support to Laos in health care
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh hosted a reception in Hanoi on July 21 for Lao Minister of Health Bounfeng Phoummalaysith, assuring him that Vietnam always stands side by side with and offers all possible support to Laos to overcome difficulties and thrive together.
PM Chinh suggested that the two health ministries jointly build plans to concretise and effectively realise high-level agreements reached by the two countries, including continuing to share experience, especially in digital transformation, remote medical examination and treatment; and creating conditions for Lao citizens to access medical check-ups and treatment at Vietnamese hospitals.
The two sides should step up human resources training in health care to meet the current needs of Laos, particularly for Vietnam-Laos friendship hospitals in Houaphan and Xiangkhouang, the PM said, adding that the two ministries should also study the revision of the agreement on health quarantine at border areas and work closely together at global and regional forums in the field.
He noted that recently, the People’s Committee of Nghe An province and authorities of Xiangkhouang province held a ceremony to put into operation a 200-bed friendship hospital, and suggested the two ministries offer professional support to ensure the hospital’s effective operation.
Minister Phoummalaysith, for his part, thanked Vietnam for actively supporting the Lao medical sector, especially in personnel training, helping Lao citizens receive check-ups and treatment in Vietnam, and in the fight against COVID-19.
Informing the host about the outcomes of his working session with the Vietnamese counterpart, the minister expressed his wish to continue fostering collaboration with Vietnam in health care, particularly in human resources training, traditional medicine, pharmaceutical and vaccine production, disease prevention and control in border areas, and the completion of the Vietnam-Laos Friendship Hospital project in Houaphan.
He pledged to work closely with the Vietnamese Health Ministry to carry out specific programmes, projects, and joint activities as suggested by the PM, contributing to further promoting the great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos.
Laos welcomes Vietnamese investors in health care sector, he said.
National seminar discusses renewal of external affairs work
A national seminar took place in Ho Chi Minh City on July 21, reviewing the reform process of external affairs between 1986 and now and discussing the orientation for 2025 – 2045. 
Jointly organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Central Theoretical Council and the municipal People’s Committee, the event was held within the framework of a national research project on the global situation during 2025-2045 and forecast and orientation of Vietnam’s foreign policy.
In-depth research outcomes presented by participating experts, ambassadors, and scientists were expected to contribute theoretically and practically to shaping the country’s foreign policy in the upcoming period.
In his opening speech, Standing Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Minh Vu stated that the regional and global situation is forecast to continue undergoing fast, complicated and unpredictable changes. Such circumstances pose new requirements for the external affairs sector in ensuring national interests, hence reforms in the sector.
Evaluating and reviewing the renewal process of the diplomatic sector since 1986 in terms of thinking, orientation, and practice is significant in drawing valuable lessons for the sector to proactively adapt to global changes in the upcoming period, he noted.
Phan Van Mai, Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, said the southern metropolis pays great attention to diplomatic efforts that serve economic growth, create favourable conditions, mobilise resources, and timely access new development trends in the world for application in building the local socio-economic development orientations.
All six on special wanted list in Dak Lak terrorist attacks arrested
Three more suspects on the special wanted list in the recent terrorist attacks aimed at opposing the people’s administration in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak have been arrested, said Director of the provincial Police Major General Le Vinh Quy on July 21.
So far, all six suspects on the special wanted list have been arrested.
On July 21 morning, the local police successfully tracked down three fugitives in Cu Kuin district, namely Y Khing Lieng, 31, from Hoa Son commune Krong Bong district; Nay Duong, 55, from Cu Pong commune, Krong Buk district; and Y Hoal Eban, 53 from Ea Pok town, Cu M’gar district.
Earlier on July 15, they arrested three others on the list, namely Y Ju Nie from Ea Knuec commune, Krong Pac district; Nay Yen and Nay Tam from Cu Pong commune, Krong Buk district.
All six of them were involved in the attacks at the headquarters of the People’s Committee of Ea Tieu and Ea Ktur communes in Cu Kuin district on June 11, leaving nine dead and two others injured. They were later wanted by the Dak Lak provincial Police’s Investigative Security Agency on the charge of “terrorism aimed at opposing the people’s administration” as specified in Article 113 of the Criminal Code.
The Ministry of Public Security said that those were terrorist attacks aimed at opposing the people’s administration and caused particularly serious consequences.
Politburo demands persistence in macro-economic stability target
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong chaired a meeting of the Politburo and the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat in Hanoi on July 21 to discuss the socio-economic situation in the first half of 2023 and outline tasks for the remaining months.
The Politburo and the Secretariat basically agreed on the assessments of the H1 socio-economic situation in a report delivered by the Government’s Party Civil Affairs Committee.
Accordingly, the macro-economy has been kept stable, inflation under control, major balances guaranteed, and growth promoting measures carried out strongly.
The report highlighted encouraging results in administrative reform; the improvement of the investment and business climate; the acceleration of key and nationally important projects; cultural, social, labour, employment and social security affairs; the fight against corruption and negative phenomena; the enhancement of thrift practice and wastefulness prevention; the safeguarding of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity; the maintenance of political and social stability; along with external relations and international integration.
It also pointed out that due to various difficulties facing the world economy, the slow recovery of global trade, the increasingly complex geo-political situation and some domestic problems, economic growth has yet to meet expectations, at 3.72% in H1. In particular, the industry and construction sector posted slow expansion while others witnessed declines.
Meanwhile, administrative procedures in some sectors remain cumbersome and complicated; several mechanisms, policies and legal regulations still overlapping and inconsistent; the shortages of electricity and medical supplies yet to be solved thoroughly; and there are latent security risks, especially in terms of cyber security, drug crime and “black credit”, in some areas.
Basically agreeing on the tasks and measures set for H2, the Politburo requested staying steadfast in the target of maintaining macro-economic stability, controlling inflation, boosting growth, and ensuring major balances of the economy.
In particular, it is necessary to keep a close watch on and issue precise forecasts of the domestic and international situations to make timely policy response; continue a focus-driven fiscal policy; give assistance to people and businesses to reduce expenses and facilitate production; and maintain a proactive, flexible, timely, and effective monetary policy that is closely coordinated with the fiscal policy.
The Politburo demanded strongly and effectively implementing the tasks and measures of the socio-economic recovery and development programme, as well as the three national target programmes; accelerating public investment disbursement; ensuring the safe, healthy and sustainable operations of the corporate bond, real estate, stock, credit and science – technology markets; guaranteeing fuel and power supply for economic and daily activities; facilitating domestic production and consumption; and diversifying markets and export commodities.
It ordered developing new economic growth drivers; optimising external resources to promote innovation, digital economy and digital transformation; completing the development strategies and policies for sectors; and finalising the legal framework for the development of a carbon market.
In addition, the Politburo underlined the need to continue paying attention to social security; the labour market; cultural affairs; education; health care; the material and spiritual lives of ethnic minority people; the safeguarding of independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity; the maintenance of political security and social order and safety; along with diplomatic activities and international integration.
The Politburo emphasised the request for further enhancing the fight against corruption and negative phenomena; thrift practice and wastefulness prevention; complaint and denunciation settlement; and the investigation into the cases monitored by the Central Steering Committee for Corruption and Negative Phenomena Prevention and Control.
It also asked for increasing communications to help strengthen the great national solidarity, businesses and investors’ trust, the fight against wrongful and harmful information.
Source: VNA/SGT/VNS/VOV/Dtinews/SGGP/VGP/Hanoitimes