Fashion brand Nike and H&M to Vietnam: More renewables, please

Asia.nikkei.com

29 global fashion brands say green energy will boost No. 3 textile exporter

A wind park in Vietnam’s Bac Lieu Province.   © Reuters

HO CHI MINH CITY — Fashion brands including H&M and Nike are pressing Vietnam to move ahead with a renewable energy purchase program as companies come under increasing pressure to meet their sustainability goals, Nikkei Asia has learned.

A consortium of 29 brands sent a letter to Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc this month urging the country to introduce direct power purchase agreements (DPPA) between private buyers and sellers of renewable energy. Currently, energy users can only buy electricity through the national utility or through small-scale projects such as rooftop solar panels.

International clothing brands, which rely heavily on Asian garment factories, are under pressure from shareholders and consumers to reduce emissions in their supply chains. Renewable energy in Vietnam — the world’s third-largest textile exporter — is key to those companies hitting their emission targets.

“Without the DPPA we believe renewable energy development will plateau and fall short of meeting the growing energy needs of Vietnam’s industries,” the consortium warned in the Dec. 15 letter, seen by Nikkei.
Tiếp tục đọc “Fashion brand Nike and H&M to Vietnam: More renewables, please”

Vietnam’s Leap Year leaps from normal to the new normal

By Minh Nga   December 26, 2020 | 07:26 am GMT+7 vnexpress

A pictorial flashback captures Vietnam moving to a pandemic induced “new normal,” experiencing other trials, tribulations and triumphs in a year that has been like no other.

Vietnam’s Leap Year leaps from normal to the new normal

Smartphones are out in full force as thousands capture footage and photos of fireworks that explode above Hanoi’s iconic Sword Lake to welcome the very first moment of 2020. Photo by Tat Dinh.

Tiếp tục đọc “Vietnam’s Leap Year leaps from normal to the new normal”

Đông Nam Á đối phó với bãi đổ rác khi Trung Quốc thực thi lệnh cấm nhập khẩu rác thải

English: Southeast Asia braces for trash dump as China enacts waste import ban

Kể từ ngày 1/1/2021, Trung Quốc  sẽ  không còn chấp nhận chất thải đến từ nước khác, đối với Việt Nam, Thái Lan và Indonesia có thể sẽ cảm thấy đây là gánh nặng từ chính sách mới

Mặc dù ba quốc gia này đã thực hiện nhiều biện pháp để đối phó với rác thải nhưng do còn nhiều tham nhũng, và các chính sách yếu có thể khiến các quốc gia bị chôn vùi trong rác

Trung Quốc, quốc gia đã từng là vua cứu cánh của thế giới, đang đóng cửa đối với tất cả các hoạt động nhập khẩu chất thải trong ngày đầu tiên của năm mới. Thông báo gần đây đã gây ra sự lo lắng tương tự đối với các nước xuất khẩu rác thải vào năm 2018, khi Trung Quốc ban hành chính sách “Chiến dịch thanh kiếm toàn quốc” đó là cấm nhập khẩu 24 loại rác thải rắn, bao gồm cả rác thải nhựa
Tiếp tục đọc “Đông Nam Á đối phó với bãi đổ rác khi Trung Quốc thực thi lệnh cấm nhập khẩu rác thải”

The Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative: Towards a Coherent Indo-Pacific Policy for India

The Indo-Pacific region is increasingly being viewed as a global centre of gravity, both for its economic and demographic potential, and the security challenges that could frustrate those possibilities. India—as a champion of the principle of ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ or FOIP—has initiated engagements with its partners in the region, such as the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) that aims to ensure the security and stability of the region’s maritime domain. Even as the stakeholders have outlined a set of seven pillars for the initiative, there is still little clarity as to what can be expected from the IPOI. This paper offers recommendations for the IPOI to enable India play a more proactive and constructive role in the region.

Tiếp tục đọc “The Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative: Towards a Coherent Indo-Pacific Policy for India”

US Congress stings China with new Tibet law on the next Dalai Lama

The Hindustan Times

The Central Tibetan Administration welcomed the Tibetan Policy and Support Act passed by the US Congress, calling it a historic move and a clear message to China

WORLD Updated: Dec 22, 2020, 15:20 IST The Hindustan Times

Shishir Gupta

Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The US Congress has passed a law that reaffirms the right of Tibetans to select the successor to His Holiness Dalai Lama.
The US Congress has passed a law that reaffirms the right of Tibetans to select the successor to His Holiness Dalai Lama.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

The US Congress has passed a bill that reaffirms the right of Tibetans to choose a successor to their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. The law has been described by Dharamshala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, as a historic move and a clear message to China.

The Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 (TPSA), which was passed by the US Senate, calls for the establishment of a US consulate in Tibet’s main city of Lhasa and underlines the absolute right of Tibetans to choose a successor to the Dalai Lama.

Tiếp tục đọc “US Congress stings China with new Tibet law on the next Dalai Lama”

South China Sea: US destroyer sails near Spratly Islands to ‘assert navigational rights’

Chinese military says American warship left when warned by PLATaiwan and Vietnam called out by the US Navy for requiring notice for ‘innocent passage’

Kinling Lo

Kinling Lo

Published: 8:30pm, 22 Dec, 2020 SCMP

The USS John S. McCain neared the contested Spratly Islands on Tuesday. Photo: US Navy via AP

The USS John S. McCain neared the contested Spratly Islands on Tuesday. Photo: US Navy via APThe US Navy sent a destroyer near the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea on Tuesday to “challenge restrictions on innocent passage imposed by China, Vietnam, and Taiwan”.The operation came after the United States military warned in a document last week that it would be “more assertive” against Beijing. The document set out objectives for the US Navy, Marines and Coast Guard for 2021.

Tiếp tục đọc “South China Sea: US destroyer sails near Spratly Islands to ‘assert navigational rights’”

US strikes at the heart of China’s bid to become a tech superpower

Analysis by Laura HeCNN Business

Updated 0947 GMT (1747 HKT) December 22, 2020

Trump administration dials up US-China tech tensions
Trump administration dials up US-China tech tensions

Hong Kong (<a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2020/12/22/tech/smic-us-sanctions-intl-hnk/index.html&quot; target="_blank" CNN Business)

China had been counting on its biggest chipmaker to help the country eventually reduce its reliance on the likes of Intel (INTC) and Samsung (SSNLF). The United States just put those ambitions in jeopardy. Washington announced Friday that it will require US exporters to apply for a license before they can sell to Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC). The US government claims that the chipmaker can use its tech to help China modernize its armed forces. SMIC (SIUIF) says it has no relationship with the Chinese military. But in a statement on Sunday, the company acknowledged that while the restrictions are unlikely to hurt its short-term operations, its loftier goals are in doubt. The new US rules will have “a material adverse effect” on its ability to develop highly advanced chips, it said.

Tiếp tục đọc “US strikes at the heart of China’s bid to become a tech superpower”

Digital trade in the Asia-Pacific

HF-logo-RGB-hz - top cropped
Welcome to our final newsletter of 2020. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and interest in our work over the year. We will return in early January and in the meantime wish you an enjoyable festive break and every success in 2021. 
New white paper: Digital trade in the Asia-Pacific
Deborah ElmsDeborah Elms
22 December 2020
Digital trade in Asia-Pacific
As we move into 2021, what are the key issues facing digital trade in Asia? The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted global trade and upended many longstanding business models. Firms are rapidly shifting to develop or expand digital capabilities to manage highly altered supply and demand pressures. Despite the growing importance of digital trade, the ability of governments to tackle a range of issues of relevance to managing the online environment still lags behind the speed of innovation for firms. Effective and efficient regulatory policies can support continuing economic growth in the digital economy. Given the overwhelming importance of small firms to every country in Asia, failure to create supportive policies will impede the region’s attempt to advance sustainable and inclusive development. This new paper from the Hinrich Foundation – the first in a series of six reports on digital trade in the Asia-Pacific authored by Dr Deborah Elms, Executive Director at the Asian Trade Centre – identifies eight issues that governments and firms across the region will need to tackle to reap the full benefits of the digital opportunity.
DOWNLOAD REPORT
Share this paper on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.
HEAR FROM THE AUTHOR
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In this short podcast our Director of Research, Dr Andrew Staples, invites Dr Deborah Elms to provide an overview of paper and to highlight the importance of the RCEP agreement for digital trade in Asia.
LISTEN TO PODCAST
Share this podcast on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.
INTERVIEW WITH RESEARCH FELLOW Hinrich Foundation Research Fellow, Alex Capri, discusses his latest paper with Dr Staples. Released last week, Techno-nationalism and corporate governance examines how the US-China tech cold war has politicized the business environment for multinationals and the implications for corporate governance. Techno-nationalism, he observes, now requires firms to evaluate or restructure their cross-border operations to reduce risks.
Techno-nationalism and corporate governance
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT While 2020 proved to be challenging for all of us, it was also a productive year for our research fellows. Please find below a selection of our most read articles and papers on the key issues impacting global trade in 2020 including the coronavirus pandemic, geopolitical tensions and the US-China trade war, the emergence of “techno-nationalism,” the US presidential election and the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). 
STEPHEN OLSON-b&w
Stephen OlsonKeep RCEP in perspectiveThree trade issues to watch under a Biden Presidency
Alex capri b&w photo-circle-1
Alex CapriTechno-nationalism and corporate governanceTechno-nationalism and diplomacyTechno-nationalism and the US-China tech innovation raceStrategic US-China decoupling in the tech sector
alan_dupont_b&w circular
Alan Dupont New Cold War: De-risking US-China conflict
Stewart-Paterson-Headshot-2
Stewart Paterson Four trade trends post COVID-19 and how they will affect growth
The Hinrich Foundation is committed to advancing sustainable global trade. We welcome your support to share our commentaries and analyses. 

Please encourage others to subscribe to our newsletter and follow Hinrich Foundation on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook. Contact us for any inquiries. Visit hinrichfoundation.com for more articles, reports and analysis.

Vietnam’s 8-year corruption crusade turns the tide

By Hoang Thuy, Viet Tuan   December 15, 2020 | 07:51 am GMT+7 vnexpressVietnam's 8-year corruption crusade turns the tideVietnamese policemen stand guard outside a courtroom hearing a trial involving former Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang, Hanoi, Vietnam, January 9, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Kham.A hands-on, take-no-prisoners approach by top echelons of the Communist Party has been a decisive factor in the success of Vietnam’s eight-year corruption fight.

This was highlighted by senior officials in talks with VnExpress that identified several salient features and factors marking the headway made by the nation’s corruption fight since 2013.

A total of 133 cases and 94 incidents of serious corruption and economic violations were directly handled by Vietnam’s top anti-corruption agency.

After decades of following anti-corruption efforts in Vietnam, Vu Quoc Hung, former standing vice chairman of the Communist Party’s Central Inspection Committee, said that the past eight years, especially the term of the Party’s 12th National Congress, was a period of “turning the tide.”

“That turn is reflected in specific numbers and actions,” Hung said, citing statistics from the Commission for Internal Affairs of the Party Central Committee.

Since 2013, agencies across the country have investigated, prosecuted and tried over 11,700 cases of corruption, abuse of power and economic violations.

In particular, the Central Steering Committee on Anti-corruption monitored over 800 cases and incidents, including directly monitoring and guiding 133 cases and 94 incidents of corruption and economic violations that were serious, complex and garnered a lot of public attention.

Of these, 86 cases were tried with 814 top level defendants, including one member of the party’s Politburo, seven members and former members of the Party Central Committee, four ministers and former ministers, and seven generals in the armed forces.

‘Forbidden’ zones breached

Hung said many of the cases and incidents had long been considered to be in “forbidden, sensitive” zones.

Several had happened years ago or involved top officials, but law-enforcement and judicial agencies have still managed to investigate and bring them to trial, like the cases involving former Politburo member Dinh La Thang, the $420 mln online gambling case in Phu Tho Province involving top cops at the Ministry of Public Security, the AVG acquisition case involving two ministers of Information and Communication, and the land management case involving former colonel Dinh Ngoc He.

Hung said one of the most impressive cases was the one in which state-owned telecom giant MobiFone acquired a 95 percent stake at private pay TV firm AVG. This case was the first time two former ministers and former members of the Central Committee were publicly tried for receiving bribes and a business leader in the private sector was tried for giving bribes. The case also saw a 100 percent recovery rate of lost assets, with over VND8 trillion ($345.91 million) recovered.

‘Milestone’ factor

Dinh Van Minh, head of the Government Inspectorate’s Legal Department, said that an important “milestone” that helped generate the strong changes in recent years was the establishment of the Central Steering Committee for Anti-corruption headed by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in February 2013.

Before 2013, Vietnam had a Central Steering Committee for Anti-corruption headed by the prime minister. However, Minh said the committee switching to the direct leadership of the party was “the most important factor leading to the recent results.”

“The party is the leading force of the state and society, so the General Secretary and the Politburo directly leading anti-corruption efforts shows a very high political determination and helps facilitate the execution of related tasks,” Minh said.

Hung concurred, recalling that during his time in office before 2006, there was no central steering committee for anti-corruption to monitor and direct throughout the handling of major cases. Each major case had its own steering committee headed by either the head or deputy head of the Central Committee’s Commission for Internal Affairs.

“A limitation of that period was that there were only steering committees for specific cases. In recent years, however, the Anti-corruption Steering Committee operates throughout the conduct of the cases with regular meetings, and are given clearly defined missions and powers. This is a very important factor in turning political determination into practical action, continuously and methodically,” Hung said.

Inspection synergy

Further analyzing the key stages that had helped turn the tide in recent times, Hung pointed to the “synergy” between the inspection, supervision and audit sectors. This led to an important conclusion by the Central Commission for Internal Affairs, which said the Communist Party disciplinary actions need to be implemented first to create conditions for the state and other organizations’ disciplinary action, as well as criminal prosecution.

He recalled General Secretary Trong’s directions in the case of Hau Giang Province’s former vice chairman Trinh Xuan Thanh using a private Lexus car with blue license plates in June 2016. At the time, the case seemed to be a minor violation as it only involved a single provincial official. However, when the Central Inspection Committee stepped in, many large issues were uncovered.

Since the beginning of the 12th National Congress’s term, the Central Inspection Committee has been selecting “hotspots” and outstanding issues that generated public discontent, such as the management of capital, assets and equitization of state-owned enterprises at Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), Vietnam Steel Corporation, Vietnam Expressway Corporation and the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV).

“In a series of cases, we could see that the participation of the Central Inspection Committee and Party disciplinary actions paved the way and knocked down the fortress of negativity,” Hung said, adding that these mechanisms created the basis for subsequent actions of other functional forces.

Vo Van Dung, deputy head of the Central Commission for Internal Affairs, said there were five levels of coordination for handling corruption cases that helped resolve difficulties and problems that arose, including assessment of evidence and determination of criminal charges.

“Under the current law, each procedure-conducting agency acts based on its own perception, so without a mechanism for close coordination, the handling of cases would be prolonged. This five-level mechanism helps ensure that related tasks could progress as required,” he said.

At level one, if a procedure-conducting agency encounters difficulties, the sector leader can hold an inter-sectoral meeting and invite other agencies to help resolve them.

If the case is in the investigation phase, the head of the investigating agency can meet with prosecutors, court representatives and leaders of the Central Commission for Internal Affairs to discuss and resolve issues.

In the prosecution phase, such a meeting would be chaired by the prosecutors, and in the trial phase, the court would chair the meeting. If no resolution could be agreed upon, the head of the Central Commission for Internal Affairs would chair the inter-sectoral meeting.

Should there be no agreement still, the case would be moved to level two with the inter-sectoral meeting chaired by the Executive Secretary of the Communist Party’s Secretariat, who also serves as the deputy head of the Central Steering Committee on Anti-corruption.

Level three would involve meetings of the standing members of the Central Steering Committee on Anti-corruption, which include the party chief and state president, who serves as head of the committee, and its deputy heads.

Level four will have the entire steering committee meet to resolve the issues, and if even that proves insufficient, the case will be moved to level five, in which the Politburo and the Secretariat would hold meetings.

“The steering committee does not direct what the charges and specific sentences should be; instead, it sets out requirements on how to ensure progress in the case, ensure that the correct people are charged for their corresponding crimes in accordance with the law, without bias and without injustice,” Dung said.

Institutional strengthening

In addition to achievements in detecting and handling corruption, Minh also stressed that socio-economic management and anti-corruption institutions had been strengthened over the past eight years.

Between 2016 and May 2020, the party’s Central Committee, Politburo and Secretariat issued nearly 80 documents aimed at strengthening the development of the party, the political system and the anti-corruption fight. The National Assembly and its Standing Committee issued 62 laws, one ordinance and 66 resolutions, while the government and prime minister issued 611 decrees, 532 resolutions and 197 decisions to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of state management in all areas of social life.

“In the coming time, competent authorities need to continue directing the review, amendment and supplementing of political and legal corridors in order to develop a strict prevention mechanism, so that there is no forbidden zone in handling corruption, and corruption prevention is taken to its logical conclusion,” Minh said.Related News:

More critically endangered Red River turtles discovered in Hanoi

By Vo Hai   December 19, 2020 | 12:03 pm GMT+7 vnexpressMore critically endangered Red River turtles discovered in HanoiThe rare Rafetus swinhoei, or Hoan Kiem (Sword Lake) turtle, spotted at Dong Mo Lake in Hanoi. Photo courtesy of the Asian Turtle Program.Tests have confirmed that the turtle recently discovered in Hanoi’s Dong Mo Lake is a rare Hoan Kiem turtle, authorities announced on Friday.

Tiếp tục đọc “More critically endangered Red River turtles discovered in Hanoi”

China says aircraft carrier group on way to South China Sea for drills

DECEMBER 21, 20208:13 AMUPDATED 3 HOURS AGO

By Reuters Staff

2 MIN READ

BEIJING (Reuters) – An aircraft carrier group led by China’s newest carrier, the Shandong, has sailed through the Taiwan Strait on its way to routine drills in the South China Sea, China’s navy said on Monday, after Taiwan mobilised its forces to monitor the trip.

Tiếp tục đọc “China says aircraft carrier group on way to South China Sea for drills”

Bỏ cấp phép phổ biến ca khúc trước 1975

Thứ năm, 17/12/2020, 16:16 (GMT+7) vnexpress

Chính phủ bỏ quy định cấp phép tác phẩm âm nhạc, sân khấu sáng tác trước năm 1975 ở miền Nam và sáng tác của người Việt Nam ở nước ngoài.

Chiều 17/12, ông Trần Hướng Dương, Cục phó Nghệ thuật biểu diễn (Bộ Văn hóa, Thể thao và Du lịch), xác nhận với VnExpress thông tin trên.

Theo đó, ngày 14/12, Chính phủ đã ban hành nghị định mới về hoạt động nghệ thuật biểu diễn, quy định các đơn vị, cá nhân tổ chức biểu diễn nghệ thuật phải có văn bản chấp thuận của cơ quan quản lý. Bộ Văn hóa, Thể thao và Du lịch cấp phép biểu diễn nghệ thuật trong khuôn khổ hợp tác quốc tế ở Trung ương. UBND cấp tỉnh cấp phép sự kiện trên địa bàn.

Tiếp tục đọc “Bỏ cấp phép phổ biến ca khúc trước 1975”

US Labels Switzerland and Vietnam as Currency Manipulators

US Labels Switzerland and Vietnam as Currency Manipulators

Voice of America
17 Dec 2020, 04:05 GMT+10 asiapacificnews.net

The United States has designated Switzerland and Vietnam as currency manipulators for allegedly meddling in foreign exchange markets, sparking disputes with two trading partners.

The countries were labeled as such Wednesday in a U.S. Treasury Department annual report aimed at stopping countries from manipulating their currencies to achieve unfair trade advantages.

It is the first time the U.S. has branded another country as a currency manipulator since August 2019, when China was given the label while engaged in tense trade talks with the U.S.

Washington dropped the designation in January after the two countries reached trade agreements, but Beijing’s yuan has remained on the Treasury Department’s list of currencies it is watching.

The report said Switzerland and Vietnam were the only countries that met all three criteria for being labeled a currency manipulator, a move that leads to negotiations over the next year. If agreements are not reached, the U.S. can impose economic sanctions on the two countries.

Other countries on the watchlist are India, Italy, Korea, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand.

The report is the last one the Trump administration will produce, leaving it to President-elect Joe Biden’s treasury secretary to decide whether to maintain the designations.

But a senior Treasury official said that Biden’s nominee, Janet Yellen, had not yet been informed of the designations and that the decisions rest with the Trump administration, according to The New York Times.

The report, which covers market activity from July 2019 to June 2020, was released during a coronavirus pandemic that has weakened the global economy this year and triggered volatility in foreign exchange markets.

Con Đỗ Ba, bây giờ ra sao?

NNTôi tìm lại con của nhân chứng “My Lai massacre” giữa ánh đèn đêm le lói, ngồi nghe Chi kể chuyện, nghe cảm giác lạnh dọc xương sống…

My Lai Massacre, đó là cụm từ phía Mỹ lưu trong hồ sơ vụ thảm sát Mỹ Lai tại xã Tịnh Khê, TP Quảng Ngãi vào ngày 16/3/1968. Một nhân chứng sống sót được báo chí quốc tế và trong nước không ngừng nhắc tên là Đỗ Ba.

Nhân chứng Đỗ Ba thoát chết trong thảm sát Mỹ Lai năm 1968. Ảnh: TL.
Nhân chứng Đỗ Ba thoát chết trong thảm sát Mỹ Lai năm 1968. Ảnh: TL.

Nhưng còn một Đỗ Ba khác thì sống đời ẩn dật, vào định cư ở Trại phong Quy Hòa, tỉnh Bình Định, sau đó qua đời. Đầu tháng 9/2020, người con trai Đỗ Ba đột ngột gọi ra Đà Nẵng và nói giọng buồn bã: “Xin chú tìm giúp một nơi nương náu cho người em trai, xin chú giúp đỡ…!”. Tiếp tục đọc “Con Đỗ Ba, bây giờ ra sao?”

Tham nhũng: địa ngục cho các tổng thống

  • DANH ĐỨC
  • 03.03.2020, 15:00

TTCT – Tin cựu tổng thống Hàn Quốc Lee Myung Bak bị tuyên án 17 năm tù làm dấy lên nhiều câu hỏi: Tội nghiệt ông có thực đáng như vậy không, hay đây là một màn ân oán chính trị? Làm thế nào mà các tổng thống xứ này cứ thay phiên nhau xộ khám vì tham nhũng sau khi hết nhiệm kỳ? Điều gì khiến tay họ nhúng chàm trong khi số tiền họ tơ hào chỉ khoảng chục triệu USD?

Tham nhũng: địa ngục cho các tổng thống
Ông Lee Myung Bak được dìu ra hầu tòa. Ảnh: YouTube

Tiếp tục đọc “Tham nhũng: địa ngục cho các tổng thống”