Archive

Archive for the ‘Vietnam’ Category

CRS — U.S.-Vietnam Nuclear Cooperation Agreement: Issues for Congress

March 31, 2014 Comments off

U.S.-Vietnam Nuclear Cooperation Agreement: Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

U.S.-Vietnamese cooperation on nuclear energy and nonproliferation has grown in recent years along with closer bilateral economic, military, and diplomatic ties. In 2010, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding that Obama Administration officials said would be a “stepping stone” to a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement. This agreement was signed by the two countries in December 2013.

Under section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (as amended), this agreement is subject to congressional review. The nuclear cooperation agreement is expected to comply with all the terms of the Atomic Energy Act as amended and therefore will be a “non-exempt” agreement. This means that it will enter into force upon the 90th day of continuous session after its submittal to Congress (a period of 30 plus 60 days of review) unless Congress enacts a Joint Resolution disapproving the agreement.

Vietnam would be the first country in Southeast Asia to operate a nuclear power plant. Vietnam has announced a nuclear energy plan that envisions installing several nuclear plants, capable of producing up to 14,800 megawatts of electric power (MWe), by 2030. Nuclear power is projected to provide 20%-30% of the country’s electricity by 2050. Significant work remains, however, to develop Vietnam’s nuclear energy infrastructure and regulatory framework.

About these ads

Asia — Energizing Green Cities: Solutions to Meet Demand and Spark Economic Growth

March 21, 2014 Comments off

Energizing Green Cities: Solutions to Meet Demand and Spark Economic Growth
Source: World Bank

Cities in Southeast Asia (SEA) are growing twice as fast as the rest of the world and by 2030, it is expected that 70 percent of SEA population will live in cities. Worldwide, cities account for around two-thirds of global energy demand and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While cities have always been the engines of economic growth, now they also hold the key to a sustainable development in SEA. Given their size and dynamic growth, SEA cities today have a unique opportunity to also become global engines of green growth by choosing energy-efficient solutions for their infrastructure needs.

Improving energy efficiency isn’t just good for the environment; it’s good for economic growth, says a World Bank report, “Energizing Green Cities in Southeast Asia – Applying Sustainable Urban Energy and Emissions Planning.” According to the report, there is a clear correlation between investments in energy efficient solutions in infrastructure and economic growth, based on a study of three cities – Da Nang in Vietnam, Surabaya in Indonesia and Cebu City in the Philippines. By improving energy efficiency and reducing GHG emissions, cities not only help the global environment, but they also support local economic development through productivity gains, reduced pollution, and more efficient use of resources.

CRS — The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Negotiations and Issues for Congress (updated)

February 19, 2014 Comments off

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Negotiations and Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed regional free trade agreement (FTA) being negotiated among the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. U.S. negotiators and others describe and envision the TPP as a “comprehensive and high-standard” FTA that aims to liberalize trade in nearly all goods and services and include commitments beyond those currently established in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The broad outline of an agreement was announced on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial in November 2011, in Honolulu, HI. If concluded as envisioned, the TPP potentially could eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and investment among the parties and could serve as a template for a future trade pact among APEC members and potentially other countries. Congress has a direct interest in the negotiations, both through influencing U.S. negotiating positions with the executive branch, and by passing legislation to implement any resulting agreement.

Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2012 (2013)

December 12, 2013 Comments off

Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2012 (2013)
Source: Institute of Medicine

From 1962 to 1971, the US military sprayed herbicides over Vietnam to strip the thick jungle canopy that could conceal opposition forces, to destroy crops that those forces might depend on, and to clear tall grasses and bushes from the perimeters of US base camps and outlying fire-support bases. Mixtures of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T), picloram, and cacodylic acid made up the bulk of the herbicides sprayed. The main chemical mixture sprayed was Agent Orange, a 50:50 mixture of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. At the time of the spraying, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), the most toxic form of dioxin, was an unintended contaminant generated during the production of 2,4,5-T and so was present in Agent Orange and some other formulations sprayed in Vietnam.

Because of complaints from returning Vietnam veterans about their own health and that of their children combined with emerging toxicologic evidence of adverse effects of phenoxy herbicides and TCDD, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was asked to perform a comprehensive evaluation of scientific and medical information regarding the health effects of exposure to Agent Orange, other herbicides used in Vietnam, and the various components of those herbicides, including TCDD. Updated evaluations are conducted every two years to review newly available literature and draw conclusions from the overall evidence.Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2012 reviews peer-reviewed scientific reports concerning associations between health outcomes and exposure to TCDD and other chemicals in the herbicides used in Vietnam that were published in October 2010–September 2012 and integrates this information with the previously established evidence database. This report considers whether a statistical association with herbicide exposure exists, taking into account the strength of the scientific evidence and the appropriateness of the statistical and epidemiological methods used to detect the association; the increased risk of disease among those exposed to herbicides during service in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam era; and whether there exists a plausible biological mechanism or other evidence of a causal relationship between herbicide exposure and the disease.

CRS — The Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Issues for Congress

April 1, 2013 Comments off

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Issues for Congress (PDF)

Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed regional free trade agreement (FTA) being negotiated among the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. On March 15, 2013, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that Japan would seek to participate in the TPP negotiations. U.S. negotiators and others describe and envision the TPP as a “comprehensive and high-standard” FTA that aims to liberalize trade in nearly all goods and services and include commitments beyond those currently established in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The broad outline of an agreement was announced on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial in November 2011, in Honolulu, HI. If concluded as envisioned, the TPP potentially could eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and investment among the parties and could serve as a template for a future trade pact among APEC members and potentially other countries. Congress has a direct interest in the negotiations, both through influencing U.S. negotiating positions with the executive branch, and by passing legislation to implement any resulting agreement.

The 16th round of negotiations concluded in Singapore on March 14, 2013, and the 17th round is scheduled to be held in Lima, Peru in May 2013. The current goal is to reach an agreement in time for the October 2013 APEC summit in Indonesia. For this deadline to be achieved, outstanding negotiating positions may need to be tabled soon in order for political decisions to be made. The negotiating dynamic itself is complex: decisions on key market access issues such as dairy, sugar, and textiles and apparel may be dependent on the outcome of controversial rules negotiations such as intellectual property rights or state-owned enterprises.

Twenty-nine chapters in the agreement are under discussion. The United States is negotiating market access for goods, services, and agriculture with countries with which it does not currently have FTAs: Brunei, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Vietnam. Negotiations are also being conducted on disciplines to intellectual property rights, trade in services, government procurement, investment, rules of origin, competition, labor, and environmental standards and other issues. In many cases, the rules being negotiated are intended to be more rigorous than comparable rules found in the WTO. Some topics, such as state-owned enterprises, regulatory coherence, and supply chain competitiveness, break new ground in FTA negotiations. As the countries that make up the TPP negotiating partners include advanced industrialized, middle income, and developing economies, the TPP, if implemented, may involve substantial restructuring of the economies of some participants.

The TPP serves several strategic goals in U.S. trade policy. First, it is the leading trade policy initiative of the Obama Administration, and is a manifestation of the Administration’s “pivot” to Asia. If concluded, it may serve to shape the economic architecture of the Asia-Pacific region by harmonizing existing agreements with U.S. FTA partners, attracting new participants, and establishing regional rules on new policy issues facing the global economy—possibly providing impetus to future multilateral liberalization under the WTO.

As the negotiations proceed, a number of issues important to Congress are emerging. One is whether the United States can balance its vision of creating a “comprehensive and high standard” agreement with a large and expanding group of countries, while not insisting on terms that other countries will reject. Another issue is how Congress will consider the TPP, if concluded. The present negotiations are not being conducted under the auspices of formal trade promotion authority (TPA)—the latest TPA expired on July 1, 2007—although the Administration informally

CRS — Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress

November 21, 2012 Comments off

Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress (PDF)

Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This report presents policy and oversight issues for Congress arising from (1) maritime territorial disputes involving China in the South China Sea (SCS) and East China Sea (ECS) and (2) an additional dispute over whether China has a right under international law to regulate U.S. and other foreign military activities in its 200-nautical-mile maritime Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

China is a party to multiple maritime territorial disputes in the SCS and ECS, including, in particular, disputes over the Paracel Islands, Spratly Islands, and Scarborough Shoal in the SCS, and the Senkaku Islands in the ECS. Maritime territorial disputes involving China in the SCS and ECS date back many years, and have periodically led to incidents and periods of increased tension. The disputes have again intensified in the past few years, leading to numerous confrontations and incidents, and heightened tensions between China and other countries in the region, particularly Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

In addition to maritime territorial disputes in the SCS and ECS, China is involved in a dispute, particularly with the United States, over whether China has a right under international law to regulate the activities of foreign military forces operating within China’s EEZ. The dispute appears to be at the heart of multiple incidents between Chinese and U.S. ships and aircraft in international waters and airspace in 2001, 2002, and 2009.

The issue of whether China has a right under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to regulate foreign military activities in its EEZ is related to, but ultimately separate from, the issue of maritime territorial disputes in the SCS and ECS. The two issues are related because China can claim EEZs from inhabitable islands over which it has sovereignty, so accepting China’s claims to islands in the SCS or ECS could permit China to expand the EEZ zone within which China claims a right to regulate foreign military activities.

The EEZ issue is ultimately separate from the territorial disputes issue because even if all the territorial disputes in the SCS and ECS were resolved, and none of China’s claims in the SCS and ECS were accepted, China could continue to apply its concept of its EEZ rights to the EEZ that it unequivocally derives from its mainland coast—and it is in this unequivocal Chinese EEZ that most of the past U.S.-Chinese incidents at sea have occurred.

CRS — U.S. Textile Manufacturing and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations

November 5, 2012 Comments off

U.S. Textile Manufacturing and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations (PDF)

Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Textiles are a major issue in the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations to establish a free-trade zone across the Pacific. Because the negotiating parties include Vietnam, a major apparel producer that now mainly sources yarns and fabrics from China and other Asian nations, the agreement has the potential to shift global trading patterns for textiles and demand for U.S. textile exports. Canada and Mexico, both significant regional textile markets for the United States, have also been accepted into the TPP talks.

U.S. textile manufacturers produce yarn, thread, and fabric for apparel, home furnishings, and for various industrial applications. In 2011, the U.S. textile industry generated $53 billion in shipments and directly employed about 238,000 Americans, accounting for 2% of all U.S. factory jobs. Approximately one-third of U.S. textile production is exported, with the bulk of the exports going to Western Hemisphere nations that are members of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or the Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). Both free trade agreements provide that certain exports from member countries may enter the U.S. market duty-free only if they are made from textiles produced in the region. This has encouraged manufacturers in Mexico and Central America to use U.S.-made yarns and fabrics in apparel, home furnishings, and other products. Exports to the NAFTA and CAFTA-DR countries contributed to a U.S. trade surplus of $2.5 billion in yarns and fabrics in 2011.

The TPP has the potential to affect U.S. textile exporters in at least two ways. First, it could enable Asian apparel producers, principally Vietnam, to export clothing to the United States dutyfree. This would eliminate much of the advantage now enjoyed by Western Hemisphere apparel producers in the U.S. market and, because Vietnamese manufacturers make little use of U.S.- made textiles, could reduce demand for U.S. textile exports. Second, if the TPP were to allow Western Hemisphere apparel manufacturers to use yarn and fabric made anywhere in the TPP region and still enjoy preferential access to the U.S. market, an enlarged Vietnamese textile industry could, at some future time, compete with U.S. exporters in Mexico and Central America.

Textile industry trade groups have urged the United States to insist on a “yarn forward” rule, requiring that yarn production, fabric production, and cutting and sewing of the finished garment all occur within the TPP region for the garment to enter the United States duty-free. On the other side, retailers and apparel companies want to be able to import apparel from the lowest-cost producer, regardless of whether U.S. textiles are used; they urge that textiles and apparel be treated like other products in any TPP agreement. Members of Congress have voiced their support for both sides.

The TPP seems likely to have less impact on those segments of the U.S. textile industry that do not supply apparel manufacturing. U.S. manufacturers of household and technical textiles appear to be internationally competitive, and it is not evident that lower-wage countries would have comparative advantage in these highly capital-intensive sectors.

Current Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure Among Women of Reproductive Age — 14 Countries, 2008–2010

November 2, 2012 Comments off

Current Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure Among Women of Reproductive Age — 14 Countries, 2008–2010

Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Tobacco use and secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure in reproductive-aged women can cause adverse reproductive health outcomes, such as pregnancy complications, fetal growth restriction, preterm delivery, stillbirths, and infant death (1–3). Data on tobacco use and SHS exposure among reproductive-aged women in low- and middle-income countries are scarce. To examine current tobacco use and SHS exposure in women aged 15–49 years, data were analyzed from the 2008–2010 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) from 14 low- and middle-income countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Vietnam. The results of this analysis indicated that, among reproductive-aged women, current tobacco smoking ranged from 0.4% in Egypt to 30.8% in Russia, current smokeless tobacco use was <1% in most countries, but common in Bangladesh (20.1%) and India (14.9%), and SHS exposure at home was common in all countries, ranging from 17.8% in Mexico to 72.3% in Vietnam. High tobacco smoking prevalence in some countries suggests that strategies promoting cessation should be a priority, whereas low prevalence in other countries suggests that strategies should focus on preventing smoking initiation. Promoting cessation and preventing initiation among both men and women would help to reduce the exposure of reproductive-aged women to SHS.

Salient Features of Vietnamese and Filipina Brides of American Citizens: Findings Based on the Micro Data of Recent American Community Surveys

September 5, 2012 Comments off

Salient Features of Vietnamese and Filipina Brides of American Citizens: Findings Based on the Micro Data of Recent American Community Surveys (PDF)

Source:  Journal of Population Studies
This paper studies the educational, employment, and income status of Vietnamese and Filipina brides of American citizens, based on the merged micro data of the 2005, 2006, and 2007 American Community Surveys. We found that the Vietnamese brides tended to be much less educated than the Filipina brides. This difference, together with the fact that the former tended to be much weaker in English language ability than the latter, contributed than did the Filipina brides, and (2) the finding that the economic niche of the employed Vietnamese brides (in the salon sector) tended to yield substantially lower wages than did the economic niche of the employed Filipina brides (in the medical service sector). Since better-educated brides had a better chance to get married to better-educated husbands, we naturally found that the husbands of the Vietnamese brides tended to be less educated than the husbands of the Filipina brides. However, the gap in educational attainment between the two groups of husbands was substantially smaller than the corresponding gap between the two groups of the brides. Underlying this gender difference was the fact that in addition to educational status, beauty and pleasant personality were also important criteria for selecting wives, and the possibility that beauty and pleasant personality were not positively correlated with educational status. With respect to household income, the gap between the two groups of brides was not large, partly because of the strong tendency of the Vietnamese brides toward hypergamy. A nice finding was that both Filipina and Vietnamese wives of American citizens were at rather low risk of being in poverty. The rather negative images of foreign brides in higher-income Asian countries conveyed by many ethnographic studies have been countered by our more sanguine finding about the Vietnamese and Filipina brides in the United States. With respect to the idea that women in lower-income countries tend to accept hypogamy at the personal level in order to achieve hypergamy at the societal level, it was moderately supported by the Filipina cases but largely negated by the Vietnamese cases.

CRS — U.S.-Vietnam Relations in 2011: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy

May 29, 2012 Comments off

U.S.-Vietnam Relations in 2011: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

After communist North Vietnam’s victory over U.S.-backed South Vietnam in 1975, the United States and Vietnam had minimal relations until the mid-1990s. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1995, overlapping security and economic interests have led the two sides to expand relations across a wide range of issue-areas and begin to form a strategic partnership of sorts. Perhaps most prominently, in 2010, the two countries mobilized a multinational response to China’s perceived attempts to boost its claims to disputed waters and islands in the South China Sea. This coordinated effort to promote the freedom of navigation has continued.

Adult Awareness of Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorship — 14 Countries

May 28, 2012 Comments off

Adult Awareness of Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorship — 14 Countries
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

According to the 2012 Report of the U.S. Surgeon General, exposure to tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship (TAPS) is associated with the initiation and continuation of smoking among young persons. The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) requires countries to prohibit all forms of TAPS (2); the United States signed the agreement in 2004, but the action has not yet been ratified. Many countries have adopted partial bans covering direct advertising in traditional media channels; however, few countries have adopted comprehensive bans on all types of direct and indirect marketing. To assess progress toward elimination of TAPS and the level of awareness of TAPS among persons aged ≥15 years, CDC used data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) collected in 14 countries during 2008–2010. Awareness of any TAPS ranged from 12.4% in Turkey to 70.4% in the Philippines. In the four countries where awareness of TAPs was ≤15%, three of the countries had comprehensive bans covering all nine channels assessed by GATS, and the fourth country banned seven of the nine channels. In 12 countries, more persons were aware of advertising in stores than advertising via any other channel. Reducing exposure to TAPS is important to prevent initiation of tobacco use by youths and young adults and to help smokers quit.

Country Analysis Brief: Vietnam

May 16, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Energy Information Administration

Over the course of two decades Vietnam emerged as an important oil and natural gas producer in Southeast Asia. Vietnam has boosted exploration activities, allowed for greater foreign company investment and cooperation in the oil and gas sectors, and introduced market reforms to support the energy industry. These measures have helped to increase oil and gas production, but the country’s rapid economic growth, industrialization, and export market expansion have spurred domestic energy consumption. The country’s real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by an average of 7.2 percent per year in the last decade.

CRS — Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Countries: Comparative Trade and Economic Analysis

February 21, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed regional free trade agreement (FTA) currently under negotiation between Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. The negotiating partners have expressed an interest in allowing this proposed “living agreement” to cover new trade topics and to include new members that are willing to adopt the proposed agreement’s high standards. To that end, Canada, Japan, and Mexico recently stated that they would seek consultations with the partner countries about the possibility of joining the negotiations.
The TPP negotiations are of significant interest to Congress. Congressional involvement includes consultations with U.S. negotiators on and oversight of the details of the negotiations, and eventual consideration of legislation to implement the final trade agreement. In assessing the TPP negotiations, Members may be interested in understanding the potential economic impact and significance of TPP and the economic characteristics of the other TPP countries as they evaluate the potential impact of the proposed TPP on the U.S. economy and the commercial opportunities for expansion into TPP markets.
This report provides a comparative economic analysis of the TPP countries and their economic relations with the United States. It suggests that the TPP negotiating partners encompass great diversity in population, economic development, and trade and investment patterns with the United States. This economic diversity and inclusion of fast-growing emerging markets presents both opportunities and challenges for the United States in achieving a comprehensive and high standard regional FTA among TPP countries.
The proposed TPP and its potential expansion are important due to the economic significance of the Asia-Pacific region for both the United States and the world. The region is home to 40% of the world’s population, produces over 50% of global GDP, and includes some of the fastest growing economies in the world. While current TPP negotiating partners made up about 5% of U.S. trade in 2010, Asia-Pacific economies as a whole, made up over 60%.
The United States is the largest TPP market in terms of both GDP and population. In 2010, nonU.S. TPP partners collectively had a GDP of $2.3 trillion, 16% of the U.S. level, and a population of 195 million, 63% of the U.S. level. Entry of Canada, Japan, and/or Mexico would increase the economic significance of the agreement on both these metrics. Among the TPP partners, the majority of overall U.S. trade and investment flows are with Australia and Singapore. In merchandise trade, however, the United States imports more from Malaysia than any other TPP country. Considering the TPP region collectively, over 25% of all U.S.-TPP imports and exports are in computers/electronic components. At the bilateral level, top U.S. exports are largely in the same major product categories, but top U.S. imports vary considerably by country.
There are four U.S. bilateral FTAs in place with current TPP partners: Australia, Chile, Peru, and Singapore. All other TPP partners except Peru, have agreements in place with five or more of the other TPP partners. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam are members, accounts for much of this existing interconnectedness. Moreover, ASEAN agreements with larger regional economies (e.g., China, Japan, and Korea), present a second possible avenue for Asia-Pacific economic integration, albeit one that currently excludes the United States.

Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972-August 1974

January 18, 2012 Comments off

Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972-August 1974
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974. Continuing the practice established in recent Foreign Relations volumes on the Soviet Union, this volume places Soviet-American relations in the global context of the Cold War, highlighting the conflicts and collaboration between the two superpowers.

The volume includes numerous direct personal communications between President Richard Nixon and Soviet Leader Leonid Brezhnev covering a host of issues, including clarifying the practical application of the SALT I and AMB agreements signed in Moscow. Other major themes covered include the war in Indochina, arms control, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), commercial relations and most-favored-nation status, grain sales, the emigration of Soviet Jews, Jackson-Vanik legislation, and the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war. High-level meetings and summits, both in the United States and the Soviet Union, are documented in detail, including Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger’s conversations with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko leading up to Nixon’s final visit to the Soviet Union in June 1974.

CRS — U.S.-Vietnam Relations in 2011: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy

August 23, 2011 Comments off

U.S.-Vietnam Relations in 2011: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. Department of State Foreign Press Center)

After communist North Vietnam’s victory over U.S.-backed South Vietnam in 1975, the United States and Vietnam had minimal relations until the mid-1990s. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1995, overlapping security and economic interests have led the two sides to begin to form a strategic partnership of sorts. In 2010, the Obama Administration indicated its intent to take relations to “the next level,” and cooperated with Vietnam to coordinate a multi- country diplomatic push back against perceived Chinese encroachment in the South China Sea.

In the United States, voices favoring improved relations have included those reflecting U.S. business interests in Vietnam’s reforming economy and U.S. strategic interests in expanding cooperation with a populous country—Vietnam has 88 million people—that has an ambivalent relationship with China and that is asserting itself on the regional stage. Others argue that improvements in bilateral relations should be conditioned upon Vietnam’s authoritarian government improving its record on human rights. The population of more than 1 million Vietnamese-Americans, as well as legacies of the Vietnam War, also drive continued U.S. interest.

Vietnamese leaders have sought to upgrade relations with the United States in part due to the desire for continued access to the U.S. market and to worries about China’s expanding influence in Southeast Asia. That said, Sino-Vietnam relations are Vietnam’s most important bilateral relationship and Vietnamese leaders must tiptoe carefully along the tightrope between Washington and Beijing, such that improved relations with one capital not be perceived as a threat to the other. Also, some Vietnamese remain suspicious that the United States’ long-term goal is to erode the Vietnamese Communist Party’s (VCP) monopoly on power.

The United States is Vietnam’s largest export market and in some years its largest source of foreign direct investment. Bilateral trade in 2010 was over $15 billion, a tenfold increase since the United States extended “normal trade relations” (NTR) treatment to Vietnam in 2001. Increased trade also has been fostered by Vietnam’s market-oriented reforms. From 1987-2007, Vietnam’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged over 7%. Since then, Vietnam’s economy has been buffeted by economic difficulties that have lowered growth rates and raised inflation. Vietnam is one of the largest recipients of U.S. assistance in East Asia; since the late 2000s, annual U.S. aid typically surpasses $100 million, much of it for health-related activities. The United States and Vietnam are two of nine countries negotiating a Trans-Pacific Strategic and Economic Partnership (TPP) regional free trade agreement (FTA).

Human rights are the biggest thorn in the side of the relationship. Vietnam is a one-party, authoritarian state ruled by the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP), which appears to be following a strategy of permitting most forms of personal and religious expression while selectively repressing individuals and organizations that it deems a threat to the party’s monopoly on power. Most observers argue that the government, which already had tightened restrictions on dissent and criticism since 2007, intensified its suppression in 2010.

In January 2011, the VCP held a Party Congress that selected Nguyen Phu Trong to become the new VCP general secretary, Vietnam’s top post. Vietnam’s prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, was endorsed to continue his tenure as head of the government. Many Western analysts regard the Congress’s results as a sign that steady, incremental improvements in relations with the United States will continue. However, Dung’s power base within the VCP appears to have been weakened, which could make bilateral cooperation more difficult on some issues.

Socio-Economic Impact of Arms Transfers to Developing Countries

June 7, 2011 Comments off

Socio-Economic Impact of Arms Transfers to Developing Countries
Source: Social Science Research Network (Peace & Conflict Review)

In developing nations, importance placed upon defence spending comes at a social cost. This paper explores the link between developing nations’ arms imports and their impact upon socio-economic factors. The first part of this paper elaborates upon the problem of arms transfers to developing countries. The second part provides case studies of Colombia, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Iran, Namibia, Pakistan, Venezuela, and Vietnam. The comparative analysis demonstrates that arms imports have a negative impact upon developing nations. GDP per capita spent upon arms imports usually has the strongest impact upon socio-economic factors, though conflict status and regional stability are also influential.

Country Specific Information: Vietnam

May 29, 2011 Comments off

Country Specific Information: Vietnam
Source: U.S. Department of State

May 23, 2011

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Vietnam is a developing, mainly agrarian country that is moving from a centrally-planned economy to a market economy. Political control rests with the Communist Party. Tourist facilities can be basic in rural areas but are increasingly well established in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and some beach and mountain resorts. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Vietnam for additional information.

Reproductive contributions of Taiwan´s foreign wives from the top five source countries

May 22, 2011 Comments off

Reproductive contributions of Taiwan´s foreign wives from the top five source countries
Source: Demographic Research

This research studies the reproductive contributions of Taiwan’s foreign wives from China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines, based on applications of the multinomial logit model to the micro data of the 2003 Census of Foreign Spouses. Wives from China are found to have the lowest lifetime fertility of 1.4 children, mainly because they were more prone to marry later, have a very large spousal age gap, be separated or divorced, and have their current marriage be their second marriage. The effect of wife’s educational attainment on lifetime fertility turned out to be either modest or nonexistent.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

UK — Vietnam business guide

May 1, 2011 Comments off

Vietnam business guide (PDFs)
Source: Department for Business Innovation & Skills

Overview of how to do business in Vietnam, a high-growth market for the UK. Covers researching the market, market entry and business issues and considerations. Intended for UK businesses. See also the Philippines (11/689), Thailand (11/690) and Malaysia (11/691) business guides that were also published 19 April 2011.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 775 other followers