News coming out of the country this week has been dominated by a diplomatic spat between Germany and Vietnam over the alleged disappearance and abduction of Trinh Xuan Thanh, a Vietnamese politician and businessman, by Vietnamese intelligence operatives in Berlin. The most insightful piece on the subject that we have seen so far has been from a Russian analyst, Anton Tsvetov, an expert attached to the Center for Strategic Research:
- Anton Tsvetov, Vietnam Kidnaps Corruption Suspect in Berlin, the Diplomat, 3 August 2017
The Financial Times reported that the German authorities had responded by expelling the Vietnamese ambassador and the intelligence attache:
- Stefan Wagstyl, Germany expels Vietnam diplomat after kidnapping, Financial Times, 2 August 2017
In other news, Bennett Murray, the bureau chief at Deutsche Presse-Agentur located in Hanoi, reports on the travails of the musician-dissidents:
- Bennett Murray, Rage against the regime: the Vietnamese musicians fighting back, 4 August 2017
The heavy flooding in northern provinces - Son La, Yen Bai and Lai Chau - have seen deaths of at least twenty three people, AP reports:
Death toll from floods in northern Vietnam rises to 23, Associated Press, 6 August 2017
Not everything is gloom and doom, though. Economic outlook generally remains positive as an increase in foreign direct investments have helped Vietnam's export-oriented economy rebound despite the freeze of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal earlier this year:
- Ralph Jennings, Vietnam Rebounds After Sting from Demise of US-led Trade Pact, 2 August 2017
- Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen, Vietnam Forecasts Record Foreign Investment of $16 Billion, 4 August 2017
Bloomberg on the costs associated with being an Asian tiger economy:
The country graduated from most concessional financing from the World Bank at the end of June, and it’s currently rated a “blend” borrower from the Asian Development Bank -- one step up from solely getting the cheapest financing. As the discounted funding rolls off, Vietnam will need to turn more to the bond market -- boosting the supply of emerging-market securities that global investors have been happy to snap up in recent years.
“This is a clear sign of Vietnam’s remarkable development success -- it’s now a middle-income country,” Sebastian Eckardt, the World Bank’s lead economist in Hanoi, said in an interview. “Vietnam’s financing needs are growing rapidly, and official financing will not be enough to meet the development needs of the country -- so an increasing share of the financing will have to be mobilized from capital markets.”
- Narae Kim and Giang Nguyen, Vietnam Learns Becoming a Tiger Economy Comes With a Cost, Bloomberg, 7 August 2017
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc -
"agreed to create an outstanding institutional framework that transcends existing laws and minimizes the application of business investment conditions in special zones, to attract investment into such zones."
"Regarding land policy, the law will be adjusted to extend the leasehold to 99 years for foreigners and allow them to mortgage assets in association with land use rights at foreign credit institutions."
- Foreign home ownership may rise to 99 years, Economic Times/VietnamNet, 4 August 2017
That's all for today! We will come back with more updates on Vietnam next week.