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Cablegate: Ambassador's Visit to Nam Dinh: Agricultural Province Makes Textiles, Crafts; Ngo's Help Meet Local Needs

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


2000HANOI00864 - UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ9527

PAGE 01 HANOI 00864 01 OF 03 251113Z
ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 ACQ-00 CEA-01 CIAE-00
COME-00 CTME-00 DOEE-00 ITCE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00
EB-00 EXME-00 E-00 FAAE-00 FBIE-00 UTED-00 VC-01
FRB-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 L-00 AC-01
NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00
ACE-00 P-00 SP-00 SSO-00 STR-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00
PMB-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /009W
------------------4F8EC5 251114Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9650
INFO AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
ASEAN COLLECTIVE
SECDEF WASHDC
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI//J5/FPA//
DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HANOI 000864

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV, EB/TPP/ATT, DRL, INR
STATE PASS USAID/ANE/SOULES, MCCLUSKEY
PHNOM PENH FOR USAID/PEARSON
NSC FOR RAVIC HUSO
SECDEF FOR ISA/LSTERN

E.O. 12958: N/A
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 00864 01 OF 03 251113Z
TAGS: PREL EAID PGOV ECON EIND ETRD VM
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S VISIT TO NAM DINH: AGRICULTURAL PROVINCE MAKES TEXTILES, CRAFTS; NGO'S HELP MEET LOCAL NEEDS

1. SUMMARY: IN HIS FIRST WORKING VISIT TO NAM DINH
PROVINCE, JUST SOUTHEAST OF HANOI, THE AMBASSADOR MET WITH
PROVINCIAL OFFICIALS, TOURED A STATE-OWNED TEXTILE PLANT AND
VISITED NGO PROJECTS, LOCAL SCHOOLS AND A HOSPITAL. THOUGH
THE PROVINCIAL LEADERSHIP IS OPEN AND ENGAGING, THE LARGELY
AGRICULTURAL PROVINCE IS NOT MOVING ENERGETICALLY TO CREATE
NEW ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES. THE STATE-OWNED TEXTILE PLANT,
WHICH EMPLOYS 7,700 PEOPLE, PRODUCED ONLY 30 NEW JOBS LAST
YEAR. INTERNATIONAL NGO'S OPERATING IN NAM DINH HELP FILL
THE SOCIAL GAPS: THE ADVENTIST AID AGENCY ASSISTS BLIND
CHILDREN TO INTEGRATE INTO THE COMMUNITY, WHILE SAVE THE
CHILDREN/USA PROVIDES SUPPLEMENTARY NUTRITION TO
MALNOURISHED INFANTS AND TODDLERS. END SUMMARY.

PEOPLE'S COMMITTEE LEADERSHIP PITCHES LOCAL INDUSTRIES
--------------------------------------------- ---------

2. IN AN APRIL 24 VISIT TO NAM DINH PROVINCE, WHOSE
PROVINCIAL CAPITAL IS ABOUT 75 KM SOUTHEAST OF HANOI, THE
AMBASSADOR MET WITH PEOPLE'S COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN TRAN TRUNG
AM, WHO BRIEFED HIM ON LOCAL CONDITIONS. (AMBASSADOR WAS
ACCOMPANIED BY POLOFF AND INTERPRETER. AM WAS JOINED BY
OFFICIALS FROM THE PROVINCIAL EXTERNAL RELATIONS AND HEALTH
DEPARTMENTS.) AMBASSADOR NOTED THIS WAS HIS FIRST WORKING
VISIT TO THE PROVINCE; HE POINTED OUT THERE ARE ONLY TEN
PROVINCES HE HAS NOT YET VISITED. AM SAID NAM DINH IS THE
MOST POPULOUS PROVINCE OF THE RED RIVER DELTA, WITH 2
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 00864 01 OF 03 251113Z
MILLION PEOPLE, LARGELY INVOLVED IN AGRICULTURE. AM SAID
RICE IS THE LARGEST EXPORT; PIGS AND VEGETABLES ARE ALSO
LEADING COMMODITIES. THERE IS AN IMPORTANT TEXTILE
INDUSTRY, ORIGINALLY ESTABLISHED BY THE FRENCH; WHILE IT HAS
DECLINED SOMEWHAT IN RECENT YEARS, ITS MANAGERS HAVE BEEN
WORKING RECENTLY TO INCREASE PRODUCTION. THE PROVINCE'S
STATE-OWNED TEXTILE ENTERPRISES EXPORT ABOUT USD 40 MILLION
IN GOODS, INCLUDING PREPARED CLOTHING, EACH YEAR. AM SAID
HE HOPED THE U.S. WOULD EXPAND ITS INVESTMENT IN THE
PROVINCE, INCLUDING IN OIL EXPLORATION, WHICH WAS PREVIOUSLY
ATTEMPTED BY THE SOVIETS.

3. THE AMBASSADOR RESPONDED THAT VIETNAM IS BLESSED WITH
MANY RESOURCES AND HAS GREAT ECONOMIC POTENTIAL. THE
COUNTRY'S GREATEST ASSET IS ITS PEOPLE, WHO ARE CREATIVE AND
HARD WORKING. BUT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE OPPORTUNITIES,
VIETNAM NEEDS CREATIVE LEADERSHIP. THE AMBASSADOR SAID AM,
AS CHAIR OF NAM DINH, HAS TO LEAD HIS PROVINCE TO COMPETE
WITH OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE REGION IN ORDER TO GAIN
INVESTMENT. HE SAID THERE ARE MANY AMERICANS WHO EXPLORED
INVESTING IN VIETNAM, ESPECIALLY DURING THE YEARS 1994-96,
BUT HAVE GONE ELSEWHERE BECAUSE THERE ARE BETTER
OPPORTUNITIES IN OTHER COUNTRIES. THE AMBASSADOR SAID THE
U.S. WANTS VIETNAM TO BE SUCCESSFUL AND WANTS TO WORK WITH
VIETNAM TO ADDRESS CHALLENGES CONFRONTING THE COUNTRY. WITH
PROPER LEADERSHIP, NAM DINH PROVINCE COULD BE VERY
SUCCESSFUL IN THE YEARS AHEAD. HE NOTED A KEY OBSTACLE NOW
IS THE SRV'S INABILITY TO MOVE FORWARD TO SIGN THE BILATERAL
TRADE AGREEMENT (BTA) NEGOTIATED BETWEEN OUR COUNTRIES. HE
NOTED A BTA IS KEY TO INCREASING U.S. INVESTORS' CONFIDENCE;
A BTA WOULD OPEN UP MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF NEW INVESTMENT.
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HANOI 00864 01 OF 03 251113Z

4. IN RESPONSE TO THE AMBASSADOR'S QUESTION, AM NOTED THE
PROVINCE IS LOOKING TO EXPAND ITS SEAFOOD EXPORTS; THESE
PRODUCTS ARE SHIPPED OUT OF HAIPHONG HARBOR. AM SAID THE
JAPANESE GOVERNMENT IS ASSISTING THE PROVINCE TO IMPROVE
TRANSPORTATION LINKS AMONG NAM DINH, NINH BINH AND THAI BINH
PROVINCES TO ENCOURAGE TRADE WITH THAILAND. AM NOTED BOTH
RAIL LINKS AND WATERWAYS WOULD BE IMPROVED TO FACILITATE
THIS TRADE.

STATE-OWNED TEXTILE FACTORY CREATING FEW NEW JOBS
--------------------------------------------- ----

5. THE AMBASSADOR VISITED THE PROVINCE'S HUGE STATE-OWNED
TEXTILE FACTORY, WHICH EMPLOYS 7,700 PERSONS IN ALL ASPECTS
OF PRODUCTION. THE FACTORY PRODUCES FINISHED CLOTHING
ITEMS, INCLUDING 100 PERCENT COTTON, 100 PERCENT POLYESTER,
AND BLENDED FABRICS. RAW COTTON IS IMPORTED FROM
KAZAKHSTAN; POLYESTER IS IMPORTED FROM TAIWAN AND SOUTH
KOREA. THE EQUIPMENT IN THE PLANT COMES FROM GERMANY,
BELGIUM, FRANCE, JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA. FACTORY FLOOR
OPERATORS SAID CLOTHES ARE EXPORTED TO JAPAN, GERMANY, THE
CZECH REPUBLIC AND NUMEROUS OTHER MARKETS. THEY CLAIMED 36
PERCENT OF OUTPUT IS FOR EXPORT.


6. DURING HIS VISIT, THE AMBASSADOR WAS SHOWN AROUND THE
FACTORY BY THREE PRODUCTION SECTION HEADS, TWO OF WHOM WERE
WOMEN. THE FACILITIES WERE CLEAN, AND A CURSORY LOOK AT THE
FACILITIES SUGGESTED WORKING CONDITIONS WERE GENERALLY
ADEQUATE. HOWEVER, THE AIR IN THE AREA WHERE COTTON AND
POLYESTER ARE SPUN INTO THREAD WAS THICK WITH DUST AND
FIBERS, AND NOT PARTICULARLY WELL VENTILATED. SOME, BUT NOT
ALL, WORKERS WORE MASKS. FACTORY REPRESENTATIVES SAID THE
EMPLOYEES WERE TRAINED AT THE LOCAL PROVINCIAL SCHOOL.
ACCORDING TO THE PLANT MANAGER, 30 NEW EMPLOYEES WERE HIRED
LAST YEAR. (COMMENT: THAT ONLY 30 NEW JOBS WERE CREATED AT
THIS HUGE FACTORY AT A TIME WHEN VIETNAM IS SEEKING TO
EXPAND ITS EXPORTS SUGGESTS THIS IS ANOTHER OF THE LARGE
STATE-OWNED DINOSAURS THAT IS WEIGHING DOWN VIETNAM'S
ECONOMIC POTENTIAL. END COMMENT.)

NGO'S WORKING TO FILL UNMET LOCAL NEEDS
---------------------------------------

7. ACCOMPANIED BY PROVINCIAL OFFICIALS, AMBASSADOR VISITED
SEPARATE HUMANITARIAN PROJECTS OPERATED BY THE ADVENTIST
DEVELOPMENT AND RELIEF AGENCY (ADRA) AND SAVE THE
CHILDRE/USA. THE ADRA PROJECT HAS WORKED WITH THE NAM DINH
PROVINCIAL BLIND ASSOCIATION SINCE MAY 1999 TO TEACH BLIND
CHILDREN SKILLS TO HELP THEM INTEGRATE INTO SOCIETY. THE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 00864 02 OF 03 251113Z
FIRST PROJECT TAUGHT 13 CHILDREN FROM 10-15 YEARS OLD FOR
THREE MONTHS, AND THE SECOND CLASS, WHICH JUST BEGAN,
TEACHES AN ADDITIONAL 13 CHILDREN. THE AMBASSADOR MET WITH
STUDENTS WHO ARE LEARNING TO READ AND WRITE BRAILLE, IN
ORDER TO TAKE DICTATION AND LEARN MATH. THEY ALSO RECEIVE
TRAINING IN HOW TO OPERATE MORE INDEPENDENTLY IN THEIR
COMMUNITIES. THE GOAL IS FOR THE STUDENTS TO JOIN REGULAR
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS AFTER COMPLETING THE ADRA
COURSES. FROM THE FIRST SCHOOL, TWO OF THE 13 STUDENTS ARE
TRAINING TO BECOME TEACHERS OF BRAILLE AND ONE IS BEING
TRAINED FOR PHYSICAL THERAPY MASSAGE. THE AMBASSADOR
APPLAUDED THE WORK OF THE ASSOCIATION AND ADRA IN HELPING
THE STUDENTS INTEGRATE INTO SOCIETY, AND ENCOURAGED THE
STUDENTS TO CONTINUE THEIR HARD WORK AND COMMITMENT TO
LEARNING.

8. THE AMBASSADOR ALSO VISITED A CHILD NUTRITION PROJECT
WHICH HAS BEEN OPERATED BY SAVE THE CHILDREN/USA AT SIX
SITES FOR THE PAST 11 MONTHS. THE PROJECT PROVIDES
SUPPLEMENTAL FOOD TO MALNOURISHED CHILDREN UNDER 3 YEARS OLD
IN PARTICULARLY ISOLATED VILLAGES WHERE AT LEAST 16 PERCENT
OF THE POPULATION IS UNDERNOURISHED. THE PROJECT HAS
TARGETTED MORE THAN 400 FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN, HAVING
THE MOTHERS BRING THE KIDS INTO LOCAL VILLAGE CLINICS TO
RECEIVE THE DAILY PORTIONS OF RICE, GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES
AND BANANAS. SOME OF THE GOALS ARE TO TEACH THE PARENTS
ABOUT GOOD, COST-EFFICIENT EATING HABITS AND TO HELP AT-RISK
CHILDREN SO THEY DO NOT SUFFER LONG-TERM HARM TO THEIR
DEVELOPMENT. VISITING THE FEEDING CENTER IN VINH HAO TOWN
IN VU BAN DISTRICT, THE AMBASSADOR TOLD THE PROJECT
OPERATORS HE WAS VERY IMPRESSED WITH THE PROGRAM AND ITS
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HANOI 00864 02 OF 03 251113Z
EFFORTS TO REACH AT-RISK KIDS. HE HOPED THAT SUCH PROJECTS
COULD BE EXPANDED TO HELP MALNOURISHED CHILDREN.

TOURS OF PROVINCIAL HOSPITAL AND SCHOOLS
----------------------------------------

9. IN A VISIT TO THE NAM DINH GENERAL HOSPITAL, THE
AMBASSADOR MET WITH THE TWO VICE DIRECTORS AND TOOK A TOUR
OF THE FACILITIES. THE HOSPITAL, WHICH IS THE LARGEST IN
THE REGION, HAS 400 BEDS AND 83 DOCTORS AND ABOUT 200 NURSES
ON STAFF. RESPONDING TO THE AMBASSADOR'S QUESTION, HOSPITAL
OFFICIALS SAID ABOUT 6 PERCENT OF PATIENTS ARE FOR SERIOUS
TRAUMA CASES, THOUGH MANY MORE TRAUMA PATIENTS GO TO THE
OTHER SMALLER CLINICS IN THE PROVINCE. THERE ARE MANY TYPES
OF TRAUMA VICTIMS, FROM AUTO, FARM AND OTHER ACCIDENTS.
HOSPITAL OFFICIALS SAID, THOUGH THEIR DIAGNOSTIC EQUIPMENT
IS LIMITED, THEY MAKE DO WITH WHAT THEY HAVE, THOUGH THEY
MADE A PITCH FOR SPECIALIZED EQUIPMENT FROM THE U.S.

10. THE AMBASSADOR ALSO VISITED A TRAINING SCHOOL FOR BOYS
AND GIRLS TO HELP THEM LEARN THE WOODWORKING AND
CRAFTSMAKING SKILLS OF THE PROVINCE, AS WELL AS AN 18-ROOM
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL THAT HAS 650 STUDENTS. AT THE ELEMENTARY
SCHOOL, THE AMBASSADOR MET WITH THE DEPUTY RECTOR, WHO
DESCRIBED THE CHALLENGES FACING HER SCHOOL BECAUSE OF
RESOURCE CONSTRAINTS. SHE STRESSED THE STRONG COMMITMENT OF
LOCAL FAMILIES TO EDUCATION. SHE ASKED WHETHER THE
AMBASSADOR COULD ASSIST VIETNAM IN CONSTRUCTING AN
ADDITIONAL CLASSROOM TO BE USED FOR A SCHOOL LAB, WHICH
REPORTEDLY WOULD COST $3,000. WHEN THE AMBASSADOR VISITED
FIRST- AND FIFTH-GRADE CLASSROOMS, HE SAW BETWEEN 34 AND 36
STUDENTS STUDYING AT NARROW WOODEN TABLES. THEY HAD SMALL
PAPERBACK BOOKLETS FOR MATH AND READING, AS WELL AS SMALL
TABLETS AND PENCILS.

11. COMMENT: THE LEADERSHIP OF THE NAM DINH PROVINCE
PEOPLE'S COMMITTEE IS MORE OPEN AND ENGAGING IN DIALOGUE
THAN MANY OF VIETNAM'S PROVINCES. AM, THE PEOPLE'S
COMMITTEE CHAIR, SEEMED TO BE ON TOP OF HIS BRIEF AND AWARE
OF THE CHALLENGES FACING HIS PROVINCE. AS ARTICULATED BY
THE AMBASSADOR, THE TRUE CHALLENGE IS EXERCISING LEADERSHIP
TO ESTABLISH FAVORABLE CONDITIONS TO ATTRACT INVESTMENT AND
LEAD TO BROADER PROSPERITY IN THE PROVINCE. THUS FAR, THE
PALTRY NUMBER OF LOCAL JOBS CREATED AT THE PROVINCE'S HUGE
TEXTILE FACTORY DOES NOT BODE WELL FOR SPURRING ECONOMIC
GROWTH IN THE PROVINCE. VARIOUS NGO'S, SUCH AS SAVE THE
CHILDREN AND ADRA, PERFORM VALUABLE SERVICE IN HELPING MEET
IMPORTANT HUMAN DEVELOPMENT NEEDS LEFT UNMET BY LOCAL
GOVERNMENT. END COMMENT.
PETERSON

UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 00864 03 OF 03 251113Z

UNCLASSIFIED

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