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Cablegate: Vietnam: Ambassador's Call On Minister of Planning

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 002816

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV
STATE PASS USAID FOR ANE/KUNDER AND ANE-SPO BRADY
STATE ALSO PASS USAID FOR ANE/KENNEDY
STATE PASS USTR FOR EBRYAN
USDOC FOR 4431/MAC/AP/OPB/VLC/HPPHO
TREASURY FOR OASIA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EAID EINV VM HIV AIDS
SUBJECT: VIETNAM: AMBASSADOR'S CALL ON MINISTER OF PLANNING
AND INVESTMENT

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

1 (U) Summary: In a meeting October 14, Minister of
Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc expressed appreciation
for USG funding for HIV/AIDS prevention in Vietnam under the
President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and told
the Ambassador that the agenda for the December Consultative
Group (CG) meeting would include discussion of the GVN's
draft Five Year Plan for 2006-2010, HIV/AIDS prevention and
poverty reduction. He also expressed support for concluding
a bilateral framework agreement on assistance with the
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
by December. The Ambassador encouraged Minister Phuc to
work quickly to resolve current U.S. investment disputes
including insurance licenses, auto tariffs, Tricore's
interest in the Hanoi Ring Road Project and the dissolution
of the McCullagh/Krong Ana joint coffee venture in Daklak
Province. End Summary.

Framework Agreement
-------------------

2. (U) Minister Phuc expressed appreciation for the level
of official development assistance (ODA) the USG has
provided Vietnam, noting in particular the U.S. commitment
to providing humanitarian assistance. Minister Phuc
expressed his hope that U.S. assistance levels will rise
significantly in the future and noted that this would
necessitate conclusion of a bilateral framework agreement on
assistance. Minister Phuc told the Ambassador that the MPI
had finished compiling comments from other ministries and
agencies on the draft framework agreement and had submitted
its report to the Government. The Minister expressed his
hope that the agreement could be finalized in time for
signing during the next Consultative Group (CG) meeting in
Hanoi December 1-2.

HIV/AIDS
--------

3. (U) Minister Phuc expressed appreciation for President
Bush's decision to name Vietnam as one of fifteen countries
under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief
(PEPFAR) and assured the Ambassador that preventing the
spread of HIV/AIDS is a priority for the GVN. HIV/AIDS is
discussed at the GVN's monthly meetings as well as at the
two meetings of the CG each year. Minister Phuc assured the
Ambassador that the MPI would coordinate with the other
relevant GVN ministries and agencies as well as with the
U.S. Mission team to ensure PEPFAR funds are used
efficiently.

Consultative Group
------------------

4. (U) Minister Phuc told the Ambassador that he had
discussed the agenda for the December CG with Klaus Rohland,
Country Director for the World Bank in Hanoi. According to
Minister Phuc, discussion of the draft for Vietnam's next
Five Year Plan (2006-2010) will be an important agenda item
for the December CG. The GVN will begin drafting the Plan
later this year and will submit it to the National Assembly
for comment in 2005 and for approval in early 2006. The
Plan will direct the development of socio-economic policy
for the next five years and will identify next steps in the
renovation (Doi Moi) process. Minister Phuc said the CG
agenda would also include poverty reduction and HIV/AIDS
prevention. The Ambassador informed Minister Phuc that he
planned to meet with Mr. Rohland at the World Bank next week
to discuss the agenda for the December CG.

Investment Climate
------------------

5. (SBU) The Ambassador reminded Minister Phuc that while
bilateral trade has increased dramatically since entry-into-
force of the Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) in December
2001, U.S. investment in Vietnam has not grown as quickly.
To improve its business climate, the GVN should continue its
efforts to accede to the WTO and liberalize its market. In
addition, the GVN should work quickly to find equitable
resolutions to existing investment disputes so that
investors will speak positively about their experience in
Vietnam. The Ambassador cited insurance licenses, auto
taxes and tariffs, the Tricore Ring Road project and the
McCullagh-Krong Ana coffee joint venture as issues that the
GVN should work quickly to resolve.

6. (SBU) Minister Phuc assured the Ambassador that he wants
to work together to promote U.S. investment in Vietnam. On
insurance licenses, he told the Ambassador that the MPI
"fully supports" New York Life and Ace's intention to invest
in Vietnam. On autos, Minister Phuc said that among GVN
ministries and agencies there are "discussions, arguments
and differences of opinion" over the auto policy. He
acknowledged, however, that the GVN needs to "reconsider the
special consumption tax" because of its negative impact on
consumers and that he "personally" wants to develop the auto
industry in Vietnam. Minister Phuc also said he had asked
the Ministry of Transportation to work with Tricore and all
interested parties on the Hanoi Ring Road Project and that
he hoped there would be a "good solution" to the issues
delaying the dissolution of the McCullagh-Krong Ana coffee
joint venture in Dak Lak province.

MARINE

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