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Mekong Delta encouraged to maximise opportunities from international trade deals

Economists have urged authorities in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta to create a start-up environment and encourage business incubations to take full advantage of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

At a conference held Wednesday in Can Tho, organised by the Can Tho branch of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), local authorities, economists and members of the business community discussed the economic impact of the new agreements on the region.

The Delta has 51,000 businesses with annual export value of some US$11.5 billion. — Photo vietpress

The Delta has 51,000 businesses with annual export value of some US$11.5 billion. — Photo vietpress

Participants suggested changes to macro-economic policy that would be more in line with the AEC and free trade agreements.

They noted that although enterprises would have more opportunities to expand their markets and enhance competitiveness, they would also face tougher competition.

Speaking at the conference, Vo Hung Dung, director of VCCI Can Tho, said the region should transform its economic and labour structure.

Vo Thanh Thong, chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee, urged the local business community to improve linkages to take advantage of opportunities.

Viet Nam has concluded a number of free trade agreements, including TPP, ASEAN Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)+6, EU, South Korea, Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan and EFTA (4 Central and Northern European countries).

Most speakers agreed that without the correct strategy in a more liberalised international trade environment, Vietnamese businesses may face defeat on their “home field”.

Vo Hung Dung, director of VCCI Can Tho, noted that Mekong Delta was a major economic region making up 19.5 per cent of Viet Nam’s population, and a dynamic hub for exporting rice, aqua-products, fruits and vegetables.

The Delta has 51,000 businesses with annual export value of some US$11.5 billion.

Vo Tri Thanh, deputy director of Central Institute of Economic Management, said the FTAs would open up huge opportunities, especially for agricultural and aqua production.

The trade agreements would cut tax rates to zero per cent, thereby reducing production costs and increasing competitiveness.

However, Thanh warned that the agricultural sector must change production methods, restructure and shift to large-scale and chain production, promote green growth and safe food, and better market their brands.

Economist Le Dang Doanh said businesses must grasp opportunities to expand export markets as tax rates would be lower and imports would have more favourable access.

He said such sectors as garment, footwear, bags, electronics, wood-based products, which are based on low-cost production and skills, could expand exports to the EU and under the TPP. But there will be competition among AEC members.

Local businesses must develop linkages and value chains to meet standards and demands of specific markets like Japan, South Korea, the US and Europe, he added.

They should also improve key human resources and invest in e-commerce.

Experts also called on businesses in the region to increase added value of their products, develop new products and markets, and diversify brands.

Local authorities in the Delta were urged to improve the business environment, and continue to keep abreast of information on macro-economic policy and trade agreements.

They were also told to be transparent in providing information.

The Mekong Delta is home to over 53,000 enterprises, with 40 per cent operating in trade, 20 per cent in industry, nearly 14 per cent in construction, and 7 per cent in the agricultural and seafood sectors.

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Campaign ramps up cybersecurity

Intellectual protection enforcement agencies nationwide have handled 26,004 cases, with imposed fines totalling VND68 billion (US$3 million), according to Tran Minh Dung, chief inspector of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Dung announced the figures yesterday at the launch of the one-month campaign commemorating World Intellectual Property Day.

Vice Minister of Science and Technology (MOST) Tran Viet Thanh speaks at the event. — Photo VNA

Vice Minister of Science and Technology (MOST) Tran Viet Thanh speaks at the event. — Photo VNA

Dung said that according to rough statistics from Task Forces (Program 168) in the term 2012-15, enforcement agencies confiscated and destroyed or removed about 70 tonnes of food; tens of thousands of imported bottles of liquor; nearly 27,000 medicine products; 80,900 fertilisers, and millions of electronic goods, handbags, footwear and clothing, all of which faked trademarks and infringed the rights of genuine industrial property owners. They also confiscated tens of thousands of stampless and illegally-imported CDs and DVDs.

In computer software ownership enforcement alone, Chief Inspector of the Ministry of Culture-Sports-Tourism (MOCST) Vu Xuan Thanh said, “In 2015, MOCST inspectors spot-checked 89 companies for compliance with existing computer software ownership laws in various places nationwide. Inspecting teams examined 3,942 computers and issued fines for civil offenses worth VND2.5 billion.”

As chairman of the one-month campaign’s launch, Vice Minister of Science and Technology (MOST) Tran Viet Thanh said the purpose of the initiative is “press ahead the establishment, application, development and enforcement of IP rights; ensure that IP rights become a useful tool to promote science and technology development, and socioeconomic development as a whole; and create society-wide awareness on the need to observe international agreements related to IP.”

The campaign, lasting from March 31 to April 30, will sponsor educational and training activities, followed by enhanced enforcement activities in the following months, Thanh said.

“Going forward, to stick to Viet Nam’s TPP commitments, we will scan, revise and update our legal framework related to intellectual property, especially in association with patents, trademarks, geographical indications, know-how, copyrights and enforcement of intellectual property rights,” Thanh said.

“Keeping this in mind, the Vietnamese Government and the country’s entire intellectual property right registration and enforcement system are making steps to improve and take to new heights the efficacy of intellectual property right protection and enforcement in Viet Nam.”

Building on the many years of co-operation with Vietnamese governmental bodies, Roland Chan, a senior director of BSA-The Software Alliance, said that over the years, BSA has initiated many awareness campaigns aimed at educating and assisting companies to address their software licensing and management issues.

Roland said the programmes have been successful, but they are now seeing a rise in cybercrime, which transcends borders. Organisations and business owners must be vigilant to protect themselves and their businesses from the growing threats of malware and data theft through the adoption of an effective and efficient software license management practice, Roland said.

The good news is that with effective management of software assets, the risk of a cybersecurity breach is greatly diminished. Part of BSA’s goal in this new campaign is to draw greater awareness of cybersecurity risks that come with the use of unlicensed software.

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Kaspersky Lab, WISeKey launch mobile app to secure users’ data

Kaspersky Lab and Swiss cyber security company WISeKey have launched a special edition of the cyber-resilience app WISeID Kaspersky Lab Security that integrates the best technologies from both companies to offer safety for mobile users’ data.

WISeID Kaspersky Lab Security protects mobile users' personal information from cyber criminals. — VNS Photo

WISeID Kaspersky Lab Security protects mobile users’ personal information from cyber criminals. — VNS Photo

The new app locks personal data such as account usernames and passwords, credit card numbers and access PINs into a secure personal data organiser, creating accountable identities for online activity while the data itself remains protected in a secure cloud vault.

It includes Kaspersky Mobile Security SDK, a robust and proven solution for protecting mobile phones against security threats. Its inclusion delivers advanced security features like web and network protection, device protection and risk detection.

WISeID keeps passwords in an encrypted vault, generates hard-to-crack passwords, and safely synchronises data between computers and devices on multiple platforms using secure cloud storage.

Mobile security threats are increasing in number and sophistication. Though mobile operating systems provide app developers with significant security features, hackers are still able to use many different infection vectors to place malware.

WISeID is available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac OSX, Windows, and Kindle.

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VN network security at high risk: experts

Viet Nam is a main target for hackers in the network environment, said Nguyen Van Thinh, deputy head of the Department of Cyber Security under the Ministry of Public Security, at the Security World 2016 conference on Tuesday.

Up to 600 hacker groups attacked Vietnamese e-portals last year, and most of the attacks came from abroad. — Photo genk.vn

Up to 600 hacker groups attacked Vietnamese e-portals last year, and most of the attacks came from abroad. — Photo genk.vn

The event aims to set up security measures, ensure information security for e-Government, propose measures to protect enterprises’ databases and curb data leaks.

Thinh attributed the increasing number of attacks to serious security loopholes that have not been repaired on most electronic websites and information portals.

Up to 600 hacker groups attacked Vietnamese e-portals last year, and most of the attacks came from abroad. Foreign hacker groups continuously attack specific targets with upgraded malware, experts said.

According to Truong Thi Le Thuy, director general of Cisco Viet Nam, hackers are continually developing their technology and strategies, which are becoming more sophisticated in order to steal information, data and money without being detected.

“Network security in Viet Nam is facing an alarming situation, which requires organisations and businesses to urgently find technological solutions to protect themselves from unforeseen security invasions,” Thuy said.

To protect information security in Viet Nam, Thinh suggested solutions including strengthening communications and education to raise awareness on insecurity, as well as writing and enacting provisions and laws to address the problem.

In addition, he also proposed the early promulgation of instructions for the law of cyber information security and international co-operation in the field of information security.

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