Connect with us


Vietnam’s expert negotiator on e-commerce and telecom issues



Nguyen Quy Quynh has been elected for two consecutive terms as vice president of the research team No 1 for the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) Development (ITU-D).

He has also been involved in the negotiations for many free trade agreements (FTA) of which Vietnam is a member.

Vietnam's expert negotiator on e-commerce and telecom issues

Nguyen Quy Quynh, the negotiator on e-commerce and telecom issues

Vietnam has negotiated and signed FTAS with countries in the region and around the world over the last 10 years. Many experts and officials have contributed to this great success.

However, Vietnam has very few negotiating experts in the field of telecommunication and information technology. One of the few is Nguyen Quy Quyen from the International Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC).

As an expert who has deep knowledge about laws and experience of 20 years working at agencies and international organizations, Quyen is assigned to negotiate, sign and implement FTAs in the information and communication sector, including e-commerce. These are the fields that the Government’s negotiation team has assigned the MIC to preside over.

Over the last 10 years of working at MIC, Quyen has been directly building plans and participating in negotiations for many important FTAs, including the TPP, which was later renamed CPTPP, the bilateral FTA with the EU (EVFTA), the bilateral FTA with South Korea, the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU FTA), ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Over the last 10 years of working at MIC, Quyen has been directly building plans and participating in negotiations for many important FTAs, including the TPP, which was later renamed CPTPP, the bilateral FTA with the EU (EVFTA), the bilateral FTA with South Korea, the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU FTA), ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). 

Quyen is now one of two representatives of Asia Pacific on the ITU’s Executive Board of TDAG (Telecommunication Development Advisory Group) for developing and underdeveloped countries. He holds the post of Vice President.

Quyen has been elected for the second consecutive time as vice president of the research team No 1 in ITU-D.

Quyen is currently the only bridge between the statistical units in the field of telecommunications/IT and ITU in the process of researching and synchronizing the system of indicators for evaluation of telecommunications and IT development.

With his experience and achievements, Quyen is known as a leading Vietnamese negotiator and expert in the field of information and communication.

Busy negotiator

Quyen said the tasks of a negotiator are not ‘just go and negotiate’ as people think. He has to undertake a lot of work, from building up plans for negotiation to submit to appropriate agencies for approval to conducting negotiations, reporting the results and implementing the instructions.

After finishing the negotiations of FTAs, he has to join forces with the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), the ministry presiding over the negotiations for FTAs, to complete documents and follow procedures for approval.

After the FTAs take effect, Quyen will build up the plans on implementing the agreements, including media plans and training for relevant parties.

In some cases, several FTAs are negotiated at the same time. Therefore, other officers are sent to negotiations instead of Quyen. However, Quyen is still in charge of drawing up negotiation plans.

Vietnam's expert negotiator on e-commerce and telecom issues

Quyen said he goes away on business 100 days a year.

As the Vietnamese representative in two negotiation groups for telecommunication services and e-commerce, Quyen has to go abroad on business for 10 days for each negotiation round. Meanwhile, technical negotiation rounds go on continuously.

Long, stressful process

According to Quyen, each negotiation session lasts from 9 am to 6 pm. However, when negotiations come to finalization, the negotiation may last from 8 am to 1-2 am of the next day.

In general, all countries try to achieve their goals by all means. In the field of telecommunications or e-commerce, Vietnam bears the most pressure, and negotiators have to stick to their opinions to keep compliance with Vietnamese policies and laws.

The information and telecommunication sector has some ‘delicate’ issues, so negotiators must be very cautious and wary.

“There is an immutable principle that if ‘home’ (that is, Vietnamese leaders) still doesn’t approve, negotiators must not agree with the partners, no matter how tired they are,” Quyen said.

In the telecommunications sector, the international marine cable system is the most difficult issue to negotiate. In most FTAs, the partners want Vietnam to fully open to an international sea cable system.

This is an essential telecommunications network infrastructure which plays a crucial role in ensuring the security and safety of Vietnam’s backbone network.

In E-Com, most of the next-generation FTAs include articles related to the free flow of information across borders, and partners always want Vietnam to remove the requirement on setting servers in Vietnam as a business condition.

This is a big problem because of the difference with Vietnam’s policies, especially in the flow of information related to the finance and banking sector.

When contradictions arise, the duty of negotiators like Quyen is to explain Vietnam’s views on the issue.

“Negotiators don’t just say ‘no’, but they need to give convincing explanations,” he said.

In the last 10 years of working in the International Cooperation Department, Quyen hasn’t missed any emails. This is the habit he has kept since he began working for businesses in the past.

Quyen believes that everyone needs to set goals for themselves. Therefore, he keeps a ‘to-gain list’ on his desktop and builds a personal KPI to assess his results. 

Trong Dat



PM orders intensifying air quality control measures



Thick haze blankets Hà Nội. —VNA/ Photo 

HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has asked ministries and People’s Committees of centrally-run cities and provinces to step up the implementation of programmes and tasks to improve air quality control.

The move aims to intensify the control of air pollution, ease its impact on people’s health and spur socio-economic development.

In a recently-issued directive, the Government leader emphasised the need to review law enforcement and the control of dust and emissions at industrial facilities as well as from transport and construction activities.

He also ordered the suspension of the facilities that cause serious environmental pollution.

The directive pointed out the worsening air conditions in many localities nationwide, affecting socio-economic development and the health of the public, mainly due to dust and emissions by vehicles, and constructional and industrial activities that are responsible for huge emissions yet to be controlled effectively.

Tree coverage and water surface areas in urban development had not yet satisfied requirements, the document said, highlighting shortcomings in the implementation of relevant laws, programmes and tasks.

The PM asked the Ministry of National Resources and Environment to assess the realisation of the decision dated June 1, 2016, approving the national action plan on air quality control by 2020, with a vision towards 2025, and the proposal on air quality control plans for 2021-2025.

The ministry would need to enhance its management and organisation of air quality monitoring programmes, announce results and swiftly issue warnings of air quality to the public.

The PM also tasked the ministry with completing national standards for emissions of industrial activities and vehicles.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transport must promptly put forth national programmes and projects on the development of means of transport, and the environmentally friendly public transport system.

People should be encouraged to use environmentally-friendly public transport vehicles, PM Phúc said.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade was asked to strengthen its inspections over projects and factories with huge discharges that may cause environmental pollution, while devising policies in support of businesses using clean energy and environmentally-friendly technologies.

The Ministry of Construction must guide and inspect the implementation of regulations and measures for dust and emission control in constructional activities, along with urban planning, with tree coverage and water surface area ensured.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would be in charge of supervising the collection and treatment of waste, and the processing of post-harvest by-products, while enhancing the communications work.

The PM asked the Ministry of Science and Technology to issue national technical standards for fuels, and support relevant scientific-technological research studies.

He urged the Ministry of Health to assess the impact of air pollution on the public’s health, and propose measures for public health protection, while the Ministry of Finance was requested to inspect the implementation of incentive policies on environmental protection in line with the 2020 Law on Environmental Protection.  

The Ministry of Public Security was requested to investigate and seriously handle violations of relevant laws.

The PM said cities and provinces should build and roll out planning schemes on local air quality monitoring networks, and push ahead with the issuance and realisation of plans on public transport development.

Vehicles that use clean energy should be prioritised, he said, stressing the need to revoke and terminate old and outdated vehicles.

The localities should urge construction and transport project investors and constructors to seriously observe environmental protection measures, and encourage production facilities to revamp outdated machines, he said. —


Continue Reading


Supermarket coalition expected to help cut use of plastic bags



An initiative to form a supermarket coalition is being developed with the support of the EU and the German Government, aiming to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags and protect the environment.

Supermarket coalition expected to help cut use of plastic bags hinh anh 1

According to Fanny Quertamp from Expertise France, the project is a chance for Vietnam to take specific action to cut plastic waste, and she expressed her hope that the project will receive the active engagement of supermarkets around the country.

As part of efforts to implement the initiative, Hanoi is working with relevant agencies towards the formation of the coalition. The city has received support from local supermarkets.

A representative from Lotte Mart Ba Dinh said that foreign customers strongly support the scheme and are willing to pay for environmentally-friendly shopping bags. Many Vietnamese customers, however, are not happy, so stronger communication campaigns are needed to raise public awareness.

A BigC representative said the scheme should be introduced at all supermarkets to ensure fairness and proposed legal regulations on reductions to plastic waste and single-use plastic bags.

In order to minimise the use of such bags, the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade held a working session with the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

According to the department, 140 out of 170 supermarkets and trade centres in Hanoi have switched from plastic shopping bags to bio-degradable bags and multi-use shopping bags.

The majority of facilities use food packaging materials made of bagasse and natural materials.

Meanwhile, many retail and distribution businesses have offered promotions to customers who use their own shopping bags.

The VinCommerce General Commercial Service JSC, the owner of VinMart and VinMart , has been among the pioneers in encouraging green shopping habits by implementing the “Three green” programme – Green VinMart, Green Customers, and Green Suppliers – to protect the environment. It has 2,200 retail points around the country, including 850 in Hanoi.

Environmental experts, however, said the habit of using plastic bags continues among a large number of shoppers, especially at traditional markets./.VNA


Continue Reading


Japanese $2.5bn AI startup targets Vietnam after COVID boost

AI Inside, a Japanese startup that helps companies convert paper documents into electronic data using artificial intelligence, is entering Vietnam after the COVID-19 pandemic boosted business in its home market.



AI Inside recently agreed to sell its text recognition software, which includes the Vietnamese language, through OCG Technology, a joint venture between a unit of state-owned Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group and Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone. It aims to tap Vietnamese companies that want to automate manual tasks like typing handwritten forms into spreadsheets.

“We will be putting a lot of effort into global expansion this year,” founder and CEO Taku Toguchi said in an interview. In addition to Vietnam, the company is also planning to enter Thailand and Taiwan.

The 5-year-old startup’s Asia expansion highlights how some Japanese software startups, hot on the heels of a boost in demand from the pandemic, are racing to build a footprint overseas.

Japan spends about $38 billion each year on outsourcing, about $5.5 billion of which is related to data input, Toguchi said. He believed the large industry was ripe for automation: “Human labor was increasing, despite a declining population. It did not make sense.”

The major shift came last year, when AI Inside’s orders surged as companies and local governments scrambled to process paper documents such as handwritten applications, especially after the Japanese government declared its first state of emergency in April.

The number of contracts for the company’s optical character recognition (OCR) software, which can convert handwritten letters into text, more than doubled between July and September to 12,700. New customers included local cities that needed to rapidly process 100,000 yen stimulus handouts during the summer.

The company expects to turn a profit of 1.1 billion yen ($10.6 million) for the fiscal year ending March 2021, nearly triple the figure in the previous year. Its share price has increased more than fivefold since its initial public offering in December 2019, giving it a market capitalization of $2.5 billion as of Jan. 13.

While AI Inside claims a 64% market share in Japan’s market for AI-based OCR software, Japan’s rapid adoption of software is fueling competition. Cinnamon, a privately held AI startup that also sells OCR software, already has engineers in Vietnam and Taiwan and raised additional capital last year to ramp up hiring.

Toguchi said his ambitions go far beyond text recognition. AI Inside is adding functionality for companies to create online application forms and developing software that enables companies to build their own AI systems, such as detecting hazardous products in a waste management plant.

It is also considering building data centers outside Japan in anticipation of more demand for AI edge computing, in which data is processed as close to the source as possible, such as in autonomous driving. “We do not want to be a mere OCR company,” Toguchi said. “Our goal is to sell infrastructure.”

Source: Nikkei Asian Review


Continue Reading