As the world’s population heads toward 10 billion by midcentury, experts are wrestling with how to feed the world without wrecking the planet. It’s not easy to find foods with lower environmental impact that still taste as good as the ones they are intended to replace. But chefs and environmentalists are both cheering one new menu item: the mushroom-blended burger. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Traditional handicrafts from Pakistan are exported to many countries around the world. One item that appears to be gaining in popularity are the country’s hand-made bamboo curtains. VOA’s Saman Khan has more in this report from Lahore, Pakistan, narrated by Sarah Zaman.
A financially distraught yellow cab driver from Romania recently hanged himself in his New York garage, marking the fourth suicide among city taxi drivers in as many months. In the tragedy’s aftermath, members of New York’s taxicab drivers union are renewing their calls for a cap on the number of app-based for-hire vehicles, such as Uber and Lyft, which they say are driving workers of a once-thriving industry into the ground. VOA’s Ramon Taylor reports.
The Trump administration is expected to announce that it will roll back automobile gas mileage and pollution standards that were a pillar in the Obama administration’s plans to combat climate change.
It’s not clear whether the announcement will include a specific number, but current regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency require the fleet of new vehicles to get 36 miles per gallon in real-world driving by 2025. That’s about 10 mpg over the existing standard.
Environmental groups, who predict increased greenhouse gas emissions and more gasoline consumption if the standards are relaxed, say the announcement could come Tuesday at a Virginia car dealership. EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said in an email Friday that the standards are still being reviewed.
Any change is likely to set up a lengthy legal showdown with California, which currently has the power to set its own pollution and gas mileage standards and doesn’t want them to change. About a dozen other states follow California’s rules, and together they account for more than one-third of the vehicles sold in the US. Currently the federal and California standards are the same.
Automakers have lobbied to revisit the requirements, saying they’ll have trouble reaching them because people are buying bigger vehicles due to low gas prices. They say the standards will cost the industry billions of dollars and raise vehicle prices due to the cost of developing technology needed to raise mileage.
When the standards were first proposed, the government predicted that two-thirds of new vehicles sold would be cars, with the rest trucks and SUVs, said Gloria Bergquist, spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Now the reverse is true, she said.
Still, environmental groups say the standards save money at the pump, and the technology is available for the industry to comply.
They also say burning more gasoline will put people’s health at risk.
“The American public overwhelmingly supports strong vehicle standards because they cut the cost of driving, reduce air pollution, and combat climate change,” said Luke Tonachel, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Clean Vehicles and Fuels Project.
The EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are involved in setting the standards, which would cover the years 2022 through 2025.
Some conservative groups are pressing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to revoke a waiver that allows California to set its own rules. They say California shouldn’t be allowed to set policy for the rest of the nation. Pruitt has publicly questioned the veracity of evidence complied by climate scientists, including those in his own agency, that global warming is overwhelmingly caused by man-made carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels.
If the waiver is revoked, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says the state will resist. “What we’re doing to protect California’s environment isn’t just good for our communities — it’s good for the country,” he said in a statement. “We’re not looking to pick a fight with the Trump administration, but when they threaten our values, we’re ready.”
Getting rid of the waiver or having two gas mileage and pollution requirements presents a huge dilemma for automakers: while they would like to avoid fines for failing to meet the standards, they also want the expense of building two versions of cars and trucks, one for the California-led states and another for the rest of the country.
Mark Reuss, a General Motors’ product development chief, said in a recent interview that he would rather have a single nationwide standard, even if it stays the same. He called two standards “just waste,” because they would require different vehicle equipment and costly additional engineering. “I want one good one,” he said. “I could focus all my engineers on one.”
Automakers agreed to the standards in 2012, but lobbied for and received a midterm review in 2018 to account for changes in market conditions. In the waning days of the Obama presidency, the EPA did the review and proclaimed that the standards have enough flexibility and the technology is available to meet them.
Changes would be years away
Janet McCabe, who was acting assistant EPA administrator under Obama when the review was done, said Friday it will take a couple years for the EPA to propose new rules, gather public comment and finalize any changes. Any rollback would likely bring legal challenges, forcing Pruitt’s EPA to defend the science behind the changes.
“This would all take a long time,” said McCabe, now a senior fellow at the Environmental Law and Policy Center.
In the meantime, automakers have to proceed with plans for new cars and trucks under the current gas mileage requirements because it takes years to develop vehicles.
The U.N. Security Council on Friday blacklisted 27 ships, 21 companies and a businessman for helping North Korea circumvent sanctions, keeping the pressure on Pyongyang despite its recent diplomatic opening to talks, a diplomat said.
Acting on a request from the United States, a council committee approved the largest-ever package of sanctions designations on North Korea, the council diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
The move is part of a global crackdown on the smuggling of North Korean commodities in violation of U.N. sanctions resolutions, which were adopted in response to Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests.
Thirteen North Korean oil tankers and cargo vessels were banned from ports worldwide, along with 12 other ships for helping Pyongyang smuggle banned commodities or supplying oil and fuel shipments, according to a U.N. document obtained by AFP.
Two other North Korean vessels were hit with a global assets freeze but were not banned from port entry.
Twenty-one shipping and trading firms were hit by an assets freeze. Three of them are based in Hong Kong, including Huaxin Shipping, which delivered shipments of North Korean coal to Vietnam in October.
12 North Korean firms hit
Twelve North Korean firms were blacklisted for running ships involved in illegal transfers of oil and fuel, according to the document.
Two other companies — Shanghai Dongfeng Shipping and Weihai World Shipping Freight, also based in China — were blacklisted for carrying North Korean coal on their vessels.
The remaining firms are in based Singapore, Samoa, the Marshall Islands and Panama.
A businessman identified as Tsang Yung Yuan was hit by a global travel ban and assets freeze for organizing illegal shipments of North Korean coal with a North Korean broker in Russia.
The sanctions were approved as the United States moves to open talks with North Korea on its nuclear drive, with a possible summit meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un to be held by the end of May.
Despite the diplomatic opening, the United States have made clear they will keep the pressure on Pyongyang to shift course by pressing on with sanctions.
Last year, the Security Council adopted a series of resolutions to ban North Korean exports of commodities in a bid to cut off revenue to the nation’s military programs.
The measures severely restrict deliveries of oil and refined petroleum products to North Korea, but sanctions monitors have reported that Pyongyang has used vessels to dodge those restrictions.
North Korea earned $200 million last year from exports of coal, iron, steel and other banned commodities, according to a recent report.
Only eight North Korean vessels had so far been banned from ports for sanctions-busting, so the inclusion of 13 other ships Friday was expected to significantly cripple North Korea’s maritime network.
The United States had initially asked the United Nations to ban 33 ships and 27 firms over smuggling, but China put a hold on that request to review the list.
Earlier this month, the White House said Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed in a phone conversation to keep up the sanctions pressure on North Korea until Pyongyang takes concrete steps toward denuclearization.
Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese remained without mobile phone service Friday, as network operator Vivacell continued a standoff with the government over a licensing dispute.
The government cut the network’s signal to its roughly 900,000 subscribers just after midnight Tuesday, alleging that Vivacell owed tens of millions of dollars in licensing fees.
The government’s information minister, Michael Makuei, told VOA earlier this week that Vivacell previously had been exempted from taxes and licensing fees. “We want them to pay a sum of up to $66 million for their license, and up to now they are dragging their feet,” he said.
The licensing fee dispute underscores the mounting financial pressures facing the government in a country ravaged by civil war since late 2013.
Ruling party holds Vivacell stake
Pagan Amum – the former secretary general of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the country’s ruling party – said Vivacell already pays for a valid license it has held for years. “There is no way Vivacell can be required to pay for another license,” he told VOA’s “South Sudan in Focus” radio program on Thursday.
Amum said that, as secretary general, he had helped negotiate the original deal with Lebanon’s Fattouch Investment Group – Vivacell’s majority owner – giving the SPLM party a minority share in the telecom firm.
Vivacell has operated in South Sudan since 2008 under a license issued to the SPLM, Amum said. He added that, since 2012, the ruling SPLM has received $100,000 a month from Vivacell for licensing fees.
Vivacell officials went to Makuei’s office earlier this week in an attempt to negotiate, but he refused a meeting, the firm’s managing director, Jesus Antonio Ortiz Olivo, told Reuters on Wednesday.
Makuei, in media interviews this week, has expressed a desire “to reorganize the telecommunications sector.”
Low cellphone penetration rate
Mobile phone subscription rates have been falling in South Sudan, and telecom-sector operators “are placing themselves in survival mode and are hoping for a political settlement and a return to some degree of social stability,” the telecommunications research site BuddeComm reported in February.
BuddeCom said South Sudan has one of Africa’s lowest rates of cellphone penetration, at 21 percent, noting that recovery could bring “potentially many years of strong growth” to the sector.
South Sudan’s regulatory Communications Authority estimates the country’s entire telecom market – also served by South Africa’s MTN and Kuwait’s Zain – has fewer than 3 million subscribers, according to Reuters.
Complications for customers, clients
On Wednesday in the capital city, Juba, long lines formed at mobile phone stores where people waited to buy new subscriber identification module (SIM) cards from Vivacell competitors.
Vivacell subscriber Ever Fanusto said the sudden shutdown cut her off from friends and relatives, including those living overseas.
“I used to call my elder brother who is in America and now we have been disconnected with him,” Fanusto said. She added that it would be a challenge to retrieve her contacts’ information and load it onto a new SIM card.
In a notice published Wednesday, Vivacell informed its subscribers that the company was working with national authorities to resolve the matter and that it hoped to resume business soon in South Sudan. Otherwise, the company said it would set up “a clear mechanism” for reimbursing dealers, retailers and agents for their SIM card stocks.
Близько 400 тисяч українців завдяки пенсійній реформі додалися до числа платників єдиного соціального внеску (ЄСВ). Про це заявив міністр соціальної політики Андрій Рева в програмі «Свобода в деталях» (спільний проект Радіо Свобода та Радіо НВ), повна версія якої вийде на Радіо НВ 1 квітня о 19:04.
«Після проведеної реформи з’явилося близько 400 тисяч нових платників єдиного соціального внеску, які почали платити. Зараз питання, яке ставлять люди, коли влаштовуються на роботу – навіть не «яка заробітна плата?», а «чи буду я отримувати її легально?» Люди починають розуміти, що це важлива річ», – вказав міністр.
Він відзначив, що нині в Україні «співвідношення тих, хто платить ЄСВ і тих, хто отримує пенсію один до одного, але якщо ви візьмете працездатне населення, яке б могло платити», то на одного пенсіонера припадає двоє працездатних – «26 мільйонів працездатних людей і 12 мільйонів пенсіонерів».
«З 26 мільйонів офіційно зайнятих 16 мільйонів, ЄСВ платять 12 мільйонів, 4 мільйони абсолютно легально не платять ЄСВ. Далі за методикою МОП врахуємо 1 мільйон 800 тисяч безробітних… Тобто додаємо ще 2 мільйони до 16 і отримуємо 18 мільйонів, а де ще 8 мільйонів? В тіні, за кордоном і так далі», – додав Андрій Рева.
Раніше Радіо Свобода повідомило, що близько 100 тисяч громадян України пенсійного віку не отримують пенсію зараз і не отримуватимуть її надалі.
Sampad Yadav, who sells electrical goods in a shop in the business hub of Gurugram on the outskirts of New Delhi, says Chinese goods such as LED lamps are popular with customers. “When people make a price comparison, and want to move towards the cheapest goods, those are usually Chinese products.”
As in many other countries, Chinese products such as lamps, electronics, smartphones and engineering goods from the manufacturing giant have flooded Indian markets.
However India has long fretted that areas in which it is strong such as generic drugs and Information Technology services, which make up some of its main exports to Western markets, remain shut out of China. That has made it difficult to bridge a ballooning trade deficit of about $50 billion between the two countries.
But there is optimism this could change following a meeting this week between the commerce ministers of the two countries in New Delhi.
“The Chinese side have agreed to work on the issue, prepare a road map to bring the trade to balanced level over a period of time,” Indian Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said after discussions with his Chinese counterpart, Zhong Shan.
Trade experts hope the growing tensions on trade issues between the United States and China will prompt Beijing to open up its markets more to Indian exports. “I think China is definitely under pressure now, looking into the kind of initiation which has happened against China,” says Ajay Sahai, who heads the Federation of Indian Exports Organization.
The meeting between the Indian and Chinese commerce ministers this week came amid efforts to deescalate tensions between the Asian neighbors following a period of rocky ties and a tense 70-day face-off between their troops in the Himalayas last year.
Despite a long-lingering boundary dispute and an often-fraught diplomatic relationship, trade ties between the Asian giants have gained significant momentum and China is now India’s largest trading partner. Bilateral trade in 2017 topped $80 billion rising by more than 20 percent over the previous yea.
But worryingly for New Delhi, the trade deficit remains high despite a marginal growth in Indian exports – they add up to about $16 billion versus Chinese imports into India of about $68 billion.
Market access a key issue
India exports mainly raw materials like iron ore, copper and cotton yarn to China. “In whatever value added exports where we are competitive, unfortunately the market is not open for us,” says Sahai.
However China has promised to give greater market access to Indian goods, particularly pharmaceuticals and agricultural goods such as rice, as well as service exports, according to the Indian commerce minister. “They have decided to work in a way that will address security issues from their side as well as introduce Indian companies to those who can buy these products in China,” says Prabhu.
New Delhi, which is trying to ramp up domestic manufacturing, is also urging China to manufacture more goods exported to India within the country.
Whether the promised actions translate into concrete outcomes remains to be seen. But exporters are hopeful. Sahai points out that China has invited Indian traders to what is being billed as the country’s first importers fair to be held in Shanghai later this year – it is being showcased as a measure to further open up China’s market.
The positive tenor of talks between the two countries comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on Chinese imports valued at $60 billion.
New Delhi could also face U.S. ire on trade issues – although its exports to the United States are comparatively small, it has a high trade deficit in its favor and Washington has often complained of protectionist barriers in India. In February, Trump called out India for imposing higher duties on Harley-Davidson motorcycles than the U.S. does on Indian motorbikes.
Amid growing fears that global trade faces uncertain times, analysts have called on countries like India to focus on increasing trade within the region.
India and China also said they will strengthen cooperation in the World Trade Organization and other multilateral and regional frameworks to maintain their common interests.
Українська національна валюта 30 березня посилила свої позиції на міжбанківському валютному ринку.
Торги розпочалися зі зростання пропозиції долара за рахунок обов’язкових продажів – 30 березня є останнім у першому кварталі днем для таких операцій експортерів, повідомляє сайт «Мінфін». Натомість покупці були менш активними, оскільки торги відбувалися в режимі tomorrow – зарахування валюти відбудеться лише наступного тижня через великодні святкування у США.
Національний банк України з метою не допустити надмірних коливань вийшов із «запитом найкращого курсу» і викупив частину долара за ціною 26,285 гривні. «На 13:00 зареєстровано 396 угод на суму 280,74 мільйона доларів по середньозваженому курсу 26,3074», – вказують експерти.
29 березня Національний банк України вперше з 5 березня встановив курс гривні до долара США на рівні понад 26 гривень 50 копійок за одиницю американської валюти. Офіційний курс на 30 березня становить 26 гривень 54 копійки за долар.
A wider Sino-U.S. trade dispute would help export-reliant Vietnam compete against Chinese companies but put the country at risk of any global fallout, analysts say.
The numerous exporters in Vietnam that ship manufactured goods to the United States would save money compared with Chinese peers if not subject to American tariffs, said Dustin Daugherty, senior associate with business consultancy Dezan Shira & Associates in Ho Chi Minh City.
The U.S. government said this month it would develop a list of tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese imports. China has threatened to impose its own in response.
“Let’s say (the United States) went the more traditional route, tensions kept escalating and more tariffs are slapped on Chinese products,” Daugherty said. “In that case Vietnam’s export sector definitely benefits. We’re already seeing the U.S. being very warm to Vietnam and U.S. businesses keen on doing business with Vietnam.”
But Chinese firms hit by tariffs might flood Vietnam with raw materials for local manufacturing, while overall world market volatility caused by a Sino-U.S. trade dispute could hamper the country’s trade, said Carl Thayer, emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
A tariff-free Vietnam scenario
Vietnamese exporters would save money compared to their Chinese peers if the U.S. government placed tariffs on Chinese firms alone without touching their cross-border supply chains, Daugherty said.
The government of U.S. President Donald Trump calls China unfair in its trade practices, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative says on its website. China enjoys a $375 billion trade surplus with the United States.
Vietnam counts the United States as its top single-country export destination and it shipped $46.484 billion worth of goods to that market last year.
Vietnamese officials have carved out an investment environment since the 1980s that hinges on low costs for manufacturers. American-invested factories such as a Ford Motor plant and an Intel chip factory are among those active in Vietnam today.
Foreign investment contributed to exports worth $155.24 billion in 2017, financial services firm SSI Research in Hanoi says. Vietnam’s economy grew about 7 percent in the first quarter this year, it says.
Vietnam would be a more attractive investment compared with China under higher U.S. tariffs, analysts say.
Some new investors might be formerly China-based firms hoping to flee the tariffs, said Song Seng Wun, an economist in the private banking unit of CIMB in Singapore.
China itself might offer Vietnam, along with other countries, preferential trade policies or infrastructure help to shore up trade ties, some believe. Stronger trade relations outside the United States would help China offset any tariff damage, Daugherty said.
This week China’s commerce minister pledged to relax trade rules affecting India.
Specter of a broader trade war
U.S. import tariffs that hit China’s extensive cross-border supply chain would hurt Vietnam as a place that finishes Chinese goods for final export, Thayer said. It’s unclear whether Washington would tax Chinese firms alone or their wider supply networks.
Chinese firms already co-invest with Vietnamese partners, Song said, and supply chains for goods such as consumer electronics can net multiple countries, not just China.
More co-investment might follow if Vietnam can offer shelter from tariffs. But Sino-Vietnamese political tension over a maritime dispute risks giving Vietnamese firms a bad name at home if they work too extensively with Chinese partners.
“I would say there will be all kinds of repercussions and implications just because of the very integrated supply chain in the world these days,” Song said. “Take an Apple phone as an example. Parts from here and there are assembled in China.”
Steel, aluminum tariffs
U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs that took effect last week cover much of the world including China and Vietnam. Vietnam exported 380,000 tons of steel, worth $303 million, to the United States in 2017, domestic news website VnExpress International says.
Chinese firms hit by the range of tariffs being mulled now in Washington might boost sales to Vietnam, Thayer said. Chinese sellers of raw materials for Vietnamese exports could dump goods into Vietnam to keep up their own balance sheets as U.S. tariffs hurt them, he added.
Chinese sellers often have an economy of scale that lets them sell for less in Vietnam than local vendors do. Vietnam counts China as its top trading partner.
An escalation of Sino-U.S. trade tensions could also chill global markets or trade as a whole, some analysts fear. That fallout could slow global growth, he said.
“Disruption to trade shouldn’t affect Vietnam overall, but it’s the way the entire globe is reacting to this that I think could affect Vietnam,” he said. “Vietnam is overall heavily committed to global integration with a number of partners, so disruption along that way would have an effect.”
A recent fatality involving one of Uber’s self-driving cars may have created uncertainty and doubt regarding the future of autonomous vehicles, but it’s not stopping automakers who say autonomous and self-driving vehicles are here to stay. At the New York International Auto Show this week, autonomous vehicles and electric cars were increasingly front and center as VOA’s Tina Trinh reports.
A new coalition of tech giants and conservationists is looking to drastically reduce the amount of wild, and often endangered, animals that are trafficked via online services. As Veronica Balderas Iglesias reports, they hope to cut 80 percent of the illegal trade by the end of the decade.
Under Armour Inc. said Thursday that data from 150 million MyFitnessPal diet and fitness app accounts were compromised in February, in one of the biggest hacks in history, sending shares of the athletic apparel maker down 3 percent in after-hours trade.
The stolen data include account user names, email addresses and scrambled passwords for the popular MyFitnessPal mobile app and website, Under Armour said in a statement. Social Security numbers, driver license numbers and payment card data were not compromised, it said.
It is the largest data breach this year and one of the top five to date, based on the number of records compromised, according to SecurityScorecard, a cybersecurity rating and remediation company.
Larger hacks include 3 billion Yahoo accounts compromised in a 2013 incident and credentials for more than 412 million users of adult websites run by California-based FriendFinder Networks Inc. in 2016, according to breach notification website LeakedSource.com.
Under Armour said it was working with data security firms and law enforcement, but it did not provide details of how the hackers got into its network or pulled out the data without getting caught.
While the breach did not include financial data, large troves of stolen email addresses can be valuable to cybercriminals.
Email addresses retrieved in a 2014 attack that compromised data on 83 million JPMorgan Chase customers were later used in schemes to boost stock prices, according to U.S. federal indictments in the case in 2015.
Under Armor said in an alert on its website that it would require MyFitnessPal users to change their passwords, and it urged users to do so immediately.
“We continue to monitor for suspicious activity and to coordinate with law enforcement authorities,” the company said, adding that it was bolstering systems that detect and prevent unauthorized access to user information.
Under Armour said it started notifying users of the breach Thursday, four days after it learned of the incident.
Under Armour bought MyFitnessPal in 2015 for $475 million.
It is part of the company’s connected fitness division, whose revenue last year accounted for 1.8 percent of Under Armour’s $5 billion in total sales.
At least three companies said Thursday they were pulling advertisements from a Fox News show hosted by conservative pundit Laura Ingraham, heeding a call from a teenage survivor of the Florida school massacre whom Ingraham mocked on Twitter.
Parkland student David Hogg, 17, tweeted a list of a dozen companies that advertise on The Ingraham Angle and urged his supporters to demand that they cancel their ads.
Hogg is a survivor of the Feb. 14 mass shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the Parkland suburb of Fort Lauderdale. Since then, he and other classmates have become the faces of a new youth-led movement calling for tighter restrictions on firearms.
Hogg took aim at Ingraham’s advertisers after she taunted him Wednesday on Twitter, accusing him of whining about being rejected by four colleges to which he had applied.
On Thursday, Ingraham tweeted an apology “in the spirit of Holy Week,” saying she was sorry for any hurt or upset she had caused Hogg or any of the “brave victims” of Parkland.
“For the record, I believe my show was the first to feature David … immediately after that horrific shooting and even noted how ‘poised’ he was given the tragedy,” Ingraham tweeted, adding that Hogg was welcome back for another interview.
But her apology did not stop at least three companies from parting ways with her show. U.S. celebrity chef Rachael Ray’s pet food line Nutrish, travel website TripAdvisor and online home furnishings seller Wayfair Inc all said they were canceling their advertisements.
Wayfair said it supports open dialogue and debate, but “the decision of an adult to personally criticize a high school student who has lost his classmates in an unspeakable tragedy is not consistent with our values,” it said in a statement.
Replying to Hogg’s boycott call, Nutrish tweeted: “We are in the process of removing our ads from Laura Ingraham’s program.”
A representative for the pet food line did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
CNBC cited a TripAdvisor spokesman as saying the company does not condone “inappropriate comments” made by Ingraham that in its view “cross the line of decency.”
TripAdvisor representatives did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Ingraham’s show runs on Fox News, part of Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.
The head of Vietnam’s Communist Party advocated for the importance of market-oriented economic reforms on a two-day visit to old ally Cuba, which is struggling to liberalize its poorly Soviet-style command economy.
Vietnam and Cuba are among the last Communist-run countries in the world but Hanoi set about opening up its centralized economy in the 1980s, two decades before Havana started to do so in earnest under President Raul Castro.
Castro leaves office on April 19 after two consecutive five-year mandates without having been able to unleash in Cuba the same kind of rapid economic growth as that experienced by Vietnam. He remains head of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) until 2021.
“The market economy of its own cannot destroy socialism,” Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong said in a lecture at Havana University.
“But to build socialism with success, it is necessary to develop a market economy in an adequate and correct way.”
Hanoi had managed to lift around 30 million Vietnamese out of poverty over 20 years, Trong said.
The PCC this week admitted a slowdown in its market reforms it attributed to the complexity of the process, low engagement of the bureaucracy and mistakes in oversight.
The number of self-employed workers in the Caribbean island nation of 11.2 million residents has more than tripled to around 580,000 workers since the start of the reforms.
But the government last year froze the issuance of licenses for certain activities amid fears of rising inequality and a loss of state control. It has also backtracked on some reforms in recent years, particularly in the agricultural sector.
Trong said it was clear Cuba, like Vietnam, wanted to avoid shock therapy.
“With the clear vision of the PCC … [Cuba] will surely reach great achievements and successfully reach a prosperous and sustainable socialism,” Trong said.
Cubans complain their economy suffers two types of blockades, the internal one, namely stifling state controls, and the external one: the U.S. trade embargo.
Vietnam also suffered U.S. sanctions, but Washington lifted them more than two decades ago. Analysts say it is unlikely it will do the same for Cuba any time soon.
U.S. President Donald Trump has shifted back to hostile Cold War rhetoric and partially rolled back the detente forged with Havana by his predecessor Barack Obama.