Vietnam will reach and maintain higher growth if it chooses science and technology-based development, making Vietnam capable of creating more competitive products and carving a niche out in foreign markets, said Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan in an interview with the Vietnam Economic News' reporter Quynh Nga.


What are new policies for scientific and technological development and application in the new period?

New policies in this period will be reflected in the soon to be amended science and technology law. We've drafted a scientific and technological development strategy until 2020 in accordance with the socioeconomic development strategy set during the Central Communist Party Committee's 11th session and approved by the Prime Minister. Following the Prime Minister's guidelines, we developed a plan for comprehensively and systematically renovating scientific and technological activities and the management and organization of these activities. The plan has policies and solutions to renovate and improve scientific and technological activities and will help make Vietnamese science and technology satisfy the country's development and international integration demands.

What is your assessment of the role of businesses in scientific and technological development?

We highly rate the role businesses have played in scientific and technological development. Foreign experiences show that businesses are the biggest and most effective source of investment in science and technology. Businesses will benefit from scientific and technological research and development investment and therefore will be able to create new, competitive products that satisfy sophisticated technical standards found in foreign markets. We have great expectations for Vietnamese businesses, especially scientific and technological businesses that make products based on both Vietnamese and foreign research. One of our goals is for investment in science and technology to account for two percent of Vietnam's gross domestic product (GDP), of which three quarter is to come from businesses, with the remainder from the state budget.

Vietnam developed its economy based on low-labor costs and available natural resources for 30 years. How will it change its development strategy to one based on the development and application of science and technology?

Vietnam will reach and maintain a higher growth if it chooses science and technology-based development. Experiences in the Republic of Korea (RoK) and China are strong evidence of this. With scientific and technological development, Vietnam will create competitive products goods, especially farm produce and IT (information technology) products that are the country's strengths, good enough to penetrate foreign markets. Vietnam is expected to reach regional and international standards in a number of fields, and science and technology will play a key, integral role in Vietnam's development and making the country become an industrialized country.

Scientists have suggested the need to renovate financial policies for scientific activities many times and over a long period of time. Why this issue was not addressed until the most recent amendments to the science and technology law this time?

We intended to make new financial policies for scientific activities included in other laws such as tax and budget laws but the Ministry of Science and technology is not in charge of presiding over these laws so our ideas related to those policies might not be totally acknowledged while they are discussed before the National Assembly passed those laws. This is why we decided to make the new policies part of the science and technology law. There are different points of view on making these policies part of the revised law but we decided to do that because if we didn't do that we would be unsure as to when our ideas related to those policies would be totally perceived and accepted.

Other laws have provisions on this issue. Will the science and technology law and other laws have overlapping provisions if these policies are stated in the science and technology law?

Provisions on this issue in other laws are inadequate so it is difficult or impossible to implement them. For example, the enterprise income tax law says that businesses can use up to 10 percent of their pre-tax profits but businesses actually don't do that. Hence, if we don't have strict provisions related to this in the science and technology law we'll never see such action on the issue.

In principle, a law can over-rule its predecessor so new provisions will obviously become effective./.


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