Vietnam pledges relief to Chinese-owned businesses hit by violence

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 May, 2014, 10:51pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 May, 2014, 1:42am

Vietnam has promised to provide financial help to businesses hit by the anti-China riots that erupted last week over the territorial dispute between Hanoi and Beijing in the South China Sea.

The measures include tax relief, rent waivers and early lines of credit, the Vietnamese government said on Wednesday.

The tax relief will include a maximum cut of 30 per cent in special consumption tax this year and a two-year delay in payments for taxes that arose before May 2014, it said.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung had asked the finance ministry to press insurers to speed up damage assessments and payouts to affected enterprises. Vietnam will also ease visa requirements for foreign workers and allow early credits for affected businesses, among other relief measures.

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said Hanoi was committed to protecting the interests of foreign investors and businesses.

"We pledge our appropriate assistance to affected companies to recover and continue their business," Dam told a conference in Tokyo attended by business and political leaders from the region. "Almost all have now returned to normal operations."

Vietnam wants a peaceful settlement to the territorial row with China that flared up after Beijing deployed an oil rig to disputed waters on May 1.

Thousands of people attacked businesses and factories in Vietnam last week, targeting Chinese workers and Chinese-owned businesses.

Taiwanese-owned firms bore the brunt because the crowds bent on destruction believed they were owned by mainland Chinese.

The Vietnamese government said two people were killed and 140 others wounded in central Ha Tinh province. Metallurgical Corporation of China said four were killed and 130 injured there.

Most large companies operating in industrial parks hit by the riots have resumed their operations. Eighty per cent of the 326 factories at two Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks in the south that were hit by the violence had resumed operations, the parks' operators said.

Companies from Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong have said their investment strategy in Vietnam is unchanged.

Additional reporting by Associated Press