Vietnam province pays initial post-riot compensation

By Do Truong, Thanh Nien News

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Tran Van Nam, vice chairman of Binh Duong Province, pays compensation to the representatives of foreign companies affected by anti-China riots during a ceremony on June 18. Photo: Do Truong
The Binh Duong provincial government doled out a total of VND285 billion (US$13.45 million) on Wednesday  in initial compensation payments to 37 companies affected by the riots that erupted out of peaceful protests against China’s illegal placement of an oil rig in Vietnamese waters.
The provincial People’s Committee said the vandalized companies will also enjoy a 30-percent reduction of their special consumption tax in 2014 and a reduction in land lease fees based on the damages they sustained.
The companies will be exempted from import taxes and value-added taxes imposed on items they imported to replace or repair machines, equipment and components damaged during the violence.
Companies that import equipment used for the resumption of production will enjoy a one-month tax grace period.
The local government will extend its deadline on import and value-added taxes (dated to May) for an additional two years.
Commercial banks in Binh Duong will provide 22 companies with computers, safes and cash registers, extend a deadline for eight companies to pay debts dating back 3-6 months and reduce interest rates by 0.5-2 percent for 28 companies with VND290 billion ($13.68 million) in debts.
The local government has asked higher-level banks to consider increasing loan limits for three affected companies and exempting a fourth, hard-hit, company from interest payments.
On the morning of May 13, around 800 workers in Binh Duong’s Di An Town and 5,000 workers of Giay Thong Dung Company in Thuan An Town staged a demonstration in the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park 1 (VSIP 1) in Thuan An.
The workers waved banners and Vietnamese national flags to protest China’s deployment of its drilling rig into Vietnam’s territorial waters in early May.
The demonstration began peacefully, but turned violent at noon after many protesters were incited to destroy commercial property. Some took advantage of the chaos to loot, set warehouses on fire and attack security guards.
On May 14, the provincial People’s Committee said hundreds of companies (mostly Chinese, Taiwanese and South Korean-backed firms) with factories in industrial parks across Binh Duong had been vandalized.
Similar riots broke out in industrial zones in nearby Dong Nai Province and at a Taiwanese steel mill in Vung Ang Economic Zone in central Vietnam.
Following the incident, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung officially asked cities and provinces to compensate foreign-invested companies that were damaged during the riots to ensure their continued operation.
The prime minister suggested offering those companies up to two-year tax extensions and reduced export and import taxes.
Dung also ordered customs offices to clear items held up by unpaid taxes and called on local governments to reduce or withhold land rental fees for affected companies.

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