AmCham Vietnam’s mission is to promote trade and investment between the United States and Vietnam, and serve as the “voice of American business” in Vietnam. AmCham advocates on behalf of our members to promote an enabling, fair, transparent, predictable, and efficient regulatory environment that values innovation.
We partnered closely during the pandemic with the Vietnamese government to support the dual goals of protecting lives and livelihoods during the COVID outbreaks. We were strong advocates of U.S. vaccine donations to Vietnam. We are grateful for and proud of the millions of doses of U.S. vaccines that have helped facilitate Vietnam’s impressive vaccine rollout. Now, with increased vaccinations, we are partnering to enable reopening, recovery, and rebound as we adjust to living safely with the virus.
We conduct our advocacy directly through trusted relationships with Vietnamese leaders at the Central and provincial-level, as well as in partnership with the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington. We partner closely with the U.S. Mission in Vietnam, both the Embassy in Hanoi and the U.S. Consulate in HCMC, as well as with regional and Washington DC-based U.S. Government officials.
We also advocate using our positions as a consortium member of the Vietnam Business Forum and leadership in several VBF working groups. as a member of VBI-Fast Track, as a representative to the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on Administrative Reform, through the U.S.- Vietnam Business Council with VCCI, and through partnerships with other chambers and business associations in Vietnam, AmChams of the Asia Pacific, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We also hold regular dialogues with the People’s Committees of Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Binh Duong, and other provinces where our members have interest.
Many of our advocacy issues are first discussed in our VBF & Legal Committee, which holds monthly meetings jointly with AmCham Hanoi. Others arise in discussions in our 17 other industry sector committees. And our Business Intelligence events often focus on key issues of concern, sometimes with Vietnamese or U.S. government official participation.
If you are an AmCham member with a potential advocacy issue, we encourage you to raise it in one of our relevant committees or through an email to [email protected] or our Manufacturing and Supply Chain Task Force at [email protected].
AmCham Vietnam Advocacy Update – August 11, 2022
Advocacy Updated on June 7, 2022
Advocacy Updated on May 31, 2022
HCMC. We are delighted this afternoon for a delegation from our HR Committee, led by Vice Chair and Board Liaison Hang Nguyen, to be meeting with HCMC DOLISA to discuss actions to be taken to facilitate mobility by streamlining procedures for visas, work permits, and TRCs. This meeting is being held in follow-up from our May 17th Chair’s Circle Meeting with HCMC People’s Committee Chairman Phan Van Mai.
National/VBF. Thank you to all who contributed advocacy issues for the June 24th Vietnam Business Forum Technical Session with MPI. We may still be able to submit a few if you missed the May 31 deadline. Please submit any additional input ASAP, ideally through Committee chairs, to [email protected], in both English and Vietnamese, using the form provided, to facilitate our consolidation and submission. LINK. Fred Burke, AmCham’s 2022 VBF Representative notes: “The VBF is probably the most effective advocacy channel Am Cham has in Vietnam, so please try to use it. No issue is too big or too small, but the issue should be cross-cutting and not merely of interest to a single member.’”
Fred’s update: Following on the success of the Annual Vietnam Business Forum’s new format, deployed in February 2022, we are preparing to hold the upcoming VBF Mid-Term Forum in the form of a “Technical Session” on June 24th, 2022. Working Groups and Business Associations are invited to submit feedback on issues that impact their members in the form that the VBF has been sending out over the past week or two. For the Board of Governor’s information, it may still be possible to get additional issues into the agenda, though it is best to give the relevant ministries more time to prepare more concrete responses and solutions.
AmChams of the Asia Pacific July Doorknock. We encourage AmCham members who are interested to register for the AmChams of the Asia-Pacific (AAP) July 17-20 AAP Doorknock in Washington DC (registration fee $1000) LINK.
We also submitted advocacy last week to OOG from the F&B Committee on Nutritional Labeling. We welcome your feedback on these and other issues to ensure we are aware of your top concerns. This report and prior Advocacy Reports are available on AmCham’s Advocacy page. LINK. Please send your feedback on what is working, what issues remain, and recommended solutions to relevant Committee Chairs, [email protected]
Advocacy Updated on May 24, 2022
May 17 Dialogue between HCMC People’s Committee Chairman Phan Van Mai and leading AmCham Member companies with U.S. Consul General Marie Damour. The focus of our Dialogue was partnering to strengthen the business environment to drive innovation and sustainable growth. HCM City Leaders and AmCham recognize that the best way to attract new investment is to ensure an enabling environment for businesses already here to maintain and grow their operations, employment and investment. AmCham leaders discussed key themes for partnership: Promoting Healthcare and Wellness; Growing High-value Manufacturing and Sustainable Supply Chains; Enabling the Digital Economy; and Developing a Globally-competitive Workforce. We also discussed other Doing Business concerns, including the need for improved warehousing facilities, 24/7 hours for Food Safety Inspections, and streamlined procedures for Temporary Residence Cards and visas, including for tech startup founders and investors. Chairman Mai committed to continuing collaboration on these issues of mutual concern and instructed Departmental heads to follow up.
Advocacy Updated on May 9, 2022
May 17 Chair’s Circle (invite-only) Dialogue with HCMC People’s Committee Chairman Phan Van Mai. Please see description above regarding the event. Chairman Mai expressed special interest in growing high-value manufacturing and sustainable supply chains, enabling the digital economy, promoting healthcare and wellness, and developing a globally competitive workforce. If you have insights you wish to share, please send soonest to [email protected]. Note the “Meeting Between the HCMC Leaders and Foreign Business Associations” originally scheduled for April 29 was postponed; we will keep you apprised of any new dates. Meanwhile, keep us informed of your concerns!
US-ASEAN Summit May 12-13 in Washington, DC. President Biden will host ASEAN leaders in Washington DC in a Special Summit to demonstrate U.S. enduring commitment to the ASEAN region and the common commitment to advance an Indo-Pacific that is free and open, secure, connected, and resilient. Prime Minister Chinh will lead the Vietnamese delegation to attend the summit and have other meetings in Washington DC, New York, Boston, and San Francisco, to strengthen the bilateral comprehensive partnership.
AmChams of the Asia Pacific July Doorknock. We encourage AmCham members who are interested to register for the AmChams of the Asia-Pacific (AAP) July 17-20 AAP Doorknock in Washington DC (registration fee TBD, likely $1000) LINK.
We welcome your feedback on these and other issues to ensure we are aware of your top concerns. Please send your feedback on what is working, what issues remain, and recommended solutions to relevant Committee Chairs, [email protected]
Advocacy Updated on April 18, 2022
We look forward to sharing the views of AmCham members at a “Meeting Between the HCMC Leaders and Foreign Business Associations” on Thursday, April 29.
US-ASEAN Summit now scheduled for May 12-13 in Washington, DC. President Biden will host ASEAN leaders in Washington DC in a Special Summit to demonstrate U.S. enduring commitment to the ASEAN region and the common commitment to advance an Indo-Pacific that is free and open, secure, connected, and resilient. Prime Minister Nguyen Pham Minh Chinh is expected to lead the Vietnamese delegation to attend the summit and have other meetings in the United States, likely New York and San Francisco, to strengthen the bilateral comprehensive partnership.
AmChams of the Asia Pacific Summit and July Doorknock. We encourage AmCham members who are interested to register for the AmChams of the Asia-Pacific (AAP) 2022 Business Summit in Hanoi and Hue May 20-22 (early-bird registration for event-only is $500 by May 12, and $600 thereafter) LINK and to consider joining the July 17-20 AAP Doorknock in Washington DC (registration fee TBD, likely $1000) LINK. Learn more about both events at a special AAP virtual session Friday, April 29 at 9AM ICT. Register with AmCham events team at [email protected] by Wednesday, April 27 at 3PM.
Meeting with Da Nang People’s Committee. It’s great to see Da Nang back in business! AmCham Da Nang Chair Chris Vanloon led an AmCham meeting on April 22 with Da Nang People’s Committee Vice Chairman Ho Ky Minh and members of the Da Nang People’s Committee to discuss how to partner to drive economic recovery, innovation, and sustainable growth in Da Nang and Central Vietnam, particularly in high-tech and software. It has been almost two years since AmCham Da Nang was established in June 2020, with the support of Vice Chairman Minh. While COVID outbreaks slowed down our provincial outreach plans, we are eager to partner to expand U.S.-Vietnam trade and investment ties in Da Nang and Central Vietnam, and grow the AmCham community! Chairman Vanloon was accompanied by members of the Da Nang Board of Governors representing Evergreen Labs, Lovepop, and DDP Projects, with HCMC Chair Winnie Wong, AmCham Vietnam Executive Director Mary Tarnowka, and representatives from Da Nang and Central Da Nang-based businesses Universal Alloy Vietnam, Coca-Cola Vietnam, Lodgis/Fusion, and TMG/Blu. AmCham members shared their appreciation for the Da Nang government’s successful reopening and both sides expressed their commitment to continued partnership to grow trade and investment ties. AmCham is invested in Vietnam and invested in Da Nang and Central Vietnam. We believe Da Nang is a great place to live, work, and invest!
United Tastes Reception. A wonderful way to kick off our April 22-24 Da Nang AmCham-U.S. Mission Leadership Weekend!United Tastes. Nebraska beef, California wine and cheese, Alaskan seafood, USA potatoes, pulses, pork, blueberries, and apples. And sustainable, purified water bottled in recyclable glass bottles right here in Da Nang. What is not to like? AmCham Da Nang Chairman Chris Vanloon was honored to partner with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Embassy Agricultural Minister Counselor Robert Hanson and Ag Attaché Ben Petlock and teams to host United Tastes April 22 in Da Nang, together with U.S. Ambassador Marc Knapper, DCM Melissa Bishop, Consul General Marie Damour and special guest Da Nang People’s Committee Vice Chair Ho Ky Minh. The event featured top quality U.S. food and beverages now available here in Vietnam. Members of the U.S. Mission Vietnam team joined AmCham members from across the country at the Furama Resort Danang for a”United Tastes” reception featuring U.S. food and wine. Link to more photos!
Saturday Strategy Session. More than 100 AmCham and U.S. Mission representatives joined our April 23rd Da Nang AmCham-U.S. Mission Leadership Weekend Strategy Session-our largest ever! We focused on how to take the U.S.-Vietnam comprehensive partnership to a more strategic level, particularly with respect to the economic partnership. And we had lots of brainpower in the room! A high-powered group of experts was convened with an AmCham team led by Da Nang Chair Chris Vanloon, HCMC Chair Winnie Wong, and Board members and business leaders from throughout the country, together with a U.S. Mission team led by Ambassador Marc Knapper, DCM Melissa Bishop, and Consul General Marie Damour, with their economic and commercial leaders.
We divided into four breakout groups to focus on joint strategic priorities: Promoting Healthcare and Wellness; Enabling High-value Manufacturing and Resilient, Sustainable Supply Chains; Unlocking the Potential of the Digital Economy, Innovative, Tech Startups, and Financial Services; and Developing Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Globally-competitive Workforces. The breakout groups identified key opportunities, challenges, and joint actions to advance our strategic shared interests. Ambassador Knapper and all present agreed – this is the beginning of a dialogue – and stronger partnership between AmCham and the U.S. Mission to advance these shared interests!
Gala Dinner. The Saturday evening gala dinner was a highlight of the Da Nang AmCham-U.S. Mission Leadership Weekend 2022 at the Furama Resort. Even if no one really understood what the dress code was for a “smart casual” gala dinner on a beach… More photos at the link
We welcome your feedback on these and other issues to ensure we are aware of your top concerns. This report and prior Advocacy Reports are available on AmCham’s Advocacy page. LINK. Please send your feedback on what is working, what issues remain, and recommended solutions to relevant Committee Chairs, [email protected]
Advocacy Updated on April 12, 2022
Advocacy Updated on April 4, 2022
Advocacy Updated on March 28, 2022
Advocacy Updated on March 14, 2022
Advocacy Updated on March 7, 2022
Advocacy Updated on February 14, 2022
We were delighted to host MOFA DFM/soon-to-be Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Dzung and Consul General Marie Damour a lunch on February 10. Copy of our key points is HERE.
Representatives of Intel Products Vietnam, Nike Vietnam, Suntory PepsiCo, AES, Pacifico Energy, The Grand Ho Tram, MSD/Healthcare Committee, and Baker McKenzie/Digital Economy also shared top concerns and opportunities.
We are excited that the 2021 VBF will finally take place. We are still finalizing our AmCham participation list. See links for draft agendas (Feb 18 and Feb 21) and AmCham’s position paper LINK. Please register directly if you want to join via zoom. Physical participation is strictly limited this year due to COVID.
We plan to co-host an interchanger 2021 briefing and 2022 outlook shortly after the VBF. Stay tuned!
Please send your feedback on what is working, what issues remain, and recommended solutions to relevant Committee Chairs, [email protected], and our Manufacturing and Supply Chain Task Force, at [email protected]amvietnam.com
Advocacy Updated on February 7, 2022
January 18 Binh Duong Provincial Leadership Meetings. AmCham Vietnam ties with Binh Duong Province are strong and growing. Binh Duong already represents the largest concentration of AmCham member companies outside of HCMC. Close coordination with local authorities has been key to the maintenance of manufacturing supply chains and rebound now underway. With its network of modern industrial parks, AmCham expects Binh Duong to remain a very attractive destination for FDI in Vietnam.
On January 18, AmCham Vietnam 2021 Chair and Mekong Capital Partner Chad Ovel, together with Executive Committee Member and P&G Vietnam General Director Sai Ponugoti, U.S. Consulate Principal Commercial Officer Stephen Jacques, and Economic Section Chief Alex Tatsis, led a delegation of AmCham member companies in Binh Duong to meet with Binh Duong Deputy Party Secretary and People’s Committee Chairman Vo Van Minh, Becamex CEO Pham Ngoc Thuan, and relevant Binh Duong department leaders.
Chairman Ovel thanked Chairman Minh for his leadership of Binh Duong’s COVID response, including the high vaccination rates that are enabling the current rebound. He encouraged continued commitment to living safely with the virus; transparent, predictable plans for vaccine boosters and prioritization of factory workers; streamlined procedures for arrival of foreign experts; support to encourage post-Tet return of workers; and a hotline for businesses to call for issues of immediate concern.
He noted one way for Binh Duong to make itself more competitive for FDI and green supply chains. was to facilitate carbon-neutral energy solutions, like the solar farm reportedly included in Lego’s reported investment plans. P&G’s Ponugoti highlighted CSR contributions by AmCham and member companies, including P&G, to support the COVID response and vulnerable populations in HCMC and Binh Duong and requested current provincial priority needs.
If your company has operations in Binh Duong, please contact Sam Hoang at [email protected] to ensure you are included in our Binh Duong Network email collective so we can keep you apprised of upcoming events and activities!
Streamlined Entry for Foreigners, Overseas Vietnamese and Relatives
We thought many of you would find this news of interest. Many thanks to Baker McKenzie for quick summary and translation. Let us know at [email protected] if you would welcome a briefing on the new provisions.
Attached is the text and an informal translation of Official Letter No. 450. We expect that relevant ministries and authorities will soon issue guiding documents on the implementation of Official Letter No. 450.
On 18 January 2022, the Government Office issued Official Letter No. 450/VPCP-QHQT about the entry of foreigners, overseas Vietnamese living abroad and their relatives (“Official Letter No. 450”).
According to Official Letter No. 450, the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Pham Binh Minh, delivered the following opinions to relevant ministries and authorities:
- To agree on the general policy of facilitating Vietnam entry procedures for foreigners, overseas Vietnamese living abroad and their relatives;
- All foreigners sponsored by individuals/entities in Vietnam in accordance with Vietnam immigration laws are eligible for entering Vietnam, except for the entry of foreign tourists which remains following Vietnam’s current pilot programs on welcoming foreign tourists.
- Regarding Vietnam entry procedures:
– Foreigners, overseas Vietnamese and their relatives with valid entry documents (visas, visa exemption certificates, temporary/permanent residence cards) are allowed to enter Vietnam in accordance with Vietnam immigration laws, without having to:
- undergo procedures on personnel check or re-issuance of visas; and
- apply for additional entry approval from the competent authorities or localities.
– For foreigners who have not obtained visas, provincial People’s Committees will continue to review and facilitate approvals for entry purposes such as working, meeting, studying, humanitarian basis within the province.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Hang Nguyen, Partner and Head of Labor and Employment of Baker McKenzie at [email protected].
This report and prior Advocacy Reports are available on AmCham’s Advocacy page. LINK. Please send your feedback on what is working, what issues remain, and recommended solutions to relevant Committee Chairs, and [email protected]
Advocacy Updated on January 17, 2022
This week’s report is short. Tomorrow, January 18, National Chair, 2021 HCMC Chair, Governor, and Mekong Capital Parter Chad Ovel will lead a delegation together with Executive Committee Member and P&G Vietnam General Director Sai Ponugoti to Binh Duong Province, joined by U.S. Consulate representatives, and several of our Binh Duong-based manufacturing members. We are excited about meetings with Binh Duong Provincial leaders and Becamex as we seek to strengthen AmCham’s presence in and partnership with Binh Duong – thanks to all who provided feedback and input on issues!
This report and prior Advocacy Reports are available on this AmCham’s Advocacy page. Please send your feedback on what is working, what issues remain, and recommended solutions to relevant Committee Chairs, [email protected], and our Manufacturing and Supply Chain Task Force, at [email protected]amvietnam.com
Advocacy Updated on January 10, 2022
Advocacy Updated on December 19, 2021
VBF. We are currently drafting AmCham’s input for Vietnam Business Forum, now scheduled for January 14-15 in Hanoi, focused on Restoring and Developing Supply Chains. LINKS to tentative agendas (Jan 14 & Jan 15). AmCham is a consortium member of the VBF and AmCham members, both from AmCham Vietnam and AmCham Hanoi, are leads in several of its Working Groups, so we have a good opportunity to contribute to its advocacy, which supplements what we can do as AmCham directly. More info on VBF and its WGs at the link; all AmCham members are eligible to become members of the Working Groups (except the Banking Group which has its own rules). https://vbf.org.vn
This year, there is a new format to increase the level of substantive discussions, with technical-level meetings on the morning of Friday, 1/14, and the plenary on Sat AM, 1/15, planned with PM Chinh. AmCham Vietnam Chair and this year’s National Chair Chad Ovel will deliver remarks on behalf of AmCham at the plenary. While we understand that this year’s VBF may allow for virtual participation, we know that only a few of you will have the opportunity to join, due to time considerations. AmCham again plans to organize a VBF Briefing for our members after the event to share key outcomes, similar to last year. https://www.amchamvietnam.com/events/2020-vietnam-business-forum-outcomes-and-2021-outlook/. Stay tuned for more details.
Other Central-level Advocacy. We are also drafting position papers on Decree 72, Management of Internet Services, and proposed criteria for “Healthy Nutrition Foods”. Meanwhile, we expect to continue to focus advocacy on the new Power Development Plan VIII (PDP8) and will seek opportunities to demonstrate how U.S. technologies can help Vietnam accelerate its energy transition to meet COP26 commitments and meet its sustainable development goals
Provincial-level Advocacy. Our meeting with Binh Duong authorities is now tentatively set for January 18th.
Please send your feedback on what is working, what issues remain, and recommended solutions to relevant Committee Chairs, [email protected], and our Manufacturing and Supply Chain Task Force, at [email protected].
Advocacy Updated on December 12, 2021
We continue to receive Vietnamese government and media interest in our recent member survey on Prospects for Reopening, Recovery, and Rebound. Several related articles and a TV program are included in our Media Updates. We now are targeting our meeting with Binh Duong authorities in mid-January.
We also plan to follow up with some specific policy recommendations, following up in part from our Manufacturing Committee last Friday. What we heard from attendees: reopening and recovery now is well underway. Key challenges continue to be inconsistent FO/F1 policies among and within provinces, as well as mobility issues – both difficulties bringing in foreign experts and restrictions on travel by Vietnamese employees. More clarity and assurance from senior Vietnamese leaders about Vietnam’s path forward, particularly commitment to adjusting to living safely with the virus and avoiding lockdowns, will be welcome, as will transparency and predictability about booster vaccine rollouts. Is that what you are experiencing? Let us know.
Usefully, the Vietnam Business Forum now is scheduled for January 14-15 in Hanoi, with a similar theme, Restoring and Developing Supply Chains. LINK to tentative agendas.
Meanwhile, we expect to continue to focus advocacy on the new Power Development Plan VIII (PDP8), Digital Economy regulations (both e-commerce and now Decree 72), and Environmental Protection Regulations. Please send your feedback on what is working, what issues remain, and recommended solutions to relevant Committee Chairs, [email protected], and our Manufacturing and Supply Chain Task Force, at [email protected].
Advocacy Updated on December 5, 2021
We continue to receive Vietnamese government and media interest in our Nov 15-17 member survey on Prospects for Reopening, Recovery, and Rebound, and plan to follow up with the Central Government with some specific policy recommendations, particularly related to consistency of policies in-country, and entry of foreign experts, investors, and managers. We expect to have a meeting with Binh Duong authorities the week of December 13th. We also expect to continue to focus advocacy on the new Power Development Plan VIII (PDP8), Digital Economy regulations, and Environmental Protection Regulations.
Please see attached background on MOIT’s new Draft Circular Amending and Supplementing E-commerce activities. LINK. If you have any comments, please send to [email protected] no later than COB, Tuesday, December 7th. We have also heard a new version of Decree 72 is circulating post-MOJ-review, but have not yet received. Please stay tuned, or share if you know motre.
Advocacy Updated on November 28, 2021
We continue to focus our advocacy on Enabling a Safe Reopening and Recovery. Your survey responses were critical for our advocacy at the November 23rd event, “Meet the USA: Partnering for Reopening, Recovery, and Rebound in the Southern Economic Region”. We also expect to continue to focus advocacy on the new Power Development Plan VIII (PDP8), Digital Economy regulations, and Environmental Protection Regulations.
We already have received extensive Vietnamese media coverage of discussions at the Meet the USA event, as well as some English language reporting. LINK
We expect to see more media coverage of the results and will continue to use your survey feedback in our ongoing advocacy. We were pleased to hear that the event itself also resulted in some welcome progress and clarifications for some of our member companies.
Many thanks to AmCham Hanoi Board Member, Co-Chair of Joint VBF and Legal Committee, and Baker McKenzie Special Counsel Nguyen Thanh Hai for representing AmCham at a Friday, November 19 meeting with DPM Thanh, and providing members of AmCham’s Energy Committee a readout on Wed 24. Several AmCham members also joined both Hai and AmCham Hanoi Chair and VBF Power and Energy Working Group (PEWG) Co-Chair Ginny Foote for a discussion at the VBF PEWG on the afternoon of Nov 24. It is clear this will remain a top priority issue for both AmCham and VBF given the importance of power and energy issues to so many of our members.
Our Food & Beverage Committee continues to be active in advocacy regarding the Environmental Protection Regulations, and our Digital Economy and Technology Committee likewise on Digital Economy regulatory issues.
Advocacy Updated on November 21, 2021
Please join our Wednesday morning special Energy Committee meeting for a readout of recent Central government discussions on Draft Power Development Plan VIII and opportunity to discusss next steps for AmCham advocacy. LINK
Please send your feedback on what is working, what issues remain, and recommended solutions to relevant Committee Chairs, [email protected]
Advocacy Updated on November 14, 2021
Enabling a safe reopening, rebuilding of supply chains, economic recovery, a rebound, and sustainable growth are key concerns of AmCham members the focus of AmCham advocacy efforts. The flash member survey we are conducting this week will provide us with critical feedback and data to share with provincial and Central leaders at the November 23 “Meet the USA: Partnering on Reopening, Economic Recovery, and Rebound in the Southern Economic Region” in-person and virtual event that we are hosting in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Mission in Vietnam. This year’s Vietnam Business Forum (VBF), tentatively scheduled for the morning of Wednesday, December 15 or Thursday, December 16, also plans to focus on “Restoring Supply Chains During COVID”.
On Wednesday, November 10, we filed comments with the VBF about the Draft Cybersecurity Administrative Sanctions Decree. This, and other digital economy regulations, was also a key topic of concern of U.S. business representatives, as shared with Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Dawn Shackleford in a November 6 meeting in Hanoi. A summary of AUSTR Shackleford’s digital economy-related meetings will be shared at our Digital Economy and Technology Committee meeting on Tuesday, November 16.
Most of our members have experienced significant progress in recent weeks as Vietnam reopens and adjusts to “living safely with the virus”. But policy implementation is uneven among provinces and even within provinces. We look forward to hearing more specifics from you in our upcoming survey. The key issues of concern we are hearing so far are:
- Treatment of F0s and F1s. This is the major issue we hear which is holding back reopening. Policies and implementation differ between provinces and even within provinces, among districts and wards. HCMC Decision 1895 is seen by many of our members as a best practice in this regard.
- Vaccines. Overall, there appears to have been outstanding progress in the vaccine rollouts and many of our member companies’ employees are double-vaccinated. However, as workers return from their home provinces, often with just a single dose, it appears there needs to be closer coordination with provincial Departments of Health to ensure those employees also become fully-vaccinated.
- Foreign Expert Travel/Vietnamese Business Travel. A continuing limitation for many companies is that they do not yet have new senior leadership in-country, including General Managers and Factory Managers, to oversee the reopening of operations and rebuilding of supply chains, due to continued complicated requirements for and delays in processing entry approval and work permits. This issue also is delaying expansion plans for many companies who require technical experts to be able to carry out internal expansion plans, as well as for potential investors who want to meet partners and see sites in person. Reopening is also being delayed by continuing restrictions on travel of Vietnamese employees, who are unable to return to Vietnam on commercial flights. Our member companies would recommend elimination of the entry approval requirement, more simplification of work permit requirements, and resumption of commercial flights, including for both foreign and Vietnamese business travelers.
Join our November 17 COVID Update to learn more about reopening and “living safely with the virus” from a healthcare perspective.
And please register now to join our November 23 Meet the USA event, and consider being a sponsor!
Please send your feedback on what is working, what issues remain, and recommended solutions to relevant Committee Chairs, [email protected], and our Manufacturing Task Force, at [email protected]. This week’s flash member survey will provide us critical feedback and data – please make sure you participate!
Advocacy Updated on November 7, 2021
We continue to focus our advocacy on partnering with the Government at the Central and provincial-level to enable a safe reopening, economic recovery, and sustainable growth. We know that many provinces have also issued a multitude of directives and dispatches to guide reopening and welcome your feedback on their effectiveness. Based on member concerns, we sent the Binh Duong People’s Committee recommendations on November 6 for treatment of F0 and F1 cases. Please send your feedback on what is working, what issues remain, and recommended solutions to relevant Committee Chairs, [email protected], and our Manufacturing Task Force, at [email protected]. We are particularly interested in how reopening is going in the Southern Economic Region: HCMC, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Long An, BRVT plus. We welcome good news, too!!
We also are seeking feedback on Customs issues for a November 15th Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) meeting with the General Directorate of Customs, as well as comments to VBF by November 10 to share with the Ministry of Public Security on the draft Draft Decree stipulating penalties for administrative violations in the field of cybersecurity. We are finalizing comments by noon Tues, Nov 9. If you want to provide comments we have not yet received, please contact Committees Manager Lily Nguyen at [email protected]
Please continue to share your feedback on policy challenges and recommended solutions to relevant Committee Chairs and [email protected]
Advocacy Updated on October 31, 2021
We continue to focus our advocacy on partnering with the Government at the Central and provincial-level to enable a safe reopening, economic recovery, and sustainable growth. We know that many provinces have also issued a multitude of directives and dispatches to guide reopening and welcome your feedback on their effectiveness. Please send your feedback on what is working, what issues remain, and recommended solutions to relevant Committee Chairs, [email protected], and our Manufacturing Task Force, at [email protected]. We are particularly interested in how reopening is going in the Southern Economic Region: HCMC, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Long An, BRVT plus. We welcome good news, too!!
We also are seeking feedback on Customs issues for a November 15th Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) meeting with the General Directorate of Customs, as well as comments to VBF to share with the Ministry of Public Security on the Draft Decree stipulating penalties for administrative violations in the field of cybersecurity.
Feedback on Customs Procedures. In order to support business to overcome COVID-19 and in preparation for the Annual VBF 2021, VBF Tax & Customs Working Group and the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDC) will be holding a dialogue on customs-related issues. AmCham has been invited you to join this dialogue from 8:30am to 11:30am Monday, November 15, 2021. To ensure a productive meeting, AmCham has been requested to join and brief the following:
(i) Business performance of your Chamber’s members in the first 9 months of 2021 in general and the import – export situation in particular;
(ii) Difficulties and bottlenecks of enterprise(s); and
(iii) Expectations, proposals, and recommendations to customs authorities.
Please provide any relevant feedback to [email protected] no later than Friday, November 5 to ensure our timely coordination and submission by the November 9 deadline.
Comments on Draft Decree stipulating penalties for administrative violations in the field of cybersecurity. The Ministry of Public Security is calling for public comments on the Draft Decree stipulating penalties for administrative violations in the field of cybersecurity.
Please provide any input to [email protected] no later than Friday, November 5, to ensure our timely coordination and submission by the Wednesday, November 10 deadline. Kindly note that your inputs should be in the following Template.
Please continue to share your feedback on policy challenges and recommended solutions to relevant Committee Chairs and [email protected]
Advocacy Updated on October 24, 2021
Advocacy Updated on October 17, 2021
AmCham Vietnam continues to be focused on COVID-19-related advocacy and support to our members, both at the Central and provincial-level. We were delighted to finally see the release of Resolution 128: Promulgating the Provisional Guidelines “Safe Adaptation, flexible, effective control of the COVID-19 epidemic”, and Temporary Instructions from Ministry of Health for medical professionals to implement Resolution 128, which provide guidance to provinces to implement policies supporting safe reopening and economic recovery.
AmCham also sent a letter to the Prime Minister last week to request a postponement of the October 31 deadline for Vietnam’s Wind Feed-in-Tariff, to account for COVID delays, and also submitted a letter to the Prime Minister via the Vietnam Business Forum expressing concerns about the increased reliance on coal in Vietnam’s current draft of PDP8. We will be discussing advocacy concerns about various pending digital economy regulations at our Digital Economy and Technology Committee this Tuesday at 9AM.
We know that many provinces have also issued a multitude of directives and dispatches to guide reopening and welcome your feedback on their effectiveness.
“Defining an Agenda for a U.S-Vietnam Strategic Economic Partnership”. AmCham Vietnam and U.S. Mission Vietnam leaders met on Oct 12th to discuss strategic priorities. Chairman Chad Ovel welcomed Charge d’Affaires Chris Klein, who delivered opening remarks. Vice Chair and Suntory PepsiCo’s Jahanzeb Khan spoke on Strengthening Trade and Investment: Laying the Groundwork for an FTA; Diversatek’s Jonathan Moreno on Enabling a Safe Reopening and Recovery: Rebuilding Supply Chains; SSA Marine’s Soren Pedersen on Building Infrastructure to Support Sustainable Development; and Education Committee Chair and ISHCMC’s Kim Green on Developing a Globally Competitive Workforce. Tourism and Hospitality Committee Vice Chair and Grant Thornton’s Ken Atkinson outlined prospects for a reopening for tourism; Healthcare Committee Vice Chair and Pfizer’s JP Pullicino dicussed partnering though the pandemic and promoting health and wellness in Vietnam; and UPC Renewables’ Logan Knox and VinaCapital’s Don Lam discussed partnering on Renewable Energy and LNG, respectively.
U.S. Mission leadership including Charge Klein, Consul General Marie Damour, Economic Counselor Lynne Gadkowski, Commercial Counselor Charlie Ranado, Agricultural Counselor Robert Hanson, USAID Director of Economic Growth Greg Leon, and USCDC Country Director Dr. Eric Dziuban, stressed the advantages of the close collaboration between the U.S. Mission and AmCham, including on making the case for U.S. vaccine donations, and shared their views on next steps for partnering.
On a bittersweet note, AmCham thanked CDA Klein for his partnership, including joining strategy sessions at AmCham’s National Conference in Da Nang in March, and bid him farewell in advance of his imminent departure on October 15th to serve in a senior position in Washington as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of International Organizations.We are delighted that the Embassy will continue to be in capable hands with Consul General Marie Damour now serving as Charge and Robert Greenan as Acting CG in HCMC, while we are glad U.S. Senate confirmation of Ambassador-designate Marc Knapper.
AmCham Vietnam values our partnership with the U.S. Mission, including with Honorary Board Liaisons HCMC Economic Section Chief Alex Tatsis and Principal Commercial Officer Stephen Jacques. Many thanks to all members of the Chairman’s Circle who joined the Dialogue! We look forward to more opportunities for discussion next time!!
If you have concerns regarding how to maintain manufacturing operations during COVID, please send to our Manufacturing Task Force, at [email protected]
Please continue to share your feedback on policy challenges and recommended solutions to relevant Committee Chairs and [email protected]
Advocacy Updated on October 10, 2021
AmCham Vietnam continues to be focused on COVID-19-related advocacy and support to our members, both at the Central and provincial-level. We also submitted comments on the Draft Decree detailing a number of articles of the Law on Environmental Protection and finalized a position paper to seek postponement of the Wind Feed-in-Tariff.
Meeting with Binh Duong People’s Committee. AmCham Vietnam held a constructive virtual dialogue with Binh Duong leaders on Tuesday, Oct 5th, to discuss how to partner to enable a safe reopening and recovery, joined by nearly 40 participants from 20 member companies. People’s Committee Chairman Vo Van Minh was accompanied by representatives from relevant departments and industrial parks. AmCham Vietnam Executive Director Mary Tarnowka; AmCham Board Member, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Task Force Chair and Diversatek General Director Jonathan Moreno; AmCham Board Member and P&G Vietnam General Manager Sai Ponugoti; Wanek Furniture VP and General Director of Asia Manufacturing Andrew Lien; and Onsemi Vietnam Operations Senior Manager Man Nguyen welcomed efforts Binh Duong leaders had taken, and recommended additional actions needed to enable their factories to reopen safely, and thereby limit the outflow of migrant workers returning to home provinces.
Chairman Minh expressed heartfelt thanks to AmCham and the U.S. Government for supporting vaccines and medical equipment for Vietnam and to AmCham member companies for their commitment and role in supporting Binh Duong’s economic recovery. He took all concerns on board for consideration, including: the desire for post-reopening inspections vs pre-approvals; need for 2nd vaccines for workers and contractors; cost and frequency of testing; need to isolate quickly and treat FOs offsite to minimize impact on operations; and need to facilitate inter-provincial transportation of good and people in the Southern Economic region. He promised announcements of additional policy clarification soon, and urged businesses to do their part on testing and safety, noting the risks with workers from many companies living together in crowded housing. He also welcomed Becamex Business Development Director Dien’s idea for AmCham to establish a chapter or branch in Binh Duong to further strengthen AmCham’s partnership with Binh Duong leaders.
Partnering with Local Trade Associations for Footwear and Apparel and Furniture Manufacturing. AmCham members share many concerns about reopening and recovery of manufacturing operations and supply chains with members of local business associations, including the need to reopen now to promote economic recovery and prevent the reopening urn of migrant workers to home provinces. AmCham joined forces on Friday afternoon, Oct 8th with VITAS and LEFASO for a Dialogue on “Coming together for sustainable recovery of Vietnam garment and footwear industries”, and later Friday night with HAWA for “Vietnam Furniture Supply Chain Recovery Plan”. Our members stand ready to partner with the Government and local suppliers to enable a safe reopening and recovery. This is an extraordinarily challenging period, but the Vietnamese market still has tremendous potential. And U.S. exports of cotton, high-tech airsoles, and wood are inextricably linked! AmCham and our member companies are invested in Vietnam and invested in Vietnam’s success.
If you have concerns regarding how to maintain manufacturing operations during COVID, please send to our Manufacturing Task Force, at [email protected]
Advocacy Updated on October 3, 2021
AmCham Vietnam continues to be focused on COVID-19-related advocacy and support to our members, both at the Central and provincial-level.
Our main focus continues to be supporting a safe reopening and economic recovery, promoting the Government’s dual goals of protecting lives and livelihoods, as we adjust to a new normal of living safely with the virus. We were thrilled with the announcement of another 1.5 million donation of vaccines by the U.S. government, bringing the total U.S. donations to 7.5 million. Last week, we shared feedback to the HCMC authorities on their draft reopening plan, and to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on the national Guidelines, including at meetings in Hanoi Friday, October 1st, with MPI Minister Dung, and staff for DPM Khai. We were pleased to see HCMC’s reopening plan announced in Directive 18 LINK, dated September 30, 2021, Binh Duong’s reopening plan 4988 LINK and 2455 LINK, dated Oct 1 and 2, respectively, and the Prime Minister’s Directive 27, issued on October 3rd,, signed by DPM Le Van Thanh. We expect to have a meeting with Binh Duong City leaders sometime this week, likely Tuesday or Thursday morning, and also possible a meeting with DPM Le Van Khai We welcome feedback from all of you on how the reopening plans are playing out, at our Manufacturing and Supply Chain Task Force at [email protected], or at [email protected]. We also hope to see many of you in the Manufacturing Sector at our Manufacturing Committee Meeting on Friday, October 8th!
We are also finalizing advocacy on F&B Committee concerns on environmental packaging, Energy Committee request for a postponement of the Wind Feed in Tariff due to COVID, Digital Economy and Technology & Capital Markets and Financial Services Committees’ concerns about non-cash payments, and Healthcare Committee strategic priorities.
Advocacy Updated on September 26, 2021
AmCham Vietnam continues to be focused on COVID-19-related advocacy and support to our members, both at the Central and provincial-level. AmCham Vietnam Chairman Chad Ovel joined the PM’s September 26th Dialogue with the Business Community virtually, together with VBF Rep Eric Johnson. In-person in Hanoi. AmCham Vietnam-Da Nang Chairman Chris Vanloon joined a September 24th FDI Business Dialogue with Da Nang leaders , together with Da Nang members UACV and Lovepop. We are coordinating flash feedback on draft national and HCC reopening plans. We are also reviewing advocacy requests from our Healthcare, F&B, and Energy Committees.
Reopening may happen soon! AmCham Vietnam Chairman Chad Ovel was honored to join HE Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s Sept 26th Dialogue with the Business Community organized by VCCI Chairman Pham Tan Cong virtually from HCMC, together with HCMC Party Secretary Nguyen Van Nen, People’s Committee Chairman Phan Van Mai, and local business representatives.
AmCham Vietnam 2021 VBF Representative and AmCham Hanoi Board Member Eric Johnson joined from Hanoi, with other VBF Consortium members. VBF Co-Chair and JCCI Representative Tetsu Funuyama delivered remarks on behalf of VBF. LINK In a meeting with HCMC business leaders following the meeting, PS Nen encouraged businesses to partner with government to ensure a safe reopening. The article at link reports on this morning’s PM Chinh meeting with the business community as Vietnam shifts from a zero-COVID policy to flexibly and safely responding as it adjusts to “living safely with the virus”. The PM called on businesses and the people of Vietnam to partner with government to overcome the challenges and safely reopen. LINK
This week on Friday, September 24, AmCham Vietnam-Da Nang Chair Chris Vanloon attended the ‘Da Nang Government with FDI Businesses’ Dialogue hosted by Party Secretary Nguyen Van Quang and People’s Committee Chairman Le Trung Chinh. The three-hour discussion was an open forum between FDI Businesses and the City Government on recommendations for reopening post-pandemic restrictions, as well as forward planning to revitalize the Da Nang economy. Chairman Vanloon and AmCham members raised many points of concern regarding supply chain disruptions (both international and domestic), interprovincial logistics, vaccine distribution, protocols for business operations, as well as heavier constraints at home due to additional care of children (who cannot return to school), impacting full business involvement.
AmCham’s recommendations echoed several other foreign business chambers such as KOCHAM,, Eurocham, and JCCI. All encouraged clear communication of reopening plans and steps towards safe reopening (in VN and EN), including standardized communication packages for businesses to instruct employees with new working standards to follow upon return. We also urged the Da Nang government to secure vaccinations for residents and businesses, and aim to fully reopen Da Nang after vaccination targets reached so the Central Region can return to normal activities as soon as possible, including the removal of travel passes within the city and the restart to tourism.
The government detailed its plan to begin reopening from the 1st of October with intention to remove most remaining restrictions by the 15th. Da Nang leaders have wholly accepted the model of ‘living and adapting to COVID” and laid out specific levels of restrictions they will impose based on an approved threat matrix for community transmission. However, the main point they conveyed was clear: they understand the struggles that Foreign Enterprises have encountered due to pandemic restrictions and they have worked hard over the last six weeks to set forth a plan that will enable companies to work safely and effectively very soon, as well as implementing a strategy to contain and control Covid outbreaks if they happen, both quickly and effectively as to not place the city in a position that would disrupt future economic recovery and growth.
While AmCham companies still struggle daily with the effects of the COVID pandemic on multiple levels, this is a very positive step forward from the government, both in acknowledging our current difficulties, as well as committing to stand with Foreign Businesses to work together towards the long-term goal of sustainable economic development of Da Nang, as well as the Central region.
If you have concerns regarding how to maintain manufacturing operations during COVID, please send to our Manufacturing Task Force, at [email protected]
Advocacy Updated on September 19, 2021
AmCham Vietnam continues to be focused on COVID-19-related advocacy and support to our members, both at the Central and provincial-level. We joined two events organized by People’s Committees of Ba Ria – Vung Tau on September 14 and Dong Nai on September 18, and submitted letters with policy recommendations to HCMC Chairman Mai, Da Nang Chairman Chinh, and the Prime Minister. We are also reviewing advocacy requests from our Healthcare, F&B, Energy, and Capital Markets and Digital Economy Committees.
Background: AmCham sent a letter last Tuesday, Sept 14 to HCMC People’s Committee Chairman Phan Van Mai, following up from our September 10th meeting, and reflecting input from our Manufacturing Task Force (led by Governor Jonathan Moreno), as well as input from our Healthcare, Education and Training, and F&B member companies and the Agriculture Committees. We have also sent a joint letter with EuroCham, KOCHAM, and USABC to HE Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. I represented AmCham at a virtual meeting with BRVT PS Thanh on Tuesday, Sept 14, together with several member companies, and an in-person meeting with Dong Nai provincial leaders Saturday AM, Sept 18, together with a Nike representative, to discuss similar concerns.
Upcoming Meetings: DPM Thanh will be having a virtual (or possibly hybrid) meeting tomorrow morning, Monday, with a number of FDI manufacturing companies, including Nike, Unilever, and Avery-Dennison, together with relevant provincial authorities. No business associations are invited. We were requested late Friday, Sept 17, by VCCI to provide any input for a possible meeting with the PM later this month. We shared our recent letter to HCMC Chairman Mai. On Saturday morning, Sept 18, AmCham Chairman Chad Ovel received an invitation to join a meeting with PM Chinh and newly-appointed VCCI Chairman and President Pham Tan Cong later this month.
Sunday morning, Sept 19th, we received a notification from the VBF confirming the meeting would be on Saturday morning in Hanoi and requesting our policy recommendations by Tuesday, Sept 22 (not clear if OOB or COB). VBF would like us to share with them key issues our Chambers are facing as well as recommendations to the Government in both short and long term to overcome and recover post Covid-19 . We will seek to confirm the deadline tomorrow, including whether it will also include select company representatives, as well as any other details about the meeting, which hopefully will include virtual participation, and/or in-person at HCMC PCC.
Advocacy Updated on September 12, 2021
AmCham Vietnam continues to be focused on COVID-19-related advocacy and support to our members, both at the Central and provincial-level. We joined two events organized by HCMC ITPC last Friday, September 10th, both virtually and in person, the latter chairmen by HCMC People’s Committee Chairman Phan Van Mai, to provide feedback and business concerns and recommendations for a safe reopening. We will be providing feedback to HCMC authorities on the draft reopening plan Monday, based on feedback we have received from our Committees. We will also be providing feedback to Da Nang authorities in writing early this week, and virtually to Ba Ria Vung Tau’s Chairman on Tuesday.
Tuesday afternoon will also provide an opportunity to hear from U.S. Mission energy experts and share concerns about the regulatory environment at our Energy Committee meeting Tuesday at 4PM, including a proposal t extend the Wind FIT Our Advocacy Panel will also be reviewing advocacy from our F&B Committee on advertising, on the Healthcare Committee’s White Book.
Advocacy Updated on September 5, 2021
AmCham Vietnam continues to be focused on COVID-19-related advocacy and support to our members, both at the Central and provincial-level. We were honored to meet with HE Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on September 4th. We are also seeking a meeting with new HCMC People’s Committee Chairman Phan Van Mai, and also will seek meetings with other local authorities in Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Long An, and possibly Ba Ria Vung Tau, and/or Da Nang. Last week, we also submitted a position paper on Decree 72 on Internet Services, signed jointly with the U.S. ASEAN Business Council, and also submitted comments on the Decree via the VBF. This week, we will be considering position papers on bank transfers and non-cash payments at our Capital Markets and Financial Services Committee. We also will consider a position paper to request an extension of the Wind Power Feed in Tariff through our Energy Committee.
Meeting with HE Prime Minister Chinh. The AmCham and U.S. Embassy teams were particularly busy both last week and over the weekend working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Mission to organize a meeting with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Charge d”Affaires Chris Klein, and key representatives of the U.S. business community. The intent was to follow up from VP Kamala Harris’ visit to discuss how to maintain U.S. manufacturing operations and supply chains in Vietnam. We separately were seeking a meeting with HCMC People’s Committee Chairman Phan Van Mai. Event planning for the PM meeting went through multiple permutations. Originally, it was only going to be an in-person event in Hanoi. In the end, iit was a hybrid event, with virtual participation including a cross-section of mostly major AmCham member manufacturing companies, as well as representatives of multiple Central government ministries, and leaders of HCMC, Binh Duong, and Dong Nai provinces. There was a full discussion of U.S. business concerns, and we expect at least some to be addressed in the resolution the Pm announced will be issued his week on the Government’s support for business during COVID. Following issuance of that resolution and possibly new policies in HCMC and neighboring provinces, we again will seek meetings with provincial authorities.
We were honored to have joined (virtually) a September 4th meeting with His Excellency Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Charge d’Affaires Chris Klein, and members of the U.S. business community in Vietnam, including representatives of AmCham Vietnam, USABC, and AmCham Hanoi. AmCham Vietnam was represented by Chairman Chad Ovel, together with SSA Marine’s Soren Pedersen, Intel Products Việt Nam’s KH Ooi, First Solar’s KJ Ung, Nike’s Chris Helzer, Jabil’s Benny Ortega, and Wanek furniture’s Andrew Lien.
The meeting, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Mission in Vietnam just after the visit of Vice President Kamala Harris, focused on partnering to fight COVID and maintain U.S. manufacturing operations and supply chains in Vietnam.
PM Chinh presided over the meeting, joined by MPI Minister Nguyen Chi Dung, MIC Minister Nguyen Manh Hung, MOFA VM Nguyen Quoc Dung, MOIT VM Do Thang Hai, MOT VM Le Anh Tuan, MOF VM Vu Thi Mai, MOH VM Trung Quoc Cuong, MPS VM Luong Quang Tam, and leaders of HCMC, Binh Duong, and Dong Nai provinces.
PM Chinh remained actively engaged throughout the three-hour meeting on a holiday weekend, responding to business concerns and directing ministries and provincial leaders. He expressed his personal commitment to find solutions to address the concerns raised by US businesses and create a stable and effective environment for their continued operations and expansion, noting that adjustments and improvements would continue to be made as we learned from each other. He welcomed support by both the U.S. Government and businesses and asked us to stand together in fighting COVID and promoting economic growth and jobs in Vietnam. LINK to Chairman Chad Ovel’s remarks.
AmCham Vietnam and the US-ASEAN Business Council (“US-ABC”) submitted to Ministry of Information and Communications (“MIC”) the proposal to amend Decree 72/2013/ND-CP on the management, supply and use of Internet services and online information (“Decree 72”). As the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of digitalization, we applaud the Vietnam Government’s efforts to develop a more inclusive digital economy that can help businesses grow while protecting consumers’ interest. LINK to the proposal.
Advocacy Updated on August 29, 2021
AmCham Vietnam continues to be focused on COVID-19-related advocacy and support to our members, both at the Central and provincial-level. We are seeking virtual participation of some key members at a planned meeting of Prime Minister Chinh with select members of the U.S. business community in Hanoi on September 4th. We are also seeking a meeting with new HCMC People’s Committee Chairman Phan Van Mai. Following the September 4th PM meeting, we will also seek a PM or DPM meeting (in person or virtual) with other provincial authorities in Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Long An, and possibly Ba Ria Vung Tau, and/or Da Nang. See LINK for this week’s report.
We are also seeking immediate comment from members on Decree 72 on Internet Services. If you have any comments, please share ASAP. Please continue to share your feedback on policy challenges and recommended solutions to relevant Committee Chairs and [email protected]
Advocacy Updated on August 22, 2021
AmCham Vietnam continues to be focused on COVID-19-related advocacy and support to our members, both at the Central and provincial-level. We will also be seeking virtual meetings with provincial authorities in Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Long An, and Da Nang. Please provide any comments on Decree 72 on Internet Services no later than noon on Tuesday, August 24, to allow inclusion in upcoming advocacy. Please continue to share your feedback on challenges and recommended solutions in these provinces – and HCMC and nationally to [email protected]
Environmental Protection Law Decree and Functional Food Advocacy. AmCham’s F&B and ESG Committees coordinated comments regarding the draft decree IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN ARTICLES OF THE LAW ON ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION. The position paper included recommendations regarding Chapter VII of the Draft Decree – Producers’/Importers’ Responsibilities for Waste Product and Packaging Recycling and Treatment (hereinafter referred to as the “Draft Decree”), to ensure compliance with international practices, without negative consequences on production activities and consumers, and to allow implementation to be more convenient. The ESG Committee also submitted comments to the VBF Environment Working Group on other aspects of the EPR Draft Decree. Separately, we submitted a position paper coordinated by the F&B Committee to PROPOSE A SOLUTION TO REMOVE AN OBSTACLE FOR THE FOOD SECTOR IN DECREE 38/2021/ND-CP prescribing penalties for administrative violations involving cultural and advertising activities (“Decree 38/2021/ND-CP”).
Central Government COVID-19 Advocacy. Last week, we provided input to the Central government sharing COVID response recommendations, both directly to the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and Office of the Government, jointly with the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council, and together with AmCham Hanoi, via the Vietnam Business Forum (more details at Advocacy Update). Link to VBF input. While many of these recommendations focused on the manufacturing sector (at MPI request), we continue to be interested in concerns of all our members. Please continue to share your feedback directly to [email protected], and through your committee leaders. We hope to have additional dialogue soon at the Central and HCMC-levels, as well as in Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Long An, and other hard-hit provinces, based on member interest.
HCMC COVID-19 Advocacy. While rumors swirled about what comes next in HCMC, AmCham, together with five other foreign business associations and key FDI businesses, including Intel and Jabil, joined a constructive 2&1/2-hour meeting on Friday, August 20, with HCMC leaders to discuss “Difficulties and Solutions for Recovery in the Context of COVID-19”. Party Secretary Nen, Chairman Phong, and VC Hoan listened intently to concerns of the foreign business community and discussed the extraordinary challenges they face trying to protect both lives and livelihoods, with caseloads rising at the same time as more business closures. They also expressed appreciation to AmCham, our members, and other business associations for our ongoing support of the HCMC government’s COVID response (more details at Advocacy update). AmCham remarks at link.
All business associations noted the significant impact on business to date and the risk to supply chains and investment in Vietnam if the situation continued and shared similar key concerns: 1) need for more transparent, equitable, safe vaccine rollout; 2) need for manufacturing options beyond 3 on site and 1 road, 2 stops; 3) more availability of rapid tests; 4) more ability by local authorities to isolate rapidly those who are found positive vs shutting down factories or isolating at factories; 5) need for coordinated regulations to allow circulation of essential products; 6) relaxation of overtime caps; 7) reduction in PIT, CIT, and electricity rates; and 8) streamlined approvals for fully-vaccinated foreign experts, managers, and investors.
City leaders expressed determination to reach the PM’s targeted September 15th date for relaxation of social distancing rules (return to Directive 15) and the desire to work with businesses to minimize to facilitate safe operations and enable economic recovery and sustainable growth. RE specifics, Chairman Phong explained that HCMC would: A). continue “3 on site”; B) continue “1 route, 2 or 3 stops”; C) pilot “4 Greens”: Green Workers, Green Route, Green Workplace, Green Dwelling, with more detailed guidance; and D) allow a Combo of all 3. He added, as PS Nen had said, there may be other options to continue health and safety of workers and business continuity. Chairman Phong noted that HCMC would continue a VC-led COVID-19 Business Response Task Force, and also stated that HCMC would report to the Central Government regarding additional matters such as tax or utility relief or overtime caps.
As became clear later in the day, Chairman Phong resigned as Chairman to take a position in Hanoi, and the Central government sent in the military to support stricter lockdown measures, beginning at midnight on August 23rd. While initially unclear communications caused many of HCMC’s 13 million residents to run to supermarkets to stock up, causing potential super-spreader scenarios, later clarification that eased the panic. However, Sunday evening, local media reported that all residents will be required without exception to “stay where they are.” Fasten your seatbelts, breathe deeply, stay calm, stay home, and expect further updates and clarifications. AmCham looks forward to working with both Central and provincial authorities to fight the COVID pandemic and promote the dual goals of protecting lives and livelihoods, hopefully with greater coordination in the days ahead…
AmCham Vietnam continues to be focused on COVID-19-related advocacy and support to our members, both at the Central and provincial-level. We will also be seeking virtual meetings with provincial authorities in Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Long An, and Da Nang. See LINK for this week’s report. Please continue to share your feedback on challenges and recommended solutions in these provinces – and HCMC and nationally to [email protected]
Advocacy Updated on August 15, 2021
AmCham Vietnam continues to be focused on COVID-19-related advocacy and support to our members. We held a joint virtual briefing last Wednesday, August 11th, for our Board members, Advocacy Panel, and Corporate Partners with the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council. We shared feedback from the Prime Minister’s August 8th meeting with the business community, where USABC Vietnam Country Rep Vu Tu Thanh presented joint concerns of USABC and AmCham, the August 4th townhall with VCCI President and CEO Vu Tien Loc where I presented on behalf of AmCham, and our upcoming meeting with HCMC leaders, now expected to take place on Wednesday, August 18th. We will also be seeking virtual meetings with provincial authorities in Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Long An, and Da Nang. Please continue to share your feedback on challenges and recommended solutions in these provinces – and HCMC and nationally – to [email protected]
We are also finalizing position papers on advertising requirements for “functional foods”, comments on the new draft decree for the Environmental Protection Law, and on Draft Decree101 on non-cash payment. We also welcome comments no later than Friday, August 20th on Draft Decree 72, Internet Services and Online information. We know the situation is fast-changing. Please keep us apprised of your issues and concerns. If you have interest in these or any other advocacy matters that require AmCham support, please contact relevant Committee leaders and/or [email protected].
Advocacy Updated on August 8, 2021
We continue to focus on COVID-related advocacy. We also shared with VNF our 2021 priorities, coordinated with AmCham Hanoi. And we are finalizing position papers on the Draft Environmental Law and Draft Decree101 on non-cash payment, awhile welcoming comments on Draft Decree 72, Internet Services and Online information, We know the situation is fast-changing. Please keep us apprised of your issues and concerns. See LINK for this week’s report. If you have interest in these or any other advocacy matters that require AmCham support, please contact relevant Committee leaders and/or [email protected].
This was a busy week for advocacy. We received a request on Wednesday morning from the Vietnam Business Forum asking us for our AmCham 2021 priorities by 5PM to share with the Ministry of Planning and Investment for an upcoming meeting with the Prime Minister. See detail at Advocacy Report. Thank you to all who participated in our Flash Survey last week.
Your feedback on our Flash Survey – AmCham Vietnam COVID-19 Concerns was extremely helpful to my remarks at a townhall meeting with VCCI Chairman and President Dr. Vu Tien Loc on Wednesday afternoon, and for input we shared with the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) for a meeting announced on Friday afternoon and held today, Sunday morning in Hanoi with the Prime Minister (with virtual links to provincial People’s Committees), to discuss the government’s COVID-19 response with the business community (all local except USABC and KoCham) and relevant ministries.
We plan to share survey feedback with you, together with more details on our COVID-19 advocacy to date and any Vietnamese government response, as well as a COVID-19 public health update, on Thursday morning at 9AM – SAVE THE DATE – participants and details still being confirmed.
We are also finalizing feedback for the Vietnam Business Forum on the new Environmental Law and on Draft Decree on non-cash payments. We also welcome feedback on Draft Decree 72 on Internet Services and Online Information.
We know the situation is fast-changing. Please keep us apprised of your issues and concerns. See LINK for this week’s report. If you have interest in these or any other advocacy matters that require AmCham support, please contact relevant Committee leaders and/or [email protected].
Advocacy Updated on August 1, 2021
We continue to focus on COVID-related advocacy, as noted above. We know the situation is fast-changing. Please keep us apprised of your issues and concerns.
It was very useful to be in Washington DC last week to meet with U.S. government officials and business organizations, as well as the Vietnamese Embassy to discuss member interests – both short and longer-term. It was particularly good to meet with one of the lead staff planning VP Harris’ visit and discuss our concerns re the urgent need for more vaccines and medical equipment. But it is also good now to be back in HCMC, where time zones make it easier to connect, hear you concerns, and advocate on your behalf.
Last week’s visit of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to Hanoi highlighted the importance of the U.S.-Vietnam security partnership. Including COVID response and war legacy cooperation. Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit later this month will also focus on regional security and economic issues, as well as the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change. We hope it will also include contributions of additional vaccines and/or medical equipment.
We are excited this week on August 5 to host a virtual event in partnership with the U.S. Consulate on ”Vietnam’s Role in Building Resilient Supply Chains: Short and Long-term Challenges. Charge D’Affaires (Acting Ambassador Chris Klein will provide opening remarks. The expert panel will include the State Department’s lead official handling global supply chain issues, Deputy Assistant Secretary Matt Murray, together with Intel Vietnam VP and Manufacturing and Operations GM KH Ooi, First Solar Vietnam Managing Director KJ Ung, and SSA Marine VP Soren Pedersen. Please register now to join this important event, taking place as Vietnam’a supply chains and U.S. hi-tech and consumer product supplies from Vietnam are under severe strain. We think the event will increase U.S. government and Vietnamese government awareness of the importance of U.S. supply chains in Vietnam, and the continued urgent need for more vaccines and medical equipment for Vietnam’s COVID response in the lead-up to the VP visit.
We know many of you are concerned about media and social media reports of vaccine distribution which seem counter to Decision 3355 and the stated priority risk groups. We continue to advocate to the Vietnamese government for transparent, equitable, efficient distribution of vaccines according to the priority risk groups stated in Decision 3355. To save lives, it is critical that the most at-risk, vulnerable individuals are vaccinated first.
If you have interest in these or any other advocacy matters that require AmCham support, please contact relevant Committee leaders and/or [email protected].
Advocacy Updated on July 25, 2021
AmCham Executive Director Mary Tarnowka is now in Washington, DC, meeting with USG officials and colleagues at the U.S. Chamber, U.S. ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC), and think tanks. All recognize the importance and potential of the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral comprehensive partnership and the economic partnership. There also is increasing awareness about the severity of COVID outbreaks in the Southeast Asian region, including in Vietnam, and the impact on supply chains. And I heard urgent requests by Vietnamese Ambassador Ha Kim Ngoc for AmCham contributions of critically-needed medical equipment to help support the Vietnamese government’s COVID response, particularly in HCMC and the south.
But COVID cases aren’t just growing in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. There is also a surge in the United States – despite widespread availability of vaccines – caused in large part by the highly transmissible Delta variant. That surge, almost exclusively among the unvaccinated, means the United States once again has the highest number of new COVID cases in the world, surpassing Britain, Indonesia, India, and Brazil.
Partnering with Vietnamese Government on COVID-19 Response and Vaccine. Partnering with the Vietnamese government to support its efforts on COVID-19 control remains AmCham’s top priority. We continue to advocate for the United States to donate additional vaccines to Vietnam, and for Vietnam to distribute more vaccines to HCMC and the southern region, now the epicenter of Vietnam’s fourth wave. We welcome the clarification of Vietnamese government plans in Decree 3355, and encourage equitable distribution according to priority groups. We were thrilled to see the U.S. government donate another 3 million doses of Moderna vaccine to Vietnam this weekend. We plan to hold an event focused on Vietnam’s Role in Building Resilient Global Supply Chains: Managing the Current COVID Outbreaks with industry and both U.S. and Vietnamese government participation on August 5th at 6PM; save the date! We also are trying to do our best to keep you informed and support your business operations. Please keep us apprised on your COVID-related questions and concerns.
Section 301 Currency Punitive Actions Averted. While we recognize the current COVID outbreaks and lockdown measures in Vietnam are your most pressing business concerns, let’s celebrate a major win! USTR determined on July 23rd that no action is warranted now on the Section 301 currency investigation, based in large part on the bilateral currency agreement announced by the Treasury Department earlier in the week. If USTR’s determination had been different, tariffs could have been imposed on Vietnamese exports to the US. AmCham Vietnam, including AmCham Hanoi, together with over 70 business associations, signed onto a recent U.S. Chamber letter to USTR recommending against such punitive actions. Links below to the advocacy letter, a recent Inside U.S. Trade article LINK, and USTR and TREASURY announcements LINK. Note that the 301 timber investigation is ongoing, with active discussions between relevant U.S. and Vietnamese ministries and agencies, but reportedly on a positive track. No finding has yet been reported, the first step before USTR determines any necessary actions. Both 301 investigations, initiated in October 2020 under the Trump Administration, are scheduled to conclude by October 2, 2021.
Prospects for Strengthening U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade and Investment Ties. While many I met with in the private sector would love to see the United States enter CPTPP, there is unanimous recognition that any move in that direction won’t be possible until after the November 2022 mid-term elections. There is strong interest to seek ways to strengthen trade and investment ties in the interim, though lack of clarity on how to do so under the Biden Administration’s “worker-centric” trade policy, beyond a need to address concerns of environmental and labor groups. It clearly means preventing forced labor such as that involved in Xinjiang cotton. Does “worker-centric” also include agricultural workers? Does it include the effect of trade on the cost and availability of consumer goods purchased by workers? While those answers are not yet clear, the issues we focus on in our Environment, Social, and Governance Committee will likely be of increased interest and relevance to the U.S. Government under the Biden Administration.
The general consensus from what I have heard so far appears to be that the best prospects for Vietnam in the near-term are to ensure full implementation of 301 agreements, seek an enhanced Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), avoid problematic digital trade regulations, and seek to participate in a possible U.S.- ASEAN (or smaller group) Digital Trade Framework, that could lay groundwork for a possible Digital Trade Agreement.
Breakfast with Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States Hà Kim Ngọc. Ambassador Ngoc hosted me for a delicious phở gà breakfast with Economic Section colleagues. He thanked me for AmCham’s contributions to strengthening the comprehensive partnership, helping avert 301 currency sanctions, and advocacy to support US vaccine contributions. He expressed deep gratitude for the 5 million doses of vaccines donated by the United States, and encouraged continued advocacy for additional vaccines. He also made a plea for urgent contributions of critically-needed medical equipment and supplies, including ventilators, oxygen, ECMO, blood monitors, and COVID treatment drugs, especially to HCMC.
Amb. Ngoc and his team listened intently to AmCham recommendations on ways to continue business operations during COVID, including a focus on HCMC, Binh Duong and surrounding areas; expediting approval for imports of rapid antigen tests; support for worker housing; liberalized overtime rules; inclusion of those involved in the manufacturing of essential food and animal feed as priority groups; and strengthened inter-provincial coordination, especially on transportation.
Amb. Ngoc took on board concerns about recent draft digital economy decrees and agreed on the importance of a regulatory environment that welcomed foreign technology companies that are often key partners for innovative Vietnamese companies. He welcomed any possibilities to enter into negotiations for an U.S.- ASEAN Digital Trade Agreement.
He repeatedly stated that the U.S.-VN comprehensive partnership is win-win for both because of our many shared interests, not win, win for one-side only the Chinese way. And he said President Phuc had expressed his deep appreciation for the U.S. vaccine donations through stating the old proverb, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”
If you have interest in these or any other advocacy matters that require AmCham support, please contact relevant Committee leaders and/or [email protected].
Advocacy Updated on July 18, 2021
AmCham advocacy this week focused on informing the U.S. and Vietnamese government on the effect of COVID-19 outbreaks on manufacturing operations and supply chains in HCMC and surrounding provinces and seeking additional vaccines and support, Special 301 tariffs, Resolution 68 on Business Reforms, and regulatory concerns of our Healthcare and F&B Committee. We are working on advocacy to request the Vietnamese government expand its COVID-19 focus and support beyond HCMC as nearby provinces like Binh Duong also experience serious COVID outbreaks, and to seek approval for imports of self-test kits. We are also collecting comments for the Vietnam Business Forum on Special Investment Incentives, due on July 20. Ambassador- designate Marc Knapper’s confirmation hearing testimony highlights his key priorities, if confirmed as U.S. Ambassador.
COVID-19 Advocacy. We invited U.S. and Vietnamese government officials, as well as media, to join our July 13 event, Maintaining Manufacturing Operations During COVID -19, to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 outbreaks on our member companies’ operations and the potential impact on U.S. global supply chains. It received good press coverage locally, in Tuoi Tre plus, and we understand it helped inform the U.S. decision to donate 3 million additional doses of Moderna vaccine to Vietnam. We are working on advocacy to request the Vietnamese government expand its COVID-19 focus and support beyond HCMC as nearby provinces like Binh Duong also experience serious COVID outbreaks, and to seek approval for imports of self-test kits. Draft letters have been shared with our Advocacy Panel.
Advocating Against Potential US Imposition of Tariffs on Vietnam under Section 301. We joined the US Chamber of Commerce and 74 other business associations to send a joint letter to US Representative Katherine Tai advocating against imposition of tariffs on Vietnam under Section 301. LINK. I also shared my concerns in an interview with Inside US Trade. LINK
OOG Consultations on Resolution 68 on Business Reforms. On July 14, Chairman Chad Ovel and Board Member Hang Nguyen joined a Consultation Panel with the Office of the Government’s Administrative Procedure Control Authority (ACPA), together with USABC and other economic advisors to discuss ways to reduce business regulations to improve the business environment, particularly for SMEs.
VBF Request for Comments on Special Investment Incentives. The VBF has requested comments on a draft decision regarding Special Investment Incentives. This issue has been discussed at our VBF & Legal Committee. Our Advocacy Panel is coordinating a response. If you have any comments, please send to [email protected] by COB Monday, July 19.
USG Priorities. Ambassador-designate Marc Knapper’s confirmation hearing testimony, on July 13th, highlights his key priorities, if confirmed as U.S. Ambassador. These include strengthening the security partnership, ensuring market access for U.S. products and services, and promoting human rights in Vietnam. See LINK for recorded video of hearing and Amb-designate Knapper’s statement. LINK
If you have interest in these or any other advocacy matters that require AmCham support, please contact relevant Committee leaders and/or [email protected].
Advocacy Updated on July 11, 2021
AmCham advocacy this week focused on HCMC’s COVID Response, Special 301 tariffs, and regulatory concerns of our Healthcare and F&B Committee. We are also working on advocacy to request the Vietnamese government expand its focus beyond HCMC as nearby provinces like Binh Duong also experience COVID outbreaks, and to seek approval for imports of self-test kits. Please see discussion at LINK. If you have interest in these or any other advocacy matters that require AmCham support, please contact relevant Committee leaders and/or [email protected]. If you have interest in HCMC’s COVID-19 response, please also join our Tuesday, July 12, 830AM Flash Briefing.
HCMC COVID-19 Response. On July 6, AmCham met virtually with HCMC leaders, together with foreign missions, international organizations, and other foreign business associations based in HCMC to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and sharp increase in cases in HCMC, HCMC’s planned response, and areas for partnership and collaboration. Chairman Chad Ovel represented AmCham; several of our Board members and corporate partners were also able to join.
Vice Chairman Duc expressed appreciation for support for HCMC’s COVID-19 response, including financial contributions. He updated on HCMC planned COVID-19 response and vaccination strategy, to achieve the dual goals of pandemic control and economic growth, and welcomed feedback.
Chairman Ovel expressed appreciation for the City’s response and the meeting. He respectfully requested authorization of the use of self-test kits (rapid antigen tests) for the purpose of companies to test their workforce and keep their businesses open and clarification of any criteria for factories to create “tent-camp” quarantines inside their factories for purpose of continuing production after a F0 is detected in the workforce. He encouraged the HCMC People’s Committee to start considering new approaches to quarantining F1 and F2 cases such as home quarantine rather than centralized quarantine, as the total number of F1 and F2 may soon exceed the capacity of centralize quarantine facilities, and suggested the PC closely follow the reduced foreign expert quarantine of 7 days for vaccinated arrivals in Quang Ninh for rapid adoption in HCMC, noting Hong Kong had already adopted a proven approach to reducing arrival quarantine to 7 days for vaccinated individuals. He also noted the importance of coordinating policies and support with nearby provinces, noting that new restrictions were limiting transportation between HCMC and Ba Ria Vung Tau, further straining supply chains.
VC Duc expressed openness to corporate use of self-test kits and called on industry support to secure additional supplies. He also stated such “tent camps” could be permitted if they met criteria on health and workers safety, and said over 100 had already been approved. He explained quarantine options, including public quarantine, and hotels, and stated that HCMC would be the first to adopt a 7-day quarantine for fully vaccinated individuals if the Quang Ninh pilot program proved effective. He stated that the City was still considering plans whether to again implement Directive 16 (Note: it was implemented later that week, effective July 9). He stressed HCMC’s focus on the dual goals and ensuring “No one left behind”, stressing that all policies would include both Vietnamese citizens and foreign residents, noting the contributions made by foreign residents to HCMC’s prosperity and development.
Section 301: In addition to advocacy to support the Vietnamese government’s response to COVID-19 discussed above and at LINK, AmCham signed a joint letter with the U.S.Chamber of Commerce and other business associations, advocating to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai NOT to impose Section 301 sanctions on Vietnam’s exports to the United States due to investigations of currency manipulation and import and use of illegal timber. Media have reported that threat is real. Bilateral discussions continue, including a multi-agency virtual meeting on Friday, July 9.
Other Advocacy in the Pipeline: AmCham’s Advocacy Panel is currently reviewing advocacy submitted by the F&B Committee to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development regarding the reform of administrative procedures for quarantine for pre-packaged processed food, as well as advocacy submitted by the Healthcare Committee Medical Device Subcommittee to the Ministry of Health on the draft decree regulating capital borrowing, capital mobilization, joint venture, partnership, asset lease, and service provider engagement by public non-business units in health and population sectors.
AmCham also has advocated that the Vietnamese government expand its focus beyond HCMC as nearby provinces like Binh Duong also experience COVID outbreaks, and to seek approval for imports of self-test kits, and will follow this up with formal letters and postion papers.
Advocacy Updated on July 4, 2021
On June 30, we joined a meeting with DPM Pham Binh Minh to discuss Vietnam’s COVID response and opportunities to strengthen the US-Vietnam economic partnership. We also sent a letter to HCMC authorities in advance of this week’s COVID-19 response meeting.
The meeting with DPM Minh and US Charge Chris Klein, was organized by the US Chamber, USABC, and BCIU. DPM shared Vietnam’s top economic priorities including:
(1) improve the quality of economic institutions
(2) encourage business to participate in improving technology, robust technological innovations in international cooperation on science and technology
(3) boost human resource development to meet the demand for skilled labor in the era of the fourth industrial revolution and digital transformation
(4) in calling on attracting investments, focus on the shift from quantity to quality, with high added value, taking the technology used as the most significant parameter, for choice of FDI together with environmental protection and sustainable development
(5) develop coherent and modern infrastructure systems, particular 3 types of infrastructure: energy, transportation, and digital.
US private sector organizations focused on supporting the COVID response to enable a safe reopening; strengthening trade and investment through an enhanced Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and possible Digital Economy Agreement; and facilitating infrastructure and energy investment to enable sustainable growth.
Advocacy Updated on June 27, 2021
AmCham’s top advocacy priority remains partnering with the Vietnamese government to support its actions on COVID-19 control and vaccines.
On June 20th, we sent a joint letter to DPM Vu Duc Dam, together with EuroCham, USABC, AusCham, BritCham, and CanCham. The letter conveyed our support and appreciation, as well as suggested policy recommendations, including updating the vaccine priority list in Resolution 21, and establishing a more transparent mechanism for contributions.
We also participated in a joint June 22 meeting with MOH VM Thuan to discuss these issues. AmCham Vietnam was represented by Vice Chair and Intel Products Vietnam and Malaysia Public Affairs Director Uyen Ho, and Healthcare Committee Co-Chairs Pharmacity Founder and CEO Chris Blank and KPMG Vietnam Managing Director Strategy, and Head of Healthcare and Life Sciences Practice Luke Treloar.
VM Thuan seemed receptive to our recommendations to include workers at polyclinics and pharmacies, as well as pharmaceutical and medical device distributors, as frontline healthcare workers, and workers at ports as frontline workers. He also seemed receptive to our suggestion that those involved in retail sales of food and beverages also be considered a priority group given the vital role they play on the frontlines distributing essential products.
Please see discussion in newsletter above and at LINK. If you have interest in these or any other advocacy matters that require AmCham support, please contact relevant Committee leaders and/or [email protected].
Advocacy Updated on Jun 13, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccines Plus: What AmCham is Doing for You
AmCham’s major focus in recent weeks has been to provide you, our members, with accurate expert information about COVID, and to advocate to support your concerns. We have held panel discussions with public health, vaccine, and healthcare experts on the latest outbreaks in Vietnam and regional and global developments in a series of events called COVID-19 Virus, Variants, and Vaccines (recordings of all but the Chairman’s Circle event available on our homepage – free to members). We conducted a May 28-31 member survey to inform our advocacy. Our June 9 briefing discussed survey results and latest developments; see summary below:
What We are Doing: We are working closely with both the Vietnamese and U.S. governments to support the Vietnamese Government’s effort to secure adequate supplies of proven vaccines; provide equitable access within priority groups; create transparent private sector financing mechanisms; clarify priority groups; and support the vaccine rollout.
Good News: The good news is Vietnam has secured access to at least 120 million doses of proven vaccines in the last week, including finalizing a contract with Pfizer-BioNtech for 31 million doses. Vietnam is continuing negotiations for additional vaccines, as well as possible tech transfers to allow local manufacturing. And in addition to the vaccine sharing announced by the White House on June 3 (exact quantities and delivery dates not specified from the 7 million targeted for several SA and SEA countries), the G-7 announced 1 billion doses of vaccines to be donated to low and middle-income countries, with 500 million of Pfizer vaccines donated by the United States. Again, no specific amount announced for Vietnam, but it is likely to be in the mix of recipient countries. Vietnam has committed to equitable access for Vietnamese citizens and foreign residents within the priority groups. And we understand the Ministry of Health is updating and clarifying the priority groups, so we have an opportunity to weigh in.
Good and Bad News: The mixed news is that vaccines are likely to start arriving in greater quantities in July, with the bulk of what is already committed arriving in late Q3, Q4, and Q1 2022., likely not as early as you would hope. And the Government now seems to be realizing that vaccine rollout may as be as challenging as securing vaccine access. A shorter possibly 7-day quarantine period for vaccinated individuals is being considered, but will likely not happen soon.
Bad News: The bad news is there is not yet full clarity on exactly when vaccines will arrive in Vietnam. And there is no way to place an order, at least not for a Western vaccine. While rumors and “brokers” abound, the Government has alerted all to concerns about making deals with unauthorized representatives, since counterfeit or improperly stored vaccines could be lethal. Offers of special access could risk leaving other higher risk priority groups unvaccinated. The Vietnamese government has created a Vaccine Fund, but there is currently no mechanism to contribute for the costs of employee and possibly family member vaccinations, or to make a charitable contribution and have transparency on how that money will be spent is being spent.
We learn of new developments constantly, and are working with AmCham’s ExCom, Healthcare Committee leadership, and partner chambers and business associations to advocate on your behalf. We will do our best to keep you apprised. Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns.
Partnering with Ho Chi Minh City Authority on Vaccines Plus: I was honored to discuss multi-chamber support for GVN vaccination plans with HCMC People’s Committee Vice Chair Duong Anh Duc, and representatives of DOH, ERO, DPI, and FF. AmCham, represented by Vice Chairs Intel’s Uyen Hồ and Suntory PepsiCo’s Jahanzeb Khan, together with EuroCham Vietnam, British Chamber of Commerce Vietnam, Australian Chamber of Commerce Vietnam, CanCham Vietnam, together with US-ASEAN Business Council, and our member companies, all stand by ready to support and partner on this important initiative!
Advocacy Updated on Jun 6, 2021
AmCham Vietnam advocacy is focused on partnering with the Vietnamese government to support its efforts to secure adequate supplies of proven vaccine, and distribute them transparently and equitably, according to priority groups. Join our Members-only COVID-19 Virus, Variants, and Vaccines: Virtual Business Intelligence Briefing on Wednesday, June 9, at 10AM to hear the latest updates on the public health situation, prospects for vaccines, results of our member survey on COVID-19 vaccines, and AmCham advocacy on your behalf. To be clear, AmCham has no secret stock of vaccines and is not taking orders at this time.
We support the Vietnamese Government’s COVID-19 control efforts, including securing adequate quantities of proven vaccines, and facilitating equitable, transparent access and policies for our members to pay costs of vaccinating their employees and contribute toward costs of the general population. Our recent survey results will help inform these efforts.
We have advocated for the U.S. Government to consider Vietnam as a priority country for “vaccine diplomacy”, and are delighted that the White House announced on June 3rd that Vietnam will be among the priority countries in the first tranche of the U.S. Government’s global vaccine sharing.
AmCham Vietnam Chair Chad Ovel, Vice Chairs Jahanzeb Khan and Uyen Hồ, Board Member Hang Nguyen, and Executive Director Mary Tarnowka were honored to meet (virtually) with Vietnam Ambassador to the U.S. Ha Kim Ngoc to discuss cooperation on vaccines plus on Friday, June 4th. We welcomed the White House announcement of Vietnam as a priority country for U.S. vaccines, and voiced AmCham support for GVN efforts to secure additional vaccines and ensure equitable access according to priority groups. We also discussed other areas to work together to strengthen the U.S.-Vietnam economic partnership, including: Enabling a Safe Reopening and Recovery; Building Infrastructure for Sustainable Growth; Developing a Globally Competitive Workforce; and Strengthening the Trade and Investment Relationship: Laying the Groundwork for an Eventual FTA.
Last week, we also submitted a position paper to the Customs Authority regarding concerns of our F&B Committee regarding a draft decree proposing regulations on quality and state inspection on food safety for imported commodities, following up on earlier advocacy.
If you have interest in this or any other advocacy matters that require AmCham support, please contact relevant Committee leaders and/or [email protected]. More information on AmCham advocacy at LINK.
Advocacy Updated on May 30, 2021
AmCham Vietnam wants to partner with the Vietnamese government to support its efforts to secure additional supplies of proven vaccine, and distribute them transparently and equitably, according to priority groups. We encourage the U.S. government to consider Vietnam as a priority pilot country for “vaccine diplomacy”. Our survey results will help inform these efforts. If you are an AmCham member, please complete the survey immediately if you have not already done so.
AmCham Vietnam is advocating that the United States consider Vietnam a priority country for U.S. “vaccine diplomacy”. Vietnam is an important partner of the United States for economic, geopolitical, and cultural reasons. U.S. provision of vaccines to Vietnam would strengthen America’s standing as a trusted partner with Vietnam and demonstrate its commitment to the Indo-Pacific region.
This humanitarian action is especially urgent while Vietnam is dealing with its fourth and most widespread wave, now with a new variant, with less than one percent of its nearly 100-million population vaccinated. That 100-million population includes an estimated 100,000 American citizens, for whom we also advocate for equitable access to vaccines accordingly to Vietnamese government priority guidelines.
Increased supply of vaccines in Vietnam would help enable the safe reopening and recovery of Vietnam’s economy. It would support restoration and continuity of operations of global supply chains of U.S. technology, footwear, apparel, and furniture companies, many of which have relocated to or expanded operations in Vietnam as they decreased reliance on China.
It also would enable U.S. companies to supply the increased demand of Vietnam’s growing middle-class. It would help sustain Vietnam as our sixth- largest export market for U.S. agricultural exports, contributing jobs and livelihoods to American farmers and workers. And it would enable Vietnam to continue to take actions to combat climate change through building infrastructure for sustainable growth, including investing in LNG, renewable energy, and agricultural technologies.
We are invested in the U.S.-Vietnam partnership. And we are invested in the future. We believe the relationship between the United States and Vietnam is at one of its strongest levels ever. Vaccine diplomacy by the United States now is urgently needed in Vietnam and would be an incredibly effective use and demonstration of American soft power.
If you have interest in contributing to any other advocacy matters that require AmCham support, please contact relevant Committee leaders and/or [email protected]. More information on AmCham advocacy at LINK.
Advocacy Updated on May 22, 2021
Last week, we submitted two position papers representing concerns of our Food & Beverages Committee members on inspection and goods labeling to Vietnamese authorities. On May 17th, we sent the General Department of Vietnam Customs: Comments on the Draft Decree Stipulating State Inspection on Quality and Food Safety for Imported Commodities. On May 18th, we sent the Ministry of Science and Technology: Comments on the Draft Decree Revising and Amending Certain Provision of the Government’s Decree 43/2017/ND-CP Dated 14 April 2017 on Goods Labeling. The F&B Committee’s Working Group on Sugary Beverages also shared an informal summary of its concerns about a potential new excise tax with the U.S. Mission.
At our May 18th Chairman’s Circle Dinner, we identified the need for follow-up advocacy on Enabling a Safe Reopening, particularly related to clarifying priority groups, advocating for a private sector role in supporting distribution of vaccines, and supporting a reduction in quarantine time for vaccinated individuals.
At our May 21 Ag Committee meeting, we discussed the need for additional advocacy to eliminate tariffs on certain raw materials to promote feed and livestock production, manage Vietnamese import restrictions on grains where harmful grasses have been detected, seek tariff reductions on U.S. pork exports, and facilitate a discussion with Vietnamese authorities on scientific findings related to Glyphosate.
If you have interest in contributing to these initiatives or any other advocacy matters that require AmCham support, please contact relevant Committee leaders and/or [email protected].
Advocacy Updated on May 16, 2021
AmCham Vietnam, KOCHAM, and JCCH agreed to partner on advocacy on Work Permits for Foreigners and Enabling a Safe Reopening. The Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) submitted comments on the New Draft Insurance Law, coordinated by AmCham’s joint VBF & Legal Committee. The VBF Power & Energy Working Group submitted comments on the new draft circular on Direct Power Purchase Agreements. F&B Committee draft position papers to Customs and MOST on inspection and labeling issues are being reviewed by AmCham’s Advocacy Panel now.
AmCham’s F&B Committee has prepared a draft position paper for Vietnam Customs commenting on the Draft Decree on State Inspection and Food Safety Inspection. It has also prepared a draft position paper on the Draft Decree amending Decree 43/2017/ND-CP on goods labeling to submit to the Ministry of Science and Technology by May 18. Both position papers now are being reviewed by AmCham’s Advocacy Panel.
AmCham’s F&B Committee recently co-hosted with Food Industry Asia (FIA) an event announcing a report on the Economic Impact of the Food Industry in Vietnam, conducted by Oxford Economics under the commission of FIA. The F&B Committee also held a virtual meeting on May 13 to brief U.S. Mission Vietnam officials on concerns relating to a possible new tax on sugary beverages.
The Vietnam Business Forum submitted comments on May 7th on the New Draft Insurance Business Law to the Ministry of Finance, based in large part on comments provided by AmCham’s joint VBF & Legal Committee. The VBF Power and Energy Working Group submitted comments to MOIT on the new draft circular on Direct Power Purchase Agreements on April 27th.
If you are an AmCham member and are interested in more information about the advocacy issues discussed above or have other policy advocacy matters that require AmCham support, please contact relevant Committee leaders and/or [email protected].