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Our webinar today was incredibly informative. We knew we had a panel of experts. We did not know that Dr. Deborah Elms did her PhD dissertation on Section 301 and worked with USTR Ambassador Lighthzer earlier in her career.
If you do business in Vietnam, and/or export to the United States, you will want to listen to this expert discussion. You will want to understand the broad discretion that the Trump Administration has to take punitive actions against Vietnam under Section 301.
Virtual attendance only, please register to receive the Zoom link.
On December 16, the U.S. Treasury Department designated Vietnam – and Switzerland – as currency manipulators. Meanwhile, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has initiated two investigations under Section 301 of the Trade Act, one regarding Vietnam’s Acts, Practices, and Policies Related to its Currency Valuation; and another into its Acts, Practices, and Policies Related to Vietnam Import and Use of Illegal Timber.
Rumors have been flying this week, including that USTR might impose tariffs as high as 25% on Vietnamese exports to the United States, as early as tomorrow, Friday, December 18. Based on all information currently available, we do not expect any immediate punitive measures to be taken. Nonetheless, Treasury’s designation and the USTR investigations are serious matters, which could potentially result in imposition of trade remedies such as tariffs on some or all Vietnamese exports to the United States.
To learn more about how this could affect you and your business, please register now to join our Flash webinar tomorrow, Friday, December 18th at 3:30PM for a panel discussion and Q&A session with experts, including Dr. Deborah Elms, Founder and Executive Director of the Asian Trade Center; Fred Burke, Managing Partner at Baker & McKenzie Vietnam; Michael Kokalari, Chief Economist, VinaCapital; and Vu Tu Thanh,Deputy Regional Managing Director and Vietnam Representative for the US-ASEAN Business Council. Additional panelists to be announced. AmCham Vietnam-HCMC & Da Nang Executive Director Mary Tarnowka will moderate the discussion.
Information below regarding Treasury’s designation of Vietnam as a currency manipulator:
Information Regarding the USTR Section 301 Investigations and AmCham Actions:
AmCham Vietnam-HCMC & Da Nang also filed a joint submission with AmCham Hanoi on the Section 301 currency investigation and AmCham Hanoi has filed a request to testify at the December 29 virtual public hearing. AmCham Vietnam-HCMC & Da Nang also filed comments on the parallel Section 301 investigation alleging illegal import and use of illegal timber in Vietnam, and we have filed a request to testify in the December 28 virtual public hearing.
Federal Register Notices about the hearings in the attached links (timber and currency hearings). USTR will post information regarding access to virtual public hearings at https://ustr.gov/issue-areas/enforcement/section-301-investigations/section-301-vietnam. In addition, USTR will contact persons who are testifying at the hearing regarding the procedures for participation. USTR will also consider rebuttal comments submitted by January 6, 2021. Rebuttal comments should be strictly limited to demonstrating errors of fact or analysis not pointed out in the written submissions or hearing testimony and should be as concise as possible.
AmCham’s submissions for the public hearing were similar to our earlier comments. Details about the Section 301 investigations and AmCham Vietnam submissions are in the links below:
Founder & Executive Director, Asian Trade Centre (ATC)
Dr Deborah Elms is the Founder and Executive Director of the Asian Trade Centre (ATC). She is Vice Chair of the Advisory Board for the Asia Business Trade Association (ABTA), Co-Chair of the Trade Policy Committee of the Global Trade Professionals Alliance (GTPA), and also a senior fellow in the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Trade Academy. Previously, Dr Elms was head of the Temasek Foundation Centre for Trade & Negotiations (TFCTN) and Senior Fellow of International Political Economy at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Dr. Elms received a PhD in political science from the University of Washington, a MA in international relations from the University of Southern California, and bachelor’s degrees from Boston University. Dr Elms publishes the Talking Trade Blog.
Baker & McKenzie Vietnam
Fred has been active in AmCham in Vietnam since it was first established in 1994. He served as a member of the Board of Governors from 1995 – 2003 and was Chairman in 1997. After a hiatus of four years, he was re-elected to the Board in December 2007.
Before coming to Vietnam in 1991, he served as the Secretary and Member of the Board of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, China.
Fred is Managing Partner of Baker & Mckenzie Vietnam, with Practice Areas: Mergers and Acquisitions, Project Finance, Foreign Investment & Securities, Financial Services, Real Estate, Construction/Projects, Taxation, International Trade & WTO, International Employment, Intellectual Property & Technology Transfer and Dispute Resolution. Baker & McKenzie’s international ties are complemented by strong roots in Vietnam, and helps bridge cultural and linguistic gaps which can stand in the way of success in international business.
Chief Economist, VinaCapital
Michael Kokalari, CFA is the Chief Economist of Vietnam’s largest private equity fund manager, VinaCapital ($3b AUM), where he sits on the investment committee and is responsible for guiding the firm’s overall investment strategy.
Mr. Kokalari worked in Vietnam for 10 years, prior to which he was a derivatives trader in Tokyo & London for 15 years, running multi-billion dollar trading books at JP Morgan Chase, Credit Suisse First Boston, Lehman Brothers, and Paribas. Mr Kokalari co-authored the CFA guide to Credit Derivatives, and was a contributor to the book “Risk Management: Foundations for a Changing Financial World (2010)”, along with Nobel Prize winners Myron Scholes and William Sharpe of Stanford University.
Mr. Kokalari holds Masters Degrees in Business, Engineering and Mathematics from Stanford University, and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at the Harvard Business School.
Vu Tu Thanh
Deputy Regional Managing Director & Senior Representative – Vietnam
Thanh Vu is Deputy Regional Managing Director and Vietnam Representative for the US-ASEAN Business Council. He joined the Council as its first Vietnam Representative in late 2007 when the Council opened its Hanoi office. In this capacity, he has been advising the world’s leading multinational companies on business strategies in Vietnam and helping them engage directly with key decision makers in both the government and private sectors here
Prior to this, Thanh had worked in various capacities in Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs including Information and Outreach Manager for APEC 2006 Vietnam, as a member of the National APEC Organizing Committee, and Research Fellow and Teaching Staff at the Institute for International Relations (now Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam) in Hanoi.
Thanh has over 15 years of experience as a business and political consultant in Vietnam, covering a wide range of issue areas including business, politics, the media, NGOs and social development. Thanh holds a master’s degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University where he studied international relations and public policies on a Fulbright scholarship in 2003 – 2005. Thanh lives in Hanoi with his wife and two children.
AmCham Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang
Mary Tarnowka serves as the Executive Director of AmCham Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.
Prior to her time with AmCham Vietnam, Mary worked extensively to help U.S. businesses thrive in Asia. As U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City from August 2016 to July 2019, she oversaw a period of tremendous growth in the U.S. comprehensive partnership, including two unprecedented visits by a U.S. president to Vietnam in 18 months. Mary actively promoted mutual peace, prosperity, and people-to-people ties in central and southern Vietnam. She particularly focused on strengthening the bilateral trade and investment partnership in the dynamic southern region.
Mary was a member of the senior Foreign Service, with decades of experience in Asia, including postings in Seoul, Delhi, Shanghai, and Taipei, as well as at the State Department’s China Desk and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Prior to joining the State Department, Mary worked as a Certified Public Accountant and Manager at KPMG’s International and High Tech Tax Division in San Francisco.