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Weekly Update July 26: Energy & Infrastructure Arbitration, Project 30, U.S. Voters Registration

We, Jul 28 Seminar: Developing a Low Carbon Economy

Fr, Jul 30 International Energy and Infrastructure Arbitration: A Vietnam Perspective

Th, Aug 12 How to meet new U.S. import requirements for quality, safety, labor and environment

Project 30: Administrative Procedures Reform: Update (Jun 15, 2010)

Two Web Sites for Overseas U.S. Voters: Online Voter Registration & Ballot Delivery

Events, Meetings, Activities, and Special Offers for Members

EPLegal supported the 1st offshore syndicate facility in Vietnam On Jul 21 at PetroVietnam Head Office in Hanoi, for the first time a syndicate of six top local and international banks in Vietnam have signed a syndicate loan agreement with a Singaporean FPSO owner – PVKEZZ Ltd. For financing its FPSO investment project with the total value of US$227 Million. This is the first known overseas loan in Vietnam approved by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), where EPLegal has been acting as the Borrower’s legal counsel.

We, Jul 28 Seminar: Developing a Low Carbon Economy A seminar to further business dialogue and awareness of topics related to fostering a low carbon economy. The objective is to share international and regional experience on carbon and energy issues, and on current priorities and challenges related to carbon emissions reduction and energy efficiency in the region.

Fr, Jul 30 International Energy and Infrastructure Arbitration: A Vietnam Perspective The Singapore International Arbitration Center (SIAC) in partnership with The Pacific International Arbitration Centre (PIAC) will host a half-day seminar to examine the latest regional developments in dispute management and arbitration in the energy and infrastructure sectors. The conference will take place on Jul 30, 2010 at the Sheraton Saigon Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. The keynote speaker at the Conference will be Mr K Shanmugam, Singapore Minister for Law. Click the link for details and a registration form.

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Weekly Update Dec 29: Ambassador’s Education Conference, Dalat Winter Weekend, Wedding Bell Blues

Keep up-to-date about U.S.-Vietnam trade and investment with Weekly Updates.

Upcoming Events and Activities

Plan ahead. Click here to see all upcoming Events and Committee Meetings

Dec 15, 2008 – Mar 31, 2009, The Nam Hai, Hoi An: Exclusive Rates for Local Residents. The Nam Hai, winner of Travel and Leisure’s Best Resort Design 2008 and nominated to the Conde Nast Hot List, is offering an exclusive rate for AMCHAM Members from December 15, 2008 to March 31, 2009. Situated on 85 acres on the Central Coast of Vietnam, this beach front exclusive all-villa resort features 60 one-bedroom villas and 40 pool villas ranging from one to five bedrooms.

New Year''s - Moet et Chandon at the Caravelle HoteWe, Dec 31, celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Caravelle Hotel. Reflections is offering an eight-course extravaganza in its Champagne Celebration Menu. Whether you opt for the 8-course Epicurean Dinner Enchantment or the 8-course Champagne Celebration, a bottle of Moet & Chandon is part of the package, as are special party sets for New Year’s Eve.

Megan Burtt at the Park Lounge, Park Hyatt SaigonMegan Burtt at the Park Lounge . Park Hyatt Saigon is delighted to introduce Megan Burtt from Colorado, USA, who will provide live entertainment in the Park Lounge every evening (except Tue) until 12 Jan 2009.

We, Jan 14 Members Lunch: Vietnam 2020 – Solutions for Large Scale Infrastructure and Real Estate Development. Help make history. Presenters will give a macro and microcosmic understanding of why it is important to document tangible development indicators in Vietnam such as city foundation essentials (roads, bridges, and waterways) and burgeoning urban centers (residential and office buildings). The idea of bridging the past, present, and future of Vietnam using new media technologies such as websites, high definition video and live, on-demand video and photo images will be presented to the participants for consideration to achieve the government’s vision for a developed and modern Vietnam by the year 2020.

Th, Jan 15 INTEL Vietnam Study Abroad Program: Application Deadline Jan 15, 2009 Intel Products Vietnam is pleased to announce the Intel Vietnam Study Abroad Program – the 2009-2011 Scholarship program to study at Portland State University (PSU), USA. The program is two-fold: A U.S. education experience and an engineering career with Intel in Vietnam. Intel will sponsor up to 40 current Third-year Engineering students from select universities to complete their Bachelor of Science degrees in either Electrical or Mechanical Engineering at Portland State University (PSU). Upon graduation, the students will return to Ho Chi Minh City to begin exciting engineering careers with Intel at our new facility.

Th-Fr, Jan 15-16: Ambassador’s Education Conference in HCM City. Registration Deadline Dec 15, designed to bring together representatives from American universities, colleges, companies, and NGOs active in higher education in Vietnam and representatives from Vietnamese universities and colleges to explore partnership successes and map out future partnership strategies. Please register early, since space is limited.

Fr-Su, Feb 13-15 Dalat Winter Weekend and Roundtable discussion of key issues for U.S.-Vietnam trade and investment in 2009. Join AmCham Governors and other members for a networking weekend, with excursions, golf tournament, and spa. The Sofitel Dalat Palace epitomizes the seductive charm of Dalat. It is one of the few remaining historical hotels in Asia, and offers the finest in European atmosphere, amenities and service. Spaces are limited, so early registration is advised.

All upcoming events …

News and Issues Updates

U.S. Retail Sales Plummet, Down 5.5% in Nov, 8% in Dec “There has been a major contraction in consumer spending,” said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors. Luxury goods, once considered immune from economic turmoil, were hardest hit. Including jewelry sales, the luxury sector plunged by a whopping 34.5%.

U.S. Retailers Brace for Major Change The good news for U.S. retailers is that 2008 is almost over. The bad news: 2009 could be worse. Many retailers are rethinking how they do business, as others prepared for a large number of bankruptcies and store closures, a reduced number of suppliers, less selection, and shorter lead times.

India’s Textile Industry Unravels Textile factories are among the country’s first manufacturing businesses to suffer as American and European clothing retailers slash orders amid slumping consumer spending. India’s second-largest employers after agriculture, textile concerns employed 35 million workers last year. But the companies have already shed 700,000 jobs this year and at least 1.2 million textile employees are expected to be out of work by March.

Hard-up firms given double boost: Beijing allows delay in social security payments The Federation of Hong Kong Industries estimated that one in four Hong Kong processing factories would have folded by the end of the year. It said 55,200 Hong Kong plants in the Pearl River Delta employed about 9.8 million migrant workers.

HCM City hotels to cut rates up to 30% to attract visitors Vietnam Airlines would discount fares by 30% for guests from key markets to create a strong promotion program.

IMF: Vietnam’s economy is facing challenges, needs continued reforms, data quality, communication After accelerating in 2007, growth momentum eased over the course of 2008, as the government sought to stabilize an overheating economy. While the government made commendable progress in stabilizing the economy, Vietnam has recently begun to experience adverse effects from the global economic slowdown. These external challenges are compounded by domestic challenges stemming from a large current account deficit, as well as weaknesses in the banking and corporate sectors.

Mapletree to build business park in Binh Duong; strategic real estate development The AmCham Singapore company will build a US$ 400 million business park (75 hectares) and a US$ 110 million modern warehousing space (420,000 square meters).

Property market to remain stagnant for some time: experts There are few buyers even though land prices in some districts have dropped as much as 60% since January. Prices of apartments in District 7’s Phu My Hung have also dropped about 30%. The HCMC Real Estate Association Chairman said the city property market can only recover at the end of 2009.

U.S. manufacturers cut jobs, pay amid downturn Compensation for one company’s most senior executives will be cut by as much as 50 percent, while pay for senior managers will be reduced 5 to 35 percent, and other management and support staff will see cuts of up to 15 percent.

Vietnam devalues currency The central bank set the dong midpoint at 16,989 per dollar, from 16,494 on Dec 24 after a two-day cabinet meeting in HCM City at which Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said “The year 2009 will be tougher than 2008, as we will be faced with a strong impact from the global economic downturn.”

Hard times bring wedding bell blues to apparel factory workers The global economic slowdown has resulted in a dramatic slump in orders from overseas customers of Vietnamese factories and thousands of workers have either been stood down or had their hours cut. So they try to make their weddings as simple as possible. Despite their efforts, almost all factory workers are haunted by wedding debts.

Prime Minister requests harmonious labor relations, stable investment environment, social order Action Plan for the implementation of Directive No. 22-CT/TW dated 05 June 2008 of the Secretariat of the Central Committee on enhancing leadership, providing direction for the development of harmonious, stable and progressive labor relations within enterprises.

Click this link to read News Highlights: Business, Trade, and Investment in Vietnam and Asia.

Information Resources on AmCham Web Site www.amchamvietnam.com

Event Presentations and PHOTO ALBUMS Did you miss an AmCham event? Were you there but wanted to have a copy of the presentation? Didn’t get the business card of the person you were talking with? Now you can download the presentations by clicking on the above link. Also, you can see a list of people that attended the event, with links to their company contact information.

Presentation: Vietnam’s New Personal Income Tax – (c) Deloitte (used w/ permission)

Online Membership Directory Looking for information on AmCham members? Click here to browse the Online Membership Directory for information about and contact points for our 400 member and associate companies, and about 800 representatives. Also with links to their company web sites for even more information about American and international businesses in Ho Chi Minh City.

Benefits and Services Review AmCham benefits and services and learn how you can benefit from Networking Online, with about 100,000 visitors and 250,000 page-views per month to www.amchamvietnam.com.

Your announcement in AmCham’s Weekly Update email Early each week, AmCham’s Weekly Update email goes out to nearly 800 representatives of over 400 AmCham member and associate companies, plus thousands of subscribers in Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, and the USA. We welcome event announcements that are of interest to our business readers.

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Keep up-to-date about U.S.-Vietnam trade and investment with Weekly Updates.

Weekly Update Aug 11: Aug Promotion at Caravelle, Masters of Food & Wine – Park Hyatt, Members Night

Keep up-to-date about U.S.-Vietnam trade and investment with Weekly Updates.

Weather in Vietnam and Western Pacific: satellite photos, typhoon forecasts, etc. Aug-Sep-Oct are the main months of the “West Pacific Typhoon Season.” Click on this link for satellite photos updated hourly. No tropical storms active as of Sa-Su, Aug 9-10.

Upcoming Events and Activities (next few weeks)

Plan ahead. Click here to see all upcoming Events and Committee Meetings

Mo-Su, Aug 11-17: August Promotion at Caravelle Hotel. From tiger prawn feast buffet dinner to tastiest dishes of Pacific Rim cuisine with Hawaiian menu and Eclectic menu, guests are so-ever satisfied like this. Big white meaty prawns stirred in woks, Kona Crab Cakes, marinated duck breast, Szechwan beef skewers and etc. It is sure to lure even with the most fastidious. Also, relaxing at Lobby Lounge and tasting all-you-can-eat freshly baked waffles with regular high tea is nearly heaven of heavens. Click the link for more information.

Sa, Aug 30: AmCham Palooza Labor Day Weekend Happy Hour Party Come and kick off your Labor Day / National Foundation Weekend Saturday night with free food and drink specials at the Xu Cafe / Bar.

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Weekly Update Jul 28: Members Lunch, Masters of Food & Wine, West Coast Ports Slowdown

Keep up-to-date about U.S.-Vietnam trade and investment with Weekly Updates.

Weather in Vietnam and Western Pacific: satellite photos, typhoon forecasts, etc. Aug-Sep-Oct are the main months of the “West Pacific Typhoon Season.” Click on this link for satellite photos updated hourly. Typhoon Fung-Wong is predicted to cross Taiwan early this week.

Upcoming Events and Activities (next two weeks)

Plan ahead. Click here to see all upcoming Events and Committee Meetings

Photo Albums from Independence Day Picnic Over 150 pictures.

We, Jul 30: Members Lunch U.S. Maritime Administrator Sean Connaughton The U.S. Maritime Administration promotes the use of waterborne transportation and its seamless integration with other segments of the transportation system. Visiting Vietnam for U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Maritime Consultations, key issues for discussion include port congestion and infrastructure delays. Join us for a discussion of how U.S. companies are affected by the challenges Vietnam’s infrastructure presents, and what the outlook for improvements might be. Click the link for more information and to register online.

Fr-Mo, Aug 1-4: Hotel Equatorial welcomes Hawaiian Chef Kevin Chun Join us for a very special event in August and let us take you to Hawaii. Enjoy real Hawaiian cuisine prepared by guest chef Kevin Chun. On August 2 we would like to invite you for a charitable wine dinner and pamper your taste buds with Kevin’s creations. During your dinner Hawaiian star Nohelani Cypriano and her dancers will entertain you with their amazing show. Lean back, relax and feel the spirit of the world’s most romantic islands.

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Weekly Update May 26: FDI Pmt of Trade Union Fee?, Trade Mission, Independence Day Celebration

Keep up-to-date about U.S.-Vietnam trade and investment with Weekly Updates.

Upcoming Events and Activities (next two weeks)

Plan ahead. Click here to see all upcoming Events and Committee Meetings

Tu, May 27 Request for Comments on DRAFT Prime Minister’s Decree on FDI Enterprises Payment of Trade Union Fee The Ministry of Planning and Investment has requested that AmCham collect suggestions from member companies with foreign investment regarding the rate / percentage to pay trade union fee allocated from the salary fund and basis/ reason for the recommended rate. Click the link for more information and to complete an on-line survey of suggestions.

Sa, May 31 Gala Dinner with Chef Jay McCarthy at Park Hyatt Saigon Ballroom With a distinctive style of Southwest cuisine and Caribbean influences, Chef Jay will take you on a culinary journey to enjoy the Southern United States delicacies. The dinner package includes cocktail reception, 5-course menu, free flow of selected beverages including beer and wine and live entertainment with ‘Curtis King’ band. Limited tickets available. Advanced ticket purchase is recommended. Click the link for more information and to make reservations by email.

We, Jun 18 Welcome reception for U.S. Commerce Assistant Secretary Hernandez and Business Mission with U.S. companies that represent a diverse cross-section of U.S. industries with a strong interest in doing business in Vietnam. Click the link for information on the mission and to register for the event.

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Weekly Update Apr 14: Phan Thiet Family Weekend & Golf Outing; Members Night

Keep up-to-date about U.S.-Vietnam trade and investment with Weekly Updates.

Upcoming Events and Activities (next two weeks)

Plan ahead. Click here to see all upcoming Events and Committee Meetings

Mo, Apr 14 Navigos Group Vietnam Salary Survey 2008: Be in the Driver’s Seat to INFLUENCE SALARY TRENDS in the market Following the successful run of our 2007 Salary Survey, Navigos Group is now gearing up for the Vietnam Salary Survey 2008, which opens its doors for participants starting on April 14, 2008. We have amended our schedule further this year to coincide with your needs better as you have told us. Put your company in the position to directly shape market trends, especially in your industry.

Th-Su, May 1-4 Phan Thiet Family Weekend and Golf Outing Plan a fun weekend at the Novotel Coralia and Ocean Dunes Golf Club. Laze away in a lounge chair by the pool or ocean, or there are lots of available activities, including a two-day Golf Outing, Welcome Cocktail Party, Gala Sea-Side Dinner, accompanied by fine wine, under a starry sky. Lots of activities for kids, too. Click the link for information and to download a registration form.

Th, May 15 Members Night. Introductions and brief from the U.S. Consulate General, updates on key issues. Cocktail reception with networking opportunities with over 150 members. Spouses and guests are we!come and encouraged to attend!

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Weekly Update Mar 03: New Tax Laws, International Dispute Resolution

Keep up-to-date about U.S.-Vietnam trade and investment with Weekly Updates.

Upcoming Events and Activities (next two weeks)

Plan ahead. Click here to see all upcoming Events and Committee Meetings

We, Mar 5 Deadline to register for Workshops on Trading Rights and Distribution Rights with officials from the Ministry of Industry and Trade The purpose of the workshops, to be held in both HCM City and Hanoi the week of Mar 17-21, is to discuss Vietnam’s regulations on trading rights and distribution rights with enterprises, Vietnam’s WTO commitments in this area, problems enterprises encounter when these regulations are implemented and recommendations for changes in the regulations to make them more business friendly. Click the link for information and to register your interest in participating.

Date Change from Mar 6 to Fr, Mar 7 Vietnam Business Forum-Ministry of Finance Meeting re New Draft Tax Laws The VBF Tax Working Sub-Group is holding a meeting with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) on the Draft Law on Corporate Income Tax and VAT on this March 6 at the MOF office in Hanoi. Effective from Jan 1, 2009, these new laws will affect every business in Vietnam. Click the link for details and to download comments on the new draft Corporate Income Tax and Value Added Tax laws.

Sa, Mar 8 International Women’s Day (Cultural Day) In Vietnam today, the International Women’s Day tradition sees men and boys honoring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

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Weekly Update Jan 14: Ambassador’s Education Conference, TET Lunar New Year

Keep up-to-date about U.S.-Vietnam trade and investment with Weekly Updates.

Upcoming Events and Activities (next two weeks)

Plan ahead. Click here to see all upcoming Events and Committee Meetings

Mo, Jan 21, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (U.S. Holiday) Click the link to learn more about this holiday and about Martin Luther King, Jr., who received the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1964.

Th-Fr, Jan 24-25 Ambassador’s Conference: Support for Education in Vietnam will enable representatives of American universities, American companies with training or educational programs, American NGOs active in education, and U.S. Government educational programs such as the Fulbright Program to generate ideas and action plans about how best to progress toward achieving goals.

Fr, Jan 25 Meeting re Implementing WTO Commitments re Trading Rights. Meeting in Hanoi of AmCham members with Ministry of Industry and Trade to discuss detailed procedures for Decree 23 and Circular 9 implementing Vietnam’s WTO Commitments re Trading Rights.

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Weekly Update Apr 30 VBF/MPI Draft Decree on WTO, Workshops in Logistics & Operations

Keep up-to-date about U.S.-Vietnam trade and investment relations with Weekly Updates.

Upcoming Events and Committee Meetings

Click here to see all Events and Committee Meetings.

Thu, May 3 VBF/MPI Meeting on Draft Decree on Vietnam’s WTO Commitments
Discuss the draft decree so as to have good understanding of the commitments, implementation, increase transparency, and improve

Thu-Sat, May 2-5 Workshops in Logistics and Operations
Workshops in HCM City and Hanoi on Logistics and Operations. Transforming world knowledge into Vietnamese reality.

Sat, Jun 30, USA Independence Day Celebration and Family Picnic
Join AmCham members, friends and family to enjoy our traditional American holiday and cultural event that is celebrated all across the USA, in big cities and small towns. An old-fashioned picnic, celebration with scrumptuous food, fun and games for children and parents, great door prizes, and good music. Limited to 600 AmCham Members and their Guests.

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Weekly Update Mar 19: APEC – ASEAN Business Opportunities Mar 23, Antidumping Tutorial Mar 26

Keep up-to-date about U.S.-Vietnam trade and investment relations with Weekly Updates.

Upcoming Events and Committee Meetings

APEC and ASEAN: Business Opportunities and Challenges for Local and Global Firms, Fri, Mar 23. Four Ambassadors confirmed to participate. Panel discussion on moving information and goods across boarders. Lunch with Prime Minister (invited), dinner at Reunification Palace with Chairman of People’s Committee (invited). AmCham welcomes leaders of Asia-Pacific Council of AmChams (APCAC), which consists of 25 member AmChams that represent 10,000 businesses and 50,000 executives in 19 countries and economies of the Asia-Pacific region. The APCAC membership manages trade of over US$ 400 billion and direct foreign investment (FDI) of nearly US$ 300 billion. Participation is limited so register early to avoid disappointment.

Commerce Department Tutorial on Antidumping, Mon, Mar 26
Tutorial from the experts in charge of antidumping cases about the basics of antidumping and countervailing duty. Vietnam has lost 23 of 28 antidumping cases, so this could be a useful exercise for Vietnamese and FDI firms, and their advisors. Click the link to register online early. Participation is limited, so register early to avoid disappointment.

Information Session, University of Hawaii Executive MBA in HCM City, Sat, Mar 31
University of Hawaii Shidler College of Business will provide information about its new program in Ho Chi Minh City.

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