Chairman and CEO, Vietnam Trade Alliance
Walter Blocker is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Vietnam Trade Alliance, with offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, Can Tho, Da Nang, and Hanoi Vietnam. He is a native of Kentucky and has been a resident of Vietnam since 1995. The firm provides nationwide FMCG and Material distribution from 6 hubs and cross docking in 45 provinces. The Vietnam Trade Alliance offers nationwide, 24 hour direct distribution, and cash collections with real time reporting using its own proprietary Alli management software.
Walter served three terms as Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, served on the board of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) Vietnam, YPO Southeast Asia, and is past Chairman of the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers.
Walter is first and foremost an entrepreneur. Over the past 20 years, he founded several business units encompassing industrial scale milk, juice, and tea production, nationwide warehousing and distribution, brand management, and general asset management. The group serves as the exclusive supply chain provider for numerous multinational consumer product companies in the beer/beverage, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and industrial chemical space. His firm was twice recognized by the Vietnamese Government for being one of the top 10 foreign enterprises in both Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Nai and is one of the nation’s largest private American investors.
Walter has played an active role in the successful economic and social development of Vietnam, participating on multiple levels in both the private and government sector. He is a regular speaker as a Vietnam trade and investment expert in national, regional, and international circles.
He is a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and is married to Doan Phuong Ly, a native of Hanoi.
AmCham: Past Contributions and Vision for the Future
I am humbly referred to as a pioneer AmCham member and served many years leading various committees including the Trade Committee, the Membership Committee, and the Executive Committee. I served two terms as AmCham Chairman during the pivotal US-VN bilateral trade agreement (BTA) activation (2001-2003) and again in 2006 supporting the ratification and implementation of WTO. I supported term limits for board members and voluntarily resigned from the board in 2011 after serving for 13 years.
In the 1990’s, trade issues were very basic and communication with the host government was challenging. In 1996, I founded the first AmCham Trade Committee, convening on the third Thursday of the month at a breakfast café Le Loi Street. Leaders from P&G, 3M, Cargill, and Colgate among others worked together to write and present position papers on a variety of topics including basic customs clearance, transfer pricing, and tax application. These first steps with the government helped pave the way for more dynamic dialogue for the BTA and later, cooperation for investment promotion during the decade that followed. By 2007, Vietnam was ready to face WTO membership.
Today, the relationship between AmCham and our host Vietnam government, supported by the US mission and various other agencies including the VCCI and other international chambers, has evolved into a mature one. AmCham has built trust with its consistent, factual, and tempered voice. This must continue despite the great complexities that face trade relations in Vietnam at the dawn of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Prioritizing the Chamber’s focus on key issues will require both a vision for the future and an understanding of the past. I believe my experience supporting the US-VN BTA, Vietnam’s WTO accession, and my company’s own experiences in many facets of the market will bring context and experience that will aid in the navigation of these challenges.
I admire the strong foundation of the Chamber while considering what priorities should drive its agenda to support trade between the two countries in the new era before us. This servant leadership will require a deep analysis of the committee system, internal discussion and debate, and an understanding of both the imminent needs of the membership and the realities of the commercial and legal landscape. I believe we must innovate the Chamber to meet these new demands while continuing the tradition of fostering mutual respect with our host country.