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.

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