Weekly Update Dec 3: VBF, Direct Selling, Governors’ Ball, Annual General Meeting, Customs Dialogue

Highlights

Mo, Dec 3 Vietnam Business Forum
Fr, Dec 7 Roundtable • Direct Selling in Vietnam
Sa, Dec 8 AmCham Governors’ Ball • Christmas in San Francisco
… Many Wonderful Prizes and Silent Auction Items at the Governors’ Ball
Tu Dec 11 Annual General Meeting and Members’ Night
We, Dec 12 AmCham Dialogue with General Department of Vietnam Customs
Sa, Dec 15 Application Deadline for VN and U.S. Professionals Fellowships
Sa, Feb 9 – Su, Feb 17 TET Lunar New Year Holidays • 9 days • Plan ahead …
New FDI $12 billion, 21.4% drop compared with 2011
Business leaders discuss investment environment at VBF
Vietnam Empty Office Towers Show Dreams Turned to Rubble
SOEs debts up 19% over 2011, equal 65% of Vietnam’s GDP
Rampant corruption in Vietnam: #1 Concern of Vietnamese Citizens
Tropical Storm (ex Super Typhoon) Bopha in Eastern Sea … Vietnam next?

Events, Meetings, Activities, and Special Offers

Mo, Dec 3 Vietnam Business Forum AmCham is working to make the VBF more effective at addressing the advocacy needs of our members. In February 2012, the IFC officially transferred the coordination function of the VBF Secretariat to a consortium of 14 foreign and Vietnamese business associations, led by VCCI, AmCham, EuroCham, Japan Business Association, and KorCham.

Fr, Dec 7 Roundtable • Direct Selling in Vietnam is organized by AmCham Vietnam’s Direct Selling Committee (AVDSC), in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade/Vietnam Competition Administration Department (MoIT / VCAD), and supported by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA), with the objective of calling for the involvement of all concerned parties to make the direct selling business in Vietnam a strong, healthy, valuable, and sustainable industry.

Sa, Dec 8 AmCham Governors’ Ball • Christmas in San Francisco The AmCham Board of Governors cordially invite you to the 17th Annual AmCham Governors’ Ball, to be held on Saturday, December 8, 2012. It features holiday cheer, gourmet food and beverages, first-class musical entertainment, and many wonderful prizes and silent auction items! So get ready to enjoy this joyful evening, and do some early Christmas shopping.

Tu, Dec 11 Annual General Meeting and Members’ Night Annual Report of the Board of Governors and the previous years’ accounts, as well as the election of eight members to the Board of Governors for a two-year term: Jan 2013 – Dec 2014. Networking cocktail reception will follow the meeting. Members and spouses are welcome and encouraged to attend !

We, Dec 12 AmCham Special Dialogue with General Department of Vietnam Customs Efficient and timely customs operations for both imports and exports are essential for FDI factories in Vietnam. Bilateral trade between Vietnam and the U.S. will reach $24.5 billion this year, and could reach nearly $50 billion by 2020, if present trends continue. Since the U.S. accounts for about 25% of Vietnam’s exports, the Customs Deputy Director General proposed a “regular, formal dialogue,” to discuss challenges and recommendations about how to improve customs and logistics in Vietnam.

Welcome to new AmCham companies 75 new companies have joined AmCham in Jan-Oct. Brief descriptions, activities, representatives’ names, and links to their web sites for additional information.

AmCham Membership Directory 2013 to be printed in January, and delivered after TET. AmCham Members update or provide company profiles to Cindy Tran no later than December 30, 2012. As you plan your marketing activities, be sure to consider this annual publication which is used daily by members and employees at AmCham’s more than 700 member companies, with over 1,400 representatives.

Festive Season Celebrations at Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers Enjoy many festive celebrations at Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers throughout the month of December

Until Dec 16, 2012, Legend Hotel Saigon’s Weekend Getaway Package The luxury river-front five-star international hotel has offered Weekend Getaway Package until 16 December 2012. Applicable to Vietnamese and expatriates residing in Vietnam for their stay on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, the package is priced at only VND 2,121,212++ per night for single or double occupancy in a Deluxe Room with several special benefits

Meet your customer. Your best friend. Your worst enemy. Your new boss Who are your customers? Your best friend. Your worst enemy. Your toughest critic. Your greatest resources. They’re not just your customer. They’re your new boss. Contact IBM Enterprise Marketing Management Expert to find more information.

Winter in Paradise at Pandanus Resort VND 2,800,000++ per package including: One night accommodation for two persons in a superior room, dinner for two persons, complimentary 15 minute foot massage, 20% discount for services at Peony Spa, Complimentary Taichi class in the morning, and complimentary walking tour of Mui Ne.

Dec 1–31 Legend Hotel Saigon’s Festive Season Buffet Gather together with family and friends at the hotel’s renowned Atrium Café to celebrate the joy of the season with Saigon’s most spectacular buffet added with traditional festive delicacies.

Special Fare For AmCham Members from Korean Air Up to 13% discount for all AmCham members on fares to the United States, Korea, Japan and China. Save your traveling costs and enjoy excellent service with Korean Air.

Fr-Su, Dec 7 – 23 Christmas Teas at Caravelle Lobby Lounge Get cosy on December’s cool afternoons with a pot of soothing hot tea and your favourite sweet and savoury snacks. Stop by the Lobby Lounge at The Caravelle to sample its delightful Christmas Teas, a wide selection of fine loose teas and a three-tiered tray loaded with finger sandwiches, warm scones, British beef pie, quiche Lorraine, freshly baked cakes and pastries.

Sa, Feb 9 – Su, Feb 17 TET Lunar New Year Holidays • 9 days • Plan ahead … Traditionally there are four main holidays: TET New Year’s Eve (Sa, Feb 9, 2013), and TET New Year’s Day (The First ) (Su, Feb 10, 2013), Second (Mo, Feb 11, 2013), and Third (Tu, Feb 12, 2013) Days of TET Nguyen Dan. However, since two of the official holidays are on the weekend, the holidays are observed on Sat, Feb 9 – Sun, Feb 17 (nine days). The Vietnamese traditionally celebrate Tet for one month: from the fifteenth day of the twelfth lunar month to the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. And even today, business slows two weeks before and up to two weeks after TET. Plan ahead … TET is less than three months away.

Feb 24-28 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Mission to Yangon and Naypyidaw, Myanmar The delegation will seek meetings with the U.S. Embassy and Myanmar’s key government officials to assess the business climate in Myanmar and discuss the challenges to the full normalization of economic relations. For more information, please contact John Goyer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Overseas Vote Foundation SurveyPlease take a few minutes to take the Overseas Vote Foundation 2012 Post Election Survey for overseas voters! Your feedback helps pinpoint what worked well and what needs improvement in the voting process from overseas. Even if you didn’t vote or couldn’t vote, let OVF know why! Thank you! See this page to start: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2W37JT2. All responses are confidential and anonymous. The Overseas Vote Foundation is a U.S. 501©(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization

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

Stay informed about Vietnam-U.S. trade and investment with Weekly Updates (Past Issues).

News and Issues Updates

Mr. Simon Leslie will assume the position of headmaster of ISHCMC for the 2013/2014 school year On November 13th 2012, The International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) announced that Mr. Simon Leslie will assume the position of headmaster for the 2013/2014 school year. With extensive educational leadership experience, Mr. Leslie is well equipped to guide ISHCMC, one of Ho Chi Minh City’s leading educational institutions into its next phase of academic growth.

On Dec 12, PEB Steel Buildings Co., Ltd., (“PEB Steel”) – one of the world leaders in Pre Engineered Buildings, will hold a Grand Opening Ceremony to mark the completion of 4 PEB Steel’s factories and to commemorate the 18th anniversary in Vietnam.

FDI disbursements in Vietnam approach $ 11 billion, but new FDI commitment capital, as opposed to disbursements, this year to date has reached only $ 12 billion, a 21.4 per cent drop in commitments compared with 2011.

Business leaders discuss investment environment at Vietnam Business Forum “Urgent reforms are strongly needed,” with focus on reform of the banking system and of SOEs to head for sound sustainable economic growth.

Vietnam Empty Office Towers Show Dreams Turned to Rubble “When the developer is a state-owned enterprise and is using the money it should be using for say, power generation, airlines, shipping or banking, that’s where the oversupply has come. They all felt they could make easy money by being a property developer.”

SOEs awash in debts The total liabilities of 91 State groups and corporations amounted to around US$ 63 billion, a staggering increase of nearly 19% from the previous year, equivalent to 65% of the national gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011. Topping the list of debtors is PetroVietnam with nearly VND287 trillion, followed by Vietnam Electricity Group with over VND257 trillion.

SOEs going unchecked; no one is in charge … No agency or ministry is in charge of managing SOEs. 80% of SOEs had not sent their quarterly and annual financial statements to State agencies, business registration offices, or State capital representatives, according to the MPI.

Vietnam well-positioned for a hi-tech shift Vietnam should offer more financial and non-financial incentives to attract more foreign investment into its hi-tech sector, says Nguyen Mai, former vice chairman of the State Cooperation and Investment Committee.

P&G expands its pampers plant in Binh Duong Vietnam is one of P&G’s priority investment markets since Vietnam is its fastest growing market world-wide in three consecutive years. And P&G exports more than 30% of its production to markets such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, India and ASEAN.

Figaro: Leading Filipino coffee company eyes Vietnam expansion Plans to complete 100 stores before the end of 2013, eyeing Vietnam as one of its international franchise location for next year.

Vietnam boost for Harvey Nash The group directly employs 1,500 people in Vietnam at its software outsourcing company which works with customers including Hitachi, Honda and RelianceGlobalcom.

Sugar import quota not yet granted At a conference on sugar production and consumption in the 2012-2013 crop in October, representatives of sugar-consuming firms said local sugar prices were higher than the world’s prices and often changed every month. Therefore, they wanted to import sugar. 26 enterprises had sent their petitions to the trade ministry, seeking permission to import a total volume of 389,000 tons of sugar.

U.S. Ports: Labor Negotiations on East and West Coasts in Jeopardy As the December 29 contract extension deadline continues to draw closer, talks for a new Master Contract between the International Longshoreman Association (ILA) and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX), the associations representing port labor and employers on the East and Gulf Coasts, were recently reduced to a public back-and-forth between the two parties.

Private Sector Minimum Wage Adjustment for 2013: … 15%? … 25%? Still no decision announced. In an October letter to the Government, VCCI and key export industry associations proposed 15% private sector minimum wage adjustment annually for three years, 2013 – 2015. MOLISA Vice Minister met in HCM City Aug 23 with companies and business associations, employees’ representatives, local authorities, for a full discussion before announcing the decision “in October.” No decision has yet been announced, … with only four weeks before Jan 1, 2013.

Vietnam – U.S. Trade Status and Outlook, 2012 – 2015e Bilateral trade in 2012 may increase by about 12% over 2011, despite the difficult domestic and international economic environment. Growth of Vietnam’s apparel exports to the U.S. is likely to slow because of rising costs in Vietnam, increased competition from other supplier countries, and reduced demand in the United States.

Rampant corruption in Vietnam: most common in traffic, land management, customs, and construction Corruption is the main concern of Vietnamese people, followed by high prices and traffic accidents. Over 82% said corruption was widespread. And more than 75% said corruption was a serious problem for the country. World Bank-Inspector General’s Office Joint Report.

APEC Business Travel Card – Join the U.S. “Global Entry Trusted Traveler” Program Now Speed up your entry through immigration when traveling in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region.

Global Entry Trusted Traveler Program – TSA Pre-Check Expedited Screening Complete the application on-line, and schedule the required interview at an airport on your next trip to the USA. Also, Global Entry Trusted Travelers may benefit from expedited security screening for domestic travel at a number of U.S. airports.

Business Mission to Yangon and Naypyidaw, Myanmar, Feb 24-28, 2013 The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is organizing a business mission, and meetings with the U.S. Embassy and Myanmar’s key government officials to assess the business climate in Myanmar and discuss the challenges to the full normalization of economic relations.

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

Recent Events and Information Resources

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.

Online Membership Directory Looking for information on AmCham companies? Click here to browse the Online Membership Directory for information about and contact points for nearly 500 AmCham companies, and over 1,000 representatives. Members can contact other members by email via the AmCham web site. Also, links to company web sites for even more information about AmCham companies in Ho Chi Minh City.

Benefits and Services Review AmCham benefits and services and learn how you can benefit from Networking Online, with over 250,000+ visitors and 350,000+ 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 about 1,000 representatives of nearly 500 AmCham companies, plus about 3,000 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 (Past Issues).