Weekly Update Feb 18: Monthly Lunch-Office Rents to reach $100/sqm

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Upcoming Events and Activities (next two weeks)

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Th, Feb 28 Grade A office rents in HCM City to reach US$ 100/sqm. Can you afford it? Rising office rents (along with everything else) affects all of us, whether your company is in a shop house or a Grade A office tower. Savills Vietnam believes Grade A rents will top US$ 100 per sqm in the next 2 years. Have you planned for this in your budgets? Grade B are already reaching US$ 60 per sqm. Come find out where the market is going and decide how it affects your business.

News and Issues Updates

New member and associate companies. Click on the link to learn more about the latest companies to join AmCham.

Trade ageements hit stiff head winds in U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives trade subcommittee, said, “We’ve had years of a passive trade approach. … a mindless policy that even if trade is one sided, it’s better than nothing.” Critics also argue that while free trade may have brought down prices of household goods for millions of Americans, the cost of those bargains has been borne by exploited laborers abroad.

Minimising the impact of US economic slump Vietnam’s exports could suffer the worst because the US is the leading market for Viet Nam exports, especially for textiles and apparel, and seafood products. When the US is in a downturn, their spending on imports will decline, and exporters here will face difficulties. The costs of producing export goods is high and profit margins low. Some exporters may face bankruptcy. In the end, it’s workers who suffer the loss directly if they lose their jobs.

U.S. apparel imports from Vietnam up 34% in 2007 over previous year The major constraint on Vietnam’s apparel exports to the U.S. is not market access (and the U.S. import monitoring program), but rather infrastructure shortages in Vietnam (lack of deepwater ports and other transport infrastructure, electric power) and growing labor issues (shortages of workers, sharply increasing labor costs, and illegal strikes).

U.S. firm to pay penalty to resolve Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations in India The firm has acknowledged responsibility for the actions of a subsidiary firm in India and its employees and agents who made various payments to officials of the Indian Railway Board (IRB), a government agency which is part of India’s Ministry of Railroads. These payments were made in order to: assist Pioneer in obtaining and retaining business with the IRB; schedule pre-shipping product inspections; obtain issuance of product delivery certificates; and curb what the subsidiary considered to be excessive tax audits.

Tens of thousands of workers in FDI firms strike due to “wrong reading” of minimum wage directive. Most companies only adjusted wages that were BELOW the new minimum, but, according to the directive, ALL wages and allowances were to increase in proportion with the minimum wage rise. A Vietnam Labor Federation Vice Chairman said the hike applied to ALL workers, whether their current pay was higher or lower than the minimum wage.

Lucent Technologies pays US$ 1 million fine to resolve corrupt payments allegations. The company provided travel and other things of value to Chinese government officials and improperly accounted for certain corporate expenditures on behalf of those officials. Lucent spent millions of dollars on approximately 315 trips for Chinese government officials that included primarily sightseeing, entertainment and leisure.

Rolls-Royce airmailed to Vietnam for TET Lunar New Year. The buyer said her motives in buying the car had been partly patriotic: “I’m so proud of the car. This will show the world that Vietnam is not a country of poverty and war, but a lucrative market.”

Trading rights and Distribution rights: Mercedes-Benz to import vehicles and spare parts. Mercedes-Benz Vietnam has won a licence to import complete-built units. Customers would now be able to buy Mercedes-Benz vehicles from genuine sources and felt totally assured of the origins and verification of the cars, and could enjoy post-sale services and spare parts provided by Autohaus Mercedes-Benz nationwide.

Rents in major cities have sky-rocketed. Market observers said rising rents were dangerous for the economy, particularly as they hinder competitiveness and corporate expansion.

Event Presentations, Downloads, and PHOTO ALBUMS

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.

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.