Weekly Update Feb 23: U.S. Visas, Administrative Reform, Total Rewards Survey

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

Tu, Feb 24 Special Lunch: U.S. Visas The State Department’s Consular Affairs Bureau Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services, David Donahue. This will be a great opportunity to hear and ask questions of the senior US Government official involved with visa policy.

Member Survey 2009 Participate in a short online, multiple-choice survey about AmCham activities and benefits. It will take only about six or seven minutes to complete. Click the link to take this short online survey and help us improve our member service.

Tu, Feb 24, Developing Infrastructure in Vietnam The current global slowdown provides a breathing space for Vietnam to “catch up” in its infrastructure. Can it, will it take advantage of the opportunity?

We, Feb 25 Special Lunch RE: Prime Minister’s Administrative Reform (Hanoi event) Minister and Chairman of the Office of Government, Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, will present the ongoing effort by the Government to actively cut down on existing bureaucratic procedures that are causing obstacles for business activities.

Watson Wyatt Vietnam launches 2009 Vietnam Total Rewards Survey (TRS). Registration Deadline in Mar 9. The reports resulting from the survey provide significant insight into market practices, which have been useful for companies in determining remuneration packages that are competitive for attracting and motivating talent to drive business performance while keeping cost of human capital manageable and maximizing return on investment.

Mar 19-21 APCAC Conference 2009: The Future of U.S.-Asia Relations: A Blueprint for the New Administration. Organized by AmCham Singapore for the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce. Around 350 business leaders from Singapore, the U.S. and around the region will address issues of common interests and it will be an excellent opportunity for participants to network, pick up business insights, and play a role in the shaping of the future of U.S-Asia relations.

Asia/Pacific Business Outlook 2009 USC Los Angeles Expand your Asia/Pacific business knowledge, contacts, and profits. If you’re doing business in the Asia/Pacific region, the Apr 6-7 Asia/Pacific Business Outlook is the one conference you can’t afford to miss. Business leaders and U.S. Senior Commercial Officers from across the region meet you at USC’s Marshall School of Business in Los Angeles.

Apr 22-24 Asia Society Corporate Conference in Ho Chi Minh City How is the Asia-Pacific region addressing the challenges of the financial crisis and how will Vietnam weather the impact of the current global economic dislocation? Join government leaders, key decision-makers and industry experts from the international business community to discuss the impact of the global financial crisis on Asian economies, especially Vietnam.

Request for Comment re proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement The United States intends to initiate negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement with Singapore, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei Darussalam, Australia, Peru and Vietnam. The interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) will convene a public hearing and seek public comment to assist the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in amplifying and clarifying negotiating objectives for the proposed agreements and to provide advice on how specific goods and services and other matters should be treated under the proposed agreement.

The annual print version of our Membership Directory 2009 will be delivered to members in early March. In the meantime, please visit our Online Membership Directory, which you can search by company name or by industry sector. If you need to update your company information or personal information at any time during the year. Please send us an email.

All upcoming events …

News and Issues Updates

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

Government units to tackle labour disputes In August 2008, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung urgently asked governmental agencies and local governments of 63 cities and provinces across the nation to open regular dialogues, enhance labour policies and establish grassroots trade unions in face of rising labour strikes at foreign invested enterprises (FIEs). Labour strikes had risen year on year, from 139 in 2003, to 541 in 2007 and to 649 in eight months of 2008. About 75 per cent of strikes occurred in FIEs, and in the nation’s industrial hubs of Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong and Dong Nai.

Indian apparel exporters may lose out to low-cost competitors in Vietnam and Bangladesh “Major global buyers like Wal-Mart, JC Penney, Li & Fung, Gap and Target have indicated plans to cut offtake from India by 12-15% this year, while they are increasing their offtake in neighbouring countries.”

Hanesbrands Relocates Manufacturing to Asia Hanesbrands underwear company has closed 30 plants in North and South America, putting thousands out of work, while relocating its factories to Asian countries. A new factory in Wei , in central Vietnam, is one of the firm’s five new Asia factories, two in Vietnam, two in Thailand, and one in China. Hanesbrands’ Asia facilities opened in the past two-and-a-half years employ about 6,000 people.

Why Huynh Ngoc Si not be prosecuted for bribery yet? Are you under any “pressure” in this case? “This is the largest case which has deep international cooperation so we have to try our best. That’s the pressure. I don’t care about other pressures. We work under the laws so I believe that we will be backed by the Party, the government and the people,” said the chief of the Supreme People’s Procuracy’s Economic Case Department.

Vietnam needs to consider follow-up reforms: Victoria Kwakwa, new World Bank Country Director Interview with Victoria Kwakwa, a Ghanaian, has been appointed World Bank Director in Vietnam. She has worked as an economic expert in many countries, including Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. “Vietnam should continue to reform and improve its investment environment to remain a friendly investment destination,” she said.

Perkins Eastman selected to guide major planning and urban design effort for Greater Hanoi Following a review of 21 international competitors, the government of Vietnam selected a team comprising Perkins Eastman and two leading Korean firms, Posco E&C, and Jina Architects Co., Ltd., to develop a master plan for Greater Hanoi. The plan will set the development guidelines for the entire 3,300 square km Hanoi Capital Region.

Pittsburgh Regional Alliance Visits Vietnam, Feb 14 – 21, 2009 A delegation of business and academic leaders from the Pittsburgh region visited Vietnam, exploring first hand the opportunities to secure new business and to begin developing partnerships that have the potential to create jobs and prosperity. Pittsburgh Regional Alliance’s senior vice president for global marketing, Roger Cranville, is providing the Pittsburgh Business Times with his insights, from Ha Noi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City. Click the link for information on the mission members and companies.

VN Airlines delays U.S. direct flights until 2010 Vietnam Airlines plans to launch direct flights to the US in the last quarter of 2010, three years later than originally planned.

Kellogg Brown & Root Pleads Guilty to FCPA Violations and Agrees to Pay $ 402 Million Criminal Fine KBR, a global engineering, construction and services company based in Houston, pleaded guilty to charges related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for its participation in a decade-long scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials to obtain engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities on Bonny Island, Nigeria, valued at more than US$ 6 billion

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 these and more 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.

Photos from Governors Ball – online

Online Directory Looking for information on AmCham companies? Click here to browse the Online Directory for information about and contact points for over 450 AmCham companies, and over 900 representatives. Also with links to 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.