Weekly Update Jan 22: Monthly Lunch Tue, Jan 23, Dalat Weekend Jan 26-28, TET Feb 16-19

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Upcoming Events and Committee Meetings – click for more information and to register online

Tue, Jan 23: Monthly Lunch – Vietnam’s WTO Commitments
These commitments will have a major impact on your business development in the future. Fred Burke, Managing Partner of Baker & McKenzie Vietnam, and Chairman of the Legal and Vietnam Business Forum Liaison Committee, will discuss the key issues.

Commitee Meetings: Apparel-Mon, Jan 22, ICT-Tue, Jan 23, Legal-Thu, Jan 25, HR-Fri, Jan 26
Many committee meetings are scheduled in this week and next. Click the link for details. Register and participate.

Dalat Winter Weekend and Roundtable, Fri-Sun, Jan 26-28, 2007
Registrations are now closed. Over 100 AmCham members and guests have registered for this networking weekend, with Roundtable discussion of key issues and outlook for 2007. We have reserved seats on VN Airlines and rooms at Sofitel Dalat Palace and Dalat Novotel. Click on the link for Schedule.

Tue, Jan 30. EuroCham Lunch: Corporate Governance in Vietnam
Alain Cany, President and CEO, HSBC in Vietnam and Chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam will give a presentation on Developing the Corporate Governance model in Vietnamese banking system toward international best practices Oliver Massmann, Partner, Baker & McKenzie in Vietnam and EuroCham Board member will present on Corporate Governance: Principles and Implementation in Vietnam

TET Lunar New Year, Feb 16-17-18-19, 2007
It’s not too soon to make your plans for TET now. Click on the link to learn more about this holiday and TET customs in Vietnam, and the Lunar Year calendar. There are four “core” days of celebration: TET Eve (12/29 in the Lunar Calendar, Feb 16 in Western Calendar), First Day of TET (1/1 in Lunar, Feb 17 in Western Calendar), 2nd Day of TET (1/2 and Feb 18), 3rd Day of TET (1/3 and Feb 19).

President’s Day – President George Washington’s Birthday, Feb 19
While Americans may be interested in learning more about TET, Vietnamese may be interested ln learning more about George Washington, the first President of the United States (for two terms: 1789-1797). Please click the link for more information about George Washington, his important role in the eight-year long Revolutionary War (1775-1783), and the founding of the United States. Note that the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi and U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City will be closed on this holiday.

10th Annual AmCham Family Weekend in Phan Thiet, Apr 28-May 1
It’s also not too early to put this great AmCham weekend on your calendar. Plan ahead to avoid disappointment during this busy Spring holiday.

Issues Updates and AmCham – related News

U.S.-Vietnam apparel trade future uncertain
Trade Minister Truong Dinh Tuyen met with AmCham Apparel Committee members on Fri, Jan 19 to review the 2007 apparel export outlook. The Department of Commerce has not yet issued a notice via the Federal Register oulining the details of the “Import Monitoring Program” for textile and apparel imports frim Vietnam, although it did request public comment program.

New York Life Insurance Company withdraws from Vietnam market
The firm is closing its representative offices in Hanoi and HCMC, and is focusing resources on markets where it is already present and growing strongly, such as India and China. “We cannot be devoted to the Vietnamese market,” said spokesperson Erin Pham.

Ho Chi Minh City to revise infrastructure development plan to 2025
The plan envisioned a megalopolis with a population of 10 million and including other neighbouring provinces, such as Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh, Long An, Dong Nai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Tien Giang.

Japan’s VM Economy, Trade & Industry and Former VN PM sgree in Vietnam-Japan strategic partnership
Former PM Khai said both sides should speed up the negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) by establishing specialist groups to help solve bilateral trade issues or submit them to the two prime ministers.

Prime Minister: Zero tolerance for ODA abuse and corruption
The case of PMU 18 shook the nation when police discovered that its director had been gambling millions of dollars on English and Spanish Premier League football matches. PMU 18, which is assigned to manage nearly VND33 trillion ( billion) worth of funding from different sources to construct many of Vietnam’s major infrastructure works including the National Highways 1 and 5. “We are fully aware of our responsibility in the use and repayment of ODA funds to both international aid donors and our people,” PM Dung said.

Vietnam police wrap up anticorruption probe into Ministry of Transport PMU 18 scandal
The lid was blown of the scandal when the police arrested PMU-18 Director Bui Tien Dung in January 2006 for gambling, an illegal act in Vietnam. He reportedly bet some US$ 2 million on European football matches using PMU-18 money. Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh called for a “concerted fight against corruption, wastefulness, and bureaucracy.”

Ho Chi Minh City prepares to repair deteriorating bridge, once again
Unable to solve the problem after several efforts since the bridge opened in 2003, the Ministry of Communications and Transport transferred the responsibility for repairing the bridge to HCMC as an emergency measure to keep the bridge from collapsing in Sep 2006.

Relief disbursement corruption rife in typhoon-hit central Vietnam
Anticorruption efforts needed at all levels in Vietnam. Local residents given 100,000 vn dong ($6.30) and asked to sign receipts for 1,000,000 vnd ($63).

AmCham and Vietnam Related News. Click the link for more news highlights.

More news you can use

Event Presentations and Downloads
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. Download the AmCham HCMC Board of Governors Report on Activities in 2006.

Sec 911 – Housing cost amount eligible for exclusion or deduction – U.S. Citizens
The U.S. Treasury Department issued a notice concerning housing costs eligible for exclusion or deduction by U.S. citizens and .

Online Membership Directory
Looking for information on AmCham members? Click here to browse the Online Membership Directory. We now have 373 member and associate companies, with more than 700 representatives of those companies.

Other Chambers in Ho Chi Minh City. Click the link see other events in HCMC.

Other AmChams in the Asia/Pacific Region Click this link ff you plan to travel in the region and want to know about networking opportunities in the city(ies) you will visit. AmCham members are welcome to attend member functions at any AmCham in the Asia-Pacific region at local member rates. Be sure to have your AmCham member card with you and your www.amchamvietnam.com member listing up to date.

Benefits and Services
Review your benefits and services and learn how you can benefit from Networking Online, with about 66,000 visitors and 120,000 page-views per month to www.amchamvietnam.com.

Your announcement in AmCham’s Weekly Update email
Every Monday or Tuesday, AmCham’s Weekly Update email goes out to 700 representatives of AmCham member and associate companies, plus over 1,000 subscribers in Vietnam and the USA. We welcome event announcements that are of interest to members and associates and offer a service to include such announcements in the Weekly Update email.

Tips and hints from the AmCham webmaster

AmCham Webmaster’s Computing Tips: Internet use in Vietnam
81% of firms in Vietnam use broadband internet, up from only 54% in 2004. About 17.5% of Vietnam’s population use the internet. Click the link for more information, including information about the “Top 100 Sites” for users in Vietnam.

View www.amchamvietnam.com’s web traffic rank on www.alexa.com (www.amazon.com)
Compare the traffic rank of www.amchamvietnam.com with other web sites. The smaller the number the higher-ranking the web site. yahoo.com = #1, msn.com = #2, Google = #3, www.amchamvietnam.com = (see the image below)

www.amchamvietnam.com traffic ranking graph (www.alexa.com)

Speakeasy Speed Test Click on the SPEED TEST image to test your internet connection speed. By measuring the download and upload rate you are able to accurately judge your current line throughput or internet connection speed.

Try it now to see how if your internet connection measures up. And if you don’t have high-speed cable access, get it now. You can’t afford not to.

This week’s quote: “Give me golf clubs, fresh air and a beautiful partner and you can keep the golf clubs and the fresh air.” (Jack Benny)

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