Weekly Update Jan 26: TET, Dalat Winter Weekend, Member Survey, Legal Committee

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Upcoming Events and Activities

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

Th, Feb 5 Legal & VBF Liaison Committee Meeting. Existing and interested Committee members will review a draft Work Plan for 2009. Six position papers all need input from the legal / business community, and we’d like to try to get them ready by mid-February

Fr-Su, Feb 13-15 Dalat Winter Weekend and Roundtable Join other AmCham members and guests in a networking weekend, with Chairman’s Roundtable discussion of key issues in Vietnam-U.S. trade and investment and outlook for 2009. Three days/two nights including room with American breakfast, welcome cocktail, Feb 14 morning Roundtable and evening Gala Dinner for as low as $ 339/couple.

Member Survey 2009 – win a two-night stay at Mui Ne’s Pandanus Resort You are invited to participate in our Member Survey. Approximately 900 people from about 450 AmCham companies will be asked to complete a short online, multiple-choice survey about AmCham activities and benefits. It will take only about five or six minutes to complete. Click the link to take this short online survey and help us improve our member service.

Su-We, Jan 25-28: Caravelle’s Nineteen Delectable TET Buffet. The Caravelle Hotel welcomes the Year of the Ox at Nineteen Jan. 25-28 with a buffet that celebrates the best of the mains and the range. “Nineteen’s buffet is a marvel throughout the year, but we pull out all the stops at Tet,” said John Gardner, general manager of the Caravelle. The 2009 buffet costs USD 47 per person and comes with a passion fruit welcome drink and our regular free flow of Italian and Chilean wines.

Summer Mencher 170pxSummer Mencher at the Park Hyatt Lounge. Park Hyatt Saigon is delighted to introduce Summer Mencher from San Diego, USA, who will provide live entertainment in the Park Lounge every evening (except Tue) until 13 April 2009.

TET Lunar New Year 2009 (VN Holiday) – Year of the Buffalo – Jan 26-29 Vietnam’s most important holiday. Click on the link to learn more about this holiday and TET customs in Vietnam.

All upcoming events …

News and Issues Updates

TET Lunar New Year interview with Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh Making all-out efforts to tap inner strengths while making full use of external assistance, considering inner resources as decisive while external help as important, combining the two into the general strength for development. The people have entrusted the Party with the task of leading the country to achieve the goals of making it a powerful nation, with wealthy people, equitable and democratic and civilised society. The Party gains its strength primarily from its members and cells. Ho Chi Minh’s moral example is realistic, down to earth, and closely linked to daily life and relationships, which will inspire Vietnamese people now and in the future. Inner strength, determination and efforts by the entire Party, people and army constitute victorious factors for the cause of construction and defense of the Fatherland of 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.

Maersk cuts trans-Pacific rates as trade growth slows Hong Kong exporters reported a 30 percent year-on-year drop on orders for the 2009 peak season. Shipping lines are cutting back on capacity to avoid further losses.

Vietnam Funds seek cash as emerging markets slump “Vietnam’s fundamentals are worsening a little bit. For the next 12 months, it will really be challenging.” “Are we deterred by things being tough? No, I remain the absolute vanguard of the optimists for this country; there’s a huge amount going for it.”

Gov’t urges solutions to save apparel, footwear sectors Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said on a video conference with companies in HCMC, DaNang, and Hanoi that he was worried about the steep recession of the two sectors, which account for nearly one quarter of the country’s export revenue and create two million jobs. Unemployment will be a big challenge in 2009. Business representatives proposed that the Government cut down or delay increases in income and unemployment insurance tax.

Downcast TET in Vietnam GDP grew a disappointing 6.2% in 2008, marking a 10-year low. The IMF forecasts a further slackening to 5% in 2009. Inflation in 2008 reached 28%. It affected the purchasing power of people in wage earnings, particularly in cities. It affected migrants working in industrial parks and sent many of them home. Analysts wonder how many will opt to stay home rather than return to the cities and struggle to find work.

Manufacturers turning to Vietnam Export growth from Vietnam is expected to be in the high double-digit range for the next five years. Vietnam may escape the worst ravages of the market downturn, absorbing some of the exodus from the China’s Pearl River Delta (Guangzhou), but it is not immune to the global crisis. The weakening of Chinese and Japanese traffic to the U.S. may leave more space for shipments from Vietnam to North America for the time being. The market, albeit growing rapidly, is still relatively small.

Toshiba establishes industrial motor manufacturing and sales base in Vietnam Construction of the factory will start in April 2009, and the plant will come online in September 2010. The site has an overall area of 80,000 square meters, and the total investment in facilities, construction and manufacturing equipment is expected to be about US$ 77 million.

MasterCard opens HCM City representative office Vietnam has sustained GDP growth for over five years and is expected to become one of the leading tourism destinations in the world by 2016. Thus, MasterCard needs to implement more creative payment solutions to serve the country’s consumers.

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.

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.