Weekly Update Jan 28: Tourism Special Briefing, Apparel Committee Meeting, TET Lunar New Year

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Upcoming Events and Activities (next two weeks)

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

Tu, Jan 29 Tourism Committee Special Briefing: Promoting Vietnam on the Travel Channel in USA Paul Cohen of Partner Concepts LLP will discuss this exciting project with AmCham travel/tourism industry members.

We, Jan 30 Apparel Committee Year-End Lunch: Discussion on Outlook for 2008 Join other Apparel Commitee members as buyers and factory representatives discuss the outlook for 2008, with a possible recession in the U.S. which absorbs over 50% of Vietnam’s apparel exports, inflation of 12% and illegal strikes in Vietnam.

We-Mo, Feb 6-11 TET Lunar New Year (VN Holiday) “Tet is the festival which epitomizes the identity of Vietnamese culture. Many rites, festivities and practices of Vietnamese TET hark back to myths and legends of the Viet culture of the Bronze Age (first millenium B.C.) called the Red River Culture.” Click the link to learn more.

News and Issues Updates

Vietnam’s apparel exports to U.S. increase 30% Jan-Nov 2007. 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. Government provides US$ 1.4 milllion to aid Vietnam launch direct air service from HCM City to Los Angeles. Vietnam Airlines’ recently filed for a foreign air carrier permit with the U.S. Department of Transportation, that would allow for direct service between Ho Chi Minh City and Los Angeles via Osaka, Japan. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency is providing US$ 1.4 million for a three-phase project to upgrade Vietnam’s safety oversight capability to international standards.

World Bank raises US$ 25 billion for loans to the world’s poorest states over next 3 years. “The bank calls itself a common ‘platform’ from which others can operate. But such modesty conflicts with a need to find and advertise success stories. And the bank is still struggling to gauge the real impact of its work. The bank is happy when cash flows smoothly from taxpayers, through its coffers, to the governments and projects it supports. But sometimes development is better served by restraint than by largesse. Free money can stifle a country’s own tax-raising efforts and private enterprise. It can also underwrite misgovernment and malfeasance.”

Young and impatient in India (or Vietnam … ). India’s in-a-hurry younger generation wants immediate rewards. With the tech-services boom, college grads are coming of age in a time of economic optimism, and unlike their parents and grandparents, this group has vibrant job prospects and high hopes. The challenge for companies is to harness their energy while reining in inflated expectations.

U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Enforcement Trends in 2007 Signal Vigorous Enforcement. U.S. Government enforcement of the FCBA will continue to send the message that *“bribery is bad for business.”* 2007 saw record fines, punishment of individuals with fines and jail sentences, international enforcement and cooperation, industry-specific investigations, and transactional due diligence reporting of FCPA violations.

Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Michael Michalak at Dalat Winter Weekend Roundtable. “My priorities are Human Rights, the Economic Relationship and Support for Education. We are encouraging Vietnam’s leadership in ASEAN, the UN Security Council, APEC and the WTO. Getting your CEOs here is as important for you as our getting Cabinet-level and higher representatives to come. Vietnam is a developing country in a highly competitive world market. I hope they can keep up the pace, but we also have to recognize that pausing to take a breath and backsliding are not the same thing.”

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 200,000 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.