Weekly Update Mar 17: Trading Rights, Logistics/Supply Chain Managment, Central Vietnam Investment

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

Upcoming Events and Activities (next two weeks)

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

Singer Jen Woodhouse at the Park Lounge (Park Hyatt Saigon Hotel) Visit from 8pm to enjoy the beautiful voice of American singer Jen Woodhouse every evening (except Tuesdays) from January 24 to April 23, 2008.

SMART HR and Watson Wyatt announce 2008 Vietnam Total Rewards Survey, which provides significant insights into market practices that are very useful for companies to determine compensation and benefit packages. Participation will enable you to benchmark against others in major industries in Vietnam; validate information on market practices and trends; design competitive compensation and benefit packages; become eligible for attractive participant rates, and more.

Executive Business Mission Study Abroad – USA Program Vietnamese business executives visit the USA from April 24 to May 4, 2008, to meet with American companies, and to complete an executive education program at California State University to learn global management skills and enhance their ability to do business with American companies. To prepare, the executives will follow a series of courses on key areas of global management taught in Vietnam prior to departure. Click the link for more information and to download a registration form.

Th-Su, May 1-4 Phan Thiet Family Weekend and Golf Outing It’s not too soon to plan a fun weekend at the Novotel Coralia and Ocean Dunes Golf Club. Laze away in a lounge chair by the pool or ocean, or there are lots of available activities, including a two-day golf tournament. Welcome Cocktail Party, Gala Sea-Side Dinner, accompanied by fine wine, under a starry sky. Lots of activities for kids, too. Click the link for information and to download a registration form.

Tu, Mar 18 HCM City Workshop on Trading Rights and Distribution Rights with officials from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, who will discuss Vietnam’s regulations on trading rights and distribution rights with enterprises, Vietnam’s WTO commitments in this area, problems enterprises encounter when these regulations are implemented and recommendations for changes in the regulations to make them more business friendly, as Vietnam seeks to promote more international investment in services. Click the link for information and to register your interest in participating.

Tu, Mar 18 Logistics & Supply Chain Meeting with China Supply Chain Council Discussion meeting with China-based logistics/supply chain management executives, followed by a port tour and briefing on port development plans for the Southern Key Economic Zone. Click the link for details and to register online.

We, Mar 19 Hanoi WTO Implementation (Trading Rights, etc.) and U.S.-Vietnam Trade & Investment Framework Agreement. Review Vietnam’s implementation of WTO Commitments, including Trading Rights and Distribution Rights, as well as update on the U.S.-Vietnam Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with David Bisbee, U.S. Trade Representative Director for ASEAN. This session will only take place in Hanoi; there will not be a similar meeting in HCM City.

Th, Mar 20 Hanoi Workshop on Trading Rights and Distribution Rights with officials from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, who will discuss Vietnam’s regulations on trading rights and distribution rights with enterprises, Vietnam’s WTO commitments in this area, problems enterprises encounter when these regulations are implemented and recommendations for changes in the regulations to make them more business friendly as Vietnam seeks to promote more international investment in services. Click the link for information and to register your interest in participating.

Th, Mar 27 Central Vietnam – a New Fortune for Investment and Development Investment opportunities in Danang, Hue, Dung Quat, and other cities and economic zones in Central Vietnam. Click the link for more details and registration.

Th, Mar 27 Members Lunch: U.S.-Vietnam Apparel Trade, with U.S. Commerce Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Matt Priest, who is visiting HCM City to meet with Vietnamese government and industry officials, as well as AmCham members and FDI “partner factories.” U.S. imports of apparel from Vietnam accounted for 43% of total U.S. imports from Vietnam in 2007, so the apparel sector is very important to Vietnam’s economic and social development.

Mo, Mar 31 Members Lunch: Presentation on International Arbitration and Amicable Dispute Resolution, followed by Forum Discussion on the Role of International Arbitration in Vietnam. with Jason Fry, Secretary General of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, and Vu Xuan Phong, VP, Vietnam International Arbitration Centre.

Th-Fr Apr 17-18 Vietnam Tourism Property Opportunities Conference and Exhibition will introduce Vietnam’s real estate potential and opportunities in hospitality, entertainment and leisure to investors. Over 250 major real estate projects of resorts, hotels, villas, golf, entertainment & leisure wil be exhibited at this special Event, the Only Chance to Build up your relationship with Provinces of Vietnam. A special opportunity to meet directly with your local partners & govt. decision makers. They are top key leaders from 16 provinces with the best tourism & real estate potentials in Vietnam. Click the link for more information and to register online.

All upcoming events …

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

News and Issues Updates

News highlights about business, trade and investment in Vietnam and Asia …

Rice too expensive to give away In 2007, Vietnam placed limits on rice exports in order to meet domestic demand, triggering a spike in the price of its grain in the world market. The ban stemmed from national food security concerns. Vietnam wanted to avoid a local food shortage due to flooding in the rice-growing central regions.

Rice from Vietnam to avert food crisis in Philippines President Macapagal-Arroyo has secured a commitment from Vietnam to supply rice to the Philippines so there is no cause for concern over reports of a food crisis, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said.

In Vietnam, Fast Food Acts Global, Tastes Local The titans of Western consumer culture will eventually find their way to Vietnam, drawn by the country’s quickly urbanizing population. Instead of planting and tilling rice fields, many Vietnamese now work in factories and often spend their free time in shopping malls. About half the population of Ho Chi Minh City’s sprawling suburbs consists of recent migrants who have left farms to work in new manufacturing industries. This influx has swollen the population of the southern city once known as Saigon to about 10 million, from roughly six million in 2000, city officials say.

Korean firms in Vietnam face rough ride Three major hurdles—illegal strikes, skyrocketing labor costs and lack of manpower—are putting Korean companies under fire. In the case of textile, sewing and shoe factories, which depend on an abundant workforce, Korean owners have often failed to exert their position amid labor’s perplexing demands but given in to wage increases of up to 50 percent out of fear of walkouts that can inflict a heavy cost on their business.

Vietnam shaken from economic complacency Vietnam is now struggling to curb rapidly increasing inflation, which hit 15.7 per cent in Feb. Rising prices, especially of foodstuffs, have fuelled a wave of labor unrest, with factory workers striking to protest against wages that they say are insufficient to make ends meet, despite a 20% increase in minimum wages in January. State Owned Enterprises have been engaged in investment sprees, speculating heavily in the real estate market.

IMF warns Vietnam that economy is “overheating” The International Monetary Fund warned Vietnam that its economy is overheating, and advised a more flexible exchange rate regime and eliminating imprudent lending practices by commercial banks, in order to help control inflation. Credit growth in Vietnam rose to about 50 per cent in 2007. As a result, authorities are now struggling to curb inflation, which, driven by higher food and energy prices, hit 15.7 per cent in February and has fuelled labor unrest, especially among factory workers who say they cannot make ends meet, despite 20% wage hikes.

Medical supplier probed for corrupt payments overseas (FCPA) A subsidiary of Stryker Corp. of Kalamazoo, Mich., last year signed an agreement to avoid prosecution and cooperate in the probe involving consulting contracts, trips and gifts to U.S. doctors. But it recently informed investors in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that the Justice Department’s Criminal Division is investigating the company for “possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”

More investigations, penalties higher for corrupt payments cases (FCPA) There are currently open FCPA investigations reported against 82 corporations, and the size of penalties has grown in recent years. Overall, the study suggests the future trend will be for considerably more focus on FCPA matters than ever before. “The message ought to be loud and clear: anti-corruption compliance needs serious management attention.”

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

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.

Presentation: Grade A office rents in HCMC to reach US$ 100/sqm. Can you afford it? Rising office rents affect us all, 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? Couldn’t attend the lunch on Th, Feb 28? Click the link to download the presentation and find out where the market is going and decide how it affects your business.

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.