Weekly Update May 12: REACH, Members Night, Roundtable on IPR, US-VN Trade Relations

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

We, May 14 (Hanoi) and Fr, May 16 (HCM City) Seminars on REACH: Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals, which enters into effect from June 1, 2008. This new regulation (EC1907/2006) is to better protect human health and the environment from the negative effects of chemical substances. Manufacturers and suppliers will need to comply with it by knowing what chemical substances are in their products and registering these chemical before placing them on the EU market. REACH affects not only chemical manufacturers, but also product manufacturers, distributors, retailer and importers that import, manufacture or place products on the EU market. Click the link for more information and registration.

We, May 14 Request for Comments on DRAFT Prime Minister’s Decree on FDI Enterprises Payment of Trade Union Fee The Ministry of Planning and Investment has requested that AmCham collect suggestions from member companies with foreign investment regarding the rate / percentage to pay trade union fee allocated from the salary fund and basis/ reason for the recommended rate. Click the link for more information and to complete an on-line survey of suggestions.

Th, May 15 Members Night. Introductions and brief from the U.S. Consulate General, updates on key issues. Cocktail reception with networking opportunities with over 150 members. Spouses and guests are we!come and encouraged to attend!

Fr, May 16 Ambassador’s Roundtable on IPR in Vietnam (Hanoi) An opportunity to share experiences and views of intellectual property rights (IPR) in Vietnam with other right holders and U.S. Embassy and Consulate colleagues who closely follow this issue. One of the main goals of the round-table is to discuss ways to collaborate more closely to improve IPR protection and enforcement in Vietnam.

Tu, May 20 Direct Selling Committee Regular monthly meeting of the Committee. Participation is limited to those members and associates with a direct participation in the industry. Click the link for additional information and the agenda.

We, May 21 University of Hawaii Shidler College of Business Executive MBA in HCM City Information Session. Renowned for its expertise in international management and ranked among the top 25 graduate schools in the US for international business. Now available in HCM City! Click the link for more information and to register for this free-of-charge information session.

Fr, May 23 US-Vietnam Trade Relations: David Bisbee, Director, Southeast Asia, U.S. Trade Representative Discuss with U.S. trade officials Vietnam’s current status of implementation of WTO commitments, impact on your business, upcoming phase-ins of commitments in goods and services. In addition, discuss the U.S.-Vietnam Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, and the U.S.-ASEAN Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.

Fr, May 23 Human Resources Committee Regular monthly meeting of the Committee. Participation is limited to those members and associates with direct participation in the HR sector. Click the link for additional information agenda, and to download presentations from previous meetings.

Fr, May 23 – Sa, May 31 Park Hyatt Saigon welcomes Chef Jay McCarthy to Square One Restaurant During his stay, this award-winning chef will offer a “Contemporary Cowboy Cuisine” to stir up your appetite. His cooking brings a distinctive style with Caribbean influences and Southwest basics. Guests will enjoy the creative and tasty dishes of the Southern United States. On Saturday, May 31, a gala dinner will be held at the Ballroom. Click the link for more information and to make reservations via email.

Tu-Su, Jun 3-8 AmCham Vietnam Mission to Shanghai and Beijing: Save the Dates A survey by AmCham Shanghai and Booz Allen Hamilton found that Fifty-four per cent of respondents thought China’s competitiveness is waning. 63 per cent plan to capture lower labor costs by shifting to Vietnam. We are cooperating with AmCham in Shanghai and Beijing on this mission. Additional information and participation registration form to be provided soon.

Th, Jun 4 FinanceAsia.com presents Cash Management: Best Practices for Corporate Treasuries With the economy of Vietnam growing rapidly, today’s corporate treasurers need efficient cash management processes to execute your company’s financial strategy, increase profitability and reduce risks. Click the link for more info and to download registration form.

Sa, 28 June 2008 Independence Day Family Picnic and BBQ Join us for an old-fashioned celebration with scrumptuous food, fun and games for children and parents, great door prizes, and good music at AmCham’s Annual Independence Day Celebration and Family Picnic. Limited to 600 AmCham Members and their Family and Guests.

VCCI – AmCham Business Mentoring Program The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, supported by AmCham, EuroCham, and the 2030 Business Club, is cooperating on a Business Mentoring Program to help young Vietnamese entrepreneurs learn the best experiences from successful entrepreneurs and international managers. Click the link for information and to volunteer to participate.

Sa, Dec 6: AmCham Governors Ball: SAVE THE DATE A formal event held in the festive style of the season, to raise funds for community support programs funded by and through the AmCham-United Way partnership.

All upcoming events …

News and Issues Updates

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

Computer Science Corp. (CSC) Welcomes FCG Vietnam into Network of CSC Global Delivery Centers Major US IT services company confirms that Vietnam is an important part of strategy in the Asia Pacific region, and will help achieve the goal of “delivery to the world from around the world.” CSC has more than 90,000 employees around the world, with annual revenues of over $ 16 billion in 2007, and is ranked in the “Fortune 200” list of top U.S.-headquartered companies.

U.S. Apparel imports from Vietnam up 29% in Jan-Mar, while China slows In the first three months of 2008, U.S. apparel imports from Vietnam are up 29% over the same period in 2007. U.S. apparel imports from China dropped slightly, down 5.4%, ending the long-standing constant monthly increases. Apparel imports from Mexico continued to slide, down 13.8%, while India’s continued to increase 4.6%.

2008-04-22 Letter fr Minister of Industry & Trade re Trading Rights (Decree 23 and Circular 9) In response to requests from AmCham, other business associations, and diplomatic missions, the Ministry of Industry and Trade revised regulations concerning implementation of Vietnam’s WTO commitments regarding “Trading Rights” and “Distbituion Rights.” AmCham welcomes this positive step.

More cars, more traffic jams in HCM City The city had 131,000 cars in 2000, the number was three times higher (around 400,000) at the end of 2007. According to a recent survey, the speed of vehicles in the city’s centre is very low, around 10km/h during peak hour for two-wheel vehicles and 8km/h for cars, equal to bike speed.

Electric power plants way behind schedule Only three of 37 are on schedule. The slowdown places the country at risk of longer power shortages during a time of socio-economic development.

Food crisis gatecrashes ADB “Poverty from the birth of the ADB until now is a rural phenomenon. How are they going to achieve a poverty-free Asia without dedicating a huge part of their portfolio to agriculture?” The bank’s annual lending to the agriculture sector has averaged 11%.

Vietnam splits alumina refining, bauxite mining projects between Alcoa, Chaico (China), Vinacomin Alumina refining project with 40% Alcoa share approved in principle; bauxite mining project with 20% Chaico share also approved. Railroad and port to be jointly developed. Vietnam has said it needs about US$ 15.6 billion to invest in major bauxite and alumina refining projects by 2025, to make use of its vast and largely unmined bauxite ore reserves of 5.5 billion tons, among the top five countries in the world.

Vietnam’s New Collaboration Portal Goes Live on IBM Cloud The Vietnam Information for Science and Technology Advance Innovation Portal goes live on an IBM cloud computing infrastructure. Further, IBM and Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City today signed a Memorandum Of Understanding about SSME education and IT Service Curriculum (ITSC) for students and information technology (IT) professionals. VNU-HCMC will be the first in the country to adopt such a program jointly created with IBM.

Yahoo! Southeast Asia Chief says VN potential is “great” Vietnam is Yahoo!’s top priority in Southeast Asia, he said. With 15 million users in Vietnam already, the country’s potential is great. A new product, Blog 360o-Plus has been developed specifically for Vietnam’s market.

Vietnam-Chipscale Advance Packaging Services (V-CAPS) receives “high-tech” investment license V-CAPS will set up a 35,000 square meter semiconductor assembly and test facility at the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park (HHTP) approximately 30 kilometers outside of Hanoi in Ha Tay province, to deliver an alternative low cost and low risk solution for integrated device manufacturers and fabless semiconductor companies.

The Liberty Cup 2008 – New Regatta in Vietnam Vietnam’s first sailing regatta this century was held in Mui Ne – Phan Thiet over the Liberation Day/Labor Day holiday weekend. It epitomized all that is refreshing and beneficial about sailing, and heralds a new water sport for Vietnam.

Overfished Vietnam subsidizes more fishing boats – shift to ocean tourism? When you go fishing, you do not know whether you will catch anything. But carrying tourists, he says, you know you will make money.

Vietnam’s lawmakers oppose pruning economic growth target, criticize SOE’s “What we’ve seen is a corporation like Vietnam Electricity investing US$ 260 million to build a resort, while letting residents suffer from electricity shortage.” The finance ministry estimates that the country’s 70 state-owned corporations had borrowed more than VND 448.2 trillion (US$ 28 billion) as of last December. Delegates at the recent State-Owned Enterprise Reform Conference said the government had to act since state-owned corporations were “guzzling investments, yielding low returns and squandering funds.”

Vietnam sets lower target for growth (7%) Key tasks for the government in 2008 will be fighting inflation and stabilizing the economy. The government will scale down its investment plans and slash expenditures by 10% this year. Money supply will continue to be tightened, including curbing loans to stock and property investors. The government will raise interest rates, increase the flexibility of foreign-exchange rates and boost capital requirements for banks as inflation-busting measures. Vietnam’s consumer price index rose 21.4% from a year earlier in April in what analysts say was a clear sign that the economy is overheating after several years of rapid growth.

U.S. Department of Commerce Finds Insufficient Evidence to Self-Initiate Anti-Dumping Actions U.S. Department of Commerce officials announced that, after reviewing the second six months of data from the monitoring program of apparel imports from Vietnam, there is insufficient evidence to warrant self-initiating an antidumping investigation. This program began upon Vietnam’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in January 2007, and will end in January 2009.

Feeling good: Halfway from rags to riches, Special Report by The Economist, Apr 25, 2008 In a glowing Special Report, The Economist praises Vietnam’s market-oriented economic and social development, while highlighting challenges ahead. Ten separate online articles, an interview with the author Southeast Asia Correspondent for The Economist, and links to a down loadable pdf file of the complete Special Report. Highly recommended reading.

Bribery Abroad: Lessons from the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Those involved in cross-border business, from directors in the U.S. to factory managers in Vietnam, now live and work by codes of conduct shaped by the FCPA. Avoiding the pitfalls of overseas bribery, and knowing how to respond if corrupt payments somehow happen, are required tools for international executives and managers, professionals and entrepreneurs.

Click this link to read 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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Google’s CEO on “Cloud Computing” Google is a cloud computing server, and in fact we are spending billions of dollars, this is public information, to build data centers, which are in one sense a return to the mainframe. In another sense, they’re one large supercomputer. And in another sense, they are the cloud itself. 27 Apr 2008.

From South Asia to iTunes How a husband-and-wife team turned an Indian music podcast series into a business and is making the most out of its Apple storefront on its Web site, where it sells Indian music from Bollywood hits to Bhangra classics, remixed with rap and pop, via iTunes, Apple’s online music store. 06 Apr 2008.

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