Weekly Update May 19: FDI Pmt of Trade Union Fee?, Independence Day Celebration, Hawaii EMBA

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

Mo, May 19 President Ho Chi Minh’s Birthday Click the link for more information.

Sa, 28 June 2008 Independence Day Celebration and Family Picnic 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. This week is the last chance for members to finalize sponsorship for the event, and sponsors’ logos will be printed on Tickets starting May 27. Tickets available on June 7.

Tu, May 20 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.

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 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.

Sa, May 31 Gala Dinner with Chef Jay McCarthy at Park Hyatt Saigon Ballroom With a distinctive style of Southwest cuisine and Caribbean influences, Chef Jay will take you on a culinary journey to enjoy the Southern United States delicacies. The dinner package includes cocktail reception, 5-course menu, free flow of selected beverages including beer and wine and live entertainment with ‘Curtis King’ band. Limited tickets available. Advanced ticket purchase is recommended. Click the link for more information and to make reservations by email.

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.

Uniden to Shift Cordless Phone-Making to Vietnam The Vietnamese plant, built in April last year in Hanoi, started cordless phone production in January with a capacity of 18 million phones a year, the company said.

Wilbros Group Agrees to pay $ 32 million for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Violations In connection with corrupt payments to Nigerian and Ecuadoran government officials. From late 2003 through March 2005, Willbros employees agreed to make corrupt payments totaling more than $ 6.3 million to Nigerian government officials to assist in obtaining and retaining a $ 387 million contract for work on a major engineering, procurement and construction gas pipeline project known as the Eastern Gas Gathering System (EGGS).

Corruption halts Vietnam adoptions by Americans In the wake of allegations of corruption and baby-selling, Vietnam recently terminated its adoption agreement with the United States. The last applications must be filed by July 1 and the program will be ended on Sept. 1.

U.S.-China Relations in the Era of Globalization Three vital dimensions of U.S. relations with China: maintaining peace and stability in Asia; motivating China’s positive contributions to global stability; and encouraging China’s greater respect for human rights and freedom of expression. Statement by Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte on U.S.-China Relations, May 15, 2008.

US-Vietnam relations – Testimony by U.S. State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Since reestablishing diplomatic relations in 1995, we have made major strides in our bilateral relationship, which have enabled us to move forward on a range of issues as well as more fruitfully discuss areas of difference.

Market Research: VN is the 4th most attractive retail market in terms of potential growth New market research report Vietnam Retail Analysis (2008-2012) provides detailed data and analysis to help evaluate the opportunities critical to the success of the retail market in Vietnam. The report gives rational forecast and estimates as a guide to the direction in which the Vietnamese retail market is likely to move.

Journalists, police prosecuted for giving “false information” in PMU-18 corruption case Legal proceedings were commenced Monday, May 12 against two former police officers and two journalists on criminal charges related to the Project Management Unit (PMU) 18 case. They were active in the investigation of the PMU-18 corruption scandal in 2006 and 2007, which started with the arrest of Bui Tien Dung, the former director of PMU18, a state road and bridge building division with a $ 2 billion annual budget that is largely funded by the World Bank and Japan. Said one writers’ association leader: “It’s such an unfortunate incident, happening right at a time when our government has vowed to battle corruption even harder.”

Vietnam misses the cut – not in the world’s top 100 “Most Competitive Countries” The annual World Competitiveness Yearbook countries on 323 criteria, ranging from the per capita GDP and economic growth to exports, computer penetration, and even the cost of mobile phone service. It also includes qualitative assessments of factors, such as the level of corruption, state support for education, attitudes towards globalization, and the regulatory framework.

Vietnam: Not another China – Business Week A Royal Bank of Scotland research report stated the obvious: Vietnam “lacks the same scale advantages as China.” And there’s also something else: China’s labor-intensive manufacturing is what is gradually migrating to Vietnam. However, capital-intensive production will likely remain in China as barriers to entry are higher and profit margins wider.

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.

Computing Tips from the AmCham Webmaster

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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.