Weekly Update Nov 24: Morning Briefing on New Personal Income Tax, Thanksgiving

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

Upcoming Events and Activities

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

Membership Directory 2009 deadline: Fr, Nov 28 If you have new or changed contact information, please contact Ms. Huong at the AmCham office (3824 3562). And, as you plan your advertising, be sure to include the AmCham Membership Directory.

Megan Burtt at the Park Lounge, Park Hyatt SaigonMegan Burtt at the Park Lounge . Park Hyatt Saigon is delighted to introduce Megan Burtt from Colorado, USA, who will provide live entertainment in the Park Lounge every evening (except Tue) until 12 Jan 2009.

Th, Nov 27: Members Morning Briefing: New Personal Income Tax – Are You Ready? The new PIT system’s impact on employers and employees. Although the top marginal tax rate will be reduced from 40% to 35%, elimination of deductions and increase in taxable income could lead to a large increase in employers’ costs or considerable decrease in net income of employees. Some good news for U.S. taxpayers: U.S. IRS housing cost exclusions for HCM City for 2008 are increased. Click this link for more information.

Th, Nov 27: 8th Annual Thanksgiving “Turkey Shoot” (Friendly Golf) Register for this fun golf outing, held annually since 2001 to celebrate Thanksgiving. Enjoy golf, followed by comraderie at the Song Be Golf Resort Clubhouse.

Th, Nov 27: Thanksgiving Dinner at the New World Hotel Saigon A traditional American holiday that brings friends and family together. Celebrate Thanksgiving with a special buffet dinner, traditional roasted turkey and free flow of Beaujolais Nouveau, Tiger draft beer, and soft drinks. 6pm-10pm. US$ 45++/person.

Th, Nov 27: Caravelle Hotel Roasts Turkeys for Traditional American Thanksgiving Dinner If you’re American or simply partial to American holidays, the Caravelle Hotel is the place to be. Chefs at the ground-floor buffet, Nineteen, will be slicing thick slabs of white meat, breaking off the drumsticks and parsing the dark meat of whole roasted turkeys in a celebration of Thanksgiving. Also, whole roasted marinated lamb leg with spicy curry sauce rates second billing, and a roasted U.S. beef chuck eye roll with mustard and thyme gravy, an oyster gratinated with spinach and hollandaise sauce, and whole roasted salmon with caviar sauce. 6-10pm. Buffet dinner costs US$ 38.50++ per person. Click the link for more information.

Mo, Dec 1, Monday Night Football with Budweiser at Sheridan’s Irish House Enjoy an American tradition and watch an American Football Game of the Week.

Sa, Dec 6: AmCham Governors Ball 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. Tickets are limited.

We, Dec 10: AmCham Annual General Meeting and Members Night Join other AmCham members and guests to review the year’s activities, Report of the Board of Governors, etc., and election of members to the Board of Governors, then enjoy a Members Night Networking Cocktail Party. Spouses are welcome and encouraged to attend !

Th-Fr, Jan 15-16: Ambassador’s Education Conference in HCM City. Registration Deadline Dec 15, designed to bring together representatives from American universities, colleges, companies, and NGOs active in higher education in Vietnam and representatives from Vietnamese universities and colleges to explore partnership successes and map out future partnership strategies. Please register early, since space is limited.

Fr-Su, Feb 13-15 Dalat Winter Weekend and Roundtable discussion of key issues for U.S.-Vietnam trade and investment in 2009. Join AmCham Governors and other members for a networking weekend, with excursions, golf tournament, and spa. The Sofitel Dalat Palace epitomizes the seductive charm of Dalat. It is one of the few remaining historical hotels in Asia, and offers the finest in European atmosphere, amenities and service. Spaces are limited, so early registration is advised.

All upcoming events …

News and Issues Updates

U.S. Apparel Imports from Vietnam Up 22% in Jan-Sep 2008, but down across the board But the outlook for final three months is not good. Overall, U.S. apparel imports dropped 2.96% in Jan-Sep compared with the year before. Retail sales in the U.S. dropped sharply in October, the worst in 35 years, and if this trend continues, total U.S. imports of apparel for 2008 may be down substantially. However, U.S. apparel imports from Vietnam in 2008 could reach or exceed $ 5.0 billion.

Workers facing massive job losses in southern Vietnam Most textile and garment, footwear enterprises who are doing sub-contracts for foreign customers are facing difficulties. Due to unstable orders and having to pay for workers retention, factories had to close down. An FDI garment factory said their products were not selling because of the American economic recession. One sport shoes processing company, which has nearly 10,000 workers in Cu Chi district, said orders to companies are being decreased 20-30% in 2009.

Chinese workers feel pain of global crisis The global slowdown has had a harsh impact on exporters and labor-intensive small businesses. The current employment situation is grim. The first quarter of next year there will be even greater difficulties. There appears to be a rise in work-related protests as China’s economy slows sharply. The Government is trying to reduce labor disputes and unrest by helping employers keep people at work through measures such as putting off minimum-wage increases. Keeping local strains from escalating into broader political tensions is a high priority.

U.S. Job Losses Surge as U.S. Downturn Accelerates For many states, the pace of decline is more severe than during the 2001 recession. Job losses have spread beyond construction and manufacturing to service sectors such as tourism, hospitality and professional and business services. Many economists forecast the national unemployment rate, currently at 6.5%, will top 8% in the next few months.

Official suspended in connection with PCI corruption scandal Director of the HCM City Department of Information and Communications Le Manh Ha said that Huynh Ngoc Si, Director of the East West Avenue and Water Environment Project, has been suspended pending investigation of corruption allegations by some officials of Japan’s Pacific Consultants International Company (PCI).

US law firms in Chinese corruption probe Chinese regulators have also been implicated in the probe. Two Ministry of Commerce officials were detained by government investigators. Both held positions crucial to the approval of FDI deals into China.

Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam on S&P “watch list” “Our biggest concern now is Vietnam’s banking sector, which was the main contributor to the overheating problems. Now, the banks are sitting on these loans made during cheap funding times. Lending has almost stopped and the question is how this is going to affect banks, especially the small joint stock banks. We are concerned about the state of Vietnam’s banking system and transparency is so low nobody knows how bad the situation is.”

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.

Vietnam’s New Personal Income Tax: Are You Ready?
Presentation: Vietnam’s New Personal Income Tax – (c) KPMG (used w/ permission)

Members Lunch: TNS Managing Director Ralf Matthaes, Consumer Trends in Vietnam
Presentation TNS Managing Director Ralf Matthaes, Consumer Trends in Vietnam

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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Computing Tips: Business Tips for Late Facebook Arrivals Choose your friends and photos carefully on social-networking sites, but by all means get on Facebook. Here are some basic lessons learned. 18 Aug 2009

Computing Tips: Facebook No. 1 Globally with 132 million users The site is the top global social network, nearly 63% of users are outside North America. The site had been translated into 20 languages including French, Spanish, and Mandarin, recently added 69 more. “Now, through translations, we are seeing a lot of growth in international countries,” says Javier Olivan, international manager at Facebook in a recent interview. 18 Aug 2008

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