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TET Lunar New Year, Labour Code Draft Decrees, Vietnam Needs Structural Reform

The delegation will seek meetings with the U.S. Embassy and Myanmar's key government officials to assess the business climate in Myanmar and discuss the challenges to the full normalisation of economic relations. For more information, please contact John Goyer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce 



Th, Feb 28 


Foreign investors entering Vietnam are often taken aback by the country's restrictive labor and employment laws. While the regulations under the socialist state are understandably pro-labor, employers can encounter hurdles in unexpected places. This business luncheon will offer employers insight into how best to overcome these difficulties and position themselves for success.


Tu - WeMar 19-20

Through a grant sponsored by Danaher Corporation (Keithley, Fluke, Tektronix), the HEEAP Alliance will host the first annual Vietnam Conference on Engineering Education. This will be a national and Southeast Asia regional event to bring government-academic-industry leaders and faculty together to share best practices, create an annual event to bring the engineering education community together to network and share ideas, and continue the dialogue on engineering education transformation.
Events, Meetings & Special Offers
Open FexEx account and enjoy TRIPLE rewards. Jan 21, 2013

Open a FedEx account before Apr 30, 2013 to enjoy triple rewards when shipping with FedEx. Plus 200,000 vnd Highland Coffee coupon upon account opening*, 400,000 vnd Big C voucher when making a shipment w/i the first 30 days after account is opened,* and 30% shipping discount on FedEx International Priority and International Express sent to/from Vietnam
until Jan 05, 2014."

In collaboration with Mot Hennessy, celebrate new beginnings on Thursday, February 7, 2013, with a Yin and Yang Party at Park Hyatt Saigon's martini bar, 2 Lam Son. Embrace the constant evolution of natural dualities at this affair, just in time for the Tet Lunar New Year. 

The delegation will seek meetings with the U.S. Embassy and Myanmar's key government officials to assess the business climate in Myanmar and discuss the challenges to the full normalization of economic relations. For more information, please contact John Goyer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce 


Join senior-level executives and political/business leaders from Taiwan and throughout the region, as well as the U.S., for networking and in-depth discussion of key issues facing the multinational business community. The gala dinner on March 21, held jointly with Hsieh Nien Fan, will feature a keynote address by President Ma Ying-jeou. Registration deadline for special rates on hotel accommodations is Jan 31. 


The annual Asia Pacific Business Outlook is the premier conference for exporters and investors targeting Asian markets. Get key intelligence on 17 markets by choosing from 60 focused sessions and private one-on-one consultations.


The annual AmCham Weekend offers an opportunity to review the business outlook and key trade and investment issues with other senior executives in Vietnam, and with the U.S. Ambassador and Embassy/Consulate General senior officials. The Mia Resort, nestled in a quiet bay, on the mountain pass between Cam Ranh Airport and Nha Trang city, is a haven of tranquillity. Set on the slopes of the Nha Trang Mountains, sheltered by jungle, and with its own private beach, it is unequalled in its beauty, hospitality, and quality.  

News and Issues Updates

Baker & McKenzie's Hanoi office has relocated


Baker & McKenzie (Vietnam) Limited is pleased to announce that its Hanoi office has relocated to Indochina Plaza Hanoi, Unit 1001, 10th Fl., 239 Xuan Thuy, Cau Giay District.  Our phone and fax numbers are unchanged. Please contact Fred Burke [email protected] with any inquiries."
Andrew Burns, World Bank Lead Economist  

"Vietnam's economy has demonstrated a "structural growth slowdown," not a "cyclical slowdown." Core inflation is still very high, and there is a low level of foreign exchange reserves. A premature loosening of fiscal and/or monetary policies would only prompt a resurgence of inflation. The delayed and inadequate implementation of structural reforms, including the resolution of bad debts in the banks and SOEs restructuring, are dragging down Vietnam's long-term growth potential."  What Vietnam urgently needs is structural reforms that will increase productivity.  

MOLISA Minister Pham thi Hai Chuyen Draft Decrees guiding implementation of revised Labour Code, Trade Union Law


The Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) has circulated a number of draft decrees guiding the new Labour Code and the new Law on Trade Unions. In accordance with Vietnam's commitments in the  Bilateral Trade Agreement, in the report of the Working Party on the Accession of Vietnam to the WTO, and as ratified by the National Assembly in Resolution No. 71, Nov 29, 2006, we are preparing for workshops and dialogue meetings with MOLISA in the coming days, most probably after the TET Lunar New Year Holidays, Feb 9-17, 2013. We will keep you informed as to the date, time, and location of the workshops and dialogue meetings.  




A 2010 World Bank study shows that a 10% increase in Indonesia's minimum wage reduces formal employment by 1%. Formal employment in Indonesia is around 44 million today, so a 30% average rise in the minimum wage could reduce formal employment by more than 1.3 million workers. Labor activists demanding minimum-wage hikes have led protests that brought Indonesian cities to a standstill in recent months. But for all the sound and fury, this preoccupation with wages remains misguided. If politicians are serious about improving the lot of Indonesia's poor, they should focus on reforming labor laws that protect formal sector jobs at the expense of nine out of 10 Indonesians who are employed informally.  The problem is the 2003 Manpower Act. This places tight constraints on dismissing workers by requiring one of the world's highest severance payments: 32 months' worth of wages. The increases in the minimum wage therefore make layoffs so costly that there is no incentive to hire an informal worker at the margin. This does not help productivity. 

 The Twelve Days of FCPA: Useful Takeways (2): Two clear defenses 


The Second Day: Takeaway number two: The Guide will not satisfy the many observers and commentators who have pushed for additional affirmative FCPA defenses. The Guide repeats only the two statutory provisions: "(1) that the payment was lawful under the written laws of the foreign country (the 'local law' defense), and (2) that the money was spent as part of demonstrating a product or performing a contractual obligation (the 'reasonable and bona fide business expenditure' defense)." The local law defense is notoriously difficult to invoke and requires more than the mere absence of criminalization - the law must actually authorize the payments. As for the reasonable and bona fide business expenditure defense, the Guide offers only the few examples already recognized in the past:   


"At the very latest, the ABTC should be up and running by the time of the 2013 APEC Summit in Indonesia. Since passage in Nov 2011 of the U.S. legislation authorizing the issuance of the ABTC to U.S. citizens, APCAC has been working with key members of Congress to urge that the implementing regulations be issued. This was a key message during our Washington Door Knock in June 2012, and our Washington representatives, BGR Group, have been engaged on our behalf pushing this issue." Apply now for your U.S. "Global Entry Trusted Traveler" Card to be ready for the APEC Business Travel Card. 


Independent economists estimate that, when coupled with reduced federal spending, comprehensive tax reform could lead to the creation of 1 million jobs in the first year alone.On January 24 Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released a financial products discussion draft as part of the Committee's broader effort on comprehensive tax reform.  The proposal outlines changes to tax rules designed to provide greater simplicity and uniformity.  The discussion draft consolidates several reforms that have been identified as necessary to provide more uniform tax treatment of financial products.  


Idemitsu Kosan Co., a Japanese refiner, and its partners approved a $9 billion oil refinery project in Vietnam to meet rising demand. The companies expect to start construction in the second quarter of 2013 and commercial production in 2017, Tokyo- based Idemitsu said in a statement. The Nghi Son plant with capacity of 200,000 barrels a day will be Vietnam's second after the Dung Quat refinery started commercial operations in 2009.  


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched a tour last week of three of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Accompanied by a 100-strong delegation and 50 members from the Japanese media, he made official visits to Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia, seeking to reinforce broad strategic partnerships with ASEAN in general and the three countries in particular. The People's Republic of China announced plans to survey the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which it disputes with Japan, and several ASEAN members have coastlines on the South China Sea. Abe's visit to Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia will conclude the sweeping regional tour of Japan's top leaders to strengthen the alliances. Already, between January 9 and 14, Fumio Kishida, Japan's foreign minister, visited the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei and Australia. And on January 4, Taro Aso, Japan's deputy prime minister and finance minister, paid a visit to Myanmar. Japan is facing growing tension with China over territorial disputes, and recent anti-Japanese sentiment in China has dampened Japan's confidence in China as its largest trading partner.   

New World Hotel Saigon #323
76 Le Lai Street, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City