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Company SpecificsFounded: 1996
Headquarters: New World Hotel Business Center #323, 76 Le Lai Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Ownership Structure: Voluntary Membership Association
Employees: 400 member and associate companies and 800 representatives
Products and Services: Promote trade and investment between Vietnam and the United States
Customers: Americans looking to do business in Vietnam
HostMr. Christopher Tworney, CEO and General Director, ACE Insurance
OverviewFor our first briefing in Vietnam, Mr. Tworney shared his perspectives on the Vietnamese business environment. He discussed the state of the Vietnamese economy, corruption, infrastructure, and culture. He also provided deep insight into the evolution of the insurance business in Vietnam.
Key TakeawaysVietnam’s accession to the WTO in 2007 has been very important
Outside investors had been concerned about corruption and the legal/financial framework in Vietnam. By joining the WTO, Vietnam agreed to put measures in place to clamp down on corruption and increase the transparency with which it operates. Vietnamese companies benefited because joining the WTO opened up new markets for them.
American businesses and employees face specific challenges due to US politics and laws
The United States waited for many years to normalize relations with Vietnam. China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan did not delay for as long and have a much larger presence in Vietnam than does the US. In addition, employees of American firms working overseas are bound by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This holds them personally accountable for any acts of bribery or other similar activities performed on behalf of their employer. Employees from other countries working in Vietnam may not be bound by the same restrictions.
American nationals also face a financial disadvantage when dispatched to Vietnam. Expatriates from the United States must recognize all income earned overseas as taxable income while other foreign workers may not pay similar taxes.
Vietnam is constrained by its infrastructure
Goods move slowly because of the congestion on the streets. Ports are out of capacity for shippinng more exports, so Vietnam is losing out on foreign money. It has a vast supply of crude oil, but it lacks the infrastructure to refine the oil, making the country a net importer of refined oil. Vietnam is working on improving its infrastructure, but the process is slowed by current economic conditions.
Posted by: K Philippe
AmCham Vietnam addressed our group in one of the restaurants in the stately Hotel Majestic.
Class members listened intently to the presentation.
Professor Toppel thanked our speaker.