AmCham Vietnam Weekly Update -
1st Week of 2021 - January 9th, 2021
Executive Director Update
Many thanks from the AmCham team to our AmCham members and friends for all your support in 2020! Wishing all a Happy New Year! It was a little hard to return from our holidays, but we look forward to partnering to promote even stronger U.S.-Vietnam trade and economic ties in 2021!!. And please join us at Committee meetings this week – Energy, VBF and Legal, Education, and ESG!
January 6 Attack on U.S. Capitol. This has been an extraordinarily challenging week in the United States, with the violent January 6 riots and attack on our Capitol Building. Having spent decades as a civil servant and diplomat, it was incredibly painful to watch. Our democratic system survived a lot of stress tests. Barely. It was reassuring to see the House and Senate convene to complete the certification process. Let’s hope that was the final gasp and we can focus on a peaceful transfer of power on January 20, and rebuilding our democracy and civil society in America.
U.S. Chamber Response. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a statement on January 7 stressing “the business community must and will play a critical role in supporting the rule of law, fortifying democratic norms, and restoring trust in our institutions.” The full statement includes a link to register to participate in USCC’s “State of American Business” on January 12, 12-1PM EST (our Jan 13, 12-1am ICT) where there will be a discussion of the role of the business community in strengthening democracy.
“America must come together to confront the formidable challenges we face or give into the division and tribalism that increasingly defines our nation. The choice is clear, and as an institution we bet on America to come together and prevail every time. But that won’t happen magically. It will require the sustained efforts of a broad array of leaders and organizations. The business community has a critical role to play. And as we have for over 100 years, the U.S. Chamber will help lead that effort.

We condemn the rioters who stormed the Capitol yesterday, and those, including President Trump, whose words and actions gave fuel to the mob. There is no place for demagogues in our democracy. We also applaud those members, especially Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who ensured that the work of Congress continued and the electoral college ballots counted. But we must go beyond words. The Chamber and our members will lend all assistance necessary to ensure a successful and peaceful transfer of power on January 20th, and to help President-elect Biden and the new Congress address the many challenges that confront our nation, most notably ending the pandemic that has killed more than 360,000 Americans, imperiled our economy, closed tens of thousands of small businesses, and put millions out of work. As we have been saying for years, we need responsible and resolved governing to lead our nation. We also must strengthen the structures of our democracy. The business community must and will play a critical role in supporting the rule of law, fortifying democratic norms, and restoring trust in our institutions.

To this end, next Tuesday at the Chamber’s annual signature event, the State of American Business, our affiliate organization, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) will lead a special discussion about the role of the business community in strengthening democracy. In the coming weeks, months, and years our actions must rise to meet the urgent needs of our nation. Since 1983, CIPE has worked around the globe to support democracy. We must reapply some of the lessons we share with the world here at home. America and the American business community are up to the task. Now it is time to get back to work.”

Register at LINK attached if interested in attending this session or others.
AmCham Excom Elections. Our HCMC Board of Governors Executive Committee election process went smoothly on January 7 and there was a peaceful transition of power. Congratulations to the newly-elected Officers of the 2021 AmCham Vietnam HCMC Board of Governors: Chad Ovel--Chairman; Uyen Ho--Vice Chairperson; Jahanzeb Khan--Vice Chairperson; Christy Le--Treasurer; and Michael Beckman--Secretary. Lots of talent and expertise to provide strategic guidance, support, and oversight to the AmCham Vietnam team and our volunteer committee leaders. We are looking forward to another successful year for AmCham and its members!
Membership Renewal. For many of you, it's time to renew your membership for 2021 and continue your involvement in AmCham, with opportunities for professional networking, business intelligence, advocacy to improve the business environment, and promotion of your business. We have been sending out 2021 Membership Renewal notices via email.  We hope you all will renew promptly and that many will consider upgrading to become premium corporate members! 
Message from AmCham Vietnam - Da Nang Vice Chair Chris Vanloon 
Happy New Year to all of you from Da Nang! What an ‘eventful’ year it has been. Special thanks last week to Da Nang Party Secretary Nguyen Van Quang and People’s Committee Chairman Le Trung Chinh for inviting AmCham to attend the December 25 investment event, “Reviewing Conclusion NO.30-KL/TU of Da Nang Party Committee on Investment Attraction 2016 – 2020”. A very open and insightful event with remarks both from the Da Nang Authorities as well as selected Businesses and Associations about the progress of FDI over the last 4 years, as well as  plans to further increase the infrastructure of the city to attract more foreign investment in the future. Also congratulations to our members UAC and KPMG for receiving Certificates of Merit from the City for 2020. Looking forward to a brighter year in 2021!
On behalf of AmCham Board Members and Team of AmCham Vietnam, we wish you all the best in the year to come! 
Mary Tarnowka
Executive Director, AmCham Vietnam-HCMC & Da Nang
Section 301. The most critical issue affecting the U.S.-Vietnam trade and investment partnership now is the threat of retaliatory tariffs being imposed on some or all Vietnamese exports to the United States as a result of Section 301 investigations being carried out by the United States Trade Representative (USTR). As we learned in our December 18 webinar, these actions could take place as early as January 7, given the broad latitude USTR Ambassador Lighthizer has under Section 301. We do believe it was important, however, that President Trump and PM Phuc spoke on December 22, highlighting both the achievements of the comprehensive partnership and 25 years of diplomatic relations, as well as the importance of fair and reciprocal trade.
The deadline for rebuttal comments on the USTR Section 301 investigations closed on January 6 for the timber case and January 7 for the currency case. The two governments are discussing these investigations at high levels. It is still not clear if USTR will make a determination on these investigations prior to the January 20 change of administration. Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury Department and the State Bank of Vietnam are holding discussions as part of “enhanced bilateral engagement” called for by Treasury’s separate determination that Vietnam is a currency manipulator.
Vietnam Business Forum.  We will hold a briefing session on key takeaways from the December 22 VBF for our members and other HCMC-based chambers and business representatives on Tuesday, January 19, from 4:30-7 at the Caravelle Hotel Saigon. Although it can seem a bit mysterious, the VBF is an important tool for advocacy to represent and resolve the top concerns of our members. Learn more about its role and results, as well as how your company can get involved in key sectoral working groups. Save the date – more details to come soon!!
Upcoming Events
Thursday, January 14:

8:30-11:30am, New World Saigon Hotel, 76 Le Lai, District 1
On 20 November 2019, the National Assembly of Vietnam adopted the Labor Code No. 45/2019/QH14 (“New Labor Code”) after an amendment process lasting nearly four years. The New Labor Code took effect from 1 January 2021. On 14 December 2020, the Vietnamese government issued Decree No. 145/2020/ND-CP, which is more than 100 pages long, detailing and guiding the implementation of the Labor Code on working conditions and labor relations (“Decree No. 145”). Decree No. 145 will take effect from 1 February 2021 and replace various decrees under the former Labor Code.

The New Labor Code revises and supplements several provisions across all chapters of the current Labor Code, the changes for which are expected to have a significant impact on all enterprises and organizations that recruit labor in Vietnam, regardless of industry, business line or sector. Join Head of Baker McKenzie Vietnam Employment and Labor Practice and Partner Thuy Hang Nguyen, together with HR managers of Intel, Coca-Cola and other MNCs, where they guide you through a breakdown of the key changes and expected impact of these changes, including potential legal issues and best practice, as we enter Vietnam’s new employment regulatory framework.
Tuesday, January 19 SAVE THE DATE VBF 2020 Outcomes and Outlook Briefing in HCMC
4:30-7:00pm, Caravelle Saigon Hotel. (more details to follow)
Wednesday, January 20:

5:00-7:00pm, The Reverie Saigon, 22-36 Nguyen Hue Boulevard & 57-69F Dong Khoi Street, District 1
Start the new year right. Focus on your ambitions, career plans, and quality of life.
Alignment between your ambitions and career plans produces a better quality of life with higher levels of happiness, fulfillment, passion, and energy.
Please join our discussion with special guest speaker, Founder & CEO of Oxalis Adventure Nguyen Chau A, to learn how to identify your ambitions and align them with your career plans.
You may want to plan an Oxalis adventure, too!
Tuesday, January 26:

5:00-6:00pm, Venue TBD
At this new members event, you will learn more from our Executive Director, Mary Tarnowka, about AmCham Vietnam benefits, our mission, and programs to help new members achieve success, and how to get involved in and maximize your investment in AmCham membership. It is also a way to meet other new AmCham Vietnam HCMC members. While this event is designed for new members, we welcome other members on a space available basis. If you can not join this meeting physically, you can still register to join virtually via Zoom.
Who should join?
  • New members
  • Existing members
Contact Ms. Ruby Nguyen if you have any questions.
Tuesday, January 26:
AmCham Connect & Cocktails

6:00-8:30pm, Save the date. Venue TBD
AmCham will continue our monthly informal networking event – AmCham Connect and Cocktails! Our AmCham Connect & Cocktails provides an opportunity to meet AmCham members and other professionals in an informal after-work setting over a glass of wine, beer, or a cocktail. Please plan to join for a great night of networking and our essential Lucky Draw!!

Committee Meetings & Activities (For AmCham Members Only)
Recent Events
ESG and Impact Investing in Vietnam – Promoting Sustainable Growth and ROI

AmCham’s New Year Kickoff. Here in Vietnam, we started off our 2021 AmCham activities focused on Environmental, Social, and Governance values with our January 4 event, ESG and Impact Investing in Vietnam - Promoting Sustainable Growth and ROI, with Capital Markets and Financial Services Committee Chair and Saigon Asset Management’s Louis Nguyen as moderator, together with expert panelists Dragon’s Dominic Scriven, Patamar and Beacon’s Shuyin Tang, Orlar’s Dr. Lyndal Hugo, CHANGE’s Hong Hoang, and a high-powered audience!
Long Thanh Airport Groundbreaking Ceremony. I was honored to join Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and other distinguished government and business leaders for the long-awaited groundbreaking ceremony for Long Thanh Airport on January 5. The airport development is considered to be a national-level strategic project, which will contribute between 3-5% of GDP according to the PM.
It will represent a major transportation infrastructure development project for both passenger and cargo/express cargo, with expected investment of nearly $5 billion for Phase 1 scheduled opening in December 2025, facilitating 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tons of cargo annually. Phase 3, with 4 runways and 4 terminals, will facilitate 100 million passengers and 5 million tons of cargo annually.
AmCham looks forward to partnering with ACV and others to promote opportunities for U.S. companies to contribute to the airport’s development - and direct flights to the United States! And I love the airport’s lotus design!!
I was happy to join iconic U.S, brand Marriott International and Masterise Homes for the strategic partnership signing ceremony for the launch of their new luxury and ultra-luxury branded residences, Grand Marina Vietnam. The partnership demonstrates the strengthening economic ties between the U.S. and Vietnam and the dynamism of the HCMC real estate market.
AmCham was honored to attend the inauguration of Thu Duc City, a new city within HCMC and center for innovation and financial services, on December 31, together with National Assembly Vice Chairman Uong Chu Luu, Politburo Member and Former HCMC Party Secretary Dr. Nguyen Thien Nhan, HCMC People’s Committee Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong, U.S. Consul General Marie Damour, and other dignitaries. We are excited about the launch of free Thu Duc mobile 5G network!! We are also a bit concerned about registration requirements for those who suddenly find themselves in another jurisdiction. We will seek to obtain additional guidance to share with our members.
COVID-19 Update from Healthcare Provider Subcommittee Chair Dr. Mason Cobb 
All the news is the vaccine and the new, more contagious strain of virus. It now has spread to 30 countries.
There are now 3 approved vaccines and a few more coming online soon. Difficulties with prioritizing recipients and bureaucratic tangles have slowed the dissemination of the vaccines, at least in the USA.
It is still not revealed when, which, and how the vaccines will be available in Vietnam. We can guess that the authorities are working diligently to obtain and sort out vaccines and distribution issues.
The new, more contagious strain is a threat in a world where the older strains were already spreading at R2-3.  That is, one case spreads it to 2 or 3 others on average. The rate needs to be less than R1 to halt the pandemic. The new strain is 50% more contagious, or an R of at least 3-4. The pandemic is raging in USA and Europe, continuing in Brazil and other countries. In some places, healthcare resources are overwhelmed with care triaged.
The fear here is that the rapid spread may overwhelm the extremely effective contact tracking the VN government has done so far. This is especially true given the porous borders as shown by 4 recent cases from illegal border crossings from Cambodia.
In the meantime, we have many freedoms and less anxiety than countries around the world which are still severely afflicted. And we continue to be vigilant and at least follow some precautions.
Sponsored News

To avoid social insurance obligations, health insurance, and unemployment insurance towards their employees and avoid being subject to liability as provided by the labor law, many companies propose that their employees sign contracts to provide services instead of labor contracts. Is the signing of a service contract between a company and an employee (an individual) lawful under Vietnam law? The following legal insight will help readers explore the lens of the law on this matter. Any questions, please contact us at Read more articles on our LinkedIn HERE.

Celebrate the New Year by treating yourself and family to a feast of authentic Cantonese cuisine, featuring 43 choices of signature dim sum dishes and complimentary tea.
In January 2021, enjoy unlimited a la carte Dim Sum, only VND 388.000++ per guests (minimum of 2 guests per order)
Available until 31 January 2021
10:30 AM – 2:00 PM | Monday to Saturday (except Sundays and public holidays)
Call 028 3823 2221 to reserve your table today!
Shang Palace
17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, HCMC
(+84 28) 3823 2221
Do You Know?
Please join us to welcome new AmCham members of this month!
Let’s support local businesses. If you have any questions regarding our program, please contact Membership Services Assistant Ruby Nguyen at
AmCham Premium Membership
AmCham Premium Membership is a leadership-level membership for companies contributing strategic support for AmCham's mission and programs. Our Premium Membership comes with a range of exclusive benefits. One all-inclusive Premium Membership's annual billing simplifies your businesses' sponsorship efforts.
We love our AmCham members! Do you know all the benefits you get with your membership? Maybe you only remember the ones you've used recently, but there are many ways even our basic level members benefit at AmCham.
In the News

The American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam
New World Hotel Suite 323
76 Le Lai Street, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone: +84 28 3824 3562