AmCham Vietnam Weekly Update - 21st Week of 2020 - May 23, 2020
Activities Update
Colleagues, we hope you are enjoying the unique almost-normal environment we are enjoying in Vietnam. We also hope you are getting out and supporting your local restaurants, bars, and local shops, as well as enjoying a staycation at a nearby hotel -- or visiting some of the other beautiful resorts and destinations in Vietnam - free of the usual crowds!

We were delighted to host an impressive panel discussion at AmCham's first in-person (and virtual) post-lockdown event - May 20 Business Intelligence Briefing on Vietnam's Economic Recovery Prospects at the New World Hotel. Many thanks to Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management Dean Dr. Vu Thanh Tu Anh, McKinsey & Company Vietnam Managing Partner Marco Breu, VinaCapital Chief Economist Mikchael Kokalari, and Cimigo Founder and Managing Director Richard Burrage for their expert insights. We welcomed virtual participants from around the world - and had the chance to reconnect with old friends and meet new colleagues at our follow-on networking reception.
We look forward to once again hold a live AmCham 101 New Members Orientation at the New World Hotel on Tuesday, May 26 (with virtual participation possible). We also are thrilled to have a live Connect & Cocktails networking event poolside at The Reverie Saigon on May 27. Sorry - we won't again try to host a virtual C&C unless absolutely necessary.

Meanwhile, we want to let you know what AmCham Vietnam-HCMC is doing to support you as Vietnam reopens and begins its economic recovery. We also welcome your feedback at   team@amchamvietnam.com  to let us know how we can serve you better, including what topics you would like to see covered in upcoming events. A summary of recent actions is below:

1. Policy Recommendations.   AmCham Vietnam-HCMC continues to make an impact. Thanks to your feedback and recommendations, and expert advisers in our COVID19 Policy Task Force (Baker & McKenzie's Fred Burke, Nguyen Thuy Hang, Chung Yee, and Nguyen Thanh Vinh; AIM's Mark Gillin; Mayer Brown's Ursula Szotyory-Grove; and Vriens & Co's Sam Pursch), we are providing timely, constructive recommendations to the Vietnamese government on both COVID-related and general trade and investment policies. This week, we provided comments on a draft decree amending Decree 72 on the management, provision, and use of Internet services and online information.

Opportunity to Contribute Recommendations for Administrative Reforms
It has just been announced that the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform will be convened this coming Tuesday afternoon, May 26, in Hanoi. We have five minutes to raise any issues related to improving the administrative environment as it relates to anything having to do with COVID-19 (e.g., work permit issues, medical device and medicine registration and non-tariff barriers, special quarantine application procedures, etc.).

This is a good chance to get some key issues up to the leadership for consideration and resolution, so, with apologies for the short notice, please do drop us a line if you have any input. We will have the Vietnam Business Forum and other channels, but if you have something specific to this theme now would be a good time to raise it.

Please send your input to Fred.Burke@Bakermckenzie.com before midnight on Saturday (for translation by the Sunday deadline for submission).

2. Contributions of Goods and Financial Contributions by AmCham and our Member Companies to Support the Vietnamese Government's Response.   AmCham Vietnam-HCMC commends the effectiveness of actions taken by Vietnamese Government leaders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is proud of the contributions toward this response made by our member companies. We are delighted to see Vietnam's response finally getting global recognition.  

To support the response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to build the capacity to respond to outbreaks of other infectious diseases, AmCham Vietnam-HCMC donated the Automated DNA Extraction System to the HCMC Center for Disease Control (HCDC). AmCham’s donation was made possible thanks to numerous contributions from our members and friends.  We would particularly like to recognize the generosity of Diag (Lab Group International Vietnam), Medtronic Vietnam, Coca-Cola Beverages Vietnam, and AmCham Vietnam-HCMC Food & Beverages Committee.
Thanks to Healthcare Subcommittee Medical Equipment Vice Chair Medtronic's Dr. Ha, we also were able to discuss the technical requirements of HCDC for a PCR analyzer. Both the extractor and PCR are critical equipment for managing HCDC's response to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. We will be launching our appeal for the PCR next week - we hope you will be able to contribute to this important cause. For those who are wondering about the delays - both AmCham and the HCMC PCC are trying to avoid the lack of transparency issues that occurred in Hanoi CDC with respect to COVID-related equipment acquisitions.

We also are happy to highlight any COVID-related contributions from our member companies on our social media and with the U.S. Mission. Please email details to  Cindy Tran .

3. Identifying companies that want to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment for export to the United States. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has asked AmCham for assistance in identifying companies that may want to manufacture PPE for export to the United States. USAID is coordinating this initiative through the LinkSME program. If your company has interest/capability in manufacturing and exporting PPE, please contact Frank Weiand at  fweiand@linksme.org  for more information. We have had some AmCham companies express interest in a virtual workshop to help guide them through the regulatory requirements both in Vietnam and the United States. If you are interested, please let us know at  team@amchamvietnam.com .

4. Supporting Local Business.   We are happy to see lockdown measures lifted, but know many businesses in Ho Chi Minh City and throughout Vietnam still are struggling, particularly small, local businesses. We at AmCham want to support local businesses which contribute so much to our quality of life in Vietnam by inviting them to join our 2020 AmCham Discount Partnership Program. Please consider joining for your company or refer a favorite local business by sending their email address or a copy of their business card to Membership Manager  Sam Hoang . To our members, please make sure you support our Discount Partners, many of which now offer online shopping or delivery services. Click  HERE  for our Discount Partners information. 

5. Supporting Vietnam's Front-Line Workers.   To continuously support the Vietnamese Government in the COVID-19 fight, AmCham Vietnam-HCMC would like to call for your contribution of less perishable food items to some of the front-line workers in Vietnam's hospitals and public quarantine areas. We are working with the Vietnam Fatherland Front of HCMC for this campaign. Contact Office Manager  Cindy Tran , who can ensure contributions are still welcomed and coordinate delivery.

Please stay well, be safe, and enjoy our new normal environment! And feel virtuous supporting local businesses by eating out or taking a vacation. Many of our member companies' wonderful hotels and resorts are offering special deals!! 

Mary Tarnowka, Executive Director
Stay Informed- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak
The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly throughout the world, including in Vietnam. Vietnam is increasingly being recognized as a global leader for the effectiveness of its response. It has had 36 consecutive days of no community transmission, 324 total cases, 266 recovered, and 0 deaths; 7,946 individuals are now under quarantine or isolation.

Recommended precautions for most healthy individuals are careful hand washing, avoiding touching your face, disinfecting frequently-touched hard surfaces, wearing a mask when out in public, and practicing social distancing, including avoiding crowded or large gatherings.

We know that one issue of concern to many is when it will be safe to travel internationally and what options there are for quarantine on arrival. The current policies are stated on the U.S. Consulate's website, excerpted below. 

* For those wishing to depart Vietnam, international flights are presently very limited. Additional information regarding flights departing Vietnam can be found  here .

* The U.S. Embassy and Consulate cannot intervene in the quarantine rules established by the Vietnamese government, and may not issue any documentation requesting the Vietnamese government to waive the quarantine requirements for U.S. citizens. Please also note that the Vietnamese government has imposed strict penalties on violations. For further details, please see  “Question: What can you do for me if I’m forced into quarantine?”  on our Frequently-Asked-Questions page here.

As the recent positive cases in Vietnam - all while in quarantine upon arrival- demonstrate, quarantine somewhere will continue to be a critical part of Vietnam's reopening plans - at least in the near future. The HR Committee and our COVID Task Force are seeking to clarify these policies and will share additional information when available. 

Some additional tips below from Dr. Mason Cobb, Vice-Chair, and Dr. Andy Meadows, of AmCham Healthcare Committee’s Medical Providers Subcommittee:

Recent weeks have seen Vietnam relax social distancing guidelines thanks to tight control of COVID-19 cases. Other countries also are easing lockdowns based heavily on political, social and economic pressures, even if the public health data is sketchy. Even with more choices available, each of us has to make decisions based on our own personal risk factors, as well as the environmental risks involved. 

Regarding personal risk, researchers have now identified many of the major factors that cause COVID-19 to hit some people so much harder than others. The evidence suggests the following are significant personal risks: age above 65 years, diabetes, heart disease/high blood pressure, smoking, and obesity. Blood type A and also AB seem more susceptible. If one or more of these factors or conditions is present, it is advisable to take additional protective measures and/or avoid higher risk situations.  

Now we must emerge from our homes and engage with each other, which is essential to our well-being. But not all social situations are equal -- some activities are riskier than others. One medical expert categorized several common activities.  https://www.businessinsider.com/riskiest-to-least-risky-activities-during-coronavirus-pandemic-ranked-2020-5#low-risk-touching-mail-or-groceries-13

High risk:  Large gatherings, bars, religious events, cinemas, sporting events
Medium risk:  Gyms, Indoor restaurants, hair and nail salons, dates/small gatherings
Low risk:  Beaches, outdoor dining, outdoor activities, shopping, touching mail/groceries

While these social risk factors are not absolutes, they offer a framework to evaluate situations everyone will likely face. It is important to continue careful hand sanitation, 2-meter distancing, face masks, and care not touching your face.  Fist-bumps or hand-on-heart may be safer than hugs, kisses, and handshakes for now. Good news: CDC (USA) now finds that contact with hard surfaces is less dangerous than originally thought.

On the medical front, doctors in UK and USA have identified Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, a severe autoimmune reaction to SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 virus. Previously we had thought that children were very low risk but they can also become seriously ill. Symptoms include high fever, lethargy, sometimes a rash and “pink-eye”. If you suspect this in your child, seek medical help.

Also, we are finding out more about risk factors, once symptoms begin. Lab values predicting a worse outcome include elevated LDH and CRP, and a depressed lymphocyte count on the blood screen.  

Through thoughtful consideration of personal and environmental risks, each of us can navigate this challenging period in the safest and most responsible manner. Stay safe and be well!
Upcoming Events
4:00-5:00pm, New World Saigon Hotel, 76 Le Lai Street, Dist. 1
We would like to invite you to join  Hybrid Virtual AmCham 101 - New Member Orientation.

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.
Contact  Ms. Sam Hoang  if you have any questions.
Wednesday, May 27
6:00-8:30pm, The Reverie Saigon's Poolside, 22-36 Nguyen Hue Boulevard, Dist. 1

AmCham will continue our monthly informal networking event – AmCham Connect and Cocktails! The social distancing directives liberalized so we can hold our event at the poolside of The Reverie Saigon. 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!!
Sponsored News

The 4 th  Vietnam HR Awards 2020 officially returns with a Special Edition to honor highly responsive human capital initiatives. With only one category named Responsive Human Capital Initiative, the Awards will continue to be a forward-thinking, pioneering and premium playground for human resources solutions, and the spirit to overcome adversity of enterprises in Vietnam in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 6 companies having the most outstanding and responsive HR initiatives will be honored. For the first time HR leaders will be honored for their agile leadership and responsive strategies to help enterprises “overcome difficulties” effectively. 

Book now for exclusive rates at InterContinental Hotels Group® hotels and resorts throughout Vietnam and Laos with our Partners & Clients offer. Enjoy 20% off our rooms and suites, and further savings of up to 25% off at our restaurants and bars.

Available until 31 July 2020, our Partners & Clients Offer includes:
  • 20% off our best available rates
  • Complimentary daily breakfast for 2 persons
  • Welcome drinks for 2 persons upon arrival
  • Complimentary upgrade to next available room type
  • 25% off food and drinks at our all day dining restaurants

In the employment relationship, there is always the potential for conflict between the employer and the employee, which may lead to a disruption to the company's business. Therefore, the company should not only be concerned as to whether its actions are in accordance with the law but also to the serious, non-apparent consequences of a labor dispute. In this booklet, we would like to share (i) important legal provisions on the settlement of labor disputes and (ii) typical labor disputes and discussion on solutions and exchange of experiences and (iii) non-disclosure agreement and non-competition agreement.

Café Central Nguyen Hue has just celebrated its re-opening and 18th anniversary at a new location at the corner of Nguyen Hue and Nguyen Thiep Streets. Since opening, the restaurant led the way in introducing an international culinary experience to Vietnam with its creative range of Vietnamese, pan-Asian and international cuisine. Spread over three floors with seating for 140, it has a sophisticated yet entirely comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. Until May 31 diners will receive 20% off on all food and beverages. 

You are cordially invited to a KPMG Webinar “Managing the tax audit of a RO”, where our leading tax experts will discuss the following issues: Current tax audit trend; Common tax issues facing ROs during tax audits and How to best prepare to address the complex challenges in a tax audit.
 
English session:  26 May, 10:00 - 11:30AM
 
Vietnamese session:  27 May, 10:00 - 11:30AM  
 
If you have any questions, please contact  Ms. Ha Anh, E:  anhhbui@kpmg.com.vn  
Committee Meetings & Activities (For AmCham Members Only)
4:15-5:45pm, KPMG Office, 10/F, Sun Wah Tower, 115 Nguyen Hue Blvd., Dist. 1

Monthly meeting to discuss 2020 priorities.
Thursday, May 28
10:00-11:00am. Please register to get the link for virtual attendance.

  • Employee engagement amid Covid-19 outbreak
  • Update labor regulations
  • Sharing process of business reopening
  • Sharing company experience
  • Q&A
8:30-10:00am, AmCham Office, Room 323, New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai Street, Dist. 1

Monthly meeting to discuss 2020 priorities.
9:00-10:30am, AmCham Office, Room 323, New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai Street, Dist. 1

Monthly meeting to discuss 2020 priorities.
Tuesday, Jun 9
5:00-6:15pm. Baker & McKenzie (Vietnam) Ltd, 12th Floor, Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan Street, District 1

Regular monthly meeting of the committee to review upcoming events, discuss and prepare positions on key issues, laws and regulations relating to trade and investment between Vietnam and the United States.
9:00-10:00am, AmCham Office, Room 323, New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai Street, Dist. 1

Monthly meeting to discuss 2020 priorities.
Do You Know?
Let’s support local businesses - many now operating online or delivery/takeout only to promote social distancing. If you have any questions regarding our program, please contact Membership Manager Sam Hoang at sam.hoang@amchamvietnam.com
AmCham Premium Membership
The AmCham Premium Membership 2020 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.
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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