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December 11, 2014

Dan Harris: What's your Vietnam business strategy?

Dan Harris at China Law Blog asks What’s Your Vietnam Strategy? He expands on an earlier article (May 19) he penned this year at Above The Law, intriguingly entitled China Plus One: How Vietnam’s Riots Help American Businesses. The May 19 post notes that Vietnam is becoming the number one choice for American companies looking "to diversify or expand beyond China". Read both articles. Here are two excerpts from the earlier one:

It is a safe (for Americans anyway) and beautiful country. It has great food (sorry, but that matters to me). It is a relatively inexpensive place to live well and its wages are low. Its people generally like Americans, and English is by far the leading foreign language in its schools. Vietnam (not China) is a member of ASEAN and Vietnam (not China) will be a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. All of these things are plusses for business. Its main minuses are that its electrical and transportation are relatively undeveloped and it is certainly no less corrupt than China.

But what about the rioting and the fact that the Vietnamese government has felt compelled to post 3-6 police or army personnel on virtually every street corner in both Ho Chi Minh City (where I was earlier today) and Hanoi to quell protests? Though thousands of Chinese have fled Vietnam — fearing for their lives — none of the riots nor any of the violence has been directed at any American or American company....

The Vietnamese with whom I have met on this trip and heard on the news are uniformly emphasizing that Vietnam wants American investment, and that the riots should not be viewed otherwise. Both through official and unofficial channels, the government has made clear that it values the Americans here and it badly wants their businesses to stay. The Vietnamese lawyers and businesspeople are all telling me the same thing.

The American businesspeople here are saying the riots are irrelevant to their Vietnam plans. They view the riots as having been against China and against Taiwanese factory owners whom the Vietnamese view as in league with China. Some are even saying that Vietnam’s “China problem” will better position American companies seeking to do business in Vietnam. They see the possibility of increased sales of American goods and services and Vietnamese more likely to choose employment with American companies. To a person, all are convinced that the Vietnamese government takes the rioting seriously and will make every effort to prevent any recurrence.

Yannan_PhilipRoeland.jpg
Image: Philip Roeland Yannan

Posted by JD Hull at December 11, 2014 07:38 PM

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