April 20, 2008

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Project SEA (Southeast Asian) Art is an undergraduate research
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. The aim of the project is to gather, document and feature
the different forms of artistic expressions of second generation
Southeast Asian Americans of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, and
Hmong ancestry. In so doing, we hope to give voice, form and
resonance to the poetics and politics of young Southeast Asians in
America. Visual art works collected through this project will be
displayed at the UC Berkeley Southeast Asian graduation on May 24,
2008. We are also collaborating with the Southeast Asian Student
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writings and literary expressions.

All forms of art – including literature, poetry, spoken word, music,
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The deadline for submission is May 1, 2008

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Project SEA Art, 249 Cesar Chavez, Berkeley, CA 94720

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Project SEA (Southeast Asian) Art is an undergraduate research project by a group of students at the University of California, Berkeley.  The aim of the project is to gather, document and feature the different forms of artistic expressions of second generation Southeast Asian Americans of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, and Hmong ancestry. In so doing, we hope to give voice, form and resonance to the poetics and politics of young Southeast Asians in America.  Visual art works collected through this project will be displayed at the UC Berkeley Southeast Asian graduation on May 24, 2008.  We are also collaborating with the Southeast Asian Student Coalition (SASC), who plan on compiling an anthology of selected writings and literary expressions.

All forms of art – including literature, poetry, spoken word, music, film, drawings, paintings, etc. – can be submitted for consideration.

The deadline for submission is May 1, 2008

Submissions may be mailed to: Project SEA Art, 249 Cesar Chavez, Berkeley, CA 94720

Or, submissions may be emailed to the following email address:

To download the submission form, please click the following link: ProjectSEAart.doc

Vietnamese garment exports rise 30 percent

Posted : Mon, 03 Dec 2007 10:18:02 GMT
Author : DPA
Category : Business
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Hanoi – Vietnam’s garment exports rose 30 per cent to 7.1 billion dollars in the first 11 months of 2007, officials said Monday, as the country’s entry into the World Trade Organization outweighed fears of possible restrictions in the US market. Le Quoc An, chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Association, said the country was on target to meet its export goal of 7.8 billion dollars for the year. Vietnam is the world’s tenth-largest garment exporter. “Entry into WTO has also made Vietnam more attractive to foreign investors,” An said. “However, Vietnamese garment exporters still face an obstacle in exporting to the US, which is applying a monitoring mechanism on Vietnamese garment exports.”The US Department of Commerce began monitoring Vietnamese garment exports for dumping at the beginning of 2007. The measure was demanded by legislators from states with significant garment industries, who fear growth in Vietnamese exports will hurt their economies. Early in 2007, Vietnamese garment exporters worried that US importers might choose to source garments from countries which did not face such anti-dumping scrutiny. The US represents 55 percent of Vietnam’s apparel-export market. But such fears lightened in October when the Department of Commerce concluded that Vietnam firms had not engaged in dumping in the first half of 2007. “We feel very comfortable that (the department’s decision) will be continued for the second half of this year and for next year,” said Charles Kim, chief representative in Vietnam for the US department store chain Target. “So the anti-dumping concerns have been dismissed.”An said Vietnam had responded to the US anti-dumping monitoring program by diversifying its markets. “We have been exporting more to South Africa, Australia and African countries,” he said. “Exports to South Africa alone have grown hundreds of per cent in the first 11 months of this year.”

The Vietnamese property market is one of the fastest-growing in it’s region, largely due to greater foreign investment and household incomes.  Although investment in the region is growing at such a rapid rate, there are of course downfalls to consider when investing.

Marc Townsend, the director of CB Richard Ellis (Vietnam), attributes the real estate boom to Vietnam´s entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the rapid growth in the stock market.

WTO membership has encouraged more foreign companies to invest in Vietnam, pushing demand higher for mid- to high-grade office space and hotels, with an increasing number of business travellers.

CB Richard Ellis predicts the demand for retail space at shopping centres will continue to rise, with more companies competing in a more liberalised economic environment in the WTO era.

As a result, domestic and foreign property developers are planning to inject millions of US dollars into the market to build five-star hotels, entertainment and shopping complexes, and office buildings in all the major urban centres.

However, these new construction projects are at a premature stage and are years from being completed, causing a short term shortage in available space.

According to HCM City Real Estate Association (HCREA), many high-end office buildings in Hanoi and HCM City are fully occupied and cost about US$35-38 a sqm per month. A booming stock market has also contributed to real estate growth. Along with this, fund managers are also flooding the market.

Townsend noted that the money earned from securities trading is being redirected to the more stable real estate market. This has led to greater domestic demand for high-rise apartments and villas.

VinaCapital controls 70 per cent of Hilton Hanoi after acquiring an additional 50 per cent stake earlier this year. The company also owns 70 per cent of Sofitel Metropole Hanoi, and operates two property funds that expect returns of 25-30 per cent.

Tran Thanh Tan, director of Dragon Capital’s securities investment fund, predicts that the future is bright for property in Vietnam, with the market expected to continue its steady growth in 2007 and the following year.


HCM CITY — Nguyen Thuy Quynh and her partners are planning to open a new international school in anticipation of higher enrolment following the country’s membership in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The one-hectare school, expected to open in August, would have a modern campus situated in the fast-developing area of District 7, Quynh said.

“Because of the WTO, Viet Nam will have many opportunities to do business with other countries,” said Quynh, deputy director of Khai Sang Joint-Stock Co.

“The young generation must have the knowledge and qualifications to work with foreign partners, and we need to train the young from an early age to become skilled professionals.”

Quynh said the new Renaissance International School Saigon (RISS) would fill a need in the city for international-standard education.

Although as many as 45 existing schools claim to be ‘international’, only a few — including British International School (BIS), International School Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon South International School and ABC International School — have adopted a British or American curriculum with international baccalaureate preparation taught by certified native English-speaking teachers.

Of these schools, BIS has attracted the most foreign students, with a total of 1,200, while the others have an enrolment of about 500 each.

The BIS primary levels are nearly full, and Saigon South International School and ABC International School have limited spaces, reserved only for certain nationalities and grades.

The schools said they were trying to ensure that no single nationality was over-represented.

Quynh said quality education for expatriates’ children was in demand, and the current shortage could create a problem in the near future.

Her school will have a 350-seat auditorium equipped with high-end equipment, computers with broadband and wireless internet access in classrooms.

Alun Thomas, RISS’s headmaster, said the school would use the International Primary Curriculum and predicted that teachers would not be difficult to find.

“There’s now an awareness of Viet Nam as a good destination to work,” he said, “Viet Nam is also very central for traveling during holidays, another appealing feature.”

Quynh’s decision to create the school, she said, was based not only on need but national pride as well.

“All the international schools here have been invested in by foreigners so we thought there was no reason why Vietnamese could not invest in a real international school for Vietnamese and expatriate children,” she said. — VNS


HA NOI — Vietnam Airlines plans to establish routes to the United States next year to satisfy projected blistering demand following recently-strengthened trade ties between the two countries and Viet Nam’s accession to the WTO.

The airline will submit a plan for direct US flights to the Prime Minister in two weeks, said the deputy director of the national carrier, Pham Ngoc Minh.

Officials expect the routes could play a significant role in strengthening political, social and economic ties between the countries.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung asked the company to accelerate the process and have routes established by the end of 2007, said Minh.

Last November, Vietnam Airlines sent a delegation to the US to examine possible flights to San Francisco or Los Angeles.

One hurdle Asian carriers will have to overcome in gaining a foothold in the lucrative American market is Westerners’ preference for domestic airlines. US carriers have, on average, around 12 million dedicated customers, according to the deputy director. Frequent customers of US carriers enjoy many benefits, including discounts at shopping malls, entertainment centres and restaurants, both at home and abroad, said Minh.

To overcome the initial stumbling blocks, Vietnam Airlines is looking to partner with American Airlines. In addition, the airline will likely seek a stop-over hub in another country.

Recently released trade figures have buoyed the hopes of the travel sector. According to the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism, some 352,000 Americans visited Viet Nam in the first 11 months of this year, up 15 per cent from 2005.

That figure is expected to double next year on the back of the repatriation of 1.3 million overseas Vietnamese from the US and an increasing push by American investors into Viet Nam.

Bilateral trade revenues are projected at US$11-12 billion this year, 50 per cent higher than last year.

Vietnam Airlines transported more than 5.1 million passengers in the first nine months of 2006, an increase of 17.5 per cent over last year. Of these, 2.3 million were foreign travellers. — VNS

Commitments to WTO not beneficial to majority of Vietnamese people
VietNamNet Bridge – Hanoi,Vietnam
has also pledged not to give subsidies to farm produce right after Vietnam joins WTO, which is believed to have a serious impact on Vietnamese agriculture and

16:37′ 07/11/2006 (GMT+7)

Soạn: HA 948359 gi đến 996 để nhn ảnh này

VietNamNet Bridge – Many experts have said that WTO membership will bring Vietnamese youngsters more opportunities, but what do the young say about their country’s integration. 

Dao Duc Quan, Director of Viet Joint-stock Media Company VietComs: “More opportunities for companies of young entrepreneurs to attract capital.” 

I think that Vietnam has been a very small market, which has not been able to catch the eyes of big companies in the world. WTO admission will further focus the world’s attention on the country. This therefore will create chances for young entrepreneurs in new business areas, especially in the media industry. 

In fact, big companies in Vietnam have built partnerships with international companies. For the smaller ones, having business partnerships with international companies has seemed unreachable. However, when the “door opens”, many international companies will come here and they will bring with them capital which “young” enterprises in Vietnam would love to have. 

We also understand that we need to find ways to thrive in a more competitive business environment; otherwise bankruptcy is the foreseeable result. We therefore need to better train human resources and management so that the integration will offer us more support than harm. 

The challenges that young entrepreneurs will face will be that they either get the chance to quickly expand their businesses or will they will be quickly left behind by the competition. 

PhD Nguyen Dac Vinh, Lecturer of the Faculty of Chemistry, Hanoi National University, Secretary of the university’s youth association: “The young will learn how to shorten the way to develop and to wait for opportunities in front.” 

Better integration into the world will provide Vietnamese youngsters with more opportunities to learn more knowledge and experience from more developed countries. This will shorten the distance that the young have to go to improve their knowledge. 

I think Vietnamese students have very good potential and are not “behind” students from other countries. This explains why when studying abroad, Vietnamese students are just as good as students from other countries. However, when they come back here to work they are left behind in comparison to foreign youngsters. This is obviously because the working environment here does not provide them with opportunities to apply the knowledge they learn overseas.  

I do hope that WTO membership will give us more chances to prove our abilities. This is what I expect the WTO to bring to us. 

Hoang Anh Tuan – Director of Hanoi Branch of Sacombank: “The tradition of older is better and wiser will no longer work.” 

The WTO is the turning point for many young entrepreneurs. Our customers mostly are young private companies. I think with the new “turning point” they will have more opportunities to expand their businesses and cooperate more with international companies as well as to promote their exports, with more customers interested in doing business with them. 

We as a bank will benefit from that. I do believe that the young nowadays have knowledge and will not have to work under the imposing tradition of “older is better and wiser”. If a young worker does well he or she will immediately be recognised and doesn’t need to be older. 

The young people therefore will have more chances to develop in terms of working in positions of managers or scientific researchers. 

Hoang Trong Thanh, student of the School of Technology, Hanoi National University: We have chances to “cope with hot time”. 

We understand that the time for the country to be fully recognised will be more than five years or even longer. This means that young people who are currently students will be the ones to directly deal with what should be called the “hot time”. 

We have the same thinking as other people: We will benefit from deeper integration. However, we need to overcome challenges to get more benefits from integration. 

People have said that after Vietnam joins the WTO there will be an investment wave into the country. This will provide Vietnamese people with more job opportunities, and chances to learn from big corporations. This definitely will be good for us, as with deeper understanding we will play our primary roles in a better way in the WTO time. 

If I talk about studying, I think Vietnamese students will get more advantages, such as better studying conditions, chances to study abroad, financial support from big companies, under a plan to come back to work for them. 

Students will also have chances to be trained through working or practicing with big companies. The government I think will have appropriate policies to have better human resources who have enough knowledge to work in the system or to provide human resources for international investment projects. 

No international investor would be interested in Vietnam if they thought that the human resources here did not meet their criteria. Students are the human resources for their companies, factories in the next five years or seven years, but they will also be the customers who will use the services provided by these foreign investors. 

(Source: TPO)

Vu Viet Ngoan, CEO of the state-owned Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam or Vietcombank  

A senior businessman said his company would work hard to rival international giants expected to flock to Vietnam after the country received the nod Tuesday to become the 150th WTO member late this year.

Nguyen Duy Hung, chairman of the Saigon Securities said he wonders why people conventionally think that joining WTO would invite competitors to encroach on the Vietnamese playing field and not the other way round.

Though his company would have to compete with many international giants, the playing field would be transparent and level, he added.

Truong Gia Binh CEO of FPT Software Corporation said WTO accession would offer Vietnamese software enterprises great opportunities to find foreign partners.

Without the WTO, international companies would never want to invest in a country that is in the process of developing control over software copyrights like Vietnam.

But things would change after the developing nation entered the global trade bloc as Vietnam would then be forced to respect copyrights, he opined.

However, Binh said domestic software companies would face tough challenges regarding human resources.

Tran Phuong Binh, General-Director of Eastern Asia Commercial Bank said it would take at least five years before Vietnamese banks could compete on equal terms with their foreign counterparts.

Vu Viet Ngoan, CEO of the state-owned Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam or Vietcombank, said WTO entry was an impetus for Vietcombank to speed up the process of selling shares to the public.

Earning a WTO membership and being host to an incoming APEC 2006 were glorious successes we should take pride in, Vietnamese top economist Vo Ta Han said.

Han, who is also a senior advisor at the Switzerland UBS AG Bank, warned Vietnam would enter a difficult stage in the first few years after entering the trade block.

People would think they are paying a high price as both the state and private sector are not ready, he said.

According to lessons drawn from other countries joining the WTO, the most serious weakness in the early years following accession is a shortage of information.

There were many opportunities to export domestic goods, but enterprises did not take full advantage of this for lack of information, he said referring to experiences of other WTO forerunning members.

He suggested Vietnamese authorities disseminate information and work closely with sectors influenced by WTO entry besides learning from Nepal, Cambodia, Taiwan and China – already WTO members.

The merchandise and service sectors will be the first to encounter challenges, he warned.

“Sure, the road ahead is full of bumps but we should celebrate this success [being approved to be a WTO member] after a decade of negotiations,” Han said.

That WTO has extended formal acceptance to Vietnam – just prior to the APEC summit in Hanoi – is a golden opportunity for the developing Southeast Asian nation to attract attention from 21 APEC member leaders and thousands of businesspersons who will be in the country for the summit, several newspapers wrote.

Source: Thanh Nien – Translated by Hoang Bao


Vietnam should gain experience from other developing nations in joining the WTO to tackle challenges and raise its position among the global trade body members, a Vietnamese American expert said.


Professor Ngo Thanh Nhan from New York University said becoming the 150th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Vietnam would be eligible to benefit from the repeal of export limits and have more chances to penetrate markets in developed countries.

But he stressed from the experience of many developing countries, Vietnam should be watchful of the possibility that the US and some developed nations might have the latitude to breach WTO’s rules, while the new members like Vietnam must abide by them.

The Vietnamese Government recently signed an agreement to protect the intellectual rights to Microsoft products, but why did it select Microsoft instead of other similar but “free” operating system like China’s OpenOffice, Nhan questioned in his Tuoi Tre newspaper article.

“Moreover, Microsoft operating system’s cp1258 standard for the Vietnamese language was not the international standard,” the computational linguist added.

Nhan also warned that Vietnam should focus on protecting the environment after joining the WTO, keep a close watch over the developing of genetically-modified food or farm produce and try to protect the copyrights of traditional rice strains.

“I think the government should help Vietnamese farmers learn why those in other countries raised their voice against the WTO’s agriculture-related policies, so they can be prepared to cope with the upcoming challenges,” he said.

Labor union, education

Like many other countries, Nhan said, Vietnam should concentrate on developing labor unions, which help Vietnamese laborers protect their rights and interests.

“The Vietnamese Government should comply with the Law on Labor Union and Constitution to prevent hired Vietnamese workers from being exploited by foreign employers,” he said.

Joining the WTO also required Vietnamese citizens, entrepreneurs and workers to improve their legal knowledge, Nhan said, adding currently that poor countries were at disadvantage compared with the developed nations in the WTO playground.

He suggested to help improve the public understanding of laws and many other matters Vietnam should apply compulsory and free primary education.

Under this policy, all Vietnamese children would go to school without paying any charges, including those for meals and extra-curricula at schools.

Concluding his article, the professor believed that with great effort, the Vietnamese government and its people would surmount the challenges and strive forward.

Source: Tuoi Tre – Translated by Thu Thuy

15:58′ 05/11/2006 (GMT+7)

Soạn: HA 946467 gi đến 996 để nhn ảnh này

VietNamNet Bridge – With the market-opening itinerary of seven years, competition in the banking market of Vietnam will be very fierce as many foreign banks want to join the market.


According to the head of Vietnam’s WTO negotiation mission, Luong Van Tu, when Vietnam integrates into the global trade playground, of 12 service fields, finance and banking is one that particularly must raise its management capability.


Foreign banks are coming


According to statistics of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), foreign banks have come to Vietnam in the following forms: branch (34), joint venture (4), and representative offices (40 from 10 countries mainly based in Hanoi or HCM City). Most of the foreign banks operating in Vietnam are in the top 1,000 banks of the world.


Fast growth, earning profits and deep penetration into the local market is the best way to describe the situation of foreign banks in Vietnam.


Recently, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), the largest foreign bank in Vietnam, bought 10% of chartered capital of the Technology and Commercial Bank of Vietnam (Techcombank) to become Techcombank’s strategic investor. Previously, ANZ bought stocks of the Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank), Standard Chartered purchased shares of the Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), and OCBC Singapore bought shares of VPBank.


This trend is continuing as some other foreign banks have also expressed their plans to buy shares of Vietnamese commercial joint stock banks, namely Citibank with East Asia Bank.


Notably, foreign financial firms have also expressed their interest in establishing wholly foreign-owned financial companies in Vietnam. The “marriage” between local banks and foreign banks, according to experts, is a clever maneuver by foreign banks to get their foothold on the fertile land that domestic banks are holding.


By late 2005, the market share of foreign banks in terms of outstanding debt was more than 9%, up nearly 1% compared to 2004. The total outstanding debt balance of all foreign banks in Vietnam grew by nearly 30%, totaling VND49,000 billion. Overdue debt ratio fell from over 0.1% to 0.06%. Their deposit capital also increased by more than 20%, with corporate clients accounting for more than 70%.


Should local banks worry?


Dr. Le Xuan Nghia, Head of the SBV’s Development Strategy Department, said that the biggest challenge for Vietnamese commercial banks when Vietnam joins the WTO will be the increasing competition pressure in the local market.


The weakness of local commercial banks is their modest financial scale (averaging from $20 to 250 million); high percentage of bad debt under international accounting standards; low minimum capital safety index; poor capability in increasing capital and settling bad debts. In addition, their services are still simple.


As a member of the WTO, Vietnam will not be allowed to restrict the number of banking service providers, the total of transaction value of banking services, the number of banking services as well as the number of workers at banks.


“There will surely be a flow of high-grade and professional human resources from local to foreign banks because the need for human resources grows by at least 50% per year,” said Le Dac Son, General Director of VPBank.


The best way to keep employees, according to Mr Son, is for local banks to prepare preventive human resources.


The opening of the local financial market will heighten the market risks in terms of price, interest rate, and exchange rate. Domestic banks will have to face risks of crisis, the impacts from financial and economic shocks in the region and the world, the lost of advantages associated with client and distribution.


A challenge that local commercial banks must solve themselves is part of their strategic customers, which are under the protection of the State, can make higher risks on the operations of those banks in case they operate poorly.


What commitments must Vietnam fulfill?


As of 2006, the country has to gradually lift restrictions on stock ownership of financial institutions under the Vietnam-US bilateral trade agreement. By 2008, Vietnam will have to abolish all restrictions on capital contribution, services, transaction value at foreign banks under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS).


Under WTO rules, banks will be allowed to receive deposits in Vietnamese dong without limitation by 2009 and 100% of foreign banks will be permitted to operate in Vietnam by 2010.


(Source: Tien Phong)