late October and early November, 2006
a Senior Trade and Investment delegation from Binh Duong province in
Vietnam visited San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose and San Francisco in
California, Portland, Oregon and Connecticut to meet with U.S.
investors to better inform them of opportunities for investment in Binh
Duong province, Vietnam. The visit was led by Tran Van Lieu,
Chairman of the Binh Duong Industrial Zones Authority and included
representatives of the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) of
Binh Duong, plus senior officials from Becamex who runs industrial
parks throughout the province including those at My Phuoc Industrial
Park, VSIP Industrial Park plus many other locations. Becamex is
a large provincially owned corporation with total sales in excess of
180 million US dollars that focuses on infrastructure projects,
industrial parks, residential and commercial development, tourism and
|Picture: In California, the
Binh Duong Province Delegation visit U.S. factories that are interested
in relocate in the province. (from left) Mr. Huynh Van Trai, Head of
Ministry of Planning and Investment in Binh Duong, Mr. Vo Son
Dien, Becamex Head of Sales and Marketing, Mr. Pham Ngoc Thuan, Deputy
Director of Becamex, a potential U.S. investor, and Mr.Tran Van Lieu, Chairman of
Bnh Duong Industrial Park Authority Office.
delegation meet and discuss business with a company in
Located in the southeastern region of Vietnam, Binh Duong abuts Ho Chi
Minh City (HCMC) – the national hub of economic activities and
Binh Duong has the combined
advantages of lower
land and transportation costs compared to HCMC and adjacent areas. In
addition, it boasts diversified geography, abundance in natural
resources, good quality utilities and other infrastructure, adequate
available labor and the favorable lack of natural disasters that helps
boost the areas attractiveness to investors. Binh Duong’s prosperity,
nevertheless, cannot be solely accounted by natural advantages.
According to the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) reports
released by Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in 2005 and
2006, Binh Duong topped the list of Vietnam’s provinces that are most
favorable to private sector dynamism and growth. The PCI is considered
well-rounded as it was developed with international expertise and
accounts for business establishment costs, land access and security of
tenure, transparency and access to information, time costs and
regulatory compliance, informal fees, competitive environment,
provincial leadership, private sector development services, labor
training, and legal institutions. The report shows that Binh Duong
performed consistently well on almost all aspects: Binh Duong is one of
the only three provinces that appear in the top seven in two
consecutive years. As the PCI is gaining credibility among the business
sectors and economic organizations, foreign investors also refer to the
PCI as an indicator for a healthy investing environment.
(Pictures above) Some of the factories the delegation visited
(pictures above) Vietnam Investment Seminar in
California for Binh Duong Province
Joe Esteves of Milipas, California, present Certificate of Appreciation
to the delegation
|Starting off their U.S. visit in San Diego,
California, the group met
with U.S. companies in the electronic, contract manufacturing, plastics
and many related fields in California. On Thursday, November 2
the delegation had a dinner presentation to a group of 70 individuals,
This event that was co-hosted by the Asian American Times, the Filipino
American Chamber of Commerce of Santa Clara, County and the U.S.
Vietnam Chamber of Commerce (http://www.usvnchamber.org/). The
presentation started with a short presentation by Edith Masacayan,
President of the Filipino-American Chamber who welcomed the delegations
visit and the increasing interest in Vietnam that like the Philippines
is a member of the Asia Free Trade Area (AFTA). Her presentation
was followed by a presentation of Certificates of Appreciation by Mayor
Joe Esteves of Milipas, California who warmly welcomed the delegation
and noted the role that trade and investment plays in the creation of
wealth and investment in California.
This was followed
by a short
presentation by Mr. Tran Van Lieu, Chairman of the Binh Duong
Industrial Park Authority who expressed appreciation for the warm
reception they had received during their U.S. visit and noted that Binh
Duong welcomed the incredible level of interest in investment they had
met. Mr. Lieu noted that Binh Duong’s leadership gave high
priority to ensuring that foreign investors received the best service
possible and further noted the provinces recent successes in attracting
investment and improving service to all.
Chris Runckel, Chairman of U.S.-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and
President of Runckel & Associates is a speaker at the seminar in
both California and Oregon
|Mr. Lieu was followed by Chris Runckel,
President of Runckel &
Associates (www.business-in-asia.com) and also Chairman of the U.S.
Vietnam Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Runckel was the featured speaker and spoke extensively about the
advantages Vietnam and Binh Duong province offered for locating a
factory. Mr. Runckel also noted the further advantages offered in
location in the Becamex facilities and noted how costs in Binh Duong
were among the best in Vietnam for land, labor, utilities and
services. Mr. Runckel provided extensive graphics to demonstrate
the advantages of investment in Binh Duong as compared to other
locations in Vietnam or to China, Thailand or other Asian locations.
Visit to Portland,
On Sunday, November 5,
2006, the delegation traveled to Portland,
Oregon and that evening attended a dinner hosted on their behalf that
included the President of Portland State University, Senior Portland
City officials, members of the local Vietnamese-American community,
plus senior business leaders.
(picture left) Chris Runckel introduces
the delegation to the guests at the dinner in Portland, Oregon.
(picture right) Maria Thi Mai, Senior Policy Director for Commissioner
Sam Adams of City of Portland welcomed the delegation while Dan
Bernstein, President of Portland State University looks on.
On Monday, November
delegation was featured at a major seminar co-hosted by the Province of
Binh Duong, Vietnam, Portland State University and the U.S. Vietnam
Chamber of Commerce. The seminar again was very well attended
with over 50 attendees and a very diverse list of businesses all
anxious to learn more about Vietnam and Binh Duong province. Some
of the attendees had traveled all the way from Texas to learn more
about Vietnam and to meet the delegation.
(picture left) Dr. Gil Latz, Portland
State University's Vice Provost for International Affairs welcome the
participants at the minar in Portland, Oregon. President Dan
Bernstein of Portland State University receive a remembrance of the
visit from the Mr. Tran Van Lieu at the beginning of the seminar.
||Portland State University has been extremely
active in building a
relationship with the Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City
and with partners on environmental, education, eco-tourism and many
related projects. Following the morning seminar the delegation
met with the University to discuss potential cooperation in training
and other projects and to better learn about the others expertise,
experience and interests.
On November 8, the delegation finished up their U.S. visit with a
seminar in Connecticut and meetings with companies in the region before
returning to Vietnam where they will be soon welcoming a number of
companies they met in the U.S. who are interested in investing in Binh
Duong province. Given the considerable interest in Binh Duong and
Vietnam displayed by U.S. businesses during this recent visit, Binh
Duong and Becamex plan follow-on visits to the U.S. in
About the Author:
Christopher W. Runckel, a former senior US diplomat who
served in many counties in Asia, is a graduate of the University of
Oregon and Lewis and Clark Law School. He served as Deputy General
Counsel of President Gerald Ford’s Presidential Clemency Board. Mr.
Runckel is the principal and founder of Runckel & Associates, a
Portland, Oregon based consulting company that assists businesses
expand business opportunities in Asia. (www.business-in-asia.com)
Until April of 1999, Mr. Runckel was Minister-Counselor of
the US Embassy in Beijing, China. Mr. Runckel lived and worked in
Thailand for over six years. He was the first permanently assigned U.S.
diplomat to return to Vietnam after the Vietnam War. In 1997, he was
awarded the U.S. Department of States highest award for service, the
Distinguished Honor Award, for his contribution to improving
U.S.-Vietnam relations. Mr. Runckel is one of only two non-Ambassadors
to receive this award in the 200-year history of the U.S. diplomatic