Washington State Trade and Study Mission to Vietnam, April 28 - May 8, 2007

Written by Andreas Udbye and Beth Willis, World Trade Center Tacoma 


Mission Leader:  Washington's Secretary of State Sam Reed.  The mission was organized by this office, the World Trade Center Tacoma and the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency ("Vietrade").   View the list of sponsors at the bottom.

HIGHLIGHTS AND MAIN IMPRESSIONS:

  • 28 of us covered four countries in nine days: China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and South Korea. 
  • Korean Airlines has a very good economy class.
  • It is important to have good local people on the ground (to handle transportation, scheduling and logistics).
  • Several delegates ran out of business cards, and each of us came back with more than 100 cards and contacts.
  • Vietnam has some very promising prospects in certain industries, and its recent WTO accession will make it easier to do business there.
  • Hong Kong is still kicking, and is holding its own as a hub for Chinese business and finance. 
  • Huge capital investments are underway in Macau (hotels, entertainment industry, residential, roads)
  • We will see a huge upswing in both trade and investments with Vietnam over the next decade. 
  • Vietnam has an almost perfect mixture of attractiveness both to business and leisure travelers. 
  • This is still a shopper's paradise.
  • Vietnamese producers are very quality conscious, and they pay attention to detail.
  • This is a very safe country for Americans to travel in (if you cross the streets with determination and care)

PORTION 1: SHENZHEN, CHINA (April 30)
PORTION 2:  HONG KONG (May 1)
PORTION 3:  HO CHI MINH CITY AND THE MEKONG DELTA (May 2 - 4)
PORTION 4:  HANOI AND THE HALONG BAY AREA (May 5 - 7)
PORTION 5: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (May 8)

If you have questions about this mission or any of our upcoming missions, please contact me on udbye@wamail.net
May 11, 2007, Andreas Udbye, Executive Director, World Trade Center Tacoma
 
ADDITIONAL REPORTS AND COMMENTS BY MISSION PARTICIPANTS:

Education (By Beth Willis):

Dr. Michael Launius, Executive Director, Central Washington University International Relations Studies Program, Jayson Schafer, International Relations, Tacoma Community College and Beth Willis, a member of the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges represented the educational opportunities offered by Washington State.

They participated with the delegation on all official functions and had the opportunity to conduct one-on-one meetings with educational institutions in China and in Vietnam. One good opportunity was a meeting with Dr. Pham Thi Ly in Ho Chi Minh City. She is the Vice-Director of CIECER (Centre for International Education, Culture Exchange and Research), which is affiliated with the Institute of Education Reform (IER, the premier education research institute in the south) and the HCMC University of Education in HCMC, one of the main universities in HCMC. CIECER has sponsored several international programs and at least two Fulbrighters.

In Vietnam, the Director of Planning stated that Vietnam is one of the most dynamic markets in the world and that Vietnam's economy is on the path to doubling in size over the next decade. Students are very interested in attending college in the US and having a relationship with US college professor exchanges. He said that Vietnam needs a country educational plan for their cities and communities. He did say cost would be an issue, however, it was noticed that now that the possibilities for discretionary funds have become more apparent within the local businesses, people have much more disposable money and education of their children is becoming very high on the list of desires.

The full delegation visited Cao Thang Technical College in Ho Chi Minh City. Cao Thang Technical College has an established relationship with Olympic College in Bremerton for technical training. The college said they were very excited about this opportunity for training with a US college.

The education group visited the US. Commercial Service in Ho Chi Minh City and in Hanoi including the WTC long time friend Bill Marshak, Principal Commercial officer in HCMC.  Both stations were very helpful in explaining the Gold Key service and in what they could do for education within the country. The group also had the opportunity to meet with the student visa administrator who was able to give much needed advice on getting Vietnam students visas for entering into US colleges and universities.

At the US Embassy residence reception, the group met a number of University people and educational recruiters that were very interested in US educational possibilities.

As a market sector, education and training ranks in 10th place as the most important best export for US markets in the non agricultural products and services.

SPONSORS:  A special THANK YOU to the following sponsors for their support of this mission:

  • Dorsey & Whitney LLP
  • Garvey Schubert Barer
  • Hong Kong Trade Development Council
  • Korean Airlines
  • Port of Tacoma
  • Seattle Pacific Trading
  • Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt
  • Stafford Frey Cooper
  • Sterling Savings Bank
  • Vietnamese American Bar Association of Washington
  • VN Ventures
  • Wildrock LLC

Vietnamese American Bar Association

 "Please note the following disclaimer:  The mission reports are written during or right after the missions by mission participants.  The views, comments and statements in the reports are solely their own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or any official positions of this office.  The reports are reproduced here because they give an interesting and detailed account of the day-to-day experiences and impressions that participants typically encounter on these missions."