Thursday, May 29, 2008

Vietnam Open For Business

Vietnam BeachFor many Americans, Vietnam still conjures up images of a failed war, but those days are long gone from the minds of many Vietnamese. Today Vietnam has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Vietnam’s GDP grew by 8.5 percent in 2007, according to the CIA World Factbook. Vietnam’s cities are thriving and the country is becoming popular as a tourist destination. There are certainly still problems in this emerging country, one of the biggest being the tight government regulations. But the government took a big step in the right direction last week with the passing of a new law that would allow for foreign ownership of certain properties in the country.

This new law is a step in the right direction, but it still is pretty restrictive. Only foreigners who meet certain residence and professional requirements are eligible to purchase property, and the only properties they are able to buy at this point are apartments in approved buildings, according to the International Herald Tribune. In addition, the properties will only be allowed to be purchased for personal use, so investment is not an option for these units at this point.

I know that this new law is, in reality, a minor happening, but I think the bigger news is that the government was finally willing to move in the right direction. Considering the housing bubbles that have been created across the world, and the fact that Vietnam is still a relatively poor country, I wouldn’t expect a complete opening of the property market any time in the near future--if ever. But if they keep taking little steps like this it will certainly make it easier for foreigners to live, work and conduct business in Vietnam.

Vietnam is a beautiful country, and Americans who still picture it as a war-torn country need to make themselves aware of Vietnam’s new image. Vietnam is open for business--somewhat anyway--and there are many opportunities to be had.

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