The President of Vietnam recently made the first visit to the United States since the end of the war. It was really big news here among the business community and we all hoped that the trip would spark a more definite answer about when Vietnam would join the WTO. It seems the trip went very well and Vietnam is on it’s way to finally joining hopefully by the end of this year or more likely sometime next year.
Right now HCMC is booming and there are new businesses opening up everywhere. It seems my initial feeling about this place was correct and HCMC is really a great place to live once you get past the Third World surface. The people are really friendly and it is a very relaxed lifestyle. However, during the President’s visit there was a small group of protesters holding signs such as “Stop the Oppression” and other such nonsense. We in the ex-pat community wondered exactly what “oppression” these protesters might be referring to. Now without divulging into politics too much, I don’t see, feel or have heard of any “oppression” what so ever in this country. In China there is definitely a feeling of big brother but I don’t feel this at all and definitely think Vietnam is a wonderful place to live.
During his visit, President Bush also promised to come visit Vietnam at the end of the year which is huge news. I really think he might make some sort of statement when he is here about exactly when Vietnam will join the WTO and after that the country should take off economically.