As Managing Partner of HLG-Thailand and South East Asia, I am currently focusing on three countries, namely, Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar. What I have found is that Vietnam has become one of the main, if not the main focus, of the South-East Asia region. The country has developed an open-up climate for foreign direct investment (FDI), having access to the status of full member of the World Trade Organization in 2007, and becoming a key actor of the ASEAN Declaration.
More than ever before, the Vietnamese economy has turned toward an attractive climate, boosting FDI through the elimination and reduction of tariff barriers and import and export duties. Last December, the government finalised an agreement with the EU which will implement a free trade area and break down a lot of barriers for the trade of goods between these two economies. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is also seen as a business facilitator, although the agreement is not yet in force.
Moreover, the cities’ landscapes have changed over the past two decades, and keep on changing, with industrial zones and modern infrastructures continuing to expand the investment territory. For instance, in the year 2016, the FDI forecasts that the numbers shall not be less than the two previous years. This means an expected total amount of investment of at least USD 20.2 billion. For the corporate side, setting-up a business has been facilitated by the Vietnamese Licensing Authorities. The incorporation procedures for foreign invested companies now enjoy a shorter timeframe, with more transparency and less paperwork. As a result, the system has become much more efficient. As a company practicing in a foreign environment, we are required to understand both global and local issues. As such, HLG is the only foreign law firm which has an office in Da Nang City (on top of our Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City branches). This gives us the leverage to advise with a practical point of view on the seizing of business for both local and international clients, spanning from the creation of a company to cross border transactions, including strategic partnerships.
When dealing with clients, our process is quite simple. We understand that clients want solutions and options, which is why we always aim towards one direction: setting clients’ minds at ease. Understanding clients, their needs, and advising them with a ‘to the point’ perspective is at the heart of everything we do. As a company working in an industry that is always evolving, we are constantly on the lookout for any emerging trends and developments. We firmly believe that change is necessary in a competitive environment, and we constantly react and adapt to any changes that come along the way. In order to remain at the forefront of our industry, we stick to the principles that underpin our company. HLG stands for efficiency, flexibility, integrity and imagination.
Furthermore, being integrated into the cultures of the countries we operate in constitutes one of our core strengths, and we do not see borders, but only possibilities. Another important aspect of our ethos is that we are a very people-orientated business. We find that there is no better reward than clients choosing our firm for a specific service, and them coming back to us with other projects. Governments also play a decisive role through endorsing and recognizing HLG on cross-border investment issues. Lastly, but certainly not least, our success is largely due to a team you can trust and rely upon. HLG team is composed of reputable lawyers with solid experiences in the fields we operate in, and who are from different horizons. We firmly believe that to adapt and find the best path to realize any project you must be accompanied by a partner you can fully trust. One of HLG’s notable successes has been receiving the Investment Immigration Law Firm in 2014 from the Asian Legal Business (ALB) and the IAIR Award in 2016 in Hong Kong.
Company: Harvey Law Group Vietnam
Name: Bastien Trelcat