Vietnam > Legal market overview
High inflation, a nervous foreign exchange market, high nominal interest rates and declining foreign exchange reserves threatened Vietnamese economic performance in 2011, with the new government changing from a strategy aimed at growth to one of recovery in July 2011. A programme of reform was introduced for state-owned enterprises, the financial sector and public investment. Tvc his and other factors made 2012 a complicated year for Vietnam, as the country’s commercial sector dealt with these changes as well as inflation and the vulnerability of the banking sector. However, foreign interest in the market remains high, with large international companies finding Vietnamese assets available at good prices. Much investment has come from Japan – one of the market’s traditional big investors – particularly in energy and infrastructure projects as Vietnam remains in desperate need of major investment in this area. There is some concern that the opening up of Myanmar may impact Vietnam’s ability to attract investment.
One positive indicator for the market’s future is the arrival of Allen & Overy, which is scheduled to open a new office in the third quarter of 2012. Of course, this will and already has impacted other top firms in Vietnam. Mayer Brown JSM has lost two key lawyers to the new firm, including former managing partner Dao Nguyen, though the firm seems to be coping well. In other news, partners split from DFDL to form tax boutique VDB Loi Vietnam, and local powerhouse Vilaf – Hong Duc shortened its name to VILAF.