Long-time client, a manufacturer of small steel products, has for months been “threatening” to move his factory to Vietnam, either to replace an existing factory in China or as an adjunct. Company was unhappy with China’s increasing taxes and labor rates. Just spoke with client this morning (yeah, I know it’s Sunday but he was about to board a plane for China) and I asked him about Vietnam. His reply was essentially as follows.
“Forget Vietnam. Too risky. We found we just can’t handle the inflation and the politics. Yes, China is getting expensive, but I just feel it is more of a known entity for us. Not worth chasing a few dollars in savings.”
Again, I am NOT saying Vietnam is the wrong place for business, because it most certainly is not and a number of my firm’s manufacturing, food, and high tech clients have done quite well there. But what I am saying is that the next time anyone acts as though Vietnam is necessarily better than China for your business, make sure you look at all relevant factors, not just easily apparent costs.
For more on Vietnam’s political risks, check out this Asia Sentinel article, “Hanoi Pain.

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Dan Harris

I am a founder of Harris Bricken, an international law firm with lawyers in Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, China and Spain.

I mostly represent companies doing business in emerging market countries. It has taken me many years to build my network and it takes constant communication and travel to maintain it. My work has been as varied as securing the release of two improperly held helicopters in Papua New Guinea, setting up a legal framework to move slag from Canada to Poland’s interior, overseeing hundreds of litigation and arbitration matters in Korea, helping someone avoid terrorism charges in Japan, and seizing fish product in China to collect on a debt.

I was named as one of only three Washington State Amazing Lawyers in International Law, I am AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (its highest rating), I am rated 10.0 by AVVO.com (its highest rating), and I am a SuperLawyer.

I am a frequent writer and public speaker on doing business in Asia and I constantly travel between the United States and Asia. I most commonly speak on China law issues and I am the lead writer of the award winning China Law Blog (www.chinalawblog.com). Forbes Magazine, Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Business Week, The National Law Journal, The Washington Post, The ABA Journal, The Economist, Newsweek, NPR, The New York Times and Inside Counsel have all interviewed me regarding various aspects of my international law practice.

I am licensed in Washington, Illinois, and Alaska.

In tandem with the international law team at my firm, I focus on setting up/registering companies overseas (via WFOEs, Rep Offices or Joint Ventures), drafting international contracts (NDAs, OEM Agreements, licensing, distribution, etc.), protecting IP (trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights and patents), and overseeing M&A transactions.