When spent more than USD 1 million in November last year to invite Dr. Snow, the 73th US Treasury Secretary and the current Chairman of Cerberus Capital Management – an investment fund that owns thousands billions of US dollars – to Vietnam, Link World International was seen as playing an extravagant game. However, businesswoman Anna Nguyen, General Director of Link World International, proposed that the values that the visit may bring to Vietnam “can not be bought by money”.

It seems that such adventurous investment is bringing in the fruitful effects: Dr. Snow will come back to Vietnam this week, after less than two months since his first visit to the country, in order to sign investment cooperation memorandum with some Vietnamese SOEs. The financial “Big Boss” will also meet with several Vietnamese leaders to talk about the assistance to Vietnam in training of banking-financial and enterprise reconstruction experts.

This week, Dr. John Snow and his colleagues will be back to Vietnam. Within less than 2 months, a powerful person of the financial world had come back. Meanwhile, his colleagues were back to Vietnam for more than 2 times. Is there any special attraction?

A US leading lobbyist, a colleague of Dr. Snow, Mr. Billy Cooper humorously stated that those people come to Vietnam for so many times because I had feet them with “paper pie” and created so many tasks for them to do.

But I actually did not serve “paper pie” to anyone. It is simply because I can not surpass them. I reported all to Dr. Snow about the pros and counts of Vietnamese economy and about the concerns of both Government and people of Vietnam. And about the losses and gains. I had shared with Dr. Snow about the life of people in this country and about my personal willingness, about the wishes of each person to adjust the policies and regulations, to renovate the country and to grow up.

Only the self-renovation could bring in opportunities to each person and the wealthy of the country. Development of an economy is dependent on quality of human resources. So far, this is still a difficult question for Vietnam. To face the truth, we should acknowledge that Vietnam is undergoing crisis of human resources.

Dr. Snow shared my viewpoints. After meeting with country President, Chairman of National Assembly, leaders of Central Organizational Unit of Communist Party, Dr. Snow was deeply impressed about the dynamic growth of Vietnam as well as by the vision of Mr. President. He promised to come back to Vietnam at any time, on Mr. President or my request.
Dr. John Snow posed for picture with Mr. Truong Tan  Sang Vietnam Country President, and Mr. Tran Ngoc Quang, General Director of Vinaconex-ITC (front row, second from right).

Not to miss such a good opportunity, when Dr. Snow spent a working visit to Beijing. I had invited him and his colleagues to return to Vietnam and discuss issues relating to assistance to Vietnam in training of banking-financial and enterprise reconstruction experts, including experts in SOE reconstruction. Being previously vice secretary and then secretary of treasury and the “right hand” on economic, financial policies to Presidents Ford, Nixon, Bush, Clinton and Bush (Jr), those topics are at Dr. Snow’s advantage.

The bringing of smartest brains of the world to Vietnam in recent years is no more a strange practice. However, in 2011, the year of deep economic difficulties, no one dare to bring known persons to Vietnam because it is too costly. But Anna Nguyen dared. She became “outstanding” by spending more than USD 1 million to invite Dr. Snow to Vietnam. How do you think of the rumors that you are playing an “extravagant game”?

To be honest, I am not playing any extravagant game. I got my money as result of a long and relentless efforts in the international business world and I feel regret to spend such a big money. But I know that what I am doing will bring benefits to the country which is also core of my own benefits.

People all say that economic crisis could be seen everywhere, at every corner. But I have another viewpoint: it is not really economic crisis; it is a crisis of trust, ethics, crisis of greed and of trust-breach. In fact, it is ethical crisis caused by bad financial management of governments everywhere: from poor to rich, from developed to under-developed. But the more transparent the Government, the less deeper the impact of crisis and the much softer its consequences. Of course, Vietnam is not an exception to this general rule.

Crisis is also a good opportunity for businessmen, policy makers to look back to their policies and system, to their limitations and shortcomings; and to introduce more suitable and flexible policies to restructure its mechanism and businesses, making them more flexible, more complete, more powerful with the view to deal with all kinds of risks in a nowadays fast-changing world.

That's why I spent more than 3 years to invite Dr. John Snow to Vietnam. Money is valuable, but there are values, that can not be bought even with USD 1 million!

So what is the values risen from the 1 million dollar investment?

Let's firstly stay away from the "real money" that Cerberus could bring to Vietnam, my first concern is the value of image. While many international credit rating organizations marked down trustfulness of Vietnam's credit regime, while foreign businesses organizations such as Eurocham complaints about business environment of Vietnam, the presence of such a world-known tycoon as Chairman of Cerberus Capital Management in Vietnam would bring a PR effect that no money could buy.
But the visit to Vietnam had put Dr. Snow into a sensitive situation. Hundreds of phone calls and email messages questioned why Snow visit Vietnam while it's investment environment is bad and credit rating is down. Does Dr. Snow still want to come back to Vietnam after his first visit? Why he decided to visit Vietnam? I think that those are questions that government, policy makers, country managers should look at seriously for country's honesty and benefits.

I convinced Dr. Snow that "to hear hundred times is less convincible than to see one time". Dr. Snow's visit to Vietnam is a signal to the world that any country should treat foreign capital in the respectful and equal manner. When foreign investors are treated in respectful and equal manner, they will come back. By mentioning "capital", I mean not only financial capital, but also human resources, technology, experience and trademarks.

Before visiting Vietnam, Dr. Snow addressed Bloomberg and worked with US Treasury. He was optimist about Vietnam. After the visit, Dr. Snow said "flying words" about the meetings with Vietnam country President Truong Tan Sang, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung and Vice Chairman of Central Organizational Unit of Communist Party Nguyen Van Quynh. He surprised that in the last 3 years, Project 165 had sent more than 3000 Vietnamese staffs to more than 40 countries for training, of which, there will be a group of people being trained in the University of Maryland, a leading university in the US in public policy and management, where Dr. Snow had taught before.

Most of politicians on the world know that Dr. Snow is supporter of Beijing's interests in Washington DC, therefore, his recent attention to Vietnam is an interesting news.

Coming back to the question whether I am playing an extravagant game or not while spending more than USD 1 million for Dr. Snow's visit - here I have an answer. Vietnamese people says "spend three hundred thousand to buy prestige ...". Here I spent only USD 1 million to have image of Vietnam improved in the eyes of the world, it is a worthy investment, right?

 Can we expect that a presence of a big and famous person like Dr. Snow will be a beginning of the appearance of big US companies in Vietnam? If yes, what should Vietnam do in order to attract attention from those companies?

Let me share with you that "a big and famous person like Dr. Snow" is only one of many "big and famous persons" that Link World will invite to Vietnam in the coming time. Our greatest concern is how those persons will be met in Vietnam? After bringing many "big persons" to Vietnam, I observed that the support from Government and the Party is very strong, however, businesses are still passive, or even indifferent. May be because Vietnamese businesses are still not awaken about the big values and rules of the big players.

I personally want Vietnamese business community to maximize this opportunity to approach the leader of world giant investment fund and learn from him and his colleagues the global rules of the game. Because, in order to be involved in the game of the big players, businesses also should be big players in terms of knowledge, bravery and professionalism - the qualities that we are still lack or weak.

We know that during the coming visit to Vietnam, Dr. Snow will sign MOU to be development consultant for Vinaconex-ITC and be its representative to call foreign investment to Cat Ba Amatina Project. Why does he select a company not so big as counterpart? According to common thinking, a big and famous person like Dr. Snow should pay attention to leading groups or corporations in Vietnam. From Vinaconex-ITC sample, what should Vietnamese businesses do in order to be selected by big fund like Cerberus?

I see that people in Vinaconex-ITC, from general director to ordinary staff, all have good spirit and willingness to approach international standards. They do not satisfy with themselves, but are eagle to listen to the counterpart, open and aware of their own limitations. I have met with several much bigger state companies, but I am impressed by Vinaconex-ITC because it does not "show-off" unreasonably and it know how to approach the issue in a smart manner. This approach is a "plus" to convince Dr. Snow that Vinaconex-ITC could be a reliable and trustful counterpart. Trust is a basis. And strategic cooperation and join development could be reached only when there is a trust.

(Source: http://tuanvietnam.vietnamnet.vn; http://www.baomoi.com;http://www.doanhnhan.net;http://www.dddn.com.vn....)
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