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New York Life says Vietnam venture application still on file

New York Life on Tuesday denied news reports that it had withdrew its application for a license to set up a wholly foreign-owned venture in Vietnam after waiting more than four years.

"We will keep our application on file," Gary Benanav, chairman and CEO of New York Life International, said after news about the withdrawal of its application surfaced.

He said New York Life, one of the largest U.S. life insurers, would maintain its representative office in Vietnam in anticipation of a license at a future date.

"Since our application for a license in Vietnam was accepted in 2002, we have been ready to make our initial investment. For several years we have earmarked a substantial investment of capital and human resources for our proposed Vietnam operations."

Le Quang Binh, head of the Ministry of Finance's Insurance Department, earlier confirmed the news about the withdrawal of its application, saying it was the company's right to do that.

Erin Pham, spokeswoman of the company's representative office in HCM City, said the company had written to the Ministry of Finance referring to its intention rather than decision to withdraw the application.

The company has yet to take back its application, she said, adding her company would work with the ministry over this issue and that she could not give more details. (SGT December 30)