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U.S. promotes free, fair, reciprocal trade with Vietnam
By Thuy Dung
Monday,  Sep 10, 2018,18:57 (GMT+7)

U.S. promotes free, fair, reciprocal trade with Vietnam

By Thuy Dung

Gil Kaplan, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade from the U.S. Department of Commerce, delivers his speech at the 2018 U.S.-Vietnam Business Summit: Defining the Future of Bilateral Economic Relations in Hanoi City on September 10 – PHOTO: THUY DUNG

HANOI – The United States wants to promote free, fair and reciprocal trade ties with Vietnam, as well as work together to overcome obstacles to the market development efforts of American companies operating in the Asian country, a senior official from the U.S. Department of Commerce said at a summit in Hanoi City today, September 10.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry co-held “The 2018 U.S.-Vietnam Business Summit: Defining the Future of Bilateral Economic Relations.”

Addressing the summit, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink said the United States wants to be a vital partner in supporting the development of a strong, prosperous and independent Vietnam.

“We look forward to partnering with Vietnam to advance international security interests and engage in free, fair and reciprocal trade… We’re confident that this kind of partnership will not only benefit the people of Vietnam and the United States but also the people of the entire Indo-Pacific region,” stated Kritenbrink.

He noted that the two countries’ bilateral relationship is in strong shape. Public favorability ratings of the United States top the global charts at over 90% in Vietnam.

He remarked that this positive sentiment fuels Vietnam’s desire for American-made, world-class goods, and create the desire of more than 30,000 Vietnamese students to study in the United States every year.

The ambassador expected that Vietnam will take further steps to ensure a level playing field for U.S. investors and exporters. “We hope Vietnam will continue to address trade irritants in a way that benefits both… (parties in this) bilateral relationship and that maintains Vietnam’s reputation as an attractive market, open for investment and trade.”

He added, “We hope Vietnam will procure even more U.S. goods and services. We think there are tremendous opportunities available, including in the areas of aviation, energy, healthcare and smart cities… U.S. companies offer some of the most advanced technologies. We are among the world’s most responsible and reliable investors.”

The trade relationship between Vietnam and the United States has grown significantly, with bilateral trade amounting to some US$55 billion in 2017, according to Gil Kaplan, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Kaplan said the volume of American products exported to Vietnam has risen by 61% in the past five years. The United States’ exported goods and trade with the Southeast Asian nation has also surged some 200% in the past decade.

However, he noted that despite impressive trade growth between the two countries, there are many things left to do. In 2017, the United States’ trade deficit with Vietnam was ranked fifth compared with other countries.

This is the United States’ largest trade deficit among the Southeast Asian nations, stressed Kaplan, quoting U.S. President Donald Trump as saying that the United States is committed to free, fair and reciprocal trade ties, including with Vietnam.

In the past, Vietnam had made commitments to promoting U.S. exports to the country. Many trade deals, especially those in the aviation sector, were struck during Vietnam’s State-level visit to the world’s largest economy in May 2017. Kaplan expressed hope that these deals would boost the export of U.S. goods to Vietnam.

Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung commented that after 20 years of the normalization of relations, the United States has become an important partner of Vietnam, with bilateral trade rising sharply. Dung added that bilateral trade is now following a more balanced trend.

Vietnam mainly ships textiles and garments, footwear, farm produce and aquatic products to the United States while importing hi-tech U.S. products such as planes and plane engines.

The Deputy PM noted that recent developments in multilateral and regional economic cooperation agreements have posed fresh challenges for the governments and businesses of the two nations.

Therefore, he proposed U.S. and Vietnamese companies work together to assess the situation and present new solutions, thereby maintaining the positive growth momentum of economic cooperation between the two countries.

According to the senior leader, Vietnam expected more U.S. firms to invest in the fields of clean and renewable energy, petroleum, infrastructure, smart urban development, manpower training, tourism, hi-tech agriculture and industry and banking and finance.

“With the potential of the United States and the (investment) environment of Vietnam, it is certain that the growth of American businesses in Vietnam will improve,” he stressed.

As of late June this year, the United States has had 877 valid projects worth US$9.37 billion in Vietnam. The world’s largest economy ranked 10th among the 128 countries and territories with direct investments in Vietnam.

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