The official visit to the US by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc from May 29 to 31 demonstrates Vietnam’s consistent policy of enhancing trade relations with the country, which has been Vietnam’s leading trade partner for the last ten years in succession, the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reports.
According to figures from the America Market Department at the Ministry of Industry and Trade quoted by the State-owned news agency, two-way trade has maintained high annual growth of about 20 per cent since the bilateral trade agreement (BTA) took effect in 2001. It hit $47 billion last year; up 33.5-fold against the 2001 figure of $1.4 billion.
In the first four months of this year, Vietnam exported $12.4 billion worth of goods to the US, primarily textiles and garments, footwear, computers, seafood, farm products, wood and wooden products, and electronics and components, representing 20 per cent of the country’s total exports and an increase of 8.7 per cent year-on-year.
Vietnam is now the US’s 16th largest trade partner and enjoys a large trade surplus.
US Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Ms. Mary Tarnowka, was quoted by VNA as saying that despite the US’s withdrawal from the TPP the bilateral trade and investment relationship between the two will continue to grow.
She expects ties to grow stronger as Vietnam’s recent efforts in international economic integration have reaffirmed its intention to continue economic reforms and further open up its economy.
Ms. Tarnowka noted that these reforms will promote the establishment of a fair and transparent management system, allowing predictions of a new wave of trade and investment in the future.
Experts believe that Vietnam is yet to become a major market for the US but rising incomes will stimulate consumption of luxury brands, including those from the US.
When President Donald Trump launches a series of plans in Asia, Vietnam-US ties will be a lever for the two countries’ mutual trade and economic benefit. The upcoming meeting between the two leaders will be a good opportunity to promote their shared strategic interests and create more jobs at home.
Authorities on both sides are working closely to improve trade cooperation mechanisms for better facilitation of bilateral trade.
Ms. Tami Overby, Senior Vice President for Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce, also quoted by VNA, said the chamber is making every effort to find ways for further boost Vietnam-US trade, including the possibility of a free trade agreement. She added that US companies need to be more creative in dealing with obstacles upon entering Vietnam.
According to Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, to support local companies in gaining access to the US market, besides programs to build national competitiveness through branding and removing duties and other technical barriers, the ministry has devised master plans to improve the competitive edge of export products with an emphasis on those in manufacturing and processing.
At the same time, enterprises must also play an active role in bolstering production capacity, developing markets overseas, and becoming part of global supply chains.