Vietnam would have been one of the major beneficiaries of the TPP that is now in doubt following the election of US President Donald Trump, but it has also been building links with the US.
Prime Minister tells meeting with US-ASEAN Business Council he is keen to work with US to strengthen bilateral relationship.
During a meeting in Hanoi on March 9 with a delegation of top US enterprises led by former US Ambassador to Vietnam Michael Michalak, now Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director of the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC), Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said he is ready to visit the US to strengthen bilateral ties as Vietnam seeks to open up its economy further to foreign investment.
“The Vietnamese Government treasures and hopes to boost relations with the US in a comprehensive and stable manner, and is willing to work with President Trump’s administration to advance ties, especially trade,” PM Phuc said.
The government is committed to maintaining macro-economic stability and building a transparent regulatory environment to facilitate foreign investment, he added, while expressing his wish for the US to continue being one of Vietnam’s leading trade partners.
Vietnam enjoyed a trade surplus of $29 billion with the US last year, with exports of $38.1 billion and imports of $8.7 billion, according to figures from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
In January this year, exports to the US rose only slightly year-on-year, by 0.3 per cent, while imports jumped 14.6 per cent, according to Vietnam Customs. During the month, the US led in the import of Vietnamese garments and textile, with revenue of nearly $1.08 billion, up 5.8 per cent year-on-year.
US companies have said they will continue to invest in Vietnam in a wide range of sectors such as wind power, animal feed, finance, insurance, communications, and entertainment.
In a phone call shortly after his election last year, President Trump told PM Phuc that he wanted to further strengthen the warm ties between the two countries and was willing to meet with PM Phuc any time, either in Washington, D.C. or New York.
The two countries have seen an increasing exchange of high-ranking visits in the two decades since bilateral diplomatic relations were normalized.
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong, visited the White House in July 2015, the first visit by a Vietnamese Party Chief to the US. In July 2013, the then State President, Mr. Truong Tan Sang also visited Washington, during which the two countries set up a comprehensive partnership. Former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visited the US in February 2016 to attend a US-ASEAN summit, but the last official State visit was in 2008. Former President Nguyen Minh Triet and former Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, during their term of office, also visited the United States.
Vietnam advanced ties with the US to a new level under former US President Barack Obama, who was keen on the US maintaining its security presence in Asia.
Former President Obama toured Vietnam in May 2016, where he announced the decision to fully lift the lethal arms embargo on Vietnam that had been in place for four decades, allowing closer defense links between the two former enemies.
Former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also visited Vietnam in 2000 and 2006, respectively.