Vietnam Trade Office in the US’s minister-counsellor Dao Tran Nhan takes time out from the recent trade counsellors meeting in Hanoi to share his views on current Vietnam–US relations and give his remedy on how to boost Vietnam’s exports to the superpower.
>> Trade future is red, white and blue
The US is one of top foreign investors in Vietnam with over $11.6 billion in total committed capital which is still low for an economic power like US. How do you comment on the country’s potential to lure more FDI from the US once the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is ratified?
The US is currently Vietnam’s sixth largest investor. In the future when the TPP is inked, the US will surely scale up investment into Vietnam, especially when the two countries are establishing strategic partnership relations.
The all-faceted relations between Vietnam and the US have never been at such a high level as they are now. US-based Eximbank considers Vietnam one of nine key markets for supporting projects backed by US investors. According to the Vietnamese trade office in the US, many US investment and trade missions have recently landed in Vietnam.
Which investment fields could attract US investors in the coming period?
The US is strong in source technologies. Hence, US firms will pay attention to fields having rosy export potential but featuring less-than-modern technologies. For instance, Vietnam is a big textile-garment exporter but most of the products are made under export processing contracts.
Most of material such as yarns and cloth are imported. If US firms jump into this field, the local textile-garment industry will make rapid strides with high value added products. More and more US firms are interested in doing business with Vietnam.
Every day, the Vietnamese trade office in the US has to respond to dozens emails of US firms interested in doing business here and [interested in] Vietnam’s advantageous products.
Scores of firms that were settled in China and Thailand are moving to Vietnam. Local firms should make the most of the opportunity.
How do you view opportunities for Vietnamese firms keen to enter the US market?
Opportunities are multiple. The US is a vast market with diversified product ranges. However, this is a demanding market, hence to make inroads into US market, local firms need to pay due attention to quality and hygienic standards.
What can we expect of trade development between the two countries in the coming period?
The US administration has unveiled their national export initiative with the ambition to double its export value from current $1,500 billion to more than $3,000 billion per year in the 2010–2015 period.
To make this goal come true, the US has set forth a comprehensive suite of measures to boost exports in which Vietnam has been defined as one of its 13 core export markets. Exports of Vietnam’s advantageous items such as textiles-garments, footwear and wooden furniture to US market is forecast to continue to stay high and stable in the coming years.
Local firms, however, should prepare themselves to face anti-dumping lawsuits when doing business in US market. For the first time the mutual import export value surpassed $20 billion in 2011. This figure could climb to $24 billion in 2012 if the current 20 per cent growth rate holds up.