US and Vietnam crack on with partnerships

November 24, 2023 | 15:00
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The US and Vietnam are utilising their freshly forged comprehensive strategic partnership with several initiatives, with growing interest from US investors in the Southeast Asian market.

Vietnamese State President Vo Van Thuong last week met with US leaders while attending the APEC Leaders’ Week 2023 in the US to discuss how to turn the US-Vietnam comprehensive strategic partnership into projects and programmes as soon as possible. The new cooperation framework was forged on September 10 when President Joe Biden paid a state visit to Vietnam.

US and Vietnam crack on with partnerships
At an investment promotion forum in the US. (Photo: VNA)

Both sides agreed that a joint action plan be devised to realise the new cooperation framework into specific strategies, programmes, action plans, projects, and business cooperation activities. This will benefit both nations in trade and investment ties, which are expected to continue flourishing in the future.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth in the last 10 years of our bilateral trade. Significantly, we’ve seen growth in investment, not just from the United States into Vietnam, but also from Vietnam to the United States,” said US Ambassador to Vietnam Marc E. Knapper.

“We’re very pleased with Vietnam joining with the United States and 12 other countries to launch the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework last year. This effort will go a long way to promote things that our countries in the region need - secure supply chains, the promotion of green infrastructure,” the ambassador added.

“In our work with Vietnam, climate change has also been significant, through efforts such as the Just Energy Transition Partnership. The United States is the largest contributor to this, along with other countries in the G7 and some private sector participants. In these areas, we can still see the potential for future growth.”

According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), both nations’ trade and investment are set to continue soaring in the future thanks to the new partnerships.

The US is now Vietnam’s largest export market, while Vietnam is the US’s seventh-largest trade partner and the US largest trade partner in ASEAN. Bilateral trade increased by an average of 16 per cent a year. It soared by over 550 per cent from $21.8 billion in 2011 to more than $123 billion last year. Since the two countries normalised their bilateral relations in 1995, trade rose by 360 times, from $450 million in 1995 to over $123 billion in 2022.

In the first 10 months of this year, the figure hit more than $90.1 billion, including over $78.6 billion worth of Vietnam’s exports and $11.5 billion worth of Vietnamese imports.

According to Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment, cumulatively as of October 20, the US is Vietnam’s 11th largest foreign investor with total registered capital of over $11.8 billion in more than 1,300 ventures.

In January to October, total newly registered and newly added capital, stake acquisitions, and capital contributions from US investors in Vietnam hit $513 million – including 96 new projects registered with $88.3 million. Currently, Vietnam has 230 valid projects in the US, with total registered capital of $1.26 billion.

“Big US companies are showing their continued interest in investment in the Vietnamese market. They demonstrate their wish to boost cooperation with Vietnamese partners in many sectors such as infrastructure development, supply chain, energy transition and digital transformation, high-tech investment, and innovation,” said a MoFA document on both nations’ cooperation released last week.

In 2023, many major groups from the US have and will continue their investment plans, both newly investment and funding expansion, the document said.

For example, P&G is expected to invest an additional $100 million into expanding its production line at Ben Cat factory, while AES is expected to invest into renewable energy development. Leaders of many states in the US have said that going forward they will increase cooperation with Vietnam in the manufacturing of vehicle spare parts, it added.

On November 9, the US International Development Finance Corporation’s (DFC) CEO Scott Nathan travelled to Ho Chi Minh City. With $737 million in exposure, Vietnam is the DFC’s largest market in Southeast Asia.

“We have made commitments across priority sectors, including energy, agriculture, health, and small business support,” he said. “We look to do more here, both to strengthen the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between our two countries and to unleash the power of private capital and create greater opportunity and prosperity for Vietnam’s people.”

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