Building on far-reaching US-Vietnam cooperation

January 23, 2023 | 00:06
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As we welcome a new year, we at the US Mission in Vietnam take this opportunity to wish the Vietnamese people every joy and happiness in what we hope will be a very prosperous year filled with blessings and good fortune. During this special time of year, we reflect on the bonds that bring together friends and family, as well as the growing ties that unite our two countries and our peoples.
Building on far-reaching US-Vietnam cooperation
Marc Knapper, US Ambassador to Vietnam

As we reflect on how much the United States and Vietnam have achieved together over the past 27 years since normalisation, it is clear that our progress has been extraordinary and that we have much to celebrate. We are grateful for the substantial contributions that have strengthened the US-Vietnam partnership and look forward to an exciting and vibrant future together.

The breadth and depth of bilateral cooperation are stunning. We partner on everything from security and trade, education and war legacies, climate change and investment, to energy and health. That sense of achievement is clear in the dynamism of Vietnam’s economy.

Vietnam’s stunning economic growth has been driven by thriving international trade and foreign direct investment that continue to create opportunities in manufacturing and services. Businesses are not only meeting customers’ needs in foreign markets, but also lifting the incomes of households across Vietnam. The country has made enormous gains to create prosperity for its people, ensure households have reliable access to electricity and connect individuals to the internet.

All of this contributes to greater productivity and the emergence of new businesses that will power sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the future.

We look forward with great expectation to what Vietnam will achieve next. With its well-founded aspirations to join the ranks of the world’s most prosperous economies in the next few decades and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the United States stands ready to work with Vietnam in a spirit of partnership to overcome obstacles and help maintain the forward momentum and vibrancy of the nation’s economic development.

The US and our business community are firmly committed to the ongoing transformation of Vietnam’s economy and the growth of our broader bilateral relations. Since the establishment of a comprehensive partnership in 2013, bilateral trade between our countries has quadrupled.

The US has become Vietnam’s largest export market, and Vietnam is also a promising market for US exporters. We see tremendous opportunities here for US goods and services in fields such as agriculture, aviation, education, energy, health, and ICT, to name a few.

The nature of trade between the United States and Vietnam is also becoming more diverse as our two countries are increasingly linked through global supply chains. US-made semiconductors are assembled and packaged here for export worldwide.

US hardwood, cotton, and animal feed fuel Vietnam’s production of furniture, apparel, and seafood, which in turn reach varied markets around the globe. These growing supply chain linkages bind our two countries together and enhance our mutual prosperity.

Supply chains are a key focus of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, an effort that brings together 14 partners that represent over 40 per cent of the global economy. Under the framework, we will work with partners such as Vietnam to identify sectors and products critical to our national security, economic resilience, and the health and safety of our citizens. We will then act collectively to increase the resilience of these sectors, creating jobs and economic opportunities in key industries of the future.

US groups will continue to play a critical role in fuelling Vietnam’s economic development by continuing to invest, creating high-quality jobs, and bringing unrivalled know-how and best corporate practices. In the energy sector, US investors are at the forefront of transitioning Vietnam to a clean energy future.

But that investment does not just flow one way. Enterprising domestic companies with aspirations beyond their own borders are increasingly setting their sights on the US. This May, the US will host the annual SelectUSA Investment Summit, our premier event for foreign direct investment promotion into the States. Bringing together public and private sector leaders from across the globe, the summit explores the exciting opportunities in the US for foreign investors, including investors from Vietnam. We warmly welcome Vietnamese businesses wishing to participate, and the US Mission here is delighted to discuss their efforts to enter the US market.

We support these positive trends through our diplomatic engagement and material support for transactions that generate job creation and mutual prosperity for the US and Vietnam. Since we began our Comprehensive Partnership, the Export-Import Bank of the US has supported hundreds of millions of dollars in commercial transactions. These include Boeing’s sale of new aircraft to Vietnam Airlines and Lockheed Martin’s sale of the VINASAT-2 space satellite.

Similarly, the US Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has announced several substantial investments in this country, also totalling hundreds of millions of dollars.

Through recent investments in SeABank, Fulbright University Vietnam, and Marou Chocolate, DFC is expanding financial inclusion, helping employers here meet their demand for highly skilled employees, moving the country up the value chain, mitigating the impacts of climate change, and improving the livelihoods of the Vietnamese people.

Through our development partnerships, we are bolstering local leadership, advancing inclusive economic growth, modernising higher education, combating infectious disease, conserving forests and biodiversity, and promoting renewable energy, all of which support the deepening of economic ties. We will remain focused on how we can assist Vietnam in making the growth-enhancing investment necessary to support its position on the world stage and meet the needs of a burgeoning middle class.

While the US and Vietnam will sometimes have differences of opinion on economic matters, we will always be prepared to discuss issues in a constructive, respectful, and understanding manner. We both believe in and have the most profound respect for the desires and aspirations of our countries’ citizens.

Through ongoing engagement and the elevation of our bilateral ties, the US and Vietnam stand to shape economic prosperity not only in our respective countries but globally as well. Indeed, given the achievements both nations have already made together, our relationship has evolved into one that is fundamentally strategic in nature.

As we approach a milestone anniversary in our Comprehensive Partnership, now is an ideal moment to recognise the nature of our bilateral ties as strategic.

Through our continued diligent efforts, and with the generous cooperation of our counterparts in Vietnam who believe in our shared future, we look forward to celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Comprehensive Partnership in July and, above all, realising another outstanding year for US-Vietnam relations in 2023.

Records ahead in Vietnam-US partnership Records ahead in Vietnam-US partnership

As former foes, Vietnam and the United States have undergone a long way to normalise diplomatic relations, becoming comprehensive partners in 2013. Under the comprehensive framework established at the visit by former Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang to the US, trade and economic ties rank second on the list of nine areas of cooperation, only after political and diplomatic relations.

Demonstrating the mutual benefits of US-Vietnam ties Demonstrating the mutual benefits of US-Vietnam ties

Over the past 22 years, the Vietnam-US Bilateral Trade Agreement has played an important role in boosting Vietnam’s economic growth and international integration. During his recent visit to the country, Joe Damond, chief negotiator of the US delegation for the agreement, talked with VIR’s Linh Le about areas in which it has been effective, and new strategies to move forward.

Anticipating a sunny outlook for US-Vietnam investment Anticipating a sunny outlook for US-Vietnam investment

Vietnam and the United States are witnessing their heyday in bilateral ties. Adam Sitkoff, chief executive of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi, writes about how the Vietnamese economy has gradually become a magnet to American businesses and investors, and what they have been contributing to the economy.

Building US-Vietnam ties via trade Building US-Vietnam ties via trade

As the United States and Vietnam will approach the 10-year anniversary of the Comprehensive Partnership, it is an exciting time for our bilateral relationship and the United States’ engagement with the broader Southeast Asia region.

By Marc Knapper

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