Clinton visit ushers in business

July 16, 2012 | 10:00
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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s official visit to Vietnam last week, accompanied by American leading companies, saw opportunities opened for increased bilateral trade and investment.

Clinton said more American enterprises were coming to Vietnam and part of her job in the US government was to “open doors” for the Vietnamese and American firms. “There is still so much untapped potential in trade and investment relations between the US and Vietnam,” she said.

During her talks with Vietnam’s Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Clinton said strong development between the two countries’ ties in economics, trade, education and training were encouraging American enterprises to invest in Vietnam.

Trong said the US was an important partner. In the meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Clinton hailed Vietnam’s socio-economic development achievements and said the two countries needed to continue discussions on upgrading their relationship to the level of strategic partners.

Speaking to the press after her talks with Vietnamese top officials, Clinton said the trade development potential between both countries would grow even further after the signing of a new regional trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, expected to be finalised by the year end.
At her meeting with American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, Clinton said in the US’ current relations with Vietnam, “we think about trade and investment”.

Clinton’s visit to Vietnam was accompanied by representatives of 21 American leading enterprises operating in various sectors. At a meeting with Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh, a representative from growth capital firm General Atlantic said the world’s leading investment fund in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) was eager to seek local potential SME partners.

“Vietnam is now under economic restructuring and we want to find opportunities from this,” said the representative. Eddy Setiawan, president of Dow Chemical Company’s Southeast Asian region, said this company had been operating in Vietnam for 15 years in many sectors.
“We will operate here longer to seek more investment opportunities,” he said.

According to the US Department of State, since the two countries’ Bilateral Trade Agreement came into force in December 2001, two-way trade has grown from about $1 billion in 2001 to almost $22 billion last year, with a 17 per cent increase in exports from 2010 to 2011.

The US is Vietnam’s eighth largest foreign investor, with 621 investment projects having total registered capital of over $10.43 billion. During her visit, Clinton also witnessed the signing of deals between General Electric Company (GE) with Vietnam’s private-owned Cong Thanh Company and state-owned National Power Transmission Corporation (NPT).

By Thanh Tung

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