US-Vietnam Business Communities Continue Advancing Trade and Investment Relations

4:33:24 PM | 13/5/2019

 

 

At “The 2019 U.S.-Vietnam Business Summit: Celebrating 25 Years of Trade and Investment” on May 10 in Hanoi, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung highly appreciated the business communities of Vietnam and the U.S for their active contributions to the development of the two countries’ relations in the past 25 years.

The major conference was hosted by American Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi (AmCham) and the US Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), with the participation of over 250 government and industry leaders from both countries to build on the current positive momentum in the bilateral economic relationship and to address the many areas where inconsistencies, inefficiencies, and unfair practices persist.

Opening the discussion, AmCham Chair Natasha Ansell noted that, “American companies have invested billions of dollars here, integrating Vietnam into the global supply chain, creating quality jobs for Vietnamese workers, and opening a new market for US goods and services. Most importantly, our companies understand the link between business operations and society and do their best to conduct business in a way that creates both long-term economic and social value.”

 

 

Ms. Ansell added that, “American companies have an interest in Vietnam’s continued success and AmCham continues to support the government’s efforts to grow the private sector here.”
 


The business summit included discussions on a wide range of issues important to Vietnam’s economic development including: promoting sustainable investment and policies; driving future growth through the digital economy; using the Internet economy to fuel growth and innovation; addressing Vietnam's energy development needs; and ways for Vietnam to benefit from ongoing global trade developments.

 

 

In the keynote address, Deputy Prime Minister Dung expressed his delight at the rapid and significant developments of the two countries’ relations in recent years. For many years, the U.S. has constantly been one of Vietnam’s leading trading partners, with two-way trade revenues having surged by more than 130 times since 1994 (from US$450 million in 1994 to nearly US$60 billion in 2018). US exports to Vietnam continue to rise sharply, increasing by nearly 40% last year. During U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to Vietnam for the second DPRK-USA Summit, the leaders of the two countries witnessed the signing of trade contracts worth more than US$21 billion.

 

 

 


The U.S Ambassador Daniel J. Kritenbrink remarked that the US-Vietnam relationship has seen dramatic economic developments in recent years, and expected to continue for years to come. “In 1994, Vietnam was America’s 95th largest source of imports. Today, it ranks 12th. The United States is now Vietnam’s largest export market, and Vietnam is one of America’s fastest growing markets worldwide.”

“There is no doubt, the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral trade relationship is enjoying a rising tide, advanced by five Presidential or Prime Ministerial visits in the span of just four years. The U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership is strong than ever. You need look no further than the Hanoi Summit in February, President Trump’s second visit to Vietnam for proof of that fact. And we are excited about continuing this trend through further high-level visits this year. I’m confident that that in turn will set the stage for next year’s momentous activities in 2020 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties,” said U.S Ambassador.

Speakers representing a variety of industry sectors urged the Government to take further steps to welcome, encourage and nurture innovation. It was noted that Vietnam's well-known talents in science, internet, engineering, entrepreneurship, and creativity can be unleashed in IT, fintech, medical innovation, consumer products and in many other fields. Encouraging both foreign and domestic private investment in innovation and research and can help pave the way for the next chapter in Vietnam's success.

“Our members are very focused on Vietnam, and are optimistic about the potential for growth in this market,” said Charles Freeman, Senior Vice President for Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce. At the event, the US Chamber of Commerce released a blueprint that outlined a series of recommendations for enhancing the commercial relationship. It calls for intensifying work under the existing trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA) between the two countries, with specific agreements in areas such as digital economy, customs and trade facilitation, energy infrastructure, and other areas.

“We continue to believe that the long-term goal for the United States and Vietnam should be to have a free trade agreement between them,” said Freeman.” At the same time, we recognize the nearer-term realities, and we have therefore outlined a series of steps which we believe are practical, achievable, and realistic. These will facilitate greater trade and investment, and form the building blocks of an eventual free trade agreement.”

VCCI President, Dr. Vu Tien Loc, said: “Sustainable development, reform and integration are the most important keywords in Vietnam’s development strategy. Vietnam is now aiming for a higher quality and more sustainable structure for investment and trade. On the journey to achieve this goal, the United States is one of the most important partners of Vietnam. Vietnamese and US businesses are joining hands to implement potential projects in the fields of manufacturing, processing, green energy, aviation, digital technology, medical innovation and many other fields.”

“In the investment and trading cooperation between Vietnam and the U.S, large corporations in the global value chains play the leading role, but there are also very important roles of the Micro, Small and Medium sized enterprises (MSMEs), and Start-ups,” said Dr. Loc. “Hopefully, with the close cooperation with US businesses, Vietnam will not only have factories, but will also have an Asian "Silicon Valley" to help shape innovation of the future for the Vietnam economy. We support initiatives to upgrade a free trade framework between our two countries that benefits both sides and we are confident our relationship will continue to grow and prosper,” the VCCI President added.

Experts at the event added that as Vietnam develops, we all need to work together to solve new challenges such as addressing the growing shortfall in electricity, the increasingly bad air quality, and the environmental degradation caused by poor waste management.

AmCham, VCCI, and the U.S. Chamber remain committed to collaborate, share best practices, educate stakeholders, and advocate for increased trade, investment, and economic growth in both Vietnam and the U.S.

The Government of Vietnam is committed to creating favorable conditions for US businesses to invest and operate effectively in Vietnam, especially in areas where the U.S. is strong and Vietnam is eager to develop such as renewable energy, clean and sustainable energy, infrastructure, banking and finance, education and training, tourism, high technology, high-tech agriculture, and others", the Deputy Prime Minister said.

The Deputy Prime Minister asked VCCI, AmCham and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to create the most favorable conditions for Vietnamese and U.S. firms to foster business and investment ties. He also urged the two sides’ businesses to continue making effective use of mechanisms of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), focusing on implementing and promoting the early warning mechanism so that both can make timely preparations to deal with impacts of new policies and regulations.

Nam Pham