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State President Urges Vietnam-US Businesses to Boost Bilateral Relations

Posted: Monday, June 05, 2017

“To develop the trade and investment relations between Vietnam and the United States in line with the potential for cooperation and the aspirations of the two countries, the business community of the two sides should play a more active role in promoting the bilateral cooperation relations,” remarked State President Tran Dai Quang in his keynote address at the conference titled: “The United States and Vietnam in 2017 and Beyond.”

The major conference on the future of the Vietnam-US commercial relationship, held on May 19 in Hanoi by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi (AmCham), and the US Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), brought together government and industry leaders from both countries to discuss ways in which to promote expanded trade and investment in the absence of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Ambassador of the United States to Vietnam, Mr Ted Osius, remarked that meetings and exchanges between the two business communities will be an opportunity to openly and frankly discuss the remaining difficulties in investment cooperation in order to move forward to better relations in the future. Sincere dialogues such as the Prime Minister's Meeting with the business community held on May 17 reflected the Government of Vietnam's commitment to improve the investment environment, said the Ambassador, adding that along with AmCham's companionship, the investment climate will continue to improve in the future.

President Tran Dai Quang said that Vietnam - US relations have progressed rapidly, substantially and comprehensively. The U.S. President Donald Trump officially accepted the invitation to attend the APEC Summit in 2017, expressing US interest in promoting cooperation with Vietnam. “Development cooperation continues to be a driving force of bilateral relations to promote trade and investment, science and technology, human resources training and response to climate change. This is the foundation, creating new opportunities for Vietnamese and US businesses to increase investment, business cooperation and sustainable development.”

There are many successful multinational corporations investing in Vietnam, including US corporations. The United States ranks 8th among countries and territories with foreign direct investment in Vietnam. US-Vietnam trade relations continue to grow, from US$15 billion in 2008 to US$52 billion in 2016. In 2016, US exports to Vietnam reached US$10 billion, up 43 per cent over 2015. Vietnam Oil and Gas Group and ExxonMobil signed a project development framework agreement and Ca Voi Xanh Gas Sale Agreement with a total value of US$10 billion that is expected to make the U.S. one of the leading investors in Vietnam.

The State President encourages American businesses to invest in Vietnam in areas where the US is strong, and Vietnam needs to grow with the two countries' businesses, such as: energy and petroleum, infrastructure, finance and banking, education and training, tourism, etc. Vietnam wants to export agricultural products, aquatic products, wood products, textiles, electronics and consumer goods to the U.S. and imports high-tech products to serve the economic needs of Vietnam.

President Tran Dai Quang emphasized: "We always appreciate investment projects of US businesses in Vietnam. Governments at all levels from central to local levels in Vietnam will create favourable conditions and ensure commitments to foreign investors in general, US investors in particular, to invest successfully and sustainably in our country."

In the witness of President Tran Dai Quang and H.E. Ted Osius, US Ambassador to Vietnam, at the conference, Dr Vu Tien Loc, VCCI President and Mr Michael Kelly, Vice President of AmCham Hanoi, and Ms. Tami Overby, Vice President of the US Trade Association, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on trade facilitation.

VCCI President Loc noted that despite the U.S’s TPP withdraw, the U.S. remains Vietnam's most important trading partner, and doing business with the U.S partners is still the top priority of Vietnamese businesses. "The Vietnamese business community looks forward to cooperating with U.S businesses. In the strategic orientation of boosting and restructuring the economy, Vietnam is moving towards a more efficient economy, promoting creativity and vigorous development of infrastructure and innovation in terms of energy and transport, hard infrastructure and soft infrastructure, implementing e-government, developing high-tech industries, and developing biotechnology," Mr Loc asserted, adding that all of these orientations are in line with the trend that leading businesses in Vietnam and America desire.

“Given the United States’ withdraw from the TPP, we need to find new and creative ways to address the market access issues and other challenges that U.S companies face in Vietnam,” said Tami Overby, Senior Vice President for Asia of the U.S. Chamber. “We are working hard to find concrete ways to strengthen the bilateral trading relationship, including the possibility of a bilateral free trade agreement.” 

“We are confident that the upward growth trend for trade and investment relations between the U.S. and Vietnam will continue, and can strengthen. AmCham supports a path towards a U.S-Vietnam free trade agreement which would help increase bilateral trade and investment, and which would create wealth and job opportunities for people in both countries, said AmCham Executive Director Adam Sitkoff. “For a free trade agreement to move forward, it will need to be viewed as fair by all parties. The American business community in Vietnam stands ready to do our part to make this goal a reality,” Stikoff added.

Speakers and panel participants at the conference discussed a wide range of issues, including innovations in healthcare, financial inclusion and financial market development, enabling growth of IT services, promoting innovation and the growth of small and medium enterprises, and improving market access through trade facilitation.

Nam Pham


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