Vietnam-U.S. Trade Expected to Reach US$200 Billion

1:13:27 PM | 11/10/2023

After nearly three decades of diplomatic relations, the bilateral trade volume between Vietnam and the United States has surged by nearly 300-fold to reach a remarkable sum of US$124 billion. This has solidified the United States as the primary export market for Vietnam.

VCCI President Pham Tan Cong delivers an address at the U.S.-Vietnam Business Summit 2023

Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang affirmed that following the elevation of their bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, the potential and opportunities for economic, trade, and investment cooperation between the two nations are extraordinarily substantial. These elements are identified as the primary driving force and catalyst behind their bilateral relations. He further articulated that this enhanced relationship, supported by numerous multifaceted cooperation pillars, will serve as the cornerstone for the bilateral trade to soon attain the milestone of US$200 billion.

In light of the upgraded relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership, President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Pham Tan Cong, emphasized that Vietnamese and U.S. businesses have acknowledged the robust support commitments from both the Vietnamese and U.S. governments in advancing bilateral trade and the economy.

As of now, the United States ranks among Vietnam's leading investors, boasting over 1,300 valid projects with a total registered capital of US$11.8 billion, placing it 11th out of 43 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

VCCI President Pham Tan Cong further underscored Vietnam's remarkable economic development, having grown 50-fold since the Doi Moi (reform) era. Vietnam is now recognized among the five fastest GDP-growth countries globally, ranking 37th in terms of GDP in 2022 and occupying a spot among the top 20 countries with the largest global trade, amounting to approximately US$730 billion in 2022.

On the U.S. side, Mr. John Rockhold, Chairman of AmCham, expressed optimism regarding the deepening of economic cooperation between Vietnam and the United States in the near future. He emphasized that the recent upgrade in their relationship represents a pivotal juncture and a remarkable opportunity to collaboratively enhance policy structures and the economic environment, while attracting new investors and supporting existing investors and businesses in their growth endeavors.

Regarding potential areas in cooperation between the two countries, VCCI Executive Vice President Nguyen Quang Vinh noted that Vietnamese and U.S. companies have initiated numerous specific endeavors to further enhance cooperation in areas such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), clean energy and renewable energy, with the objective of promoting balanced two-way trade and achieving energy security goals. U.S. firms are encouraged to collaborate and share their experiences in developing the digital economy and pharmaceuticals with Vietnamese businesses.

To further enrich trade and investment relations between the two nations, Deputy Prime Minister Quang suggested that Vietnamese and U.S. enterprises should actively promote economic and trade cooperation, with a focus on maximizing their respective strengths in merchandise import and export. Collaborative efforts to participate in new supply chains, thereby expanding global supply chains in Vietnam, especially in the realm of supporting industries, are strongly encouraged.

The Vietnamese Government remains steadfast in its commitment to facilitate U.S. agencies and businesses in the effective implementation of their projects within Vietnam, leveraging the opportunities presented by the comprehensive strategic partnership.

Agreeing with the above viewpoint, VCCI President Pham Tan Cong also highlighted that, to seize opportunities and effectively address geopolitical and economic challenges, businesses from both countries must proactively foster creativity and collaboration to surmount difficulties and harness the opportunities presented by the digital revolution. This approach is essential, particularly in areas where both sides possess considerable potential for cooperation and investment, such as infrastructure, aviation, clean and sustainable energy, manufacturing and processing, semiconductor chip production, digital transformation, healthcare and pharmaceuticals.

Furthermore, the Vietnamese and U.S. governments continue to cultivate a strong cooperative relationship, founded on their comprehensive Strategic Partnership featuring 10 pillars. Notably, economic, trade, and investment relations persist as the central pillar and a vital driving force, while collaborations in education, training, science, technology and innovation represent breakthrough areas.

With the enthusiastic participation of the business community, alongside the support and attention of both governments, especially in the context of the upgraded comprehensive strategic partnership, the economic and trade relations between the two nations will be strengthened. This, in turn, will contribute to the establishment of a reliable, prosperous, and enduring partnership between Vietnam and the United States.

VCCI President Pham Tan Cong said “Representing the business community on a national scale, and tasked with trade and investment promotion, committed to fostering extensive and comprehensive economic cooperation between Vietnamese businesses and their U.S. counterparts, VCCI aims to serve as a conduit for U.S. companies to conduct effective business and investment activities in Vietnam, thereby contributing to the development of strong bilateral relations.”

To further augment investments by U.S. businesses in Vietnam, John Goyer, Executive Director of Southeast Asia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, recommended that both sides intensify discussions concerning market access and the resolution of barriers within the business and legal environment. Furthermore, it is crucial for Vietnam and the United States to eliminate obstacles hindering the mobilization of business resources for supply chain integration, transition from a frontier to an emerging stock market, promote sustainable investment, transition to clean and renewable energy, and unlock the potential of the digital economy.

By Huong Ly, Vietnam Business Forum