Unprecedented opportunities to boost Vietnam-US trade ties: Trade Minister
|Unprecedented opportunities to boost Vietnam-US trade ties: Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien. (Photo: VNA)
In a recent interview, Minister Dien said President Biden's State-level visit to Vietnam from September 10-11, 2023, marks the first by a US President made at the invitation of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the continuation of the nearly 30-year tradition of bilateral diplomatic ties characterised by significant developments of economic cooperation.
Over the past three decades, two-way trade has soared from 450 million USD to 124 billion USD last year. The US has been the partner of the top importance and the biggest importer of Vietnam for many years, accounting for around 30% of country's total export turnover.
The two economies are complementary, with the US having demand for Vietnam’s signature farm produce, apparel, leather and footwear, electronics, machinery, and equipment while supplying cotton, animal feed, corn, soya bean, chemicals, machinery, and technology to the Southeast Asian country.
With an average annual trade growth exceeding 20%, the US will remain Vietnam's biggest export market in the years to come, Dien added.
About favourable conditions for the development of bilateral trade, he said the policy dialogue mechanism through the Vietnam – US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), jointly chaired by the Viietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), is being effectively carried out, helping address many complex issues in bilateral economic and trade ties.
Thanks to the persistent strategic trust building efforts from both sides, the US increasingly values Vietnam's role and position in the region and places a strong focus on cooperation with Vietnam in various new regional initiatives, such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), supply chain shift and diversification, clean energy, just energy transition, and digital economy.
According to Dien, the MoIT and the US Department of Commerce (DOC) have engaged in numerous open discussions through various channels to propose removing Vietnam from the list of non-market economies.
In the time ahead, the MoIT will continue discussions with the US regarding the possibility of applying the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) mechanism for Vietnam.
In order to mitigate the risks of disruptions and dependency, US firms are looking to diversify their supply chains, thus making it easier for Vietnam to expand its manufacturing activities and become more deeply integrated into their global value chains.
As energy transition, environment protection and sustainable development have become dominant trends in cooperation and development, enhancing cooperation with the US in these areas will help Vietnam build and invest in a more efficient national energy system while attracting more foreign direct investment and advanced technology.
In order to achieve harmonious and sustainable economic-trade ties, the minister suggested continually cultivating strategic trust, enhancing dialogues and deepening cooperation in areas of core strategic importance such as energy, aviation, infrastructure, quality human resources training, energy transition, digital economy, and green manufacturing.
In his view, the pillars of economic, trade and investment cooperation, including the energy sector, will continue to hold a high priority and play a driving role in advancing the overall bilateral relationship in the time to come.
He proposed that the focus should be on promoting the increased participation of Vietnamese enterprises in the supply of raw materials, components, and equipment for the energy, aviation, digital economy, artificial intelligence sectors, and others.
It is crucial to ensure that input materials have clear origins and do not have adverse impact on the environment or forced labour practices associated with them. At the same time, there should be a gradual effort to study the upgrade of production facilities and factories to meet green production standards.
Additionally, businesses should actively join trade promotion programmes and exhibitions, and connect with relevant agencies to build prestige and trust from US customers.
Besides cooperating with major importers and distribution channels, they should also employ a strategy to diversify their customer base and actively seek niche markets to minimise risks, he added.