US-Vietnam should seize this 'once-in-a-lifetime' opportunity: Consul General
|US Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Susan Burns during her brief interview with The World & Vietnam Report on the occasion of Ho Chi Minh City Economic Forum (HEF) 2023. (Photo: Ben Thanh)|
How will the upgrade in the U.S. Vietnam relationship contribute to sustainable development in Vietnam?
First of all, we are so excited about this upgrade and the historic visit earlier this week from President Joe Biden and really, the double upgrade to comprehensive strategic partnership it gives us a new framework to enhance the already-existed cooperation in so many areas.
A key part of it is going to be in the economics sphere. There is nothing that we are going to do in that sphere that does not have a sustainability component. First and foremost, Vietnam has shown great commitments to reach net zero by 2050 but moreover, American businesses want to be able to develop and grow sustainably around the world. I think this is a really once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we are so excited to work on it.
How are U.S. and Vietnamese businesses collaborating to support economic growth?
Earlier this week, as part of the President Biden's visit, there was a business high-level conference, co-hosted by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung. Here your companies and American companies like Microsoft, Meta, NVIDIA can talk about some of the ways that they can further invest in the hi-tech sector here in Vietnam. I think that is going to be critically important and frankly, those companies are already here. In addition, the new collaboration in the AI space is also going to be critically important. Really, it is about creating more knowledge-based economy jobs for Vietnam to transit into a higher-level manufacturing, knowledge-based economy.
Could you please talk about some of the initiatives and partnerships that enhance cooperation in emerging technologies and how they relate to sustainability?
One of the things that is really exciting for us, especially down here in Ho Chi Minh City, is semiconductor. When the meeting took place earlier this week, one thing that we talked about was memorandum of cooperation in semiconductors. It has to do with workforce development and that really is going to be a key strand of our cooperation going forward, especially down here. How do we create an environment, where more young Vietnamese who are studying, can take high-level jobs in the semiconductors sector? Our initial funding of 2 million USD seeks to help with that workforce development.
In addition, over the past few weeks, I have the chance to talk with about 8 different US semiconductor companies that are already here in Vietnam. Some of those expanding companies such as Synapse, Marvell, want to hire more Vietnamese to take on engineering jobs as the country rises higher in the semiconductor industry. Therefore, the transition in the semiconductor sector is going to be critical to economic growth in Vietnam, especially in the South.
As these companies grow, they also want to use green energy. Every American company that come here have said to me that they want to use solar panels on rooftops of their facilities. Therefore, the green energy piece is really important to all of the growth and I am glad that the city is hosting this really important economic forum.