President Trump’s visit signals new turning point in relations

09:07 | 18/11/2017 Cooperation

(VEN) - The visit to Vietnam by US President Donald Trump from November 10-11 to attend the APEC 2017 Summit Week was expected to create a new turning point in bilateral relations, especially in trade and investment.

president trumps visit signals new turning point in relations
Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (left) with US President Donald Trump at the White House in May 2017

At the summit of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in the central coastal city of Da Nang, President Trump delivered a speech presenting his vision of free and open Indian and Pacific oceans. He emphasized the role of these regions in promoting economic growth and prosperity in the US. After Da Nang, he traveled to Hanoi to meet Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and other high-ranking leaders.

Donald Trump was the fourth US president to visit Vietnam since 1975, following President Bill Clinton’s visit in 2000, George Bush in 2006, and Barack Obama in 2016.

Since the normalization of bilateral relations more than 20 years ago, trade between Vietnam and the US has grown strongly. The US currently is a major trading partner for Vietnam, and Vietnam has become an investment destination for many US companies. Bilateral trade has increased continuously at an annual rate of 20 percent in recent years and reached an estimated US$53 billion in 2016. Last year, Vietnam recorded a US$30.9 billion surplus in trade with the US.

Strong exports to US

Data from the Ministry of Industry and Trade show that Vietnamese exports to the US have grown strongly, from about US$1 billion in 2001 to more than US$38.46 billion in 2016, and is predicted to exceed US$41 billion this year. Vietnam was the 12th largest exporter to the US last year.

The two countries have promoted not only bilateral trade but also commercial interaction. US exports to Vietnam have also grown rapidly at an annual rate of 77 percent, four-fold the growth of Vietnamese exports to the US. Trade in services with Vietnam has also generated a surplus for the US.

Statistics from the Foreign Investment Agency show that in the first quarter of this year, the US had 834 investment projects in Vietnam with total registered capital of US$10.2 billion, ranking ninth among 116 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. For its part, Vietnam had 147 investment projects in the US with total registered capital of US$571.38 million. The US currently ranks ninth among 68 countries providing direct investment. According to the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham), Vietnam remains the first choice, among Southeast Asian countries, for US companies.

During Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to the US in May 2017, the two sides agreed to boost bilateral trade and economic cooperation for mutual benefit, and to promote effective implementation of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement between the two governments.

At a recent meeting with Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai, Ted Yoho, Chairman of the US House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, said Vietnam is an undeniably attractive market for US businesses. With an improving position in ASEAN, APEC and the international arena, Vietnam is a rising star in Asia-Pacific, a region that attracts special US attention, he added.

Nguyen Huong