Vietnam-U.S. Tremendous Opportunities to Deepen and Expand Collaboration

10:07:35 AM | 6/28/2023

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the Comprehensive Partnership between Vietnam and the United States (U.S.). The results achieved in all fields are the result of the efforts of the leaders and peoples of the two countries. These are solid foundations for the Vietnam-U.S. comprehensive partnership to continue to grow stronger and more effective in the coming time. On this occasion of this anniversary, Vietnam Business Forum would like to introduce an interview with Mr. Marc E. Knapper, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam.

Would you brief us on the achievements that the two countries have made since establishing the Comprehensive Partnership in 2013?

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Comprehensive Partnership between the United States and Vietnam. Our relationship is built on a foundation of mutual respect.

The breadth and depth of cooperation between our two countries is stunning. In areas as diverse as trade, development, education, health care, energy, and security, the United States and Vietnam are working together with a shared commitment to peace and prosperity.

Let me emphasize the U.S.-Vietnam relationship has never been stronger. I am pleased to report two-way trade between the United States and Vietnam increased dramatically over the past 10 years, rising from US$30 billion in 2013 to nearly US$139 billion in 2022. The United States is now Vietnam's largest export market, and Vietnam is one of America's fastest-growing markets.

Last year, Vietnam became one of 14 initial partner countries in the Indo- Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). Together, the IPEF partner countries are engaging on a wide range of issues, including trade, clean energy transition, resilient supply chains, and anti-corruption. This year alone, we have hosted visits in Hanoi by USTR Ambassador Katherine Tai and Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Marisa Lago, who both stressed the importance of regional cooperation and bilateral economic ties with Vietnam, including under the U.S.-Vietnam Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). Similarly, we are excited to be hosting the 2023 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) proceedings in great cities throughout the United States.

In terms of education, since 2013 Vietnam has gone from number eight in terms of the origin country for international students in the United States to number five. Right now, nearly 30,000 young Vietnamese are studying in the United States. They will return to Vietnam with a world-class education and will contribute to a thriving economy.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a reminder of how close our partnership and friendship have become. We were moved by the outpouring of support from the Vietnamese people who donated millions of masks and PPE to the people of the United States in our time of greatest need. Likewise, we donated 40 million vaccine doses to help save lives in Vietnam. The fact that the U.S. CDC opened a Southeast Asia Regional Office in Hanoi shows our commitment to healthcare collaboration with Vietnam and the region.

I congratulate the Government of Vietnam on organizing its inaugural International Defense Expo in December of 2022. Our growing defense partnership reflects the fact that our security interests in the region are increasingly aligned. The relationship between our two militaries directly contributes to an environment that encourages private investment, promotes energy security, and ensures mutually beneficial economic prosperity.

U.S. Ambassador Marc E. Knapper hands over a kindergarten funded by the United States 

The Vietnam-U.S. cooperation has grown rapidly in recent years with economic-trade relations being the mainstay and strong driving force, and American businesses continue to expand investment in Vietnam. What would you expect Vietnam to do to attract further investment from the United States?

This spring, Vietnam hosted the largest U.S. trade delegation in the history of our bilateral relationship. Vietnam's successful international economic integration, through initiatives like IPEF, trade promotion, participation in international organizations, and bilateral cooperation through innovative programs, will continue to attract foreign investment. I am proud of the investments that large U.S. companies have made here in Vietnam. The domestic supply chain becomes international through these ties, and that to me is a real sign of economic success - linkages, supply chain resiliency, and global cooperation.

Overall, the American business community is bullish about the partnership with Vietnam and the opportunities here at present. I, too, am optimistic about the future. U.S. companies are aware of both opportunities and challenges to their businesses and are eager to foster closer trade ties between our two nations.

In the years ahead, I see tremendous opportunities for us to deepen and expand collaboration between the United States, the Government of Vietnam, and our respective private sectors to support our mutual goals in Vietnam: rebuilding global supply chains, accelerating Vietnam's clean energy transition and sustainable growth, and developing the digital economy in line with global best practices to support its economic development.

As for challenges, I want to mention that when I talk to American companies here, they refer to unpredictability and the need for a level playing field for foreign companies. I think it is in Vietnam's interest to remain an attractive destination for foreign investors, and we are always ready to partner with the government to that end.

Also, let me say we welcome Vietnamese businesses who wish to invest in the United States. I'm proud of the United States' open and transparent market, which offers tremendous opportunities for Vietnamese firms to invest and collaborate with world-class American companies. In fact, just last month I led a delegation of 30 high-potential investors from Vietnam to the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C., where they held meetings with State and Local government officials promoting investment opportunities across the United States.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (L) and U.S. President Joe Biden at the 10th ASEAN-U.S. Summit in Phnom Penh, November 2022

Over the years, VCCI has actively promoted strengthening the connection between the two countries’ business communities. In your opinion, what activities should VCCI expand to support the two countries' businesses, to further promote trade and investment, and improve the business environment in Vietnam?

Our goal at the U.S. Mission is to help Vietnam succeed and we believe that it is in America's national interest to support a strong, prosperous, independent, and resilient Vietnam. Towards this end, VCCI is a critical partner to connect the businesses of our two countries. Our joint effort developing the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) in Vietnam has played a critical role in driving transparency and accountability in provincial economic governance reform over the last 18 years. Thank you to VCCI for being such a wonderful partner!

I believe that there is tremendous potential in our growing bilateral trade and economic ties. I've seen wonderful collaboration between U.S. and Vietnamese businesses, and I expect to see even more in the coming years. While I am enthusiastic about the opportunities here, I also acknowledge that there is work to be done. We hope that Vietnam continues to take steps to ensure a level playing field for U.S. investors and exporters, and VCCI is our great partner in this pursuit.

We will stay engaged and optimistic about the future of our economic and trade relationship and, working together, I'm confident that our business communities will seize opportunities and resolve challenges to put our companies in the best position to succeed.

Thank you very much!

Source: Vietnam Business Forum