“We do believe strongly that it does need to be a fundamental change in how Vietnam’s policy looks at commerce. We believe that… the policy toward business should be more and more enabling rather than regulating it,” Gillin said.
Gillin insisted on the fundamental change in an interview with the Daily after he listened to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech about expanding relations between the U.S. and Vietnam over the past decades, at the American Center in HCMC last Saturday.
Gillin said that AmCham was optimistic about the future relationship between the two nations, whose two-way trade soared 50 times since their normalization of relations in 1995 as mentioned by the U.S. Secretary of State in his speech.
Herb Cochran, executive director of the HCMC Chapter of AmCham Vietnam, said that bilateral trade between the U.S. and Vietnam was projected to gain a healthy double-digit growth this year to US$28.7 billion despite the continuing difficult domestic and international economic environment.
“Trade between Vietnam and the U.S. continues to grow steadily. We expect that this year it will reach US$28.7 billion, an increase of 15.3% over the US$23.7 billion in 2012,” Cochran said in an emailed interview with the Daily.
Cochran clarified the projection was based on data from the U.S. Department of Commerce from January to September this year. “Most noticeably, U.S. imports of apparel from Vietnam may reach US$8.5 billion, a double-digit increase over the US$7.7 billion in 2012. In addition, Vietnam’s exports of higher-added- value products from ‘modern manufacturing’ FDI are increasing sharply,” he noted.
Of the US$28.7 billion two-way trade this year, Vietnam’s exports to the U.S. rise by 16.7% year-on-year to US$23.7 billion, and imports from the U.S. about US$5 billion, up 8.7% over the previous year.
The growth of Vietnam’s textile and apparel, footwear, furniture and other consumer goods to the U.S. is forecast to rise, partly because of the increased FDI investments in textiles and apparel supporting industries in anticipation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This is a trade pact that Vietnam and the U.S. are negotiating with 10 other nations.
According to Cochran, companies from South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and China have announced more than US$1 billion of investment in Vietnam in apparel, textiles, and footwear in anticipation of the TPP and also because the business environment in China was no longer so favorable for FDI in these key industries.
Cochran quoted sources as saying that TPP would change the apparel sourcing landscape drastically and Vietnam could have a 35% share of the U.S. apparel import market. “That is US$35 billion compared with US$7.7 billion in 2012,” he said.
Cochran said the bilateral trade between the U.S. and Vietnam was put at US$32.1 billion in 2014.