US investors have highlighted positive prospects of the Vietnam-US trade ties, saying Vietnam’s exports to the US have continuously increased over the past years.
According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the US has remained Vietnam’s leading trade partner over the past decade. In 2017, Vietnam exported 41.6 billion USD worth of goods to the US, making up more than 20 percent of the country’s total export revenue.
Two-way trade expanded 47 times, from 220 million USD in 1994 when the US lifted economic embargo against Vietnam to 1.4 billion USD in 2001, one year before the Vietnam-US bilateral trade agreement took effect, and 50.81 billion USD in 2017.
Currently, Vietnam ranks 12th among exporters to the US and the 27th among the importers of US goods. The Southeast Asian nation is the US’s 16th largest trade partner.
MoIT Deputy Minister Do Thang Hai said the Vietnamese and US economies are supplementary. He explained that as a developing economy, Vietnam has great demands for imported machines, high-tech equipment, technology and materials in service of agricultural production. Meanwhile, the US is in need of typical farm produce and products that Vietnam has a competitive edge in production.
However, he pointed out that Vietnam mainly ships traditional products like garments-textiles, leather and footwear, timber products, machines and electronic equipment to the US. Products of high added values or luxury consumer goods make up only a small share of the country’s total exports to the US.
But to increase the shipment of products with high added values, a major challenge to Vietnamese exporters is how to satisfy standards set by the US, Hai said, adding that the US law system has imposed multiple strict regulations for imported goods, at both federal and state levels.
Besides, the US has increased regulations and standards regarding food quality and safety, and product origin, especially to agro-forestry-fishery products under its recent new trade policy, the official said.
Virginia Foote, from the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Hanoi, suggested Vietnamese enterprises increase added values for export items to the US, possibly by partnering with local businesses.
Regarding the US barriers to the fishery sector, Truong Dinh Hoe, General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said his association always accompanies domestic seafood businesses to employ concrete measures in order to ensure food safety and quality of products.
Hai said the MoIT encourages Vietnamese enterprises to join hands in developing supply chains to the US, noting that his ministry is always ready to support them.
He added that linkage and cooperation among enterprises are also important in dealing with trade lawsuits.
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