Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh visited California in October in an effort to boost trade with the state. He stopped by the California Chamber of Commerce on October 20, where he discussed future hopes for California and Vietnam’s economic relationship, as well as Vietnam’s support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“America and Vietnam are on the threshold of a stronger, broader and more rewarding relationship. It is 20 years after lifting the trade embargo and establishing diplomatic relations, 14 years after our bilateral trade agreement and eight years after the U.S. granted Vietnam permanent normal trade relations as part of our membership in the World Trade Organization,” Ambassador Vinh wrote in The Sacramento Bee before his meeting with CalChamber.
In addition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, specific topics of discussion centered around agriculture, technology and education.
Vietnam and the United States are partners in the ongoing CalChamber-supported Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
The United States is seeking to develop a high-standard, 21st-century regional trade agreement that will support the creation and retention of jobs in the United States and promote economic growth.
In addition to the United States and Vietnam, the TPP negotiating partners include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore. The goal is to expand the agreement to include countries across the Asia Pacific, which together represent more than half of global output and more than 40% of world trade.
The 12 economies of the TPP concluded their wide-ranging trade/investment negotiations on October 5. The CalChamber supports the TPP trade agreement process as an important vehicle for economic integration throughout the Pacific.
In July 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama and Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang launched the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership, an overarching framework for advancing the bilateral relationship. The new partnership advances key initiatives to bolster U.S.-Vietnam relations and underscores the enduring U.S. commitment to the Asia-Pacific rebalance.
During General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s historic visit to Washington, D.C., in July 2015, the United States and Vietnam recognized the positive and substantive developments in many areas over the 20 years since diplomatic relations were established in 1995, particularly the growth in economic and trade cooperation, cooperation in addressing war legacy issues as well as in science and technology, education, health care, environment, response to climate change, defense, security, human rights, and increasing regional and international cooperation on issues of mutual concern.
Vietnam is a nation of 90.7 million people, the 13th most populated country in the world. With a gross domestic product of $186.2 billion, the economy is growing and the volume of foreign trade has been increasing.
Two-way trade between the United States and Vietnam was approximately $36.3 billion in 2014. The United States exported more than $5.7 billion to Vietnam, with top categories being electronic machinery, seeds and grain products, nuclear reactors, machinery, cotton products, fruit and nuts.
Of the $30.6 billion imported from Vietnam, top categories included apparel articles, electronic machinery, footwear, and furniture, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
According to the most recent census, the United States is the home of more than 1.6 million people of Vietnamese origin, with 40% residing in California. Outside Vietnam, Orange County has the largest Vietnamese community, with more than 180,000 people of Vietnamese descent.
In 2014, California was the top state exporter to Vietnam with more than $1.2 billion, making up 21% of all U.S. exports in goods.
California exports to Vietnam have more than doubled since 2007 and have increased by 9% from 2013 to 2014. Vietnam is California’s 26th largest export destination.
Computer and electronic products were credited with 19.7% of the total, with $237.7 million in exports. Agricultural products held 19.2% with $231.7 million. Food manufactures held 17.4% with $210.3 million. Chemicals held 7.3% with $88.7 million.
According to the California Wine Institute, Vietnam is the ninth largest export destination for California wines, consuming $19.7 million in 2014, up 54.6% from the previous year.
In fact, Ambassador Vinh remarked that wine is only one among countless U.S. exports to Vietnam. West Coast states, particularly California, are leading the way in reaching out to fast-growing markets.
For more information about Vietnam, visit the CalChamber Vietnam Trading Partner Portal, www.calchamber.com/vietnam.