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US toasts Viet Nam’s trading importance

A US Department of Commerce official confirmed the growing importance of his country’s relations with Viet Nam at a reception held at the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington, DC, last week to mark Viet Nam’s National Day on September 2.

“Viet Nam is one of the markets we most want to do business with,” said US Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez. “It’s becoming an increasingly important place to market our goods and services.”

Addressing the reception, Sanchez highlighted Viet Nam’s contributions to the international community and the far-reaching accomplishments of the US and Viet Nam since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1995.

“We share a common national interest in an ever-widening range of regional and global issues, from security and economic development to climate change, health and education,” Sanchez said.

“And economically, we’ve made incredible strides since launching the US-Viet Nam Bilateral Trade Agreement a decade ago.”

Sanchez urged the two countries to continue to enhance the bilateral commercial relationship through such fora as the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

He expressed hope that, with the help of Viet Nam and other Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiating partners, the US would finalise a comprehensive trade agreement as a platform for further APEC integration into the global economy.

Viet Nam’s Ambassador to the US Nguyen Quoc Cuong also spoke, highlighting the achievements gained by the Vietnamese people over the past 66 years.

“From a country with a name hardly found on any world map today, Viet Nam has been widely recognised as a proactive, responsible and reliable partner in the international community,” Cuong said.

“Viet Nam has been making tremendous prog-ress in building a rich and strong nation and a just, democratic and advanced society,” he said. “Our political, security and defence ties are growing on a solid footing with regular senior-level dialogues and exchanges.”

He noted that the US was Viet Nam’s leading export market and one of its top sources of foreign investment, while US exports to Viet Nam had grown at a rate of 20-25 per cent annually.

“We have grounds to believe that investment and trade ties will grow even faster in the years ahead, as we are seriously negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement,” Cuong said. “Our co-operation in science and technology, education, health, climate change, nuclear non-proliferation and counter-terrorism is expanding through institutionalised mechanisms. Multilaterally, we share strategic interests in maintaining and consolidating peace, stability and development in the region.”

Viet Nam has topped ASEAN countries in sending students to the US, with 13,000 now studying there.

Cuong expressed his hope that Viet Nam and the US would bring the bilateral relationship to “the next level of engagement and partnership” as stated by US President Barack Obama when the ambassador presented his credentials on July 7.

The National Day reception was attended by US Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy, Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, Undersecretary of Defense Michael Vickers, and ambassadors from other ASEAN and Asia-Pacific countries, as well as American friends and representatives of the Vietnamese community in the US.

Earlier, on August 31, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent a message of congratulations to the Vietnamese people, reaffirming that the US would continue to be Viet Nam’s friend and partner.

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