|Vietnam – US Trade Promotion Forum in the New Context. Photo: VCCI|
On the afternoon of November 16, in Hanoi, the forum “Promoting Vietnam-US trade in new circumstances” was held under the direction of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).
Expectations in digital commerce
Speaking at the opening of the forum, Mr. Hoang Quang Phong, Vice President of VCCI, said that during the 25 years since the two countries established diplomatic relations, the two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and the US has increased hundreds of times, from US$451 million in 1995 to US$90.8 billion in 2020. This number is expected to soon reach the target of US$100 billion.
Regarding investment, the US is the 11th largest foreign investor in Vietnam with diversified investment forms, with projects registered in 43 out of 63 provinces. Mr. Phong said after a long time of effective operation, many large US corporations wish to expand their investment scale, helping Vietnam gradually build a foothold in regional and global supply chains.
Besides economic cooperation, Mr. Hoang Quang Phong said that Vietnam – US cooperation is not limited to bilateral issues but it is expanding to regional and global issues.
Sharing the same view, Ms. Virginia Foote, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (Amcham), said that there are many issues the two sides need to work on to further promote economic cooperation and investment. Therefore, she recommended Vietnam’s management agencies minimize administrative procedures, especially expensive ones.
According to Ms. Bui Kim Thuy, Senior Representative to Vietnam – US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC), the US economy has three major pillars, of which the most important is the digital economy, which is represented by digital connectivity and network security. The second is energy, and the third is the infrastructure pillar.
“Unfortunately, the CPTPP is absent from the US, but we all have the right to look forward to the future, to expect digital trade agreements between Vietnam and the US, between the US and ASEAN,” Ms. Bui Kim Thuy said.
The deeper the relationship, the greater the challenge
When discussing opportunities and challenges related to trade and investment between Vietnam and the US, Mr. Nguyen Thang Vuong, representative of the European-American Market Department, Ministry of Industry and Trade, acknowledged that the more we expand and deepen our relationship with a stronger partner like the United States, the greater the challenge will be. For example, in the bilateral relationship between Vietnam and the United States, there is a gap between requirements and the ability to meet them, so it is necessary to focus on overcoming them.
According to the representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, in the process of negotiating agreements, the US always considers Vietnam a trading partner that is benefiting from global uncertainties, therefore, it is necessary to consider and balance carefully when it comes to trade deals.
From a business perspective, Mr. Ngo Si Hoai, Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Forest Products Association, said that when exporting to the US, Vietnamese enterprises still face obstacles related to wood materials.
The US side is very interested in the legality of wood materials exported to the US. Moreover, the freight rates for wood from Vietnam to the United States increased sharply, and input materials imported from the United States also increased, but this difficulty is temporary.
Noting the challenges when businesses enter the US market, Ms. Phan Thi Thanh Xuan, Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association, said orders from the US market are very large, so businesses must have the capacity and scale to meet it. This is a limitation because many businesses cannot meet the requirements of those orders.
In addition, representatives of businesses in the leather and footwear industry also said that US consumers like to use brands, which forces Vietnam to appear in this market through famous brands.