Viet Nam-US Multifaceted Ties Since Normalisation

triet_bush.jpgThe twelve-year period since Viet Nam-US normalisation is not long but very significant in the relationship between the two former foes.

After establishing diplomatic ties on July 12, 1995, both Viet Nam and the US have done their utmost to develop and expand their relations to various areas.

A small-sized cooperation in humanitarian issue at the beginning has been spreading out to politics, economy, education, health care, science, technology and even in very new areas such as defence and cooperation in military-to-military relationship and a fight against terrorism, drug related and transnational crimes.

Economic cooperation and trade are always the most talked-about area, which also saw most achievements, in the two countries' bilateral relations. The Viet Nam-US Bilateral Trade Agreement, sealed in June, 2000 and effective in December, 2001, created an important legal framework for the two sides to promote commercial and investment cooperation. The two-way trade reached 8.7 billion USD in 2005, a five-fold increase over 2001, and rose to 9.7 billion USD only one year later. The US is now the biggest market of Viet Nam 's exports.

By the end of April, 2007, the US had invested into Viet Nam more than 2.3 billion USD, becoming the 8th largest foreign investor in the Southeast Asian country. More than 1,000 US businesses are operating in Viet Nam .

The two sides have also gradually increased cooperation in post-war humanitarian issues. Viet Nam has been working closely with the US in locating and accounting Americans who remain missing in action since the war. The two countries have conducted 89 joint recovery operations and Viet Nam has handed over to the US side remains of more than 850 American servicemen.

The US side has provided assistance to Viet Nam to deal with aftermaths of the past war, such as providing information relating to Vietnamese still missing, organising international conference on the consequences of Agent Orange, carrying out programmes on landmine clearing, tree planting and giving support to AO victims. On May 25, 2007, the US Congress ratified an expenditure worth 3 million USD to assist Viet Nam in environmental protection and healthcare.

During President George Bush's visit to Viet Nam in November 2006, the two sides issued a joint statement affirming their efforts to ensure that bilateral relations are stable, constructive, broad-based, and conducted on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual benefit.

Two-way trade activities and the US 's investment into Viet Nam are expected to strongly increase as US President George Bush has signed into law a bill on establishment of the Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status with Viet Nam in December last year and Viet Nam then officially became a member of the World Trade Organisation./.