Vietnam, US to bolster trade cooperation

(VNA) Industry and Trade Minster Vu Huy Hoang paid a working visit to Washington from May 23-25, where he met with US officials, MPs and businessmen.

As Co-President of the Vietnam-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council, the Minister held a working session with US trade representative Ron Kirk, reviewing cooperation between the two countries and agreeing on future cooperative measures.

Through the TIFA cooperation, the two sides were implementing the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Different viewpoints were discussed at the meeting.

Meeting with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the two sides agreed that trade in farm produce between the two countries had recently surged.

In 2010, the US earned 630 million USD from exports of farm produce to Vietnam , 200 percent more than the previous year, while Vietnam ’s farm produce exports to the US were valued at 1.6 billion USD.

They agreed that agriculture was a high-potential field for increased trade and the two sides should boost exports in the near future.

Firstly, Vietnam and the US will open their markets for fruit that they cannot produce in their own country due to geographical conditions.

On the question of US beef imports into Vietnam , the two sides agreed to promptly solve technical obstacles.

Relating to the redefinition of pangasius or tra fish products, Vilsack said that the US would ask for public opinions and require Vietnam to give opinion on this process while the US side would ensure that the process was open and clear.

Meeting with the Vietnamese Minister, Senators Jim Webb and John McCain praised Vietnam ’s socio-economic achievements. They said that economic relations would continue to provide momentum to boost relations between the two countries, stressing that the two sides needed to exert efforts to step up the current ties, especially in raising the effectiveness of economic relations.

The senators also hailed Vietnam and other ASEAN member countries for actively taking part in the Mekong sub-region initiative of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009.

During meetings in Washington , Minister Hoang affirmed that Vietnam was an active and responsible partner. However, Vietnam needed a process to conduct the TPP at very high standards.

The US side discussed difficulties with Vietnam and said they were ready to help Vietnam with techniques to improve capacity and meet the demands of negotiations, as well as to implement the TPP agreement in the future.

During the visit, Minister Hoang also met with representatives of US businesses, answering their questions relating to Vietnamese policies on the macro-economy, the investment environment, custom procedures and import and export issues.

He affirmed that implementing those policies was aimed at stabilising the macro economy, to benefit Vietnam and also to assist foreign businesses operating in Vietnam. /.