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Weekly Trade Spotlight: Trade with the Vietnam

06/07/2010 - 5:23pm

This week Ambassador Demetrios Marantis is traveling to Hanoi, Vietnam to meet with Vietnamese government officials and business leaders. Discussions will center on America’s growing trade and investment relationship with this dynamic and rapidly developing country of 86 million people. This week's trade spotlight is trade relations with Vietnam.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of reestablishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries and the 10 year anniversary of the signing of the U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA). Fifteen years ago, our two countries shared little common ground and had almost no trade between them. Today, Vietnam is our 30th largest trading partner, providing an annual $15 billion in annual two-way trade. 

With the start of the BTA in 2001, trade between Vietnam and the United States began to grow dramatically. The groundbreaking agreement was a starting point for deepening bilateral cooperation on Vietnam’s fundamental economic reforms. Since then, Vietnam has demonstrated its dedication to reform by building a private sector, creating jobs for its young and growing population, and joining the World Trade Organization in 2007. The United States and Vietnam are also negotiating a Bilateral Investment Treaty and both are participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 

In addition to the marked transformation the BTA precipitated in Vietnam, our bilateral trade and investment with the country has brought tremendous benefits to United States businesses and workers. 

Briskheat, an Ohio industrial heat provider, has been exporting its heat trace products for more than three decades and attributes approximately 25 percent of its sales to foreign markets, including Vietnam. Just this past year, Briskheat, which currently employs more than 200 Americans, created approximately 60 jobs at home by exporting abroad. The company understands the importance of building free trade agreements with Vietnam. 

Another U.S. firm, International Truck Sales, LLC in Pooler, Georgia relies on exports, especially to Vietnam, to sustain 95 percent of its gross sales. The company’s president Adriaan Vermaas explains that while the U.S. market is saturated with used trucks and equipment, these products are still relatively new and in high demand in countries like Vietnam. By focusing on untapped markets abroad, this Georgia firm stays competitive. 

Such American business accomplishments have contributed to last year’s 11 percent increase in exports to Vietnam to more than $3 billion. Vietnam was one of the few markets in Asia in which United States exports grew, despite the worldwide economic downturn. 

In his discussions this week, Ambassador Marantis hopes to strengthen and expand our trade relations with Vietnam, a country that continues to offer great opportunities as we strengthen the ties between our two nations.