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Vietnam’s President Hears Praise for Country’s Economic Progress
July 25, 2013

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang discuss trade issues in Washington July 24.

Washington, DC
July 24,  2013

Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, meeting in Washington July 24 with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and other top U.S. trade officials, heard praise for the economic progress in his country.

Pritzker highlighted that Vietnam has made significant progress on economic reforms, which have contributed to its economic growth over the past decade, according to a summary of the meeting in a Commerce Department blog post the same day.

Pritzker also talked about how the U.S.-Vietnamese bilateral trade relationship continues to grow each year, with U.S. exports to Vietnam up 22 percent in May 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, and imports from Vietnam up 16 percent.

Sang and Pritzker were joined by other U.S. Commerce Department officials, including Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez, Assistant Secretary for Import Administration Paul Piquado and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia Craig Allen. Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang took part in the meeting as well.

President Sang is only the second Vietnamese president to visit the United States since the normalization of diplomatic relations 18 years ago, the blog post said.

Commerce between Vietnam and the United States has thrived since the 2001 U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement went into effect and Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization in 2007. Pritzker emphasized the importance of concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations in 2013, which is a top priority for the Obama administration.

With Japan’s entry at the end of July, the 12 TPP countries will account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP. The secretary affirmed to President Sang the U.S. commitment to working closely with Vietnam to reach consensus on the TPP countries’ shared vision for a comprehensive 21st-century trade and investment agreement.

Vietnam has a significant amount to gain from this agreement, the blog post said, particularly when it comes to increasing its exports. The country currently exports $95.5 billion in goods and services, of which nearly $17 billion is to the United States. Pritzker expressed the U.S. commitment to working with Vietnam on reciprocal market access of goods and services.

In addition, Sang and Pritzker discussed Vietnam’s civil nuclear and renewable energy sectors, which are priorities for the country. Ensuring that Vietnam has access to the very best of American industry will help support both countries’ economies, Pritzker said.