US remains Vietnam’s key trade partner

(VOV) - Vietnam’s trade surplus with the US continues to rise, from US$10 billion in 2010, to $14.8 billion in 2012, and estimated $20 billion in 2013.

Vietnamese US-based Trade Counsellor Dao Tran Nhan says the lofty trade surplus has helped readjust the country’s 2013 trade balance.

With annual GDP valued at more than US$15 trillion, the US is a massive market attracting the interest of any countries intent on boosting trade, industrial development, and cooperation.

Shrimp is one of Vietnam's major seafood exports to the US

The recently established comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and the US has promoted cooperation in all aspects of politics, diplomacy, economics, trade, investment, education, science-technology, and national defence and security.

Both countries are eagerly anticipating the surge in two-way trade and investment expected after the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is signed and comes into force.

The TPP will strengthen bilateral ties, create more opportunities for US investment in Vietnam, and help accelerate Vietnam’s economic restructuring and business environment reforms.

Vietnam works alongside the US at international forums including ASEAN, the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), the East Asia Summit, and APEC.

Two-way trade has increased 54-fold during the past 18 years. As of May 2013, US investment in Vietnam totalled US$10.5 billion, the seventh highest of all of Vietnam’s foreign investors.

Many key Vietnamese exports have enjoyed US market success, including garments, leather footwear, wood products, and farm products.

Nhan was careful to warn businesses still face anti-dumping and anti-subsidy actions, as well as periods of review (POR), when attempting to export into the US.

The Vietnamese Trade Office in the US has shouldered some of the resulting legal burdens and helped Vietnamese businesses secure US market access.

Vietnam has won a number of lawsuits and PORs—on behalf of exports such as frozen Tra fish fillets, warmwater shrimp, and carbon steel pipes—that forced US authorities to rescind unreasonably high tariffs previously imposed.

Nhan believes Vietnamese businesses can maximise their chances for US profits by closely monitoring the US Food Safety Modernisation Act and its new regulations on good manufacturing practice and third-party auditor accreditation.

He also reminded competing exporters to negotiate common pricing and export plans and thereby avoid the sudden export volume surges that spark dumping suspicions.

While acknowledging these challenges, Nhan remains confident Vietnamese exporters can capitalise on US opportunities, and is expecting a 2014 export value 10% higher than in 2013.