EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA HANOI
Dear AmCham Members,
2019 is a particularly special year for the U.S. business community in Vietnam. On February 3, 25 years ago, the United States renewed trade relations with Vietnam by lifting our trade embargo. Just one month later, the local chapter of AmCham formed to support U.S. companies here and at the same time to improve business conditions, strengthen the private sector, and promote economic development.
That decision in 1994, and the years of hard work since, have paid off. What started out with $220 million in annual trade has grown to roughly $60 billion today. In 1994, Vietnam was our 95th largest source of imports. Today, it ranks 12th. The United States is now Vietnam’s largest export market, and Vietnam is one of America’s fastest growing markets.
In 2018, we continued to build on this legacy- we worked hard and achieved many successes. This includes selling more than $4 billion in agricultural products and opening the market for future U.S. exports of aircraft, LNG, and smart cities technology.
Today, the U.S.-Vietnam relationship is stronger than it has ever been. However, we know challenges still exist – with the new cybersecurity law, the tax regime, various technical barriers to trade, and excessive red tape. We will continue to fight for you and are optimistic the Vietnamese authorities will continue to be responsive to our concerns.
President Trump’s Indo-Pacific Strategy is built on the firm belief that a strong, prosperous, and independent future can only be achieved by unleashing private capital and enabling private sector firms to invent and invest. In light of Vietnam’s great infrastructure needs, we believe that companies like yours – investing on your own or in public-private partnerships – represent the future for healthcare, transportation, energy, and many other sectors. As Vietnam aims for a digital future, we welcome its desire to be a leader in adopting SG technology, artificial intelligence, and robotics. We encourage Vietnam to use U.S. technology and to adopt worldwide standards that can drive speed, efficiency, and security. We will continue to work together with AmCham to promote these goals and ensure that our companies receive fair treatment in Vietnam.
This year’s anniversary of the lifting of the trade embargo will be followed next year by the 25th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties. Looking forward to that milestone, I am sure you share my desire for further progress in bilateral trade and investment. I know we can count on each other as we pursue a bright new era of business cooperation between our two nations. So I encourage you to think big – really big – and engage with us to help make it happen. I am ready. We are ready to support you, and together we will define the U.S.-Vietnam business relationship for decades to come.
Here is to a prosperous and peaceful 2019.
Ambassador Daniel J. Kritenbrink