US Corporate Giants Strengthen Bonds with Vietnam Amid Historic Delegation

The US-ASEAN Business Council leads an unprecedented mission to Vietnam, underscoring its dedication to fostering strategic collaboration and investment prospects across pivotal sectors.

From March 18 to 21, the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) orchestrated a momentous gathering of senior executives from 50 prominent US firms in Hanoi for its annual Business Mission to Vietnam. This event marked the largest assembly of US companies in Vietnam since the momentous elevation of Vietnam-United States relations to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP).

During the visit, the delegation engaged with government officials and key stakeholders across various ministries and agencies to reaffirm their support for the Government of Vietnam’s endeavors and propose further cooperation across diverse sectors.

These partnerships aimed to reinforce Vietnam’s strategic initiatives, including digital transformation, transitioning towards sustainability for achieving net-zero goals, and augmenting Vietnam’s role in the global supply chain by fortifying infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities.

Furthermore, the US business community aimed to facilitate the realization of initiatives and objectives outlined in the Vietnam-U.S. CSP.

Acknowledging the significance of the moment, Ted Osius, President & CEO of USABC and former US Ambassador to Vietnam, emphasized that this delegation represents the largest scale of US business engagement with Vietnam since the inception of the CSP.

“The presence of representatives from both the public and private sectors in the US underscores the close collaboration within the framework of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Osius added. “US companies are eager to collaborate with Vietnam to enhance its global supply chain presence.”

Marc Knapper, the US Ambassador to Vietnam, highlighted the evolving nature of bilateral relations, noting the substantial representation of US businesses as a testament to both governments’ commitments under the CSP.

“Vietnam holds a pivotal position in the global supply chain, essential for regional peace, security, and prosperity,” Ambassador Knapper stated. “US businesses are keen on deepening collaboration across various domains to foster mutual benefits and nurture enduring relations.”

Echoing these sentiments, Special Representative Sarah Morgenthau from the US Department of State emphasized the evolving dynamics of bilateral ties, underscoring the pivotal role of the Vietnamese community in the US and Vietnam’s significance in the ASEAN region.

The participating companies span diverse industries, including digital technology, energy, aerospace, defense, manufacturing, consumer goods, agriculture, financial services, healthcare, and investment funds. This broad spectrum reflects the eagerness of US companies towards Vietnam as an enticing emerging market and investment hub.

US business representatives expressed confidence in Vietnam’s economic trajectory and commended the Vietnamese government’s efforts to enhance the investment climate.

Joseph Uddo, General Director of AES Vietnam, a major investor in Vietnam’s energy market, expressed optimism about Vietnam’s economic prospects, citing the burgeoning demand for electricity and energy supply in the rapidly growing economy.

The visit also witnessed tangible outcomes in terms of investment commitments. Leaders from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) and the Vietnam Development Bank (VDB) inked a $500 million Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), aimed at bolstering US exports to Vietnam, particularly targeting green infrastructure and climate adaptation projects.

Reta Jo Lewis, President and Chair of US Eximbank, reiterated the bank’s commitment to enhancing cooperation under the CSP, following years of robust support for US-Vietnam financial transactions.

Amidst this burgeoning relationship, US businesses affirmed their intention to ramp up investments in Vietnam. Rafael Frankel, Director of Public Policy at Meta, emphasized the pivotal role of business partnerships in driving bilateral ties forward, hinting at Meta’s plans to introduce innovative products and services in Vietnam.

Furthermore, first-time investor Alex Levi, CEO of Atmo, a US weather forecasting services provider, expressed confidence in Vietnam’s investment potential, emphasizing their commitment to delivering value to the Vietnamese community.

Despite these promising developments, recent data from the Ministry of Planning and Investment underscored the need for deeper US investment engagement in Vietnam. While US investment remains significant, it currently ranks outside the top five countries investing in Vietnam.

Vu Tu Thanh, the Council’s Deputy Regional Managing Director & Vietnam Chief Representative, highlighted the nuanced nature of US investment, emphasizing the substantial impact of US companies operating through value chains, which may not be fully reflected in official statistics.

Overall, this year’s mission received robust support from the US government, underscoring the importance of fostering enduring ties between the two nations. As Ted Osius pointed out, while some US investments may route through other countries, American engagement with Vietnam continues to expand, heralding a promising future for bilateral relations.

Source: Ngoc Lan – VNEconomy

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