In a recent working session in Washington between ASEAN countries’ ambassadors to the US with representatives of the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the Export-Import Bank of the US (EXIM), Vietnamese Ambassador Ha Kim Ngoc highly valued the ASEAN-US strategic partnership, adding that Vietnam attaches great importance to its comprehensive partnership with the US.

He mentioned a number of priority areas of ASEAN and Vietnam such as energy infrastructure development, transportation, agriculture and health, and asked the US side to develop an overall cooperation strategy with a long-term vision, goals and commitments in Southeast Asia, and see ASEAN as a priority partner.

Vietnamese Ambassador Ha Kim Ngoc (L), EXIM President Kimberly Reed (C) and USTDA Acting Director Thomas Hardy

Ngoc also suggested the US intensify consultations with partners in the region at the government level, as well as authorities and stakeholders at local levels. He also called for the US’s support in human resource training, and technical assistance and cooperation programs with ASEAN's master infrastructure development plans as well as cooperation plans between ASEAN and its partners such as Japan and Australia.

Sharing the same view, the ambassadors of other ASEAN nations welcomed the role of the USTDA and EXIM in promoting regional cooperation, while pointing out their priorities in infrastructure development.

For his part, USTDA Acting Director Thomas Hardy thanked and acknowledged Vietnam’s recommendations and contributions as well as opinions from other ASEAN countries, stressing that ASEAN is a cooperation priority for the US administration in the framework of its Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS).

As one of the IPS enforcement agencies, the USTDA promotes the construction of feasible projects to support sustainable and high-quality infrastructure development in Southeast Asia, especially projects in the fields of energy, transport, information technology and health, he stressed.

Hardy said the USTDA welcomes ASEAN countries to share priorities in specific fields and looks forward to ASEAN's support for and cooperation with the USTDA to organize the Indo-Pacific Business Forum scheduled for November 2020 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Meanwhile, EXIM President Kimberly Reed updated the ASEAN ambassadors on financial opportunities for the private sector through direct lending, guaranteed loans, and export credit for small businesses.

She affirmed that EXIM is ready to join the USTDA in seeking and strengthening cooperation with ASEAN countries, expressing her thanks to Vietnam as the Chair of ASEAN in 2020 for its appropriate proposals to promote cooperation between the bloc and the two US agencies.

Source: VNA