The signing of the Vietnam-US bilateral trade agreement (BTA) in 2001 marked the start of booming trade between the two countries, which hit 35 billion USD by the end of 2014 from only 1.51 billion USD in 2001.

Twenty years since the normalisation of diplomatic ties between the two nations, Vietnam is now the leading ASEAN exporter to US with a 13-fold export turnover increase while the US is the seventh largest foreign investor in Vietnam.

According to Nguyen Dinh Luong, former Head of the negotiating team on the Vietnam-US BTA, the content of the agreement focused on goods trade, intellectual property, investment relationships and service trade and was designed based on the principles of the World Trade Organisation.

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Thanks to the BTA, Vietnam’s export value to the US experienced a 36-fold increase from 800 million USD in 2000 to nearly 29 billion USD in 2014.

Besides trade, Vietnam is currently an attractive investment option for US businesses. Statistics from the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MoIT) show that by March 20, 2015, there were 735 valid US investment projects in Vietnam with total registered capital of around 11.06 billion USD, ranking the US seventh among 101 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

In the first quarter of this year, Vietnam granted investment certificates to 8 new US projects while two others registered to add combined capital of nearly 70 million USD.

Vietnam was running 124 projects worth 426.74 million USD in the US as of the end of August 2014.

The number of US visitors to Vietnam is on the rise, reaching nearly 444,000 in 2014 and nearly 256,000 in the first six months of this year.

While the BTA laid the foundation for bilateral economic-trade ties, the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is hoped to give a new boost to the ties. It is expected to help Vietnam boost its economic growth and make the Vietnam-US economic ties more comprehensive.

The two countries are aiming to complete bilateral negotiations of the TPP and sign the deal by the end of this year.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham) forecasted that Vietnam’s export turnover to the US will likely hit 57 billion USD by 2020. Once the pact is inked, tariffs on Vietnam’s exports such as textiles, footwear and aquatic products will be reduced to zero percent.

Speaking at a forum held at the Washington D.C.-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in March this year, US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius stressed that Vietnam and the US need to push their trade ties to lift bilateral relations to a higher level.

The TPP is a great opportunity for Vietnam to make a new stride forward in global integration efforts and realise the goal to double trade with the US, he said.

According to AmCham, Vietnam’s involvement in TPP negotiations makes the nation more attractive for foreign investors, including the US. The TPP will also help distinguish the Vietnamese market from others in ASEAN. At present, a number of leading US companies such as Nike, Mast Industries and P&G plan to shift production to Vietnam.

On the occasion of his recent visit to the US, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong affirmed Vietnam will work closely with the US and other countries to accelerate negotiations on the pact.

Source: VNA