Acting U.S. Trade Representative Marantis Meets Leaders to Discuss Key Issues,
Next Steps in Ambitious Trade Talks
Hanoi, Vietnam – Acting United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis said today that the United States is looking forward to further cooperation with Vietnam as our two nations work with other members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to conclude a comprehensive, high-standard trade agreement in the coming months. Ambassador Marantis’s comments came at the close of a three-day visit to Hanoi, where he discussed key outstanding issues with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, with Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh, and with ministers and vice-ministers at Vietnam’s ministries of Planning and Investment, Environment and Natural Resources, and Agriculture and Rural Development. Ambassador Marantis also met with the president of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, the chairman of Vietnam’s Economic Committee, the Prime Minister’s chief advisor on TPP, and with U.S. businesses looking to expand their reach in Vietnam through the TPP.
“The United States values the Trans-Pacific Partnership as an opportunity to support more American jobs through increased trade, as well as to deepen economic integration with our partners across the Asia-Pacific. Here in Vietnam, we have reaffirmed our commitment to continuing rapid progress in the TPP talks, and to working with Vietnam to get to the ambitious outcomes that are the core of this groundbreaking effort. My discussions with Vietnamese leaders have focused on meaningful market access in Vietnam for both goods and services, as well as the importance of robust and fully enforceable labor and environmental provisions – which the United States has been clear would be necessary for a final agreement. In our meetings, I have appreciated Vietnamese leaders’ continuing commitment to the high standards that the TPP partners continue to envision for this landmark trade agreement,” said Ambassador Marantis. “I have also shared that the United States remains ready to provide technical assistance to Vietnam as it seeks to use the TPP to help support its economic reform agenda and distinguish itself from its regional competitors. The United States also is committed to helping Vietnam achieve the high standards the TPP countries are seeking, which is the best way to promote development in Vietnam and in the region.”
Vietnam’s rapid economic growth is raising income levels and standards of living for its 92 million people, creating new economic opportunities and huge demand for U.S. goods and services. There has been tremendous growth in the U.S.-Vietnam trade relationship since the conclusion of a Bilateral Trade Agreement in December 2001; two-way trade has grown since then from about $1 billion then to $26 billion last year. U.S. exports to Vietnam increased 7.3 percent in 2012, and there is room for further significant growth including in manufactured goods where top U.S. exports include machinery, and for U.S. agricultural products such as beef, pork and poultry as well as soybeans, cereals and cotton. In 2012, the United States exported $1.7 billion dollars’ worth of agricultural products to Vietnam, making Vietnam our 16th largest agricultural export market.
Ambassador Marantis now travels to Burma, where he will meet with officials and speak to students about opportunities to further re-establish and grow job-supporting two-way and regional trade opportunities with that country.