WASHINGTON DC — About 20 business deals worth a total of some US$10 billion between US and Vietnamese enterprises were signed yesterday during Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s visit to the US.
Vietjet Air, a Vietnamese low-cost carrier, inked several deals with General Electric (GE) to buy Airbus engines for 10 new Airbus A321 aircrafts along with maintenance deals worth a total $3.58 billion.
Another billion-dollar deal was between GE and the Phú Cường Group to develop an 800 MW wind farm in the southern province of Sóc Trăng. The $2-billion agreement was among five deals involving GE worth $6 billion to support Việt Nam’s energy and aviation sectors.
GE also signed a memorandum of understanding with the state-owned PetroVietnam to develop two 750 MW combined cycle gas turbine power plants.
PM meets US trade official
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc met US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in Washington DC on Tuesday (local time).
The PM lauded the development of co-operation in economics, trade and investment between the two countries in recent years, emphasising this as a driving force in bilateral relations, contributing to growth and job generation.
He affirmed that Việt Nam attaches importance to economic-trade-investment collaboration with the US and wishes to boost bilateral economic ties for mutual benefits.
Việt Nam will create more favourable conditions for the US to bring products to the market while improving the business and investment environment, he said.
The US guests agreed that the two countries have complementary economies, adding that the US treasures economic-trade ties with Việt Nam and welcomes the Southeast Asian nation to continue pursuing economic reforms and international integration, enabling US firms to invest and do business.
The US side hailed the Vietnamese Government for easing some issues of US concern and its will to support US growth and employment targets.
Both nations should approve the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) mechanism to further discuss addressing difficulties in trade.
Speaking at a meeting with leading enterprises of the US and at the banquet jointly held by the US Chamber of Commerce and the US-ASEAN Business Council, PM Phúc applauded US firms’ investment in Việt Nam.
He asserted Viet Nam’s determination to promote renovation and international integration, and implement measures in line with fair trade rules, stressing that Việt Nam considers US enterprises’ success as its success.
US firms affirmed their support for strengthened relations between the two countries, saying that the Vietnamese Government’s policies created a fair environment for foreign enterprises, including those from the US.
They said they will support Việt Nam in holding APEC 2017.
The same day, PM Phúc received the World Bank’s Regional Vice President for the East Asia and Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, during which he asked the bank to continue supporting Viet Nam in both international support and economic and financial policy consultation.
Kwakwa expressed her admiration for Việt Nam’s development as well as the country’s achievements in poverty reduction.
She said the World Bank’s Boards of Directors supports Việt Nam’s measures to promote economic restructuring and growth expansion, affirming that the bank will continue to make it easy for the Vietnamese Government to achieve stronger development.
VN, US hold trade talks
Minister of Industry and Trade Trần Tuấn Anh and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met as co-chairs of the Việt Nam-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council on Tuesday.
The two trade officials discussed ways to address economic and trade barriers between the two nations during their meeting in Washington, reflecting a spirit of openness and candid dialogue.
Minister Trần Tuấn Anh stated Vêệt Nam’s stance and proposals on how to tackle economic, trade and investment issues of the United States’ concern, including advertisements on US social websites, e-payment services and import of some farm produce products.
He urged the United States to soon recognise Việt Nam as a market economy and give thorough consideration and make fair decisions on anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation on Vietnamese exports in line with United States and the World Trade Organisation’s regulations.
He also asked the United States to end the catfish investigation and speed up licensing procedures to import fruit from Việt Nam.
At the meeting, the US trade representative lauded Việt Nam for successfully organising the 23rd APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting while affirming that the TIFA Council is an important mechanism to handle economic, trade and investment issues between the two nations.
Both sides agreed to promote activities of the TIFA Council to address problems that may arise and further enhance economic relations between the two countries in the future.
US businesses must engage
US businesses must engage more strongly in Viet Nam’s economic restructuring, especially in the finance-banking sector and in State-owned enterprise equitisation, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said on Tuesday.
He made the remark while attending a round-table talk on the US-Viet Nam investment co-operation in New York. The event, held by Harbinger Capital and the Asia Group, involved executives of 20 leading financial groups, investment funds and firms in the United States.
Phuc noted that the United States has become one of Việt Nam’s leading investment partners, with 835 projects and a total registered capital of around US$10.2 billion. Many major US businesses have been present in Việt Nam for years and are running successfully. With bilateral trade crossing $47 billion in 2016, the United States is now the country’s third-biggest trade partner.
The Prime Minister briefed US entrepreneurs about the country’s socio-economic situation after three decades of reforms, the opening of markets and integration. He laid emphasis on Việt Nam’s significant achievements, and said it has become a middle-income country with growing economic integration, and a close partner to almost all economies in the world.
Việt Nam is promoting mergers and acquisitions with regards to the equitisation of State-owned enterprises in fields such as transport, infrastructure, food, telecommunications, agriculture, services and tourism, he said.
The US exports to Việt Nam is on the rise, and he expressed confidence that the co-operation documents to be signed during his visit will help the two countries achieve a trade balance and optimise their own advantages.
“That trend is not contradictory, it supports each other. For example, Việt Nam imports machinery, equipment and some other products from the US, while exporting foods that US consumers prefer, such as fish, shrimp, fruits and footwear,” he said.
At the forum, participating US entrepreneurs assessed Việt Nam as a country with rich investment potential in various spheres, abundant human resources, social and political stability, increasing integration into the world, and a strong resolve to promote the growth of the business community.
Philip Falcone, president of Harbinger Capital, which has invested $4.2 billion in the Hồ Tràm Strip project in the southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, pledged to continue pushing US investors and businesses towards the Vietnamese market, and help improve bilateral economic, trade and investment co-operation in the future. He hoped the Vietnamese Government would create even more favourable conditions that encourage US enterprises to make long-term, stable investments.
Charles Kaye, co-chief executive officer at Warburg Pincus, described Việt Nam as a destination for investment opportunities with favourable infrastructure to access retail services, healthcare, and new technologies.
The KKR Global Institute said it is preparing a fund of around $9 billion to invest in emerging markets, including Việt Nam – a market with young population, high GDP growth, and attractive global competitiveness.
Nguyễn Chí Dũng, Minister of Planning and Investment, said US businesses should recognise Việt Nam’s investment environment, which has distinctive advantages, and make quick decisions on implementing programmes and projects. Việt Nam encourages US businesses to join in the equitisation of State-owned enterprises, supplement capital for business development, and promote the transfer of technology, he said.
Phúc acknowledged the frank and candid opinions of business executives at the meeting, especially their recommendations to improve the investment environment. The Vietnamese Government will take these suggestions into account while forming policies, he said.
The PM quoted former US president Theodore Roosevelt who said: “Believe you can and you’re halfway there,” and said the 20-year-old co-operation relations between Việt Nam and the US are strong enough to overcome challenges and achieve higher targets.
With open and attractive policies, human resources and development potential, Việt Nam will continue to hold its position as the gateway for a dynamic ASEAN region, a strategic investment destination for foreign investors, and an important link in the global supply chain, Phúc said.
Việt Nam welcomes investors to areas such as infrastructure development, high-quality services, energy, manufacturing, tourism, and especially the capital market, the PM said. Businesses can engage in the stock and bond markets, develop information technology, do education-training, aviation, among other things.