Bùi Huy Sơn, Counselor of the Việt Nam Trade Office in the US
Trade relations between Việt Nam and the US in recent years have achieved impressive developments. In the past two years, despite the complicated development of the COVID-19 pandemic and global trade conflict, the US has maintained its position as the largest export market of Việt Nam, while Việt Nam continues to rise to become the US’ ninth largest trading partner. Particularly in 2021, two-way turnover surpassed US$100 billion for the first time.
Bùi Huy Sơn, Counselor of the Việt Nam Trade Office in the US, talks to the Voice of Việt Nam correspondent in the US about Việt Nam-US trade relations in 2021 and opportunities to promote the relationship between Việt Nam and the US in the near future.
Can you tell us about the outcomes in the field of trade between Việt Nam and the US in 2021?
In 2021, a few key bright spots can be drawn in economic and trade cooperation between Việt Nam and the US. First of all, we see the development results of economic and trade cooperation with two-way turnover exceeding US$100 billion for the first time.
That is a very important achievement, especially given the pandemic, as well as the disruptions and disturbances in the supply chain and logistics activities, not only the relationship between Việt Nam and the US but also in commercial relations in the world in general.
The second achievement is the effective and successful coordination between the two sides in policy exchanges, especially related to the consultation process to reach an agreement to the two investigations under Section 301 of the US side, thereby achieving the final result of avoiding the US imposition of tariffs on Việt Nam. This is also the basis for the two sides to maintain a favourable policy dialogue relationship in the future.
Along with that, other outcomes are the active and flexible activities of the business communities of the two sides, continuing to further expand trade and investment activities, such as the resumption of direct flights between Việt Nam and the US, and the fact that Vietnamese businesses are increasing investment in the US to continue to expand their presence in a sustainable way in this market.
It is said that Việt Nam and the US are two complementary economies. How has this been reflected in 2021?
The year 2021 once again affirms the complementarity relationship between the two economies of Việt Nam and the US. First of all, looking at import and export activities, not only has the total two-way turnover reached a record level, it is also worth mentioning that export activities from both directions have had good growth rates.
Specifically, according to official statistics from Việt Nam, Việt Nam's exports to the US achieved a growth rate of over 24 per cent, while US exports to Việt Nam also grew by nearly 14 per cent. This is a very positive result, demonstrating market opportunities, the ability to seize and take advantage of opportunities very well between the two economies.
Also, when looking a little deeper into the structure of goods, we can see that the import and export goods between the two sides are very complementary. The Vietnamese side exports to the US goods such as components, electronic machinery, textiles, footwear, agricultural and aquatic products. Meanwhile, Việt Nam imports from the US groups of raw materials for production, such as cotton for the textile industry, wood materials for the export of wood and furniture, or a variety of other raw materials, pharmaceuticals and fruits that we cannot produce domestically.
The complicated development of the COVID-19 pandemic poses both challenges and opportunities for Việt Nam and the US, so what should the two countries do to seize opportunities and adapt to the new situation?
It is true that in the current context, we see many favourable facts for economic and trade development between the two sides. These include the desire, goodwill to cooperate, favourable policy environment between the two sides, as well as the recovery situation of both economies.
However, we also see disadvantages and unpredictable factors, such as the pandemic, the economic situation with high prices in the US, especially the resilience of other economies participating in the global supply chain.
In such a context, we need to continue efforts from both sides, first of all in terms of policy. The two sides continue to maintain a dialogue channel, sharing information, further enhancing mutual understanding so that we can promptly detect and coordinate to handle arising problems in a favourable manner.
At the same time, businesses also need to seize opportunities, especially opportunities from the strong recovery of the US economy, since different forecasts assess the relatively high growth rate of the US economy in 2022.
Businesses must closely observe market developments, ensure the requirements of legal traceability, storage, information about documents, invoices for the origin of goods, so that they can promptly coordinate and provide information when there are requests for investigation and verification by US relevant agencies.
By doing these well, new businesses can be proactive, confident and develop exports in a sustainable way. Along with that, the need for advertising and trade promotion in the current context through e-commerce channels, accessing new markets is absolutely necessary for businesses to penetrate and stand firmly in the US market the near future. VNS