U.S. and Vietnam officials met in Hanoi earlier this week for their first Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meeting since 2011 to discuss deepening trade ties and address outstanding bilateral trade issues.
The meeting, held from March 27-28, was also an opportunity for President Donald Trump Administration to reaffirm its commitment to expanding ties with the Asia-Pacific region, including Vietnam, the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi said in a statement on Thursday.
The U.S. delegation, led by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Barbara Weisel, called on Vietnam to promptly address bilateral issues and launch working groups focused on resolving matters related to agriculture and food safety, intellectual property, digital trade, financial services, customs, industrial goods, transparency and good governance, and illegal wildlife trafficking.
Vietnam also updated U.S. officials on its plans to introduce certain labor reforms.
The meeting reviewed Vietnam’s implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) trade facilitation agreement, as well as Vietnam’s participation in the expansion of the WTO Information Technology Agreement.
Discussion also covered opportunities for the U.S. and Vietnam to cooperate for the advancement of their common interest in building U.S.-ASEAN ties.
ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is a ten-member socio-political organization whose members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
In his remarks at the meeting, Tran Tuan Anh, Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade and head of the Vietnamese delegation, welcomed the resumption of talks under the TIFA and efforts to further deepen bilateral trade ties.
In 2016, Vietnam was the U.S.’s 16th largest goods trading partner with US$52.3 billion in total two-way goods trade.
Vietnam was also the tenth largest export market for U.S. agricultural products in 2016, totaling $2.7 billion.
Bilateral trade in services totaled an estimated $3.1 billion in 2015, according to the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi.