Vietnam has no intention to manipulate its currency, the foreign ministry said on Thursday in response to U.S. concerns that the Southeast Asian country could attempt to exploit the U.S.-China trade war.
The U.S. Treasury Department, in a semi-annual report to Congress, said it had reviewed the policies of an expanded set of 21 major U.S. trading partners and found that nine, including Vietnam, required close attention due to their currency practices.
Other countries on the currency manipulation watchlist include Germany, China, Italy, Ireland, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore.
The U.S. Treasury Department report has caused concern for Vietnam and other countries on the list, which worry that the backdrop of the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China could lead to serious effects on their own economies.
Asked to comment on this issue by Tuoi Tre News at a press conference in Hanoi on Thursday, Vietnam’s foreign ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang stated that Hanoi will continue to focus on promoting economic restructuring as well as improving the investment and business environment in a transparent way for domestic and foreign enterprises.
“I can say Vietnam does not manipulate, and has no intention of manipulating, its currency in order to earn export advantages,” Hang underlined.
According to Hang, the State Bank of Vietnam and other government bodies have been working and coordinating with the U.S. Treasury Department over macroeconomic and foreign exchange issues.
“Look at the Vietnam – U.S. relations recently, especially in trade and economic cooperation, and you can see how positive the relationship has been,” Hang said.
"Cooperation on trade between Vietnam and the U.S. is not only our focus, but also a driving force of the comprehensive partnership between the two countries.”
In the wake of the U.S. Treasury Department’s semi-annual report, the State Bank of Vietnam, the country’s central bank, said on May 30 it was not pursuing an “unhealthy competitive advantage” in international trade.
“The State Bank of Vietnam will coordinate with relevant agencies to discuss and address the issue raised by the U.S. Treasury in a cooperative manner,” the central bank said.
The central bank added it would pursue a flexible foreign exchange rate “in accordance with domestic and international market conditions."
The United States is Vietnam’s largest export market and the Southeast Asian country is seeing an ever-widening trade surplus, which rose to US$13.47 billion in the first four months of this year from $10.19 billion a year earlier, according to Reuters.