Vietnam, US businesses seek to weather COVID-19 storm

Nearly 80 Vietnamese and US businesses attended a teleconference on July 15 to seek partnership and cooperation opportunities in the aftermath of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic globally.

vietnam us businesses seek to weather covid 19 storm

Addressing the event, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of the Vietnam Permanent Mission to the United Nations sounded his appreciation for the efforts made by Vietnamese and US firms to resume post coronavirus trade exchanges.

Noting that the COVID-19 crisis has led to numerous difficulties, but presented a wealth of opportunities for businesses, the Vietnamese diplomat said relevant agencies from both countries will strive to create optimal conditions for their businesses to operate more efficiently, further contributing to strengthening Vietnam-US relations.

Sharing this viewpoint, Minister Counsellor in charge of trade affairs of the Vietnamese Embassy in the US Bui Huy Son emphasised that the online exchange will partly give US businesses an insight into Vietnam’s potential, helping Vietnamese firms gain easier access to the US market.

Vu Ba Phu, Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said since the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a wave of disruption in international trade, Vietrade has been active in co-ordinating with the country’s trade promotion agencies abroad. In addition, the agency has also been busy organising several online trade events in traditional and potential markets such as the US, India, Russia, and Singapore, attracting the participation of hundreds of businesses in the process.

An The Dung, Vietrade chief representative in New York, said numerous trade promotion occasions in the US had been cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Boston Seafood Fair, the New York Handicraft Fair, and the Chicago Personal Brand Fair, resulting in businesses from both countries missing out on opportunities for direct trade exchanges.

Dung went on to explain that trade activities have been significantly affected by disruption occurring in the global supply chain, forcing firms to seek safer countries for production shifting.

Vietnam’s COVID-19 containment efforts have proved that the country is a safe destination for investors during the challenging period, Dung said, adding that domestic businesses, mostly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), enjoy a number of advantages such as dynamism, along with a young and large workforce.

He quoted the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s statistics as saying the country had received hundreds of transaction letters each day during the pandemic and thousands of firms had logged onto the Vietrade’s website to look for greater business opportunities.

Two-way trade between Vietnam and the US during the first five months of the year maintained a growth rate of over 4%, of which the US’ exports to Vietnam increased by 3%.

This marks a positive signal that trade flow will continue to increase, and the Vietrade’s representative office in New York will do its utmost to support enterprises in developing markets, launching new products, and connecting with new partners, said Dung.

Despite these efforts, Vietnamese trade agencies acknowledged that there remains a number of obstacles that businesses must first overcome. For example, large domestic enterprises specializing in protective clothing and gloves complained that they exceeded their capacity and were unable to receive additional orders until the end of the year, while several local SMEs don’t have the capacity to export goods.

Lauren Merkel, a representative of Empire State Development, an agency that supports businesses in New York state, affirmed that Vietnam and the US enjoy very close-knit trade ties. Indeed, officials in New York state, especially Governor Andrew Cuomo, are willing to support and create optimal conditions for Vietnamese firms to do business with those in New York and vice versa.

Daniel Pint, a representative of the international trade administration under the US Department of Commerce, outlined that bright prospects exist for business opportunities with the US, and the local administration stands ready to support the process.

Since the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement came into effect, import and export revenue between the two nations has witnessed steady growth.

According to figures released by the General Department of Vietnam Customs, two-way trade between the US and Vietnam increased by 20% annually, from approximately US$41.28 billion in 2015 to US$58.8 billion in 2018 and up to US$ 75.72 billion in 2019, representing a 75-fold increase in comparison to 2000’s figures.

At present, Vietnam is currently the US’ 16th largest trading partner, while the US is also the nation’s third largest trading partner. With an average GDP growth rate of nearly 7% per year and a population of roughly 100 million, Vietnam is projected to represent a promising market for US companies operating in agriculture, renewable energy, telecommunications, aviation, and finance and banking sectors.

Source: VOV

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