Vietnamese Trade with US Given Positive View on Two-Way Trade Prospects

Amid the general economic situation still enduring numerous difficulties caused by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions, bilateral trade turnover between Vietnam and the United States has still maintained its positive growth momentum.
October 18, 2022 | 13:07
Vietnamese Trade with US Given Positive View on Two-Way Trade Prospects

Do Ngoc Hung, trade counselor of Vietnam in the US, made the statement in a recent media interview regarding trade promotion activities between the nation and the US over recent times, according to the VOV.

Statistically, the past nine months of the year, witnessed two-way trade turnover reach roughly US$96.2 billion, up 20% over the same period from 2021, accounting for 17.2% of total Vietnamese import and export turnover with countries at US$558 billion. Of the figure, export turnover reached US$85.1 billion, up 23.7%, making up 30% of the country’s total export turnover over the past nine months.

The US is currently the nation’s second largest trading partner and largest export market, whilst Vietnam represents the fifth largest trading partner of the US. In terms of exports, the country ranks sixth for total exports to the US, accounting for about 4% of total US imports from partners.

Vietnamese export turnover to the US continues to maintain its upward trend, leading to a large trade surplus which reached US$74 billion this year, ranking third behind China and Mexico. Indeed, there is a significant focus on commodities such as garments and textiles, footwear, timber and wood products, aquatic products, farm produce, as well as machinery, equipment and spare parts.

In line with this, the Ministry of Industry and Trade directed the Trade Office in the US to continue discussing market research-related issues and work alongside relevant US agencies as a means of dealing with pending issues to ensure the interests of businesses.

Furthermore, the Trade Office also supports the provision of US business verification information as a means of supporting Vietnamese firms.

The Trade Office will continue to ramp up efforts aimed at protecting the interests of Vietnamese enterprises, remove difficulties faced by Vietnamese exporters, and continue to hold dialogues with the US on the market economy as part of anti-dumping investigations.

Moving forward, the Trade Office will co-ordinate alongside relevant units as part of efforts organise the Vietnam - US Trade Forum 2022 in November in Ho Chi Minh City. The event will be chaired and co-ordinated by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in collaboration with the US Embassy in Vietnam, the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) and the Oregon State administration.

November will then see the Trade Office co-ordinate with the Vietnam Federation of Trade and Industry to organise a trade connection with about 40 businesses as part of efforts to explore the market and find partners in in the areas which the nation boasts export strength in.

Referring to Vietnamese strengths when entering the US market, Ngoc Hung said that the close Vietnam - US comprehensive partnership, as well as the organisation of high-level visits and meetings between the two countries, serves to create an important foundation for the development of bilateral economic and trade relations.

Furthermore, the policy dialogue mechanism through the Vietnam-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council has been effectively implemented, thereby helping to resolve many thorny issues in economic and trade relations.

Moreover, trade conflicts, geopolitics, as well as inflation, will help Vietnamese goods increase their market share, filling the gap left by Russian and Chinese goods in the US.

The Trade Office will strive to promote the export of products that the country can replace amid a shortage of supply from the global supply chain such as agricultural products, consumer goods, iron, and steel. It will continue to work alongside US partners and propose that they facilitate marking opening for Vietnamese agricultural exports.

Regarding challenges and difficulties, Ngoc Hung said that legal and technical barriers to trade are also major difficulties faced by Vietnamese businesses.

The US is renowned for having a complex legal system and many technical barriers to trade. Recent years have seen Vietnamese enterprises often face difficulties in terms of labour and environmental standards when exporting goods to this market.

The US therefore continues to apply numerous measures and trade barriers in which to protect domestic production. When exporting goods to the US, businesses also face difficulties in relation to costs and requirements on the standard of an enterprise.

According to Ngoc Hung, Vietnamese enterprises must take advantage of the Vietnamese community based in the US. According to the results of the "Study on the American Community" conducted by the US Government, there are about 1.5 million Vietnamese residing in the North American country, accounting for about 10.5% of the total number of Asian Americans, which is the fourth largest community after China, India, and the Philippines.

In order to convince US importers who are importing from their familiar partners in other countries to switch to importing Vietnamese goods, local businesses must continue to improve the quality, pattern, and design of products, Ngoc Hung added.

Vietnam pomelos officially licensed for export to US

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has officially announced that it will allow the import of fresh pomelo from Vietnam after more than five years of negotiations.

USDA allows the import of fresh pomelo from Vietnam after more than five years of negotiations. (Photo: moit.gov.vn)
USDA allows the import of fresh pomelo from Vietnam after more than five years of negotiations. (Photo: moit.gov.vn)

This information was released by Hoang Trung, director of the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, at a meeting in Hanoi on October 17.

Currently, pomelo is the seventh fresh Vietnamese fruit that has received permission to enter the US market, following mangoes, longans, lychees, dragon fruit, rambutans, and star apples.

Statistics compiled by the US Department of Agriculture indicate that the US has huge demand for such fruits, estimated at around 12 million tonnes annually, while the US’ domestic production of fresh fruits only meets roughly 70% of demand.

Vietnam boasts a total area of 105,400ha under pomelo cultivation which yields an output of nearly 950,000 tonnes each year. Many localities in the Mekong Delta can be viewed as potential growing areas for high-quality green-skinned pomelos, offering a golden chance for Vietnamese fruits in general, and pomelo in particular, to enter the US market.

Nguyen Quang Hieu, head of the International Cooperation Office of the Department of Plant Protection, noted that according to US regulations, fruit exports must meet strictly US standards relating to fruit cultivation areas and fruit packing facilities. Along with these rules, products must be irradiated at a stipulated factory under the supervision of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Ngo Tuong Vy, deputy director of the Chanh Thu Import-Export Co., Ltd, a key fruit exporter to the US, said pomelo exports to this market must obtain VietGAP and GlobalGAP certifications.

The Plant Protection Department has launched several programmes aimed at monitoring pesticide residues and providing guidelines for farmers and businesses in order to control pests and use pesticides in a safe manner.

Currently, Vietnamese pomelo is mainly exported in the form of fresh fruit with low-added value. Pomelo can be processed and turned into many different products such as fruit juice, essential oils, and jams, while the essence in pomelo peels can be used to produce several different types of pharmaceuticals and foodstuffs.

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