There have been recurrent rumors that Hanoi and Washington might agree to explore a bilateral trade pact that would entail many TPP-like trade reforms. To the extent that’s true (official confirmation is lacking on both sides), jump-starting bilateral trade talks will be at the top of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s agenda when he visits Washington this week.
Prime Minister Phuc will meet President Trump at the White House on May 31.
That Prime Minister Phuc is going to have 30 minutes or so of Oval Office face time with the US President is itself a significant event. It suggests three things. First, that Vietnam’s top diplomats – Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi, and Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh in Washington – have engineered an important moment: Donald J. Trump’s first White House meeting with an East Asian visitor. Second, that the Vietnamese have been given reason to hope that TPP-quality bilateral trade talks can result. Third, that Phuc is bringing a gift of sorts: an expression of Hanoi’s desire to purchase certain sophisticated defense items from the United States. The last will be Trump’s takeaway from the meeting.
Read more … Asia Sentinal, May 29, 2017
Vietnam Is Taking The Upper Hand In Relations With Washington
When Vietnam’s prime minister visits the White House, he will probably push for a free trade deal with the United States. That agreement would mean gold to Vietnam, where the fast-growing economy depends on shipments of manufactured exports to developed countries. The PM’s reminder would press U.S. President Donald Trump over a pledge to sign one-on-one agreements as a replacement for the 12-country Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Trump dropped out of the deal because he felt it was a raw deal for American workers. But he might not make Vietnam top priority for a two-way trade deal, especially since it views the Southeast Asian state as a nefarious net exporter with a $32 billion trade deficit in 2016.
Read more … Forbes, May 22, 2017
President Donald J. Trump will welcome Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam to the White House on May 31. President Trump looks forward to discussing ways to strengthen our bilateral relationship and deepen regional cooperation with one of America’s important partners in Southeast Asia.
Read more … White House Press Statement, May 23, 2017
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will likely discuss trade and the South China Sea with US President Donald Trump, but when it comes to Beijing, Hanoi seems to be doing fairly well fending for itself.
Read more … South China Morning Post, May 26, 2017