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US-Vietnam Meeting Fosters Deeper Ties on Trade

The U.S. and Vietnam are getting better acquainted and it could mean advancements in trade and more than 23,000 American jobs.

President Trump met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the White House on Wednesday to outline an agenda for the two nations’ relations.

Though the countries may not enjoy the same trading relationship as they might have under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but both agreed on the importance of promoting bilateral trade and favorable business conditions for both sides, the White House said Wednesday.

Issues on the table to work toward include rules related to intellectual property and Vietnam achieving a market economy status, which would mean its domestic prices would be set by open competition rather than the U.S. government imposing antidumping and countervailing duties to protect its own industry.

Trump and Phuc also agreed on 13 new business deals worth more than $8 billion.

“President Trump is prioritizing engagement with Vietnam, an important trading partner of the United States,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a Commerce Department statement Wednesday. “Today’s deals will expand our cooperation in multiple sectors, supporting U.S. exports and creating economic growth in both countries. They will also help reduce our trade deficit with Vietnam.”

As of March this year, Vietnam’s trade deficit with the U.S. was $8.13 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In textiles and apparel trade, the U.S. took in $11.3 billion worth of product from Vietnam, more or less flat to 2015, and Vietnam is presently the third largest supplier of textiles and apparel to the U.S., according to OTEXA data. The United States is Vietnam’s largest export market.

(Read more about the U.S.-Vietnam trading relationship: China, Bangladesh Lose Import Share to Vietnam in the First Quarter)

According to the Commerce Department, deals settled at this week’s meeting between Trump and the Vietnamese Prime Minister include more than $3 billion in U.S. produced content, which is expected to contribute to upward of 23,000 domestic jobs.

Beyond increasing U.S. exports to Vietnam and working to curb the trade deficit, Secretary Ross said both countries committed to resolving market access barriers for U.S. companies.