Fresh opportunities for Vietnam-US cooperation in tourism development and trade
On the afternoon of May 17 (local time), Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attended a Vietnam-US trade, investment and tourism promotion conference running theme themed ‘Rediscovering Vietnam’ in San Francisco.
Co-hosted by national carrier Vietnam Airlines and two travel groups – Saigon Tourists and Thien Minh Group, the event aims to step up trade cooperation between both nations’ enterprises
This is an event of great significance when Vietnam and the US are redoubling their economic recovery efforts after two years suffering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the opening of a direct air route between Vietnam and the US in late 2021, while Vietnam resumed tourism activities since March 15. The conference also marked the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Vietnam Airlines office in San Francisco.
In his speech, PM Chinh Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh reviewed the world situation and highlighted orientations, development strategy of Vietnam, as well as Vietnam-US relations and ASEAN-US ties.
The Vietnamese Government chief reiterate Vietnam’s consistent foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, diversification and multilateralisation, being a good friend, a reliable partner and a responsible member of the international community. The nation is destined to build an independent and self-reliant economy associated with proactive, extensive, substantive and effective international integration, he continued.
PM Chinh affirmed that economic, investment, trade and science-education cooperation is an important pillar in Vietnam-US relations.
In the very challenging year of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two-way trade still reached US$112 billion, accounting for nearly one-third of the total US-ASEAN trade turnover.
The average growth of two-way trade between Vietnam and the United States stands at about 17-20% per year.
The US is Vietnam’s second largest trade partner while Vietnam is the US’ 9th largest. Trade between the two nations has contributed to making Vietnam one of the 20 largest import-export countries in the world.
PM Chinh said he hopes that the economic cooperation between Vietnam and the US to continue growing and flourishing in the time ahead, mentioning a number of priority areas for Vietnam such as capital market development, digital and energy transformation, climate change response, tourism, and trade, while simultaneously suggesting US firms study opportunities and ramp up cooperation in these areas.
Regarding tourism, the US has been continuously put in the list of Vietnam’s biggest markets. Before the pandemic, the number of tourists from the US hit more than 746,000 in 2019, with the year-on-year growth rate in the 2014-19 averaging 11 %, PM Chinh said.
The PM said that thanks to internal efforts and the support of friends and international partners, COVID-19 pandemic has been brought under control domestically and inbound and outbound tourism and air routes have been resumes, with the start of the first group of US tourists to the nation.
The Vietnamese cabinet leader called on foreign investors, including those from the US, to continue to cooperate with Vietnam in tourism in the spirit of ‘harmonised benefits, shared risks.’
Upon addressing the event, US Ambassador to Vietnam Marc E. Knapper highlighted aviation, tourism, education, people-to-people exchanges as an important pillar in the bilateral relations.
Prior to the pandemic, there were up to 30,000 Vietnamese students in the US, the ambassador said and he pledged to take a score of measures to double this figure, while at the same time, bringing more US students to study in Vietnam.
During the event, Vietnam Airlines has also introduced the direct flight between Vietnam and the US – with four flights a week between San Francisco and HCM City. The airline is set to increase the frequency on the route to daily flights next year, and at the same time is researching a cargo service between HCM City and Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, Saigontourist Group affirms that it will utilise its partner network in the US and North America to help with tourism recovery and attract tourists from these highly lucrative markets.
At the conference, Vietnamese businesses and their US partners discussed potential goods and services that can be imported to the Southeast Asian nation, and business investment opportunities in the US.
On the occasion, PM Chinh, the US Ambassador to Vietnam alongside leaders of San Francisco, witnessed the exchange of MoUs between both nations’ organisations and businesses.
Notably, Bac Giang Province, Vietnam Airlines and US partners reached a cooperation agreement on export promotion and consumption of lychee and agricultural products.
Vietnam’s budget carrier Vietjet and United Parcel Service Co. (UPS), the world's leading shipping and logistics group, also reached an agreement to transport international goods through the both sides’ extensive regional and global network and logistics infrastructure.