Textile-garment is among Vietnam's key export products to the United States. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The official US visit of PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc from May 29-31 demonstrates Vietnam’s consistent policy on enhancing trade relations with the US, which has been Vietnam’s top trade partners for the past 10 consecutive years.

According to the America Market Department under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Vietnam-US trade has maintained a high annual growth of about 20 percent since their Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) took effect in 2001. Last year, the two-way trade hit 47 billion USD, 33.5 times higher than the 2001 figure of 1.4 billion USD.

In the first four months of 2017, Vietnam exported 12.4 billion USD worth of commodities to the US, mostly textile-garment, footwear, computers, seafood, farm products, timber and timber products, electronics and components.

The figure represented 20 percent of the country’s total exports and an increase of 8.7 percent from the same period last year.

Vietnam is now the US’ 16th largest trade partner with Vietnam enjoying high trade surplus.

Vietnam has put its name on the US’s international trade partner map, said Tran Duy Dong, director general of the America Market Department, adding that in spite of difficulties posed by the US’s anti-dumping or anti-subsidy duties, Vietnamese exporters have learned from experience to grow stronger, continuing entering the market.

Despite the US’s withdrawal from the TPP, the bilateral Vietnam-US trade and investment relationship will continue to grow, US Consul General in HCM City Mary Tarnowka confirmed.

She expected the ties to grow stronger as Vietnam’s recent efforts on international economic integration reaffirmed its intention to continue its economic reforms and further open its economy.

Tarnowka noted that those reforms will promote the establishment of a fair and transparent management system, allowing of the prediction of a new wave of trade and investment in the future.

Experts believed that Vietnam is yet to become a major market for the US but increasing incomes of its citizens will stimulate consumption of luxurious brands, including those from the US.

When US President Donald Trump launches a series of plans in Asia, the Vietnam-US ties will be a lever for the two countries’ mutual trade and economic benefits. The upcoming meeting between the two nations’ leaders will be a good opportunity to promote their shared strategic interests and create more jobs for their people.

Authorities from both sides are closely working to improve their trade cooperation mechanisms for better facilitation of the bilateral trade.

Tami Overby, Senior Vice President for Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce said the chamber is making effort to find ways for further boosting the Vietnam-US trade, including the possibility of a free trade agreement. She added that US companies need to be more creative in dealing with obstacles when entering the Vietnamese market.

To support local companies in gaining access to the US market, Minister of Trade and Industry Tran Tuan Anh said besides programmes to build national competitiveness through branding and removals of duties and other technical barriers, the ministry has devised master plans to improve competitive edges for export products with the emphasis placed on those in manufacturing and processing industry.

At the same time, enterprises must also take an active role in enhancing production capacity, developing market overseas, and becoming part of the global supply chain.-VNA