US Ambassador to Vietnam David Bruce Shear has said that the top priority in his term of office is to boost economic cooperation between the two countries.

At a press conference held in Hanoi on Sept. 9 on the occasion of the start of his term of office in the country, Ambassador Shear said that since the two countries established their diplomatic ties 16 years ago, Vietnam-US relations have seen progress based on mutual understanding.

Since the Vietnam-US Bilateral Trade Agreement took effect in 2001, two-way trade rose from around 1.5 billion USD to 18.6 billion USD in 2010, a year-on-year rise of around 20 percent, said the US diplomat.

He vowed to maintain the two-way trade growth and facilitate US business activities in Vietnam.

During her visit to Vietnam in October 2010, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proposed the two countries build the strategic partnership, Shear said, adding that his job is to clearly define the strategic partnership and the first step is to build confidence.

The ambassador made a commitment to do all he could to build trust with Vietnamese partners.

Shear said he will continue to place educational cooperation as one of his top priority tasks in Vietnam and will work with Vietnamese partners to promote bilateral cooperation in education.

The ambassador visited central coastal Da Nang city immediately after taking office in Vietnam. He attended the repatriation ceremony of sets of remains of US servicemen and visited a site to clean up Agent Orange/dioxin at the Da Nang airport.

Ambassador Shear said he and his family visited Vietnam as tourists in 2007, saying that they were attracted by Hanoi and Vietnam because of the hospitality and cuisine./.