US Ambassador David Shear has toured the Mekong Delta to learn about the region and discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with local citizens who stand to benefit from stronger economic ties between Vietnam and the US.

The November 18-21 visit also highlighted US-supported efforts to improve health, the environment and educational opportunity in Can Tho city, and Bac Lieu and Ca Mau provinces.

As Vietnam continues to modernise, TPP will help create demand for a skilled workforce with a high level of education, said Ambassador Shear at a meeting with students at Can Tho University.

“Matching skilled human resources with access to markets and 21st-century standards called for by TPP will help ensure Vietnam’s prosperity, strength, and independence,” he said.

In Can Tho, the ambassador visited two facilities where the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) supports care and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS.

He praised the municipal leaders for the development of a comprehensive plan that includes all donor and Vietnamese funding sources for the local HIV/AIDS response. In planning ahead to reduce reliance on donor resources, the local leadership has contributed significantly to the continuity of lifesaving clinical care to patients.

On November 19, Ambassador Shear toured the Cong Ly wind farm in Bac Lieu province, a major US export success that incorporates General Electric’s most advanced clean energy technology. The wind farm, the largest of its kind in Vietnam, is expected to expand from 10 to 62 towers and provide nearly 300 MW of electricity by 2014.

The US diplomat also visited the Ngoc Hien biosphere reserve and Cape Ca Mau National Park, Vietnam’s southernmost point, where he met with experts from the Delta Research and Global Observation Network (DRAGON) Institute at Can Tho University and the Ca Mau Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

He reiterated US commitment to working with Vietnam to protect one of the most vulnerable regions to the forecasted effects of climate change, especially sea-level rise.-VNA