A ceremony was organised in Hanoi on July 22 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Vietnam-US diplomatic relations with the attendance of Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The ceremony also saw the participation of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) President Vu Xuan Hong, Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Chairman Vu Tien Loc, US Ambassador to Vietnam Michael Michalak and a large number of representatives of the Vietnam-US Society, the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) and businesspeople from both countries.

Khiem highlighted developments in bilateral commercial relations with two-way trade currently exceeding 15 billion USD from almost 500 million USD before 1995. The US now ranks sixth among foreign investors operating in Vietnam .

The trade gains are attributable to the Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) and the Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status between the two nations, as well as Vietnam ’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), he said.

The deputy PM said the two countries are negotiating a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) and Vietnam is conducting talks on the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP).

According to the Deputy PM, US customers have used Vietnamese garments, footwear, coffee, wooden furniture, shrimp and fish, while their Vietnamese counterparts now know US businesses such as Citibank, Intel and Microsoft.

Vietnam-US joint ventures have provided a major impetus to development of bilateral relations, he stressed.

Khiem went on to say that Vietnam and the US have expanded cooperation to other fields, including science, technology, education and training, along with politics, diplomacy, economy and trade. The two nations have signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the US provision of funding for the fight against HIV/AIDS in Vietnam , he added.

Vietnam and the US have also cooperated in response to climate change and rising sea levels, expecting to build a model of partnership in this area.

Bilateral cooperation has already opened up opportunities for the two countries to boost coordination and cooperation at regional forums and at the United Nations Security Council, the deputy PM noted.

For her part, Clinton underlined efforts both nations have made since 1995 to shelve the past, look towards the future and jointly develop cooperative relations in politics, diplomacy, health care, education, economy and trade.

In regard to differences on a number of issues, the US diplomat said the two sides should hold more dialogues to narrow the gaps and boost cooperation in the interests of both nations.

Clinton appreciated and thanked the Vietnamese Government’s endeavours in the joint search for US soldiers missing in action during the war.

The official said she was delighted to see Vietnam ’s dynamic developments since her first visit to the country in 2000 in her capacity as wife of President Bill Clinton.

She promised to lift the bilateral relationship to a new height and hoped that the Vietnamese and US people would work together for this purpose.

On July 12, 1995, US President Bill Clinton and Vietnamese Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet announced the normalisation of Vietnam-US diplomatic ties to put aside the past and open up a new chapter in the history of the two nations.

With ceaseless efforts from both governments and peoples, Vietnam-US relations have been fully normalised and are growing well, both bilaterally and multilaterally, bringing practical benefits to both nations and positively contributing to peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asia./.