In official letter, Trump seeks stronger ties with Vietnam amid global trade tensions

By Khanh Lynh   March 31, 2017 | 11:21 pm PT
In official letter, Trump seeks stronger ties with Vietnam amid global trade tensions
U.S. President Donald Trump attends a meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 31, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
Vietnam's trade surplus with the U.S. has made it a target of a study on 'trade abuses' ordered by Trump on Friday.

U.S. President Donald Trump wants to further strengthen economic cooperation between the United States and Vietnam as well as peacekeeping in the Asia-Pacific region, he said in a letter to Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang on February 23.

During a meeting with U.S. ambassador Ted Osius in Hanoi Friday, Quang asked the ambassador to thank Trump on his behalf, and said Vietnam was willing to reinforce its ties with the U.S. for mutual benefits, the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported. 

Vietnam and the United States had advanced ties to a new level under the Obama administration when the former U.S. president visited Vietnam in May last year.

The VNA report also quoted Osius as telling Quang that Trump was considering attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in this November.

This will be the second time Vietnam hosts the high-profile APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting after the first one in 2006.

Earlier this week, Osius said the U.S. will further boost trade ties with Vietnam as part of bilateral cooperation which also include investment and education even when its new administration has rejected the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Osius reaffirmed that the U.S. would not adopt trade protectionism.

In another development, Trump on Friday ordered a study into the causes of U.S. trade deficits and a clampdown on import duty evasion, Reuters reported.

The trade abuses study will focus on those countries that have chronic goods trade surpluses with the United States.

China tops the list, with a $347 billion surplus last year, followed by Japan, with a $69 billion surplus, Germany at $65 billion, Mexico at $63 billion, Ireland at $36 billion and Vietnam at $32 billion.

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said last month he was ready to visit the United States to promote ties, particularly trade.

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