Ambassador Knapper’s Optimism for Enhanced US – Vietnam Relations in 2024

Following the extensive strategic alliance in 2023, Marc Knapper, the Ambassador of the United States of America in Vietnam, is optimistic about the deepening of ties between the two countries in 2024.

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In a video conveying the New Year 2024 message to the Vietnamese people, Ambassador Marc Knapper affirmed that 2023 was a great year in US-Vietnam relations marked by US President Joe Biden’s historic visit to Hanoi during which the two countries upgraded their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, according to VOV.

Ambassador Knapper particularly spoke about an increase in trade, economic, and investment cooperation between the two countries, recalling Amkor Technology’s US$1.6 billion computer chip assembly, testing, and packaging facility in Bac Ninh province, and VinFast’s US$4.5 billion electric vehicle production facility in North Carolina.

The two projects show the importance of bilateral trade to the resilience of global supply chains, said the ambassador, adding that the two economies are more closely connected than ever.

US Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper. Photo: VietnamNet

The diplomat also affirmed that the two countries are cooperating more closely on emerging technologies, towards facilitating conditions for high-tech industries such as semiconductors to flourish.

According to the ambassador, Vietnam is also one of the leading countries having a large number of students studying in the US, amounting to nearly 30,000. The US is focusing on developing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education to help modernize Vietnam’s higher education, as well as supporting digital commerce and workforce development.

Ambassador Knapper also said the US is committed to solving post-war issues to heal the wounds of the past war. The US and Vietnam agreed to update cooperation agreements on dioxin decontamination at Bien Hoa airport, raising total funds to US$300 million

Vietnam is currently the seventh largest trading partner of the US. Two-way trade between the two countries increased from just US$450 million in 1995 to more than US$123 billion in 2022.

The US ranks 11th among investors in Vietnam with about 1,200 projects valued at nearly US$11.4 billion. Meanwhile, Vietnam currently has 230 investment projects in the US, with a total registered capital of US$1.26 billion.

In the Joint Leaders’ Statement upgrading the Vietnam-US Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in September 2023, both sides supported the rapid development of the semiconductor ecosystem in Vietnam, and they will actively coordinate to enhance Vietnam’s position in the global semiconductor supply chain.

The two sides also announced the launch of semiconductor workforce development initiatives supported by initial seed funding of US$2 million from the US government, along with future Vietnamese government and private sector support.

The year 2023 has witnessed important progress in the relationship between Vietnam and the US, with strong and comprehensive development of bilateral ties across all fields, stated Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Nguyen Quoc Dung.

The most outstanding progress with an inclusive significance is the elevation of bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership for peace, cooperation, and sustainable development, the diplomat told Vietnam News Agency (VNA) correspondents in Washington D.C, stressing that the upgrading has created a new momentum and an open corridor for the promotion of cooperation between the two countries in the future.

According to Ambassador Dung, this year saw bustling delegation exchanges and high-level meetings between the two countries, including the talks between the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong and US President Joe Biden during the latter’s visit to Vietnam.

In the first 10 months of this year, Vietnam’s exports to the US reached 94.5 billion USD, accounting for nearly 30% of the country’s export revenue, making the US the largest export market of Vietnam.

Despite the downturn in global trade, two-way trade between the two countries hit over 102 billion USD in the January-October period, he noted, adding that Vietnam has remained among the 10 largest trading partners of the US, with two-way trade increasing more than fourfold in 10 years.

Regarding investment, the US ranked 11th among foreign investors in Vietnam with a total direct investment of 11.8 billion USD, and most major enterprises of the North American country is now present in the Southeast Asian nation. This year also witnessed a trend of investment from Vietnam to the US, including Vietnamese automaker VinFast’s launching of an electric vehicle manufacturing factory in the US’s North Carolina State.

Meanwhile, defense-security collaboration has been promoted with the success of a defense policy dialogue, while tourism cooperation has recovered to the pre-pandemic level with about 700,000 US tourists visiting Vietnam so far this year.

At the same time, a bilateral culture-education partnership has been fruitful, with more than 25,000 Vietnamese students studying in the US, ranking first among ASEAN countries.

The two sides have also enjoyed positive cooperation results in health care, epidemic prevention and control, environmental protection, and climate change response, along with close coordination at regional and international forums, said Ambassador Dung.

The diplomat held that in the time to come, the two sides should work harder together in implementing their comprehensive partnership, focusing on 10 major agreed pillars.

Particularly, the two countries need to popularise the spirit and content of the agreements between the two countries to ministries, sectors, and localities as well as businesses and people of both sides for implementing suitable programs and activities, he said.

Ambassador Dung said he hopes the two sides will design a strong coordination mechanism to regularly review and speed up the progress of the agreements, and seek solutions to problems and obstacles.