SAN FRANCISCO — Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính on May 17 (local time) attended the US-Việt Nam trade, investment, and tourism promotion conference themed ‘Rediscovering Việt Nam’ in San Francisco.
The conference, held by the national carrier Vietnam Airlines and two travel groups – Saigontourist Group and Thiên Minh Group – to boost the cooperation between the enterprises of the two countries and to introduce the image of Việt Nam to US friends and partners.
Addressing the event, PM Chính stressed Việt Nam’s consistent foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, diversification, multilateralisation, and commitment to be a good friend, a reliable partner, a responsible member of the international community; and the building of an independent and self-reliant economy associated with active, proactive, extensive international integration with substance and effectiveness.
The Government leader affirmed that economic, investment, trade and tourism cooperation is an important pillar in the Việt Nam-US relationship.
In the very challenging year of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two-way trade still reached US$112 billion, accounting for nearly one-third of the total US-ASEAN trade turnover.
Việt Nam-US trade growth rate has hit 17-20 per cent year on year. The US is Việt Nam’s second largest partner while Việt Nam is the US’ 9th largest, he noted, adding that trade between the two countries has contributed to making Việt Nam one of the 20 largest import-export countries in the world.
PM expected the economic cooperation between Việt Nam and the US to continue to flourish, mentioning a number of priority areas for Việt Nam such as capital market development, digital transformation, energy transformation, climate change response, tourism, and trade, and suggested partners in the US study opportunities and advance cooperation in these fields.
He urged US partners to also support Việt Nam in policy consultation, capital, human resources, infrastructure, technology, and governance.
In terms of tourism, the US is continually in the list of Việt Nam’s biggest markets. Before the pandemic, the number of tourists from the US reached more than 746,000 arrivals in 2019, with the year-on-year growth rate in the 2014-19 averaging 11 per cent, PM Chính said.
The PM said that thanks to internal efforts and the support of friends and international partners, Việt Nam has put COVID-19 under control domestically and has completely reopened tourism and air routes.
The first major group of tourists to return to Việt Nam after the official resumption of inbound and outbound tourism from March 15, 2022 was a US delegation, he noted.
PM called on foreign investors, including ones from the US, to continue to cooperate with Việt Nam in trade and tourism in the spirit of ‘harmonised benefits, shared risks’ as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and especially after this visit where the two countries’ leaders have arrived at agreements on boosting ties.
US ambassador to Việt Nam Marc E. Knapper, who accompanied Chính on the visit to the US, highly values this event and stressed that aviation, tourism, education and people-to-people exchanges are an important pillar in the bilateral relations.
For example, before the pandemic, there were up to 30,000 Vietnamese students in the US and the American diplomat said he is committed to helping roll out measures to double this figure, while at the same time, bring more US students to study in Việt Nam.
At the event, Vietnam Airlines has also introduced the recent direct flight between Việt Nam and the US – with four flights a week between San Francisco and HCM City on wide-body aircrafts like Airbus A350 and Boeing 787.
Meanwhile, Saigontourist Group affirms that it will utilise its partner network in the US and North America, contributing to promoting tourism in Việt Nam and HCM City, to facilitate economic recovery and increase tourist draw from these lucrative markets, especially in product lines that are preferred by Americans such as wellness tourism, premium travel and beach tourism.
Thiên Minh Group also said this is the ideal time to push for Vietnamese airlines and tourism presence in the US.
At the conference, Vietnamese businesses exchanged and discussed with US partners about potential goods and services that can be exported to Việt Nam, and business investment opportunities in the US.
On the occasion, PM Chính, the US ambassador and San Francisco city’s leadership witnessed the exchange of cooperation documents between Vietnamese and American companies.
Saigontourist Group, Thiên Minh Group and Vietnam Airlines have exchanged memorandums of understanding with many important US travel partners.
There were also technology cooperation agreements between the State-controlled Việt Nam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) and US’ Cisco Corporation, and an educational partnership between EMG Education Group and the University of California Irvine and the GITA Academy.
The event also introduced to US partners and consumers the outstanding agricultural products of Việt Nam. Bắc Giang Province’s People’s Committee, Vietnam Airlines and US’ Emission Resources have signed a cooperation agreement on export promotion and consumption of lychee and Bắc Giang agricultural products.
Việt Nam’s budget carrier Vietjet and UPS, the world’s leading shipping and logistics group, have also reached an agreement to transport international goods through the two sides’ extensive regional and global network and logistics infrastructure. — VNS