Bloomberg News

Vietnam Could See Biggest Gain in Pacific Trade Group, U.S. Says

February 24, 2012

Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Vietnam has the most to gain among the nine countries negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership because the deal would boost access to the U.S. market for goods such as textiles, an American official said.

The trade accord would “lock in access” to the U.S. and boost the Southeast Asian nation’s attractiveness overseas, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis said at a press conference today in Hanoi. Investors would begin to consider opportunities in Vietnam after the TPP is implemented much as they are now in Myanmar, he said, after that country’s democratic opening.

“The challenge for the negotiators is to be able to realize something that will work well for both countries,” Marantis said. “We will have challenges on textiles, which is a very important export interest to Vietnam, but where we have, in the U.S., import sensitivities.”

Vietnam was the second largest seller of textiles and apparel to the U.S. in 2011 after China, according to data from the U.S. International Trade Commission. Pledged foreign direct investment in Vietnam fell 54.5 percent to $1.23 billion in the first two months of 2012 from a year earlier, Vietnam’s Foreign Investment Agency of the Ministry of Planning and Investment said today.

The Obama administration is in negotiations on the TPP trade agreement with Australia, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Brunei and Vietnam. Two-way trade between the U.S. and Vietnam totaled $21.8 billion last year, according to U.S. Commerce Department data.

The 11th round of TPP negotiations will be held March 1-19 in Melbourne, Australia, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative website.

--Editors: Patrick Harrington, Mark Williams

To contact the reporter on this story: Nick Heath in Hanoi at nheath2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net


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