Trans-Pacific Partnership's standards would maintain momentum for reforms.
Vietnam has the potential to become one of the United States' leading economic partners in the region. Pivotal in that development is the completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – a high-standard trade pact that Vietnam and the United States are negotiating with ten of their Pacific partners.
"The partnership’s high standards," said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on a recent trip to Vietnam, "would maintain the momentum that has been created for market reforms, for modernization, for regional integration that the Government of Vietnam has actually made a priority. It will also complement Vietnam’s efforts to transform state-owned enterprises and important sectors of the economy like energy and banking, which will attract greater investment."
Secretary Kerry announced that the U.S. will provide an initial $4.2 million for the U.S. Agency for International Development's Governance for Inclusive Growth, an assistance package designed to facilitate broad-based, sustainable growth. This assistance will, among other things, help Vietnam implement the TPP agreement once it is concluded. "This is not aid," said Secretary Kerry. "This is an investment, and it's an investment in broad-based and sustainable growth."
To create economic opportunity, a number of things are essential, said Secretary Kerry. "You need a free market. You need a free marketplace of ideas. People need to be able to express their thoughts. You need to be able to dare to fail. You need to be able to be creative."
Vietnam has demonstrated that greater openness is a catalyst for a stronger and more prosperous society, and today Vietnam has an historic opportunity to prove that even further. A commitment to an open internet, to a more open society, to the rights of people to be able to exchange their ideas, and to the protection of individual people’s human rights, including freedom of association, creates a more vibrant and powerful economy and society. It strengthens a country; it doesn’t weaken it. And the United States urges Vietnam's leaders to embrace that possibility and to protect those rights.
A commitment to these ideals will put Vietnam on the road to prosperity for decades to come.