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U.S. Relations With Vietnam


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits a shop along the Mekong River Delta, Vietnam. (Dec. 15, 2013)

U.S.-Vietnam relations have grown rapidly over the past 20 years with two-way trade in goods sky-rocketing to more than $25 billion in 2012, compared with just $451 million in trade logged in 1995.

Twenty years ago this month, the United States and Vietnam took a major step in normalizing relations by resuming bilateral trade. The decision by former President Bill Clinton on February 3, 1994, to lift a two-decade long trade embargo against Vietnam set the stage for establishing full diplomatic relations with the Southeast Asian nation the next year. Secretary of State John Kerry attended a Vietnamese Embassy-hosted reception in Washington on February 10 to mark this anniversary.


U.S.-Vietnam relations have grown rapidly over the past 20 years. Two-way trade in goods has sky-rocketed to more than $25 billion in 2012, compared with just $451 million in trade logged in 1995. Apart from trade, Vietnam-U.S. relations have grown considerably on a host of fronts, including education, science and technology, healthcare, the environment and dealing with the aftermath of the war.

Looking to the future, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a high standard regional free trade agreement, will open more markets in both nations, raise standards on labor, environment and intellectual property rights, create jobs and promote growth on both sides of the Pacific.

Vietnam is a priority market in this and other trade programs, such as President Barack Obama’s National Export Initiative. Indeed, U.S. businesses are on track to double U.S. exports to Vietnam in five years.
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