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30th Anniversary of Lifting of the Trade Embargo
February 7, 2024

This is an auspicious occasion, the anniversary tomorrow, as many of you know, this trade embargo was in place since war time onwards and it was only President Clinton on February 3, 1994, who lifted the embargo, and this helped to pave the way for all the terrific advances we have had in our two countries’ bilateral trade and economic relationship. Since then, the numbers speak for themselves. Since we lifted trade embargo in 1994, since we normalized relations in 1995, in 2022 bilateral trade between the U.S. has now reached $139 billion, which is a 300+ times increase since 1995.

What that means, in practical terms, Vietnam is the United States’ eighth largest trading partner and our largest trading partner in ASEAN, we are Vietnam’s second largest trading partner, and we are also Vietnam’s number one export market. You know, we firmly believe in the importance of Vietnam in terms of global supply chains.

When President Biden came last year, we committed to work with Vietnam to help it develop a semiconductor industry and other high-tech industries, and work with Vietnam to build a workforce for the 21st century: computer scientists and engineers and IT workers who can help to work in the high-tech economy that Vietnam and the United States aspire to. So, we’re very excited about the great work we have ahead of us.

In the meantime, of course, you know, we very much welcome all the great market-based economic reforms that Vietnam has made and its commitment and our commitment to work with Vietnam for broad, strengthened, and supportive engagement as Vietnam continues its transition to market economy. And so, as part of President Biden’s visit, last year, at Vietnam’s request, we, the United States government, is currently reviewing Vietnam’s non-market economy status or in other words, its desire to receive market economy status. This is something our Department of Commerce is working on, and they have a 270-day deadline to do this, which began in October and so is the process that includes public comments.

The United States government is committed to an impartial and transparent process that is consistent with international rules. This is not a political decision. Basically, it’s a quasi-judicial one. And so, we look forward to the continued effort by our Department of Commerce to do this.

We look forward to continuing to work with Vietnam as we deepen and strengthen even further our country’s trade and investment relationship. This is an exciting story to tell and exciting anniversary to celebrate today.

Ambassador speaking at the 30th Anniversary of Lifting of the Trade Embargo Panel Discussion