Policy & History

In the 1980s, Vietnam introduced market reforms, opened up the country for foreign investment, and improved the business climate. It became one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Vietnam’s rapid economic transformation and global integration has lifted millions out of poverty and has propelled the country to the ranks of lower-middle-income status. U.S. assistance in Vietnam focuses on consolidating gains to ensure sustainable economic development while promoting good governance and the rule of law. Assistance projects aim to deepen regulatory reforms, improve the capacity and independence of Vietnam’s judicial and legislative bodies, and promote more effective public participation in the law and regulation-making processes. U.S. assistance also seeks to support Vietnam’s response to climate change and other environmental challenges, including remediating Agent Orange/dioxin contamination, strengthening the country’s health and education systems, and assisting vulnerable populations.

Since entry into force of the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral trade agreement in 2001, trade between the two countries and U.S. investment in Vietnam have grown dramatically. The United States and Vietnam have concluded a trade and investment framework agreement; they also have signed textile, air transport, and maritime agreements. The two countries, along with other Asia-Pacific nations, are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, with the goal of concluding a high-standard regional free trade agreement. U.S. exports to Vietnam include agricultural products, machinery, yarn/fabric, and vehicles. U.S. imports from Vietnam include apparel, footwear, furniture and bedding, agricultural products, seafood, and electrical machinery. U.S.-Vietnam bilateral trade has grown from $451 million in 1995 to nearly $35 billion in 2014. U.S. exports to Vietnam were worth $5.5 billion in 2014, and U.S. imports in 2013 were worth $29.7 billion. A key priority in 2015 to build on our economic progress is to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. This high-standard trade agreement would provide the United States, Vietnam, and ten other member states a level playing field to compete in markets that together account for almost 40 percent of global GDP. Furthermore, in October 2014, an agreement between the United States and Vietnam came into force on the peaceful uses of nuclear activity, known as the 123 Agreement.

Vietnam and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.

The U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam is Dan Kritenbrink; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.

Vietnam maintains an embassy in the United States at 1233 20th Street, NW, #400, Washington DC 20036 (tel. 202-861-0737).

More information about Vietnam is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed in the sidebar to the right.