U.S.-VN Relationship: Celebrating 10 Years of Comprehensive Partnership and 28 Years of Diplomatic Relations
This year is the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership launched by then-Presidents Obama and Sang in 2013. As we mark this anniversary, we look forward to expanding our partnership in the years ahead. Built on a foundation of trust and mutual desire to overcome the legacies of war, the U.S.-Vietnam partnership has grown rapidly since bilateral relations were established in 1995. The U.S.-Vietnam relationship has flourished to encompass economic, political, security, people-to-people ties, science and technology, health, climate, energy, education, human rights, and more. Vietnam and the United States are strong and growing partners, sharing the goal of an open, connected, prosperous, resilient, and peaceful Indo-Pacific.
Growing Indo-Pacific Partners
Addressing the Legacies of War
Addressing the legacies of war is a foundational element of the strong relationship between the United States and Vietnam. Jointly, the United States and Vietnam have been able to account for 731 missing U.S. servicemembers from the Vietnam War era, helping bring closure for their families. The United States is also supporting Vietnam to account for missing Vietnamese under the Vietnam Wartime Accounting Initiative. The United States is committed to aiding Vietnam in areas such as the removal of unexploded ordnance, dioxin remediation at former U.S. military facilities, and supporting people with disabilities. In March, USAID Administrator Samantha Power announced an additional $73 million for dioxin remediation at Bien Hoa Air Base.
Bilateral trade between our two countries has grown enormously over the past three decades, and bilateral investment is in the billions. Vietnam-U.S. trade in goods exceeded $138 billion in 2022, a remarkable expansion from nearly no economic links when ties were established 28 years ago. The United States is now the largest export destination for Vietnamese goods, including textiles, footwear, and electronics. Vietnam buys U.S. products such as cotton and soybeans, and hosts investment by major U.S. firms. As one of 14 launch partners in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), Vietnam and the United States are now making progress toward finalizing text on all four IPEF pillars. Vietnam has also been a strong partner in and supporter of the U.S. 2023 APEC host year. For the past 20 years, USAID has supported Vietnam’s efforts to improve Vietnam’s business enabling environment in areas such as legal and regulatory reform, capacity building, private sector competitiveness, and workforce capacity.
Growing Security Cooperation
Security is an essential part of supporting an open, prosperous, and resilient Indo-Pacific region. The United States and Vietnam partner on programs that include support for Vietnam’s Coast Guard; countering transnational organized crime, including human trafficking, the trafficking of drugs, precursor chemicals, and wildlife; combatting illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; improving Vietnam’s ability to maintain maritime domain awareness to protect its sovereignty; and judicial reform. The United States and Vietnam conduct several annual dialogues focused on defense partnership and law enforcement ties, as well as on human rights.
Commitment to Addressing Climate and Clean Energy
Vietnam signed a $15.5 billion Just Energy Transition Partnership in 2022, one that will bring considerable investment to help Vietnam achieve the ambitious targets it sets forth of limiting greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, capping coal capacity, and accelerating the adoption of renewable energy to account for 47 percent of electricity generation by 2030. Over the past five years, USAID support helped spur more than $300 million of investment in solar and wind projects in Vietnam. USAID continues to support Vietnam’s transition to a clean, secure, and market-based energy sector through the Vietnam Urban Energy Security activity and Vietnam Low Emission Energy Program II (V-LEEP II), announced by Vice President Kamala Harris during her visit to Vietnam in August 2021. The Department of State is providing a $3 million grant to construct an innovative battery energy storage system pilot project in Vietnam, using cutting-edge American technology and equipment. USAID helped Vietnam stand up a payment system for forest environmental services that has generated approximately $890 million to finance conservation of approximately 40 percent of Vietnam’s forest area, benefitting about 500,000 rural households in mountainous areas.
Strong Health Cooperation
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Vietnam is proud to celebrate 25 years of health cooperation with Vietnam grounded in mutual interests to build high-quality sustainable health systems. The new U.S. CDC regional office in Hanoi, launched by Vice President Kamala Harris in August 2021, is transforming the way ASEAN fights pandemics. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is celebrating 20 years of delivering unprecedented impact in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. More than 170,000 people in Vietnam are receiving life-saving antiretroviral drugs among an estimated 240,000 people living with HIV nationwide. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam supplied more than 450,000 hazmat suits and other PPE to the United States, and the United States provided more than 40 million COVID-19 vaccine doses cost-free to Vietnam through the COVAX facility, as well as more than $44 million in technical assistance to support Vietnam’s COVID-19 response. USAID’s health assistance has grown from a focus on helping people with disabilities to a comprehensive portfolio to strengthen sustainable systems that address current and emerging infectious disease threats.
Committed to a Resilient Mekong
In the Mekong sub-region, the United States supports transboundary cooperation to address economic connectivity, natural resources management, non-traditional security, and human resources development under the Mekong-U.S. Partnership (MUSP). Since 2009, the United States has provided $5.8 billion in aid and assistance in support of the Mekong sub-region. The MUSP collaborates with over 14 U.S. government agencies to deliver for the people of Vietnam and the Mekong sub-region. Also, under MUSP, the Japan-U.S.-Mekong Power Partnership (JUMPP) facilitates clean energy deployment, regional power trade and electrical interconnectivity, and national and regional electricity market development.
Investing in the Next Generation
Education is an important link. Over 30,000 Vietnamese students are studying in the United States, constituting the fifth-largest group of foreign students in the United States. Fulbright Vietnam celebrated its 30-year anniversary in 2022, marking a milestone in the program connecting more than 1,500 American and Vietnamese scholars and students. The U.S.-supported Fulbright University of Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City will graduate its first undergraduate class in June 2023. Last fall, Vietnam also welcomed the inaugural group of Peace Corps Volunteers to Hanoi to support Vietnam’s English education initiative. More than 8,400 Vietnamese have participated in U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs. The United States government supports Vietnam’s efforts to improve the quality of its higher education and produce a 21st century workforce ready to engage globally. Many of USAID’s projects have fostered partnerships or alliances between Vietnamese universities and leading U.S. higher education institutions such as Harvard University, Arizona State University, and Indiana University, as well as private sector companies such as Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Intel, Amazon, and others. These partnerships with U.S. higher education institutions and the private sector have supported innovations in teaching and learning, accreditation, curriculum reform, research, and university and industry linkages.