US President to Visit Vietnam September 10

Posted by Written by Dezan Shira and Associates Reading Time: 5 minutes

It has been announced that U.S. President Joe Biden will be in Vietnam on Sunday to discuss upgrading ties with the rapidly developing Southeast Asian nation. In the lead-up to the visit, Vietnam Briefing discusses how U.S.-Vietnam trade relations are shaping up.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Tuesday that the President of the United States, Joseph Biden, would be making an official visit during the weekend. This follows other high-profile U.S. official visits—Vice President Kamala Harris in 2021 and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken last year.

The U.S. has shown a growing interest in deepening its engagement with Vietnam. This interest has surged amidst a complex relationship with China, prompting the world’s largest economy to explore alternative manufacturing hubs in Asia. Vietnam, due to its strategic location and cost-effective workforce, has emerged as a pivotal player in this shifting landscape.

This aligns with the U.S. assuming the role of Vietnam’s primary export destination. In 2022, the bilateral trade volume between these two nations surged to a remarkable US$123 billion. Given this context, Vietnam Briefing examines the evolving dynamics of the U.S.-Vietnam trading relationship and its potential future trajectory.

Trade relations between the US and Vietnam

Trade between Vietnam and the United States has grown exponentially in recent years even in the absence of a comprehensive free trade agreement. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, in which Vietnam and the U.S. were expected to participate, could have addressed this gap. However, during the Trump presidency, the U.S. withdrew from the agreement. As a result, trade is still governed by the 2001 U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA). Nonetheless, there is a growing chorus of voices advocating for a more comprehensive and contemporary free trade agreement between these two nations.

Kyle Freeman, Partner at Dezan Shira and Associates, says trade development will be high on the agenda.

“The U.S.-Vietnam trade relationship has grown tremendously in recent years. The U.S. is now by far the largest export market for Vietnam, with Vietnamese exports to the U.S. being nearly twice as much as those to China, Vietnam’s second-largest export market. Both the U.S. and Vietnam will be keen to continue to develop this trade relationship,” he says.

Freeman adds: “Biden’s visit also marks the 10th anniversary of the comprehensive partnership between the two countries. The U.S. has expressed interest in upgrading this to a strategic partnership, the second highest level in Vietnam’s diplomatic structure, and ultimately to a comprehensive strategic partnership, the highest level of partnership.”

“Any upgrade in the relationship confirmed during this visit will likely contain components aimed to boost Vietnam’s efforts to develop its high-tech sector in areas, including semiconductor production, artificial intelligence, and electrical vehicle production.”

US FDI projects in Vietnam

Between January and July of 2023, companies from the United States initiated 60 new projects in Vietnam and infused an additional US$450 million in registered capital, spanning both these new ventures and several existing enterprises.

This brings the total accumulated U.S. investment in Vietnam to US$11.76 billion spread across 1,277 projects. This substantial investment has been amassed over a period of just under 30 years. Vietnam has undeniably gained popularity among U.S. firms seeking to diversify their operations away from China. Given this trend, it is highly probable that investment in the country will experience accelerated growth in the near future.

Vietnam FDI projects in the US

Vietnam’s investments in the United States are notably smaller in scale compared to U.S. investments in Vietnam. Nevertheless, there is one significant project on the horizon. In July of this year, Vinfast, a Vietnamese electric car manufacturer, initiated construction on a US$2-billion factory located in North Carolina.

Upon completion, the factory is projected to have an annual production capacity of 150,000 electric vehicles (EV). While the factory’s operational commencement date has faced several delays, EV production is now anticipated to start in 2025.

US exports to Vietnam

The three biggest exports from the U.S. to Vietnam in 2022 were: computers, electrical products, spare parts, and components thereof; other products; and cotton. Notably, Vietnam’s cotton consumption has experienced a remarkable surge, especially considering its rise as a powerhouse in the global garment and textile industry.

Imports into Vietnam from the US in 2022

Description Value US$
Computers, electrical products, spare parts, and components thereof 3,383,057,730
Other products 1,717,582,561
Cotton 1,311,797,633
Machine, equipment, tools, and instruments 968,101,259
Animal fodders and animal fodder materials 772,875,683
Plastics 692,786,234
Chemicals 678,312,793
Other means of transportation, parts and 494,016,814
Ferrous waste and scrap 430,489,659
Textile, leather, and foot-wear materials and 424,148,132
Soya beans 408,129,179
Pharmaceutical products 376,171,655
Fruits and vegetables 356,303,683
Wood and wooden products 352,638,212
Other edible food preparations 270,138,492
Milk and milk products 219,913,152
Plastic products 174,095,190
Wheat 128,186,718
Motor vehicles 112,730,223
Essential Oils and resinoids; perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations 80,816,240
Fishery products 76,100,966
Iron and steel products 74,336,079
Parts and accessories of motor vehicles 49,857,848
auxiliaries Glass and glassware 46,863,209
Tobacco materials 45,172,162
Other base metals 41,567,442
Fabrics 40,662,595
Ores and other minerals product 32,459,857
Other base metal products 30,744,322
Rubber 28,951,115
Insulated wires and cables 28,678,181
Still images, video cameras, and parts thereof 28,127,239
Precious stones, precious metals, and articles 27,065,565
Rubber products 22,411,067
Iron and steel 19,190,052
Other petroleum products 16,836,936
Paper 16,790,143
Pastrycooks, sweets, and cereal products 15,674,314
paper products 14,258,437
Insecticides, rodenticides, and materials 11,682,443
Fertilizers 8,486,794
Animal, and vegetable fats and oils 4,880,444
Telephones, mobile phones, and parts thereof 1,344,907
Chemical products 436,128
Total 14,470,561,088

Source: General Department of Customs

Vietnam’s exports to the US

Vietnam’s three biggest exports to the U.S. in 2022 were: machines, equipment, tools, and instruments; textiles and garments; and computers, electrical products, spare parts, and components thereof. This reflects the dynamics of the global value chain, where the U.S. imports raw materials from Vietnam for processing. For instance, cotton imports are turned into finished clothing and apparel in Vietnam before being shipped back to the United States.

Exports from Vietnam to the US in 2022

Description Value US$
Machine, equipment, tools, and instruments 20,181,641,990
Textiles and garments 17,359,654,958
Computers, electrical products, spare parts, and components thereof 15,940,009,854
Telephones, mobile phones, and parts thereof 11,878,221,499
Foot-wears 9,618,300,053
Wood and wooden products 8,660,058,522
Other products 5,744,744,733
Other means of transportation, parts, and accessories thereof 2,585,838,203
Plastic products 2,197,179,265
Fishery products 2,132,439,204
Toys and sports requisites; parts and accessories thereof 2,058,569,072
Handbags, purses, suit-cases, headgear and 1,840,107,339
Iron and steel products 1,180,619,674
Iron and steel 845,122,265
Cashew nut 842,714,577
Insulated wires and cables 776,568,640
Other base metals and other base metal products 759,924,351
Still images, video cameras, and parts thereof 740,045,108
Precious stones, precious metals, and articles 683,279,388
Paper and paper products 453,802,639
Rubber products 359,681,945
Umbrellas Bamboo and rattan products 318,505,350
Coffee 305,413,922
Tyre cord fabrics and other fabrics for technical uses 282,403,642
Pepper 282,202,399
Fruits and vegetables 247,768,913
Yarn 185,583,144
Textile, leather, and foot-wear materials and auxiliaries 166,845,226
Pastrycooks, sweets, and cereals products 159,779,342
Ceramic products 156,162,299
Animal fodders and animal fodder materials 136,143,737
Glass and glassware 94,732,281
Chemicals 71,540,628
Chemical products 63,749,758
Rubber 52,602,198
Rice 18,551,100
Tea 8,381,853
Total 109,388,889,071

Source: General Department of Customs

The future of trade between Vietnam and the US

As President Biden embarks on his visit to Vietnam this weekend, it is evident that bilateral relations have significantly improved compared to half a century ago.

Over the past two decades, trade between the two nations has thrived, and with U.S. manufacturers and brands actively seeking diversification beyond China, Vietnam is well-placed to benefit.

With offices in Hanoi, Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City, Dezan Shira and Associates can assist firms from the United States in cross-border trade and investment.

About Us

Vietnam Briefing is published by Asia Briefing, a subsidiary of Dezan Shira & Associates. We produce material for foreign investors throughout Eurasia, including ASEANChinaIndiaIndonesiaRussia & the Silk Road. For editorial matters please contact us here and for a complimentary subscription to our products, please click here.

Dezan Shira & Associates provide business intelligence, due diligence, legal, tax and advisory services throughout the Vietnam and the Asian region. We maintain offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as throughout China, South-East Asia, India, and Russia. For assistance with investments into Vietnam please contact us at or visit us at