Third, Vietnam`s impressive series of trade agreements will boost growth. A member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), successor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), from which the United States withdrew in 2017, it has signed a free trade agreement with the European Union. For Vietnam, this was to counter China`s confident attitude in the region, especially in the South China Sea. Based on this relationship, Hanoi was also chosen for the North Korean US summit in February 2019, which further consolidated Vietnam`s image on the world stage. Vietnam remains heavily contaminated with explosive remnants of war, mainly in the form of unexploded explosives (UXO), including significant cluster munition contamination from the war with the United States. The United States is the largest demining employer in Vietnam, and the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on continued cooperation on unexploded ordnance in December 2013. U.S. efforts to tackle legacy responsibilities such as UXO/Demining, MIA accounting, and the rehabilitation of Agent Orange (an agent used by U.S. forces) served as the basis for U.S.-Vietnam defense relations. The United States and Vietnam are committed to strengthening defense cooperation between the two countries, as outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding on Promoting Bilateral Defense Cooperation in 2011 and the U.S.-Vietnam Joint Vision Statement on Defense Relations, signed in 2015, humanitarian cooperation, war heritage issues, maritime security, peacekeeping and humanitarian aid and prioritizing disaster relief. Many of these issues are discussed in annual bilateral defence talks. In May 2016, the United States completely lifted its ban on the sale of lethal weapons to Vietnam and continued to support maritime security in Vietnam, including through the Maritime Security Initiative, the Cooperation Reprogramming Program, and military management. In 2017, the United States transferred a Hamilton-class coast guard trawler to enhance Vietnam`s law enforcement capabilities and allowed the transmission of a second trawler in 2019.
Also in 2017, the United States and Vietnam established a working group on the Cooperative Humanitarian and Medical Storage Initiative, which will foster cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The United States reaffirmed its support for Vietnam`s peace efforts by supporting the first deployment of UN peacekeepers to Vietnam in 2018. Since the formalization of diplomatic relations, the United States and Vietnam have strengthened ties with bilateral trade, which has grown from $450 million in 1994 to $77 billion in 2019. The United States had become Vietnam`s largest export market, while Vietnam became the united States` fastest export market. Nevertheless, the attempt to repair the trade balance through tariffs will only alienate a key player in a region where the US hopes to retain its influence. This has led to misplaced optimism about the arrival of such an agreement with Vietnam. For various reasons, this was not the case, and the idea evaporated. Two years later, no FTA negotiations are underway with Vietnam or any partner in Southeast Asia. There have been some preliminary discussions with the Philippines, but they have not yet progressed. The Comprehensive Partnership underscores the United States` continued commitment to the Indo-Pacific and provides a mechanism to facilitate cooperation in areas such as political and diplomatic relations, trade and economic relations, defense and security, science and technology, education and training, environment, and health. humanitarian/disaster relief assistance, war-related issues, protection and promotion of human rights, people-to-people relations as well as culture, sport and tourism. The United States supports the professionalization of Vietnam`s policing, regional cross-border cooperation, and the implementation of international conventions and standards.
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