26/07/2015 22:35 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

20 Years of Vietnam-US Relations: Unforgettable Milestones

Many people had doubts when Vietnam and the US announced normalisation of their relations because of existing “war wounds”. However, with great efforts made by both sides, the two countries have had remarkable results over the past 20 years.

Historical Visits
    General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong paid an official visit to the United States from July 5-12, 2015 at the invitation of the US President Barack Obama’s administration. Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong holds talks with US President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington DC on July 7.

On July 7, 2015, US President Barack Obama received Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong
at the White House in Washington DC. Photo: Tri Dung – VNA



Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong holds talks with US President Barack Obama at the White House in
Washington DC. Photo: Tri Dung – VNA



Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong attends a reception hosted by US Vice President Joe Biden.
In the photo: US Vice President Joe Biden receives Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong. Photo: Tri Dung – VNA



Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong meets with US Senator John McCain. Photo: Tri Dung – VNA

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong receives US Trade Representative Michael Froman coming
to pay a courtesy call on him. Photo: Tri Dung – VNA



Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong visits the family of fomer US President Bill Clinton. Photo: Tri Dung - VNA


Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong meets UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Photo: Tri Dung – VNA


T
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong had a meeting with US religious dignitaries and representatives
from the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE). Photo: Tri Dung – VNA


Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong attends the ribbon cutting ceremony to hand over the new-generation
plane  Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner from the US Boeing Group to Vietnam Airlines at Ronald Reagan airport in Washington DC.
Photo: Tri Dung – VNA

On July 11, 1995 US President Bill Clinton and Vietnamese Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet officially announced the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

On August 5, 1995 US Secretary of State Warren Christopher inaugurated the US Embassy in Hanoi during his visit to Vietnam. It was the first visit to Vietnam by a US secretary.

In May 1997, the two countries exchanged ambassadors. Le Van Bang was the first Vietnamese ambassador to the US while Douglas Peterson became the first US ambassador to Vietnam.

On March 13, 2000, US Secretary of Defence William S.Cohen paid a visit to Vietnam. During his visit, the two sides discussed the search for missing American soldiers from the war and military cooperation between the two countries. It was an important landmark in defence cooperation. In November 2003, Vietnamese Defence Minister General Pham Van Tra visited Washington.

On November 16, 2000, US President Bill Clinton paid a 4-day official visit to Vietnam and it was the first visit by a US President to Vietnam since the war ended in 1975. During his visit, President Clinton said: "We are honoured to join you in writing a new chapter in the relationship between the United States and Vietnam, and grateful that this chapter has a happy beginning. Yes, the history we leave behind is painful and hard. We must not forget it, but we must not be controlled by it. The past is only what precedes the future, not what determines it”.

On June 20, 2005, Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai led a delegation of the Vietnamese Government to visit the US at the invitation of US President George W. Bush. During his visit, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai affirmed that Vietnam and the US had the same concerns and benefits in many areas in bilateral ties, as well as in many international issues and hoped that the visit would open up new prospects for Vietnam-US cooperative ties and benefit both countries.
In November 2006,US President George W. Bush paid a four-day visit to Vietnam where he signed a bill granting permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Vietnam.

In June 2007, Vietnamese State President Nguyen Minh Triet visited the US where he affirmed that Vietnam will continue the process of further integration into the World Trade Organisation and complying with WTO’s rules to create a favourable investment environment.

In June 2008, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung officially visited the US as a guest of President George W. Bush. During his visit, the two sides agreed to organise ministerial-level strategic security dialogues. As a result, the two sides inaugurated their first Political, Security and Defense Dialogue in October 2008 in Washington.

In July 2013, State President Truong Tan Sang officially visited the US. The two sides declared the establishment of a bilateral comprehensive partnership.

In December 2013, US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Vietnam where he and Vietnamese leaders discussed issues on cooperation and extending the comprehensive partnership.

In October 2014, Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh visited the US where US Secretary of State John Kerry announced the US would partially lift its long-term ban on the provision of arms to Vietnam. The two sides also discussed issues related to the East Sea.


Prime Minister Phan Van Khai visited the US in 2005.
Photo: VNA

US President George W.Bush visited Vietnam in 2006.
Photo: VNA

State President Nguyen Minh Triet visited the US in 2007. Photo: VNA

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung  visited the US in 2008. Photo: VNA


US President George W.Bush and leaders of countries attending APEC 14 held in Vietnam in 2006. Photo: VNA
 

In July 2013, Vietnam and the US declared the establishment of a bilateral comprehensive partnership.
In the photo:  State President Truong Tan Sang talks with US President Barack Obama at the White House.
Photo: Nguyen Khang - VNA

Important Agreements

The US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement

In July 2000, Vietnam and the US officially signed the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) which took effect on December 11, 2001 when US Trade Representative Ambassador  Zoellick and Vietnam Minister of Trade Vu Khoan sign the BTA notifications to put the agreement into effect. Accordingly, all Vietnamese commodities exported to the US enjoy tariff rates under unconditional Normal Trade Relations (NTR) status, much lower than the previous ones. After only two years from when BTA first came into effect, the US has kept its position as Vietnam’s number-one export market. According to statistics of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, up to April 2015 the US continued to be the top export market of Vietnam at19.7%.

The two way trade volume between Vietnam and the US in 2014 reached 36.3 billion dollars, including an export turnover of 30.6 billion dollars, an increase of 25%; and an import volume of 5.7 billion dollars, an increase of 13.6%. Vietnam’s trade surplus in the American market was 24.9 billion dollars, the highest number over the years. In 2014, the US was also the largest trade partner of Vietnam and was listed as one of the seven largest investors in Vietnam with about 10 billion dollars of foreign direct investment (FDI).

Vietnam joins the World Trade Organisation
Besides strengthening bilateral relations in trade and investment, BTA gives opportunities for the exchange of the two countries’ citizens and helped open a door for Vietnam to officially join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on January 11, 2007. All experiences drawn on during negotiations for BTA were very useful for Vietnam to negotiate with the US, a major partner of WTO, for joining this organisation.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership
Vietnam, the US and 10 other countries are now negotiating the Trans-pacific Partnership (TPP). When TPP is signed by 12 countries by the end of this year, it expects that Vietnam’s import-export value in the US will considerably increase. The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Vietnam estimated that Vietnam’s export volume to the US will reach 57 billion dollars by 2020.

TTP is considered the foundation for economic integration in the whole Asia-pacific region. The agreement will promote economic benefits, create jobs and further strengthen the relationship between Vietnam and the US. When participating in TPP, some Vietnam’s exports to the US such as garments, footwear and aquatic products will have a zero tax rate.
The success of trade agreements will provide favourable conditions for the two countries to lift their ties to a strategic partnership.


The Vietnamese delegation participates in negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Singapore. Photo: Le Hai - VNA


Vietnamese Minister of National Defense General Phung Quang Thanh and US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter
sign a joint vision statement. Photo: Trong Duc - VNA



Vietnam and the US signed a bilateral agreement on using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Photo: VNA


The Vietnam-US Defense dialogue. Photo: VNA 

(Source: Infonet.vn - Photos: VNA)
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