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Jan 08, 2021 / 15:20

US Trade Representative Lighthizer refutes rumor of imposing tariffs on Vietnam goods

US’s decision to initiate a trade probe on Vietnamese goods could affect thousands of enterprises and millions of workers and customers from the two countries.

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has not considered any tariff action on Vietnamese goods and products.

 Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh in a phone talk with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. 

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer gave the remarks in his phone talk with Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh on January 7.

Mr. Lighthizer stressed that the office is still in the process of gathering information and data related to its investigation on Vietnam under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 regarding currency undervaluation and wood products, adding no conclusion has been drawn so far.

The US Trade Representative highlighted the performance of the Vietnam – US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), as the platform has been instrumental for two sides to discuss and find solution to various economic and trade issues.

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh expressed his deep concern that the USTR’s investigation could cause damage to bilateral relations and ongoing efforts to boost cooperation between the two countries.

“Thousands of enterprises and millions of workers and customers from both Vietnam and the US could be affected as a result of the investigation,” he noted.

Mr. Anh emphasized the Vietnamese Government’s stance of managing monetary policy to stabilize macro-economic conditions and control inflation, not to seek unfair trade gains.

“Vietnam’s recent purchases of foreign currencies are not aimed at devaluing the local currency, but building up the country’s foreign currency reserve that remains low compared to regional countries and to protect the national financial security,” stated Mr. Anh.

Meanwhile, Vietnam is committed to ensuring strict law compliance in the process of importing and using timber, added the Minister.

“Vietnam will continue to cooperate with US agencies during the investigation process,” added Mr. Anh, expecting the USTR to carry out the investigation in a transparent and fair manner.

In the meeting with the Ministry of Industry and Trade held in Hanoi on January 7, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also stressed that Vietnam gives priority to establishing a harmonized, sustainable and balanced trade relations with the US.

“The country stands firm in narrowing its trade surplus with the US, as well as the fight against trade frauds and illegal transshipment,” stated Mr. Phuc.

Mr. Phuc referred to his phone talk with US President Donald Trump last December as saying Vietnam is a developing country with limited economic capability, so that it is not its intention to seek gains in global trade from devaluing the currency, but to keep a stable economic environment.

Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh on January 6 also held a phone talk with US Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo over the issue.

Mr. Minh said the Vietnamese government is committed to addressing comprehensively concern shared by both sides, targeting mutual benefits in trade for all parties involved.