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Apr 12, 2024 / 06:23

Washington businesses look fowards to cooperation with Vietnamess partners

Senator Joe Nguyen, from the Seattle area of Washington State, emphasizes his role in bringing Vietnamese and American businesses together.

A delegation of lawmakers and business executives from the US state of Washington are in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh to seek opportunities for American companies to expand their operations in Vietnam. Senator Joe Nguyen, from the Seattle area in Washington State, speaks to The Hanoi Times reporter about the prospects between Washington-based companies and Vietnamese partners, especially those in Hanoi.

Senator Joe Nguyen from Seattle, Washington State.

Could you give us a brief introduction to the trip to Vietnam by the 47 US companies from Washington State?

This is the official Washington State trade delegation, part of the Governor's Office sponsoring this tour. We have legislators, business leaders in technology, agriculture and education. So it's a whole cross-section of industries in Washington State that are here to really learn how we can be better partners. We know that Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and in Asia. So if there's something happening here in the future, we want to make sure that we're a part of it, especially given the history that we have as well.

It's important for us because I'm the first and only Vietnamese State Senator in Washington State. Along with a few other American-Vietnamese, we're the only Vietnamese to bring the Washington State delegation here. We acknowledge the history, the past and the legacy there, and we have a way forward. We really want to do this because we honor the history that we have with Vietnam and we want to carry that into the future.

So I think Vietnam is well poised to play a big role in the global economy. We in Washington State want to make sure that we're able to help bridge that gap for a lot of reasons. Obviously, there are a lot of folks that are from Vietnam and now reside in Washington State. That makes Vietnam a key trade partner for us as well.

Could you tell us about the upcoming projects that US companies have in mind for Vietnam?

At the moment it's largely more of an entry level, operational type of role. We have universities here, for example the University of Washington. They are very interested in building better relationships, making sure we have a collaborative approach with students. I also know that the technology sector is key, with Microsoft and Amazon having a presence here, especially with their e-commerce platform. We know that AI and technology are very important, and we want Vietnam to be a key player in those two sectors. I think there's a huge opportunity for us to develop an R&D facility in Vietnam.

We also see Vietnam as a key partner in the global supply chain. I think part of it is related to Boeing for its big presence in both Washington State and Vietnam. I think its maintenance positions and supply chains are kind of the biggest things. I represent the district that has the Port of Seattle, one of the largest port terminals in all of the United States and we know that a key trade route is through Vietnam. So from a supply chain, from logistics, from a knowledge base, from the raw materials that you're able to provide for agriculture, otherwise, I think there's a lot that we could be working on.

What specific opportunities for US companies do you see?

The two biggest things I see are the fact that you're seeing a level of economic activity and opportunity in Vietnam that has grown quite rapidly. So the fact that the economy is growing so fast and that industry is more present here. And frankly, you see a lot of American companies wanting to do more in Vietnam because of the geopolitical issues that are happening more globally.

So in Hanoi specifically, I can see a lot of opportunity for us to engage, whether it's in the education sector or tech sector. I think oftentimes the biggest thing that we can share is knowledge. So Washington State has done a lot of work on clean energy and clean technology. I think we can share some of that with Hanoi. For some of the industries that are here locally, those can be done and given back to us in Washington State as well. So there are a lot of shifts that I think can happen.

Part of the strength is that it's geographically in a very good position for us to be involved in other Asia-Pacific regions. I think Hanoi has a deep culture and history where there's a lot of heritage. And there are a lot of things that we can learn from the historical experience. In terms of culture, I think Hanoi is a place that you'd often want to go to when you're working abroad. So I think the physical attraction of the city and the beauty and the history of the culture makes it easier for us to get businesses to come to Vietnam because it's a city that has a lot of history and legacy.

Thank you for your time!