Despite the uncertain future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, US companies are planning to continue expanding their investments and business in Vietnam.
Michael Michalak, senior vice president and regional marketing director of the US-ASEAN Business Council, (USABC), said that, though the TPP may become infeasible in the future due to US President-elect Donald Trump’s opposition, “Vietnam remains a very attractive investment destination for Americans, especially our 150 member companies.”
Last week, USABC brought a small group of senior leaders from Fortune 500 companies to Vietnam for its Asia Pacific presidents’ business mission. The visit was aimed to underscore the companies’ increased investments and business in Vietnam.
“US firms have pinned their great hope on TPP. However, no matter what TPP may be, they still consider Vietnam a very important business and investment spot in ASEAN,” stressed Michalak at a meeting with Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) leaders.
“For example, AES Corporation, AIG, Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), Cargill, Coca-Cola, GE, and UL are boosting their presence here in Vietnam. These companies represent a cross section of industries including aerospace, agriculture, consumer products, energy, financial services, IT, infrastructure, health, and manufacturing sectors,” said USABC president and CEO Alexander Felderman.
Alan Willits, chairman of Cargill Asia Pacific under Cargill Group, a US-based multinational producer of food, agriculture, financial, and industrial products and services, revealed that Cargill will open its 12th animal feed plant in Vietnam next year.
Cargill is currently building a cargo handling service facility at Phu My port in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
Another US company, Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), one of the largest agricultural processors in the world, is also set to carve a bigger niche in Vietnam, where it has been operating since 1999. “We regard Vietnam as a strategic market. We will continue expanding our business here, by not only trading but also investing in production and processing of products,” said Ian Pinner, president of ADM’s Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Global Destination Marketing Department.
One month ago, UL, innovator of safety solutions, officially opened its new consumer and retail services testing laboratory in Ho Chi Minh City. The 1,300 square metre laboratory has expanded regional capacity for testing toys, textiles, footwear, accessories, and jewellery for compliance with a variety of safety and performance-related requirements. UL has also inked a deal with the Ministry of Science and Technology about testing Vietnamese furniture products exported to North America.
MPI Deputy Minister Nguyen Van Hieu said Vietnam is in critical need of US investment in four key sectors, including infrastructure development, supporting industry, high-tech, and high-quality agriculture.
According to Michalak, USABC will make its greatest efforts to cooperate with the US’ new administration. “We will also do our utmost to persuade the new president to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in the central city of Danang in 2017. This will be a good opportunity for him to have a better understanding about Vietnam and the fine relationship between the US and Vietnam.”
Moreover, USABC is also compiling a special report on the relationship between the US and ASEAN, including Vietnam. The report will be submitted to Trump.
As of November 20, 2016, the US is Vietnam’s ninth-biggest foreign investor, with 816 valid investment projects registered at almost US$10.1 billion.