US-Vietnam security ties may trump trade

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Subject

US-Vietnam relations.

Significance

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc met US President Donald Trump on May 31 in Washington, during a two-day visit in which he also conferred with the US business community and Vietnamese diaspora. Phuc’s visit is part of Hanoi’s plan to forge a relationship with the new US administration. The prime minister sought the continuance of the Obama-era US-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership and to look ahead to the APEC meeting in Da Nang in November, which Trump will attend.

Impacts

  • Even without the twelve-member TPP, Vietnam will improve its intellectual property and labour laws.
  • Increased US security support may see more frictions over maritime issues between Beijing and a more confident Hanoi.
  • Trump’s wish to protect US borders will cause Hanoi concern that Vietnamese student numbers in the United States will fall.
  • If so, this could hit knowledge and technology transfers from the United States to Vietnam.
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