The Strategist

Lighthizer calls on Vietnam to reduce trade surplus with the US

07/30/2019 - 12:05

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that Vietnam should take steps to reduce its trade surplus with the US, reports Bloomberg.

The White House via flickr
The White House via flickr
The US has a growing trade balance deficit with Vietnam, and the government "made it clear to Vietnam that it should take measures to reduce its unsustainable trade deficit," said Lighthizer in comments to the Senate Finance Committee.

Measures to be taken by Vietnam include "increasing imports of goods from the US and removing market access restrictions related to goods, services, agricultural products and intellectual property," he said.

Lighthizer, who answered questions from Senator Mark Warner, spoke to the committee on June 18. Answers to additional questions from committee members were submitted in writing on Monday.

The US is tightening rhetoric against Vietnam, one of its main trading partners, which benefits from the trade war between Washington and Beijing.

US President Donald Trump had previously accused Vietnam of abusing trade relations with America.

The trade surplus of Vietnam with the United States last year amounted to $ 39.5 billion, reaching a maximum over the observation period since 1990.

In January-May 2019, Vietnam’s trade surplus with the United States increased by 43% over the same period last year to $ 21.6 billion.

In early July, the US Department of Commerce announced introduction of duties in the amount of more than 400% of steel imports from Vietnam, accusing some companies of supplying products through this country, bypassing the previously established duties.

Vietnam says it is working to reduce its trade surplus with the United States and is already fighting with Chinese manufacturers who ship their goods through Vietnam to the United States in order to circumvent higher duties.

In May, the US Treasury Department added Vietnam to the list of countries that are being monitored for possible currency manipulations.

Lighthizer also criticized Vietnam for "many unfair trade barriers" that American companies face in the country.