Vietnam will import liquefied natural gas (LNG) among other goods from the United States, local state media reported. The move is a response to recent warnings by President Donald Trump that the country is a terrible trade abuser.
According to Vietnam Television (VTV), Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc met President Trump at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 28, to discuss trade and energy cooperation.
VTV elaborated that Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade will sign a memorandum of understanding in the near future with the U.S. Energy Department to cooperate in energy, in which Vietnam plans to buy LNG from the United States at large volumes.
President Trump welcomed such a strategic cooperation between the two countries, but urged Vietnam to build a trade relation of more balance and more mutual benefit with the United States.
In an interview with Fox Business on June 26 before flying to Asia to attend the G-20 summit, President Trump said Vietnam was almost the “single worst abuser” on trade with the United States. He added that Washington was in discussions with Hanoi.
President Trump has frequently urged trader partners, including Vietnam, to buy more American products to narrow the trade gap.
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the U.S. trade deficit with Vietnam has exceeded $20 billion since 2014 and reached nearly $40 billion in 2018, the highest in records going back to 1990.
To avoid a potential trade tension with the United States amid President Trump’s tough statement, Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday pledged the country would buy more U.S. goods.
Tuoitre Newspaper cited the ministry’s spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang as saying late Friday that Vietnam has been seeking to improve a trade balance with the United States by importing more U.S. products, facilitating investment climate for U.S. businesses and encouraging Vietnamese companies to invest in the United States.