Gov. Brown signs new trade agreement with Vietnam
Gov. Kate Brown has signed a cooperative agreement with Vietnam to promote trade, economic development and investment in renewable energy.
Brown, who will leave office Jan. 9, did so Thursday, Nov. 17, on the first day of the 2022 Vietnam-United States Trade Forum in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. The memorandum of understanding also was signed by Do Thang Hai, vice minister of Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade.
"With Vietnam's growing economy and alignment with Oregon's export opportunities, there is great potential to continue to strengthen and grow trade between Vietnam and Oregon.
"When I first visited Vietnam in 2015, I signed a letter of intent strengthening ties between Vietnam and Oregon, committing to government, business, and academic partnership, as well as cooperation around issues like business, agriculture, tourism and the environment.
"I'm proud today to renew that commitment, by signing a memorandum of understanding that will deepen our cooperation in trade and investment around renewable energy, economic development, and commerce. Our continued partnership will be mutually beneficial for our working families, our economies and our communities.
"While this is my last official visit as governor, I know that the bonds between our two countries will continue to grow in the years to come."
Vietnam is Oregon's eighth largest export market with more than $1 billion in exports in 2021.
Brown was joined by representatives from the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Business Oregon, Portland State University and the Port of Portland.
Vietnam is Oregon's 10th largest market for agriculture, food, and beverages with more than $24 million in exports in 2021. Wheat accounted for most of that market.
Earlier in the week at the Vietnam FoodExpo 2022, Brown announced that Oregon has been selected as the event's guest of honor in 2023. Next year, the Oregon Department of Agriculture will return to the expo with Oregon agricultural and food businesses to showcase Oregon products.
The largest share of exports from Oregon to Vietnam, about 80%, is tied to Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, but with more than 20,000 workers employed at plants in Hillsboro and Aloha. Since the opening of Intel's testing and assembly plant in Vietnam in 2010, exports of electronics and computer parts from Oregon to Vietnam have grown significantly.
Shoe components from sportswear giant Nike and others are another major export.
Brown spent 12 days in October on a trade mission to South Korea and Japan, Oregon's fourth and sixth largest export markets.
Since Brown took office in 2015, Oregon exports have risen 49%, the sixth largest increase in exports in the nation during that period. During the pandemic, Oregon was one of only six states in the country to see positive export growth between 2019 and 2020. Nearly 6,000 Oregon companies export internationally, and 83,000 Oregon jobs are supported by exports.
While in Vietnam, Brown met with President Nguy n Xuân Phúc, Vice Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Minister for Education Nguyen Van Phuc, Foreign Affairs Minister Bui Thanh Son, Hanoi Mayor Tran Sy Thanh, and Ho Chi Minh Mayor Phan Van Mai. She also visited Klever Fruits and Big C, two Vietnamese stores that sell fresh Oregon fruit and produce.
She also met with U.S. Ambassador Marc Knapper and U.S. Consul General Susan Burns. She also observed the 10th anniversary of the state partnership between the Oregon National Guard and the National Committee for Incident, Disaster Response, and Search and Rescue of Vietnam.
Brown was the first Oregon governor to visit a unified Vietnam in 2015 — she went to the capital of Hanoi — but this was her first visit to what was once South Vietnam.
In 1967, Oregon Gov. Tom McCall visited South Vietnam as part of a group of observers named by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson to observe South Vietnam's presidential election. McCall, formerly a news reporter, even wrote his observations for The Associated Press.
U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War ended in 1973. It is known in Vietnam as the American War, to set it off from Vietnam's struggle against French colonial rule from 1945 until 1954. North Vietnam reunified the country under Communist rule in 1975, but it has built new ties with the United States since they normalized relations in 1995.
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