U.S.-Vietnam Relations in 2011: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
After communist North Vietnam’s victory over U.S.-backed South Vietnam in 1975, the United States and Vietnam had minimal relations until the mid-1990s. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1995, overlapping security and economic interests have led the two sides to expand relations across a wide range of issue-areas and begin to form a strategic partnership of sorts. Perhaps most prominently, in 2010, the two countries mobilized a multinational response to China’s perceived attempts to boost its claims to disputed waters and islands in the South China Sea. This coordinated effort to promote the freedom of navigation has continued.
Adult Awareness of Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorship — 14 Countries
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)
According to the 2012 Report of the U.S. Surgeon General, exposure to tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship (TAPS) is associated with the initiation and continuation of smoking among young persons. The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) requires countries to prohibit all forms of TAPS (2); the United States signed the agreement in 2004, but the action has not yet been ratified. Many countries have adopted partial bans covering direct advertising in traditional media channels; however, few countries have adopted comprehensive bans on all types of direct and indirect marketing. To assess progress toward elimination of TAPS and the level of awareness of TAPS among persons aged ≥15 years, CDC used data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) collected in 14 countries during 2008–2010. Awareness of any TAPS ranged from 12.4% in Turkey to 70.4% in the Philippines. In the four countries where awareness of TAPs was ≤15%, three of the countries had comprehensive bans covering all nine channels assessed by GATS, and the fourth country banned seven of the nine channels. In 12 countries, more persons were aware of advertising in stores than advertising via any other channel. Reducing exposure to TAPS is important to prevent initiation of tobacco use by youths and young adults and to help smokers quit.
Over the course of two decades Vietnam emerged as an important oil and natural gas producer in Southeast Asia. Vietnam has boosted exploration activities, allowed for greater foreign company investment and cooperation in the oil and gas sectors, and introduced market reforms to support the energy industry. These measures have helped to increase oil and gas production, but the country’s rapid economic growth, industrialization, and export market expansion have spurred domestic energy consumption. The country’s real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by an average of 7.2 percent per year in the last decade.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed regional free trade agreement (FTA) currently under negotiation between Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. The negotiating partners have expressed an interest in allowing this proposed “living agreement” to cover new trade topics and to include new members that are willing to adopt the proposed agreement’s high standards. To that end, Canada, Japan, and Mexico recently stated that they would seek consultations with the partner countries about the possibility of joining the negotiations.The TPP negotiations are of significant interest to Congress. Congressional involvement includes consultations with U.S. negotiators on and oversight of the details of the negotiations, and eventual consideration of legislation to implement the final trade agreement. In assessing the TPP negotiations, Members may be interested in understanding the potential economic impact and significance of TPP and the economic characteristics of the other TPP countries as they evaluate the potential impact of the proposed TPP on the U.S. economy and the commercial opportunities for expansion into TPP markets.This report provides a comparative economic analysis of the TPP countries and their economic relations with the United States. It suggests that the TPP negotiating partners encompass great diversity in population, economic development, and trade and investment patterns with the United States. This economic diversity and inclusion of fast-growing emerging markets presents both opportunities and challenges for the United States in achieving a comprehensive and high standard regional FTA among TPP countries.The proposed TPP and its potential expansion are important due to the economic significance of the Asia-Pacific region for both the United States and the world. The region is home to 40% of the world’s population, produces over 50% of global GDP, and includes some of the fastest growing economies in the world. While current TPP negotiating partners made up about 5% of U.S. trade in 2010, Asia-Pacific economies as a whole, made up over 60%.The United States is the largest TPP market in terms of both GDP and population. In 2010, nonU.S. TPP partners collectively had a GDP of $2.3 trillion, 16% of the U.S. level, and a population of 195 million, 63% of the U.S. level. Entry of Canada, Japan, and/or Mexico would increase the economic significance of the agreement on both these metrics. Among the TPP partners, the majority of overall U.S. trade and investment flows are with Australia and Singapore. In merchandise trade, however, the United States imports more from Malaysia than any other TPP country. Considering the TPP region collectively, over 25% of all U.S.-TPP imports and exports are in computers/electronic components. At the bilateral level, top U.S. exports are largely in the same major product categories, but top U.S. imports vary considerably by country.There are four U.S. bilateral FTAs in place with current TPP partners: Australia, Chile, Peru, and Singapore. All other TPP partners except Peru, have agreements in place with five or more of the other TPP partners. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam are members, accounts for much of this existing interconnectedness. Moreover, ASEAN agreements with larger regional economies (e.g., China, Japan, and Korea), present a second possible avenue for Asia-Pacific economic integration, albeit one that currently excludes the United States.
Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972-August 1974
The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974. Continuing the practice established in recent Foreign Relations volumes on the Soviet Union, this volume places Soviet-American relations in the global context of the Cold War, highlighting the conflicts and collaboration between the two superpowers.
The volume includes numerous direct personal communications between President Richard Nixon and Soviet Leader Leonid Brezhnev covering a host of issues, including clarifying the practical application of the SALT I and AMB agreements signed in Moscow. Other major themes covered include the war in Indochina, arms control, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), commercial relations and most-favored-nation status, grain sales, the emigration of Soviet Jews, Jackson-Vanik legislation, and the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war. High-level meetings and summits, both in the United States and the Soviet Union, are documented in detail, including Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger’s conversations with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko leading up to Nixon’s final visit to the Soviet Union in June 1974.
U.S.-Vietnam Relations in 2011: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. Department of State Foreign Press Center)
After communist North Vietnam’s victory over U.S.-backed South Vietnam in 1975, the United States and Vietnam had minimal relations until the mid-1990s. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1995, overlapping security and economic interests have led the two sides to begin to form a strategic partnership of sorts. In 2010, the Obama Administration indicated its intent to take relations to “the next level,” and cooperated with Vietnam to coordinate a multi- country diplomatic push back against perceived Chinese encroachment in the South China Sea.
In the United States, voices favoring improved relations have included those reflecting U.S. business interests in Vietnam’s reforming economy and U.S. strategic interests in expanding cooperation with a populous country—Vietnam has 88 million people—that has an ambivalent relationship with China and that is asserting itself on the regional stage. Others argue that improvements in bilateral relations should be conditioned upon Vietnam’s authoritarian government improving its record on human rights. The population of more than 1 million Vietnamese-Americans, as well as legacies of the Vietnam War, also drive continued U.S. interest.
Vietnamese leaders have sought to upgrade relations with the United States in part due to the desire for continued access to the U.S. market and to worries about China’s expanding influence in Southeast Asia. That said, Sino-Vietnam relations are Vietnam’s most important bilateral relationship and Vietnamese leaders must tiptoe carefully along the tightrope between Washington and Beijing, such that improved relations with one capital not be perceived as a threat to the other. Also, some Vietnamese remain suspicious that the United States’ long-term goal is to erode the Vietnamese Communist Party’s (VCP) monopoly on power.
The United States is Vietnam’s largest export market and in some years its largest source of foreign direct investment. Bilateral trade in 2010 was over $15 billion, a tenfold increase since the United States extended “normal trade relations” (NTR) treatment to Vietnam in 2001. Increased trade also has been fostered by Vietnam’s market-oriented reforms. From 1987-2007, Vietnam’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged over 7%. Since then, Vietnam’s economy has been buffeted by economic difficulties that have lowered growth rates and raised inflation. Vietnam is one of the largest recipients of U.S. assistance in East Asia; since the late 2000s, annual U.S. aid typically surpasses $100 million, much of it for health-related activities. The United States and Vietnam are two of nine countries negotiating a Trans-Pacific Strategic and Economic Partnership (TPP) regional free trade agreement (FTA).
Human rights are the biggest thorn in the side of the relationship. Vietnam is a one-party, authoritarian state ruled by the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP), which appears to be following a strategy of permitting most forms of personal and religious expression while selectively repressing individuals and organizations that it deems a threat to the party’s monopoly on power. Most observers argue that the government, which already had tightened restrictions on dissent and criticism since 2007, intensified its suppression in 2010.
In January 2011, the VCP held a Party Congress that selected Nguyen Phu Trong to become the new VCP general secretary, Vietnam’s top post. Vietnam’s prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, was endorsed to continue his tenure as head of the government. Many Western analysts regard the Congress’s results as a sign that steady, incremental improvements in relations with the United States will continue. However, Dung’s power base within the VCP appears to have been weakened, which could make bilateral cooperation more difficult on some issues.
Country Specific Information: Vietnam
Source: U.S. Department of State
May 23, 2011
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Vietnam is a developing, mainly agrarian country that is moving from a centrally-planned economy to a market economy. Political control rests with the Communist Party. Tourist facilities can be basic in rural areas but are increasingly well established in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and some beach and mountain resorts. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Vietnam for additional information.
Vietnam business guide (PDFs)
Source: Department for Business Innovation & Skills
Overview of how to do business in Vietnam, a high-growth market for the UK. Covers researching the market, market entry and business issues and considerations. Intended for UK businesses. See also the Philippines (11/689), Thailand (11/690) and Malaysia (11/691) business guides that were also published 19 April 2011.