Vietnam News

Vietnam PM urges Trump to take objective view in trade dispute

Vietnam’s prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on Monday the country’s exchange rate policy was not aimed at helping its exports and asked that US President Donald Trump have “a more objective assessment of the reality in Vietnam”.

The US Trade Representative (USTR) said earlier this month that under Mr Trump’s direction, it was opening an investigation into whether Vietnam has been undervaluing its dong currency and harming US commerce.

“If the dong is devalued, it would seriously hurt the economy,” Mr Phuc told Adam Boehler, head of the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), in Hanoi on Monday.

“Vietnam is not using exchange rate policy to create a competitive advantage in international trade.”

Vietnam has been on Washington’s watchlist of currency manipulators because of its trade surplus with the United States, a large current-account surplus and a perception that its central bank has been actively buying foreign currency.

The US Treasury in August found that Vietnam’s currency was undervalued in 2019 by about 4.7 per cent against the dollar due in part to government intervention.

Mr Phuc asked Mr Boehler to tell Mr Trump and the USTR to “have a more objective assessment of reality in Vietnam” with regard to the trade imbalance.

The DFC said Mr Boehler was in Vietnam to “discuss a broad spectrum of opportunities”.

On Tuesday, the deputy governor of Vietnam’s state bank told USTR officials that it “operates within the framework of international monetary policy”.

Vietnam’s trade surplus with the United States, widened to US$44.3 billion in the first nine months of this year from US$33.96 billion a year earlier, according to Vietnam’s customs data.

The US Treasury Department is unlikely to release its long-delayed semi-annual report to Congress on international currency manipulation until after the US presidential election on Nov 3, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Reuters – 27 octobre 2020

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