Vietnam PM urges Trump to take objective view in trade dispute

26 October, 2020 | Vietnam News,World News
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he makes comments on the Government Hall building, next to Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, during their meeting at the Office of Government Hall in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 27, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/ File Photo)

HANOI – Vietnam‘s prime minister has said 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 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 will seriously hurt the economy,” Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told Adam Boehler, head of the US International Development Finance Corporation, at a meeting in Hanoi.

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

Vietnam has been on Washington’s watch list 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% against the dollar due in part to government intervention.

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

The U.S Embassy in Vietnam was unable to immediately provide comment on the statement.

Vietnam‘s trade surplus with the United States, its largest export market, widened to $44.3 billion in the first nine months of this year from $33.96 billion in the same period last year, 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.