Vietnam Visit Highlights Information and Communication Technologies
A September meeting in Hanoi inaugurated the U.S.–Vietnam information and communication technologies commercial dialogue.
by Cora Dickson
On September 18, 2007, an important commercial dialogue between the United States and Vietnam was successfully launched when representatives of the two governments held the inaugural meeting of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Commercial Dialogue in Hanoi. The dialogue aims to enhance trade and investment in the ICT sector, and the exchange included a meeting between representatives of U.S. and Vietnamese industry, a public workshop, a joint government–industry session, and bilateral consultations between the two governments.
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| U.S. and Vietnamese officials at the inaugural meeting of the Information and Communication Technologies Commercial Dialogue in Hanoi, Vietnam, on September 18, 2007. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)
The dialogue was cochaired by the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications. The U.S. government delegation was led by Jamie Estrada, deputy assistant secretary for manufacturing at the International Trade Administration (ITA), and included Ambassador David Gross, U.S. coordinator for international communications and information policy at the Department of State; Jonathan McHale, deputy U.S. trade representative for telecommunications; Meredith Atwell Baker, deputy administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration; and representatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. Approximately 20 representatives from U.S. software, information technology, and telecommunications firms also attended, along with 25 representatives from Vietnamese companies and industry associations.
“This meeting in Hanoi is the first of what we hope to be a series of meetings between our two governments on ICT issues over the next several years,” said Estrada. “By bringing together industry and government leaders from both the United States and Vietnam, we expect to have a very constructive dialogue about how to enhance trade and investment in the information and communication technology industry.”
Study Highlights Market Challenges
In his remarks to the dialogue participants, Estrada presented highlights from a study recently published by the ITA, Vietnam: The Next Frontier for Trade in Asia—Key Issues for the Information and Communications Technology Sector (see sidebar). Based on industry analysis conducted by ITA’s Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce, the report identifies six areas that could become obstacles to U.S. businesses contemplating doing business in Vietnam’s ICT sector. Those areas are telecommunications infrastructure development, network security, skills and training, software piracy, electronic commerce, and government procurement. Bilateral engagement on those issues can enable Vietnam’s ICT sector to continue its strong growth by generating trade and investment.
Expanding Commercial Relationship
The dialogue builds on the expanding relationship between Vietnam and the United States in the rapidly developing ICT sector. In November 2007, Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez is scheduled to lead a trade mission to Vietnam. The mission will highlight export opportunities for U.S. businesses, including those that specialize in ICT products and services. The mission is the first of its kind to Vietnam. In 2006, U.S. companies exported nearly $93 million in ICT products to Vietnam.
Spring 2008 Meeting
At the end of the dialogue‘s first meeting, the two governments agreed to organize capacity-building activities and to continue exchanging views on ICT issues. The next meeting of the dialogue is tentatively scheduled for spring 2008.
Cora Dickson is an international trade specialist with the Manufacturing and Services unit of the International Trade Administration.
“Is Vietnam Ready?”
Vietnam: The Next Frontier for Trade in Asia—Key Issues for the Information and Communications Technology Sector , a recent report published by ITA, looks at the challenges and opportunities for U.S. businesses contemplating doing business in that country. Here is an excerpt:
The full report is available on the Web.
Vietnam has taken the spotlight from its Asian neighbors as a new frontier for information and communications technology (ICT) trade. In 2006, Vietnam was second only to China for its economic growth rate in the region. Eager to reap the benefits of integration with the global economy, Vietnam made commitments to further open its markets as part of its [World Trade Organization] accession in January 2007. High-profile and large-scale ICT investments from the United States and from neighboring Asian countries have brought Vietnam out from under the radar. But is Vietnam really ready to become the next Malaysia or to challenge the mammoth ICT industries of China or India?