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Khanh Hoa Province Hosts Forum in San Diego, Seeks to Establish Closer Connections

ASEAN The Mekong

Khanh Hoa, a Vietnamese coastal province shared opportunities for collaboration and partnership with San Diego stakeholders, building upon Vietnam’s Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with the United States that was established in 2023.

On June 3, 2024, Vietnam’s southern coastal Khanh Hoa Province hosted a Trade, Investment, and Tourism Promotion Forum in San Diego, California. The Vietnamese delegation sought to strengthen existing ties between Khanh Hoa Province and the United States by exploring new markets for Khanh Hoa’s tourism potential, logistical advantages and opportunities, and technological products.

Khanh Hoa provincial officials discussed potential partnerships between San Diego-based companies operating in artificial intelligence (AI), semiconductors, and information technology, with Khanh Hoa’s higher education institutions, including the Telecommunications University. Khanh Hoa Provincial Party Secretary Nguyen Hai Ninh also met with the leadership of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and expressed the province’s hope to collaborate with UCSD on digital transition, green transition, technology, education, and healthcare. Secretary Ninh commented during the forum that now is a good time to “concretize” the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) between Vietnam and the United States established in 2023. During President Joseph Biden and General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s announcement of the CSP in September 2023, the White House published a Fact Sheet highlighting Khanh Hoa province as an example of economic cooperation between a Vietnamese province and the United States.

Existing examples of collaboration include North Carolina-based Honeywell’s plans to integrate a 50MW peak solar farm operated by AMI Khanh Hoa. Additionally, Millennium Energy Corp proposed a $27 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) depot and energy facility in Khanh Hoa province’s Van Phong Economic Zone in Van Phong Bay. Van Phong Bay also hosts the facilities of Australis Aquaculture, a Massachusetts-based enterprise that won the US State Department’s Award for Corporate Excellence in 2021 for innovative approaches to fish farming and was instrumental in popularizing the barramundi fish in the American seafood market. In the first half of 2022, the United States was the largest importer of Khanh Hoa’s products, totaling $198.8 million. Key export products of Khanh Hoa to the United States include seafood, ships and spare parts, coffee, textiles, wood, and wood products.

As a coastal province, Khanh Hoa was also designated to welcome visiting delegations of US Navy fleets. In 2018, the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet visited Khanh Hoa, marking the ninth time the Pacific Partnership (PP) was held in Vietnam. US activities in PP18 include providing medical examination and treatment, exchanging medical expertise, renovating and repairing schools and clinics, and participating in community engagements.

Khanh Hoa aims to be a centrally-governed municipality — the highest-ranked administrative status in Vietnam — by 2030 and is investing in high-tech industries, high-quality healthcare, human resource development, and maritime services. To achieve these priorities, Khanh Hoa increased its international presence and sought to cooperate with private and education sectors in US cities such as San Diego and Boston.

Sam Tran is a Summer 2024 Young Professional at the East-West Center in Washington. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a B.A. in Political Science in May 2024.