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U.S. Trade Representative Highlights Trade with ASEAN Countries


The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) office, which leads the U.S. executive branch efforts to negotiate trade agreements and resolve disputes, has produced a series of briefings that show how trade benefits the United States and individual states.

Included in the briefings are specific highlights of key ASEAN countries. The report on Vietnam highlights the fast growth of U.S. exports to Vietnam.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of reestablishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries and the 10 year anniversary of the signing of the U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA). Fifteen years ago, our two countries shared little common ground and had almost no trade between them. Today, Vietnam is our 30th largest trading partner, providing an annual $15 billion in annual two-way trade.

In fact, an Asia Matters for America analysis of exports to Vietnam indicates that growth from 1999-2009 is double that of U.S. exports to China or India:

Also of interest in the USTR briefing are the stories of individual companies, such as this:

Briskheat, an Ohio industrial heat provider, has been exporting its heat trace products for more than three decades and attributes approximately 25 percent of its sales to foreign markets, including Vietnam. Just this past year, Briskheat, which currently employs more than 200 Americans, created approximately 60 jobs at home by exporting abroad.

Briskheat creates “flexible surface heating elements and controls” that are useful in a wide variety of applications. The company’s website specifically mentions an application in Singapore, where “condensation and subsequent freezing of ammonia tanks upon purging creates problems for the user,” which was solved using the company’s “large cloth heating jackets that eliminate the condensation.” In the words of the USTR, companies like this “understand the importance of building free trade agreements” and expanding trade opportunities for U.S. companies.

The USTR series is called “Trade Spotlight” and includes a spotlight on the Philippines. It also includes briefings on two multilateral institutions: