9 November 1995
Source: Excerpts from a Press Statement by Transportation Secretary Federico Peña to the Ministry of Transport, Hanoi, Vietnam
As I come to Hanoi on America's first trade and investment mission to Vietnam since normalization, we begin a second chapter in this new relationship between our two countries.
President Clinton believes that the time has come to build for the future.
Just as the people of Vietnam and the United States have together worked long and hard to account for missing U.S. service personnel – a process that continues – I hope we can use that same determination to build an economic relationship that advances our mutual interests.
There are many areas in which we can work together, but I believe finding ways to foster a thriving economic relationship is one of the most powerful means of assuring peace and stability and understanding among peoples of the world.
And that's why we're here this week in Hanoi.
The challenge before us is to translate these broader goals and policies into action. This week we're taking the first steps toward furthering the relationship between our two economies.
First, let me mention the U.S. interagency delegation also visiting Vietnam this week. They are here on a fact-finding mission. They represent key U.S. agencies, including the U.S. Treasury, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the State, Labor, Commerce and Agriculture Departments. What they learn will help the United States and Vietnam to determine what measures are necessary to make our two countries full trading partners.
In transportation, we're already beginning the process of restoring our ties with Vietnam. I share the view of Transport Minister Luu that the development of transportation infrastructure is an essential component, the backbone, of any vibrant economy. I know that is especially true in the United States.
The United States and Vietnam are moving ahead in several key areas. I met with Transport Vice Minister Hoan in my office in late September. We had a long agenda. And we're following up on those discussions today.
We're discussing a number of ways to promote cooperation between our two government agencies, to reintroduce American suppliers to Vietnam, and to encourage market-oriented approached to solving transport problems.
Today, Minister Luu and I just witnessed the signing of a $12 million financial agreement between Ellicott® International and Vietnam's Transportation Ministry for port dredging equipment.
I understand Vietnam plans to spend some $8 billion in the coming years on transportation development and I hope U.S. companies will be major participants in these key projects.
I also will be meeting with Prime Minister Kiet and we will talk about the benefits of more market-oriented policies.
As more U.S. companies start returning here, I hope Vietnam will come to learn that American products and services are the finest in the world. And we want to make certain that U.S. firms can compete effectively in Vietnam's rapidly expanding and opening market.
Our transportation companies are especially competitive and they want to establish partnerships here as Vietnam further develops its airports, roads, ports, and railroads.
The United States and Vietnam share the common goals of peace and stability and prosperity for all of Asia. We can pursue these goals by closer bilateral relations and in broader forums, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum.
Vietnamese membership in this forum is a positive step toward broadening Vietnam's relationship in Southeast Asia, which is of interest to the region and our two countries.
I look forward to working with Minister Luu and other Vietnam officials in building and developing our new relationship.
(See related Wall Street Journal OP-ED article by Secretary Peña dated January 15, 1996)