Trade surplus with US could make Vietnam target for tariffs, says AmCham

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 07 2019 07:30 PM

A worker checks copper rods at a factory outside Hanoi in Vietnam. On Wednesday, a business insider in Hanoi said that Vietnam could become another target for tariffs by Trump, because it has a huge trade surplus with the US. File/Kham, Reuters

MANILA—Vietnam could become another target for tariffs by US President Donald Trump, because the Asian country has a huge trade surplus with the United States, the leader of an American business group in Hanoi said on Wednesday. 

Vietnam has become the destination for some companies looking to relocate from China to avoid US tariffs, said Adam Sitkoff, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi. 

Inquiries from companies looking to move their operations from China to Vietnam have risen 300 to 400 percent this year, Sitkoff said.

But he added that Vietnam's trade surplus with the US, which reached $40 billion in 2018 and on track to gain some 40 percent this year, has not escaped Trump's notice. Vietnam is No. 5 on the list of countries with the largest trade surpluses with the US. 

"We don't know if the Trump administration is going to do something negative to Vietnam in the future," Sitkoff said in an interview on ANC's "Market Edge."

In July, the US slapped duties of more than 400 percent on steel imports from Vietnam. 

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However, Sitkoff said Hanoi is also taking Trump's concerns seriously and is looking to address trade issues with the US. 

Sitkoff, meanwhile, said he hopes that the US and China will come to a win-win agreement on trade. 

He said tariffs will lower demand worldwide, stoke inflation and hit global supply chains.