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Texas thinks big for Vietnam trade

Texas can help Vietnam in oil and gas field: Secretary of State for Texas Geoff Connor.

VietNamNet – Business and investment opportunities between Vietnam and Texas State, USA, are being explored through the ongoing ten-day working visit of a delegation of Texan entrepreneurs.

Secretary of State for Texas Geoff Connor declared the delegation’s ambition to become Vietnam’s number one US trade partner during a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan on August 12. He said that the working visit is a strong play to shoot for that goal.

Mr Connor said that Texas currently ranks third among US states trading with Vietnam, after Washington and California. However, he is optimistic about the possibility of becoming the top trading state.

“Texas’ trade with Vietnam is growing at a faster rate than any other state in the US”, he said.

With a wide variety of products to deal in, trade growth between Vietnam and Texas reportedly reached 17% in 2003. However Mr Connor put heavy emphasis on cooperation in the energy sector.

“Texas is the energy capital of the world, and while Vietnam has oil, that needs to be properly explored and developed for the nation’s benefit. Texas can help Vietnam in this field“, he said.

Three of the 22 enterprises represented in the delegation are oil and gas companies. They are Noble Drilling, Conoco Phillips, and Weatherford Drilling and Well Service.

Yuanhui Sun, Asia Pacific Business Development Director for Noble Drilling said the company was interested in the exploitation and exploration activities in the East Sea (South China Sea). The company is seeking meetings with PetroVietnam and other interest groups during their time in Vietnam, in an effort to seek business cooperation.

Another field in which Texas has advantages is cotton. “Texas is the state that produces the highest quality cotton in the US, while Vietnam has an excellent textile and garment industry. Why doesn’t Texas produce and provide cotton to Vietnam?” he said.

Solon Carry Huff, Manager of Commodity Export Corporation (Comex), which specialises in export of agricultural produce, shared that view.

“Vietnam has seen strong growth in its garment and textile industries, and we are willing to be an impetus for such development, as we can provide high quality cotton,“ he said.

Regarding restrictions imposed by the US, primarily the limitations of quotas, that are thought to hinder the cooperation relationship in this field, Mr Connor said he has brought the issue to the attention of both the US Government. He also said that he would maintain optimistism over the issue.

Mr Huff noted that Vietnam’s garment and textile enterprises has many advantages, notably low production overheads, which will be a major factor come January 1, 2005, when quotas are abolished for WTO members, and competition gets fierce. He said that all the enterprises in Texas would make great efforts to lobby Texas’ and the US Government for Vietnam’s early WTO membership.

Entrepreneurs from Texas also offered cooperation in a variety of other fields, ranging from education, to legal consultancy services, and consumer product import-export.

Modern Group is seeking Vietnamese partners for export of its modular waste treatment product, which is suitable for a small-scale use, such as in hospitals or schools. Modern is also seeking a Vietnamese enterprise to produce equipment for export back to the US.

Vice President Will Crenshaw said he had great expectations that a partnership could be forged with Vietnamese enterprises.

“Our company has 100 Vietnamese American staff, they are very qualified and they are leading virtuous lives,” he reportedly said.

The working visit will end August 21, after tours in HCM City and Hanoi.

VIetnam Net - (16/08/2004)

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