A press release from the Office of the US Trade Representative states that the US also used the TIFA talks, the first between the two countries since 2011, to reaffirm the commitment of the Trump administration to the proliferation of economic ties throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including Vietnam.
According to USTR, the two sides agreed to launch working groups to resolve issues on agricultural and food safety, industrial goods, intellectual property matters, and digital trade.
Problems USTR identified in these areas in its most recent trade barriers report include the ‘broad scope and uneven enforcement’ of a comprehensive food safety law that Vietnam issued in 2012.
That law includes a requirement for phytosanitary certificates for many pre-packaged, consumer-oriented, or highly processed foods of plant origin for which such certificates are not normally issued or required.
The talks also addressed issues related to Internet-based copyright piracy and the increasing sale of counterfeit goods online and in physical markets in Vietnam as well as discussions related to ambiguity in the Vietnam 2015 law on network information safety among other topics.
In addition, the meeting reviewed the status of the Vietnam government giving effect to the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement and its participation in the extended WTO Information Technology Agreement.
Trade representatives of both sides expressed interest in pursuing fresh bilateral trade negotiations, but it remains unclear if and when those negotiations might begin. Officials agreed to continue their talks at later dates.