Penny Pritzker, President Barack Obama's new secretary of commerce, met Wednesday with top officials from Japan and Vietnam in Washington. Both countries are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations for a regional free trade and investment zone.
Pritzker and other Commerce Department officials met with Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan's minister of economy, trade and industry, and with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang. Sang, the second Vietnamese president to visit the United States since the normalization of diplomatic relations 18 years ago, was accompanied by Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang.
The Secretary stressed to both delegations the importance of reaching consensus on a comprehensive trade and investment deal to promote economic growth and regional economic integration, according to a Commerce Department communique.
Pritzker also talked with Japan's trade minister about SelectUSA, the administration's initiative to facilitate business investment in the United States. The Commerce Department is hosting the first-ever SelectUSA Investment Summit
to connect foreign and domestic investors with U.S. economic development organizations. Japan is the second-largest source of foreign direct investment in the United States.
U.S. trade with Vietnam has grown significantly since 2001 and accelerated with Vietnam's accession to the World Trade Organization in 2007. U.S. exports to Vietnam in May grew 22 percent compared to the same month a year ago, and imports from Vietnam were up 16 percent, according to the Commerce Department.
Vietnam currently exports $17 billion in goods and services to the United States. Pritzker said the United States would work to ensure reciprocal market access for goods and services. - Eric Kulish