More information about Vietnam is available on the Vietnam country page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
Twenty-five years after the establishment of bilateral relations in 1995, the United States and Vietnam are trusted partners with a friendship grounded in mutual respect. U.S.-Vietnam relations have become increasingly cooperative and comprehensive, evolving into a flourishing partnership that spans political, economic, security, and people-to-people ties. The United States supports a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam that contributes to international security; engages in mutually beneficial trade relations; and respects human rights and the rule of law. Relations are guided by the 2013 U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership, an overarching framework for advancing the bilateral relationship, and Joint Statements issued by our two countries’ leaders in 2015, 2016, and in May and November 2017. In 2020, Vietnam and the United States commemorated 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, renewing their commitment to strengthened cooperation.
The Comprehensive Partnership underscores the enduring U.S. commitment to the Indo-Pacific and provides a mechanism to facilitate cooperation in areas including political and diplomatic relations, trade and economic ties, defense and security, science and technology, education and training, environment and health, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, war legacy issues, protection and promotion of human rights, people-to-people ties, and culture, sports, and tourism. The United States supports capacity building for Vietnam’s law enforcement, regional cross-border cooperation, and implementation of international conventions and standards. Vietnam is a partner in nonproliferation regimes, including the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and takes advantage of expertise, equipment, and training available under the Export Control and Related Border Security program. In 2016, the United States and Vietnam signed a letter of agreement to increase cooperation on law enforcement and the justice sector and the two countries are working jointly to implement the agreement. The United States and Vietnam hold regular dialogues on labor, security, energy, science & technology, and human rights.
Achieving the fullest possible accounting of Americans missing and unaccounted for in Indochina is one of the United States’ highest priorities in Vietnam. The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command conducts four major investigation and recovery periods a year in Vietnam, during which specially trained U.S. military and civilian personnel investigate and excavate hundreds of cases in pursuit of the fullest possible accounting. Vietnamese-led recovery teams have become regular participants in these recovery missions since August 2011.
Vietnam remains heavily contaminated by explosive remnants of war, primarily in the form of unexploded ordnance (UXO) including extensive contamination by cluster munitions dating from the war with the United States. The United States is the largest single donor to UXO/mine action in Vietnam, contributing more than $140 million since 1994, and the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on continued unexploded ordnance cooperation in December 2013. U.S. efforts to address legacy issues such as UXO/demining, MIA accounting, and remediation of Agent Orange provided the foundations for the U.S.-Vietnam defense relationship. The United States and Vietnam are committed to strengthening defense cooperation between the two countries as outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding on Advancing Bilateral Defense Cooperation in 2011 and the U.S.-Vietnam Joint Vision Statement on Defense Relations signed in 2015, giving priority to humanitarian cooperation, war legacy issues, maritime security, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
In May 2016, the United States fully lifted its ban on the sale of lethal weapons to Vietnam and continued to provide Vietnam with maritime security assistance – including through the Maritime Security Initiative, the Cooperative Threat Reduction program, and Foreign Military Financing. The United States transferred Hamilton-class Coast Guard cutters to Vietnam in 2017 and 2020 to help improve Vietnam’s maritime law enforcement capabilities. The United States reaffirmed its support for Vietnam’s peacekeeping efforts through assistance to Vietnam’s first deployment of UN peacekeeping forces in 2018, to South Sudan.
U.S.-Vietnam people-to-people ties have flourished. Tens of thousands of Vietnamese study in the United States, contributing nearly $1 billion to the U.S. economy. The Fulbright University Vietnam, which matriculated its first undergraduate cohort in Fall 2019, brings world-class, independent U.S.-style education to Vietnam. More than 25,000 young Vietnamese are members of the Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative network in Vietnam. The United States and Vietnam signed a Peace Corps implementing agreement in 2020.
U.S. Assistance to Vietnam
In an effort to build Vietnam’s self-reliance, the United States works to spur further growth and trade competitiveness, combat pandemic threats, promote renewable energy, address war legacy issues, and conserve Vietnam’s forests and biodiversity.
U.S. assistance in Vietnam focuses on consolidating gains to ensure sustainable economic development while promoting good governance and the rule of law. Assistance projects aim to deepen regulatory reforms, improve the capacity and independence of Vietnam’s judicial and legislative bodies, and promote more effective public participation in the law and regulation-making processes. The United States also assists the Government of Vietnam to bring its laws and practices into compliance with international labor standards and effectively enforce labor laws and uphold workers’ rights. U.S. assistance seeks to support Vietnam’s response to climate change and other environmental challenges, including remediating Agent Orange/dioxin contamination, strengthening the country’s health and education systems, and assisting vulnerable populations. The United States and Vietnam successfully concluded the first phase of dioxin remediation at Danang International Airport in 2017, and in December 2019 commenced a 10-year remediation project at Bien Hoa Air Base as well as a $65 million initiative to provide assistance to persons with disabilities in conflict-affected provinces.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Since entry into force of the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral trade agreement in 2001, trade between the two countries and U.S. investment in Vietnam have grown dramatically. The United States and Vietnam have concluded a trade and investment framework agreement; they also have signed textile, air transport, customs, and maritime agreements. U.S. exports to Vietnam include machinery, computers and electronics, yarn/fabric, agricultural products, and vehicles. U.S. imports from Vietnam include apparel, footwear, furniture and bedding, agricultural products, seafood, and electrical machinery. U.S.-Vietnam bilateral trade has grown from $451 million in 1995 to over $90 billion in 2020. U.S. goods exports to Vietnam were worth over $10 billion in 2020, and U.S. goods imports in 2020 were worth $79.6 billion. U.S. investment in Vietnam was $2.6 billion in 2019.
Vietnam’s Membership in International Organizations
Vietnam and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) , International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Vietnam is serving a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in 2020-2021 and served most recently in 2020 as ASEAN Chair.
The U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam is Daniel J. Kritenbrink. He was confirmed by the Senate on October 26, 2017 and presented his credentials to former Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang on November 6, 2017. Other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
Vietnam maintains an embassy in the United States at 1233 20th Street, NW, #400, Washington DC 20036 (tel. 202-861-0737).
More information about Vietnam is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here: