US, Vietnam reach deals on planes, tech and human rights as Biden visits

Vietnam’s Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong attends a joint statement with U.S. President Joe Biden at the Communist Party of Vietnam Headquarters in Hanoi, Vietnam, Sept 10, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

HANOI  – The United States and Vietnam announced new deals and partnerships as U.S. President Joe Biden visited Hanoi on Sunday including billions of dollars in plane orders, heightened human rights discussions, digital economy education and semiconductor design centers.

Here are the highlights:

Boeing and Vietnam Air

Vietnam Airlines has agreed to buy about 50 Boeing 737 Max jets in a deal valued at about $7.5 billion. The deal will support “over 33,000 direct and indirect jobs” in the U.S., the White House said in a statement.

Amkor, Marvell, Synopsis invest in Vietnam

Arizona’s Amkor Technology will start operations at a new $1.6 -billion factory in Bac Ninh Province in October, the White House said. Delaware’s Marvell Technology and California’s Synopsys, will invest in semiconductor design and incubation centers in Ho Chi Minh City and Saigon, respectively.

AI for emerging markets

Microsoft will make a “generative AI-based solution tailored for Vietnam and emerging markets,” the White House said, while NVIDIA will partner with Vietnam‘s FPT, Viettel and Vingroup on AI in the country.

Human rights

The two countries have an “enhanced commitment” to talking about human rights, the U.S. said, building on the decades-old U.S.-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue, an annual meeting.

The United States and the United Nations recently criticized Vietnam‘s detention of members of an environmental group as part of a wider trend of Vietnamese authorities targeting free speech.

Illegal fishing

The U.S. is helping to “build Vietnamese capacity to fight regional and international transnational crime,” the White House said, including “illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.”

China and Vietnam have a long-simmering dispute about fishing and other rights in the South China Sea; Beijing claims the waters almost entirely, ignoring other nations’ exclusive economic zones.

US  war legacy

The U.S. will expand its efforts to address lingering damage from the Vietnam war, which ended in 1975, including increasing funding from $183 million to $300 million for a dioxin remediation project in the Bien Hoa Air Base area.

Dioxin is a component of “agent orange” toxic herbicides sprayed by the U.S. during the war.

The U.S. will also provide an additional $25 million to clear unexploded ordnances in Vietnam; these efforts have totaled more than $230 million since 1993, the White House said.

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