Vietnam Meets With U.S. Trade Reps on Currency, Timber

Vietnamese officials held a virtual meeting with the U.S. Trade Representative’s office on Friday morning Hanoi time to discuss timber exports and other trade issues, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

The USTR has been investigating imports of timber from Vietnam that it suspects are illegally harvested or traded, while the U.S. has also been considering whether to move forward on imposing tariffs over currency actions.

Discussions also touched on American concerns about Vietnam’s currency practices, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public.

Vietnamese officials from the ministries of foreign affairs, agriculture, industry and trade, as well as the general customs office, attended, they said. Another meeting will be scheduled as soon as next week, the people said.

The agriculture ministry declined to comment. Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment. The USTR declined to comment when asked if the meeting was happening earlier.

The U.S. is Vietnam’s biggest export market, with the value of shipments doubling over the past five years. Vietnam’s widening trade surplus with the U.S. made it a target for President Donald Trump’s administration, which labeled Vietnam’s currency actions unreasonable and restrictive to American businesses.

President Joe Biden’s administration has so far taken a less aggressive approach, with the Treasury Department in April dropping the currency-manipulator label.

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