Vietnam considers tariff cuts on American agriculture products

HANOI: Vietnam is considering cutting tariffs on several American products, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on Dec 9, after US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross urged Vietnam to reduce its trade surplus during a visit to Hanoi last month.

Tariffs on chicken and processed chicken meat, almonds, grapes, wheat, pork and potatoes are all earmarked for reductions in order re-balance bilateral trade, the ministry said in a statement.

Vietnam has emerged as one of the largest beneficiaries of the trade spat between Washington and Beijing but it is concerned that it could be US President Donald Trump’s next target.

Vietnam’s trade surplus with the US hit US$38.4 bil (RM159.78 bil) in the first 10 months of 2019, up 33.66% from a year ago, customs data showed.

The Southeast Asia country is at risk of being labelled a currency manipulator by Washington because of its trade surplus with the country, a highly positive current account balance and because its central bank has been quite active in terms of net foreign exchange purchases.

The statement said the ministry has proposed reducing the tariff on chicken to 18% from 20% while the US is expecting to see it cut to 14.5% next year and eliminated in 2028.

“This tariff cut is in line with our commitment in the first year of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP),” the ministry said. – Reuters

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