As the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) conducts its Section 301 investigation on Vietnam’s currency valuation, USCIB Senior Director for Trade, Investment and Financial Services Eva Hampl testified before USTR at a public hearing on December 29, warning USTR that tariffs on Vietnamese goods would be detrimental to both American companies and consumers.
“Putting in place trade penalties, such as additional tariffs against Vietnam, would further work against the supply chain and national security interests of the United States,” said Hampl. “At a time when policymakers, companies, and non-government stakeholders have coalesced around the need for trustworthy and resilient supply chains, Vietnam is strongly positioned to play a leading role in that ecosystem. It is an increasingly important security partner of the United States and possesses strong capabilities in technology manufacturing. Vietnam’s presence in supply chains can serve as a complement to manufacturing in other trustworthy locations in Asia and other regions, including the United States.”
Other agencies represented on the panel included the U.S. Departments of Commerce/International Trade Administration, State, Treasury, Agriculture, and the Small Business Administration (SBA). Hampl received several follow-up questions to her testimony from State Department Foreign Service Officer Carter Wilbur.
According to Hampl, the majority of the witnesses pushed back against the use of tariffs in their comments to address any issues related to currency valuation. In a report released just a week before the hearing, Treasury labeled Vietnam as a currency manipulator. Most of the witnesses during the hearing indicated that whether or not this may be true, tariffs are not the appropriate vehicle to address this issue. Moreover, there should be deference to the Treasury process in resolving any currency related concerns.