US-ASEAN Business Council Hosts First Digital Economy Mission to Vietnam

(Hanoi, Vietnam) From December 12 to 14, 2023, the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) organized its inaugural Digital Economy Mission to Vietnam, bringing a delegation of American technology industry representatives to Ha Long and Hanoi. The delegation was co-led by Amb. Brian McFeeters, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director of US-ABC, and the Council’s ICT Committee Chair - Mr. Seow Hiong Goh, Executive Director of Global Policy & Government Affairs in the Asia Pacific region for Cisco Systems, Inc.
The Mission came at an important time in the U.S.-Vietnam relationship, following the upgrade of U.S.-Vietnam relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in September, with Science, Technology, Innovation, and Digital Cooperation identified as one of the “new breakthroughs” of the partnership.

The Mission started on December 12 in Ha Long where the delegates attended some key events at the Vietnam International Digital Week 2023 (VIDW2023), organized by the Ministry of Information and Communications of Vietnam (MIC). At VIDW 2023, Amb. Brian McFeeters was invited to represent US-ABC and its members at the Policy Roundtable on Narrow AI Applications. In Ha Long, the delegation met with Vice Minister Phan Tam of MIC to discuss ways to support Vietnam's digital transformation goals, highlighting the opportunities by leveraging the Joint Working Group on Digital Economy under the Memorandum of Understanding between MIC and US-ABC. The delegation also met with Chairman Cao Tuong Huy of Quang Ninh Provincial People’s Committee, co-host of VIDW2023, to share opportunities to cooperate and invest in the province’s digital infrastructure and workforce.

During the Mission's two remaining days in Hanoi, the delegation held several bilateral meetings with key ministries and with United States Ambassador to Vietnam, Ambassador Marc Knapper. These included meetings with Vice Minister Luong Tam Quang of the Ministry of Public Security, Vice Minister Bui The Duy of the Ministry of Science and Technology, and with the various departments of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Notably, US-ABC hosted a roundtable titled “AI and Emerging Technologies for Digital Economy Growth,” attended by officials from eight Vietnamese government agencies, including the Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Vietnam Social Security, and State Bank of Vietnam.

“Vietnam has the potential to emerge as one of the largest digital economies in Southeast Asia in the forthcoming years. The introduction of cutting-edge technologies, such as AI, holds the key to unlocking the immense potential of Vietnam’s digital landscape," said Ambassador Brian McFeeters. "We strongly believe that through robust collaboration with the Government of Vietnam, we can facilitate the adoption of innovative and reliable technologies, which will significantly contribute to further advancing Vietnam's remarkable economic growth.”

“We appreciate the opportunity to engage with senior Vietnam officials across the agencies focusing on different aspects of the digital economy, including infrastructure, cybersecurity, data, privacy, cloud, payment systems, and welcomed the exchange of views and ideas on how US companies can help support Vietnam’s growth in the digital economy,” said Seow Hiong Goh, the Council’s ICT Committee Chair. “We believe Vietnam is in an excellent position to adopt innovation-friendly policies that can help the country and local industry leapfrog towards Vietnam’s vision of a digital future.”

Companies participating in the mission include Cisco, Meta, Google, IBM, Intel, Mastercard, SAP and Tilleke & Gibbins.

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About US-ASEAN Business Council

Since 1984, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for U.S. corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership of nearly 170 companies generates almost US$7 trillion in revenue and employs more than 14.5 million people.  Today our members include the largest U.S. companies conducting business in ASEAN and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for more than 100 years. The Council has nine offices around the globe, in Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; Singapore; and Yangon, Myanmar.

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