Under pressure from the US, Vietnam’s ministry of finance is proposing to reduce tariffs on some American agriculture products, from chicken to apples.
The government is working to alleviate US concerns over Vietnam’s growing trade surplus. At the request of the US, Vietnam now is reviewing duties on some American products, with tariff cuts seen as a way to help Vietnam create a better trade balance with the US, according to a post on the finance ministry’s website.
The ministry proposes reducing tariffs on chicken to 18% from 20%; the US is asking for the duties to be cut to 14.5% next year and eliminated in 2028, the ministry said. The finance ministry proposes reducing the tariff on fresh apples and grapes to 8% in 2020 from 10%. Wheat duties could be cut to 3% next year from 5%.
The US also wants to see tariffs on apples, grapes and wheat abolished next year.
Vietnam’s trade surplus with the US reached nearly $40 billion in 2018. The gap hit $46.3 billion in the first 10 months of 2019, up 39% year-on-year, according to US Census Bureau data. In May, US added Vietnam to a list of countries being monitored for possible currency manipulation. Asked in June if he wanted to impose tariffs on Vietnam, Trump described the country as “almost single worst abuser of everybody.”