Vietnam says to meet U.S. trade officials, talks 'extremely important'

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnamese and U.S. officials will meet late this month to discuss trade issues, Vietnam’s government said on Monday, after the U.S. Treasury last week labelled the Southeast Asian country a currency manipulator.

“Vietnam regretted the USTR (United States Trade Representative) decision on October 2 to launch section 301 investigation over Vietnam’s currency and timber,” the trade ministry told Reuters in an emailed statement.

The Trump administration last week named Vietnam a currency manipulator, a move that businesses said would pave the way for the USTR to impose tariffs on Vietnamese goods.

The ministry said it was “extremely important for the two sides to maintain talks at the moment”, adding that any move by the USTR to impose tariffs on Vietnamese goods would hurt bilateral trade relations.

“From the Vietnam side, firms would lose their confidence in doing businesses with U.S. partners, resulting in a decline in the imports of U.S. materials and technology,” the ministry said in the statement.

The United States is Vietnam’s largest export market, accounting for over a quarter of its total export revenue in the first 11 months of this year.

Its key exports to the country include garments, electronics and wooden products.

Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Martin Petty