President Joe Biden left Vietnam Monday after a visit that deepened economic ties between Washington and Hanoi as part of efforts to reduce America’s reliance on China.
The former foes formally upgraded diplomatic ties to a “comprehensive strategic partnership,” a symbolic yet highly important move that experts say will solidify trust between the nations as America seeks an ally in Asia to counteract political tensions with China and advance its ambitions for key technologies, such as chipmaking.
Companies from Apple (AAPL) to Intel (INTC) have already pushed deeper into the country to diversify their supply chains, maxing out many Vietnamese factories and helping fuel an economic expansion that continues to defy a global slowdown.
On Monday, the White House announced a “landmark deal” between Boeing and Vietnam Airlines worth $7.8 billion, which is expected to support more than 30,000 jobs in the United States. Boeing said that the carrier will buy 50 of its 737 Max jets.
“Southeast Asia is one of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets, and the 737 MAX is the perfect airplane for Vietnam Airlines to efficiently meet that regional demand,” Brad McMullen, Boeing senior vice president of commercial sales and marketing, said in a statement.
Biden’s visit, which followed the G20 summit in India, was the first by a US president to Vietnam since Donald Trump’s 2019 trip. He met with Vietnamese General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and other leaders to “promote the growth of a technology-focused” Vietnamese economy, as well as discuss ways to improve stability in the region, according to the White House.
In recent years, their trade has already soared under an existing partnership agreed in 2013, so the elevation in relations is “just catching up with the reality that already