HANOI (Reuters) - The Vietnam Trade Alliance, a grouping of buyers and producers, signed a pact on Wednesday to buy up to $500 million worth of American pork over three years, the U.S. embassy in Hanoi said on Wednesday.
A memorandum of understanding called a “U.S.-Vietnam Pork Consortium” was signed with Smithfield Foods and other U.S. pork producers on the sideline of a virtual Indo-Pacific Business Forum on Wednesday.
Pork accounts for three-quarters of total meat consumption in Vietnam, a country of 96 million people where most of its farm-raised pigs are consumed domestically.
The Southeast Asian country is rebuilding its hog herd after an outbreak of African swine fever first detected in February last year forced it to cull millions of pigs, or 20% of the herd. In May it said it would buy 20,000 breeding pigs from Thailand.
Vietnam Trade Alliance will buy U.S. chilled and frozen pork and pork products for further processing and distribution into the Vietnam market, the statement said.
Vietnam’s pork imports from the United States rose to $35 million in the first eight months of this year from $4 million in 2015, it said.
“This export activity will also help increase overall U.S. agricultural exports to Vietnam, help address the U.S.-Vietnam trade imbalance, and directly support U.S. farmers and ranchers and processing companies.,” the statement said.
Vietnam has been seeking to import more U.S. goods, including liquefied natural gas, coal and crude oil, to help narrow the trade gap following last year’s threats by President Donald Trump to impose tariffs on its products.
Its trade surplus with the U.S. widened to $44.3 billion in the first nine months of this year from $33.96 billion in the same period of 2019, according to the government’s customs data.
Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Martin Petty
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