Update: USTR Drops Threat of Using Section 301 on Vietnam

July 24, 2021

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued a formal determination in its Vietnam Currency Section 301 investigation reflecting an agreement reached earlier between the Treasury Department and its counterpart in Vietnam. The agreement addresses concerns that Vietnam was devaluing its currency to give its businesses an unfair price advantage in international trade. As a result, USTR says no trade action is warranted at this time.

Vietnam has pledged not to intentionally weaken its currency for export advantage  and vowed to make its monetary and exchange rate policies more transparent. 

The American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI) joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 70 other business groups in opposing potential Section 301 tariffs on Vietnam. “If the United States were to impose Section 301 tariffs on goods from Vietnam, the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to strengthen alliances and partnerships across the Indo-Pacific region would suffer a serious setback,” said business groups in the letter. The Trump administration started the two investigations in October 2020 using Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act, the same statute that former President Donald Trump used to impose tariffs on more than $350 billion worth of Chinese goods. 

USTR’s Vietnam Currency Section 301 investigation was initiated during the Trump Administration.