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Speeches Shim

USAID distributes wheelchairs and hearing aid devices to persons with disabilities in Danang.
USAID distributes wheelchairs and hearing aid devices to persons with disabilities in Danang.

Vietnam and the United States began working together in 1989, when USAID launched programs benefiting Vietnamese with disabilities through the Patrick Leahy War Victims Fund and the Displaced Children and Orphans Fund. People with disabilities throughout Vietnam received rehabilitative services, prosthetics and orthopedic support devices, and improved care through training of doctors and other health workers. In the early 1990s, program activities in Vietnam were ‑ for the most part‑ limited to assistance to war victims, orphans and disaster relief.

Since the official normalization of the U.S.‑Vietnam relationship in 1995, USAID's assistance has grown steadily, changing significantly in terms of funding levels, complexity, and the scope of its programs.

Currently, USAID manages comprehensive portfolios in economic growth and governance, civil society, higher education, health (including HIV/AIDS and Emerging Pandemic Threats), environment and climate change, biodiversity/countering wildlife trafficking, support to persons with disabilities and other vulnerable populations and disaster assistance. USAID has played a key role in helping Vietnam reach out to global markets through its accession to the World Trade Organization and the Vietnam - U.S. Bilateral Trade Agreement. In partnership with the Government of Vietnam, USAID continues to promote greater market integration by supporting Vietnam’s implementation of free trade agreements. We are also joining hands with our Vietnamese counterparts on a historic project to clean up dioxin contamination at Danang Airport, where Agent Orange was stored and handled.

USAID Key Milestones

  • 1989: Disabilities programming through Patrick Leahy War Victims Fund and the Displaced Children and Orphans Fund.
  • November 19, 2000: In the presence of U.S. President William J. Clinton, Assistant Administrator for the Asia and the Near East (ANE) Bureau Robert C. Randolph opens the Office of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Hanoi.
  • 2001: USAID launches the Support for Trade AcceleRation (STAR) project to support Vietnam for BTA implementation.
  • 2004: Vietnam becomes 15th PEPFAR (U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) Focus Country.
  • 2005: Agreement for Economic and Technical Cooperation signed.
  • 2007: USAID/Vietnam Representative Office established.
  • 2010: USAID/Vietnam reaches full Mission status.
  • 2013: Presidents of the United States and Vietnam agree to a “Comprehensive Partnership” identifying a number of key priority areas supported by USAID: Trade and Economic Ties, Science and Technology Cooperation, Education Cooperation, Environment and Health, and War Legacy Issues.
  • 2013: USAID/Vietnam’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy for 2014-2018 is pproved.
  • 2016: During former President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Vietnam, both countries highlight that development cooperation continues to be a driving force in the bilateral relationship and pledge to advance inclusive economic growth, climate mitigation and adaptation; combat wildlife trafficking; and clean up dioxin contamination.
  • May 2017: Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc meets with President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., further affirming the strength of the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral partnership in global health security; HIV/AIDS relief and prevention; dioxin; climate change; protection of human rights, including the disabled; and trade. Read their May 31, 2017 joint statement here.
  • November 2017: At the invitation of President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Tran Dai Quang, President Donald Trump paid a state visit to Hanoi, Vietnam, from November 11 to12, 2017. The two leaders discussed measures to strengthen and expand the Comprehensive Partnership between their two countries based on mutual understanding, shared interests, and a common desire to promote peace, cooperation, prosperity, and security in the Indo-Pacific region. Read their November 12, 2017 joint statement here.
  • November 2018: Remediation of dioxin-contaminated soil at Danang airport is successfully completed, following a six-year, $110 million effort between USAID and the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense.
  • December 2019: USAID and the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense officially commence dioxin remediation ground operations at Bien Hoa airbase and surrounding area. This 10-year effort is expected to cost approximately $390 million, and is significantly more complex than the Danang remediation effort.
  • December 2019: USAID and the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense sign a Memorandum of Intent to implement a $65 million program to support persons with disabilities in provinces sprayed by Agent Orange during the war.
  • May 2020: USAID/Vietnam’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy for 2020-2025 is approved.