Vietnam is etched in our memories, especially if you were born in the 1950’s or before.
Today, Vietnam is a far different country than when American soldiers pulled out in the 1970’s.
It is showing rapid growth in manufacturing and desire to have a better diet. Middle Class people are emerging and Vietnam wants to trade with the United States.
A look at the country as it is today, through the eyes of a World Trade Specialist.
The U.S. Soybean industry has looked for foreign markets since the 1970’s.
John Baize has been a soybean industry analyst since the 1980’s and continues to look at new and expanding markets.
He recently traveled to Vietnam as a representative of the U.S. Soybean industry.
“They have been growing at 8 or 9% annual compound growth rate economically. If you go back 15-20 years ago there was decisions that were made that they recognized their long history of not getting along with China, and they needed to grow their economy,” Baize explained.
“They have made big changes toward a more capitalistic approach. While they are still communists, you go there and see that there is whole lot of capitalism happening.”
Vietnam’s imports have grown over the last five years, Baize said. “In 2012 Vietnam imported only 2.98 million tons of soybean meal. This year they are projected to import 5.2 million tons. That’s a 75% increase in four years in their consumption of import to soybeans.”
Baize shared that Vietnam is one of the fastest growing markets in the world, percentage wise for soybean meal consumption which feeds chickens, pigs, farm raised fish, and other animals.
The American mindset on Vietnam has to change, according to Baize. We are not a country that is at war with them anymore.
“Vietnam doesn’t see the U.S. as an enemy as much as it is beginning to see it as an ally. It sees the U.S. as an important market and supplier. I think that country is going to be a big player in the future, Baize said.”