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Economy

Vietnam turns on diplomatic charm in Washington

Hanoi looks outward despite US withdrawal from TPP pact

| China

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc's recent visit to the U.S. surprised many observers, as the leader of a small, lower middle income, communist country became the first Southeast Asian leader to visit President Donald Trump's Washington. Beyond showcasing Vietnam's savvy diplomacy, Phuc's visit also showed how Vietnamese efforts to look outward and boost economic integration are important for future global economic integration.

The stakes were high: Vietnam was named in a March 2017 executive order in which Trump called for a comprehensive 90-day investigation of 16 trade "cheaters." For Vietnam, which sells more than 20% of its exports to the U.S., the potential threat posed by a mercurial and mercantilist U.S. president was clear.

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