HANOI(BLOOMBERG) - Vietnam is buying more US goods to help it reduce a US$39.5 billion (S$52.4 billion) surplus, after US President Donald Trump called the country a trade abuser.
"Vietnam has made great efforts to improve the trade balance between the two countries, increasing imports," Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Le Thi Thu Hang said in a statement late on Friday.
Vietnam is improving investment conditions for US companies while encouraging Vietnamese businesses to invest in the US, Hang said.
Trump, asked this week on Fox Business Network if he wanted to impose tariffs on Vietnam, said: "Well, we're in discussions with Vietnam."
He described the South-east Asian nation as "almost the single worst abuser of everybody".
Vietnam's trade surplus with the US has exceeded US$20 billion since 2014 and reached US$39.5 billion last year, the highest in records going back to 1990, according to US Census Bureau data.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in a January interview his country will step up imports from the US, from Boeing Co aircraft to products from oil companies.
Vietnam's government said on Friday that its trade ministry will sign a memorandum of understanding with the US Energy Department that includes buying "large volumes" of liquefied natural gas from the US.
It also said Trump, in a meeting with Phuc at the G-20 summit in Japan, complimented Vietnam for its efforts to crack down on trade fraud.