Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) Director Anthony L. Goins led a trade mission of Nebraska business leaders to Vietnam from January 10-16, 2023.

The delegation held meetings with Vietnamese trade ministers, business leaders, and Governor Vo Van Minh of Binh Duong Province to discuss opportunities to market Nebraska products in Southeast Asia. They also met with senior educational leaders in Vietnam to discuss student and staff exchanges with Nebraska’s university system. Additionally, the trade delegation met with leaders from the World Trade Center in Vietnam—a group equivalent to Nebraska’s Chamber of Commerce—to promote relationships and business at scale.

“Vietnam has a large population, thriving middle class, and the country has developed into a hub of industry in Southeast Asia,” said Director Goins. “Vietnam is a particularly attractive partner for Nebraska due to its rapidly expanding market for ag products like beef and animal feed. I look forward to seeing our state’s friendship with Vietnam continue to grow in 2023.”

The recently concluded trade mission is the latest in a series of high-level exchanges between leaders of Nebraska and Vietnam.

  • In September 2019, previous Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, representatives from DED, and leaders from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture led a trade mission to Hanoi, Vietnam.        
  • In February 2020, the State of Nebraska hosted a Nebraska-Vietnam business forum in Lincoln. At the meetings, Vietnamese leaders signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) pledging to increase purchases of Nebraska ag products.  
  • While the coronavirus limited international travel in 2021, DED helped organize a virtual event in May 2021 with then-Vietnam Ambassador to the U.S. Ha Kim Hgoc and Gov. Ricketts. The webinar highlighted business and investment opportunities for Nebraska companies in Vietnam.
  • During 2022, State teammates with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture made two trips to Vietnam to promote Nebraska beef and pork.
  • In August 2022, Vietnamese leaders from Binh Duong Province came to Nebraska to participate in the Governor’s Summit on Ag and Economic Development in Kearney.

Strengthening ties with Vietnam has created opportunities for Nebraska’s ag producers. Nebraska beef exports to Vietnam more than doubled in 2022, growing from $6.4 million in 2021 to $13.5 million in 2022 (with December 2022 numbers yet to be reported). From January through November of 2022, Nebraska exported $11.6 million of distillers grains to Vietnam, up 44% from 2021. Vietnam is now Nebraska’s #2 international market for distillers grain.

Vietnam has 98.5 million people. Its middle class is increasing at one of the fastest rates in the world, and this rising standard of living has resulted in growing demand for imported meat products. Vietnam is also a top-ten market for U.S. soybeans. Nebraska exported over $67 million of soybeans to Vietnam in 2021.

In addition to its growing market for agricultural goods, Vietnam is developing into a center of commerce in the region. The country now ranks as a top-ten trading partner for the United States.

In December 2022, the United States held its first round of in-person negotiations with Vietnam and other Asian nations on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). Through these talks, the U.S. is seeking to reduce barriers to trade and establish fairer, more competitive conditions for American exports.