The Vietnamese ambassador to the United States is visiting Missouri for the first time this week to discuss trade opportunities and student growth.
Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Cuong met with US Congressmember Vicky Hartzler, Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid and University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe to discuss the opportunities for trade between Missouri and Vietnam.
During the discussion, Hartzler noted that the demand for agricultural products in Vietnam presents an opportunity for Missouri producers.
“Well Vietnam is a growing economy and they have 90 million people who all want to eat and to grow, and we have Missouri agriculture here that is wanting to sell more products to them, and so it’s a great win,” Hartzler said.
Ambassador Cuong said trade between Missouri and Vietnam was roughly 100 million dollars last year, an increase of 20 percent from the year before. He also says Missouri exports more soybeans to Vietnam than any other crop.
Henry Nguyen, a Professor of Biotechnology at the University of Missouri, said another goal of Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Cuong’s visit was to encourage and increase the presence of Vietnamese students at MU.
“The reason for them to get an education at the University of Missouri, so they in turn can help Vietnam to develop further in science and technology,” Nguyen said.
Professor Nguyen came to MU in 2002 with two goals in mind: to build a soybean research program and to help with the international program at MU. Since his arrival, the Vietnamese population at MU has increased from two students to over 70.
Over the last few years, trade between Vietnam and the U.S. has increased exponentially, especially with soybeans. Ambassador Cuong and Hartzler both agree that Missouri and Vietnam have great trading potential in the future.