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The first sitting Vice President’s visit to Vietnam will have strong focus on trade agreements and COVID-19 pandemic.

US Vice President Coming Business Trip to Singapore and Vietnam Focus on Economic and Many Other Political Issues
US Vice President Kamala Harris - Photo: Bloomberg
From next week, US Vice President Kamala Harris will have the business trip to South East Asia with the two stops in Singapore and Vietnam. The political analysts and the public start to make some predictions about what topics will be mainly covered.
Recently, the high ranking US officials have paid many visits to the South East Asia region. This shows for the US shift in foreign policy towards the region after 20 years of neglection. The South East Asia is far more neglected during the Trump administration, according to the viewpoints of many political analysts. 
According to Bloomberg, for Harris, the trip is an opportunity to raise her international profile as she is expected to run again for president after she pulled out of the 2020 contest and later became Joe Biden’s running mate. But, as talks with Asian officials come amid concern from American allies over the U.S. exit from Afghanistan, she likely will face questions from reporters about Biden’s handling of the withdrawal.
She’s scheduled to hold a joint news conference with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday and participate in a roundtable focused on supply chain resilience. In Hanoi, she will launch the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regional office in Southeast Asia.
The trip comes at a crucial time for President Joe Biden's administration. The Taliban has retaken control of Afghanistan as the U.S. withdraws, sparking heavy criticism in Washington. China continues to assert itself in the South China Sea. And the coronavirus continues to rage across the world, especially in Southeast Asia.
As reported by Nikkei, Singapore and Vietnam are selected for Kamala Harris’ second trip abroad because of the two countries’ importance to the US economic and political status. Singapore, as a regional financial hub, is home to the Asian headquarters of major U.S. companies including Microsoft and Google. 
Vietnam is becoming more critical for global supply chains, including that for semiconductors, as more companies move production bases from China. Vietnam with the strategic location beside China and near to the very important naval routes of the world, is gaining more and more importance in the US – Asia foreign policy shift.
In terms of trade, the trade activies between Singapore, Vietnam in particular and South East Asia in general and the US have surged many times over the past many years. Trade in goods between the United States and the ten-nation bloc known as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which represents the world’s fifth-largest economy, increased 62% to $285 million in the decade to 2019, according to statistics from the bloc. During the same time, that trade with China more than doubled in that time to $508 million.
The United States withdrew from the CPTPP in 2018 right after ex-President Donald Trump inaugrated. Since the new Biden administration starts, there have been some rumors about the posibility of the US Vice President coming to Singapore and Vietnam this time will take about rejoining CPTPP. However, some political analysts think that this is not possible. 
In Nikkei, Jayant Menon, visiting senior fellow at Singapore's ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute stated that rejoining the CPTPP may hold strategic value in re-engaging with the region, but it remains unclear if this alone will be enough when other avenues to do so, such as cooperating on the environment or security, exist; the CPTPP ship has sailed but new vessels are emerging on the horizon.
In Vietnam, the Vice President is expectly to launch the regional office of CDC in the South East Asia. The main thing that will be discussed is building the resilient supply chain in Vietnam so that to reduce the harmful effects from the current COVID-19 outbreak. 

DIEP NGUYEN