Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (Right) met with Jose W. Fernandez, U.S. Under Secretary on Jan. 26. (Photo: U.S. Department of State E Under Secretariat)
U.S. Under Secretary for Economic Growth and the Environment, Jose W. Fernandez announced in his visit to Vietnam last Friday (Jan. 26) that 15 U.S. firms are prepared to invest in Vietnam, with a total amount of 8 billion USD, and most of the investment would focus on clean energy infrastructure.
He declined to disclose information about the 15 firms but emphasized they are including semiconductors firms. He mentioned that the investment plans are waiting permit from the Vietnamese government. Furthermore, he stated that it is difficult to obtain green energy in Vietnam, so these U.S. firms intend to invest and develop on their own. “They made commitments to shareholders and customers they will use only renewable energy,” he said.
“Vietnam is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, so those investments will benefit in two aspects: expanding the semiconductor industry and increasing the availability of clean energy in Vietnam,” he said.
In addition to urging an acceleration of the green energy transition, he revealed that based on recommendations from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the U.S. government will assist Vietnam in training 50,000 engineers in the semiconductor field in the next few years, to resolve the talent shortage issue in Vietnam.
He conveyed the concerns of U.S. businesses that “shortage of qualified workforce and a proper regulatory framework for setting up renewable energy systems for use in semiconductor supply chains has been among the chief concerns of US firms wanting to invest in Vietnam.”
"The US Government could not tell the firms what to do, where to go, but what we can do is to work with Vietnam, with the government, to improve its business environment, to improve its regulations on energy, to allow additional firms to come into Vietnam to improve their energy security. The US Government encourages businesses to invest in countries like Vietnam,” he said.
According to U.S government’s CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 (Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors and Science), Vietnam is one of the seven countries around the world that has received funding from the International Technology Security and Innovation (ITSI) Fund. Fernandez told Nikkei Asia that Vietnam should also take action before it is too late to attract investment in vital industries, such as clean energy and minerals, that can be used for electric vehicles and batteries.