Wrapping up a 10-day economic development mission to Asia, Governor O'Malley today visited Vietnam and met with the country's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on strengthening trade and investment ties between Maryland and Vietnam. The Governor, joined by Maryland delegation members, also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore a sister-state relationship with the Vietnam's Ninh Thuan Province. The MOU was signed by Ninh Thuan Province People's Committee Chairman Nguyen Chi Dzung, who visited Maryland in 2009, and will be the first of its kind between Vietnam and a U.S. state to promote trade, investment and educational opportunities and cultural exchange.
"Vietnam is one of the world's fastest growing markets and we see great potential to strengthen the trade and investment partnerships we have already established through Maryland's trade offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City," said Governor O'Malley. "By signing the MOU to explore our first sister state relationship in Vietnam, we look forward to promoting all Maryland has to offer for Vietnamese firms looking to do business in the U.S., as well as increasing our more than $25 million in exports to the country."
"The Maryland Sister States Program warmly welcomes our friends from Ninh Thuan Province and thanks its leaders for their willingness to explore a partnership with Maryland," said Secretary of State John P. McDonough. "We believe that the citizens of both regions will greatly benefit from this relationship moving forward."
Today's Maryland delegation visit to Vietnam included a number of signings between Maryland and Vietnamese companies. Among the signings, Rockville, Md.-based AmeriSure Pharmaceuticals, one of only a handful of U.S companies licensed to distribute pharmaceuticals products in Vietnam, signed an agreement to collaborate with VIMEDIMEX, one of Vietnam's largest state-owned pharmaceutical firms; Baltimore-based Marlin Steel Wire, which manufactures custom stainless steel wire baskets, signed a business collaboration agreement with Vietnam's Inox Hoa Binh, a state-owned steel production and fabrication firm; and Rockville-based MIH-IDI Capital Group, a joint venture of Meiwah International Holdings and the Maryland Center for Foreign Investment, signed an agreement with Vietnamese firm Rising Sun Home Co. to serve as MIH-IDI's agent to attract investment through Maryland's EB-5 Regional Center; and Blue Wing Environmental Solutions and Technologies based in Ellicott City received a commitment from the Vietnam Natural Resources and Environmental Corporation (VINANREN) to promote in Vietnam the Maryland company's floating island products, which improve water quality, reduce the effects of erosion and beautify waterscapes.
"Vietnam is growing fast and Marlin Steel Wire wants to grow fast," said CEO Drew Greenblatt, a member of the Maryland delegation. "This agreement will help create more jobs in Maryland to handle our new orders."
Maryland is one of the first U.S. states to have a trade office in Vietnam, which opened in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in 2009 and is managed by Meiwah International Holdings. In 2010, Maryland exported $25 million in goods and services to Vietnam, making it the State's 52nd largest export market, and imported more than $156 million from the emerging country, including furniture, apparel and wax products. Maryland is home to more than 23,000 people with Vietnamese heritage, as well as the U.S. Chapter of the Business Association of Overseas Vietnamese, an organization located in Montgomery County of Vietnamese-American business, educational and scientific decision makers seeking to promote U.S.-Vietnam ties.
Last year, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development's Office of International Trade and Investment engaged more than 250 Asian companies, helping to attract six new foreign firms from China and Korea to Maryland. In addition, the Office assisted 75 Maryland companies export their products to Asia, helping to generate $65 million in sales.
Maryland's Office of International Investment and Trade works to stimulate foreign direct investment in the State, offers export assistance for small and mid-sized Maryland companies and coordinates international trade and investment missions and trade show opportunities for Maryland companies. For more information on resources available to business that want to market their products or services globally, visit www.choosemaryland.org