The U.S. government agreed this week to give another coast guard vessel to Vietnam so the Southeast Asian country can increase its defense against China. But behind that move, Vietnam and the United States are struggling over a growing trade deficit that has alarmed U.S. officials.
The U.S. government has complained since June that Americans buy more Vietnamese-produced goods compared to what Vietnamese consumers take from the United States.
Vietnam relies heavily on export manufacturing for its economic growth of more than 6% per year. The deficit reached about $40 billion in 2018, which the U.S. Census Bureau calls the fifth largest between the United States and another country.