News Release

Office of the CNMI Governor Washington, D.C.

February 22, 2012

Gov. Benigno R. Fitial visited the Vietnam House for a meeting with the Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States, Nguyen Quoc Cuong.

The governor and the ambassador engaged in a meaningful discussion on mutually beneficial trade and investment opportunities between the two governments. Fitial expressed the need to expand the CNMI’s economic development strategy in order to achieve economic growth and spur job creation for residents.

Fitial pitched the CNMI as a choice destination for Vietnamese tourists, real estate development, agricultural, and educational investments.

Educational tourism is the Vietnam government’s top interest as families invest a large amount of personal finances to ensure that their children receive a high standard of education from U.S. institutions.

Cuong stated that in order to establish a thriving education industry in the islands, it is highly important to seek a visa waiver or another form of special visa that would make traveling to the CNMI accessible to Vietnamese. He is committed to fostering a CNMI-Vietnam partnership aimed at establishing a bilateral economic development plan to help revive the NMI’s ailing economy. With an estimated population of nearly 100 million people, Vietnam is considered the world’s 2nd largest exporter of rice and coffee, just two of many other commodities being exported from the country on a daily basis.

Fitial expressed his appreciation to Cuong and took pleasure in informing him that the Commonwealth is now preparing to receive a delegation of provincial leaders from Vietnam in either March or April. Organizers from the Ngeh An province are currently working on preparations for the country’s first official visit to the Northern Marianas.

The ambassador also handed Fitial a letter from Vietnam’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh, who is formally inviting the governor to visit Vietnam on an official trade mission to further discuss mutually beneficial economic opportunities.

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