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As Prepared

Thank you, Director Soda, for your role in founding [Japan-United States. Strategic Energy Partnership] (JUSEP). JUSEP formalizes our shared interest to increase energy security across Asia through private-sector led growth.  The United States and Japan have been engaged in the region across multiple agencies and programs. JUSEP provides a means to both increase awareness and facilitate collaboration. Today’s Forum underscores a trilateral consensus on [Liquefied Natural Gas] LNG as an ideal energy source and development platform for Vietnam. Vietnam has responded strategically, based on opportunity, demand, and investor interest to establish and develop this sector. As Deputy Minister An mentioned there is more to do given Vietnam’s increasing demand.  

As we have discussed in the past, JUSEP should be more than a forum for discussion; it should be a catalyst for action. I am pleased that we have progressed on a few projects in Vietnam, including the $3 billion Son My LNG import terminal and power plant project led by AES with PV Gas. You may recall that this project was highlighted at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum. This project will provide a reliable source of LNG power to southern Vietnam starting in 2026. I should note that Vietnam’s first project, led by Tokyo Gas and PV Gas, could be operational within a few years. These promising initial steps demonstrate Vietnam’s strong start; but Vietnam faces an increasing set of challenges to execute on the growing number of proposed projects. 

The good news is that Vietnam has friends here that can help. From experts across the interagency to private sectors leaders, Vietnam can be confident that these partners are willing to advise how the government can best meet its ambition to bring LNG and reliable power to the country through efficient decision-making and implementation. Governments – through regulatory structures, predictability of decision-making, transparency of process – can create the conditions to attract capital, investment, and infrastructure development. I know that Vietnam wants increased US investment, and I want to help Vietnam achieve its goals. In order for Vietnam to realize its full potential and attract the best-in-class investors, we propose expanding on two areas.  

First, to be more attractive to more companies, the government could increase the transparency of its procedures so that potential investors have greater clarity. We note Vietnam is already working in this regard through the Business Task Force. I was pleased to see some of the presentations by Vietnam speaking to some of these today. We would propose to build on that good foundation and show clear qualification criteria, and transparent and streamlined processes to lower the risk and ensure certainty in decision-making. We realize this may be particularly important at the provincial level where they have a key role to play in conducting competitions or making sole developer recommendations.   

Second, we would suggest that Vietnam could take full advantage of last year’s power development plan by permitting projects already approved in PDP 7 and under active development.  For example, GE, Vietnamese electricity firm GENCO3, and Mitsubishi have submitted a first-rate proposal for the $2.2 billion Long Son LNG plant already approved in the previous national power development plan 7.  LNG power projects still under consideration include the Hai Phong LNG terminal and gas to power project highlighted at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum. This project is another demonstration of US-Japan cooperation through Exxon Mobil and Japanese utility company JERA.  

Through the whole-of-government Asia EDGE program, the U.S. stands ready to support Vietnam. For example, I know that that Treasury Assistant Secretary Mitch Silk and his team have been working with counterparts in the Ministries of Finance and Industry and Trade to advance capacity in these and other areas. The U.S. Department of Commerce, USDTA, and USAID are all active in assisting Vietnam to establish effective regulations and streamlined decision making processes. We also stand ready to help with Vietnam’s most critical power sector development challenges, including the need to increase transmission lines to keep pace with generation and to better integrate solar and wind.   

My Bureau, under Asia EDGE, has been assisting [Minister of Energy and Trade] (MOIT) with power and gas market development and LNG imports, helping to attract the approximate $6.8 billion in annual power sector investment requirements for Vietnam’s power plan.  Our cooperation on LNG also underscores our broader cooperation on Mekong power sector development under the Japan-U.S.-Mekong Power Partnership (JUMPP)–where LNG is one of the routes to provide Vietnam access to affordable energy. We work in partnership with Vietnam according to its ambition. We know that includes developing offshore wind power generation.   

USAID has been working with the government to harmonize national strategies, laws, policies and regulations in the renewables sector, and to boost planning capacity for PDP 8. The agency has also helped build the capacity of private sector financial and project developer stakeholders, and of Electricity Regulators to enable Direct Power Purchase Agreements (DPPAs) that enable large corporations to procure electricity from renewable energy producers.  JUSEP will continue to support in Vietnam on LNG as well as renewables and other technologies. We all promote – all three of us– an all of the above approach, as Deputy Commissioner Kihara also noted during our September Government Plenary session.   

Our three governments – the United States, Japan and Vietnam – have built a strong foundation. We have some momentum. The opportunity before us now is how to build and expand on it. We look forward to doing that together. Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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