Levin Statement on Visit by Prime Minister of Vietnam

May 31, 2017 Issues: Trade

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Sander Levin (MI-09) today issued the following statement on the meeting between President Trump and the Prime Minister of Vietnam at the White House.

“It is deeply disturbing that the visit of the Prime Minister of Vietnam to the White House today failed to address that nation’s continual violation of basic human rights, persecution of political opponents and suppression of labor rights.  To be silent on such issues, not only condemns the people of Vietnam to continued oppression, but it also hurts workers here in the U.S. when they have to compete with workers who are denied these basic rights and receive very low wages.  In Vietnam, workers do not have the right to form or join an independent union of their choosing, which at least partially explains why the wages of workers in Vietnam are so low, with a minimum wage that is only one-tenth of the U.S. minimum wage. 

"Vietnam had indicated agreement to adopt basic labor rights, including the formation of independent unions, during discussions about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, but recent actions reinforced the serious doubts about whether Vietnam’s authoritarian regime would actually fulfill commitments on human and labor rights.  For example, earlier this month, Vietnamese police arrested Hoang Duc Binh, a Viet Labor Movement leader, for ‘abusing Democratic freedoms’ when trying to help the victims of an environmental disaster caused by a steel plant last year.   We must not turn a blind eye toward such violations of human and labor rights.”