By JASON SAGAL | Associated PressFormer US President Jimmy Carter, right, and Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang.
Carter and Tran are expected to sign a historic agreement to reopen Vietnam’s gold mine industry to international competition in the country’s second major industrial hub.
Carter, who spent more than three decades as a top military official in Vietnam before leaving office in 2017, said Monday that he expects to sign the agreement, which would allow Vietnam to reopen its gold mines and the gold industry to compete with domestic producers.
He said the agreement will benefit the Vietnamese economy, which is in the midst of a $100 billion stimulus package that includes billions of dollars in foreign aid.
The agreement is expected to be signed Tuesday at a ceremony at the presidential palace in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s capital.
The two sides also will hold a joint press conference.
In a statement, Carter’s office said the former president has a long history of working with Vietnam to improve economic growth and the country is the world’s largest producer of gold.
The United States and Vietnam signed the deal in September 2018, according to Carter’s spokesman, Kevin Lewis.
Carter has not publicly weighed in on the decision to reopen gold mines or the gold and silver mining industry.
The former president, who died in 2018, said in a 2016 speech that Vietnam was “a shining example of a democratic and free nation.”
The deal will be the first time that the United States, one of Vietnam’s closest allies, has signed a trade agreement with a country it has been at odds with.
The United States has criticized Vietnam’s trade practices and its ties to the communist North Vietnam, which has a history of human rights abuses and political repression.
The Trump administration has criticized the deal as a way for the two countries to trade in their economic and security ties.
China, Vietnam and Taiwan have competing claims to parts of the South China Sea.