FILE - W. Va. Gov. Jim Justice

In this Jan. 8, 2020, photo, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice delivers his annual State of the State address in the House Chambers at the state Capitol in Charleston, W. Va.

(The Center Square) – In an effort to bolster economic ties between Vietnam and West Virginia, leaders of both governments signed a memorandum of understanding to set the stage for further trade cooperation.

The memorandum, signed by Gov. Jim Justice and Vietnam Vice Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai, seeks to accelerate trade and investment in energy, the economy and commerce. It also seeks to enhance the sharing of public information on policies, regulations and potential investment opportunities between the two governments.

“Is truly an accomplishment that many would have thought would have been impossible years ago,” Justice said during the virtual ceremony. “… I am honored beyond belief to be with you tonight. International trade and working together with one another is so, so important to West Virginia. ... We look forward to working very closely with you.”

Justice said the memorandum is proof that when great people put their heads together and join forces, greatness can happen. He said it is an honor to move forward with the memorandum and that he is proud of the alignment. The two governments will work together on many issues, including energy, agriculture and aerospace, which he said is a benefit to both Vietnam and West Virginia.

Per the memorandum, both governments agree to participate in training courses, workshops, conferences, seminars and other activities. The governments will establish a joint working group to develop and discuss working plans, assist in the implementation of the plans and organize regular meetings to evaluate the implementation of the memorandum.

The memorandum agreement is in force for three years from the signing and can be extended an additional three years with an agreement from both governments. Any amendments to the memorandum must be agreed upon by both governments. If either government seeks to terminate the agreements, they may do so with a 30-day notice.

“I know West Virginia stands ready to supply and export to Vietnam significant quantities of our abundant and high quality coal and natural gas, among other areas and industries,” Congresswoman Carol Miller said in a statement. “Our high quality thermal and metallurgical coal as well as our liquefied natural gas can and will keep the lights on in Vietnamese homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses for years to come.”

West Virginia exported about $14.8 million worth of hardwood products to Vietnam in 2020 and more than $5 million worth of other products. Other states have signed similar memorandums with Vietnam.

Staff Reporter

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.