US companies sign billions in deals with Vietnam
U.S. President Donald Trump (R) welcomes Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the White House in Washington, U.S. May 31, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. companies signed business deals with Vietnam worth over $8 billion on Wednesday, including power projects and jet engines from General Electric Co and diesel generator technology from Caterpillar , the Commerce Department said.

The 13 deals were announced as Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc met with U.S. President Donald Trump as part of a three-day, trade-focused trip to the United States.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who has pledged to shrink U.S. trade deficits, said the transactions would include $3.4 billion in U.S. produced content that would support 23,000 jobs.

But the Trump administration still wants more work from Vietnam to bring down a rapidly growing $32 billion trade surplus with the United States, said Murray Hiebert, a Southeast Asia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

"I heard from U.S. officials ahead of the trip that just signing deals with U.S. companies was nice but not enough," Hiebert said.

GE said on Wednesday it had signed deals in Vietnam worth about $5.58 billion for power generation, aircraft engines and services, its largest single combined sale with the country in GE's history.

GE's agreement with Vietjet Aviation JSC includes 20 jet engines made by CFM International, a joint venture of GE and Safran SA of France. It also includes a 12-year engine service contract for 215 LEAP-1B engines on 100 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that Vietjet has ordered, GE said.

GE's power unit signed a memorandum of understanding to build two 750-megawatt gas-fired turbine power plants in conjunction with state energy group PetroVietnam, using the Blue Whale gas field.

GE also signed a joint development agreement to erect an 800-megawatt wind power facility. Partners in the agreement are Phu Cuong Group and International Mainstream Renewable Power, GE said.

Honeywell also signed a $100 million deal to supply VietJet with 98 auxiliary power units for the airline's new fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft, including maintenance for 12 years.

Caterpillar and its dealer in Vietnam, Phu Thai Cat, agreed to provide generator management technology for more than 100 generators in Vietnam, the company said. The technology would allow for remote function monitoring including fuel, temperature and pressure. The value of the Caterpillar deal was not disclosed.

Hilton Worldwide signed a deal worth $650 million to manage a 610-room dual-branded hotel in Vietnam, while port security firm Passport Systems Inc signed a deal worth $1 billion, with $420 million in U.S. content, Commerce said.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott in Seattle, David Lawder, Mike Stone and David Brunnstrom in Washington and Rachit Vats in Bangalore; Editing by David Gregorio and Steve Orlofsky)