(Changes headline, slug, adds Washington dateline, recasts first paragraph, adds details form Caterpillar deal, adds bylines)
By Alwyn Scott and Mike Stone
SEATTLE/WASHINGTON, May 31 (Reuters) - U.S. industrial companies General Electric Co and Caterpillar Inc made deals with Vietnam worth billions of dollars as Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc continued his three-day trip to the United States.
Phuc’s trip included a meeting with President Donald Trump Wednesday afternoon at the White House as well as the signing of deals with U.S. companies for high-tech goods and services worth $15 billion to $17 billion when GE and Caterpillar are included.
The U.S. wants ”Vietnam to bring some ideas about how to tackle the surplus on an ongoing basis,” said Murray Hiebert, a Southeast Asia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, referring to the multibillion-dollar trade surplus that Vietnam runs annually with the United States.
“I heard from U.S. officials ahead of the trip that just signing deals with U.S. companies was nice but not enough.”
General Electric 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. PetroVietnam signed an agreement with the Vietnamese unit of Exxon Mobil Corp in January to develop the field, Vietnam’s largest gas project.
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.
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.
GE’s shares ended regular trading on Wednesday up 2 cents at $27.38 on the New York Stock Exchange. Caterpillar shares finished down 4 cents at $105.43, also on the NYSE. (Reporting by Alwyn Scott in Seattle, Mike Stone and David Brunnstrom in Washington and Rachit Vats in Bangalore; Editing by David Gregorio and Steve Orlofsky)