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United States and Vietnam Hold First Meeting Under Trade and Investment Framework Agreement

 

 

Washington, D.C. - United States Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab met in Washington today with Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Chairman of Vietnam's Office of Government for the first ministerial meeting under the U.S.-Vietnam Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).  The meeting was focused on Vietnam’s implementation of its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments as well as ways to further deepen trade and investment relations between the United States and Vietnam.

“We are pleased with Vietnam’s progress to date in implementing its WTO commitments and domestic reform agenda, which have generated striking economic gains and steadily enhanced Vietnam’s regional and global economic competitiveness,” Ambassador Schwab said.  “We intend to remain actively engaged with Vietnam to support its ongoing work and help ensure that implementation efforts stay on track.”

During the discussions, Ambassador Schwab underscored U.S. interest in ensuring that the commitments Vietnam made regarding its distribution and other service sectors are implemented in a transparent and timely manner.  She also urged Vietnam to take additional steps to improve its enforcement of intellectual property protection.  In addition, the two ministers discussed agriculture, telecommunications, textiles, and other trade and investment issues, as well as Vietnam’s requests for further technical assistance to support its reform efforts. 

Ambassador Schwab and Minister Phuc welcomed the significant growth in bilateral trade during the past year and the opportunity to further strengthen U.S.-Vietnam trade and investment relations.  Two-way goods trade between the United States and Vietnam totaled $10.2 billion during the first 10 months of 2007, an increase of 25 percent over the same period the previous year.

The United States plans to continue building our trade and investment ties with Vietnam, which is among the most dynamic markets in the world.  The two countries have developed a cooperative relationship under the TIFA and plan to explore new initiatives over the coming year that will create additional opportunities for U.S. and Vietnamese businesses.

Background

U.S. exports to Vietnam totaled $1.4 billion between January and October 2007 (the most recent available data), a 62-percent increase over the same period in 2006.  Key U.S. export categories included machinery, motor vehicles, plastics and cotton.  Vietnam became the WTO’s 150th Member on January 11, 2007.  With a market of over 85 million people, Vietnam is the 13th most populous nation in the world and has experienced economic growth in excess of 7 percent per year for each of the last five years.

The United States and Vietnam signed the TIFA on June 21, 2006.  The TIFA was negotiated under the Enterprise for ASEAN Initiative (EAI).  President Bush launched the EAI to further strengthen ties with countries in the commercially and strategically significant Southeast Asian region, and the United States now has TIFAs with Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand, and an FTA with Singapore.  The United States also is negotiating an FTA with Malaysia and will hold the next round of negotiations in Malaysia during the week of January 14.  The U.S. FTA negotiations with Thailand have been suspended until a democratically-elected government is in place.

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