"We have just completed another intensive round of detailed bilateral
negotiations regarding Vietnam’s accession to the World Trade Organization. The
United States and Vietnam are working together constructively to meet our common
goal of seeing Vietnam become a Member of the WTO as soon as possible.
"Our goals this week were to capitalize on the progress that we have been
making together on both the bilateral market access negotiations on industrial
and agricultural tariffs and services and the multilateral issues regarding WTO
rules. We brought a large team of senior experts to Vietnam as early as possible
this year, which reflects the U.S. commitment to move the process forward and
get to the finish line as quickly as possible.
"Both sides worked very hard to narrow remaining differences. We were pleased
with our progress and believe the meetings this week have injected new momentum
and energy into the negotiations. We thank Minister Tuyen, his cabinet
colleagues and his staff for making our trip to Vietnam so productive, and look
forward to accelerating our work in the coming weeks. After consultations at
home with Congress and with U.S. stakeholders, we expect to convene again with
Vietnam to continue working to resolve remaining issues. We’ve made progress
across all areas and have a specific work plan to carry us forward toward
conclusion of this important bilateral negotiation.
"We are committed to completing our bilateral negotiations and continuing to
provide leadership in resolving multilateral issues, such as subsidies, trading
rights, intellectual property rights protection, and the commercial activities
of state-owned enterprises. We were particularly encouraged by the hard work of
the National Assembly to pass much of the legislation needed for Vietnam to join
the rules-based system of the WTO and are reviewing this legislation carefully.
WTO membership is in keeping with Vietnam’s newly announced Socio-Economic
Development Plan, which calls for a vigorous program of economic growth, reform,
and development. Among Vietnam’s stated goals are to fully integrate into the
global economy by 2010, to raise $840 billion in capital over the next five
years, and to maintain a high level of growth. We believe that commitments to
reform, and liberalization as part of the WTO accession process are key to
helping Vietnam meet these goals. WTO membership will further strengthen our
bilateral economic relationship by creating new trade and investment
opportunities for both Vietnamese and U.S. businesses."