WASHINGTON – The United States and Vietnam have reached an agreement in
principle on a bilateral market access agreement that will lower trade barriers
to a wide range of U.S. industrial and agricultural products and services and
help clear the way for Vietnam’s accession to the World Trade Organization
"This is a very good agreement for the United States. It opens a new and
growing market for American agricultural goods, services, such as financial
services, and manufactured products," said U.S. Trade Representative Rob
Portman. "This agreement also signals an historic step in our bilateral
relationship. Vietnam recognizes that broad-based reform and economic
liberalization are essential to its integration into the global economy. We
intend to work hard with Vietnam to complete the process of its full accession
to the WTO in the near future."
The agreement would substantially lower tariffs on U.S. industrial and
agricultural products and remove non-tariff barriers currently faced by U.S.
service providers. The agreement will also continue the process of political and
economic reform in Vietnam, which includes increased transparency in commercial
activity and adherence to the rule of law.
The formal signing of the bilateral agreement will take place in the near
future once both sides have undertaken the required legal consultations.
Over the course of the negotiations, the Administration consulted closely
with Members of Congress, particularly Members and Staff of the House Ways and
Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the House and Senate
Agriculture Committees, on their interests in making sure a bilateral deal would
create new market opportunities for the farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and
service provides they represent. The Administration also worked with advisory
committees representing private sector interests. Congressional action is
necessary to grant Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) to Vietnam. This will
clear the way for the two countries to apply the WTO Agreement between them when
Vietnam becomes a WTO member.
Vietnam has been negotiating its terms of accession to the WTO since 1995. To
complete its accession bid, Vietnam must complete bilateral market access
negotiations and also the multilateral negotiations on a Working Party Report
and Protocol of Accession. Vietnam is also still in the process of enacting
legislation that will enable it to apply WTO provisions after its accession.