WASHINGTON, DC – The
United States and Vietnam today signed a Trade and
Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) that will create a platform on which to
further expand and deepen bilateral trade and investment ties between the two
“The TIFA signing marks another important step forward for
both countries in the steady expansion of our economic relations,” said
Ambassador Karan Bhatia, who signed the TIFA on behalf of the
States. “I am pleased with the ambitious
work program we’ve agreed to undertake under the TIFA, which will support
Vietnam’s domestic economic
reform agenda, create new opportunities for U.S. and
Vietnamese businesses, and allow us to consider additional steps we may want to
take to further strengthen our relationship.”
Signing on behalf of Vietnam was that
country’s Vice Minister of Trade Nguyen Cam Tu.
Under the TIFA, the United
States and Vietnam will discuss implementation of the 2001
U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) and Vietnam’s WTO
commitments. The two sides also will explore new initiatives to increase
trade in industrial and agricultural products and services, and to encourage
further investment between the two countries.
Earlier this week, U.S. and Vietnamese officials held their annual
review of Vietnam’s progress in implementing
the BTA. They discussed a broad range of issues including importation
rights for U.S. firms,
licensing procedures for U.S. investors and service providers,
intellectual property rights, customs, and agriculture issues.
“We applaud the substantial progress Vietnam has made
to implement its bilateral and WTO commitments and to reform and open its
economy,” said Ambassador Bhatia. “While there is additional work to be
done, we look forward to continuing to support Vietnam’s efforts, which have generated
impressive economic gains and boosted immensely Vietnam’s
regional and global competitiveness.”
Two-way goods trade between Vietnam and the United States
totaled $9.7 billion in 2006, an increase of 23 percent over the previous
year. The United States
exported $1.1 billion worth of goods to Vietnam last year.
Vietnam became the WTO’s 150th Member
on January 11, 2007. With a market of over 82 million people,
Vietnam is the 14th most populous
nation in the world and has experienced economic growth of more than 7 percent
per year for each of the last five years.
The TIFA negotiations between the United States and Vietnam were
launched in March 2007, during the visit to Washington of Vietnam’s Deputy Prime
Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem. 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
Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand, and an FTA with Singapore.