United States and Vietnam Sign Trade and Investment Framework Agreement
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 countries.
“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 United 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 with Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand, and an FTA with Singapore.