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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 18, 1997


Jackson-Vanik Waiver for Vietnam

This statement is a response to questions from the press requesting a clarification on the Administration's intention to seek a JacksonVanik waiver for Vietnam.

As Assistant to the President Samuel Berger stated today, the Administration's highest priority with Vietnam remains obtaining the fullest possible accounting for our POW/MIA's. As we have stated previously, Vietnamese cooperation in this accounting effort has been excellent and we expect that cooperation to continue.

In addition, Vietnam has established a very solid record on implementation of emigration policies, including the Orderly Departure Program. Recently, Vietnam also signed an agreement to facilitate the implementation of the Resettlement Opportunity for Vietnamese Returnees (ROVR) program. Vietnam has agreed to eliminate the requirement that applicants for the ROVR program must have an exit visa prior to being allowed an interview with U.S. officials of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. This decision already has resulted in significant increases in the number of ROVR interviews conducted by INS. We anticipate that at the current pace we should complete ROVR interviews by the end of September 1998.

This Vietnamese step has provided the basis for opening consultations with Congress regarding Jackson-Vanik and MarxistLeninist waiver determinations. A Presidential decision to move ahead with Jackson-Vanik and Marxist-Leninist waivers will be made based on the results of these Congressional consultations and on Vietnamese implementation over the next several months of their commitments on emigration, including with regard to the ROVR program. These waivers will allow programs such as those of the EX-IM Bank, Maritime Administration Title II, and PL-480 to operate in Vietnam.

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