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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 11, 1998


Jackson-Vanik Waiver for Vietnam

The President has granted Vietnam a waiver of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment of the 1974 Trade Act. This waiver, together with related determinations and waivers to the Export-Import Bank Act and the Foreign Assistance Act, will permit Vietnam to participate in U.S. export promotion and investment support programs, including those associated with the Export-Import (EX-IM) Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the Maritime Administration (MARAD), and the Agency for International Development (AID). The support provided by EX-IM, OPIC, and MARAD programs will help American firms operating in Vietnam to compete more effectively in the Vietnamese market.

The President based his decision on Vietnam's track record of progress on emigration over the past 15 years, and its accelerated efforts in recent months. Since 1979, more than 480,000 Vietnamese have legally entered the United States through the Orderly Departure Program (ODP). More recently, Vietnam has improved its implementation of the Resettlement Opportunity for Vietnamese Refugees (ROVR) program, which provides a last opportunity for settlement in the United States to Vietnamese held in refugee camps in Southeast Asia. And Vietnam has modified its emigration regulations to expedite interviews by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Vietnam has located and presented for interview by the INS 14,000 of the estimated 18,000 persons the United States believes are eligible for the program. Vietnam also has pledged to provide an accounting for those persons the United States has concluded are eligible for ROVR, but whose names do not appear on the list of cleared applicants provided by Vietnam. And Vietnam has committed to issue passports to applicants approved by the INS for resettlement in the United States.

The Jackson-Vanik Amendment authorizes the President to waive restrictions that would otherwise be required on activities such as U.S. government credit and investment guarantees, and the conclusion of commercial agreements if he determines that waiver will substantially promote freedom of emigration. The President believes that waiver of the Jackson-Vanik restrictions is the best way to encourage further progress.

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