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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release July 26, 1999

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

I am pleased that the Office of the United States Trade Representative and the Vietnamese Trade Ministry reached an understanding in principle on the terms of a broad commercial agreement between the United States and Vietnam. This provisional arrangement is a major step forward for both countries, and I congratulate our American negotiators and those of Vietnam on their work. I will review the agreement carefully and consult further with the Congress and the government of Vietnam in the hope that we will be able to move on to finalization, formal signature, and the establishment of normal trade relations very soon.

In addition to promoting American commercial interests, enhancing our economic relations with Vietnam will also help advance cooperation with Vietnam on other issues of importance to our nation. These include obtaining the fullest possible accounting of our missing from the war, encouraging continued progress in the freedom of emigration, and seeking improvements in the human rights situation in Vietnam. Since the United States normalized relations with Vietnam in 1995, we have made steady progress in each of those areas. A bilateral trade agreement with Vietnam constitutes one more positive step in that process.

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