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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 13, 2000


                   Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement
        Historic Strengthening of the U.S.-Vietnam Relationship

In 1993, President Clinton began a policy of normalization of relations with Vietnam to encourage Vietnam's cooperation on issues of interest to the United States and to promote Vietnam's integration into the region and the world economy. The decision to pursue the trade agreement was made after Vietnam had established a record of cooperation in accounting for POW-MIA's from the war, the highest priority in our relations.

The Bilateral Trade Agreement signed on July 13, 2000, marks a key step in the historic reconciliation between the United States and Vietnam. By normalizing trade relations and committing Vietnam to sweeping economic reform, it will help lay the foundation for a new American relationship with Vietnam.

The policy of normalization has led to:

The process of normalization has been accomplished in a step-by-step manner, leading to the Bilateral Trade Agreement:

Vietnam has made a comprehensive set of commitments on: tariffs and non-tariff barriers for industrial and agricultural goods, the full range of services, intellectual property rights, investment, transparency and other issues. This constitutes for the first time a broad opening of Vietnamese markets for the United States, and will provide a major stimulus to Vietnam's economic reform efforts. This agreement sends a positive signal regarding Vietnam's commitment to integrating into the world economy and is an important step toward both the development of the rule of law in Vietnam and its eventual membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The agreement has five major sections, including: -- Dramatic new market access for agricultural and industrial goods for American citizens and companies;
-- Increased intellectual property rights protection; -- Market access in a broad array of service sectors; -- Investment provisions to protect U.S. investments; and -- Transparency Measures making Vietnamese laws, rules, and regulations in these areas public and including a right to appeal for U.S. citizens

U.S. total (two-way) goods trade with Vietnam totaled $900 million in 1999. Exports to Vietnam have increased considerably in recent years from $4 million in 1992 to $291 million in 1999.


The agreement has five major sections:

Under U.S. law, for Vietnam to receive annual NTR status, a bilateral trade agreement must be completed and approved by Congress, and the President must waive the "Jackson-Vanik" provision, indicating that such a waiver would substantially promote freedom of emigration from Vietnam. Since 1998, the President has granted the annual Jackson-Vanik waiver for Vietnam. Thus, completion of this agreement, and its subsequent approval by Congress, would clear the way for Vietnam to receive NTR treatment on an annual basis. This in turn would bring Vietnam's trade commitments into force.

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