Washington DC – U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab today welcomed Vietnam’s accession to the World Trade Organization with the following statement.
"This is an historic day for Vietnam and the rules-based global trading system. It marks the beginning of a new era in the political and economic relationship between our two countries – an era that will witness expanding economic opportunities and cooperation," said Ambassador Schwab. "Vietnam's membership in the World Trade Organization is also a sign of U.S. commitment to strengthening the multilateral trading system. We welcome Vietnam as the 150th WTO Member and regard this step as an important milestone in the continuing process of expanding commerce and raising living standards around the world."
As a WTO member, Vietnam will be required to abide by international trading rules and will provide greater access to its fast-growing market of over 82 million people. Vietnam will also be required to enhance transparency in government processes and increase economic freedoms.
In the final step of the bilateral accession process with the United States, on December 29, President Bush granted Vietnam Permanent Normal Trade Relations. PNTR permits the United States to enter into the reciprocal "most favored nation" relationship that is necessary for the United States and Vietnam to enjoy the benefits of Vietnam’s membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Vietnam’s commitments in joining the WTO include wide-ranging reforms to its economy and substantial reduction in tariffs. Vietnam has already passed more than 80 laws to implement fully its commitments, including substantial changes to its regime on intellectual property rights protection. Vietnam is scheduled to become a WTO member on January 11, 2007.