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USTR and Vietnamese Prime Minister Meet

June 23, 2008



U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab met in Washington Monday with
Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and senior members of his economic team
to welcome the rapid growth in U.S.-Vietnamese economic ties and to discuss next
steps in the steady expansion of our bilateral trade and investment
relations.  They also commended the launch of the bilateral investment
treaty (BIT) negotiations.

“A bilateral
investment treaty will build on the already strong economic ties between the
United States and
Vietnam, one of the fastest
growing markets for U.S. exports,” Ambassador Schwab
said.  “When concluded, this agreement will provide U.S. investors in Vietnam with key legal protections and enhanced
market access with important direct and collateral benefits for U.S.
exporters and consumers alike.”

Ambassador Schwab
and Prime Minister Dung also exchanged views on Vietnam’s economic reform efforts and
the implementation of its World Trade Organization’s (WTO) accession
commitments, which are on track.  They discussed the need for further
efforts to provide enhanced intellectual property rights protection in
Vietnam and continued
cooperation on agricultural issues, including access to the Vietnamese market
for all cuts and all ages of U.S. beef and beef products, consistent with OIE
standards, as well as access to the U.S. market for Vietnamese

Ambassador Schwab
welcomed Vietnam’s move to lift its ban on
rice exports and underscored the importance of open trade regimes in ensuring
adequate global food supplies.  She applauded the signing last week of an
agreement to facilitate bilateral trade in telecommunications equipment and
Vietnam’s intent to become an
observer to the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement.


Trade between the
United States and
Vietnam has grown rapidly since the
conclusion of the U.S.-Vietnam BTA in 2000, followed by normalization of trade
relations in 2001.  Two-way goods trade between United States and Vietnam
totaled $12.5 billion in 2007, up 30 percent over 2006 and up more than 700
percent since 2001.  U.S. goods exports to Vietnam
in 2007 totaled $1.9 billion, an increase of 73 percent from 2006. 
Meanwhile, U.S. foreign
direct investment in Vietnam also has grown, totaling $339
million in 2006, the most recent available data, up over 95 percent since

Under the Trade and
Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), signed last year, the United States and Vietnam
have been holding exploratory talks on the launch of negotiations of a
BIT.  The United
States negotiates BITs on the basis of a model
text that provides high standards of investment protection and market access
commitments.  BITs not only protect U.S.
investors but can also be a valuable tool in guiding and implementing economic
reforms and a stronger, more open investment regime.  The
U.S. model text is
substantively similar to the investment chapters of the free trade agreements
the United States has
concluded in recent years and is the basis for treaties recently concluded with
Uruguay (2005) and Rwanda
(2008).  The United
States has 40 BITs in force. 

On June 19, 2008,
the United States and
Vietnam concluded an agreement to
facilitate trade in telecommunications and information technology (IT)
equipment.  This Mutual Recognition Agreement for Conformity Assessment
will permit U.S. authorities
to designate laboratories in the United
States as eligible to test telecommunications and IT
equipment for compliance with Vietnam’s telecommunications
regulatory requirements and to have the results of such testing recognized by
Vietnamese authorities.  By permitting tests to be conducted in the
United States, the agreement
will lead to a reduction in the costs and time involved in exporting
U.S. telecommunications and
IT equipment to Vietnam.

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