Vietnam-US Trade Agreement Gets Closer

From June 14th to 18th Vietnam and the US had conducted the eighth round of talks on their bilateral trade agreement in Washington DC. At the final session, the two sides summed up the results of the last eight rounds of talk, of which the first round began in September 1996.

Both sides agreed that with great efforts, two countries had narrowed the gap of the remaining issues and could find out a common view in almost every issue for a complete trade agreement.

Mr. Nguyen Dinh Luong, Assistant Minister of Trade, Head of the Vietnamese delegation said after the talks that the Vietnamese delegation came to Washington with goodwill. The delegation offered new initiatives to the outstanding problems in every field of the draft agreement, such as services, investment, intellectual property, and trade in goods. All of Vietnam's initiatives were built on the fundamental principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and international standards. Vietnam also put forth a feasible schedule to implement WTO's regulations according to conditions of Vietnam, a developing country with an economy still on the way to renovation.

Mr. Luong expressed his hope that the US side would show their better understanding and have more positive assessments on Vietnam's efforts in the put-forth initiatives at this round in order to conclude talks and sign the bilateral Trade Agreement as soon as possible.

Also on June 18, the US Trade Representative, Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky applauded progress made in the negotiation. "We have significantly narrowed the number of remaining issues in this negotiation, which set the stage for the normalization of trade relations between our two countries. Nonetheless, some key issues remain related to market access for some goods and services. We will continue to pursue an equitable and mutually beneficial agreement with Vietnam."