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Fact Sheet: Expanding Cooperation Between the United States and Vietnam (11/17/00)

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                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                  (Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam)

For Immediate Release                                   November 17, 2000

                                FACT SHEET

        Expanding Cooperation Between the United States and Vietnam

The President's trip to Vietnam is the capstone of a step-by-step process
to normalize relations that has been predicated on progress in getting the
fullest possible accounting for American POW/MIAs in Vietnam.

Today, in a speech to students at Vietnam National University - Hanoi,
President Clinton discussed the importance of the growing ties between the
two countries and outlined a vision for advancing the relationship between
the United States and Vietnam.  The United States is increasing cooperation
with Vietnam in several key areas - infectious diseases, science and
technology, disaster relief and employment and labor issues.

Combating Infectious Disease and Other Health Threats

The United States is doubling its support for Vietnam's efforts to combat
HIV/AIDS and other health threats.  Beginning in FY 2001, the United States
Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) plan to allocate $22.5 million over five years
to Vietnam for HIV/AIDS prevention, education, and care - more than double
current funding levels.  In addition, the United States will also
significantly increase funding for HIV/AIDS programs throughout the Mekong
River region.  The new funding for Vietnam over the next five years will
-$15 million through CDC to provide technical assistance to the Vietnamese
government, improve surveillance, strengthen laboratories and
infrastructure, and undertake AIDS research;
-$7.5 million through USAID to support AIDS surveillance, capacity
building, education and counseling for at-risk groups, training of health
care providers; expansion of on-going prevention programs from four to six
-New support from the Department of Labor for workplace AIDS prevention and
education programs;
-Joint support from the CDC and the Rockefeller Foundation for Vietnam's
first School of Public Health, which has now graduated 48 public health
professionals; and
-New support for the "Safe Vietnam" initiative, which was launched in 1999
by Ambassador Peterson in coordination with other major donors, NGOs, and
private companies to address the growing problem of injuries from
motorcycle/moped accidents.

Expanding Science and Technology Cooperation

Today, the United States and Vietnam signed an Agreement on Scientific and
Technological Cooperation.  This agreement will facilitate cooperation
between American and Vietnamese scientists in areas such as health,
technological innovation and entrepreneurship, disaster mitigation and
marine and water resource management. Increased cooperation in the
prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, including typhoid fever
and HIV/AIDS will strengthen Vietnam's ability to meet critical health
challenges.  The Agreement will expand joint research in a number of areas
-Creating a U.S.-Vietnam Committee on Scientific and Technical Cooperation
to define and review areas of cooperation under the agreement;
-Addressing forms of cooperation, including the conduct of joint research
and development projects, the exchange of information, the exchange of
scientists and experts and the organization of conferences and workshops;
-Specifying how to handle intellectual property generated through
collaborative projects; and
-Outlining dispute-resolution procedures.

Scientists and officials from the United States and Vietnam will also meet
in Singapore at the end of this month to discuss joint research on the
health risks and ecological effects of dioxin contamination.

Providing Disaster Relief

The United States is actively supporting disaster preparedness and relief
in Vietnam, through a number of projects, including:
-1.4 million over the next three years to help establish a coastal storm
warning system in Vietnam for fishing boats at sea.  This radio-based
system will use U.S. technology to broadcast weather information through
repeater towers along the coast to low-cost weather radios aboard fishing
boats to help save lives during storms.
-Increased collaborative meteorological forecast activities between the
United States and Vietnam and flood forecast technology from the United
States will enable more accurate predictions of natural disasters before
they hit Vietnam and the development of an early warning system to predict,
monitor and respond to flooding.
-Relief supplies and funding to respond to the severe flooding from storms
in Mekong Delta region earlier this year, including three airlifts of
supplies - including water purification equipment, tarpaulins for emergency
shelter and boats to assist in the delivery of assistance to areas
inaccessible by road.

The United States has delivered a total of $741,645 in disaster assistance
for Vietnam so far this year, including $497,645 in relief in response to
the current flooding and $244,000 for flood early warning systems in
central Vietnam.

Strengthening Labor Protection

The United States and Vietnam today signed a Memorandum of Understanding
establishing a program of cooperation and dialogue on labor matters.  In
addition, under the first phase, scheduled to begin this month, the United
States anticipates providing $3 million for technical assistance programs
in six areas:
-skills training and employment services
-social insurance and safety nets
-employment of the disabled
-industrial relations and labor law
-child labor, focusing on street children and child trafficking, and
-workplace education and prevention programs on HIV/AIDS.

Additional technical assistance programs may be added in the future.

Additionally, Vietnam today ratified the International Labor Convention on
the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor, thus joining the United
States and 45 other countries that have so demonstrated their commitment to
ending the worst forms of child labor.

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