Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement: Historic Strengthening of the U.S. - Vietnam Relationship (7/13/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                                July
13, 2000

                                FACT SHEET

                     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:

?    Strengthened cooperation on the fullest possible accounting of our
missing from the war.  Since 1993, the United States has undertaken 39
joint field activities with Vietnam, repatriated 288 possible sets of
remains, and identified the remains of 135 formerly unaccounted for
American servicemen;

?    Resettlement of tens of thousands of refugees through the Orderly
Departure Program and related programs.   Over 500,000 Vietnamese have
emigrated as refugees or immigrants to the United States and only a small
number of refugee applicants remain to be processed.

?    Enhanced cooperation in combating narcotics trafficking, promoting
human rights and religious freedom and expanding economic linkages.   Our
human rights dialogue, begun in 1993, has led to release of prisoners and
some improvements in the overall situation.

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

?    1989 -- Vietnam withdraws from Cambodia and seeks admission into
regional organizations, sending a clear message that Vietnam intended to
play a positive role in regional security and economic liberalization;

?    1993 - The President authorizes the United States to support
international lending for Vietnam and allows for U.S. firms to join in
development projects;

?    1994 - The President lifts economic embargo to allow U.S. firms to
export to Vietnam and compete for business opportunities in Vietnam that
had been closed;

?    1995 -- Vietnam joins the Association of Southeast Asian Nations

?    1995 -- The United States opens normal diplomatic relations with

?    1996 -- The United States begins negotiations with Vietnam on a
Bilateral Trade Agreement that would improve the opportunities and
protections available to U.S. firms;

?    1997 -- Exchange of ambassadors.  President Clinton appoints former
Congressman and POW, Douglas "Pete" Peterson to be the U.S. Ambassador to

?    1998 -- Vietnam joins the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

?    1998 -- The United States grants the first waiver of the Jackson-Vanik
amendment extending U.S. export promotion and investment support programs
to Vietnam.  The waiver was then renewed in 1999 and 2000;

?    1999 -- The United States and Vietnam reach an agreement in principle
on key provisions of the Bilateral Trade Agreement; and

?    2000 -- The United States and Vietnam reach final agreement on the
Bilateral Trade Agreement, fulfilling the President?s goal of negotiating a
comprehensive trade agreement with Vietnam that would advance reform by
leading to significantly more open markets and to Vietnam?s firmer
integration into the global economic community.

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:

?    Market Access for Industrial and Agricultural Goods.  Vietnam agrees
to allow all Vietnamese firms, and over time U.S. persons and firms, the
right to import and export freely  from within its borders for the first
time. It has agreed to sharply lower tariffs on the full range of U.S.
industrial and agricultural exports, phase out all non-tariff measures, and
to adhere to the WTO standards in applying customs, import licensing, state
trading, technical standards and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

?    Intellectual Property Rights.  Vietnam agrees to adopt the WTO
standard for intellectual property protection within 18 months and take
further measures in several other areas such as protection of satellite

?    Market Access for Services.  Vietnam allows U.S. persons and firms to
enter its services market in the full range of services areas, including
financial services (insurance and banking), telecommunications,
distribution, audio visual, legal, accounting, engineering, computer and
related services, market research, construction, educational, health and
related services and tourism.  These commitments are phased-in over time,
typically within three to five years.

?    Investment Provisions.  Vietnam has agreed to protect U.S. investments
from expropriation, eliminate local content and export performance
requirements and phase out its investment licensing regime for many

?    Transparency Provisions. Vietnam has agreed to adopt a fully
transparent regime with respect to each of the four substantive areas
above, by issuing draft laws, regulations and other rules for comment,
ensuring that advance public notice is given for all such laws and
regulations, that these documents are published and available, and by
allowing U.S. citizens the right to appeal rulings made with respect to all
such relevant laws and regulations.

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

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