For Immediate Release:May 31, 2006
Contact:Dan Nelson/Ginny Justice (202) 482-4883
U.S., Vietnam Sign Bilateral Trade Agreement
Agreement Moves Vietnam A Step Closer to Full Integration into the World Economy
U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez today welcomed the announcement by the Office of the United States Trade Representative that the United States and Vietnam signed a bilateral agreement on the terms of Vietnam’s accession to the World Trade Organization.
“The agreement is an important step forward in Vietnam’s WTO accession process and moves Vietnam a step closer to full integration into the world economy,” said Gutierrez. “U.S. exporters will see new market access opportunities in Vietnam’s fast-growing market. I congratulate Rob Portman and his team for their work in concluding the agreement.”
The bilateral agreement, which will be implemented upon Vietnam’s accession, will reduce tariffs to 15 percent or less on nearly 94 percent of industrial and consumer goods. In addition, tariffs will be reduced to 5 percent or less in several key sectors, including construction equipment and pharmaceuticals. The tariff on aircraft will be at zero upon implementation.
Significant non-tariff barrier issues, including those effectively prohibiting U.S. exports of large motorcycles, were also resolved.
U.S. service suppliers will enjoy improved prospects for their services, including the critical telecommunications, financial services, distribution, and energy services sectors. Other provisions related to WTO accession will enhance export opportunities through government transparency and protection of intellectual property.
Vietnam has agreed to terminate all funding under a major textile subsidy program upon the date of our bilateral agreement. Textile and apparel quotas currently applied to Vietnam will be removed upon accession by Vietnam to the WTO. Vietnam has agreed to eliminate all of its WTO prohibited textile/apparel related subsidy programs by the date of accession. The agreement contains a unique enforcement mechanism that will allow re-imposition of textile and apparel quotas in the event that Vietnam does not abide by its commitment to do away with subsidy programs in this sector. In addition there will be a more transparent system to be able to monitor Vietnam’s fulfillment of its commitment to end such WTO noncompliant programs.
According to the agreement, Vietnam’s status as a non-market economy for U.S. trade remedy purposes can be maintained for up to twelve years from their date of accession, unless Vietnam qualifies for market economy status before then.
For fact sheets regarding Vietnam’s WTO accession, visit the USTR Web site at http://www.ustr.gov/Document_Library/Fact_Sheets
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