VN Makes Significant Progress in WTO Talks with US

During the 11th round of bilateral talks between Viet Nam and the US on Viet Nam’s WTO entry, the two sides made important achievements and significantly narrowed the gap, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Le Dung said on April 6, 2006.

At a regular press briefing in Ha Noi, Mr. Le Dung said during the round from March 24 to 26, 2006 in Geneva, the two sides discussed issues relating to opening markets for goods and services and multilateral issues and came closer to a possible early conclusion of their bilateral negotiations.

However, there remain a few issues requiring more time for the two sides to take into consideration and deal with, mainly in the field of services and some multilateral issues, Mr. Dung said. He added Viet Nam will continue cooperating with the US to hold the next negotiation round at the earliest possible time, with the venue to be agreed later.

The spokesman said experience in negotiations on joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) of many countries, including Viet Nam, showed that besides common efforts to solve technical issues, the settlement of existing issues and early conclusion of bilateral negotiations require cooperative efforts and political determination from both sides.

“We hope the two sides will be able to conclude the bilateral negotiations on Viet Nam’s WTO entry at the earliest possible time,” he said.

Also on April 6, 2006, Deputy Trade Minister Luong Van Tu, head of the Vietnamese delegation for WTO accession, said that on the sidelines of the latest negotiation round in Geneva, Viet Nam and the US approached conclusions for many fields, and about 80% of the workload was completed.

However, gaps still exist in terms of Vietnamese garment and textile exports.

Regarding this, Mr. Tu said, “Viet Nam said to the US that garments and textiles are one of the fields where Viet Nam does not have competitive advantage. Viet Nam has to import cotton and fiber from the US, and buy equipment and accessories from other countries.”

“Meanwhile, Viet Nam’s garment and textile exports to the US are worth just more than US$2 billion a year, too small in comparison with US$70 billion spent annually by the US on clothes and fabric imports. Therefore, Vietnamese negotiators officially asked the US delegation not to consider garment and textile an important issue,” the Vietnamese delegation’s chief said.

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By Van Nghia - Translated by Tuong Thuy

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