Bilateral Investment Agreement Will Protect Investors, U.S. Ambassador Says

At a press conference in Ha Noi on Wednesday, the U.S. Ambassador to Viet Nam Michael Michalak answered an interviewer questions about the existing economic and trade relations between Viet Nam and the US and their prospects for the future.

US Ambassdor to Viet Nam Michael Michalak

The most important achievement, said Ambassador Michalak, is that the two countries have successfully built up a relationship based on mutual trust. He pointed out that during Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to the U.S. in June at the invitation of President George W. Bush, the two leaders agreed to speed up the economic and trade relations between the two countries.

One of the America’s first priorities, according to the diplomat, is to strengthen the relationship with Viet Nam. Mr. Michalak is working on a Bilateral Investment Agreement based on a proposal by Mr. Dung. The ambassador is striving for a successful conclusion the agreement before the completion of his term in office.

Reporter: Have both countries established any committees to promote the signing of the Bilateral Investment Agreement?

Ambassador Michael Michalak:
During Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to the U.S. the two sides agreed that they would hold negotiations. So far, there have been some negotiations about the framework of the agreement. Official negotiations are scheduled to be held in September and November.

Since the Bilateral Trade and WTO Agreements contain detailed regulations and conditions on bilateral investments, what further regulations and conditions related to bilateral investment will be specified in the Bilateral Investment Agreement?

Ambassador Michael Michalak:
The Bilateral Investment Agreement is drafted to offer more legal protection to Vietnamese and American investors. As a result, it will create more confidence for American investors and more American investors consequently will invest in Viet Nam.

How has Viet Nam’s request to be designated as a beneficiary developing country under the U.S. Generalized System for Preferences (GSP) program been reviewed after the Viet Nam’s prime minister’s visit to the U.S.? What criteria were set by the US that Viet Nam has to meet so that it can be granted GSP?

Ambassador Michael Michalak:
  The Vietnamese government applied for GSP some two months ago and has been undergone a 60-day review. Viet Nam has received support from a number of countries. Yet, there are concerns about intellectual property rights and labor rights in Viet Nam. We have worked with Viet Nam about such concerns and trust that the country will have appropriate policies to settle the problems soon.

What do you think about the development of Vietnamese economy over the past year?

Ambassador Michael Michalak: Viet Nam has been affected by global inflation, but we trust in the government’s effort to cope with the adverse effect of the global economy’s slowdown. In fact, Viet Nam has coped well with inflation. It seems to me that Vietnamese leaders on the right track in issuing necessary policies to make good economic losses and damages caused by inflation and I think that they should maintain what they have done for quite a while to ensure success in the end.  

By Van Nghia – Translated by Phuong Lan

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