U.S. Senate Considering Benefits of PNTR for Viet Nam

The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance met on July 27 to review and make recommendations on the proposed permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) for Viet Nam legislation that would authorize and improve the extension of nondiscriminatory treatment of products going to and from Viet Nam.

Senator Charles Grassley (R), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and Senator Max Baucus, Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee at the Asia Society event on Viet Nam PNTR. (Photo: AP)

The Senate Finance Committee is considering amendments before voting on the bill. Nocole Venable, Director of the International Trade & Global Competitiveness Department under the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the bill has been widely supported by senators of both parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

For months, the U.S. Business Roundtable has continued to urge the US Congress to approve Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Viet Nam.

The Business Roundtable’s website said, “International trade is key to the economies of all 50 states. Farms and businesses both large and small require increased access to world markets in order to remain competitive in the 21st Century marketplace.”

It also provides state-specific facts outlining the economic benefits of Viet Nam’s PNTR for each state.

For instance, two main sectors of California’s economy, agriculture and equipment manufacture, benefited from US$537.7 million in exports to Viet Nam in 2005.

With PNTR, Viet Nam will reduce its tariffs on auto parts by 19 percent and tariffs on aircraft parts will fall to less than 9 percent. These tariff cuts will reduce the costs of California transportation equipment products sold to their current and potential customers in Viet Nam.

As well, PNTR will cut Viet Nam’s tariffs on most U.S. processed food exports by 50 percent or more, allowing California processed food exporters to be more competitive.

Upon PNTR and WTO accession, Viet Nam will also sign the Information Technology (IT) Agreement, which eliminates tariffs on IT products including computers, high-tech components and parts, and certain telecommunications equipment.

The lower export costs of these price-competitive products will be important for California manufacturers.

Finally, the Business Roundtable said, “If Congress fails to grant Viet Nam PNTR, California exporters will lose. Foreign competitors will get the benefit of the lower trade barriers”

The website makes similar analyses for the other 47 U.S. states currently doing business with Viet Nam.

In the article “Normal Relations - Good for U.S., Viet Nam,” published by the Miami Herald on July 26, former U.S. Ambassador to Viet Nam Pete Peterson said, “For American companies to reap the full benefits of Viet Nam's WTO membership, the U.S. Congress must terminate application of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to Viet Nam and vote to grant Viet Nam permanent normal trade relations status.”

Former Ambassador Peterson thought that Viet Nam will successfully conclude its multilateral negotiations on its accession into the WTO soon. Granting Viet Nam PNTR status and thereby facilitating its access to the WTO will help bring the country into the fold of the global economy and the international community of nations.

“This is good for Viet Nam, the United States and the world,” he added.

“Time and circumstances have greatly changed the world during the past 33 years. In the post-9/11 world, America needs new friends, and thankfully, Viet Nam is now a good friend despite our troubled past. With passage of PNTR status for Viet Nam we will significantly strengthen that friendship and close the final chapter in the normalization process, while elevating America's relationship with Viet Nam to new political, economic and diplomatic heights.

I strongly urge Congress to act quickly and in a bipartisan fashion to grant Viet Nam permanent normal relations status,” said Peterson.

Source: Tuoi Tre – Compiled by Yen Chuong

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