Vietnam one step nearer WTO

No oth­er nation with such cred­i­ble com­mit­ment to com­mer­cial suc­cess remains out­side the WTO. Now that the EU has reached bilat­er­al agree­ment with Viet­nam on the terms of its mem­ber­ship of WTO, the biggest hur­dle is bilat­er­al agree­ment with the Unit­ed States. bq. Intense talks on the side­lines of the Asia-Europe meet­ing ran from Tues­day to Sat­ur­day before the two sides reached a com­pro­mise on Viet­nam open­ing up telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, tourism and finan­cial ser­vices to EU com­pa­nies …
[Viet­nam] agreed to a 15 per­cent tar­iff on imports of EU goods, Lamy said. (“Forbes”:http://www.forbes.com/home_asia/feeds/ap/2004/10/09/ap1584196.html) The urgency of the deal from Vietnam’s point of view is that it needs to have Most Favoured Nation (MFN) guar­an­tees when the WTO tex­tile regime enforces a ‘tar­iffs only’ rule from 1 Jan­u­ary 2005. With­out such guar­an­tees in the pro­tect­ed mar­kets of North Amer­i­ca and Europe, Vietnam’s gar­ment indus­try could con­ceiv­ably face con­tin­u­ing quo­tas on its exports after they are dropped on exports by its com­peti­tors. The US, which reached an agree­ment to extend Most Favoured Nation treat­ment to Viet­nam in 2001 as part of a ‘Bilat­er­al Trade Agree­ment’ between the two coun­tries, has yet to reach agree­ment with Viet­nam on the detailed terms of WTO acces­sion. The Bush admin­is­tra­tion has made “promis­ing noises”:http://english.people.com.cn/200407/25/eng20040725_150728.html for some time, but on its past record, is like­ly to squeeze Viet­nam hard­er on issues such as IP and agri­cul­tur­al mar­ket access.

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