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EU deal advances Viet Nam down road to WTO

Viet Nam’s Prime Minister Phan Van Khai chairs the closing session of ASEM5 at Ba Dinh Meeting Hall in Ha Noi on 9th, October

Viet Nam received a boost to its WTO membership efforts as it concluded on Saturday a bilateral deal with the EU.

The agreement, struck after a week’s final negotiations, was announced by Viet Nam’s Minister of Trade Truong Dinh Tuyen and EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy at a joint press conference in Ha Noi.

"Today, the EU and Viet Nam cement further their trade and economic relations. This deal brings Viet Nam a step closer to the international trade family, the WTO, where it belongs," Pascal Lamy said.

"It is highly symbolic that this deal is concluded on the sidelines of the ASEM meeting, which gathers the EU and Asian families together, a sign of the EU’s commitment to Asia.

"I am very happy that the EU, as the largest trading partner of Viet Nam, is the first key partner to conclude such a bilateral deal. Given our special relationship with Viet Nam, we have sought to act as a sponsor of its accession to the multilateral trade club.

"Our deal today unlocks the first door for Viet Nam’s entry into the WTO.

"The deal covers the commitments that Viet Nam will undertake in goods and services once it accedes to the WTO. It will result in a further opening of the Vietnamese market, building on the reform efforts undertaken by Viet Nam over the last decade."

Under the bilateral deal, the tariff level Viet Nam will apply is around 16 per cent for industrial goods, 22 per cent for fishery products and 24 per cent for agricultural products.

Viet Nam will also be making commitments in a large number of services including transport, finance, post and courier, construction, distribution, telecom, tourism and other business services. The commitments include cross-border provision of services and establishment of business.

Viet Nam applied to become a WTO member in January 1995. As part of the membership process, it is negotiating with other members, including the US, Japan, China, Canada and Australia.

VNS - (12/10/2004)

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