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Vietnam Trade Delegation Visits U.S.

VIETNAM TRADE DELEGATION VISITS U.S. TO PROMOTE TRADE AND BUSINESS OPPORTUNTIES
VIETNAM PLANS KEY TRADE PACT VOTE AND UNITED STATES BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY ROADSHOW
David Brunnstrom of the Hanoi bureau of Reuters reports that on Friday a senior official of Vietnam's National Assembly said the govermental body is expected to debate and approve a historic trade pact with the United States.
Brunnstrom reports that a foreign diplomat and a Vietnamese trade official said Hanoi was planning a major roadshow in the United States to highlight trade opportunities in Vietnam in mid December, once the pact was ratified by the assembly.
The trade delegation to the United States is expected be led by Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and include Trade Minister Vu Khoan and Investment Minister Tran Xuan Gia.
SHOWCASE FOR VIETNAM
Hoang Tuan Dung, general secretary of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said the idea was to showcase business opportunities for trade and investment.
Among other events and meetings, Vietnam would host meetings involving itself and five other countries involved in International Monetary Fund-World Bank funded poverty reduction programmes -- Indonesia, East Timor, Laos, Cambodia and Mongolia.
Former Vietnam War enemies Hanoi and Washington signed their trade agreement in July 2000 after years of negotiations. The pact has already been ratified by the United States.
It will grant access to the U.S. market to Vietnamese exporters at the same low tariffs enjoyed by most other countries and gradually open up Vietnam to U.S. service providers in a wide range of fields like telecommunications and banking.
VCCI's Dung said Vietnamese exports that would benefit included handicrafts, seafood, textiles and high-tech goods.
He said local monopolies such as in telecoms and energy would still have several years to improve efficiency to prepare for the onset of foreign competition.
Vietnam is currently one of only a few countries that do not have normal trade relations with the United States, meaning that average tariffs on its products are 40 percent -- more than 10 times the levels imposed on other countries.
If properly implemented, diplomat say the pact should ease Hanoi's eventual accession to the World Trade Organisation, the WTO.

 
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