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Vietnam, US make new progress in trade ties

June 06, 2011, 14:20
A ministerial meeting of the Vietnam-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council wrapped up in Washington on May 23 agreed that both countries will open their markets for mutually-supplementary agricultural products.
Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang, as the Vietnamese Chair of TIFA Council, hailed the move as a significant initiative as the two sides’ agricultural products will not compete with each other. The US, apart from licensing the imports of dragon fruits and rambutan from Vietnam, will permit the import of lichi, longan, mango and star apples from the Southeast Asian country. For its part, the Vietnamese side will import pear, apple, grape and cherry fruits from the US. Minister Hoang said that during his meeting with US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the two sides reviewed what they had done, evaluated problems arising from the past cooperation, and discussed measures and orientations for future cooperation. Earlier, the TIFA Secretariat held five preparatory sessions on May 19-20 on market access, intellectual property, telecommunications, government purchase and agriculture, and a plenum session to review the results of bilateral cooperation and discuss future cooperation orientations. Both sides noted positive results attained in cooperation in trade, investment, intellectual property, information technology, services and agriculture and trade disputes. The two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and the US hit US $18 billion in 2010, 13 times higher than that of 2001 when the Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) was signed. The two sides highlighted the Vietnam-US TIFA Council for acting as an effective bilateral cooperation channel for the two countries, and underlined the need to further strengthen TIFA Secretariat-level cooperation, including the implementation of “early warning” mechanisms to deal with emerging difficulties. The two sides also set the target of raising trade volume growth by 20-25% and creating a suitable bilateral trade balance. Via the TIFA cooperation framework, the two sides are negotiating on the Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Minister Hoang assessed that the two sides worked hard to seek solutions to quarantine, food safety and hygiene issues in order to open up a new trade channel for fruit exports. The two sides agreed to solve existing trade disputes in order to create a fair trade environment. In addition, Vietnam also suggested the US build a fair trade competition environment in accordance with WTO regulations./.
MPI


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