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Washington Trade Daily

Volume 12, Number 248                                                                                                                               

Friday, December 12, 2003

Trade Reports International Group                                                                                                                                         


Accession Talks for Vietnam at WTO


Geneva – The United States and Australia yesterday urged Vietnam – during its World Trade Organization accession working party meeting – to frame transparent procedures for the implementation of sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade, sources said (WTD, 12/8/03).


While the European Union adopted a conciliatory stance backing efforts made by Vietnam to brings its laws into compliance with the WTO agreement, the United States and Australia – among others – expressed concern over its lack of proper implementation of SPS and technical barriers to trade measures.


The EU said only that the terms for Vietnam’s accession should be “commercially viable” and “equitable.”

Vietnam, which wants to conclude its accession talks next year in order to join by January 1, 2005, tabled its third offer in market access for goods in which it promised to bring down tariffs to 22 percent – a further 4.5 percent cut in its tariffs overall.  It also presented a services offer – with market access commitments in 10 sectors and 92 sub-sectors.


Finishing Up?


Chief negotiator – and vice minister for trade –  Luong Van Tu said his country is “close” to the final stage in its accession efforts, which commenced in 1995.  But trade sources here say there is still substantial work to be accomplished in both rules as well as market access commitments.


The United States demanded that Vietnam provide concrete information on a range of issues – including SPS, TBT, customs valuation, import restrictions and quotas – before proceeding to the preparation of an “elements” paper.


The Vietnamese delegation pledged Hanoi would comply with all the commitments it undertakes in its accession protocol even if they conflict with its existing laws.