Technical Assistance Update
Pete Peterson -- New Chairman of the Board
We are very pleased to announce that Ambassador
Pete Peterson has assumed Chairmanship of the Trade Council. Ambassador Peterson
served as the first post-war ambassador to Vietnam, serving in Hanoi from 1997
until July 2001. Peterson assumes the Chairmanship at the retirement of
Ambassador William Sullivan who, with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Co
Thach, provided the initiative to founding the Trade Council in 1989. The
Council also welcomes to its Board BTA chief negotiator Joe Damond (now Director
for International Government Relations, PhRMA); and former Senior Advisor to the
Ambassador, Robert Schiffer. They will join other distinguished members of our
board to continue working on the Forumís technical assistance programs and on
the overall mission of strengthening relations between our two countries.
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen
Tan Dung leads high-level delegation to the U.S.
Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Dung will lead a high-level delegation to the
U.S. in December. The delegation will include Mr. Vu Khoan, Minister of Trade,
Mr. Tran Xuan Gia, Minister of Planning of Investment, Mr. Le Huy Ngo, Minister
of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Deputy Ministers from the Ministries
of Fisheries, Industry, Science Technology & Environment, and Finance, and
former Ambassador Le Van Bang, now Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs. Over
40 representatives from the Vietnamese business community will join the
delegation. The Trade Council will organize a forum in Washington, followed by a
banquet to honor the delegation and celebrate final passage of the BTA. Please
contact our Washington offices for additional information.
The U.S.-Vietnam Trade Forum was pleased to host a delegation from Vietnam on a
study tour in the U.S. on transparency issues late last month. The mission allowed
the delegation to have in-depth conversations about transparency commitments in
the BTA while facilitating the exploration of different procedures and formats
for implementation. We continue to provide follow up work for this trip
including the assembly of a bibliography and some additional materials for the
team on WTO procedures particularly Chinaís transparency commitments. In
addition, the Forum is looking forward to hosting another smaller team in
Washington for follow-up work.
Ray Burghardt Briefing
The Council will host Ambassador designate Ray Burghardt for a briefing with
companies to discuss BTA implementation and the development of U.S. Vietnam
relations, both economic and political. His confirmation hearing was held on
November 6, 2001. The hearing transcript is available from the Trade Council
Kennedy School Trade Policy Program
With funding from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S.
Department of State, the Forum will bring two Vietnamese officials from the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs to participate in a two week Trade Policy Program at
Harvard Universityís John F. Kennedy School of Government followed by a
program in Washington, DC. The Forum is pleased host
Mr. Pham Quoc Tru, Chief of General Section, Multilateral Department and
Ms. Hoang Thi Hoa Binh, Senior Officer, Economic Department, Ministry of Foreign
BTA Road Map and
Catalogue of Legal Updates
Early this year, the Forum completed a comprehensive Road Map for BTA
implementation, matching BTA commitments with laws and regulations that could be
affected, for use by our Vietnamese counterparts.
Since completing this Road Map, the Forum has been keeping a catalogue of
laws and regulations that have been updated with a view towards BTA
implementation and overall commercial reform. The Catalogue is updated monthly.
Please contact our office for further information.
With the Road Map and Catalogue of Legal Updates as the framework, the Forum
will begin a business survey mechanism to help provide additional private sector
input into the process of BTA implementation and commercial reform overall.
With the expertise of Stanimir Alexandrov and Alex Koff of PGFM, the Forum has
provided the Ministry of Planning & Investment a technical memo on issues
relating to Vietnamís accession to the International Convention for the
Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). These issues include accession,
membership, legal, and arbitration requirements and implications for Vietnam.
TRIMs Analysis and
International Investment Norms
With the Ministry of Planning & Investment, the Forum is working on
conducting a comprehensive analysis of Vietnamís trade and investment laws as
they relate to Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) as outlined in the BTA
and WTO, and more broadly bilateral investment treaties and developing
international investment norms. These assessments are being produced with legal
support of local law firm Russin & Vecchi, Phillips Fox, and Powell,
Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy LLP.
Dan Price, Bob
Schiffer and Virginia Foote trip to Vietnam
Dan Price with PGFM, Trade Council President Virginia Foote, and
former Senior Advisor to Ambassador Peterson, Robert Schiffer will visit Vietnam
November 28 Ė December 2 as follow up on Vietnamís needs relating to overall
economic integration. They will meet with the business community, the US
Embassy, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance and
Ministryof Planning & Investment. Mr. Price will conduct small discussions
with Ministry representatives on BTA Implementation with regard to Trade in
Investment and Services.
The Forum has recently forwarded a technical memo offering comments to the
Ministry of Trade on Vietnamís second draft of its new Competition Law. This
law is expected to be submitted to the National Assembly for ratification by
yearend. Special thanks to competition policy specialist Larry Fullerton at PGFM
for his continuing work on this law.
Dick Belanger from PGFM is currently reviewing the new customs law
and will provide comments to the General Department for their regulatory
The Forum will continue to work with the Department of Commerce and the Ministry
of Finance on providing assistance for the process of drafting implementing
decrees to the new insurance law. Another program is expected early next year.
Alex Koff trip to
Former Resident Legal Advisor Alex Koff, now back with the law offices of
Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy LLP will work in Vietnam for two weeks in
December to provide on the ground follow up on issues raised by Dan Price. Mr.
Koff will conduct workshops with the Ministries of Justice, Planning &
Investment, and Finance.
In preparation of Vietnamís upcoming Working Party meeting and its
initial WTO offer, the Forum is providing expertise and research materials to
Vietnamís interagency technical team as requested.
Vietnam is expected to ratify the Bilateral Trade Agreement during
its upcoming National Assembly session. The National Assembly is expected to
convene on November 17.
Vietnamese catfish no
The U.S. Congress has passed legislation declaring the term ďcatfishĒ may
not be considered to be a common name or usual name for any fish not in the
Ictalariidae family. This prohibition means the Food and Drug Administration and
the U.S. Department of Customs could be required to change their classifications
so as to exclude all 2500 other types of catfish Ė allowing the term catfish
to be used only for the type of catfish farmed in the United States, not the
type farmed in Vietnam.
Investment Registration System
The Ministry of Planning & Investment and the General Department
of Statistics have issued a joint circular on granting trade register
certificates for firms in new sectors. Licensing offices will hereafter grant
such certificates for sectors that are not banned and are not on a list that
Amended Land Law and
Extension of Land Lease Rights
Under the amended Land Law effective October 1, 2001, Overseas Vietnamese (Viet
Kieu) will be allowed to own apartments, houses and land. Beginning November
20, 2001, Vietnam will also permit through a new Government Decree land lease
rights, including the right to sell or mortgage land. Such rights will be
extended to foreign investors and Overseas Vietnamese.
The Bush Administration has appointed Kevin Koonce as USTRís Special Textile
Negotiator. For the past four
years Mr. Koonce has been chief textile trade advisor to U.S. Senator Jesse
Helms (R-NC). As an advisor to Senator Helms, Mr. Koonce worked closely with the
textile industry on numerous trade measures, including the Trade and Development
Act of 2000, and Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China. Mr. Koonce
will be assisted by Caroyl Miller.