Technical Assistance Update
On October 3, 2001, the U.S. Senate voted 88-12 in favor of extending
non-discriminatory treatment or Normal Trading Relations (NTR) to Vietnam. H.J.
Res 51 passed by voice vote in the House of Representatives on September 6,
2001. President Bush is expected to sign the bill the week of October 15, 2001.
Next, the Vietnamese National Assembly will conclude its procedures. Once
approved by the Government of Vietnam, the Trade Agreement will be brought into
force with the exchange of notification between the two governments Ė
hopefully by the end of 2001 or early 2002.
The U.S.-Vietnam Trade Forum with Powell Goldstein Frazer and Murphy
(PGFM), has completed a summary of the BTA. This summary is also being
translated and is available through our Washington and Vietnam offices. The
agreement remains in force for three years. The full text of the U.S.-Vietnam
Trade Agreement can be accessed through the U.S. Trade Representativeís
website www.ustr.gov. The agreement, summary
and other materials are available at the Trade Councilís website old.usvtc.org.
Ambassador Pete Peterson -- New Chairman of the Board
The U.S.-Vietnam Trade Council is honored to welcome Ambassador Peterson to
the role of Chairman of the Board of the U.S.-Vietnam Trade Council. Ambassador
Peterson served as the first post-war ambassador to Vietnam, serving in Hanoi
from 1997 until July 2001. 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. Ambassador
Peterson, Mr. Damond and Mr. Schiffer will join other distinguished members of
our board to continue working on the Forumís technical assistance programs and
on the Trade Councilís overall mission of improving relations between our two
We are pleased to be hosting a nine-member delegation of inter-agency
experts responsible for implementing Vietnamís transparency obligations
relating to the BTA. The delegation will be in Washington, DC October 20-30,
2001. Led by Mr. Duong Duc Quang Ė General Director of the Information and
Press Center, Office of the Government the delegation will be inter-ministerial
including the Ministry of Culture and Information, Ministry of Trade, Ministry
of Justice, Supreme Court of Vietnam, National Assembly, Vietnam News Agency.
The delegationís program will include sessions/workshops with the
Federal Register, U.S. Trade Representativeís Office, International Trade
Commission, Department of Dan Price from PGFM and former chief negotiator Joe
Damond. The delegation will meet with West Group Publishers Commerce, Office of
the Law Revision Counsel and the Government Printing Office, plus in Eagan,
Minnesota, Proctor and Gamble, and Transparency International. The Forum would
like to thank Rob Forden Ė Senior Economics Officer, U.S. Embassy, and John
Bentley Ė Legal Advisor for UNDP, and Jean Gilson Ė AID in Hanoi for their
assistance and input to the program.
With Dick Belanger of PGFM, the Forum has been providing technical
assistance to the General Department of Customs on the new Customs Law, which
passed the Vietnamese National Assembly in the summer 2001 session. Having
worked on the draft, the Forum has completed an unofficial translation of the
law and Mr.Belanger will be providing additional assistance and comments for the
regulatory process with important input from the private sector. The unofficial
English version of the law is available on our website.
and Financial Services Study Tour
We are pleased to be planning to host six representatives of the
Ministry of Finance responsible for BTA implementation in the area of
tariffication and financial services, such as banking and accounting for a study
tour in the U.S. in early 2002. Members of the delegation will conduct small
sessions and workshops with various U.S. government agencies, including the
International Trade Commission, USTR, U.S. Departments of Treasury and Commerce,
Congress, trade associations, and companies in the financial services sector.
At the request of the Ministry of Planning & Investment, the
U.S.-Vietnam Trade Forumís in country technical assistance team will begin
work on conducting a review of Vietnamís Foreign Investment Law and its
implementing regulations. The project will focus on working with MPI to assess
Vietnamís investment regime and its compliance with provisions of the BTA, WTO
principles, and international norms.
With the U.S. Department of Commerce and industry associations
participation the new insurance law has been drafted, passed by the National
Assembly and the Forum will continue to assist with the implementing regulation
The Ministry of Trade has completed a second draft of its Competition
Law and is preparing to submit it to the National Assembly for ratification in
November. Larry Fullerton Ė Competition Policy Expert from Powell, Goldstein,
Frazer & Murphy Ė who has provided technical assistance on this subject to
Vietnam since 2000 will provide comments on the draft law at the request of the
Ministry of Trade.
The Forum has invited the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Labor and
Social Welfare and a delegation from MOLISA to the visit the U.S. on labor
issues. We will work to arrange meetings with U.S. federal government agencies,
such as the U.S. Departments of State and Labor and USTR, labor unions,
Congressional offices, non-governmental organizations, and with the private
sector. We expect the trip later this year or early next.
Remedies, Antidumping, Safeguards and Countervailing Duties
At the request of the Ministry of Finance, Legal Resident Advisor
Lisa Yarmoshuk provided technical assistance on issues relating to
countervailing measures, antidumping and comparative information on the
implementation experiences of other developing countries. Ms. Yarmoshuk
conducted small workshops with the ministry and provided documents on what other
countries have instituted in this area. Other
issues in discussions and research raised included GATT Article III violations
of Vietnamís VAT and Special Consumption Tax Law and the elimination of
surcharges. The Forum has also held roundtable discussions on Trade Remedy Laws
to the Ministry of Tradeís Multilateral Integration Department.
Í ICSID Accession
Legal Resident Advisor Lisa Yarmoshuk met with the Ministry of
Planning & Investment to discuss issues relating to Vietnamís ICSID
Accession. Materials and articles from various ICSID Journals were also provided
as requested. Further follow up on ICSID will be ongoing.
BTA Implementation Ė Impact on Vietnamese Businesses
On September 5, 2001 at the invitation of Vietnamís National
Committee for International Integration, Resident Legal Advisor Lee Baker
presented to audience of over 125 business representatives a discussion on the
possible impact of the ratification of the BTA. Discussions also included legal,
regulatory and cultural aspects of doing business with American companies.
Catalogue of New Laws and Regulations
to update our Catalog of Legal Reform as Vietnam issues new regulations to bring
the BTA into force. This catalog is available through our memberís website at old.usvtc.org.
Some significant updates this month include the soon to be issued Decree of the
Government Providing in Detail on the Implementation of Ordinance No.
37-2201-PL-UBTVQH10 dated July 25, 2001 of the National Assembly Standing
Committee on the Ordinance of Lawyers, and implementing regulations (Decision
No. 980/2001/TCHQ dated October 10, 2001) affected by the new Customs Law to
help streamline customs procedures.
of Foreign Affairs Website
The Economic Integration Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has
requested help in building a website detailing Vietnamís efforts to conform to
bilateral and multilateral economic regimes. The Forum provided electronic
guides and databases per their request. Their now up and running website can be
accessed at www.mofa.gov.vn
The U.S.-Vietnam Trade Forum, the educational
affiliate of the U.S.-Vietnam Trade Council, has been providing technical
assistance on international trade and commercial policy to Vietnam since 1997
with the support of U.S. AID, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at
the Department of State, and private sector support.