BTA Ratification and Entry into Force
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and Vietnamese Minister of Trade Vu
Khoan formally exchanged letters bringing the U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade
Agreement into force on December 10, 2001.
On this date, U.S. tariff rates for Vietnamese products entering the U.S.
shifted from Column 2 to Column 1 rates, falling on an average from non-NTR
rates of 40% to NTR rates of about 3%. Importers may file claims for refunds
with the U.S. Customs Service on imports for which NTR rates have not been
extended during the transition period immediately after December 10, 2001.
Vietnam’s National Assembly ratified the BTA on November 28, 2001 with
a 64% vote in its favor.
U.S.-Vietnam Economic Normalization Conference & Banquet in Honor of
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung
On the occasion of Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to
Washington, the U.S.-Vietnam Trade Council was pleased to organize our 5th
annual conference on U.S.-Vietnam Economic Normalization and dinner banquet to
celebrate the successful entry into force of the BTA. We would like to thank all speakers who contributed to lively
panel discussions, and sponsors of this event including ACE, APL, Boeing,
Citigroup, Conoco, Fedex, GE, NIKE, Oracle, Procter & Gamble, Unocal, the
US-ASEAN Business Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Embassy of Vietnam.
Ministry of Justice – BTA Implementation
As part of our technical assistance team, Dan Price – Attorney, Powell,
Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy LLP held workshops at the Ministry of Justice in
November to discuss issues relating to BTA compliance and implementation.
The session included participants from various ministries including the
Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, State Bank of
Vietnam and the Ministry of Planning & Investment.
Ministry of Finance – Financial Services
While in Vietnam, Mr. Price also held workshops providing technical
assistance to the Ministry of Finance’s Economic Integration Department on
financial services obligations related to the BTA. Areas of discussions focused
on legal and regulatory policies regarding autonomous liberalization in the
financial sector, including taxation, auditing and accounting and insurance
Ministry of Foreign Affairs –Dispute Settlement under the BTA and
Developments at Doha
Technical assistance provided to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Multilateral
Economic Integration Department focused on dispute settlement issues including
concepts within the BTA such as consultations, balance of concessions, and
investment dispute settlement. Mr.
Price also provided insight on dispute settlement under the WTO and new
developments of the Dispute Settlement Understanding at Doha.
Kennedy School Trade Policy Fellowships
With funding provided by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S.
Department of State, the Forum hosted Mr. Pham Quoc Tru – Head of Policy
Analysis and ASEAN Division, Department of Multilateral Economic Cooperation;
and Ms. Hoang Thi Hoa Binh – Head of Trade Section, Economic Department of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs on a two week program at the Harvard JFK School of
Government on “The Practice of Trade Policy, Economics, Negotiations and
Rules.” This program is designed to help participants improve their
ability to analyze and assess the political and economical impact of
international trade policy, become more knowledgeable about the WTO, work with
key institutions, develop frameworks for analyzing and negotiating trade
agreements, and overcome the structural, strategic, psychological,
institutional, and cultural barriers to negotiate and resolve trade agreements
and disputes. The Forum hosted Mr.
Tru and Ms. Binh in Washington, DC where they had meetings with the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Unocal Corporation, State Department, U.S.
International Trade Commission, Department of Commerce, and the World Bank.
Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMS) Analysis Project
At the request of the Ministry of Planning & Investment, the U.S.-Vietnam
Trade Forum is currently conducting an in-depth analysis of Vietnamese Law in
relation to TRIMs obligations required by the WTO and made under the BTA.
The Forum has been working with the law firms of Russin & Vecchi and
Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy LLP, and will soon complete this project.
Alex Koff Visit – BTA Implementation
The Forum hosted visiting WTO expert and former Resident Legal Advisor Alex Koff
– Attorney, Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy LLP in Vietnam.
While in Hanoi, Mr. Koff provided technical assistance to the Ministry of
Justice and other ministerial representatives on BTA Implementation, covering
language under all chapters of the agreement.
Mr. Koff was also a guest speaker at the Ho Chi Minh Bar Association,
providing technical expertise to judges and lawyers on commercial transactions
and dispute settlement.
Catalog of Legal Updates
The U.S.-Vietnam Trade Forum continues to work on its Catalog of Legal Updates,
which keeps track of legal instruments issued since the signing of the BTA in
July 2000 that address specific area provisions of the agreement.
We look forward to working in close cooperation with local law firm
Phillips Fox and the Ministry of Justice on the issuance of this document on a