MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
BETWEEN THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
THE MINISTRY OF LABOR, INVALIDS, AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS OF THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM

The United States and Vietnam have reached an understanding to establish a program of cooperation and dialogue on labor matters of mutual interest. The two countries share common commitments and challenges to ensure economic growth, create employment, raise living standards, and support widely-shared prosperity. In addition, both countries share the common goal to effectively implement core labor standards and to provide social safety net protections.

Areas for Cooperation
The topics for potential cooperation and dialogue include the following: skills training and employment services; social insurance and safety net programs; industrial relations and labor law; labor market information systems; effective prevention and elimination of exploitative child labor and trafficking; promotion of employment for women; promotion of employment of the disabled; workplace-based HIV/AIDS programs; international labor standards; labor statistics; occupational health and safety; labor inspection; credit and loan programs for small and medium enterprises; and migrant labor issues.

In furtherance of the objectives of this Memorandum, it was decided that a program of technical assistance should be initiated this year in Vietnam. The Department of Labor of the United States (USDOL) and the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA) of Vietnam intend to undertake this program, in collaboration with the International Labor Organization (ILO). The initial areas for such technical assistance are contained in Annex 1 to this Memorandum.

Coordination
Overall coordination for the program of cooperation and dialogue rests with the Bureau of International Labor Affairs of the USDOL and the International Relations Department of MOLISA. MOLISA intends to support any program of technical assistance mutually decided upon by the participants by providing staff support and the information needed for the effective design, implementation, and evaluation of the programs.

A Working Group of senior representatives of USDOL and MOLISA should be established and meet as necessary, but no less than once a year, to discuss the areas of cooperation and dialogue as outlined above, the progress of related activities, and to consider further activities to realize the objectives of this Memorandum.

Where considered appropriate and necessary to achieve the objectives of this Memorandum, the participants may invite the contribution and involvement of representatives of workers and employers through the appropriate mechanisms.

In addition to a program of technical assistance decided upon by the participants, the cooperative activities and dialogue established under this Memorandum may be implemented through the following:

a) Exchange of delegations, professionals and specialists
b) Exchange of information, laws, standards, regulations, and procedures to include publications and monographs
c) Organization of joint conferences, seminars, workshops, and meetings
d) Formulation and implementation of collaborative projects or demonstrations
e) Joint research projects
f) Other forms of cooperation that may be decided upon.

The activities undertaken pursuant to this Memorandum should be subject to the availability of duly authorized and appropriate funds, and each side bears the cost for its participation unless decided otherwise. Nothing in this Memorandum creates or implies any financial or binding commitment on the part of either side.

Activities under this Memorandum should commence upon the date of signature below and continue for a period of five years. The Memorandum may be amended or extended by written consent of the participants. Either participant may terminate this Memorandum one hundred and twenty days after written notification to the other participant of its intention to do so.

Signed in Hanoi in duplicate, November 17, 2000, in English and Vietnamese, each text being equally authentic.

FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:

Alexis M. Herman
Secretary of Labor

By Douglas B. Peterson
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

FOR THE MINISTRY OF LABOR, INVALIDS, AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS OF THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM:

Nguyen Thi Hang
Minister of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs

Annex 1
Development of Technical Assistance Programs

November 2000

In Phase I to commence November 2000, the participants decided that programs should be initiated in the following areas. It is anticipated that 3 million US dollars may be allocated for Phase I.

1) Skills Training and Employment Services
A program on skills training and job placement services to be initiated bilaterally with the USDOL.

2) Social Insurance and Safety Net
A program to assist in the design and development of systems with regard to unemployment insurance and pensions to be initiated bilaterally with the USDOL.

3) Employment of the Disabled
A program on providing improvised access to employment for workers with disabilities to be initiated bilaterally with the USDOL.

4) Industrial Relations and Labor Law
A program through the ILO on labor law reform, training, awareness raising, and improvements for the industrial relations system.

5) Program on Child Labor
A program through the ILO’s International Program for the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) focused on street children and child trafficking.

6) HIV/AIDS Workplace-Based Programs
A program through the ILO to use workplace-based practices to support prevention through education and training and to reduce discrimination with regard to HIV/AIDS.


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