US-VIETNAM BILATERAL TRADE AGREEMENT

CHAPTER I

TRADE IN GOODS

Article 1

Most Favored Nation (Normal Trade Relations) (1)

1. Each Party shall accord immediately and unconditionally to products originating in or exported to the territory of the other Party treatment no less favorable than that accorded to like products originating in or exported to the territory of any third country in all matters relating to:

  • A. customs duties and charges of any kind imposed on or in connection with importation or exportation, including the method of levying such duties and charges;
  • B. methods of payment for imports and exports, and the international transfer of such payments;
  • C. rules and formalities in connection with importation and exportation, including those relating to customs clearance, transit, warehouses and transshipment;
  • D. taxes and other internal charges of any kind applied directly or indirectly to imported products;
  • E. laws, regulations and other requirements affecting the sale, offering for sale, purchase, transportation, distribution, storage and use of products in the domestic market; and
  • F. the application of quantitative restrictions and the granting of licenses.

2. The provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article shall not apply to action by a Party which is consistent with such Party's obligations under the World Trade Organization and the agreements administered thereby. A Party shall nonetheless extend to the products originating in the territory of the other Party most-favored nation treatment in respect of any tariff reductions resulting from multilateral negotiations under the auspices of the World Trade Organization provided such Party accords such benefits to all other WTO members.

3. The provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article shall not apply to:

  • advantages accorded by either Party by virtue of such Party's full membership in a customs union or free trade area, and
  • advantages accorded to third countries for the facilitation of frontier traffic.

4. The provisions of sub-paragraph 1.F of this Article shall not apply to trade in textiles and textile products.

 

Article 2

National Treatment

1. Each Party shall administer tariff and nontariff measures affecting trade in a manner which affords meaningful competitive opportunities for products of the other Party with respect to domestic competitors.

2. Accordingly, neither Party shall impose, directly or indirectly, on the products of the other Party imported into its territory, internal taxes or charges of any kind in excess of those applied, directly or indirectly, to like domestic products.

  • Each Party shall accord to products originating in the territory of the other Party treatment no less favorable than that accorded to like domestic products in respect of all laws, regulations and other requirements affecting their internal sale, offering for sale, purchase, transportation, distribution, storage or use.
  • In addition to the obligations of paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Article, the charges and measures described in paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Article shall not otherwise be applied to imported or domestic products so as to afford protection to domestic production.
  • The obligations of paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of this Article shall be subject to the exceptions set forth in Article III of GATT 1994 and Annex A to this Agreement.
  • Consistent with the provisions of GATT 1994, the Parties shall ensure that technical regulations and standards are not prepared, adopted or applied with a view to creating obstacles to international trade or to protect domestic production. Furthermore, each Party shall accord products imported from the territory of the other Party treatment no less favorable than the better of the treatment accorded to like domestic products or like products originating in any third country in relation to such technical regulations or standards, including conformity testing and certification. Accordingly, the Parties shall:
    • A. ensure that any sanitary or phytosanitary measure which is not inconsistent with the provisions of the GATT 1994, is applied only to the extent necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health, is based on scientific principles and is not maintained without sufficient evidence (i.e., a risk assessment), taking into account the availability of relevant scientific information and regional conditions, such as pest free zones;
    • B. ensure that technical regulations are not prepared, adopted or applied with a view to or with the effect of creating unnecessary obstacles to international trade. For this purpose, technical regulations shall not be more trade-restrictive than necessary to fulfil a legitimate objective, taking into account the risks non- fulfillment would create. Such legitimate objectives include national security requirements; the prevention of deceptive practices; protection of human health or safety, animal or plant life or health, or the environment. In assessing such risks, relevant elements of consideration include available scientific and technical information, related processing technology or intended end- uses of products.

3. Upon the entry into force of this Agreement, each Party shall grant trading rights to the nationals and companies of the other Party. With respect to Vietnam, such trading rights shall be granted in accordance with the following schedule:

  • A. Upon entry into force of this Agreement, all domestic enterprises shall be allowed to engage in trading activities in all products, subject to restrictions listed in Annexes B and C.
  • B. Upon entry into force of this Agreement, enterprises with capital directly invested by U.S. nationals and companies shall be allowed, subject to the restrictions in Annexes B and C, to import goods and products to be used in, or in connection with their production or export activities whether or not such imports are specifically identified in their initial investment license.
  • C. Three years after entry into force of this Agreement, enterprises with capital directly invested by U.S. nationals and companies, in production and manufacturing sectors, shall be allowed to engage in trading activities, subject to the restrictions listed in Annexes B, C and D, and provided such enterprises are (i) engaged in substantial business activities in the production and manufacturing sectors; and (ii) are lawfully operating in Vietnam.
  • D. Three years after entry into force of this Agreement, U.S. nationals and companies shall be allowed to enter into joint ventures with Vietnamese counterparts to engage in trading activities in all products, subject to restrictions listed in Annexes B, C and D. Equity contributed by U.S. companies shall not exceed 49% of such joint ventures' legal capital. Three years thereafter, this limitation on U.S. ownership shall be 51%.
  • E. Seven years after entry into force of this Agreement, U.S. companies shall be allowed to establish 100% U.S.- owned companies to engage in trading activities in all products, subject to restrictions listed in Annexes B, C and D.

4. If a Party has not acceded to the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, it will undertake every reasonable effort to do so as soon as possible, but no later than one year after the entry into force of this Agreement.

 

Article 3

General Obligations with Respect to Trade

1. The Parties shall seek to achieve a satisfactory balance of market access opportunities through the satisfactory reciprocation of reductions in tariffs and nontariff barriers to trade in goods resulting from multilateral negotiations.

2. The Parties shall except as specifically provided in Annexes B and C to this Agreement, eliminate all import and export restrictions, quotas, licensing requirements, and controls for all product and service categories, other than those that would be permitted by GATT 1994.

3. The Parties shall, within two years of the entry into force of this Agreement, limit all fees and charges of whatever character (other than import and export duties and other taxes within the purview of Article 2 of this Chapter) imposed on or in connection with importation or exportation to an amount approximate to the cost of services rendered, and ensure that such fees and charges do not represent an indirect protection to domestic products or a taxation of imports or exports for fiscal purposes;

4. The Parties shall, within two years of the entry into force of this Agreement, adopt a system of customs valuation based on the transaction value of the imported merchandise on which duty is assessed, or of like merchandise, rather than on the value of merchandise of national origin or on arbitrary or fictitious values, with the transaction value being the price actually paid or payable for the goods when sold for export to the country of importation in accordance with the standards established in the Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of the GATT 1994; and

5. Within two years of entry into force of this Agreement, the Parties shall ensure that the fees and charges referred to in paragraph 3 of this Article and the customs valuation system referred to in paragraph 4 of this Article are imposed or implemented uniformly and consistently throughout each Party's customs territory.

6. In addition to the obligations set forth in Article 1, Vietnam shall provide tariff treatment to products originating in the customs territory of the United States in accordance with the provisions of Annex E.

7. Neither Party shall require its nationals or companies to engage in barter or countertrade transactions with nationals or companies of the other Party. Nevertheless, where nationals or companies decide to resort to barter or countertrade operations, the Parties may furnish them information to facilitate the transaction and assist them as they would with respect to other export and import operations.

8. The United States shall consider Vietnam's eligibility for the Generalized System of Preferences.


Article 4

Expansion and Promotion of Trade

Each Party shall encourage and facilitate the holding of trade promotional events such as trade fairs, exhibitions, missions and seminars in its territory and in the territory of the other Party. Similarly, each Party shall encourage and facilitate the participation of its respective nationals and companies in such events. Subject to the laws in force within their respective territories, the Parties agree to allow the import and re-export on a duty free basis of all articles for use in such events, provided that such articles are not sold or otherwise transferred.


Article 5

Government Commercial Offices

1. Subject to its laws and regulations governing foreign missions, each Party shall allow government commercial offices of the other Party to hire host-country nationals and, subject to immigration laws and procedures, third-country nationals.

2. Each Party shall ensure unhindered access of host-country nationals to government commercial offices of the other Party.

3. Each Party shall allow the participation of its nationals and companies in the commercial activities of the other Party's government commercial offices.

4. Each Party shall allow access by government commercial office personnel of the other Party to the relevant host-country officials, and to representatives of nationals and companies of the host Party.

 

Article 6

Emergency Action on Imports

1. The Parties agree to consult promptly at the request of either Party whenever either actual or prospective imports of products originating in the territory of the other Party cause or threaten to cause or significantly contribute to market disruption. Market disruption exists within a domestic industry whenever imports of an article, like or directly competitive with an article produced by such domestic industry, are increasing rapidly, either absolutely or relatively, so as to be a significant cause of material injury, or threat thereof, to such domestic industry. The consultations provided in this paragraph shall have the objectives of (a) presenting and examining the factors relating to such imports that may be causing or threatening to cause or significantly contributing to market disruption, and (b) finding means of preventing or remedying such market disruption. Such consultations shall be concluded within sixty days from the date of the request for such consultations, unless the Parties agree otherwise.

2. Unless a different solution is mutually agreed upon during the consultations, the importing Party may (a) impose quantitative import limitations, tariff measures or any other restrictions or measures it deems appropriate, and for such period of time it deems necessary, to prevent or remedy threatened or actual market disruption, and (b) take appropriate measures to ensure that imports from the territory of the other Party comply with such quantitative limitations or other restrictions introduced in connection with market disruption. In this event, the other Party shall be free to deviate from its obligations under this Agreement with respect to substantially equivalent trade.

3. Where in the judgment of the importing Party, emergency action is necessary to prevent or remedy such market disruption, the importing Party may take such action at any time without prior notice or consultation, on the condition that consultations shall be effected immediately after taking such action.

4. The Parties acknowledge that the elaboration of the market disruption safeguard provisions in this Article is without prejudice to the right of either Party to apply its laws and regulations applicable to trade in textiles and textile products, and its laws and regulations applicable to unfair trade, including antidumping and countervailing duty laws.

 

Article 7

Commercial Disputes


For the purposes of Chapter I of this Agreement:

1. Nationals and companies of either Party shall be accorded national treatment with respect to access to all competent courts and administrative bodies in the territory of the other Party, as plaintiffs, defendants or otherwise. They shall not be entitled to claim or enjoy immunity from suit or execution of judgment, proceedings for the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards, or other liability in the territory of the other Party with respect to commercial transactions. They also shall not claim or enjoy immunities from taxation with respect to commercial transactions, except as may be provided in other bilateral agreements.

2. The Parties encourage the adoption of arbitration for the settlement of disputes arising out of commercial transactions concluded between nationals or companies of the United States of America and nationals or companies of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Such arbitration may be provided for by agreements in contracts between such nationals and companies, or in separate written agreements between them.

3. The parties to such transactions may provide for arbitration under any internationally recognized arbitration rules, including the UNCITRAL Rules of December 15, 1976, and any modifications thereto, in which case the parties should designate an Appointing Authority under said rules in a country other than the United States of America or the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

4. The parties to the dispute, unless otherwise agreed between them, should specify as the place of arbitration a country other than the United States of America or the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, that is a party to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, done at New York, June 10, 1958.

5. Nothing in this Article shall be construed to prevent, and the Parties shall not prohibit, the parties from agreeing upon any other form of arbitration or on the law to be applied in such arbitration, or other form of dispute settlement which they mutually prefer and agree best suits their particular needs.

6. Each Party shall ensure that an effective means exists within its territory for the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.

 

Article 8

State Trading

1. The parties may establish or maintain a state enterprise, or grant to any enterprise, formally or in effect, exclusive or special privileges, to import and export the products listed in Annex C, provided however, that any such enterprise shall, in its purchases or sales involving either imports or exports, act in a manner consistent with the general principles of non-discriminatory treatment prescribed in this Agreement for governmental measures affecting imports or exports by private traders.

2. The provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article shall be understood to require that such enterprises shall, having due regard to the other provisions of this Agreement, make any such purchases or sales solely in accordance with commercial considerations, including price, quality, availability, marketability, transportation and other conditions of purchase or sale, and shall afford the enterprises of the other Party adequate opportunity, in accordance with customary business practice, to compete for participation in such purchases or sales.

3. The provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article shall not apply to imports of products for immediate or ultimate consumption in government use and not otherwise for resale or use in the production of goods for sale. With respect to such imports, each Party shall accord to the trade of the other Party fair and equitable treatment.

 

Article 9

Definitions

As used in this Chapter, the terms set forth below shall have the following meaning:

1. "company," means any entity constituted or organized under applicable law, whether or not for profit, and whether privately or governmentally owned or controlled, and includes a corporation, trust, partnership, sole proprietorship, branch, joint venture, association, or other organization.

2. "enterprise," means a company.

3. "national," means a natural person who is a national of a Party under its applicable law.

4. "commercial dispute," means a dispute between parties to a commercial transaction which arises out of that transaction.

5. "trading rights," means the right to engage in import or export activities.



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