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Vietnam - No human rights issues in trade acts

VNA | 2 December 2009

Vietnam: No human rights issues in trade acts: Deputy PM

A leading Vietnamese Government official has asked that the US leave democratic and human rights issues out of its trade acts while meeting with a former top US policy maker.

Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem made the request while talking with Susan Schwab, who is a former US Trade Representative, about ways to elevate the wide-ranging relationship between Vietnam and the US , including the economic field.

The Deputy PM said the move would pave a wider way for Vietnamese goods to enter the US and for its enterprises to establish long-term business in Vietnam .

At their meeting in Hanoi on December 2, the officials both expressed delight over recent positive developments in ties between the two countries.

They cited the fact that after eight years of implementing the Vietnam-US Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA), the US has become the largest importer of Vietnamese commodities and emerged as its seventh-biggest investor in Vietnam with a total investment of 8.68 billion USD.

On behalf of the Vietnamese Government, Deputy PM Khiem, who also works as Foreign Minister, spoke highly of Ambassador Schwab’s contributions to bilateral ties, including her support for Vietnam’s WTO membership.

He also praised Schwab for her support for the US ’s approval of permanent normal trade relations with Vietnam as well as their joint signing of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

Availing himself of the opportunity on this occasion, the leading Vietnamese government official asked the former trade representative to continue contributing to boosting the two countries’ trade and economic ties.

He also sought the ambassador’s pledge to lobby the US government to grant its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) and its recognition of Vietnam ’s market economy.

Ambassador Schwab applauded the enormous and effective efforts of the Vietnamese Government in dealing with challenges in maintaining macroeconomic stability and helping the national economy recover from the brunt of the global financial and economic crisis.

On December 1, she held a working session at the Hanoi National University.

The Ambassador also chaired a symposium themed “ Vietnam , the US and the World: prospects for trade and investment” in Hanoi , which drew the participation of representatives from various ministries, sectors, and circles in the country.

The symposium updated the participants on US trade policy, the world’s year-to-date financial and economic performance and also touched upon measures to bring more Vietnamese goods to the US .

Schwab will also preside over a symposium on a similar theme in Ho Chi Minh City on December 3.

Ambassador Schwab arrived in Vietnam on November 28 at the invitation of the Foreign Ministry and she will stay through December 4.

 source: VNA