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Viet Nam announced it had completed six bilateral deals (with
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, the EU and Singapore) and was close to
concluding another seven. Members unanimously reaffirmed their support
for Viet Nam to join the WTO as rapidly as possible.
Members also praised Viet Nam for its hard work and many of them
mentioned the particularly productive bilateral market access
negotiations they had held with Viet Nam since the Working Partyís last
meeting in June 2004 (see news
report of previous meeting).
The meeting examined in detail the first version of the draft report and
the new documents submitted by Viet Nam. In addition, Viet Nam reported
on recent developments in its legislation. Importantly, Viet Nam
expected to speed up the passage of pending bills related to the WTO in
Viet Nam said that the process had found ďnew momentumĒ. Trade Vice
Minister Luong Van Tu declared that he was ďvery encouraged by the
strong engagement of the working party, which has helped to move Viet
Namís accession speedily across-the-board.Ē
However, working party chairperson Seung Ho of Rep. of Korea commented
that in spite of all the good work carried out since the last meeting in
June, some important tasks remain to be done. Concluding, he referred to
Viet Namís aim to wrap up its membership negotiations by the Hong Kong
Ministerial Conference in December 2005.
Some details back to top
Members were eager to get down to the discussion of specific points in the
Investment regime: Several members
pointed out that Viet Nam discriminated between domestic and foreign
investors and asked when the discrimination would be lifted. Some noted that
certain sectors were prohibited for investment and asked for a specific
list. Viet Nam said that new laws to abolish the discriminations would be
presented to the National Assembly at the end of 2005. Viet Nam explained
that the prohibited sectors were the same for domestic and foreign investors
and included those related to national security, public order and protection
of the environment. Viet Nam promised to circulate a list.
Subsidies: One member mentioned Viet
Namís request to be granted a transition period in order to implement the
Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreement. This member stated that
Viet Nam would not automatically get a transition and encouraged Viet Nam to
use subsidies not prohibited under the WTO agreements. Other members said
that they also wanted Viet Nam to implement the Subsidies Agreement upon
accession. One developing country member argued that Viet Nam should be
entitled to special and differential treatment on subsidies.
Trading rights: A member noted that
Viet Nam discriminated between domestic and foreign enterprises regarding
trading rights. Several members said that the current legislation violated
Articles 3 (National Treatment) and 11 (Quantitative Restrictions) of GATT.
They expressed concern regarding the current situation and called on Viet
Nam to be in full conformity upon accession.
State owned enterprises: Several
members requested more information on Viet Namís state owned enterprises,
including their products and activities and their role in international
trade. Viet Nam said that it had remarkably narrowed its list of state owned
enterprises since the last meeting and that their activities included
national defence and security, and poverty elimination.
Quantitative restrictions: Several
members referred to import restrictions applied to used goods (such as used
engines or used tyres), spare parts and motorcycles (engine size exceeding
175cc). One member argued that while they understood that Viet Nam used
these restrictions for health and safety reasons, the same objectives could
be reached using measures that do not restrict trade so much. Viet Nam
replied that due to its current level of development it was unable to put
into place such standards.
Sanitary and phytosanitary measures:
Viet Nam dropped an earlier request for limited transitions to implement the
SPS Agreement. Viet Nam pledged to comply with the SPS Agreement from the
date of accession.
Next back to top
No date has been set yet for the next meeting which could be in the first
half of 2005.
Background back to top
Working party members: Argentina,
Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia,
Croatia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, European Union and member states,
Honduras, Hong Kong China, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of
Korea, Kyrgyz Republic, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, New Zealand, Norway,
Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Romania, Singapore, Switzerland, Chinese
Taipei, Thailand, Turkey, United States, Uruguay.
Chairperson: Seung Ho (Rep of Korea)
Viet Namís Working Party was established on 31 January 1995. The previous
meeting of the Working Party was held on 15 June 2004. Bilateral market
access negotiations are well underway and will continue.