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United States And Vietnam Seek Trade Liberalization

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US and Vietnam trade officials have concluded a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) that will provide a platform for the two countries to work on further expansion of trade and investment ties. In announcing the agreement, US Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab said, “Vietnam is a dynamic and rapidly growing economy, and we see a TIFA as an important vehicle for promoting continuation of the impressive expansion in our trade and investment relations that we have witnessed over the past few years.” Schwab said Vietnam, with a population of 82 million, currently is the United States’ 43rd-largest trading partner, with $9.7 billion in total goods trade in 2006.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Commerce has further refined its textile and apparel monitoring program for Vietnam, which the Bush administration agreed to in order to get congressional support for granting permanent normal trade relations status to Vietnam. The program initially will cover five “sensitive” product categories: trousers, shirts, underwear, swimwear; and sweaters. Other products can be added to or subtracted from that list as import data warrant. If surges or illegal imports are detected, import quotas could be imposed on Vietnamese imports. In addition, Vietnam has initiated a licensing program covering the sensitive products. It will require exporters to provide information on quantities and prices for exports in order to safeguard against sudden surges that could result in dumping charges. The Commerce Department says it welcomes comments and suggestions and has created a monitoring website, www.otexa.ita.doc.gov/vn.htm.

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