Bush seeks Congress okay for U.S.-Vietnam trade pact

by Emily Wilson
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The Bush administration has sent to the U.S. Congress the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral trade agreement, which would normalize U.S. trade relations with Vietnam. U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick said the agreement was "an important step forward in bringing economic freedom and opportunity to Vietnam, along with providing new trade opportunities for American workers, consumers and businesses."

The agreement was signed in July 2000 after four years of negotiations and has broad bipartisan support in Congress.

When implemented, the agreement will extend normal trade relations to Vietnam (subject to an annual waiver by the President) and help lower Vietnamese tariffs on hundreds of categories of U.S. goods and farm products.

Vietnam is a growing market for wheat and flour, primarily wheat, as the nation has three major mills, one near Hanoi and two in Ho Chi Minh City. The mills have a combined annual milling capacity of 480,000 tonnes, according to U.S. Wheat Associates.

Vietnam has plans to build additional mills, which will bring the country’s annual milling capacity to 1.13 million tonnes within the next three years.