Congressional Clock Is Running On Vietnam Trade Pact

By John S. McClenahen In less than two months Congress must vote to approve or reject the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral trade agreement that the White House sent to Capitol Hill on June 8. Signed in July 2000 during the Clinton Administration, the agreement, which promises U.S.-based manufacturers increased market access to Vietnam's market as well as patent and other kinds of intellectual property protection, would lower tariffs on several hundred categories of U.S. goods and farm products. If the agreement is approved and the Bush Administration is satisfied with the southeast Asian nation's emigration practices, Vietnam would be eligible for U.S. normal trade relations status -- its exports to the U.S. would enter at nondsicriminatory tariff rates -- and Vietnam would be eligible for trade-enhancing benefits provided by the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corp.

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