WTO: Vietnam To Miss January 2005 Target

By Agence France-Presse Vietnam will not be able to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Jan. 1, 2005, as Hanoi was aiming, the Geneva-based free-trade body said June 22, hailing new measures from the country while also asking for improvements and clarifications. The 63 WTO members in talks with Vietnam were much closer to an agreement than during a previous meeting last December, the WTO said in a statement. The organization said Vietnam had considerably improved its offers in terms of access to its goods and services markets. "Vietnams latest offers, circulated in April, include commitments to cut tariffs to an average of about 18% (a 4-percentage point improvement over the previous offer), and to provide some access to services in 10 sectors or 92 sub-sectors," the statement said. Nevertheless, members of the working group said that there remained a lot of progress to be made on market access. The organization also sought greater clarity about certain laws and policies and urged other necessary laws to be put in place. Vietnam indicated in March it aimed to join the trade body next year, but experts consider that the country will not be able to join until one or two years later. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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