Statement on Passage of the U.S.-Vietnam Trade Agreement
M E M O R A N D U M
To: Reporters and Editors
Fr: Jill Gerber
Re: Vietnam trade agreement
Da: Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2001
Today the Senate passed the U.S.-Vietnam trade agreement on a vote of 88 to 12, sending
the measure to the President for consideration. Sen. Chuck Grassley is ranking Republican of the
Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade. Grassley made the following statement on
Our nation’s healing process over the Vietnam War is not yet complete, nor may it ever be.
But passage of this historic agreement will help us in the healing process. Approval of the agreement
will have other profound consequences for our nation.
First, approval of the resolution will further strengthen our relations with Vietnam, a process
begun by President George Bush in the early 1990s. President Clinton, putting our national interest
first, diligently pursued this policy. President George W. Bush took another historic step on the road
to better and more prosperous relations by sending the Vietnam bilateral trade agreement to Congress
for approval on July 8, 2001.
Second, approval of the resolution will enable our workers and farmers to take advantage of
a sweeping bilateral trade agreement with Vietnam. This agreement covers virtually every aspect
of trade with Vietnam, from trade in services to intellectual property rights and investment.
The agreement includes specific commitments by Vietnam to reduce tariffs on approximately
250 products, about four-fifths of which are agricultural goods. And, U.S. investors will have
specific legal protections unavailable today.
Government procurement will become more open and transparent. Vietnam will be required
to adhere to a number of multilateral disciplines on customs procedure, import licensing and sanitary
and phytosanitary measures.
There is no doubt that implementation of the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral trade agreement will
open new markets for U.S. manufactured goods, services and agriculture products. It is a win for
American workers. It is also a win for the Vietnamese people. Continued engagement through open
trade will help the country prosper. Adherence to a rules-based trading system will also help further
establish the rule of law in Vietnam. It truly is a win-win for both of our nations.
Finally, it is my sincere hope that passage of this joint resolution will help pave the way
toward even greater trade accomplishments this year. One of the most important things we can do
for our nation before we adjourn is pass trade promotion authority for President Bush. Our President
must have all the tools we can offer at this time of economic uncertainty. In my mind there is no
more important tool than Trade Promotion Authority. As Federal Reserve Chairman Alan
Greenspan told the Finance Committee the other day, terror causes people to pull back. According
to the Fed Chairman, trade promotion authority is a vital tool in countering the tendency of people
and nations to pull back, and lower their confidence in the economy. More importantly, Alan
Greenspan told us that Congress giving the President trade promotion authority will say to the
terrorists, you will not stop the global economic cooperation that has brought so much good and
prosperity to the world. Chairman Greenspan has got it exactly right. Passing TPA will enable the
President to help jump start the world economy through trade.
Passing TPA and launching a new round of WTO trade negotiations this November is a vital
step toward economic recovery, and restoring the long-term economic growth that benefits workers
and farmers everywhere. So in conclusion, let me say that passing the Vietnam Bilateral Trade
Agreement today is an important step toward finishing our trade agenda. But it is just one step. Our
trade agenda is not done. Let’s do the right thing for our President and the American people. Let’s
work together to finish our trade agenda and pass TPA this year.
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