Cablegate: Yerxa Says to Push Vietnam On Wto Offer
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
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SUBJECT: Yerxa Says To Push Vietnam on WTO Offer
Sensitive but Unclassified -- Please protect accordingly.
1. (SBU) Visiting WTO DG Rufus Yerxa described his
discussions with GVN officials on WTO accession at an April
7 luncheon attended by Ambassador. Also present were the
Ambassadors of Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, New
Zealand, and the EC, the Representative from Taiwan and reps
from the World Bank and UNDP.
2. (SBU) Yerxa said that he had met with Deputy Prime
Minister Vu Khoan, Minister of Trade Tuyen, MOFA Vice
Minister Le Van Bang, and WTO Lead Negotiator MOT Vice
Minister Tu as well as some National Assembly reps and
summarized his message as follows. He had sought to
underscore the benefits of accession by citing examples of
the positive results such as that of Mexico. He stressed to
the GVN that it would be hard to get exemptions and
transitions on rules, that discussion of Vietnam's low level
of development was not productive, and that Vietnam needed
to provide good and credible offers on goods as well as
services to advance the process. He said that Vietnam's
accession was not being blocked by any WTO member, but
with 25 other Working Parties considering accessions Vietnam
needed to make progress to maintain interest.
3. (SBU) In terms of timing, the GVN told Yerxa that they
had nearly completed a new offer that they intended to
submit next week. Some hard issues were still under
discussion and review by the Ministers and Prime Minister.
Once the GVN has submitted its offer he would expect another
working party meeting could take place in about six weeks.
4. (SBU) In the subsequent discussion, the following key
points emerged. Vietnam is still negotiating bilaterally
and sees this as a zero sum game. Once the negotiations
have concluded, we all need to declare Vietnam the winner.
DPM Vu Khoan gets it, but does not have adequate power to
push through these policy changes and adjustments. He must
still seek consensus. GVN will lose some of its revenues
from tariff reductions. GVN's view that MFN is "subject to
interpretation" is a continuing problem for the Swiss, EC,
U.S. and Australia. GVN still needs to build capacity to
undertake all of these changes. GVN needs to trust the
market more and let go of its system.
5. (SBU) Yerxa suggested that the Ambassadors seek a meeting
with an appropriate GVN official soon to underscore the
critical nature of the next meeting. If the offers and
meeting are credible, they will make progress. If not, they
risk losing their momentum and credibility as well as the
interest of the WTO experts and reps in Geneva. We believe
that this would be a worthwhile discussion between the
Ambassador and DPM Vu Khoan. We request Washington guidance
(including specific topics to raise) on how to proceed.